Monday, September 29, 2008

16 hours

This morning I found him in his room a bundle of messy blankets. He didn't look good, he was shaking, telling me he had a headache, that he really didn't feel good. I talked to him very briefly and then went to get him some meds, when I came back his doctor was in the room. She told him that he was just going to drink again, that she didn't need to make a referral for him or get him any contact numbers, that she figured he knew what to do if he really wanted help. Then she left the room, her attitude towards him and others like him obvious.

As the day went on I medicated him frequently as the protocol allowed to ease his withdrawal symptoms, he got a little demanding. He was calling often for little things. the doctor was back on the floor and asked how he was, I explained that he was driving me crazy calling so often. She said we just needed to get some labs at 2pm and after that he could go. I was stunned. We don't discharge people in the middle of detoxing them. Withdrawal can be dangerous, people have seizures. She said the he expressed no desire to go through recovery to her, but said it the doctor higher than her. She looked puzzled and said, you were there-he wasn't interested. All I could think was you never asked him! You told him he would fail and then walked out. I didn't say it out loud because I could see she really didn't get it, and me telling her she didn't get it wasn't going to help. She had dismissed this patient before she even met him.

By the afternoon he felt much better, the meds were in him the shakes were gone, he was thinking more clearly.

I was surprised to hear at about 9pm that he wanted to leave against medical advise, a little later I went in to talk to him to see if I could get him to stay. He wasn't a bad guy, he was a guy with a drinking problem.

While we talked I found out that he had been an alcholic his whole life, but that he had long periods of sobriety, 5 years here, 7 years there..all together more than 20. That his girlfriend had some problems and was getting discharged from a psych hospital. That she meant everything to him. When she was admitted he was stressed and thought well I'll just drink this week, it turned into a month and here he was. He wanted to not drink, because he wanted to be there for her, he didn't want to mess up her recovery. So he stopped drinking and dumped all the alcohol in the house, and he started withdrawing.

In the end he decided to leave, I explained he shouldn't be alone. He explained to me that he knew day 2 of withdrawal was the worst, and this had been day 2, he thought he would be ok.
he would have his mom call and check on him.

he left the hospital at about 10:30pm.
At about 1am he calls the floor, says he is shaking like a leaf, he needs help, can we help him. He sounds desperate and scared and a little child like. I know he doesn't have a ride and can't drive so I tell him to call an ambulance. He wants me to call for him, I can't do that. He wants to come back to our floor. We have no beds available, so I explain that any medical floor can take care of him, what is important is that he get here and get the meds in his system. He said ok.

I have no idea if he called and came back in.

I hope he did.

1 comment:

Marketing Mama said...

Hi there - I just found your blog today from Amelia Sprout's. Nice to be here and "meet" you. Do you work in a detox unit at your hospital all the time? OR do you float? Maybe I need to read back further in your blog to find out!

I used to work for a treatment center (in marketing) and am in recovery myself of over 11 years, so this is an area near and dear to me. Now I do marketing for a hospital. Anyways, I can relate to your story because I've talked to a lot of people who struggle with the decision about getting clean or not. Sometimes the fear of withdrawl keeps them drinking.