Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wasting Away Again

While not always the most charming of individuals, most of our regular EtOHers simply take up space in the hallways.  Most.  

One gentleman came in last night with a BAC in the upper 300s after being found on the ground.  Collared per EMS protocol, his scan was negative but his C-spine couldn't be cleared until he was sober.  Throughout the several hours he spent in the ED, he would frequently climb out of bed, rip off his collar (and his gown), and attempt to walk out of the department while tugging at his catheter.  As time passed he became more belligerent, screaming obscenities and yelling about the unpleasant things he did as a soldier in Vietnam.  Repeated doses of Ativan did little to help calm him down.

Later in the evening, a patient arrived in full-blown DTs.  I had seen people going through withdrawal before, but never this bad.  The patient was drenched in sweat, looking at us with a bug-eyed stare as he hallucinated and spoke gibberish.  Every so often he'd lay back in the stretcher, only to shoot up again seconds later, writhing so hard against the restraints that he looked like would rip his shoulders out of their sockets.  He had no idea where he was, nor could he tell us his name.  When we were finally able to bring him upstairs, we could hear screaming from down the hall as we transfered him over.  Turns out he was the third DT admission of the night.

Alcohol withdrawal is not fun thing to watch.  I'm sure it's far less fun to experience.

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