jonah call

for some reason, it is common knowledge within the medical circle that wearing red guarantees a bad call. it’s a “jonah” colour, with jonah referring to someone or something that brings bad luck during our calls, making sure that the next 24 hours will be jam-packed with unfortunate events, robbing you of any sleep.

now, i’m not a superstitious person. i don’t believe in charms, unless they are part of a thomas sabo charm bracelet. i don’t believe in bad luck either. but i’ve been rather cautious during my first couple of calls. i’ve only worn black/white/brown and i’ve kept my favourite red shoes at home every time i’m on call.

except yesterday. i decided that since i was gonna be on OT call – meaning i’ll only be summoned whenever there’s an emergency surgery – and OT calls in my department are usually rather peaceful, i shall wear my red shoes to work.

big mistake. i was more or less stuck in the OT with one 2-hr surgery after another, with hardly any time for a break. i first walked into the OT at 830am on monday, and only left at 630am the next day. the longest gap in between surgeries was 2.5hrs, which i spent preparing for a morbidity and mortality presentation due this evening.

it would be an understatement to say that i was a zombie for the whole day yesterday. i was non-functional. it was a good thing i was allowed to use the day the prepare for the presentation, but i was in suboptimal condition to do even that. fell asleep at the record office while waiting for patient’s bed head tickets to be traced. fell asleep at the nurses’ counter while waiting for a pharmacist to return a call. fell asleep at 645pm the moment i came home after dinner.

and now i’m awake at 530am with a sore throat – oh yeah i forgot to mention i was coughing throughout my call…fun – and an incomplete presentation. which i have to give my MO before noon.

i’m not complaining about my job. there will be good calls and good post-call days, but there will also be bad ones like the one above. i’m still feeling the after-effects of it. think i will collapse at the end of the day as well. but yeah, i’m not complaining. i might not have known at the time of accepting “the scholarship that determined my whole life’s direction till age 35”, but i knew once i entered clinical school that this is how it will be.

i feel really sorry for my medical officers though. they shoulder a whole lot more responsibility and my immediate supervisor for the call was getting non-stop referrals, two of which turned out to require intensive care and emergency surgery. then there’s the anaesthesist medical officer, coincidentally my secondary school senior, who had back-to-back cases for the entire day.

all i had to do was answer whenever the nurses call me and be there to retract an abdominal wall or two, maybe hold an artery forcep, do a couple of sutures, and fill in some forms. that was all i had to do.

anyway, gonna get some breakfast and head to work a little earlier so i can finish up the presentation. i feel like taking medical leave and sleeping a little longer so i’d be a little more rested and then only hopping in to complete the presentation, but that would just be burning one day’s worth of paid leave.

we’ll see how i feel tomorrow once this madness is over.

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