Friday, August 3, 2007

Three more working days

T.G.I.F. Thank goodness it is Friday! For most of America, Friday signifies the end of the work week. Joy permeates the work place as almost everyone prepares for the weekend. As a physician on call my weekend sentiments are summed up by the phrase "only three more working days until Monday."

Weekends on call can be back achingly busy or mindless dull (less so with Internet access) but the fact is I will eat with, sleep with and carry my beeper to the bathroom for the next seventy two hours. Since I am in a specialty that requires me to be close to the hospital it is difficult to make plans that cannot be dropped at a moments notice.

There was a time in my life when having a beeper and later, when they became available, a cell phone, gave me a feeling of importance and limited freedom. My services were so necessary that I must be accessible twenty-four hours a day. Today beepers and cell phones are common place and there is much less mystic surrounding those who carry them. Now I look forward to times when I am not required to be readily available and I can turn these devices off or leave them at home.

There was also a time when my beeper going off or the phone at home ringing made my stomach lurch with the thought that some disaster required my attention. Now I am more calm, a veteran of twenty years of on-call nights, weekends and holidays. I still reach a point, especially when I am tired that the sound of my beeper causes a wave a nausea to come over me. I may be pleasantly surprised to look at the message and find something that can be cured with a phone call.

In twenty plus years of private practice have also learned to look around, seeing the plight of others. The nursing staff, ward secretaries and house keeping are right there with me. With much less freedom than I, they are required to remain in the hospital at their post for their entire shift while I get to leave when the task is done. Even outside the hospital a number of stores are now open twenty four hours a day requiring clerks to staff them. Many in the service sector such as police and fire personnel work nights and weekends. What about those women and men in Iraq? I bet they would love to get some time off on Monday.

With three more working days until Monday, I am lucky to have a job which is rarely routine and frequently intellectually stimulating. There will also be at least one and probably several very grateful people who will need my services this weekend. Next weekend? Someone else will have the beeper and I will be thankful for the time for fun.
Three more working daysSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

No comments: