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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

.445, awake and eating a sandwich

What alcohol level is incompatible with life? I guess it depends on your age, your tolerance, your liver function. In ERs we see the worst of the worst chronic drunks. Like the people who are conscious and can eat a sandwich at .445. Unbelieveable. These are the kind of people who never probably go below .20 if they can help it. Every day their goal is .44, however they can get there. These are the people you see at the freeway exits and entrances with the signs about being homeless. I have often wondered, how much can they really be making standing there? Not that much. I mean most people are irritated by them more than anything. But then they probably don't need that much. A cheap bottle of booze probably costs a few dollars. If they're desperate there is always rubbing alcohol. It is just unimagineable to be so addicted to alcohol that you will pour just about anything down your throat that contains alcohol. Its pathetic.

Sometimes I wonder, who could they have been if they hadn't fallen into addiction? I'm sure most of them die at a young age. I would guess a lot die due to violence. Its a rough life out there trying to get that daily bottle. In my state there is no law against public drunkenness. We have 2-3 detox centers. When those are full the drunks come to the local emergency rooms. The county hospital has a specific area for them. All the other ERs just find a room. Thousands and thousands of dollars are spent every year on these people. They aren't the kind of people you are going to help. All you can do is let them sleep it off and stagger out the door to start a new day of searching for that bottle. For the average person, a high level of alcohol in their blood is incompatible with life. Recently a college student in a town about an hour from here found that out the hard way. She died after doing 21 shots on her 21st birthday. The ironic thing is she was a nursing student.

6 comments:

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Whoa, 21 shots is a whale of a lot of liquor to down in a sitting !~! She was probably one of those 90-pounders too, shoulda stopped at two or three... addiction is a bad disease.

ButtercupRN said...

Well,some states have Wet Houses but those just provide housing for the "hopeless" Alcoholic to finish drinking themselves to death,a concept which bothers me a lot. These programs are for people who have failed rehab after rehab and are no longer interested in sober living. It is a cost saving measure however a scary one at that.
CNN website
http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/05/11/minneapolis.wethouse.alcoholics/index.html

Still Dreaming said...

around here people steel the hand sanitizer from the hospital and drink that. 60 percent alcohol! And the if you add salt, the chemicals separate from the alcohol (the shelter I work at no longer gives out salt...) However, in talking to clients and hospital security, many are so desperate they simply stick their heads under a dispenser (they're all bolted to the wall) and drink until they're caught. Mouthwash is a drink of choice as well. And hairspray, which boggles my mind. Whoever thought one day, I should drink hairspray, maybe I'll get drunk!

jess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jess said...

WoW i cant believe she died after 21 shots, thats awful. I dont normnally drink, maybe once or twice a year but i done 23 shots of zodka in a very short amount of time for a combined 21st, was only supposed to be 7 each but the glasses were huge which we didnt notice untill the next day. I was pretty small then having not long been out of an eating disorder unit, and im not saying i was fine i was munted after that, actually i dont remember and i swore never to do it again which i havnt, but i cant believe someone died. I dont think there is enough attention put on youth drinking, im usually the sober one and last year i saw some school collegues so drunk it scared me they were gonna die but they thought it was funny to get an already dangerously intoxicated person even more munted. I was really scared. It must be so frustraiting and sad having these people come into ED constantly.

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