October 1, 2017

anatomy of a call


4:17 am
The tea kettle is singing and it's time to go camp out in the hospital.

6:46 am
After making a pit stop for caffeine and nyquil at a 24-hour pharmacy (doctors get sick, too), I'm at the hospital.  Got checkout from my colleague on all the patients and now it's time to start digging into their charts for there's always that possibility of a phone call.  So even though I've never seen any of these patients before, it's expected to know everything about them.  Hell, I expect myself to know them, regardless.

4:15 pm
Sure enough.  That call came.  And it came before rounds even started at 8 am.  "Is Mr Jones your patient?"  And 8 hours later I am called again to pronounce the patient's death.  While listening for silence, I close my eyes and I suddenly became aware of the absence of my mala beads.  So many times I rolled those well worn beads between my fingers during times of death and emotional turmoil.  The physicality of their sensation leaves a hole in my tactile senses.  But they broke.  Such is the way it goes.  I am tired but somehow my feet find their way to the chapel.  But it is not long before more calls come.  I am tired.  My body aches.  My sinuses are on fire.  And emotionally I feel an ache that is buried deep inside my bones.