Tag: drug addiction

Living-Room Code

Living-Room Code

It was a cold Friday morning, and my day started slow. I was a third-year emergency-medicine resident in West Philadelphia and was doing my EMS rotation.
I rode with the EMS lieutenant, who told me, “My job is to assist the medics with the bad stuff.” This, he explained, usually meant codes (cardiac arrests) and fires.
Then we got the first call and zipped through the city, lights and sirens blaring.
Detachedly, I wondered what

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Hooked

John Barber ~

I walked into the room of a dying man. This phrase might conjure up the image of a frail, white-haired patient peacefully nearing the end of life. Alex, however, was thirty–just two years older than me.

I was a third-year medical student doing a rotation in the ICU. This first encounter was sadly inglorious: As my team entered Alex’s room, the police officer who’d been guarding him walked out, leaving

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Cracked Up

Carlos Downell ~

They say that to write well, you should write about what you know. I’m a homeless drug addict. This essay is not about me, although I’ll figure in it. It’s about drug abuse among the homeless, a subject I’m very well acquainted with.

I have a dual diagnosis–substance-abuse issues and psychiatric dysfunction. Double trouble. If I can’t get meth, I’ll smoke crack, and if I can’t get crack, I’ll smoke

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A Stranger Comes to Town

Syed M. Ahmed ~

Twenty-five years ago, having completed my family-medicine residency, I left Houston to start a two-year stint practicing in a remote village of fewer than 2,000 souls in the Appalachian Mountains of Ohio.

The day I arrived at my new workplace (a two-person practice in the only clinic for fifty miles), my new colleague Dr. Jones told me that she was leaving the next day on a two-week vacation.

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If Only

Beatrice Leverett

When I first met Jason, I was a third-year medical student halfway through my psychiatry rotation, and he was a newly admitted patient halfway through a nasty comedown from crystal meth.

He sat slumped in his chair, scowling, his face hidden by a baseball cap and black hooded sweatshirt, growling responses to my interview questions.

“Why do I have to do this? I hate this crap. I’ve answered these bullshit

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Rough Start

 
Approaching the hospital bassinet, I glimpse his hair first–long, carrot-colored fuzz sticking out in all directions from his pink, bowling-ball scalp. A chubby, scrunched face comes into view next, cherry-red lips forming a Cheerio and one eyelid wavering just enough to reveal a soft blue puddle beneath it.

Gingerly, I slide my hands under his sausage-like arms, my fingers cradling the doughy curves of his tiny neck, caressing the orange-yellow cornsilk on his occiput.

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Confessions of a 75-Year-Old Drug Addict

Arlene Silverman

The physician, a slim, young man with a shaved head and intense, dark eyes, reaches out to shake hands. I fumble to extend one hand while the other clutches a questionnaire that I haven’t finished filling out. 

“That’s okay,” Dr. Gordon says. “You can finish later.”

He can tell that I’m nervous, but seems to understand. He knows that I’ve had to sign in at a window surrounded by other

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The Emaciated Infant

Paula Lyons

The police had been called to the house by a neighbor who said she heard children crying and hadn’t seen the mother in two days. It was the middle of a night in July, and the children’s wails would have traveled through the project windows left open to catch cooling breezes.

Paramedics provided transport to the hospital, but the normally cynical and well-defended police were so outraged that they also came to

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Miscarriage

Jessica Bloom-Foster

From the moment I walk into the room, she breaks my heart. She has just been sent to obstetrical triage from the ER, where an ultrasound has revealed a twenty-two-week pregnancy and a cervix dilated to four centimeters–halfway to delivery stage. She is moaning from her labor pains and moving restlessly on the narrow cot.

I am a second-year family medicine resident in a Midwestern hospital, and well past halfway through a busy

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