Thursday, January 04, 2007
In the middle of the night
"Am I boring?"
"Am I boring".... I heard it again, and wasn't sure if he was repeating it or was it just the resonance of his voice in my head. I opened my eyes and thought if it was just a dream. NO! He's sitting here in front of me, smiling, and asked again , "Am I boring?"
I realized it was not a dream. I looked at my watch and it was 1.40 AM, good it was only 2 or 3 minutes. That was the first time , and only time so far, that I fell asleep while talking to a patient.
The patient could have kicked my ass, he could have filed a complaint or even sued me but instead he apologized for being boring, he thought that made me sleep. I told him it was OK and kept talking as if nothing happened.
It's ironic how I move from one bed to another while at work but cannot crash on one bed of these to take a short nap during a long night of work.
I remembered how a medical resident in another hospital got sued by a lady because he fell asleep on her chest during a physical exam.
After 30 hours of continuous work, don't expect me to be awake.
The disaster is driving back home after those 30-36 hours of nonstop work. Sometimes I take a short nap in my car before I drive, but I realized that made me more sleepy. Sometimes I play Hakeem or Heavy Metal in my car to keep me up but this music just causes me severe diarrhea. I haven't crashed my car yet, but I once missed the turn to house and kept driving straight in the street because I was.... sleeping. Two residents with me had serious nonfatal car accidents because of DUILOS (Driving under the influence because of lack of sleep)- I made up this term.
It happens with me all the time. My barber had to wake me up a couple of times after finishing the haircut because he had other customers waiting. I would order something to take-away at a restaurant, go back to my car take a ten-minute nap which would last an hour and a half only to come back to find a new person at the counter who doesn't know what the hell happened with my order.
But what sucks, what truly sucks, is when I come back home wearing my clean shirt and tie with a big meal to eat, turn on TV, start eating and suddenly fall asleep. I would wake next morning, with ketchup on my shirt, the TV still on, and I got paged by my intern because it's 7 am and I'm already late.
I'm not complaining. This is a job that I chose and I was expecting this, but in case you were driving in the street and saw someone crossing 2 red lights and terrorising pedestrians, or if you were sleeping in the hospital and I come over and take a nap in your lap, or I smell like baked potatoes with ketchup drooling from my hair.... I hope you'll understand.