Thursday, August 7, 2008

Things That Get Me Mad

Number 1 on the list: parents who overdose in front of their kids.

Last winter I took care of a guy who felt "sad," and decided to take a bunch of pills at home.  EMS delivers him to our critical care area, where he's only semi-responsive.  Wife arrives with 8 year old son in tow because she can't find a sitter.  The kid is clearly terrified at being in a crowded ER at 11pm on a school night, but bravely tries to rationalize the situation by explaining to Mom that Dad's "just sleepy."  Then Dad proceeds to puke bright yellow vomit all over himself, sending the sobbing kid running out of the room in terror.  I don't care what people do in their free time, or how they choose to deal with their problems, but there's no excuse for dragging a child along with you.

Overdoses dominated the scene again last night, taking up the majority of our critical care beds during the first half of my shift.  Most of them were pretty straightforward - two bags of heroin instead of the usual one, celebrating a release from jail by drinking three bottles of Listerine - but one woman took ten of her Xanax and left it to her child to call 911 when he found her passed out at home.  Mom, with her Bride-of-Frankenstein hairdo and orange spray tan rubbing off on the sheets, took up a bed for the next several hours mumbling, half-asleep, that she was really cold and demanding more blankets while she snoozed.

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