Friday, January 15, 2010

in which i prattle on until the clock runs out

You guys are clever. Thanks for all the e-mails. Though the overwhelming consensus was that the original title ("SCUTMONKEY") was the crowd favorite, I think I have reached Kubler-Ross' fifth stage in accepting that this in all likelihood will never pass muster as a marketable title to the masses, no matter how much I want it to. Which, you know, I guess I can understand, even though I feel like I've been immersed in the culture of medicine so long that there are certain things that I really can't believe aren't part of the layman's vernacular. (I encountered this a lot when I was editing the manuscript, may parts where my editor circled one thing and underlined another as being too "jargon-y," and I was like, "What do you mean? Doesn't everyone know what it means when I say we 'ordered a set of coags'? People say that in real life, right? RIGHT?" Ah, what a learning experience this has been.)

My new favorite, suggested by my agent, is PRACTICE. See, because of the double meaning, the practice of medicine as well as the dress rehearsal aspect of so much of medical training. Also, PRACTICE is pithy, which I like. There will be a secondary title under it, which we are also still hashing out (something like, "PRACTICE, Or: How I Went to Med School, Had a Baby, and Grew Up to Become a Real Doctor") but we will see what we come up with in the end. I want to make sure that it conveys some sense of levity, you know? There are enough serious as all hell medical memoirs out there, I want it to be clear that this is not one of them. But hey, what the hell do I know. Dammit, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a...[insert whatever you call someone who is in charge of marketing].

(Pretend I did not just make a Star Trek reference right there.)

Moving on from this...

So due to some glitch in scheduling (I call it a glitch for lack of a better word, but really, the fact of it is that someone needed to trade a few calls with me and I said yes) I am on night call five out of the seven days this week. Monday, Wednesday, FridaySaturdaySunday. You're welcome. One of my older partners seemed scandalized that I was working so many nights (he thought it was inhumane), but then he asked me how old I was. I told him that I was thirty-one. "You can do it then," he nodded sagely. "You're still strong." I thought that was kind of funny.

Anyway, round two was Wednesday night, and it was fine. One other thing that I missed about taking night call (hark ye, residents, the upside of working nights! Take it from someone who has not taken call for a year and a half--there is an upside) is that the pace of the hospital in the evenings and overnight is much different. Working in the ORs during the day is like...OK, imagine that you're a decathlete, only instead of doing the events one at a time, you're doing all ten events simultaneously. Picture, if you will, doing the pole vault while flinging a shot putt and winging a javelin all while jumping hurdles. That's what it's like during the day. At night, at least after, oh, say, 7:00pm, at least you get to space out your events, or at least only do them two or three at a time. So that's better.

The down side, of course, is that I don't get to see anyone. Post-call days off enable me to spend time with the baby (who, incidentally, not so much a baby anymore--Mack just turned one last week, oh hell, here's an obligatory picture to break things up:

I know his hair is too long, because the plumber that came by yesterday to fix out broken garbage disposal waved at him and said, "Hello, little girl!" But I am loathe to cut it, mostly because I know that I'm going to mess it up like that time I tried to cut Cal's hair when he was a baby and he ended up looking like The Littlest Stooge.)

What was I saying? Oh yes, post-call day enables me to spend time with the baby, and I even got to drop by Cal's school to have lunch one day (there is an open lunch invitation for all parents, but in a year and a half I've only been able to do this one other time. The guilt was compounded by the fact that Cal was so excited to see me at school "just like all the other parents" that he basically ate lunch with only one hand, with the other hand a vise around my knee in case I decided to run away mid-sandwich). But I don't get to see Joe that much. So that's bad. However, the weekend is upon us, and while I am on call nights, I at least have the days free to do whatever manner of family-bonding activity we can muster. Which, honestly, will probably involve chasing the kids around while firing little Morse code missives to each other in between calamities. Ah, marriage with children. It can be difficult, as Al Bundy would attest.

Anyway, have to go get ready for work now. Round three...fight!


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