One of the reasons I chose emergency medicine as my field of work is that I work shifts and can have a pretty good home life. I work hard at work, but then I get to leave it behind. A lot of primary physicians work 10-12 hours for 5 or 6 or even 7 days a week; they even take call that may have them receiving phone calls during all hours of the day. How they do it, I don’t know.
My typical schedule is very untypical – no pattern at all, working both day shifts and night shifts. However, I usually only work 3 or 4 shifts a week. Additionally, as the medical director for our group, I have several meetings per month that I need to attend. Compared to my primary care colleagues, my life is pretty good.
These past two weeks, conversely, have been absolutely brutal. Having a partner on an extended vacation while already being short a physician made for a very long stretch of shifts:
The good news is that I’ve got some days off coming up and I intend to have some good quality time with Linda and the girls. I envision a lot of biking and a lot of movies. I might also get some time in the Doctors’s Lounge. We’ve got family coming to town for a family reunion. These next two weeks are going to be a lot better than the last two.
So, it’s 2:30 in the morning as I write this and I’m about to complete a long stretch of shifts in the ER. This was supposed to be my day off, but some scheduling problems led to me needing to fill in one more night shift. Too bad because I was supposed to go with the family to Manhattan to see the KSU Women’s basketball team play. Everyone went and the team won – I’m glad they got to go.
I’ve got a 24 hour reprieve before I’ll be back at it again. As the view out the front of my ER doors shown in the picture above, it looks as though I’ll be spending some of that time shoveling driveways and sidewalks when I get home.
I’ve grown up on military time and am quite comfortable with using it. In fact, documentation in medical records are done with military time to avoid any confusion about AM and PM. Needless to say, military time is second nature.
I woke today to my alarm and quickly got up and showered, shaved, and dressed as we had dinner plans. I noted that the bathroom clock likely needed a new battery because the clock was running very slow. Then I realized I just changed that battery about a month ago. It was 1:50pm – that’s right – 13:50. In my attempt to set my alarm for 3:30pm, I set it for 13:30 – a full two hours before I needed to get up. Maybe I shouldn’t try setting my alarm after a long night shift in the ER…