I've decided that I don't like being OtherDoc for the week. I seriously don't know how that man functions with so many patients! This whole weekend has been overtaken by OtherDoc's patients, and I feel like I am a resident again with deliveries and emergencies around the clock! I got called away from Thanksgiving dinner to do an emergency surgery on a second trimester miscarriage that hemorrhaged half of her blood volume in the ED. What a terrible experience for this poor woman. She was OtherDoc's patient, scared to death, and she didn't know me from some idiot off the street...as evidenced by her query, "So, have you ever *done* this before?" I guess I understand her concern, but criminy! She had already been started with a transfusion in the ER. The surgery went really well, and the source of her bleeding was a retained placenta. I kept her overnight to observe her blood levels, and fortunately they stabilized. What a horrible Thanksgiving for her, though.
The multiple hits kept on coming through Thursday evening, between the ER and OB triage, I think I was paged every 1-2 hours. Not very conducive to rest, I might add! Earlier in the week, I had gotten the early morning (5 am) bathroom report two mornings in a row from one of OtherDoc's patients, QuestionWoman. I was treated to a fantastical description of the appearance of QW's mucus when she wiped (clear with a few brown spots if you must know). I was thrilled beyond belief to tell this woman (not a first time mother, either) how normal she was, both mornings. Fast forward to 1 am on Friday morning when I got the ruptured water report, followed by the question of what to do? (Hmmm, I wonder?) I pushed back my jaded cynicism and tried to be a pleasant and understanding sleep-deprived physician. I put my very best phone voice on and urged her to get up to OB triage, and then silently prayed that she had peed. No such luck, the call came in from triage at 2:30 am, she was definitely ruptured.
CindyLou's daycare was closed on Friday, and in an unprecedented show of optimism, I had figured that I would be able to bring her to round at the hospital, then spend the majority of the day at home, having mother-daughter time. Well, that all went out the window with a labor patient, so I asked Mr. Whoo to take CindyLou to his office during my rounds, where I would pick her up in between rounding and delivering QW. I discharged the one patient that had the miscarriage, and got QW tucked in with her epidural right around 10 am. I was about to fly to Mr. Whoo's office to pick up the munchkin and get her home for lunch when I received the wonderful news that another of OtherDoc's patients was in triage with ruptured membranes. "That's funny!" I told the triage nurse, "Great joke." Only she wasn't joking. Ok, make that two labor patients. I called Mr. Whoo back and broke the news that it was he that got to keep CindyLou for the work day, and I felt terrible. He was his ever-gracious self, though. I love that man.
Long story, short, between the two labor patients and multiple triage visitors and admissions(some of whom were actually *my* patients), I was at the hospital until about 6:30 Friday evening. I got to see CindyLou for about an hour before she was ready for bed. I stayed up until around 10:30 or so, more just to decompress from the day than anything, and I then became as dead to the world. I was awakened by tiny fingers on my arm at 1:45 in the morning. In my sleep fogged brain, I didn't question the rarity of a middle of the night venture into our bedroom, I simply began to lift CindyLou into the bed...and then I touched something damp on her PJs. That smelled like vomit. (Mental note to self, do quick puke check on darling child *prior* to lifting her into your own bed and fouling your own sheets.) The poor thing had vomit all over the front of her PJ's. The smell was just a little too much for my super-sensitive nostrils, and it triggered my extra-sensitive gag reflex. Before I made my own mess, I handed her off to Mr. Whoo, composed myself, and set about cleaning the bed.
Vomit was *everywhere;* on her pillow, on the side of the bed, and piled on the floor. I couldn't believe that we didn't hear her puking on the monitor. I felt like a really bad mommy. Between the two of us, with Mr. Whoo dealing with most of the vomit clean up due to my constant gagging, we got CindyLou cleaned up, clothes changed, hair washed, her bed remade, and tucked her back into bed. Then we changed our own bed and puke tainted clothes, and were back in bed by 2:30. Cue the pager at 3:16 am. ( I am not kidding.) One of my patients (1 of the the remaining 2 due this month) was in triage, a mere 8 cm dilated. I was out of the bed, dressed, and back at the hospital by 3:45 am. The patient delivered her baby in about 15 minutes, and sustained a partial 4th degree tear in the process, despite my best efforts. Ah, there's just nothing like fixing a 4th degree on a woman without an epidural at 4 am. Fun times.
I finished the delivery, and dragged myself to the nurses' station to write orders, where I was greeted with more wonderful news that OtherDoc had yet another term patient in triage, who had (you guessed it!) ruptured membranes. I considered dissolving into a raving, sputtering heap at that very instant, but somehow kept it together enough to find out her stats and determine that I could, at least, go back home and sleep in my own bed for a few hours. I drove, zombie-like, back home, narrowly missed hitting a deer, and fell into my bed at about 5:15 am. At this point, sleep was fitful and disjointed, and punctuated with pages at 7 and 9 am. OtherDoc's patient was requesting an epidural, so I dragged myself out of bed and back to the hospital by 10:30 am. I rounded on a gazillion patients, admitted yet another one of OtherDoc's patients with ruptured membranes (are you seeing the pattern, here?) for a repeat C-Section, did the C-section, caught a baby, and made my way back home in time to watch my Seminoles blow opportunity after opportunity to beat the hated Gates. I don't think I did much more than stare blankly at the TV for the remainder of Saturday. I was too tired to even nap. Mr. Whoo is amazing, and he had the whole kitchen cleaned up, and even did laundry all day yesterday. He is Superman.
I had a few more pages for wanna-be labor contenders last night, but no further admissions, thank you, lord. I still have 7 or 8 patients to round on today, and 5 o'clock (when OtherDoc starts taking his own patients again) cannot get here fast enough. Unfortunately, I'll not have much of a reprieve this week. I have a few inductions, a few surgeries, and full clinic days looming ahead. Thank goodness for a weekend off in the not too distant future. I can't keep this frantic pace; I am getting too old for this!