An 80 hour work week, averaged over a 4-week period. (John's averaging 90+ lately.)
One day in 7 free from all educational and clinical responsibilities, averaged over a 4-week period. (He's had 2 days off in the last 28.)
Continuous on-site duty, including in-house call, must not exceed 24 consecutive hours. (Only one violation this month, but that's still strike 3.)
Now, inspired by Monica, I've decided to apply economic theory to explain exactly why residency sucks. (I briefly considered majoring in economics. The intro courses were interesting, but, due to the somniferous stylings of Prof. Kraus in Macro Theory, I ran screaming for the English Department.) Here we go!
Last night's subway ride home was uneventful; less crowded, but still a heavy police presence. "Great," I thought, "the Democratic Convention's almost over and things'll get back to normal around here." I felt too lazy tired to walk the 2 miles home. Surprisingly, John was both home and awake when I called; sweetie that he is, he picked me up at the station.
"Well, the DNC came to our house tonight," he said wryly as I got into the car.
"What happened?" I thought he was speaking metaphorically, referring to some Convention-related personal inconvenience (the traffic jam that made his long day even longer, the low-flying surveillance helicopters that scare the bejesus out of me, etc.)
"On our porch. When I got home, there were people from the DNC on our porch."
I was on the phone with my sister the other day and heard my 7-year-old nephew ask a question in the background. I couldn't make out what he said, but she answered him with "Probably not today. Maybe over the weekend."
He wanted to know when I was coming to visit, which really tugged at my heartstrings. (Yes, I've got a set.) I babysat for him (and his older sister) almost every weekday for 3 years, so I get withdrawal symptoms when I don't see them for a few weeks. But the wheels started turning in my head. It was only noon, and one of the rare days that I had the car. Perfect!
"I can come up today. I'll take him to the pool for a couple of hours."
"But what about the Convention? You'll never get home!" They live north of Boston, so the prospect of lane restrictions, shutdowns, and clogged detour roads was daunting. Traffic makes me twitchy under the best of circumstances.
"Damn. You're right. I won't be up anytime before Saturday. Tell him it's the Goddamn Democrats' fault!"
One of the joys of living in a 19th century money pit charming Victorian is that the house has "character." You know, wide-plank floors, pretty moldings, drafty windows, highly original plumbing, antiquated electrical system....
We've put blood, sweat and tears (literally) into making this place liveable. John's gotten a few cuts and bruises, but the weird stuff seems to happen to me. I put my hand through a window in a bizarre sanding accident. I fell off a ladder and into a bucket of steaming-hot water while scrubbing 30 years' worth of nicotine residue from the walls. I hopped around like a madwoman, trying to get my steaming-hot shoe off, while John tried valiantly not to laugh. (Admittedly, it was pretty funny, but I was rather peeved at the time.) In the Kitchen Monsoon Incident, a washing machine hose burst spontaneously while I was having a cup of tea.
Fast forward several years. Same kitchen, which could use a coat of paint and some more shelves. Stasis at last, I thought, making myself a nice cup of tea. All the structural improvements have been made, so maybe I can justify a little cosmetic work. I contemplated the best use of our limited home improvement budget, and tried to soothe my jittery dog. (Evening Walkies had been punctuated by a DNC-related Coast Guard helicopter flying very low, so we were both a little jumpy.)
BANG! The ceiling fan shorted out, the momentum of the fan blades blowing sparks and smoke all over the kitchen. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. An appliance failure, right on cue. Every time I've made plans for improvements, something more urgent has come up (plumbing problems, car repairs, etc.) There goes my bookshelf, I mused, trying to coax my freaked-out dog out from under John's desk.
But I am going to paint this damned kitchen. So if you'll excuse me, I need to go euthanize the microwave.
Since I rarely watch network news, I'm glad I found Galen's Log. Otherwise I would have missed John Stossel's piece on John Edwards, Ambulance Chaser. (Yes, I'm Google-baiting.)
Edwards made something like $26 million in four years of ambulance chasing. This makes me want to punch the next person who makes a remark about "rich doctors." Where's the resentment against rich lawyers?
Once my husband's residency is over, I want to put aside a Frivolous Lawsuit Smackdown Fund and retaliate against these underhanded bastards. Another physician I know and love has been named in a lawsuit for something that happened a full year before he set foot in the United States. He now has to spend time and money proving he had nothing to do with the alleged incident. This is not an "oversight" or "clerical error" on the part of the plaintiff's attorneys; it's a deliberate tactic. They cast a wide net, hoping that people will just settle to avoid the hassle.
Well, that won't work on this family, because I'm a bitch with time on my hands.
I originally wrote this at about 1:00 am, so I've cleaned it up a little. New rule of thumb: don't blog when exhausted. Duh.
Let me preface this by stating that I've inherited a degree of my father's Cold War paranoia. In the early 1960s, he served in the Army Intelligence Corps, mostly in Germany. He did background checks, so his knowledge of what the government (or anyone else) can find out about you has made him rather touchy about his personal information. Anything that smacks of "Ja, show me your papers" really ticks him off. (Costco Membership Clerk: "May I have your Social Security number, sir?" Dad: "No!" Costco Membership Clerk: "But I need it for your membership number." Dad: "You don't need it for any transaction without federal tax consequences! Make one up!" Exit poller: "Who'd you vote for?" Dad: "None of your goddamn business! Exit polls are a threat to democracy!") I'm a bit touchy about such things myself. My phone number is unlisted, I use pseudonyms on my blog, and I keep my Social Security number off my driver's license, checks, health insurance ID, etc.
So, given my inclinations, did it bother me to have my bag searched Thursday night?
John: Hi! Who's that character who's covered in fur and wears sneakers?
John (turned away from the phone): Gossamer!
John (back into the phone): Thanks! And the whole OR thanks you. Love you! Bye! (Click.)
Perhaps it's best not to contemplate what's happening in that operating room right now.
You are an SEDF--Sober Emotional Destructive Follower. This makes you an evil genius. You are extremely focused and difficult to distract from your tasks. With luck, you have learned to channel your energies into improving your intellect, rather than destroying the weak and unsuspecting.
Your friends may find you remote and a hard nut to crack. Few of your peers know you very well--even those you have known a long time--because you have expert control of the face you put forth to the world. You prefer to observe, calculate, discern and decide. Your decisions are final, and your desire to be right is impenetrable.
You are not to be messed with. You may explode.
OK, "evil genius" is amusing, and most of the second paragraph is dead-on. But the actual scores/categories threw me for a loop. I thought my numbers on wackiness and rationality were low. My sense of humor, while black, is a huge part of me, and I'm married to the world's biggest goofball. (I mean that in the best possible way, Sweetie.) And I'm very rational! (Well, most of the month, anyway....) "Constructiveness?" I'm not actively destructive, but sometimes "live and let live" means "sit back and watch the carnage." I let go of the Messiah complex a long time ago. And I don't buy into the leader/follower dichotomy. No, I'm not a leader, but I'm not a follower, either. I do what I think is right. If other people join in, lovely. If not, that's fine too, as long as they don't expect me to subsidize their endeavors or drink the Kool-Aid.
Maybe I should work on the leadership thing, though. After all, what's an evil genius without minions?