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The car drifted by the ambulance entrance. Cheapest viagra The glow of the brake lights lit the corner of my eye.

Incoming.

I closed my textbook. Cheapest viagra Sigh. Cheapest viagra I was hoping for downtime.

There was activity in the parking lot. Cheapest viagra A group emerged, cheapest viagra formed a circle and scooted rapidly through the pneumatic doors, cheapest viagra right up to the nurses station.

They all spoke at once.

Not breathing…won’t wake up…vomited…alcohol poisoning…can’t wake her up…drinking….not breathing…oh my god…poured water on her…throwing up…called parents…voicemail…

The frantic mass of hair and earrings, cheapest viagra denim and tattoos parted to expose my patient, cheapest viagra held, cheapest viagra barely, cheapest viagra by a guy struggling to keep her aloft. Cheapest viagra Head flopping, cheapest viagra arms hanging, cheapest viagra hair matted with vomit, cheapest viagra tank top stretched out of shape, cheapest viagra skirt hiked and everything soaked.

But she was breathing. Cheapest viagra Sounded like a sailor snoring, cheapest viagra but she was breathing.

Less than ten seconds after her arrival, cheapest viagra she was breathing on a gurney.

***

Underage. Cheapest viagra Under-dressed. Cheapest viagra Over-drunk.

Got what info I could from her friends, cheapest viagra all seven. Cheapest viagra Name: Stephanie. Cheapest viagra Age 18. Cheapest viagra Party. Cheapest viagra Vodka. Cheapest viagra Tequila shots. Cheapest viagra Too much. Cheapest viagra Found “asleep”, cheapest viagra wouldn’t wake up. Cheapest viagra Water on her face. Cheapest viagra One girl identified herself as the “Best Friend” and asked to stay, cheapest viagra the rest I sent to the waiting room . Cheapest viagra Best Friend had been the one who called the parents. Cheapest viagra Said the others were f***ing pissed off at her for doing it.

At least they brought her in.

We settled Stephanie in, cheapest viagra did all the usual procedures. Cheapest viagra I bet she felt very adult when she left home last night, cheapest viagra and quite mature as she threw back those tequila shots. Cheapest viagra She sure didn’t look very adult now. Cheapest viagra She looked like what she was, cheapest viagra a drunk teenager. Cheapest viagra She will probably be mortified to find out she vomited all over herself and urinated down her legs all over her friend’s car.

I got the number for the parents from Best Friend. Cheapest viagra I called; the call went to voice mail. Cheapest viagra I left a message. Cheapest viagra I hate that.

***

I passed the waiting room on my way to the lab. Cheapest viagra Stephanie’s friends were laughing and joking.

“Oh man, cheapest viagra we shoulda got a picture when we were dumping water on her.” Much merriment.

“Yeah! Let’s get one in the hospital…upload it!”

Oh, cheapest viagra HELL NO.

Punks.

Now I’m not stupid, cheapest viagra and there are ways of talking to people that gets your message across without sounding like a total bitch. Cheapest viagra You know, cheapest viagra making them think you are on their wavelength when you’d like nothing better than to put your fist in their face.

“Hey guys, cheapest viagra I couldn’t help overhearing. Cheapest viagra I need to let you know that taking pictures in the hospital is not allowed. Cheapest viagra It’s the law, cheapest viagra and besides that wouldn’t really be fair to Stephanie, cheapest viagra right? It was nice of you to get help for her, cheapest viagra she needs your support.”

That’s what I said. Cheapest viagra My unspoken thought was “…and not a single one of your is setting foot in that room for any reason.”

***

I was fuming. Cheapest viagra Stephanie may have been an adult by law, cheapest viagra but right now she was as helpless as an infant and I had a duty to protect her. Cheapest viagra She might wake up and cuss me up one side and down the other, cheapest viagra but this child-adult was somebody’s baby. Cheapest viagra I raised three kids. Cheapest viagra I would have wanted someone protecting them.

Hell, cheapest viagra I was 18 once. Cheapest viagra Back then you did stupid things and cringed at the memory. Cheapest viagra But the years went by, cheapest viagra you matured and moved on. Cheapest viagra Today mistakes are documented for posterity and a dumb mistake follows you for the rest of your life.

Well, cheapest viagra not this one. Cheapest viagra Not tonight.

***

The group of “friends” left soon after, cheapest viagra with no opportunity to be photojournalists. Cheapest viagra Best Friend left with them, cheapest viagra leaving her number in case the parents did not call by the time Stephanie was ready for discharge.

They did call, cheapest viagra around sunrise. Cheapest viagra They were frantic, cheapest viagra they thought Stephanie had come home and was asleep in her room.

Uh. Cheapest viagra No.

Stephanie woke up, cheapest viagra too. Cheapest viagra Didn’t feel so good. Cheapest viagra Mom and Dad were bringing clean clothes. Cheapest viagra I told her why hers weren’t usable. Cheapest viagra “Ewwwww!” she said, cheapest viagra gingerly climbing back into the gurney. Cheapest viagra I acknowledged that she probably didn’t feel like having a lecture on alcohol, cheapest viagra that the decision on whether or not to drink was totally hers.

But we talked about what happens after the drinking is over.

To put it in nursing diagnoses terms, cheapest viagra we talked about “Control, cheapest viagra loss of.”

We talked about loss of control of airway and aspiration of vomit.

We talked about loss of control of bladder and peeing all over a friend’s car.

We talked about loss of control of our environment, cheapest viagra and photos winding up on the Internet. Cheapest viagra Forever.

We talked about loss of control of awareness, cheapest viagra and of those who would take advantage of that.

***

Teenagers think they are invincible. Cheapest viagra Talking about death – it won’t happen to them.

Talking about not drinking – they can do what they want!

But what’s the one thing they do want?

Control over their lives.

Stephanie lost control of her life for a prolonged period tonight.

That should scare the hell out of her.

I hope she learned a lesson from it.

And if I did nothing else, cheapest viagra at least I gave her a chance to cringe at the memory, cheapest viagra mature and move on.

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7 Comments

  • Marie
    Marie

    September 20, 2011 at 1:08 am

    The one other thing I would have tried to add, & it sounds like you did a great job, would be alcohol poisoning…as in, never waking up. Even the parents probably knew nothing about that….”oh, all kids experiment with drugs & alcohol”….Its a hard one to explain, but in my point of view, crucial.


  • Kristine
    Kristine

    September 20, 2011 at 2:05 am

    That patient is lucky to have had you for a nurse. As both a former teenager and a future nurse: thank you!


  • Geno
    Geno

    September 20, 2011 at 10:21 am

    The first time waking in the hospital after drinking too much is scary but it gets easier after that. The freedoms slowly slip away and drinking becomes a habit then a necessity. Those who pass out need help, it was not just a party. It may have just been the beginning of a life style.


  • […] she now practices in an emergency room in the San Francisco Bay area. Recent posts include “Somebody’s Baby”, “To My Daughter, Senior Nurse”, and “So You REALLY Want to be a […]


  • lifenurse
    lifenurse

    October 12, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    oh, That patient is lucky to have had you for a nurse


  • Black Cloud ER Nurse
    Black Cloud ER Nurse

    October 19, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    This story is a daily occurrence in my ER… and having to leave the voice mail leaves a sick feeling in my gut.


  • Shirley
    Shirley

    October 29, 2011 at 5:17 am

    I?m from Brazil and nursing student. I?d like congratulate you for your wonderful profession.


About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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