* * Anonymous Doc

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I dream about my patients.

I dream that they're dying and I cannot save them. I dream that they're screaming at me and I cannot calm them. I dream that they're stabbing me with syringes before I can stab them. I dream that they're turning me into the hospital's Board of Directors, an institution I have never encountered in person but seems to appear in a third of my dreams, as vivid as anything.

One of my interns has a wife who brings him dinner when he's working overnight. I bring my own dinner. And it's microwavable. And I eat it, in the call room, alone, while I wait for a nurse to page me that someone needs help. Apparently the other residents don't let the interns have a 15-minute break for dinner. Apparently I'm a pushover. Because I help and don't yell. It's weird-- there are 3 residents, we take turns being on overnight, and on the days we're not on call, we only see each other for a few hours in the morning-- if you were on call the night before, you leave by noon; if you're on call the following night, you leave by two. So it's like we're living parallel lives. We have the same patients, we transfer information in the morning, but we're really not working together. The interns, on a different rotating schedule, get to see all of us, and they become the conduits of information. They tell me about what my co-residents have been doing, they tell me what things were like while I was sleeping. So it's not like I can directly compare my behavior to my co-residents and see on my own whether I'm the good cop or the bad cop. I find out from the interns. And they tell me I'm good cop. But I don't feel like good cop. I make them do what I think they need to do, and try not to unnecessarily torture them or keep them from any sleep that they're able to get overnight. I mean, two weeks removed from being in their shoes, it's not like I don't know the difference between being a fair resident and being a jerk. So I try not to be a jerk. And apparently that makes me exceptional. At least in their eyes, two weeks in. Do I want to be the nice guy? Do I want to be the pushover? Not really. But I guess it's better than the opposite.

So how do I get my intern's wife to bring me dinner too?


  1. "I dream that they're stabbing me with syringes before I can stab them." LOL. That was a good laugh.