Saturday, July 03, 2004


I'm jolted awake by a piercing, mechanized beeping.

I must have nodded off.

I silence the pager and look at my watch. 2:48am. I've been asleep for 23 minutes.

My back is stiff and my neck is sore from falling asleep in the cafeteria chair. The microwaved burrito is now cold. And congealed. I toss it in the trash as I make it over to the phone.

It's the radiology resident. "Hey man, have you seen ICU 18's CT scans?"

"No. I'm just the guy on call tonight. I didn't even know he had any scans. Why, what is it?"

Apparently a man with a severely traumatized right leg seen earlier this evening underwent bilateral leg CT's on admission. However, it took the radiology resident 7 hours to get to the scans and then call me in panic because of air in the subcutaneous tissue. A significant finding which indicates that the patient likely has a clostridium infection. At the very least he'll have severe scarring. Worse yet, he'll either lose that leg, or his life, if surgical debridement is not done immediately.

I rub the sleep out of my eyes and let out a yawn. My body aches. I plod upstairs back to the ICU to consent this man for an emergent operation in the middle of the night.

I've got 3 more hours of call left. I wish I hadn't fallen asleep. I feel more disheveled now. And on top of that, my friggin dinner got cold. And inedible.

Being on call sucks.