One thing about age: you can’t function as well with a cold or with too little sleep. So while my cold may be in its last gasp, I still need my sleep. Oh yeah do I need it.
I had an emergency case last night. The case didn’t run late, but it was one of those situations where despite my best efforts, things could still turn bad. When my pager went off at 11:30, my heart started pounding because of course I thought the worst. In fact, the ER doc from the local hospital was calling me out of desperation because none of the other Bako ENTs would answer his call. I couldn’t help him, and he was grateful to me for returning his call (probably frustrated as hell that the only person to return his call was the one person who contractually couldn’t help him), but my heart was still pounding.
I managed to get to sleep by 12:30, but it was a fitful sleep filled with fantasies of things going wrong. I’d wake up hoping it was morning, that many hours had passed, because the more time that passed, the more likely it was that my patient had gotten past that interval of risk. That he had, in fact, been discharged, sent home, hopefully sleeping more comfortably in his bed than I was in mine. Eventually I settled into something resembling a more restful sleep, only to be roused at 5:45 by some officious little dweeb of a nurse who needed a verbal order to extend my patient to 23-hour observation status. He couldn’t have waited another hour to call? Apparently not.
There’s no sleeping after a call like that. I contemplated getting up early (main advantage being, I could take myself out to breakfast) but I was just too tired. So I lay there exhausted, half dead, too tired to get up, too wired to sleep.
All day, I kept forgetting to finish things. No patient “quality issues” of course, just some sloppiness . . . blanks not filled in, messages not sent. I remembered, sometimes hours later, to pick up the threads. Things never quite flew apart.
Take out food was made for days like this.