Thursday, April 01, 2004

call of the wild

I'm on call again tonight. The block is almost over. Tonight's my last cardiology call before I start...cardiology. Oh, the winds of change are here!

Actually, I'm really not looking forward to next month. Nothing against cardiology, which I find reasonably interesting (and at least conceptually easy to grasp, once you sit down and look at the pictures of all the different surgeries), but because I'm going on the service as the solo intern on the team, during a month when the House Doc (who serves as kind of the Ward Senior) is going on vacation. Wait, what do you mean you're going on vacation? You can't go! You have to stay! And help me do things! Hey, don't walk away from me when I'm talking to you! You must suffer as I suffer!

No, but seriously, next month is going to suck. In fact, let me give you an idea of the sucking that is to come. In October, I got pulled to cover sick call for cardiology on a day that the House Doc was out, due to some family emergency. There was already one intern on the floor (the other was post-call), along with a second-year rotator from another hospital, and two very competent fourth-year medical students. So I was pulled to be layer #5 of coverage. And still it was busy.

Now flash forward to next month. Only one intern. No med students, I assume, because the Match was just a few weeks ago, and not even the most gunnery of gunners is insane enough to do a "real" elective at this time of year. That said, it's still a little too early for the next crop of med students to start taking electives, so our student coffers will be empty.

I may indeed have an outside hospital rotator, but I've found from my time on the floors that the quality of these rotators can be very hit or miss. Either they're reasonable residents doing some helpful work for the team, or (as has been the case at times), you spend the whole day running after them with a shovel and a pooper scooper. So maybe at best, I will have one outside rotator. The Chiefs, God love 'em (that sounds sarcastic, but really, God love 'em, they're great) have already created an additional coverage schedule, but there are only extra residents filling in on days that I'm physically not in the hospital (post-call, clinic and the like). Because, you know, I love my job and everything, but sometimes, I do have to go home.

So, one intern. All the kids. It's going to be like being on call every single day for a whole month. Oh, the tears. So when are they going to start manufacturing those robot interns? Robo Intern. You know, robots that can call people and enter orders and write notes. Robots that can speak Spanish. "Initiate program COMPASSION. Running program. 'Hello little boy. Looks like someone needs a hug.' ERROR. Fatal error. Press any CTRL-ALT-DEL to restart." That would be awesome. And a little scary. But mostly AWESOME.

And now everyone in my life has fully sat through my little "boo hoo, I'm on cardiology all alone" pity party at least once (and some people up to 5 or 6 times), and are ready to slap me around if I bring it up again. OK, OK, I'm done.

(It's just going to suck, is all I'm saying.)

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