A 14-year-old girl comes in on the ambulance from school and is knocked out sleep on the stretcher. Its 9:30am no kid naturally should be this tired at school. EMS tells me she was found at school sleeping and hard to arouse so the school nurse called the ambulance.
I go over and give her a nice hard sternal rub. “Ouch, ” she yells and knocks my hand away. Well she is up now I think while smiling. I make her get up and walk over to the ER bed. She of course belly aches the whole time, “Why am I here? I just want to go to sleep, leave me alone and etc.” “So what did you take?” I ask. “O, I didn’t take anything,” she states while stumbling around the room to the other side of the bed. Um, sleepy and uncoordinated, oh yea definitely the way a normal, unimpaired person acts. This would be a great time to have her try to walk a straight line.
I remind her I’m not the cops and I just want to help her. “Well I didn’t take anything, but if I did well possibly I’d take Xanax, Adderal and Hydrocodone. Well, let me just hand you the award for star student. As I’m triaging I find that she was here last time for intoxication. Well just what a productive member of society she is growing up to be.
So where did she get these? “Oh, just off some guy on the street,” she says. Really, your 14 and buying drugs off the street. Well in the game of life (monopoly version), just go straight to being homeless and broke, do not stop at school or college, go directly to bum street. Oh the things I wish I could say. After talking to the school nurse I find out the school is a reform school aka last chance. Well I guess I should have known that from her actions.
So her adopted mom comes in and the patient starts crying saying she is sorry. Her mom responds like a sucker, “Oh its fine, we just want you to get better.” Oh heck no it’s not ok. My mom would have beat me within an inch of my life for disgracing the family name. I draw blood and with the help of a nurse and her mom we get her up to the bed side commode to pee. The nurse pulls down her underwear and we hear a soft yet sharp thud.
The nurse picks up whats in the bottom of the commode. Instead of pee or poop, guess what we see? Yes but of course a small bag mixed bag of white pills. They are all smushed and disgustingly unrecognisable as to anything of known narcotics, their just different shapes of white. We question her and she admits those where what she had left over.
We call the police to come collect the pills and shortly that call, another girl from the same school with the same complaint. I triage here and find out they where friends and taking the pills and drinking alcohol at school. The second girl didn’t take the Adderall so she is fine and leaves after 3 hours or so. The first girl ends up being there for 12 hours wasting space sleeping with drool running out her mouth, not very lady like.
I don’t get why kids turn to drug and misbehave but their parents usually are enablers and not fixers of it. What would you have said to the child or the parents? Can you think of anything I could have said that would make a difference?