San Francisco to Los Angeles
A forty-year-old man was brought in my medics. They had been called to the Greyhound station to pick up a drunken man. They said he got on the bus in San Francisco with a ticket to Los Angeles. By the time they made the stop in San Jose, he was so drunk the bus driver didn’t feel comfortable going on with him. He was found with a quart of Bacardi rum, about two thirds consumed, on the seat next to him. The medics put the bottle in his backpack and brought him to us.
As is my practice, I examined him and considered whether there might be something more serous the matter with him. Finding no reason to be worried, I decided to closely watch for his expected sobriety.
A few hours later, as the end of my shift approached, he was awake and passed his walk test. He confirmed that he was an alcoholic and had, in deed, consumed too much rum as he started his bus trip. He asked how he could get a cab back to the Greyhound station as family members expected him in Los Angeles. He was directed to the waiting room where there was a phone and information about calling a cab.
About forty-five minutes later, my attention was called to this patient as he was being rolled back in from the waiting room, again unconscious. He had gone to the waiting room and, rather than call for a cab, drank the rest of the Bacardi. I had to turn his care over to the incoming doctor to watch for him to, again, sober up. I wonder if he ever made it to Los Angeles.
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This is very sad as in my family, unfortunately there are some alcoholics. Growing up LDS, we didn’t have this problem but family members around us did and it seemed like every year at Christmas… somebody didn’t make ti to the gathering due to “illness.”