Friday, April 08, 2005

night owl, day owl

I'm finally starting to adjust to working nights, which of course means that on Monday I'll be back to working days, doing the 8am-6pm shift in the ER. This month is basically going to be an experiment in molesting my innate circadian clock--a week of nights followed by a week of days, then another week of nights, capped off by a week of days. It'll be like alternating 4 weeks between Japan and New York. But at least in Japan, I'd have better food. All this day-flipping succeeding only putting me in a state of loopy disorientation around the clock. More so than usual, I mean.

I was prowling the oncology floor yesterday evening when I saw a posting that a patient I had taken care of last month had just died earlier this week up in the PICU. And I felt bad. Not just because the patient had died, which obviously is sad, but because the last time I took care of that patient, I was kind of annoyed with him. In fact, between the residents, the fellows, and the nursing staff, we all kind of were annoyed with him. And not for any other reason than that he was being loud and demanding and whiny and generally teenager-ish, but enough so that I was only more than happy to foist him back on the day team when they arrived in the morning, with a roll of the eyes and colorful recollections of some of the more trying interactions of the night. I feel guilty because I wasn't all that fond of him, but now that he died, I feel like I should have liked him more. It doesn't make any sense, but it's like I want to atone for something. "Yeah, I mean, I was pissed at the patient that night, but I didn't want him to die or anything." And I know that it's stupid to even think that way, because it's not about me, it's about the family now, and how they feel--but maybe it's part of that syndrome of always wishing after the fact that you could have done more, even if it's something as little as wishing you hadn't groaned quite so loudly that night when you got paged about that patient for the five hundred billionth time.

Currently reading: Just finished my umpteenth re-read of "The Bluest Eye." It's always comforting to read a book that you already know pretty well when your ability to concentrate is shot. I may be in the minority, but "The Bluest Eye" is my favorite Toni Morrison book. Most may lean towards "Song of Solomon" or "Beloved" camp, but I like "The Bluest Eye" precisely because it's less fantastic and allegorical than the others, without people flying off buildings and dead slave babies haunting people and whatnot. But then I was getting sick of re-reads and magazines, so yesterday on the way to work I stopped and picked up a copy of "The Mole People," a non-fiction book about the underground homeless communities in New York's subway system. It's really pretty interesting so far.

No comments:

Post a Comment