Off a roof.

From 2005 to 2008 I maintained a blog about my experiences working in the drug test industry. Every Sunday I revive one of those experiences here. The following was originally posted July 17, 2008.

Off a roof.

Looks like Ted over at SoCal Cabbie got picked for a random test. Unfortunately it wasn’t a pleasant experience for him. Ah well, you can’t please everyone.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of doing a post-accident urine collection for a hospitalized employee. Story goes this man fell off a roof while working, landed in a pile of debris, and snapped his arm in a couple of places. Obviously it’s in the employer’s best interest to get him drug tested as soon as possible after the accident, because if he comes up with red flags they have a good reason to skip out on his worker’s comp.
Most of the post-accident tests we do don’t actually involve serious injury; rather, they’re for things like fender-benders or mild bruises or cuts. We do have one trucking company who seems to have a disproportionate amount of traffic accidents compared to everyone else. Once we even had to test two of their guys at once because they had somehow managed to crash into each other.
That wasn’t the story this time, though. This man was pretty well mangled. Hospital runs are pretty rare, I’ve only done two or three in my time here, and while they pay well the experience is particularly harrowing. First off, I have a notoriously pitiful sense of direction, and hospitals tend to be the most confusing places on earth both inside and out; I must have circled the damn place three times before I finally found the correct parking garage. Locating the correct room is a job in and of itself. When you’re not a patient, and you’re not visiting, you want to look like you know what you’re doing in a hospital. If you give off the slightest vibe that you might be lost someone will ask what you’re looking for, which means you have to explain why you’re there, and sometimes they’ll try to shut you down. I don’t know if certain hospitals just have different regulations as to what kinds of bodily fluids private citizens are allowed to remove from their patients, or of some hospital workers just have a moral objection to it, but the fewer people who know what you’re up to, the better.
I eventually did find the room, and I was very clearly unwanted. This poor guy was racked with pain. I have no idea what kind of meds they had him on, but they clearly weren’t working for him. He was as cooperative and polite as he could have been given the circumstances. Too hurt to make his way to the bathroom, I pulled the curtain around his bed and listened to him groan while he filled up his bottle. At least the hard part was over. I was finishing up my paperwork when a couple of nurses rolled in with a portable MRI machine, and I was asked to step outside. Their job is more important than mine, so I didn’t argue, but the next fifteen minutes seemed to drag on forever as I waited out in the hallway for them to finish. It seemed like every person who walked by was giving me a strange look.
The two nurses finished up and wheeled the machine away. They were apparently checking for metal shavings in the patient’s eyes, so hopefully they had at least that bit of good news for him. As I went back in he was ringing the nurse’s station and begging for a shot, and I tell you, if that’s something I could have helped him with, I would have. As it was he managed to sit up just long enough to sign his form. I stuck his copies into his bag like he asked, emptied out his urine container, and wished him a speedy recovery.
Then of course I got lost on the way out of the hospital and had to ask about four different people for directions at various points. At the end of one hallway I waited for a couple minutes for an elevator that was never going to show up, by virtue of it being for employees only. There was a giant red sign on the wall I had somehow managed to miss. I felt like a genius.
So I inconvenienced the overworked parking garage lady (who had to count out nine whole dollars in change for me), somehow managed to luck my way back to the interstate on my first try, and rolled up home around 9:00, ready for some serious unwinding.
My girlfriend was none to pleased to find a bag of some dude’s urine sitting on our kitchen counter, but she cheered up when I told her how much I’d been paid for it.

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