23 June 2008

Utter Depravity

So I'm seeing this young 20-something guy, and he's a wreck. Anxiety attacks, withdrawal from methadone, 50 ED visits in 2008 alone (and it's only June -- that's like twice a week!), and he's just begging and pleading with me for some narcotics and valiums. In fact, he was begging for meds since well before I saw him -- he was on a gurney in the hall for a couple of hours while I dealt with some real patients (an incarcerated hernia with dead gut taking up the bulk of my time), and every time I walked by he would clutch at my sleeve weeping and pleading for meds. The nurses were bugging me to just get rid of him already, but I had too many sick patients to break off.

Finally, I manage to clear my plate of more pressing issues, and I go to see him:
Him: "Doc, ya gotta help me. I'm sufferin' real bad. I can't breathe and my heart's about to explode. I been off the methadone for like a week now and it's just killing me."
Me: "Are you vomiting much?"
Him: "No, it's the pain. My whole body hurts, all my bones, and my skin is on fire."
Me: "Sounds rough. How much methadone were you on?"
Him: "Eighty milligrams a day. Been on it for eight years."
Me: (impressed) "That's a lot. Were you in the local methadone clinic?"
Him: "I was for a while, but I got kicked out. Mostly I just steal my mom's methadone, but she got cut off by her pain specialist because she kept running out early."

Now I know that addicts will do absolutely anything to get their fix. They will betray anyone, steal anything, lose their family, lose their home, they'll even whore themselves out for the drugs. So I know and I have seen the awful power that drugs take on the soul of the addicts. I've seen people do terrible things because of their addictions.

But stealing your own momma's pain medicine? That's just low.


  1. He now knows what his mom feels like.

  2. Its sad. My cousin has had some very low points in his substance abuse; he broke into the family home (where he was no longer living) and stole his sisters laptop which had all her university work- 2 weeks before exams.
    He's since gone to rehab and done the hard yards.

  3. I had a patient who pawned his kids' bikes for crack money.

  4. For some it is drugs, for others it is just the money. Like money. Swear you are going to do one thing (support public financing) but in the end do the other when shown the money.

    I don't think it is going to be hard for the Saudi's to by this guy off at all.

  5. whoops, didn't proofread last post. "money" = Obama

  6. I know a hospice nurse that lost her license and was in rehab because she was taking her dying patients pain meds.

  7. a few weeks ago a patient stole his dogs seizure medication. Is that lower than yo mamma?

  8. At the pain clinic where I work, there was an older woman who filed a false police report against her daughter for stealing her Fentanyl, Vicodin and Soma. The daughter was innocent and is a teacher - she almost lost her job.

    The patient was later arrested for doctor shopping.


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