Friday, February 10, 2006


"Hey! You just blew through that 'STOP' sign!"

With that, I awoke from my haze to see that, indeed, I failed to stop and just drove through a 4-way stop without even slowing down. Thankfully, no accidents occurred. I looked over at Nathalie, who looked appropriately alarmed at my blatant traffic violation.

I, too, was a bit alarmed. "Wow. I really shouldn't be driving..." I mumbled sleepily. I mimed my apologies to the other drivers through my windshield. They simply glared back.

I had been awake for 34 straight hours, of which 15 were spent completing three back-to-back transplant operations and 5 spent procuring those organs from a organ donor. After a very tough and enduring day at work, I was on my way home after having lunch with my wife, and in this sleep deprived state, we nearly became organ donors* ourselves.

Being severely sleep deprived is like being drunk. Certain details are missed, judgement is clouded, and logic becomes impaired. Hell, it's taking me over half an hour trying to write this entry. And to think that I'm required to operate and perform my "regular" work day duties the next day after being on call overnight and awake for 24 hours is absurd. There's been a nationwide push to reform this accepted dictum of residency, and some improvements have been made, but it is far from perfect.

One of my favorite stories is of a colleague of mine, who after a terribly exhausting and demanding call period, went to sit down on the couch in the doctor's lounge for a minute. But as he was about to sit, his pager fell off of his waist and rolled under the couch. So with much grunting and show of anguish, he got down on his hand and knees to retrieve his pager. But it had rolled a bit of a distance under the couch, which necessitated in him having to lie down flat and stretch out his arm under the couch to grab it.

He actually had to crawl under the couch a bit to get to the pager, and as he was struggling to grab his pager, he simply passed out from exhaustion in that position: His arm and part of his head under the couch with his legs sprawled out, on the floor of the doctor's lounge.

Being that it was the weekend and nobody was around, several hours went by before he was discovered. The housekeeper that found him initially thought foul play was at hand and called hospital security.

Another colleague of mine fell asleep while taking the elevator up to round on his patients. Just leaned into the corner of the elevator, closed his eyes to rest them for a minute while he was on his way up to the 10th floor, and that was it. The strange thing was that nobody bothered to wake him up as he rode that elevator up and down until he awoke about 10 minutes later.

Anyways, sorry about the lack of updated posts. It's been a long day at work. I've been awake since 5am Wednesday. It's now 11pm Friday. I'm headed to bed.

Good night!

(*As previously mentioned in prior posts, I'm not an organ donor.)