Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hope my boss isn't taping my calls

A large part of my job is answering phone calls from patients. Sometimes I find myself giving advice that isn't directly related to their current problem, but also needs to be said. My nursing instructors would call this "health teaching," but they probably wouldn't have found themselves fielding calls from inebriated patients seeking more benzodiazepines.

Like on Friday:
Ms. Issues: "When is Mr. Casemanager coming by to bring me my medications? I'm having a bad mental health and anxiety day and really need my Xanax."
I could tell from the way she was slurring her words that she had been drinking. "Ms. Issues, can you tell me what you've had to drink today?"
MI: "Two beers--I know I need to quit, but--"
Me: "Actually, I'm way more concerned that it's four in the afternoon and that's all you've had to drink for fluids. Can you tell me anything that you've had to drink today that didn't have alcohol in it?"
MI: "Uh.... No, can't think of anything."
Me: "Have you had anything to eat today?"
MI: "Nope. So is Mr. Casemanager coming by today or not? I'm really having a bad mental health day and need my Xanax."
Me: "He'll be by at his usual time, but drinking on an empty stomach usually leads to puking, and then you'll really be having a bad mental health day. Can you fix yourself some toast and drink some water after you hang up with me?"
"Yeah, I can do that. Tell Mr. Casemanager I said hi!"

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