How to Fail a Drug Test

Yep, it’s true.

I failed a drug test today.


It was all so humiliating.

So you know how I got the job for the psych team at one of the hospitals, just for on call on the weekends, thinking it would be a helpful part-time job to cover my cancer costs?

Well, I kept not getting called to work, and we wondered if it was because they didn’t need me or because something was still waiting on my new hire paperwork.

Today we got a strange call from Oklahoma City of all places, and they were calling with some “concerning test results”.  This made us both panic, because we thought cancer!  Failing a drug test wasn’t even on my radar, and not anything we were worried about!

But that’s what it was: I failed the new employee drug test at the hospital.

What a mess!

I have never failed a drug test before in my life.

It was very confusing, and I was shocked!

I assured them that my life is pretty boring, and that there is no alcohol or drugs at all of any kind happening in my body. But they don’t know me, of course, and are just doing their jobs, and so there I am in hot water trying to figure out what was happening.  We could not identify what would have tested positive, and even the normal little things like pain medications or something, because I am so anti-pain medication, even the approved pain medication I have because of treatments and surgery were never even picked up or taken.  We couldn’t figure out what happened!

They went over my list of medications with me again, carefully, seeing what would have turned up positive – and then we realized, finally, it was my pneumonia.

The cough syrup I was prescribed when I got pnuemonia had codeine in it, and I only took it for two nights, which just happened to be the two nights before my drug test, so that showed up positive.

But since it was a prescription, it should have turned that false-positive into an official negative, and not been a big deal.

Oh, silly Emily, you are thinking.

No, it gets worse.

I never picked up my prescription because I didn’t have a chance between all the kids things, court for Five, doing my real job, plus the extra meeting I had, blah blah blah.  So I never took the time to go pick it up.

Which left me with a positive test but no bottle of medicine to show for it.

So what had I done?

I had taken some leftover medicine from when Nathan was sick with bronchitis or something earlier this fall.

The doctor said I could! Really!

I should have known better!

And “it was only 1 teaspoon, two nights in a row, and that’s all” sounded like a weak defense when I didn’t even have a prescription bottle to show for it.

So they sent me to get a note from my doctor saying that he prescribed the medicine to my husband, and told me it was okay for me to take it while waiting to pick up mine and get my follow-up appointment.

… which I did.

He just laughed at me, and said, “I can’t even get you to take Tylenol!  How did you manage to fail a drug test?”

It was really so very embarrassing.

And I have never failed a drug test before, so had no idea what would happen next?

Or if I could lose my license to practice automatically?

Worse, my temple recommend?

It was terrifying.

My doctor wrote the note, and allegedly faxed it both to the lab that did my test and to employee health at the hospital, though they turned the phones off for the day before I was available to call back to be sure it got done.

It was so scary, and so embarrassing, and so humiliating.

Nathan keeps making druggie jokes, but it really isn’t funny yet.  Maybe next year, but not yet.


Posted in Life, Work permalink

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


How to Fail a Drug Test — 4 Comments

  1. You are a delight. And because of you I have gone back to school to get a degree in psychology. I’ll never be where you are, I’m too old, 60. LOL, I’m going to do marriage and family counseling though. Thanks for all you do. You are a wonderful blessing to this world.

      • I just read your reply to my comment. What a nice thing to say. I wrote that down and I’m going to print it out, frame it and put it on my office wall where I can see it all the time. Kay