A few choice snippets from some recent telephone triage. No judgment. Just reportage....
"I'm moving to another apartment and I think I threw away my Oxycontin. Can I get another prescription?"
"It feels like a ball in my esophagus."
"I was at the ER 'til four this morning because my daughter was sick. Now I can't breathe and my back hurts. What should I do?"
"That spot on my leg? It's really red and swollen and it hurts when I walk."
"I just can't do this anymore. I do everything alone. I have no friends since I quit drinking. I just wanna die."
"Yeah, I had intercourse with this woman that I'm falling in love with, and she doesn't know I'm HIV positive. Then I had this discharge from my penis but it went away. Should I worry about that?"
"I'm really stressed. I got this job, and taking care of my brother on top of that, plus the gas company cut us off three days ago. But at least my divorce is final."
"I feel so sick. I'm throwing up, my back hurts, I can't pee, I have diarrhea, and my head hurts so bad. Plus I'm all alone. Can you bring my meds over?"
"Keith, I just don't know what to do."