Recovering From Cocaine - The Life of a Hotel Doctor
By Mike Oppenheim, MD
He had turned bright red, a frightened guest informed me. Searching the internet revealed that this indicated dangerously high blood pressure. Could I come…?
What to do…. Allergic reactions turn patients red, but this is accompanied by itching which he didn't have. Otherwise, his symptoms were typical of cocaine. They didn't sound life-threatening, but it's a bad idea for a doctor to dismiss the possibility.
I do not like to make housecalls to frightened hotel guests. Waiting often becomes intolerable, so they dash off to an emergency room or call the paramedics before I arrive. I asked him to count his pulse. It was 100: not terribly fast. I kept him talking, and he grew calmer.
A hotel doctor's nightmare is a guest dying after he leaves the room, but dying before he arrives is also bad. It was a stressful drive.
When he opened the door, he wasn't bright red, perhaps very faintly pink. When I took him to a mirror, he agreed that he had improved. His blood pressure was high, but not too high. His heart sounded normal. He was recovering from the cocaine.