thank goodness i woke up for this…

laughably, psych has call. the same rotation where i’m generally done around 11 am, has students stay overnight on the off chance a psych patient comes in, which usually only necessitates a history and physical and they’re admitted. this isn’t at all unlike the other professions except for the nature of the urgency in most psych instances.

nevertheless, we take very few calls for psych, and i just as well figured i might get some work done. i arrived at 5 pm and managed to not have a single call from my resident…it wasn’t until 2 am when my resident woke me up that anything happened. and by anything, i mean nothing. it was a very old, demented lady who was formerly combative at her nursing home.

you might ask “what’s the big deal?” well, i will share with you dear reader. the purpose of call for medical students is not to be slave to the resident. sure when we’re around we’ll help out the residents, but really our purpose is to learn, and in most instances call is one of the most valuable learning experiences. however, dementia is not the cream of the crop, especially with the majority of elderly patients having it. it’s especially not beneficial to be woken up when the same resident is the one who does the H&P, a job usually reserved for the student on call. albeit, it was interesting listening to the poor, old woman detail how she owned the nursing home building she lived in. “it’s an investment,” she said. she also told us how she was shocked we didn’t know her…afterall, there have been books written about her. [addendum: i should note that as i watch patients talk to other physicians, and i hear the patients say these things, my heart starts to get heavy – it’s funny to hear someone say such things because of the oddity, but when you really continue to watch and listen, it hurts you too.]

i might add that the last time i had eaten was 4 pm, approximately 10 hrs prior to being woken up.  no food combined with being abruptly awoken in the middle of rem sleep is not a good combination for me. i’m pretty sure the stress on my body decided to use the remainders of my body sugar, and i started developing some pretty bad hypoglycemia symptoms (nausea, weakness, etc).

it’s this type of occurrence that continually reminds me that when the day comes that i am in the opposite shoes…don’t wake the student. unless you decide to adopt the idea of a good friend of mine, “i’m not waking up the students unless it’s something really cool…like someone having their arm torn off.”

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One Response to “thank goodness i woke up for this…”

  1. You could argue that the fact that most elderly have it makes more, not less important to manage. Food for thought

    I always resented it more when I stayed overnight and didn’t get awakened, I mean, what is the point?

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