Thursday, June 16, 2011

How to get out post call; or How to be professionally unprofessional

I haven't posted anything in almost a month. See right now I'm doing a "Sub I" in my chosen specialty and they are taking no shortcuts on mercilessly beating the shit out of me.

See I'm on call literally every other day.  That means every day of my life, I'm either on call (staying over night with a pager and a sticker on my forehead that says, "your bitch") or post-call (the day after call, when you haven't slept).  This means that I've taken more call than any other human on earth in a 2 month period. Like seriously.

So with that experience, I'm going to take on one of the top 5 med student challenges. How to get out post-call. 

Often, post-call, residents and attendings don't actually realize you are post-call (or there).  Since you aren't calling the attendings and chiefs relentlessly all night, they don't know you are on hour 30; and the girl who took call with you is a real resident and has work hour restrictions, so she went home hours ago and can't get your back.  This leaves you in the awkward position of trying to get people to notice you are post-call without mentioning that you want to go home.  If you mention it, they may think you are uninterested and give you a bad grade for not working hard for 30+ straight hours like some sort of mortal. You need a strategy:

1. Pick one case from overnight and talk about it relentlessly. It will seem like you are super interested and also super there.  Try to use it in every conversation.  "Yeah, let's get lunch.  You know who else had lunch? That guy who came in at 2am when I was here.  I know so, because I took such a good history that I found out he ate Thai food, which isn't usual for him.  Might have caused his stroke.  Who knows."

2. Never shower.  This is tempting.  You feel disgusting and want to shower.  Also, you are disgusting.  But resist the urge.  Instead, put on a nice potent deoderant or axe body spray or serious perfume.  The mix of 30 hour musk and Red Zone makes someone think twice when you walk past.  They will say, "Is that kid homeless? Wait, maybe he was on call."  Goes without saying, do not brush your hair.  Just look like you tried to brush your hair, but gave up when you fell asleep in the bathroom.  Which I recommend.

3. Pick a post call look and stick to it.  I only wear glasses post call.  I never shave post call.  I chew gum aggressively post call.  If I could walk around without pants post call, I would.   Motherfucker, these glasses mean I haven't slept; stop asking me to fill out discharge documents.

4.  Save one task for the morning.  That way, when a resident says, "hey are you doing anything?  It's kind of scut work, but I have something for you." You can respond, "Yeah definitely! Let me just finish this post-op check from last night, then I'll be happy to do your paper work for you, you prick".  Leave that last part out, but the first part is gold.

5. Run.

6.  Ask if the coolest resident needs anything.  There is one resident who all his friends from home always say, "how the hell is he a doctor?"; that's your guy.  That guy channels his desire to go home into getting you home.  Find him (he has long hair and Nike kicks) and see if he needs anything.  His first thought when he sees you will be, "are you post call?" and then he will cover your ass while you sneak out before noon conference.

That's it for now. Since I'm post call writing this, I think it's only appropriate to post this in its raw form, unedited.  Also, I really need to post something.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Superb post.

By the way, I just found Ralph in my suitcase while packing for another trip, so he didn't get lost in the post. I'll get in touch soonish...sometime after I am in one place long enough to find out where you are and send him along.