Mar. 22, 2017

The Diet Pill Experiment

I was at work one day and several of us nurses were discussing weight-loss issues, healthy foods, exercise and so on. Included in the topic of conversation was the diet doctor I went to in Myrtle Beach. He specialized in weight-loss.

I questioned his methods because he was passing out Phentermine as if they were yellow M&M’s from a candy dish right out of his office (Phentermine is the pharmaceutical name for the street drug or “speed” known as yellow jackets).

I quickly realized when I woke up from my second nap of the day I should not be taking these pills. Because of my ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) they slowed me down to a crawl. While taking them I was always so tired and fatigued which, in turn, made me irritable.

When I said something to the doctor about the fatigue, he bumped the dosage from 30 mg to 37.5 mg. I just put the bottle he gave me in the medicine cabinet and forgot about them for a while.

Rachel, one of the nurses, had mentioned wanting to go to him but wasn’t sure if the pills he gave out would help her. A couple of the other nurses voiced the same concern.

Marcy, the chatterbox, said it helped curb her appetite but she just didn’t have the money to go to him for the pills. Personally, I always thought Marcy was doing a hit of speed every day because she was here, there, and way over there talking non-stop the whole time. There were times I would get exhausted just working the floor with her.

Katherine, who was the boss’ daughter, spoke up. “Michelle, you go to that doctor, don’t you?”

“I did,” I confirmed. “But I can’t take that Phentermine, it knocks me out like a narcotic.”

“Where’s the pills at that he gave you?” asked Rachel.

“In the medicine cabinet at home,” I answered.

Katherine smiled and said, “Why don’t you bring them tomorrow and we’ll all take one and see how well it works for us.”

“Yeah!” Rachel says smiling, “Just because you can’t take them, doesn’t mean we can’t.”

The following day, I stood at the time clock as the nurses clocked in for work, I handed each one a 37.5 mg Phentermine capsule. Marcy had 1st station, Barbara had 2nd with Rachel floating between both stations. Katherine had 3rd and I was the go-between between 2nd and 3rd. Jane came in at the same time Katherine did and saw what I had given her.

Being out of the loop from the previous day she got a little curious and then insisted I included her in the Phentermine experiment.

“I have to work with Mary on 4th Station today,” Jane whined. “I will not have time to eat lunch; she works me like a dog! I need something to help me forget I’m not going to be eating lunch today.”

Marcy reported later, she passed meds faster than she could ever remember doing before. Now that was fast! It was hard to believe our little speed demon (no pun intended) could break her own record.

Rachel and Barbara did 2nd station med-pass together and it took them the same amount of time it took Marcy doing it alone. Still, that was fast for them on that particular floor.

Katherine had me help her do her med-pass too and we were done in no time flat. Also a record for us. This included the two if us taking a couple of smoke breaks in between all the medicines. I was sweating and tired from going so fast. Katherine was ready for round two.

Jane was over on Station 4 driving Mary nuts, which was par for the course anyway. She, too, reported being done in record time. Jane claimed to have finished half of her med-pass before care plan conference took place.

Mary, who did not receive a Phentermine because she would snitch on us, worked at her usual causal and lingering pace forever delegating work to everyone else all the while doing very little herself.

A couple of hours after care plan conference and the zooming, but completed morning med-pass, the boss, Katherine’s mother, the Director Of Nurses (DON) came strolling down the hall. Everyone was cleaning.

Barbara and Rachel were scrubbing the medicine cart down. Marcy was washing the windows and scrubbing the toilet for the housekeepers on Station 1. Katherine was about to wrestle the maintenance man for the floor buffer while Jane was running all over the building doing her best to get away from Mary, who was now, driving her nuts. And then, there was me, sitting at 2nd Station, doing those God-awful summaries, when the boss popped her head around the corner.

“What has gotten into my nurses today,” she squealed in delight. “This is wonderful to see them all out working and cleaning instead of sitting around at the desks!”

If you only knew, I thought to myself and snickered.

The next morning it was as if everyone had crashed and burned. Barbara, who usually got up at 4:00 a.m. just to get ready for work and be on time and on the clock by 6:30 a.m., was late. She had dark circles under her eyes that make-up was not hiding. Katherine came in yawning and wiping sleep from her eyes. Jane, as usual, was dragging butt. Marcy honestly seemed unaffected either way. As I said, she was always hyper.

Rachel casually strolled in and stopped at the desk to look at me. She didn’t speak first; she was waiting for me to say something.

“What?” I finally asked.

“You are not allowed to give Barbara anymore of those little yellow pills again. Ever. Never. Ever again.”

“Why? What happened?” I asked as Barbara, who was not her usual chipper self, rounded the corner looking like she could crawl on top of the nurse’s desk and go back to sleep.

Rachel smiled at Barbara and then a little too excitedly said, “Hey Barbara! How are you feeling this morning?”

“Shut up Rachel, before I hit you hard enough to knock ten pounds off you! I didn‘t get to bed until 2:00 this morning!”

“Hit me harder and make it twenty,” Rachel responded grinning from ear to ear. To me she explained, “I went by her house yesterday and she was out mowing the lawn.”

“So, what’s wrong with that?”

“It was 10:00 at night and the flood lights were blaring into her neighbor’s windows. No more little yellow pills for her.”