I went to work this afternoon and just as quickly had the opportunity to leave. Saturday’s are my days to screen newborn babies for hearing loss at a local hospital. My shift begins at 2 pm and I arrived today to find literally nothing I could do. In cases like this we get paid for 2 hours but unfortunately that didn’t really cover the cost of my gas money to drive there and back. (This is not a lucrative job by any means, but I like the patients and I like the babies and so I almost feel as if I am being altruistic in a semi-voluntary sort of way)
I typically park in a lot associated with the outpatient surgery corner of the hospital building. This serves as a relatively well lighted, safe area on those evenings when I come out after dark. It is patrolled by hospital security and I have never had cause to feel uncomfortable using that lot. I still don’t, but after an interesting experience today I may be a bit more mindful.
I spent all of 30 minutes up on the floor and was heading back toward my parking space by 2:15. There were cars parked on either side of me. The one on my driver’s side was unoccupied. The red Kia on the other side held three local addicts all in various stages of shooting up. Okay, to be fair that is only an assumption but a pretty confident assumption if I’m going to be honest.
I also feel it is pertinent to mention that I saw a great dichotomy in this scenario. The Kia was fairly new, and in really good shape. Granted I am exhibiting an incredibly biased, stereotypical viewpoint here, but the occupants of the car did not match in any way the rather well taken care of car they were getting high in.
I have to be honest. I didn’t stick around long enough to make 100% sure that this was illicit drug activity going on. I did however clearly see:
1. One man in the passenger seat, shirt sleeves rolled up and arms with bruises, scabs and other skin lesions indicative to drug use. This person by the way was holding what I suspect to be a syringe and quite quickly turned away from my car as I got in.
2. One man in the rear driver’s side seat with his shirt off, window down and a rather anxious look to his face along with a hurry up attitude for the female in the driver’s seat who was turned backwards and who I am fairly certain I saw…
3. Twice do the characteristic finger/thumb flick to a small TB size syringe, and who also had very distinct and characteristic marks along her arms and the face of someone one sees in drug education posters and videos with the caption underneath the gaunt, pock-marked, ravaged face that says: THIS IS THE FACE OF METH/CRACK/OR WHATEVER.
I feel comfortable enough after 5+ years working in oral surgery, working with various syringes of different sizes, to be pretty confident regarding what a TB syringe looks like, even from 15 to 20 feet away as I approached my car. I also have often done the finger/thumb flick on those very same type syringes to move along air bubbles and would recognize the motion anywhere.
It was a bit tricky maneuvering out of my spot so I had to stop trying to covertly spy on the action next to me. I also didn’t want to suddenly find myself looking down the barrel of a handgun either so I did the “of course you’re just three friends hanging out in your red Kia in a hospital parking lot and I have to get out of this f***ing spot before I get shot so I am going to ignore you” routine.
I did have a moment in which I contemplated going back into the hospital and trying to round-up a security person but really, by the time all that would have occurred and anyone could have gotten out there, besides the fact that the druggies cover was blown, and their car was completely exposed when I left, meant that they would have been long gone.
So now, guilt ridden, I am telling myself that this is certainly not the first time this has happened in this lot. You have to understand that this hospital is located in an area of the city which is known for drug/gang/violent activity. I am not guilt ridden thinking of these idiots doing whatever they were doing to themselves. That’s their busy and if they choose to kill themselves who am I to comment or attempt to stop them. I am rather miffed that they were doing this at my place of employment in an area where staff, patients and visitors come and go. I however realized that behavior such as this has probably happened inside this hospital in the public restrooms that I pass on my way upstairs.
At least these three had a level of respect in place to do their drugs outside the building. I think they deserve some kudos for that.