Saturday, July 19, 2008

I am on call for internal medicine teams. I should be sleeping right now, between pages informing me of random numbers (sats, oxygen requirements, blood sugars) about patients I haven't met. But I seem to be too keyed up and there is a computer in the on call room, convenient for those people that can actually use it to enter orders etc (as a clerk I need someone to verify everything me so it is not so useful).

For those non-medical types out there let me explain briefly:

Internal teams is in house call. Which means I am in a room in the basement of the hospital that looks a little like a rather nice room at a hostel, or a really crappy hotel, or a sparsely stocked bunker. Aside from the computer, there is a lamp that doesn't work and a phone - the other implement they give us to make sure that we can respond to any page within minutes. I still have to search out some blankets so the single bed only has a small pillow on it.

I am on with a junior resident from my team (go gold! I was told they switched numbers to colours to distinguish the teams because team one would get all the patients) and a senior that is over seeing us and the resident from green team. I or the junior get messages from the units about patients that our admitted under our team (at last that is the theory, about 1/3 of the calls I get are actually about the other team). Sometimes it is just a phone number to call back, other times it is a very short text about some concern. Other times it seems like random numbers and letters. Like "Pt DW c/s 13 sat89 ventolin?" (*Not an actual page, just representative*). Believe me when I say this doesn't make sense even if you know what the short hand is.

At least I am not the junior resident. They can enter orders so they also get all the "can we get a gravol prn order for so and so" calls as well. All very necessary but not what you want to be woken up with 5 minutes after laying your head down.

Our other duty is admits. The senior residents takes consults from emergency and, if they think they should be admitted to internal medicine, we go and take a full history, do a physical exam and take a guess at what we should do with them. In the best case it is 9pm and we are the third medical person (after the ER doc and senior resident) to talk to them. More likely it is midnight or later and we could be the 5th or 6th (after a ER resident, the ER staff, the senior, another specialist or two). I was 5th in line today. So the very nice lady with shortness of breath was being rather patient answering my questions 2-3 words at a time in between her gasping inspirations.

And I get to do it all again the day after tomorrow... no I mean tomorrow because it is already tomorrow today... you know what I mean.

1 comment:

Dragonfly said...

Must be about 4 weeks to go now??? Hope all is going well.