I spent quite a few hours in a squalid Emergency Room waiting area. It wasn't dramatic or anything, just sick poor people with no place to go but the ER. Lots of babies, sick, poor babies.
Two of the clients got sick at the same time. Everyone thought they had food poisoning but it turns out one of them had appendicitis. He had the all new appendectomy procedure, three tiny incisions and twelve minutes total on the operating table. He admitted he was hoping to catch a buzz off the anesthesia but he went straight to sleep. I brought him back the next day and he was fine.
By the way, the other guy had an upset stomach.
There's another client. A girl, very young, 19. She's been using meth and heroin. She's very pretty in a terribly vulnerable big eyed sort of way. She attracted a suitor, which is not a good thing. He's an older fellow, a real gangster, albeit a small town gangster. He's started putting his arms around her when he thinks he can get away with it. She lets him do it, for all I know she encourages him. The trouble is that 19 year old pretty girls don't almost kill themselves with meth and heroin because they like to party. She's in some kind of psychic pain from God only knows where, although it isn't hard to guess.
She has a habit of punching things and breaking bones in her hand. She'd sprained her wrist once from punching a wall. She got to go to the ER but all they did was wrap it and tell her to keep it iced.
When the guy got back from the ER, she started complaining that her hand was hurting her terribly. It was somewhat swollen but not red or discolored. She kept wandering off and coming back with her hand more swollen. Late in the afternoon, I was coming back from some errand or other when her paramour opened the door to her room and said, "What's going on? It sounds like you're punching the wall".
The staff yelled at him for going into her room and she came out and said that the noise must be coming from some other room. By then her hand was really swelling up and she said she wanted to go to the ER.
On the drive there she was gasping with pain every time the car went over a bump. I pulled up to the ER door and she went in while I went to park. When I got back, I asked about her. The guy at the door asked me who I was and I explained that I was the driver from the treatment center. He said, "That's pretty interesting because she fainted in the waiting room and she just denied that she was in a treatment center. You better come talk to the triage nurse".
I was led to the triage room. The client was in a wheel chair and the nurse was asking questions while she took the client's vital signs. After I was introduced the nurse asked again, "Are you in treatment for drug or alcohol addiction?"
The client said, "Yes".
The nurse asked, "What drugs are you addicted to?"
The client looked a little frantic for a second. There was a long pause. Count the seconds... one... two... three... four.... "Meth".
She was wheeled back to the waiting room. We sat there for a while. She had me get her candy from the vending machine. She stood up and staggered a little. I don't know if she was putting on a show or not. I put her back in the chair.
Finally, they came and took her back into the ER. It was my day off and I was not supposed to be there at all. We made arrangements for a cab to take her back later and I left.
When I got back, I heard a staff person talking to the doctor, "So, it was just a bruise? She was not given any narcotics? Good. Could the injury have been self inflicted? I see."
I don't know if she really came back or not. I hope so. She seemed like she was doing OK till that guy fell in "love" with her. I think that scared her.
There's another client who is addicted to diazepam. She's detoxing and she can't sleep. She's having panic attacks. She hasn't slept in 72 hours. She wanted me to go pick up some medication that might help her sleep. It probably won't. I've had the stuff and it didn't make me drowsy. I didn't have time to get her medication before the pharmacy closed. She's really mad at me. She thinks I did it on purpose. Like I said, it was my day off, I was not supposed to be working. She wasn't supposed to get her prescription till tomorrow anyway. I had other things to do. She hung around the office and glared at me. She kept telling me her symptoms, insomnia, panic attacks, shaking. I said, "That's because you're detoxing from a dangerous drug. You feel like that when the drug goes away". When I finally left for the day, she glared at the car.