The insomniac

It was my 3rd night shift, and I was feeling a little crispy.  I had not been getting my naps between shifts, and that was taking its toll.  Of course it was a busy night, and I found myself hoping that at some point, the patients would stop coming in.

Shockingly, at about 4am, it appeared my wish was coming true.  No patients had registered to the ER in about an hour, and I had gotten all my work done.  I allowed myself the thought that had been floating around my subconscious since I had gotten to work, “Maybe I could lie down for a little while. . .”

Almost guiltily, I snuck off to the doctors room to close my eyes.  In about 1 minute I was soundly asleep, dreaming vividly.  In about 2 minutes, the phone was ringing.  “Dr. Evans, you have a new patient.”

Like some kind of zombie, I lurched back to the ER.  My skin blotchy, my hair at all kinds of crazy angles, and my brain on some other planet, I found the exam room and chart.

It was a man about 50, who reported that he was having trouble sleeping that night.  He went into excruciating detail about his uncomfortable bed, his strange dreams, and how tired he was.  I tried to be sympathetic, but in my mind, I was hitting him over the head with an oversized frying pan.

I ended up prescribing him some sleeping pills, and thought I might lay down again.  It never happened.  Another patient came in with a very bad heart attack.  That woke me up faster than 3 cups of coffee.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

SeaSpray 10.28.08 at 10:34 am

Nothing like a little adrenalin coursing through you for a wake up call. The human body is amazing.

I don’t know how the night shift crew does it, especially when you then revert to normal hours. The nurses that permanently do that shift seem to like it because it suits their needs or personality. I hate that shift and only did it if stuck because someone didn’t come in.

That’s funny about the guy. Why go to the ED for that? I know… to him it was an emergency. Oh the irony. :)

Braden 10.28.08 at 6:45 pm

I just found your blog on a link from WhiteCoat. I love it. I’ll link to you from my blog as well. Keep up the good work.

admin 10.29.08 at 11:27 am

Thanks much for the nice words!

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