Go read… Dealing with boredom on the floors.

Today, I am bored and yet in my happy place.  Yes.  Those two things can co-exist.

I am at the hospital doing a full day rotation at the Palliative Care unit.  Lovely place to be and work and such.  The thing is… There are 8 patients.  We had rounds at 7:30.  We rechecked on the few people the pain and symptom management team are following on other floors.  All of this was done by 9:15…  So, I was left by the physician to go recheck everyone and write notes.  Fine.  I love doing that.   I set out to make my own rounds.  I spent ages chatting with a lady about her childhood home and her children, great grandchildren and grandchild.  We talked about the book she was reading.  We talked about her family driving her crazy from being there so much.  We talked about her fears about dying. We talked about her Christmas plans.  Lovely.  I hung out and held the hand of a lady who is non-responsive.  I made a milk shake for someone else.  I took my time writing all of my notes.  I checked the clock… 1225.  Oh dear.

Several hours to go.  And now, here I am.  In the library.  Doing some “reading.”  The physician won’t be in again today.  I can’t legally sign orders.  So, even if something happens I am veritably useless minus doing assessments and holding hands.  I don’t have a pager, so I have to run upstairs every hour or so to check in. Exciting.  Medicine is generally fast paced.  You are busy a lot of the time.  There is generally always something else you should be doing.  But, there are times where either by scheduling error or sometimes by chance, things go according to plan or there are no things to go.  The thing learners like myself get told at those times is to “go read.”  It is one of the best things to be told to do and yet the worst.  Often, you are told to “go read” when they have nothing for you to do, but will need you later, or they don’t want to send you home just yet.  Sometimes you are told what to read… Odds are when that is the case; you get quizzed on it later, so it is in your best interest to legitimately go read.  Sometimes, it is more vague.  Sometimes, as in my case today, I sent myself to read because sitting at the nursing station doing nothing is useless. I like to help out.  So, I made my rounds asking the patients if they need anything.  I asked the nursing staff if they need anything.  Nothing.  Everything was stocked.  So, off I go to read.  I actually like to read.  I enjoy reading research or learning about a new topic (cue nerdy snort).  But, sometimes, especially when it is close to vacation time or when I have been reading a fair bit, I get distracted easily.  Today was one of those, “oh look a castle days.”  The reading didn’t seem to be happening.  Though, I did some effective staring at pictures in the textbook.  Being sent to go read can be a lovely thing.   Especially pre-exams.  Or when you are really tired.  Or when you think that you could just leave and odds are nobody would notice, but it wouldn’t be very nice.

I quite enjoy days where things are happening one after another.  Where you have enough work to fill your days.  Most days are like that.  I also enjoy days where there is some down time, enough to eat and catch your breath.  Some subspecialties have more plentiful spare time… Especially when you are on a service that generally is considered part-time for the physician like I am now.  As a bottom-of-the-totem-pole person, I sometimes get more work of the “scut” variety, but I am lucky enough that I generally get sent home early on slow days and eat lunch more often than not.  I think I will be more grateful for time to read when I am busier.  The thing is, I find the slower work is, the lazier I get.  The issue when things are slow is also that, despite feeling lazy, you don’t want other people to think you are lazy.  It is awkward to hover too much on the floor, especially once everything is stocked and such.  But, you don’t want to disappear for long periods of time and be known as “that clerk.”  Its all about balance.  The whole, look busy where you are, maybe pull out a pocket guide and read on the floor before disappearing.  And not staying gone for too long.  Its sad that you have to be so cautious, but some people judge based on those sorts of things, even though you have already done your duties and have tried to find more.   It is almost time for holidays, I find myself dreaming of going home early… To read fun books on the couch, as opposed to medical books in the library.

Speaking of fun books… I am currently re-reading Wuthering Heights.  Yes.  I know.  Why would you do that to yourself?  I have been asked that at least three or four times.  I read it in grade 11 IB English.  It was torture then.  I am pretty sure I did two presentations; a test, a final and a paper that got sent to be graded internationally on it and I hardly remember the book.  I think it was the pressure at that time.  The IB program sucked the life out of me (seriously, I worked as hard then as I did in my entire undergrad or first year Med school).  Thus, I am convinced I missed out on the “awesomeness” of the book (I think I just committed a literary crime by describing the book by using a made-up word).  I decided to re-read it because I couldn’t remember it, plus it was on sale at Chapters and I love a lot of other books that are classics and hated in high school, so why not give it a chance.  I am just over half way through and loving it.  I didn’t remember all of the drama and such the first time.  Quite a story it has going there.  Now I understand why it is a classic.  I missed that the first time around.  On my list to come for Christmas break: Room by Emma Donoghue; The Love Revolution by Joyce Meyers, Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger (the author of The Devil Wears Prada), and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

Woo reading!


2 thoughts on “Go read… Dealing with boredom on the floors.

    • Real patients are awesome! I love it!
      We didn’t read The Great Gatsby, but it is on my to read list. I actually enjoyed a few of the IB books, just not always the first time around! Happy New Year!

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