Ms. Annoying, one of our very frequent fliers, came in the other day having been MIA for about 4-5 months. Her many, many visits were always an energetic pursuit for narcotics for one of the Holy Trinity of Chronic Pain ComplaintsTM (back pain, dental pain, migraine) but that was not why she had come in. She was having some kind of allergic reaction and suspected a new antidepressant. She has always been known for disruptive behavior and abusive language when she doesn't get what she wants. This time she seemed pretty normal. It seemed odd to me that she had no complaints of any type of pain, but people don't always disclose the "actual reason" for their visit in triage.
After an evaluation by the Mac, I went over her discharge instructions with her that included only a prescription for Prednisone. Apropos of nothing she said: "I am totally off narcotics. I was in rehab for three months".
I was floored. "I'm happy for you. That is such an accomplishment, it must have been very difficult"
She told me her story of three very intense months. She had lost her children but found the strength to persevere. She had been in the process of rebuilding her life one step at a time. Good for her, I hope she can keep it up and I mean that sincerely.
"I know I must have been a nightmare when I came in here before. It is a terrible thing, addiction. It consumes you, and that stuff is poison. Nobody should put those drugs into their mouth unless they have cancer. Tell all the doctor's; narcotics are the devil".
Well, of course they are when they are abused. I am thinking that this might be an effective strategy in a religious hospital. "I'm sorry, ma'am, I regret that we cannot give you any percocet as they are Satan's handiwork. Here is some ibuprofen".