Rock up to A&E. Get changed, go to my locker, dump stuff, check the clock. Pick up my stethoscope, my torch, a pen for the day – take a breath. Head out on to the shop floor and start as the patient stops talking mid-sentence and collapses back on to the bed, heart rate on the monitor is noise and she is not responding and I reach for the crash buzzer and pull the arm across and feel the satisfying clunk of a joint relocating and I check the post-reduction x-ray and it’s a good job that the next shift doctor has turned up because the ambulances keep on coming and we are beginning to get over-run and I see the list on the screen and we are almost done, we are winning and even though it is 4am it is a victory and it will be time for lunch is a long-forgotten memory and I am ravenous and I raid the sweets drawer because there is no time in asystole is getting longer at 4, 5, 6 seconds and we are watching for a heartbeat and waiting times are at 3 hours before being seen and everything is getting rushed off my feet and the department shifts like a tide in response to the crash bell and I put in a cannula and take blood on the sheets so I apply pressure to see another patient in resus is full and there’s no time to go home. Walk off the shop floor. Go back to my locker, dump stuff, get changed, check the clock. Go outside, feel the air – take a breath. Go home and think about what I’ve done; dream about it. Worry and fret and talk and ponder and steam about it. Accept it.
Take a breath, check the clock, and rock up to A&E.