I hope you drop the soap in the shower, you fucker

Yes, you. Saeed, wasn’t it? (Not that it would have made it any better or worse whether it was Kevin or Winston or any other ethnic forename you like.) There I am, in a hospital ward for the first time in my life, feeling kinda sorry for myself but figuring, on a quick look round, I’m probably the fittest out of the 30-odd patients the nursing staff are running around after and doing the best I can to add the absolute minimum to their load. And then the guy I’ve made friends with in the next bed, the one whose immune system is trying to eat his red blood cells, is wheeled off to I don’t know where, and a little while later you turn up, handcuffed to your bed and with a bunch of warders in attendance.

Well, it’s a hospital, and sickness is a great leveller, and I don’t care if you’re an axe murderer - you’re closely guarded and won’t be hurting anyone here, and as I said to the assistant who asked if I minded the curtain being pulled back, you’re a patient, same as anyone else. And I mentally bookmark the same level of compassion for you as I’ve been entertaining for every other invalid in the place, 'cos no-one asks to get sick and it isn’t any fun for convict or law-abider alike, as you lay there dolefully and occasionally grunting in discomfort.

Then the action starts to pick up. You start muttering “Eeeyyyminpaini’minpaini’minpaini’minpaiiiin”, pause for breath and begin again from the start, a little louder and a little more intrusive, and I’m thinking: you and me both, brother, but there’s a lot of sick people here so I’m trying to keep it down a little. And you keep coming up with one demand after another, trips to the toilet or the shower or whatever, and you seem to manage okay as you shuffle off. You squeal like a stuck pig when they put the drip in you, though, and I’ve had one (am still toting around an unneeded cannula) and I know they don’t hurt that much. Eh, maybe you’re just a crybaby. That’s not necessarily your fault.

And then the doctor comes to interview and examine you, and he talks about your supposed symptoms and your need for pain relief. Seems he thinks you might have a gallstone from your description, although the bull warder says he’s had one and he didn’t make half the noise you are. And the conversation gets around to the pain relief you’ve been crying out for and you react with horror when you learn what the doctor’s going to give you. (With a highly painful inflamed leg, I’ve been making do with paracetamol and cold water.) Seems the drug of choice isn’t good enough for you, Saeed. Seems only morphine will do. That’s the part I crumple up my portion of compassion marked “Saeed” and save it for someone who needs it.

Where the fuck do you think you get off arguing with the doctor about what pain relief to prescribe? No-one who’s on the level does that. And he explains patiently that your medical record includes a history of opiate abuse and he does not want to risk you becoming re-addicted and you’re virtuously protesting “No, I’m clean, it wasn’t the doctor that got me off drugs, it was me, I did it, I need morphine…” and upsetting a wardful of sick and mainly elderly people with your ranting. Anyway you do get a slug of some painkiller (and you whine some more as the needle is going in) and are told you’ll be kept in on no solid food overnight and they’ll have a look at you in the morning, and if it’s a stone they’ll whip that gallbladder out.

This leaves you to your whining and moaning and thrashing around on the bed and the “Eeeyyyminpaini’minpaini’minpaini’minpaiiiin” routine again, although with a syringeful of non-addictive and sadly buzz-free pharmaceuticals taking effect, I doubt you’d be feeling for-real pain if you had a packet of fishhooks in you. But you’re getting on to Phase II of your campaign now, aren’t you?

At this point I shuffle over to my friend in the other corner, the retired doctor who’s got some mysterious internal bleeding that hasn’t been solved even with a 'scopy at either end of his digestive tract earlier in the game, and I mutter “What do you think of the pantomime?”. He nods and says “People who’re really in that much pain don’t make that noise. They’re holding themselves as still as possible.”

You see, Mister “Eeeyyyminpaini’minpaini’minpaini’minpaiiiin” Saeed, you can manage to stop all that noise when you get your request for a shower granted, and you shuffle past with your warders chained to you showing no signs that your constant, crushing, intolerable, can-only-be-relieved-by-morphine pain is stopping you moving. You can manage it at toilet-break time too. It’s just when you’re confined to bed that the routine starts up again.

During the course of the night, you step up your campaign of convincing the world in general, and the medical staff in particular, that you are seriously ill. You clamour for the doctor again and again, only for the head nurse to tell you “Doctor’s busy” (“seeing people who are really ill” goes unsaid), you yell for the nurse all the time although we’re getting on towards the night shift and there are too few nurses with too many patients as it is. You keep up with the “Eeeyyyminpaini’minpaini’minpaini’minpaiiiin” routine, but you’re a piss-poor actor, I’m here to tell you. And, with nothing to put in your stomach but water, you set about drinking as much as you can in order to throw it up twenty minutes later as noisily as possible.

Come lights down, the evening nurse who does my BP and pulse, and also earns herself five gold stars by yanking that sodding cannula out of me (it’s on its fourth day, I haven’t needed it since day 2, and doctor agreed eight hours ago it could come out), asks blandly if I would like earplugs. Our eyes meet in perfect understanding of what you’re about, and the earplugs, when they turn up five minutes later, prove to be just the job.

I can still hear some of your overnight activity, and when I’ve decided I’m not going to sleep any more (I haven’t much; apparently it’s famously difficult in hospital) I pull 'em out again. Head night nurse is sick of you constantly throwing up water and rations you to one small glass. Later you somehow manage to persuade the youngest warder to fill your water jug and I earn my second brownie point of the visit when I catch his eye and say “Better check with Nurse first”. He does (I must have enough gravitas to be convincing even with half a week’s stubble) and it’s no unauthorised water for Mr Eeeyyyminpaaaiiin… which cuts down on your next round of upchucking, at any rate.

Towards dawn the corridor lights are on and you’re instantly demanding stuff again - you want another shower ‘cos “I’ve got sick on me, look” (must’ve been mostly water, I’m guessing) and you’re coming the martyr because you’re going to have to wait a while. All through the night you’ve been making more fuss than thirty genuinely ill patients including at least one in our room who is going to die some time in the next few days, keeping people awake, taking up the nurses’ time with your repeated clamouring for attention, you’ve wasted a doctor’s time that could have been better spent on someone with a real illness, you’ve made the cleaning staff come in and change your bed once and wipe the floor because you managed to miss the bowl with your stomachful of dirty water, not to mention take out the bowls, and generally wasting hundreds of pounds of hospital money and many man-hours of labour from people who already working their asses off… all because poor Saeed wants a shot of morphine and doesn’t care whom he has to inconvenience to get it.

By now I guess you’re back in the jug. Hope the governor gave you something to remember your escapade by. As for me, I was too much on my dignity to yell “If you don’t STFU I’m gonna shove this crutch somewhere that’ll really teach you what pain is!” but you’ve no idea how many times I thought it.

Oddly, ten pm the night you came in the charts show my pulse and BP comfortably up on the six readings either side of your appearance. Funny shit, huh?


Malacandra, this all sounds terrible and I don’t expect anyone to have sympathy for Saeed but it sounds like you clearly got stuck with an addict desperate for a fix. He needs drying out I would guess and not a hospital stay. How does public health deal with addicts in the UK?

It really stinks you got stuck with this dreg of society no matter what. Making an already terrible time that much worse.

Thank you, Captain Laconic, glad you could make it. :stuck_out_tongue:

Thing is, Jim, to my untutored eye Saeed didn’t even look like he was having the heeby-jeebies through going too long without a fix. Whenever he shuffled past he looked quite placid and, as I said, it was then that he didn’t look even slightly in pain.

I’m not well up on rehab in the UK - I’d only have to Google and I’m not going to insult your intelligence. But as to me, don’t fret. I already knew I was up for discharge the next day and I could wait it out. It’s the other patients I felt sorry for.

Well addiction is often mental and not physical anguish. I think you answered what type he was suffering from.

Why do people always feel the need to write this crap? Was it really necessary to tell us all how good a person you are, and how you treat everybody with respect, and you were a class A patient, and all Gods little flowers are equal in your eyes?

Yes, I’m sure you would treat this guy the same as Ethel, the little old lady that knits sweaters for homeless kitties, but it adds fuck all to your cute little story other than a slice of self-righteousness that it didnt need.

Sure, assume I’m a liar and putting this in to make everyone aware of what a wonderful human being I am - it wouldn’t be that I’m reporting the stream of consciousness as it happened, after all.

Now tie a half-hundredweight of pig-iron round your neck and go for a paddle in a peat bog.

Yeah, sounds to me like the guy had beaten the physical part of his addiction but was still deeply in the throes of it mentally. He got into the hospital with something that’s supposed to extremely painful, so he was going to do his damnedest to get morphine in himself.

I can’t imagine much more obnoxious than being sick and in pain and stuck in a room listening to a guy whining for a fix.

You have to be pretty far gone in sin and wickedness, IMO, before you’ll steal healthcare from thirty elderly invalids (not sure why I was in that ward, but hey, a bed’s a bed) without even the excuse of the shakes and horrors being on you. But not a single cry of unfeigned distress did I hear from young Saeed throughout. From his background story I heard him giving the doctor it sounded like he’d spent three days building up this pretense so it was hardly a spur-of-the-moment, desperate-for-a-fix thing. I doubt very many hospitals actually cave and come up with the morphine after all, but I’m betting Qadgop could drop by and tell us how often he sees some variant of this scam.

Pretty good rant. It’s got a beat, I can dance to it, I give it a 85.

I know what you went through, Brother.

Yes, I agree- I want to hear some stories from good old Doc Qadgop. Hey Doc!

That… is awesome.

Sorry that you had to deal with that jerk on top of your own health problems, Malacandra. Hope you never cross paths again.

I just finished dealing with about 3 patients like this on my shift today. And yes they are just as annoying for the doctors as they are for the other patients. A couple of minor points however. Some people in severe pain stay as still as possible to avoid jarring whatever hurts - eg people with fractures or peritonitis. Others do a sort of rocking back and fort on the bed thing. I see that with kidney stones and sometimes with gallstones. As far as pain control in former/current addicts I do use opiates if I think they’re indicated. Someone who comes in from a car accident and has a broken femur is going to get narcotic pain control from me regardless of their substance abuse history. Just because they’re an addict doesn’t mean they can’t have real pain. But the guy today with 2 weeks of belly pain and diarrhea who was resting comfortably until any time he saw a doctor or nurse walk by? Yeah, not so much.

Anyone ever do a study to try and find how much of our healthcare spending goes into dealing with drug-seekers? I worked in a family practice office one summer, and the percentage of the doctors time taken up by people obviously trying to finagle pain meds with exaggerated/made up symptoms was huge.

Seems like everyone would have had a better night if they’d just given him the dang morphine.

Who cares if he goes back to the clink and suffers withdrawal?

Or a convincing placebo.

Cause he’ll be back a few days later with more symptoms to try and get some more, and absorb more resources that should be going to the actually ill.

Yah, I wonder about the “just give it to him” answer. I wonder if that won’t just encourage him to work that angle over and over until someone cuts him off, though. For him, it’s a trip out of the clink, and for taxpayers it’s two armed guards getting overtime and an addict getting his fix.

I can sympathize a bit. I was in the ER with a terrible case of pharyngitis - so bad I hadn’t eaten or taken fluids in nearly 3 days. Doc asked first if I could swallow some Tylenol 3, and when I said I could, but would need a spittoon to catch my spittle and vomit from trying to swallow - but I was willing to do it - he told the nurse, “OK, just give her morphine.” I got some Vicodin to take home, too. This was the first time I had ever had painkillers stronger than Naproxen. Can’t say they weren’t nice while I needed them, but I really don’t understand addiction now. Why someone with responsibilities of any sort would want to go down that road - feeling fuzzy and maybe a little looped while trying to carry out the day - is beyond me.

While I had to wait in the waiting room with a couple of other people not in as much pain as me (I ended up going ahead of them), I had similar thoughts about one other guy who kept grunting and looked like maybe had neck pain, but who kept getting up and pacing around, going out for a cigarette, getting a soda, going to the bathroom. I didn’t want to move, with my swollen painful throat, and when my dad had cracked vertebrae in his neck, all he could do was stick his head between two couch cushions, rock, and cry. I wondered about that guy.

Once I got past the waiting room, though, I got my own room for about 7 hours while they administered IV fluids, the morphine and steroids, and wheeled me out for a CT. Good times. I was really glad I had my own room, but could hear a man dying down the hall while the doctor tried to explain to the man’s wife that the oxygen mask was against his wishes, and yes, without it he will die.

Hospitals are all kinds of suck. This was really rambly.

Ugh. I’m so glad that when I was in the hospital, I had my own room.

Looking at the Subject Line, I take it that being an obnoxious drug addict means he deserves to get anally raped by another inmate. Sorry he bothered you, but man, that’s harsh.