Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tales From Residency: Trying to sleep

One night during my residency, I was on home call and ending up having a busy night at the hospital. By the time I was done taking care of my patients, it was 3AM and I had to round at 7AM the next morning. So I figured there was no point in going home. (Ah, the joys of home call.)

I asked a nurse if I could sleep in an empty patient's room, since the ward wasn't that full. I figured I could get in about four hours and feel at least somewhat rested. I thought maybe I'd even sleep better at the hospital, since there was no baby.

Uh, wrong.

First off, I had one of those pressure-control beds. So every time I shifted, the mattress would whir to life and start inflating in different areas. Very distracting. I finally had to look for the controls and shut the damn thing off.

Then I noticed there was this loud rhythmic noise in the room, like a dripping noise. I tried to sleep through it, but I couldn't. I got some toilet paper from the bathroom and stuffed my ears and put the blanket over my head, but no luck.

Finally, I went to investigate the noise. I went over to the sink to see if it was leaking. It wasn't. But I noticed there was a large clock on the wall over the sink that was ticking. I grabbed a chair and pulled the clock off the wall, hoping to find an "off" switch. No off switch, but I managed to yank out the battery.

I expected quiet after that, but lo and behold, there was a SECOND clock in the room! I had to deactivate that one as well. Finally, silence!

Except for this damn bird that kept chirping right outside the window. I almost felt like someone was playing a joke on me, putting me in this room.

Luckily, I had another patient code at about 5AM, so I had to get up again anyway.


  1. "Luckily, I had another patient code"

    Yup, that sums up residency.

  2. Reading this post (and Dr. Grumpy's comment), I initially laughed...and then I cried with the realization that I still have 4-5 years of residency to go. What was I thinking when I signed up for this?

  3. Well thank goodness for small blessings. :D

    I've never had a patient that liked those pressure mattresses. One called us in a panic, she thought she was having a seizure.

  4. SD -- 4-5 years? For some reason I thought you were in Internal Med.... FWIW I hear that it's only the first year of fellowship that is truly awful, and that things do get better after that....

  5. This sounds like that scene in Pinnochio where all the clocks are going off