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Wednesday, September 26th 2012

Lost In The Monotony

Residency is a period of survival, even in the age of duty hour restrictions. It is a period of sometimes putting your head down and going one day to the next which, can often, run together. And depending on how the call schedule comes together it can be difficult to recall fully your responsibilities. Am I on call today or tomorrow? This weekend? So I know I’m not alone in showing up to one of the hospitals we cover yesterday promptly at 4 pm to take overnight call and realizing to my embarrassment that I was 24 hours early.

Once when I was a medical student doing a general surgery rotation I stayed overnight for “call” and then went home in the morning at about 10am. I quickly fell asleep. I woke up to the sun on the horizon from my bedroom window and a bedside clock that read “7.” I jumped up, forwent a shower and raced to the hospital. Out of breath, at the end of the stairs I found the team’s work room empty. Frantically I dialed my fellow medical student on the service to ask her if the team was already on the floors rounding only to learn she was at home making dinner and I was twelve hours early. I had mistaken 7 pm for 7 am. That truly would’ve been a feat to sleep 20 hours straight instead of the actual 8 hour nap I had pulled.

Shift work does this to you I suppose.