Day 2/3 on call. How exciting.
After rounding this morning, I am free to hang out and wait for a call. The beauty of home call is that I get to do it from the comfort of wherever I want within 15 minutes of the hospital.
Now, I am not at a loss for things to do… We have cable, so I watched the movie My Girl and am hanging out on the couch with Patrick. Not bad.
It got me thinking of ways we have kept ourselves entertained on call over the past two years.
- I was on call… I didn’t need entertaining. I was working. I like real people. In fact, I almost didn’t have time to eat!
- Eating. Because you just never know when you will get to eat again. And everything looks delicious at 2 in the morning.
- Napping. Not on purpose, but full on narcoleptic episode in First Aid for Medicine.
- Ordering large volumes of take out from your favorite Indian restaurant… Wait, that is food again… Whoops…
- Super bowl party. In a patient lounge in the hospital. With a few of the patients.
- Food scavenger hunt through hospital. You can make amazing ice cream sandwiches with those little ice cream cups and arrowroot cookies.
- Hospital based work-out… Running the stairs.
- Field trip to the gym (on home call). All fun and games until your pager falls off and explodes into 6 pieces (see this post) whilst on the elliptical.
- Board games!!!
- Reviewing ACLS protocols… When you get an answer wrong, someone would press the “test” button on the code pager… Negative reinforcement at its finest.
- Baking. This is less complicated on home call… But can be rendered problematic when you actually get a call. In hospital, it presents an additional challenge. Though, once we baked cookies in the hostel lounge. And ate all of them… In one night.
- Hang out with the hospital mice.
- People watch in the cafeteria.
- While on home call, trying to do all of your errands (grocery shopping, bills, cleaning) before getting paged. This gets especially challenging when the pager goes off when you are in the middle of something.
- Sundae Sunday at the children’s hospital. Best. Idea. Ever.
- Wii tournament… At the children’s hospital.
- Caroling at the hospital (thank you medical school choir).
- Studying for exams… Well, having a USMLE world quiz race. Best time and score wins.
- Practicing casting on each other… Then getting paged. While you have a cast on your arm.
- Delivering fake babies from a fake pelvis.
- Trying to make embroidering patterns with sutures in a pillow case.
- Crossword puzzles. Group effort.
- Hockey night in the hospital or the M household (depending on the brand of call).
- Listening to music. And playing guess the next lyric or guess the singer or guess the song.
So, as you can see, there are many things to do on call… Most of which involve food. When there isn’t real work to do.
Slow calls are both a curse and a blessing. They are great because you aren’t “real” working, but you are constantly on edge waiting for a call and sometimes, especially in hospital, even with the awesome aforementioned things, it gets ridiculously dull. Plus, when you get called you are so lazy from sitting and waiting that you are bitter that you have to do something. At least that is what happens to me sometimes.
Sometimes in life we sit and wait for something. We may do other things to distract ourselves and hope the inevitable doesn’t happen. The other things may be fun or productive, but in the end, there is something else we are waiting for, something else that will happen, something else that technically takes priority.
Right now, waiting for Match Day, I am distracting myself with all of the things that I do while on call, plus the call itself. Match Day will come no matter what. And it takes some sort of priority over these other things.
In life, we have a greater purpose. Sometimes, we waste time doing other things when perhaps we should be doing something else, or when we get the call to do something else. Like a pager, we shouldn’t ignore those calls. Maybe it is to do something “crazy” like work overseas or maybe it is a simple as bringing cookies to a neighbor or calling a friend. God may be paging you (sort of), but the thing is, you need to answer. Distractions are fun, but we need to have priorities. We need to do the work we are put here to do.
For now, I will hang out in the living room and listen to music whilst reading the greatness that is The Hunger Games and wait for a call.