Doctor On-Call

I just had the busiest weekend of my life. I missed meals, was dehydrated, worked over eight hours of unpaid overtime, and ate two bags of jelly babies, one bumper bag of smarties, and a triple chocolate muffin. I did nothing but work and sleep. There were ups and downs, blood, sweat, and by Sunday evening, having not eaten or drunk anything for twelve hours, almost tears.

I was overwhelmed, overworked, overbleeped and eventually overcome. Sunday evening, fourteen hours into my ten-hour shift, I handed over what I could to the night team and went around the wards apologising to all the nurses whose jobs I hadn’t been able to complete. They were minor things, those tasks that were left, and they understood. I must have looked a little haggard by that point, I remember a nurse saying it was alright, and the med reg putting a hand on my shoulder when I was handing over. I held up when I went to get take-out, the shop shutting for the night, me still stethoscope in hand. I held up in the mess, sitting, eating, joking. I actually held up until I started writing this, but that much stress and emotion can’t be bottled up for long and I’m glad the tablet works when wet. It’s been years.

I am damn proud at what I achieved over the weekend. Although I had to let some minor jobs go, the major ones were done. There are people in that hospital, my hospital, that are only alive today because of me, people who will see the sun again because of me. I may not have done all my jobs, but I sure as hell did my job and I can rest in the certainty that nobody could have done more. I am humbled, and I am proud.

I am the F1 on call.


One response to “Doctor On-Call

  1. As someone who has been practicing medicine for going on 13 years now, I hope that you never forget the raw overwhelming emotion that you had this past weekend. The feeling of minor things left undone, major crisises averted, and patients who will be alive on Monday because of you.

    Whatever else medicine becomes in the next few years, whatever roads our profession leads us down, hold fast to the memories that somewhere there is a patient alive today because of you. That no matter how tired, hungry, sick, or exhausted you were, you were a physician to them in their time of need.

    Nothing can ever replace that. No computer can replace you. Welcome to the ranks of healers, welcome to being a physician.

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