The Doctor’s View: The Kissing Drunk

HeaderBy Denise Kavuma, Uganda:

Now, I shall tell you about the drunken guy. This story ties in with that fellow who was kind enough (with his ghetto ex-wife) to re-enact a scene out of every black movie ever filmed and to throw in some majorly shocking child abuse in the whole mix.

I was on call and extremely tired from all the day's work as well as the ridiculous amount of patients that were flowing in. Honestly, sometimes it feels like people wait for midnight before they decide to rush in with all manner of complaints. At this point, I'd just been informed that a child who'd been hit by a car was convulsing and my mind was starting to draw blanks from all the pressure. Of course, it was at exactly this moment when a young gentleman rushed in, dragging with him a staggering, and drunken fellow. The story was that as the guy was driving, the drunk came out of nowhere and a road traffic accident took place with the drunken guy being at the wrong end of the bonnet. The driver wanted us to take care of the fellow and said that he'd pay for everything. It was pretty impressive; you don't find many guys like that in Uganda…no, not the drunks; there are too many of those, I'm talking about the driver.

I instructed a nurse to take the patient's vitals as I rushed over to the convulsing child and did the necessary. After finally dealing with that emergency, we were left with the drunken guy. His vitals were all normal and well, it's really very simple dealing with most intoxicated fellows so long as they don't have alcohol poisoning, and I thought that this would be a piece of cake.

Violent drunks on the other hand are a whole different thing and boy was this guy aggressive. He fought off my nurses and we took quite a while trying to reason with him to let us do our job.

He refused.

Of course.

He spent the next few moments trying to grab at the nurses with the intention of either kissing them or perhaps knocking them out with his terrible breath. Frustrated, I called out for a guard and somebody approached. I turned around only to come face to face with Superman…granted, a counterfeit Superman with a blue jersey having the “S” printed across it, but hey, I took what was given to me. Ok, it was a guard but he'd come with a few of his friends and I felt like they were heroes in that moment.

I was wrong.

Obviously, they needed to undergo some more superhero training or something, because they failed to hold this drunken guy down. We were trying to access an IV line and give him a sedative to start with but, he was managing to shake off all 5 of the guards at the same time like he was possessed with the strongest demon of them all! We finally just settled for giving him an intramuscular sedative which takes longer to work.

Now, the thing with alcoholics is that most drugs wear off much faster for them than they would for normal people, so painkillers, anesthesia, and of course, sedatives don't work well on them in the doses that would affect other people. This is why it's important to tell the truth whenever the admitting doctor asks if you're an alcoholic, especially if you're scheduled for surgery and it's to be done in Uganda. Just tell them that you're in and out of rehab centers if you have to because you might find yourself waking up in the middle of masked figures snipping away at your gut or stealing your kidneys and you needlessly die before your time, 30 minutes later.

Back to it then; so after 15 minutes, the drunken guy was still awake, rolling his arms about and asking if there were any other takers.

As we were wondering what to do, (we were horribly understaffed) in walked 2 more guys, claiming that they knew the drunk and wanted to take him away. I asked them who they were and they told me he was their employee. Of course my alarm bells rang off and I told them I was going to release the patient to his family only. Well, they tried to convince me otherwise but knowing how these things go between employees and their bosses, I stood by my word. Reluctantly, they gave me his wife's number and we called her.

She said she wasn't coming for the dude and was sick and tired of his drinking. That if we couldn't deal with him, we should just let him die and if he didn't pass on, then he could stick his #@%%* up his **@!# and go to hell. Then she hung up. The boss and his companion left and well, the nurses were more than a little annoyed with my decision making.

It was at this time that the dude with his child walked in and I went over to deal with him and his sick child. After having listened to his verbal diarrhea and stabilized the child, I passed by the cashier who, like I pointed out in the previous article, is this really tall and big guy. Interestingly enough, he's a pacifist but the fire in my belly managed to convince him to come and help us hold down the drunken dude.

And he did.


We accessed the IV line, sedated the guy heavily and gave him some treatment. Of course you know (if your memory still works) that it was at this time when that father and his ex-wife started using their child as a rope in a tug of war and our valiant cashier had to deal with that situation as well.

Well, thankfully, things really did calm down after that and I got 20 whole minutes of sleep that night. Imagine that!

Golly gee; I sure am lucky!

Founder and Editor in Chief of the Readers Cafe Africa

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