Friday, October 3, 2008

Behind the Curtain

Amidst the emotional turmoil I was experiencing wondering if my elderly mother was declining right before my eyes in the ED... I did hear something amusing. I can say this because I am saying it as something witnessed as a patient family member. While I was talking with another staff member near the nurse's station... another nurse told the ED doc that the patient stated she is allergic to Motrin and needed something stronger for the pain. The look on her face was priceless... as was his.

I got a warm fuzzy because I immediately thought of all the blogging docs and their posts on drug seekers and the subsequent comments and that reminded me of blogging... which I love... hence the warm fuzzy feeling thinking of this hobby and the funny/interesting posts.

I never saw the patient but did hear her use the F word and question why the F she was there if they weren't gonna do anything. I am sure all the med folks could fill in the blanks for the rest of said patient and male companion's conversation.

The irony of it all didn't escape me either. My mother seemingly declining ...gasping for air so weak she couldn't move or open her eyes... and this woman, obnoxious, boisterous complaining about her pain.

You never know what is behind the curtain... but if you did...would you still behave like a JERK?


Elaine said...

Oh Seaspray, I am so sorry to hear about that ED visit with your mother (not the F word bit, but the real bit). It sounds as though it was a really worrying time for you and am concerned about how she is faring now. Take care and {{{hugs}}}

Chrysalis Angel said...

Seaspray, I'm sorry your going through this - you know that. I'm sorry too I can't keep up with everyone like I did before.

I can see why they have such a hard time over the pain meds. It gets very hard to distinguish at times those really needing that help and relief, and those that have found they just like the feeling and are abusing the medication. Take care, Seaspray.

SeaSpray said...

Thank you Elaine. The pcp told me today that she has a little CHF (1st time), they're getting the edema down and are going to try a little PT on Monday if up to it to try to bring her strength back. It is a wait and see now.

I told him I was perplexed because labs are good or is it a matter of is her body just tired? he said that's what happens.

SeaSpray said...

Thanks Chrysalis - I know you are busy and so don't be concerned about keeping up. I know I can always e-mail. :)

Maybe I am wrong but she did seem to be an abuser..although no one I recognized but I have been away. then again I am judging and perhaps she was in pain. But can you be allergic to motrin?

I admit that her attitude contrasted with my mother in her condition probably caused me to be jaded. I was actually annoyed. Usually, I am more patient and not judgmental. Just the stress of it all.

Also the staff...I saw the looks.

Chrysalis Angel said...

I wasn't referring to the Motrin patient per say. I was thinking of all the patients that come in and have very real issues, but then that is how some of the abuse can start. She did sound questionable in your write up. I was just thinking of those that are legitimate and need relief. Sorry if I confused you, Seaspray.

SeaSpray said...

I know what you meant Angel. I was feeling guilty for judging her. She didn't care about the other patients having to listen to her or them..was rude and obnoxious. I did think of the blogs though which was a warm fuzzy.

I guess when we see these annoying things we should just think but for the grace of God...there go I.

SeaSpray said...

PS-I never indicated it,but when I worked there and patients treated staff that way, I was secretly annoyed because they were hindering the process/disrespectful.

peggy said...

ugh this is why i hate going to the er. there's always someone worse off than you to make you feel like you're wasting the staff's time! (like last monday morning for example, but at least i was alone.) but a couple yrs ago when I was in the er with an elderly man who'd fallen down the stairs and broken 2 ribs...meanwhile my doc told me i was having 'musculoskeletal pain' which was actually a GALL BLADDER attack. I felt like the biggest loser around.

Anyways, maybe the lady knew she needed something stronger than motrin, but wasn't able (perhaps because she was in real pain) to express herself in a more intelligent and less suspicious way?

oh well, just another perspective.

SeaSpray said...

Peggy-you were right to go to the ED. Most people don't go to the ED unless they think it is an emergency. The only exception is medicaid abusers who could just as easily go to the doctor and they go for non emergent things that you would only go to the doctor to be treated for. The exception to that is if the offices are closed.

But everyone thinks their emergency is the emergency. There can always be someone worse off but that does not negate the fact that others need to be there. Most people that come in aren't dying... not up here.

I complaint was the rude obnoxious loud attitude. It could've been the pain...but there is a type that usually falls into that group. Hey drug seekers could be playing the game and be meek and polite. Addictions no no boundaries.

Unfortunately...the medical staff is in the tough position of having to discern fact from fiction.

And like the staff...when I heard allergic to Motrin... they will say Toradol or anything that is not a narcotic. It raises a red flag.

Even my asking for demorol when I first go into ER does until they hear the history.

Because on the other side of this are the patients with genuine pain, chronic conditions that KNOW what works and so they tell staff because they have been there, done that... and sometimes... they are looked at suspiciously as well.

And THAT is sad and WRONG!