Saturday, March 6, 2010

Three beers

I dont know why patients lie when you ask them how much they drink or if they use illegal drugs. We are not asking to arrest them or anything. I have even tried the "its off the record" thing and explain that it is important so we know what to look for and to prepare for things. It doesnt matter. The worst alcoholic will always say he only has about three beers a day and the worst heroin addict will tell you the needle marks are from chiggers. The little old lady will go into DTs and the businessman will have SVT from crystal meth. You came to us for help, so let us help you. We ask the questions for a reason. The reason could save your life.

1 comment:

SeaSpray said...

That must be so frustrating! There is a saying about that ..but now I forget the amount. That if someone is alcoholic you can double or triple what they tell you. I don't know if that was ever an actual known stat or rehab/AA jargon used to make a point.

People entrenched in addiction are often in denial and/or want to hide it. If they are under the influence of the substance ..there is nothing real about the exchange you are having because they are not themselves... it's the substance talking, but then you probably know all that.

Other patients lie too because they are embarrassed.

I can *honestly* say that I do not lie to my doctors because I *know* that is counterproductive to the reason I am there in the 1st place ..for their help. Not that you docs can't get at the problem, but you may have to go the more circuitous route 1st which is both a waste of time and money.

I actually might be honest with them to a fault. I think sometimes I tell them things they don't want/need to know but I do it because I always want them to know that when I say something ..they can count on me for reliability. I feel very strongly about that.

We used to have an elderly (80s) mdcd/mdcr poor pt come in by ambulance as a frequent flier. Squad/staff annoyed,sometimes say unkind things about her within earshot. While I appreciated their frustration, I also felt sorry for her. COPD cannot be easy. Sometimes she was admitted. I was always kind and respectful to her. One night she told me she ran out of her med..I forget which narcotic (vicodin or perc?)

I have since wondered if that was behind her frequent visits on the nights she was discharged. ?

Oh ..there is one way I have indirectly fudged the info. When I had to get weighed. I wouldn't eat anything until AFTER the appt when pregnant. Not the best idea.