I don't particularly care for taking care of the addicts. Yeah, I know they have a problem, and they can't help it, and blah, blah, blah. After years in this field, I have come to the realization that the addicts are usually the worst manipulators and biggest assholes. Thank you doesn't appear to be in their vocabulary. Following are a couple examples of what I get to deal with.
Patient: I need something for pain.
Me: I just gave you your pain medicine 15 minutes ago.
Patient: I know, but they are not working.
Me: Sir, you have to give the pills time to get into your system so they can work.
Patient: I need something stronger.
Me: I'm sorry, but the doctor won't give you anything else.
Patient: (whining voice) But I am an addict!
Me: I'm well aware of that, sir.
Patient: I need stronger meds. I'm allergic to pills.
Patient Wife: (sitting at bedside) That's bullshit.
Patient: I have a headache.
Me: Would you like some Tylenol for your headache?
Patient: No, Tylenol doesn't work for my headaches.
Me: Some Ibuprofen?
Patient: No, that doesn't work either. Got any coke?
Me: Coke? Like soda??
Patient: Cocaine. Cocaine really helps with my headaches. Got any of that?
Me: (stunned disbelief) No...we're fresh out.
Me: Sir, I need to put another IV in.
Patient: OK, just so you know...I'm a really hard stick.
Me: (inspecting the needle tracks on the arms...the legs...the feet) I can tell.
Patient: But... (lifting arm and slapping spot with flat hand a couple times) If you try right there, you might be able to get one in. I've always had good luck there.
Patient: (groggy) I'm an alcoholic, you see.
Patient: So, I am going to need something to knock me out so I don't go through detox.
Me: Do you take anything at home?
Patient: I usually smoke crack.
Me: (answering phone) How can I help you?
Family Member: (irate) My mama just called me and said you won't give her pain meds!
Me: I assure you that she gets her pain meds when they are scheduled.
Family Member: Well, Mama says you don't give them right.
Me: If you are referring to the fact that she wants her injections at full strength in the closest IV port, you would be correct. Only, we don't give our narcotics that way here.
Family Member: (not so irate) Yeah...she likes her drugs.
Me: I gathered...
Family Member: But Mama also says she's bleeding to death and you won't help her.
Me: You would be referring to her picking her nose to the point it started to bleed. It has since stopped.
Family Member: Yeah...Mama did have that habit, too.
Patient: I really need to smoke.
Me: It's a federal law that smoking is no allowed in hospitals. You, sir, are not to leave the floor while you are on this cardiac drip. I can call the doctor and get an order for nicotine patch.
Patient: How about pot?
Patient: Can I smoke pot? I could smoke it in the bathroom.
Me: That would also be a no.
Patient: Well, I could anyway. What are you going to do about it?
Me: I'm going to grab a fire extinguisher out in the hall, and I am going to charge in here and extinguish anything that is smoking and whatever happens to be attached to it. Then, the police will come up here and write you a ticket for smoking in the hospital.
Patient Wife: (giggling) You're really funny.
Me: I wasn't joking.
Me: (on the phone at 3am) Mrs. So-and-So? I'm calling about your daughter. It appears she has left AMA and we were wondering if you have heard from her.
Patient Mom: No. She left?
Me: Yes. She pulled out her IV, packed her stuff, and left while we were all busy in another patient room.
Patient Mom: No...we haven't heard from her.
Me: Oh. Well, if you hear from her, can you tell her to call us or her doctor?
Patient Mom: Won't do any good. She probably left to go turn a trick so she can get her crack fix.
Me: Oh...well...ummm...sorry to have bothered you. You have a nice night.
This is exactly why I went into nursing...NOT.