It’s 3 pm and my 22 month old son hasn’t had his nap yet. We tried, but it looks like one of those days where Babyboy becomes wired/ tired, increasingly mischevious, and irritable, until he crashes out. The only plus to this situation is he’ll crash a few hours earlier than his usual bedtime.
Is it worth a whole day of Angry Toddler? Not really. But, it’s what we got.
But that’s not who I’m talking about in the title. I’m talking about me, all this week.
I just haven’t been sleeping well—Last Friday I was up a lot of the night with worries about patients, kids, et cetera; then Sunday my Grandmom went to the hospital at 1 a.m. with a small bowel obstruction, and ended up needing emergency surgery (That’s a whole ‘nother blog post.). She pulled through, and is fine, which is great. But there went another night of sleep. And Hubby was traveling, so I was on main kid duty. My mom helped, and my aunts who came down to see Grandmom helped, which prevented me from losing my mind.
Still, all week I’ve been playing “catchup”. Trying to catch up on sleep. With a 4-month-old who wakes up in the wee hours for a bottle. Not working!
So this week at work I was dragging. Wednesday morning 11 a.m. found me in my clinic, running A WHOLE HOUR BEHIND. Now, I know doctors are famous for running late, but I do NOT run late. I pride myself on that. Actually, I think I’m just so OCD that I CAN’T run late—I’d blow up or something.
If I’m in the room with a patient, and I know another patient is waiting, it’s like a ticking, ticking in my head. Every second of the clock is a second I’m supposed to be somewhere else. I mean, I hate waiting for doctors. Don’t you?
So, there I was, an hour behind. Usually, if I do end up running late, it’s because there was a majorly sick patient who needed major help, like the time a nurse with a pulmonary embolism walked into the office, or the lady who was wheeled in because of her cauda equina syndrome, or the man who wanted to kill himself the day before Thanksgiving.
And a few memorable not-emergencies, like the patient who passed out drunk on my exam table. Or the anxious young lady who was in for her first pelvic exam, who fainted beforehand, just from talking about it.
But this was just me being really slow. My head was not in the game. I had a packed schedule, yes; people had real issues, yes. But I was tired, and hungry to boot. I hadn’t got it together in the morning to bring adequate sustenance. I literally wilted.
So midway through the morning, I went to the kitchen and poured myself a mug of coffee.
“You never drink coffee!” commented my medical assistant.
“I really need the boost,” I answered.
Sigh. I slogged through, and I hope I helped people. I tried, but with my head underwater and my body famished, I’m not convinced.
I wish it was OK to say to people, Hey, I am so sorry, I’ve got a lot going on at home, I’m exhausted, and starving, and I need to pee, had to for the past 2 hours. Ok if I take a 30 minute break to get some fresh air, pick up a nice salad, and use the ladies’ room?
But I think we all know such will never happen in reality.
Actually, Now that I think about it, I once saw a patient because she had fired one of my colleagues. She volunteered the reason: My colleague had started seeing the patient for her physical exam, and then in the middle of the interview, my colleague said, Wait, we need to stop. I missed lunch and I am famished. Mind if I take a break right here to get a yogurt? Otherwise I can’t see how I can adequately care for you.
The patient remembered this and explained it to me and then commented:
“How could I possibly continue to see a doctor who had to take a lunch break in the middle of my visit?”
As I listened, I was probably famished myself, but dared not say a word.