Call On Me
Last night was my first night on call.
It wasn’t too bad. I was really nervous going in, as I usually am with things I’ve never done before. Being a new doctor is kind of like being a new parent. You have no idea what you’re doing, but you have to pretend that you do because they can smell fear.
I took the beeper at 6pm and it didn’t go off until around 7. A friend of mine who is a second-year resident stayed to help me through it, which was good because the ER is kind of confusing if you don’t know your way around. It was a toothache, so I took an x-ray, gave the patient a prescription for pain meds, and told her to come back when the clinic was open to have the tooth extracted.
Then I didn’t get any more pages. I started to get bored. My friend suggested that I bedazzle the beeper and then hand it off the next day as if it had always looked like that. I seriously contemplated it, but in the end I went to the bar across the street with a few friends (not to drink, okay, gawd) and around 9:30 I figured I could head for home. I stood up.
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!
Of course. I smashed the beeper, I mean, I called the ER and they said a patient was there with a broken front tooth. I went back to the hospital. When I brought the patient in, he looked me up and down doubtfully and gave me one of my least favorite (but most common) lines: “uh… you’re the doctor?”
He was adamant that he didn’t want me to do anything if he was going to be charged (okay, so, why’d you come in?) but finally he let me take a look and the fracture wasn’t far down enough to affect the nerve, so I told him he could see his regular dentist in the morning. He said, “oh, sorry, I hope you didn’t come in just to see me!” which was nice of him to say but honestly, I really don’t do too much hanging around the ER just for funsies at 10pm.
So it went as well as I could have hoped. My mom stayed with Caroline (I totally took advantage by doing my grocery shopping at 10:30pm) and thankfully the beeper didn’t go off during the night. Now all I’ve got to do is make sure I hand off the beeper early enough that I can run to daycare before it closes.
I think I can do it– successfully balance a residency with single motherhood. As long as I have a little help, of course. It’s a pretty good feeling.