I dreaded the drive back home after being with Cherise the past days because I knew that Angela wanted to ‘talk’ about things regarding her pregnancy. We had been texting each other back and forth over the past few days incessantly regarding the pregnancy issue, and I must say I have been fairly deceptive with my answers to her regarding what we should do with the pregnancy. She’s been pretty good about not forcing the issue of us moving in together yet, and I answered her questions about what I think about the pregnancy in vague terms, like ‘ Let’s see how it goes.’ I’m really not good with it, in fact, I am totally stressed over the whole thing. My parents will kill me. Yes, I am a grown adult, but they have expectations from me and my life. I don’t think they want my child to be present at my wedding! Likewise, I don’t want to broach the subject of abortion, which is against my religion….. Maybe Angela will fall into one of the 33% of women that has a miscarriage?
Angela is going to see her obstetrician tomorrow. I have to work tonight, so I am going to join her, but I am really going to be sleepy. I stopped by Tom’s house to have a talk about Angela. I have known Tom for years. He’s got a great wife and two children. Life has been good to him and his excellent choices have paid off. He hadn’t met Angela before, but I showed him pictures and he agreed that she is drop-dead gorgeous, but that, along with the pregnancy shouldn’t lead me to make a third mistake of marrying her and being miserable for the rest of my life. I agreed. I really hadn’t decided that I was ready to settle down anyway. After all, I didn’t marry Sarah, with whom I was madly in love. I will go with Tom’s advice to make no decisions and let time take it’s course. I can be a father without being married, so long as I am a good father. I like that idea – no decision for now.
I dropped by Angela’s place after meeting up with Tom. She was surprised to see me, but she was excited I had come. It was a warm welcome and actually felt great now that I felt less pressure with everything. We agreed to meet up at 2 P.M. tomorrow to see her OB doctor for her first appointment. Luckily I have never met this physician in my practices locally!
I was in a good mood at the start of my night shift in the Emergency Department. A certified drug dealer is what I feel like most of the time, dropping pills on people who can’t cope with their life otherwise. Life is a struggle and pain and emotional unrest rule a lot of people’s lives. Some need pain medications more than others when they connect their pain, life’s failures, and emotional content all together. Tonight was no different. It turned out to be a heroic night of toads and trolls visiting the department. Some of our patients had medical records that extended pages, but yet that had no diagnosed medical problems but had uncontrolled pain and cryptic complaints. After extensive, multi-thousand dollar workups and a lot of radiation from Cat scans and x-rays, most left with a prescription for Percocet or Dilaudid. They key was to give enough so they don’t complain to administration, but not too much or else they will return a few days later looking for more! I do agree that some of the patients are ill, and I do find cancers and bad infections among my patients, but certain patients cloud my emotions when they constantly visit us week after week. One patient tonight had been seen a few hours ago for a runny nose and had been sitting in the waiting room for unknown reasons. She then decided to check in again on my shift to be seen for twitching in her right eye. She was a well-known ‘frequent-flier’ who had eighty visits this year alone. All I did was reassure her and discharged her again. She came back by ambulance in the morning complaining of a headache!
Another patient was an alcoholic who had multiple visits for ‘detox’ complaints. When I walked into the room, he was completely naked laying prostrate on the bed. Seeing that he wasn’t really interested to quit drinking, I gave him some Valium-type medicine and sent him on his way. He had visited us ten times this month alone. It’s getting cold, so the homeless patients who can’t get to the shelter in time or don’t want to go there are coming in by ambulance to be treated for various ailments or psychiatric diagnosis. Most say they are suicidal with a plan so they can get a bed in the ward. By three in the morning, most of my patients were drug overdoses, suicidal, schizoaffective, or just homeless. It is depressing. I don’t heal anyone, I just band-aid them day after day.
The one thing that caught my attention was one patient, John Stimmer (an alias) who seemed like a familiar face to me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. He complained of back pain from a work-related injury. He seemed clean cut and was articulate, and he had paperwork regarding his back condition and a kidney ailment as well. He stated he needed prednisone for a herniated disc issue and a muscle relaxer as well for back pain, but also needed some pain medication to help him sleep at night. He said he was a lawyer involved in tax-related issues. He presented himself well and seemed legit – but after I had discharged him with a prescription for Oxycodone and Valium, I quickly learned from the registration staff that he had no valid identification and had given a fake social security number! He got free pain medications and the hospital wasn’t getting paid for that visit. I didn’t expect that from a seeming straight-shooter – I guess you can’t trust anyone! Generally most of the phone numbers we get on the charts for our patients are not their real numbers, so it’s hard to get in contact with them when a test result comes back positive. I guess no one wants to get a bill. I had tried to call back a few patients in the early morning regarding STD test and of course none of the phone numbers worked for them. What a pain! I guess cheese balls come in as all types, even if they appear well-dressed and educated!
By 7 A.M., I was wiped out. One pot of coffee through the night and three thousand calories of junk food barely got me through my shift. I crashed quickly at home, knowing I had to get up early for Angela.