Monday, May 12, 2008

One Is Too Many; Two Is Not Enough

Booze antics.

0600 and the Ambos are inbound with a young collapsed lady. They are grinning when they arrive, seeking me out, marking me as Cain for this patient. This is never a good sign.

It transpires that the lady in question has been found, semi conscious on her front porch. She honks of alcohol. There is an ethanolic miasma extending several feet from her. She is adamant she has not been drinking...

The Ambos tell me, and her partner later confirms, that she has been suffering 'funny turns' for 3 years now. She begins by becoming unsteady, loses co-ordination, slurs her words, then falls down and passes out. All the while, stinking of booze. After 10 or 15 hours sleep, she's fine. She's even lost jobs because of this, but ha not sought medical attention. Her partner swears she isn't drinking. He lists a number of reasons why she isn't drinking, mostly that there's no booze in the house, and that he has never seen her...

I gently suggest to him that I think she is, in fact, drinking to excess, on the sly. Again, he tells me it isn't possible.

Her examination suggests some mild liver dysfunction, the stigmata of alcohol seem to stand out for all to see... we check her blood alcohol level, something of a rigmarole here, as it isn't a routine test; it comes back at 466mg/100ml, just over the level that ToxBase ( tells me can be fatal.

We casually suggest that this isn't because she had two glasses of wine with dinner. Eventually, the denial crumbles, and I have to leave them to reappraise their lives together; I suspect neither of them is who they thought they were...

Sister is called to reception to review a Polish chap looking a bit pale. They think he's drunk, and indeed, he also smells of the brewery.

'What's your name?' she asks




'I'm sorry; we don't speak Polish...'

He looks at her; eyes slow to react, as if they're on time delay. He appears to be thinking about this for a few minutes, then straightens up.

'Neisher do I!' he manages, his breath and diction all the product of pints and pints of ale. It seems to have taken all his will to be this coherent, and lapse back to his slurred mumbling, which we had all taken for Polish. Slightly red-faced, we hoik him onto a trolley, and begin the long road to sobriety

1 comment:

Medblog Addict said...

Two great stories. I enjoyed both of them.

(and I only had to look up 2-3 words for the English translation)