For the last 5 days or so, I have had fairly acute stomach pain, nausea, and difficulty eating. It’s like I have this cramp in the top of my stomach that just won’t go away.
But, I can’t seem to get treatment at my university health center because they refuse to believe me when I tell them it’s not just alcohol related. I call and tell them, how I can’t sleep and eat because my stomach is just killing me. And the response I have gotten thus far is a ‘well, lay off the bottle, eh?’. I’m not going to lie, this problem arose perhaps from one night of rather heavy drinking and stress, but the problem has persisted regardless of my blood alcohol content.
Then, I saw this article in my university paper detailing a new policy that regardless of reason for coming into the clinic, the nurse must ask the patient if he or she has had more than four drinks in the last week, and if so give them a survey to fill out. If he or she does poorly on the survey, they get a talking to right then and there and may need to go to some kind of student AA program.
So, this details the kind of attitude I’m up against. I don’t deny that many students have drinking problems on campus and should seek help – but it is not the clinic’s job to shame college students to engaging in well the average college life. They have a very similar attitude about sexually transmitted diseases. One time I came in with the flu, and for some reason they insisted on badgering me about my sex life.
Yes, I understand regular drinking causes health problems – drinking too much is a health problem in and of itself. But, that’s not what I want treatment for right now. I want to have my bloody stomach ulcer or inflammation or whatever fixed.
This program aside from being insulting and demeaning to students is not even helpful. It wastes time in a clinic that already puts students on waiting lists for appointments for weeks. And, let’s say an alcoholic does come in about a cold, tells the truth about his or her drinking habits, and subsequently gets badgered by the nurse. How will this help him or her? Substance abusers can’t get help until they are ready and willing to fight for becoming clean. A talking to is meaningless if the receiver isn’t going to listen.