June 23, 2010

Detox Center

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do when I graduated from college. I didn't have a job lined up so I moved home and got a job working with drug and alcohol addicts in a detoxification center. It was the logical choice.

This job lead to many interesting situations. One of my favorite parts of the job was checking patients in. This included...

Strip searching them:

Going through their belongings searching for hidden drugs:

And administering urine drug tests:

I also had to ask patients a series of questions about their personal and health related histories. You never knew what you were going to get.

I came up with this response on the spot based on what I'd seen on t.v.

Another one of my responsibilities included checking patients' vital signs (breathing rate, blood pressure, pulse, etc.) before they could get their medication. This medication mimicked the effects of their drugs of choice, and getting this medicine relied on some of their vital statistics. For example, a higher blood pressure sometimes meant a higher dosage of klonopin. Therefore, they would go on the patio and smoke ten cigarettes, run in circles in the bathroom, and then shove their way to the front of the line to get their blood pressure measured. It was great!

During this period of my life, I happened to be studying for the GRE. I had a lot of vocabulary words I needed to memorize and not a lot of free time, so I used to make the patients call me vocab words from my list before I would take their vitals. This always made them a bit agitated since they were desperate for their meds. It usually went kinda like this:

Once, a patient got so mad he tried to stab me in the face with a fork. I didn't see it coming, so I didn't flinch. The patients mistook my lack of reaction for toughness, and I instantly gained street cred within the community.

The staff at the center was just about as wacky as the patients were. One of my favorite stories from the detox center was the time we learned about what to do in the case of a fire. We even had a fire drill with the patients. The last thing a bunch of folks going through withdrawal need is a bunch of bells and sirens going off as they are herded down the hall. After the drill, the staff had a couple questions.

There was also some confusion.

Overall, working in the detoxification center was a valuable experience. I learned a lot about drugs, gained street cred, boosted my GRE score, and made friends with a bunch of drug addicts. It was a nice time.

1 comment:

annie's mom said...

I love the integration of GRE words. Nice.