I am the sort of person who gets super cranky if I don't eat when I'm hungry. I don't usually eat a lot in one sitting, so I'm sort of like a baby in that I need to eat more frequently. Usually by the time lunch rolls around, I'm really hungry and don't look kindly on things that keep me from eating.
While I was in residency, I had a clinic every Thursday morning that always, always ran late. Since the afternoon clinic started promptly at one, this was a source of major stress for me.
On one occasion, the Thursday clinic finished at about 12:45. I raced over to the cafeteria, got some lunch, and then raced back to clinic to eat. I figured bringing the food back to the clinic would give me a little more time to eat if the 1 o'clock patient was roomed late. Smart, right? Except not so much.
It was 12:55 and I just sat down to eat my lunch with a whopping five minutes to spare, when the nurse, who SAW me just bring my lunch into the resident room, came into the room bearing a chart.
"I know you just sat down to eat your food," she said, "but the one o'clock patient is here."
"OK, well, it's not one yet," I said. "I came back early. I shouldn't even be here now."
"Yes, but this patient came in a medical vehicle," she explained. "So if you don't see him right away, the vehicle is going to leave, and he'll have to call them to come back for him."
"The attending probably won't be back from lunch for another twenty or thirty minutes," I pointed out. "Plus the patient has a huge sore that we need to look at. This isn't going to be quick."
The nurse just stood there: "I know, but can you just see him now?"
"You know," I said, "even in prison, they're allowed to eat lunch."
(Yes, I really said that. And yes, I finished my lunch before seeing the patient.)
Anyway, as I was saying those words, I realized I had said something extremely profound. It's true. In prison, you're allowed to eat meals (of roughly the same quality as the cafeteria food, I suspect). As a resident, you're not. It was so profound and brilliant to me that I repeated that statement roughly half a dozen times over the next several weeks.
Also, I never again made the mistake of attempting to eat my lunch in the clinic.