My Brain Feels Numb

It’s 1:30am and I’m 15+ hrs into my Saturday shift (now Sunday) that was supposed to end 3+ hrs ago. My brain has started to have that numb, tingly feeling that I imagine precedes fainting or a narcoleptic sleep attack. If I put my head down now it will not come back up for a while I know, so I press on. Why? Because it’s a Saturday night and the hospital couldn’t get one of the attendings to work because there is a motorcycling event in town this weekend that usually brings in its fair share of casualties. So admin in their infinite wisdom filled the shift with a physiatrist or rehab medicine doctor. This is his first shift to top it all off as well.

So I know I will be here for a while. The moonlighting doc is a nice man, very capable and talented in his field I am certain, but ER medicine is not rehab medicine. I don’t blame him, because he was probably told that it would be an easy night and that he might even catch an hour or two of sleep. The wonderful lies and pipe dreams that admin types like to tell to lure people out. So, because I don’t want this poor guy to get sued and because I love my night nursing staff too much than to leave them in this mess, I will keep dragging myself around the ER until sleep overtakes me or things stabilize out to a safe point.

But I find it interesting in such circumstances how my brain begins to feel. Almost like someone injected it with lidocaine if that has ever happened. Coffee won’t help, Red Bull would probably give me a stroke at this point and I’ve already had so much sugar that I feel like a kid with a stomach ache from eating so much Halloween candy. I think I need a good code to get my second wind.


12 Responses to My Brain Feels Numb

  1. TUNDE says:

    well numbness is a natural defense of the body, help us to survive all the difficulties is our lives.your friends, families and sickness. you become numb to the point that you do not feel the pain…or maybe you just give up and slowly transform yourself to be a robot so you will never feel again. It works …sometimes.

    The good thing is , you were able to write this blog for us, that shows the brain is still working. keep up the good work.

  2. Charlie says:

    Hi there,
    Where are you from? Is it a secret? πŸ™‚

    • ER Doc says:

      Hi Charlie – yes, I am guarding my true life πŸ™‚ In reality, I have been a lot of places across the US (locum tenens).

  3. blondedoc says:

    I feel so bad for you. I wonder if admin would think it was ok to send this moonlighting rehab doc to sub in on an appendicitis case when the surgeon couldn’t come in to do it. Why do they think it is acceptable to do this to their emergency department?

    • ER Doc says:

      You mean rehab docs don’t know how to do surgeries??? Whoa. LOL πŸ™‚ Where I work, we get a lot of very senior residents from one of the premier medical institutes in the world and they all think that just because they train at the ______ that they can handle it. It works out ok for me though, because I put it on my resume that I train doctors from the ______. And they get a healthy dose of respect for the ER in return. Not the worst deal out there I suppose (but I do agree with your point totally).

  4. Erica says:

    As a night ER nurse, I say ‘thank you.’ Lots of your physician colleagues look out for each other, try not to hand off too many patients as they end their shifts, try to get orders started for the oncoming doc… but it’s not all that often one of ’em takes into account the fallout that we deal with when all hell’s broken loose and the medical staff is flailing. Sure, we try to hold it all together while patients are yelling and moaning and spitting at us and whining about how long it’s taking and give us endless variations of “are we there yet?” – win some lose some – but we also lie for you (“I’m sorry you’re waiting so long, Mr. Smith, but Dr. Jones is down the hall stitching up a little boy who was mauled by a pitbull” when in reality we have no idea where you’ve disappeared to; we watch your backs on meds and allergies and forgotten orders and sometimes maybe offer up an idea you hadn’t thought of… And we appreciate physicians who trust our judgment, respect our experience and ask for our opinions, read our notes, and save us in small ways from the ineptitudes of their colleagues. (And coffee and chocolate once in a while don’t hurt!)
    Thank you, from the trenches.

  5. ER Doc says:

    Thanks for your kind comment Erica – I do know how you must feel and I do always try to remember all the good things you do for us docs and to make sure i protect you from whatever evil I can in return. Not only is it a part of teamwork, but its part of being a friend and I consider the whole team as friends.

  6. William Sole says:

    Blogging keeps me insane. Keep up all the positive work. I too love to blog. I found this one to be very informative

  7. Eric Gieseke says:

    i thank you for being in the twilight
    and for doing what matters most

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