Monday, July 16, 2007

My black box


"This pager has fallen before in the toilet seat, but I picked it up. Take care of it!"


I said that as I was handling my pager to the new intern who was starting her residency next week.


She looked with the utmost digust at me, and a little bit of disbelief.


Imagine yourself exhausted, tired and hungry, you've been at work since 6 in the morning and now it's 8 pm, despite all of that you still have to stay at work till next day, probably for the next 16 hours you'll be stuck there, not just signing papers but actually trying your best to save lives because you're the only person in the hopsital supposed to do so.


That's not just one bad day I had, that was my lifestyle for three years where I had more than 150 nights similar to the ones above. My only companion during these nights was my pager, always hanging there with me. If any patient is coming to the hospital, to the ICU, on a breathing machine or with ten medications pouring in drips into his body, I was the assigned person to take care of him. If any patient already in the hospital gets sicker, I was supposed to run there to check on him and treat him ASAP.


The only was I could be contacted was through my pager. If something wrong happened to my pager some patients can really be hurt that night. I was in the bathroom, and believe me sometimes you don't have time to rush to bathroom, after I was done and thank God after flushing the toilet my pager slipped through my pocket into the very deep waters of the toilet seat, so deep that I could barely see where it was.


If it was a 500-dollar cell phone I would have left it there, even if it was my apartment key or a 100-dollar bill I would let it go, but this was my pager. I didn't give it a second of thought, I closed my eyes and ran my hand deep in the toilet to pick up the damn pager or as we call it the bitch box, because whoever carries that pager is nicknamed the bitch, just reflecting how s/he was being treated. I could have called Tech support in the hospital and they could have given me a new pager in a couple of hours, but a lot of patients can get ill or even die in those 2 hours, so I had to pick it up.


Many times I felt like grabbing my pager and smashing it into the pinkish wall at the nurses station. Many times I would find myself talking to the pager and calling it names, and this damn pager has been the main "character" in at least ten of my dreams. That's not only me, that's the experience of tens of thousands of doctors doing their residency in the US and probably everywhere else.


Earlier in July I handled my bitch box to this new intern who doesn't have a full idea how can this pager become a part of her family. I got a new pager from the new department I will be working at.


But nothing is like that good old pager. It's the only witness to the nights I spent in the hospital, the very stressful times when three patients start crashing in different parts of the hospital, or when a nurse calls saying "this patient was doing great this morning but his hear rate is dropping and he's not waking up".


With the extreme relief I had upon finishing my residency and getting rid of that pager, I felt a bit sad to see someone else carrying those loads of memories, having the name of someone else placed on my mailbox, or having the new code to my old call room changed. I really miss being the bitch.
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(By the way if you haven't taken my blog survery yet please do now, Click here)

41 comments:

Isam Abu Salhieh said...

Excellent post ... really enjoyed it ... i would have kept the pager ... cant u do that ?? or you replaced it with a "younger thinner and more firm" pager ?? :P

Qwaider قويدر said...

May god bless you for your commitment, and all the souls that you have saved!
Kiss that bitch box good bye for me. I'm too disgusted to do that myself ... but hey, I'm not the doctor :)

FATEN said...

i really like the hint of pride you leave in each and every entry (that i read at least)
hey there's never a better reason to be called a bitch than that hahahaha.

ДншдЬ said...

Hareega, this is really a great post.
thanks for your hard work and allah y3eenak.

The Observer said...

Allah ya3teek el 3afieh! I stand in wonder of how some people can really push themselves this hard in order th help others! I think that I dont have this power you have. Alla y3eenak, o wish you the best...

Hareega said...

Isma... can't keep it, it was replaced by another pager. It's not much thinnher lol

Qwaider... thanx man, the bitch box is with another one

faten, thanks! I feel it's a compliment now if someone calls me a bitch

ДншдЬ ... first thanks a lot for the comment. Secondly I had to copy your name from the reply because i can't type it, can i just call you "five symbols"?

the observer... shukran basha, anyone with some determination can do it, but it's tough dude

Amer said...

God Bless you both :)
Enjoyed reading the post!

ДншдЬ said...

five symbols???
mmmm, looks mysterious 8), I think its not bad :)

you can call me Ahmad if you want, cause ДншдЬ is a just fuzzy version of Ahmad.

Hareega said...

Ahmad... will do

Amer, thanx

Who's-sane! said...

bi3t el masna3 ya hareega?

joking aside, this is one of the best posts I've read! if only those patients knew that a pager saved their lives :)

Hareega said...

thanks a lot hussein

Anonymous said...

So you're done with the residency now? what was it in? and are you doing your fellowship now at the same place, or moving to a new place?
anyway good luck.

Anonymous said...

strange how people have that abily of get attached to things!

hareega i did the survey but i have a comment for u an di hope u take it easily ;)
i like ur writing style alot but i feel embarassed reading some of those cursing words u put,i mean sometimes im into the story and liking it but comes a word and get me out of the mood where i feel embarassed or annoyed..
no hard feelings pal ;)
ur free to dio whatever u want but i thought since u asked us to be honest;)
good luck in ur next job

Hareega said...

anon... it was in internal medicine, heading towards infectious diseases

anonymous 2... note taekn, thanks a lot for posting your opinion

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