Sunday, October 28, 2007

Power of Addiction

Let me start by saying that I am so glad I have never tried smoking in my life. Not necessarily because of how unhealthy it is, but more because of the power it has over someone that smokes. The reason I'm thinking about this is because early Friday morning I got an admission from the ER - it was about 2:30 am. She was admitted with high blood pressure and an abnormal EKG. When she arrived at the hospital, her blood pressure was something like 230 over 114 - that is extremely high - especially for someone that claims they already take blood pressure medications. I didn't have a chance to see what they had given her while she was in the ER, but whatever it was - it was working as the last blood pressure they had on her was something like 134 over 80. However, when she got to the room and layed down in bed, I could tell she was visibly upset. I asked what was wrong & she started crying & telling me she was stressed out and didn't care that her blood pressure was high - that she just wanted to go home. She was in her early 50's & this is way out of the norm for someone that is admitted so early in the morning. Usually they simply want to go to sleep. She told me she had a stroke before & she didn't care. I informed her that no one would keep her here against her will - that she was free to leave if that's what she really wanted. She replied saying "I just want to have a cigarette." I informed her that would not be possible - there is no smoking anywhere inside the hospital and that she cannot leave the floor - if she does, she will not be allowed back to her room - she would have to go thru the ER again & start the process all over. She was crying even more now - saying she can't afford a hospital bill, that she has no insurance - then she asked me a strange question..."if I leave the hospital, will you call the police?" Huh? No, why would we do that. I told her there was a paper she could sign (AMA - against medical advice) & she would be free to leave. She didn't say yes or no, simply stated that she had to go to the bathroom. I got the impression that she was determined to smoke - so I told our patient care tech to let me know if he smells any smoke. He informed me that he did see her put a lighter in her pocket when she got up from the ER stretcher. I called for my clinical leader to go in & assess the situation. She wasn't in there even 2 minutes before she came out asking for the AMA form. The patient asked us again if we were planning on calling the police - very odd question. We assured her we wouldn't - although I was tempted to ask her if she had a warrant or something...but I didn't. It was apparent that her desire to smoke was stronger than her desire to be healthy. We get patients like her - who get mad when we inform them that they cannot smoke while they are in the hospital. We had one the night before smoking in her bathroom. They don't care about the dangers of smoking with oxygen nearby - they simply don't care about anyone - not even themselves. It's scary and sad all at the same time. I know addictions are difficult to overcome & I'm not asking them to quit smoking - but for the sake of yourself & others - do not smoke inside of the hospital!

I worked 5 nights last week - I have been so tired the last 2 days. I'm only scheduled for 3 nights this week...thankfully. Even after pretty much resting the last 2 nights, I still feel exhausted.

I have to take Shay to doggy daycare sometime today. My parents had been watching her, but someone complained about the rule that dogs in their park aren't supposed to be over 20 lbs. They have a lot of complainers in there - I guess it's grumpy elderly people with too much time on their hands. My parents had been enjoying it - especially my dad. He would take her for rides in his golf cart and take her out fishing at night with him. Oh well - easy come, easy go.

I'm gonna go get some more rest - it's pouring down rain right now & I'm sleepy.

Hope the rest of you are having a good weekend!


tendernoggle said...

Having been a smoker and for years smokng a pack a day..I know all too well how addicting it is...I am so glad that I quit over 15 years ago! I have always said that it is one of the hardest things that I have ever done. I was so addicted that when I had my TOTAL hysterectomy, after it was over with, the next day or so; with staples running down my stomach from my navel to the "end" of my body( if you know what I mean) ...I walked to the elevator, and then went down to the lobby and walked out the door and across the street to smoke! THAT'S HOW ADDICTED I WAS! So yes, it is an awful, awful addiction....and I am so glad I quit....I bought my very first first car of my own, with the money I saved!
love ya,

am4039 said...

it's to bad that not only that lady doesn't care about herself but a lot of people don't. How could they even think to smoke in the hospital. Addiction is a powerful and dangerous thing.