Thursday, October 13, 2005


Nathalie: [Mumbling with sleepiness while nudging me] Baby, your pager went off.

Groaning with a combination of aggravation, exhaustion, and sleepiness, I reach for my pager in the dark. I flip on the little light to view the number. It's the ER. I look at the clock: 4:02am. I just got back from the hospital after performing an emergent operation and I've been asleep for about 2 hours. I try to shake off my sleep as I dial the phone.

Somebody: [Sing-song happy voice answers] Hello, ER.

Me: Hi... [yawn] I'm returning a page for surgery.

Dr. L: [still with that annoying sing-song voice] Oh hi, this is Dr. L. I just paged you to see if you would call back.

[Whoa... what?! I'm a bit more awake now]

Me: [disbelief] What? I'm sorry, I didn't hear you correctly.

Dr. L: Yes. I just wanted to see if you would call back if I paged you. There's a potential trauma out there and I wanted to see if you were available.

[I'm stunned into silence]

[I can't think straight]

Dr. L: Hello?

Me: [I roar] You paged me and woke me up at 4 in the morning just to see if I would call back?!

Dr. L: [voice no longer so sing-song] Uh... yes.

I wanted to reach through the phone and strangle this man.

A "potential trauma"? Potential trauma?! At every moment of the day there's a potential trauma. Actually, that's why I'm on call. But I'm here to take care of "actual" traumas. If a "potential" trauma does occur and actually comes in to our ER, it turns into an "actual" trauma and I can go help the "actual" trauma.

I simply hung up the phone, grumbled something under my breath as not to wake up Nathalie, turned over, and tried to go back to sleep.