call room etiquette
Did you know I've been on call three out of the past four Fridays? Not that I'm complaining, but...OK, maybe I'm complaining a little.
I have this new post-call dinner treat, though. I picked it up at my local gourmet food-mart (beloved peddlers of intact, non-dusty fruit and ready-to-eat meals) and have been enjoying in for my past two call nights. It's a chicken quesedilla. Which sounds kind of Taco Bell, but you have to trust me when I tell you it's a fancy chicken quesedilla. It comes with cheese and tomatoes and chilis and, uh, chicken (duh) and when heated up in the microwave for two minutes, it bubbles quite nicely into a tasty and self-contained dinner. I think it could actually be even better if I heated it up in the toaster oven instead (microwaving has the unfortunate effect of rubberizing the edge of the tortilla), and had some salsa for dunking on the side--but there's no toaster oven in the nurses lounge, and I'm not prone to carry a little jar of salsa with me to work. I don't like to make myself too much at home while at the hospital. Helps me remember that I actually do get to leave once in a while.
I was sharing call last night with one of the Onc fellows, who I really like as a person and as a senior-type guy, but whom I'm told snores rather loudly. So rather than having to go through the whole "will you take the top bunk" rigmarole and possibly embarrassing him (he seems kind of a conservative, I don't know if he'd be into sharing the call room with someone of the female persuasion), and possibly end up getting a poor hour of sleep anyway, I just avoided the issue altogether and found another call room. The issue of co-ed call rooms rarely comes up, I guess mostly because the majority of the Peds residents are women, and on most services you don't take call with another person anyway. But it happens sometimes. I remember my intern year, sharing a call room at [suburban community hospital] with my senior, Matt, and the two of us lying there, chatting in the dark like Ernie and Bert. (Like Ernie and Bert, of course, there were two separate call room beds, side by side--though Matt insisted that I take the crappy fold-out cot while he took the more comfortable patient bed, because I was the intern. What is this, the army?) Not that it was super-uncomfortable or anything like that, because whatever, we're adults. But it was kind of weird.
But at least Matt was normal about his call sleeping habits. One of my attendings just told me a story about a guy in her residency program who used to strip down to his underwear when he got a chance to sleep on overnight call, regardless of the company he was keeping in said call room. First of all--ew. Have you seen the resident call rooms? Are you sure you want to expose that much skin to the elements? Lord knows what might latch onto you and start growing. Second of all, what if there was an emergency? What if someone coded and you had to run quickly to a patient room in the middle of the night? Do you just go, and start bagging the patient and pushing epi in your boxer shorts and socks? Or do you tell the kid, "Hold on a second, I know you're dying, but I just need to put on my pants first."
Currently reading: A CNN brief about President Clinton's recovery. I walked by a whole row of those news vans on Thursday afternoon, and was amazed by how weird the newscasters sounded when they were talking on camera. It's like how models walk down the catwalk, all exaggerated with their hips swinging and legs clopping. The newscasters use this loud, bluff tone with exaggerated intonations that plays well on TV (I guess, I never really thought about it) but sounds really weird when you hear someone talking like that in front of you in real life. Anyway, I'm glad El Prez is doing well, and wish him the best.