"Two to three cans a day. But it used to be six or seven."
"Cans of beer?"
"What kind of beer?"
"Usually Colt 45."
"Okay. Um. Okay."
"But no hard liquor."
"Gotcha. Question: What size cans? Twelves, sixteens, twenty-twos or twenty-fours?"
"Twenty-fours is always your best deal."
"So three twenty-fours?"
"Yeah. That sound about right."
"But it's less than before."
"That's good that you cut down."
"Why you still looking at me like that's still too much? I just like beer. That's just me."
"Mostly I'm just looking at you and thinking, that's all."
"Thinking 'bout what?"
"Well. For starters, the fact that you're here. At 8:30 in the morning for a doctor's appointment, you're here. Not demanding anything or with any ulterior motive. Just here to see about yourself. So you care. So I guess I'm just wondering if you realize how this could hurt you. The beer, I mean."
"It ain't as bad as hard liquor. That's what my daddy drank. Hard liquor. Every day 'til he died."
"I hear you. But as for it not being as bad that depends. Beer can be sneaky. You want to talk some about where your drinking falls in terms of your body?"
"I guess. Naw. I mean, yeah. I kinda think I do."
"Okay. So essentially if you're a guy--I mean, a man, you should limit yourself to no more than 4 drinks in a day or 14 drinks in a week."
(interrupts with a laugh) "Ha! See, doc? I drink only 3 per day!"
"Well, not so fast, friend. Ha ha. . . we base it on a standard drink. So a standard drink for a regular beer is like a 12 ounce Budweiser. But a standard drink of malt liquor like Colt 45 is more like 8 to 9 ounces."
>_< "Go on."
"Yeah. So that means you're actually having about 9 drinks each day. And about 63 per week."
"Real talk? Probably more like 70 something in a week. I drink a bunch more on the weekends. Just being honest."
"Thanks for that. My point in telling you that is that when you go over those recommended amounts, that's when you start having stuff happen to your body. Like bad stuff that you've probably heard of."
"Damn. For real?"
"What were you hoping would happen when you came here today? Like. . .do you want to be healthy? I mean, you take your blood pressure pills and you keep these early morning appointments. It seems like you care about your health."
(laughing) "I guess I sorta do. Yeah. I do."
"Okay. Then we'll need to keep talking more about the beer going forward, okay?"
"Maybe between now and when you come back, you can just spend a little time imagining what your life would be like if you didn't drink beer. Or drink at all."
"Totally different. A whole 'nother world, actually."
"Right. Which would probably be the hardest part, you know?"
"But here's what I'll do on my end: I promise to look at you like you can be a person who doesn't wake up in the morning and drink a beer. And like you can be a nondrinker and like you aren't a lost cause."
"Dang. How you know I had a beer this morning?"
"Dang. Okay, I'm busted."
"Being honest, doc? I can't even imagine me without a beer in my hand."
"Ain't nobody ever looked at me how you looking at me right now."
Honestly? I write this blog to share the human aspects of medicine + teaching + work/life balance with others and myself -- and to honor the public hospital and her patients--but never at the expense of patient privacy or dignity.
Thanks for stopping by! :)
"One writes out of one thing only--one's own experience. Everything depends of how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give."
~ James Baldwin (1924 - 1987)
"Do it for the story." ~ Antoinette Nguyen, MD, MPH
Details, names, time frames, etc. are always changed to protect anonymity. This may or may not be an amalgamation of true,quasi-true, or completely fictional events. But the lessons? They are always real and never, ever fictional. Got that?