My interns have colds.
My attending seems to have the flu.
And most of my patients have something I'm sure I could catch.
This might be what I hate most about this job. I hate being sick. Ever since a stomach virus over the summer, I've been absolutely hyper-vigilant about washing my hands, using hand sanitizer, often enough to make the people around me just slightly uncomfortable. I use alcohol wipes to wipe down my cell phone whenever I touch it after I've touched anything else, or whenever it ends up on a hospital surface. The other day I found myself putting on a glove to eat a banana. This is not normal behavior. But to whatever extent I can prevent myself from catching something, I can't resist.
And it's honestly not the patients, mostly. I mean, the things I'm most worried about catching from patients are things I should be worried about-- bedbugs, scabies, things that are harder to shake, and far more (property-)damaging, than a cold. It's the other doctors.
It continues to make no sense to me why we don't get sick days. I understand the hospital needs to be staffed, but when you're forced to make up any shifts to have to miss because of illness-- when you don't even get one day a year you can call in sick without penalty-- then people are going to come to work able to infect. And it's one thing for them to infect their colleagues-- I don't want to catch someone's cold but I understand it's a risk of the job and it's not going to damage me too much beyond some crappy-feeling days-- but it's another thing to put the patients at risk. And, just about every day, there's someone coming in to see a patient with some sort of cold, something the patient can catch.
Just another reason you don't want to be in a hospital unless you really must.
Now excuse me while I use an alcohol wipe on the outside of the pack of tissues I just touched.