Wow. This is more difficult than I had expected… Let’s just jump in with both feet-
I have been an adult for more than 3 decades-I have been an RN for almost as long. This life-education has provided me with many insights into the human animal, and into society, local and global. Honestly, I am really disappointed with my findings. wtf? (the f stands for, ‘frick.’ let’s keep it clean, here.) I do not know where my posts will lead me, but this is where we will begin-with the negative truth. Here are some of my observations:
-No matter how old or ‘wise’ people get, they are still self-centered and inconsiderate of others. Even nurses. Educational level appears to have little effect on this.
-People of all ages and experiences do Not comprehend their responsibility for the outcomes of life-choices. Eg., Diabetes. Most diabetics are type II. This means that diet and activity level, etc., have brought them to their current situation. Many people refuse to take ownership of this fact. Even if it means improving their current quality of life, or preventing further issues, like neuropathy, or leg amputations.
-Political correctness has led us into a catch-22. People sometimes need to hear the truth. For their own good, as well as the good of others. We are a society, interconnected on all levels, like it or not. When we are unable to assist others in seeing what they need to see, we handicap them. Eg., Not being able to tell a patient that they are obese. Or an addict. We are human. We make bad choices, and we often don’t recognize them. And, Sometimes, we need someone in a position of expertise to help us see that. You may ask, ‘how does someone’s personal choices become my problem?’ Think: Drunk driving; robbery to feed addiction; a pregnant addict. This costs ALL of us. Who must care for the children left behind by a drunk driver? You? And what about the psychosocial effects upon those poor children? Let’s do a cause-effect tree of possibilities:
DRUNK DRIVER- effects upon them, family members, society, taxpayers (that’s you)- Let’s assume this person is an alcoholic, too:
-Teenage drunk driver kills her friends in an MVA-the friends were passengers, she kills or injures people in another vehicle, too;
-The families left behind are permanently fractured; her own family is fractured, and possibly shamed, by friends and neighbors;
-she goes to jail, after a trial – Prison time costs taxpayers; court time costs taxpayers;
-She leaves prison a dry alcoholic, and unable to get a job paying enough to live on. She starts drinking, to avoid her issues. She winds up on social assistance, and visits local ER’s over and over, using up a disproportionate amount of social resources, because she is drunk, or ill, or suicidal, or homeless. Sounds heartless of me, right? Consider this:
-I am the RN taking care of your loved one, AND her, on a given day, in the ER. You need my attention, your loved one is very ill. I get it. Only, my other patient, the drunk gal, is causing a scene, swearing, vomiting, attempting to get off her stretcher, and I cannot safely leave her side to care for your loved one. My drunk gal will eventually be fine, again, for a while. Your loved one, however, is in dire need of immediate attention. I am distracted, unable to give my full attention to your mom. Your answer? ‘Get someone else in here, to take care of my Mom!’ Only, there is no one else. Staff numbers are finite. And I promise, I am doing the best that I can, to do the right thing, with the resources I have. The doctor can order all of the right things, for your mom, but I can only do one thing at a time. And, right now I need to keep my other patient from leaving the ER, and from inadvertently hurting herself. This happens over and over, in most ER’s across the country. These choices are difficult for all of us.
The aforementioned are only a few downhill effects of drunk driving or alcoholism, on others. Alcoholics often become diabetic, obtain seizure disorders, Hep C, and liver cancer. These are all preventable, or at least, mitigable, illnesses. This costs them, and it costs you, too. These folks can’t work, and they don’t pay taxes. Thank you for supporting them.
Isn’t acknowledgment and early intervention the better choice, for all of us? We, me included, are all at risk for this life path, perhaps with only one (ONE) bad decision. To address thing early, is safer and, actually, kinder. For all of us.