Tuesday, September 01, 2009

My Anti-Buddy And Me

Walking to the gym today to tone my perfect body, I noticed I was missing something. Not my confident swagger, nor my boyish charm. Somehow, my right hip felt lighter than it had in some time. Did I forget my gun and holster, as I planned to attend a town hall after pumping some iron so I could pump some bullets into liberals hippie bastards and their "keeping people healthy" crap? Or maybe my crackberry, yearning to review all the spam emails that normally would be waiting for me to review at a set time before I succumbed to an instant gratification culture that we find ourselves in curr-oh, nevermind.

Instead, what I found was that I was missing the clunky black pager I had been sporting 24/7 for the month of August while on “jeopardy”. As explained earlier, this rotation afforded me the opportunity to be forever on-call, filling in for sick, absent, or otherwise miserable residents in any capacity at a moment’s notice (or at least within an hour). Practically, this meant that no matter where I went, no matter what I did, no matter how I was humiliating myself at any moment in time, I had to have my pager and cell phone with me at all times just in case my services were needed. To say that this was awful would be somewhat of an understatement, akin to stating that the current Southern California wildfires are just a little burn, or that propofol as a treatment for insomnia might be a tiny bit of a bad idea.

When I went to the gym, I had my pager on me. When I went to the market, I had my pager on me. When I went to bed at night, I put my pager, at its loudest beeping cacophonous craptitude, on my nightstand, waiting for that moment at 3 AM when I would be awoken from a blissful dream involving Baja Fresh and Natalie Portman (so disturbing that I will spare the details, but let’s just say it involves the green sauce, a Padme costume, and a lot of melted cheese) to deal with the overflow crackheads, drunks, and demented people needing a home at my delightful county hospital.

The irony of this experience was that, now that it is all over, I can say that I only allotted a total of 29.5 hours of time as a jeopardy resident. I was only called in twice the whole month, serving 18 hours one time and 11.5 hours the second time. This is in comparison to the poor saps on jeopardy in July, who were logging roughly 50-60 hours a week for the month (in addition to their regular Monday to Friday 9-5 rotation). The rest of the month was, in some sense, completely free (save a radiology rotation that required sparse attendance). And by free I mean I could not travel any farther than an hour from any of the major hospitals in my city that we rotate through, I could not even inhale the fumes of alcohol, and I could not sit through the most recent vapid wasteland that is Entourage without thinking halfway through that I was going to be paged away before finding out which random girl was going to show her boobs in that episode.

I realize this all may sound a bit petty and whiny, which I admit it is (especially since, again, I barely got called in). But what this month taught me is a) clearly I am neurotic because I can’t stop thinking about my pager potentially going off and b) I never, ever want a job where I am perpetually on-call. I can’t imagine living my life this way, and I can think of nothing more liberating than being able to put my pager down, turn it off, and enjoy some quality time away from the real ball-and-chains in life: work.


Blogger WanabeMD said...

Oh, the Joys of being on call. My Search and Rescue job requires us to be on call 24/7/365. But, we only have to respond to 66% of calls in a 12 month period. Its not too bad, we always have the hike in to sober up...

6:31 PM  
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3:40 AM  
Anonymous Zac said...

Good to see you writing again!

And pagers are the worst form of invention mankind has ever made. 's why I went into ER :)

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

glad to have ya back!

10:39 PM  

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