Code 3 for chest pain. At the drug rehab. Have I mentioned how much I hate this place?
A resident is sitting in the lobby. He has chest pain.
We run through the usual assessment for chest pain. Now, call me crazy, but when we get to medical history and we’re physically located in a mandatory substance abuse rehab facility, it logically follows that I WILL ask about substance abuse history. I mean, no need to take it personally. It’s so routine I truly don’t care what the answer is; I just need it for my paperwork.
“What drugs you used to use? Street, recreational, pills, whatever.”
I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt and using the past tense since we are, once again, as I speak, on the premises of said drug rehab facility.
“Are you asking me that because I’m black?”
Oh for fuck’s sake. Again?
“Is that the first thing that comes to your mind? That everything is because your black?”
“Well, are you?”
Why am I always hearing this bullshit?
“Could it possibly be because you’re sitting in the lobby of a drug rehab?”
“You’ve been here long enough, so you should know that every single one of you in here has or had a drug problem. Could it possibly be because of that little fact that I’m asking you what drugs you used to use?”
“Uh… I don’t use drugs.”
“Fine, so you say you don’t. But if every single resident is here as part of some court arrangement for substance abuse treatment, and you’re a resident, then it stands to reason that you have or had a drug problem. It’s actually quite simple. But hey, you can cry black all you want. I don’t fucking care. I certainly don’t care that someone like you* thinks I’m racist. In any case, you could have saved us both some time and answered honestly, and saved me the trouble of looking at your chart.** Thanks.”
Anyway, when I talk to the staff, they tell me that the patient asked for more of his Vicodin an hour earlier because his knee was hurting, only it wasn’t time for it. (Of course) they refused to give him any. (So) now he has chest pain. They practically club me on the head and scream in my ear that he’s seeking.
He doesn’t use drugs, my ass.
People say don’t assume. Well, I also say don’t be naive. They’re not mutually exclusive.