I am surrounded by the tick, tick, tick of the second hand as it wraps it's way around to 12 again. I start to understand why the psych hold room doesn't have a clock. The ER is empty and I am trying to catch up on the latest issue of
I wipe the slimy wetness off my cheek with the back of my hand and then wonder if I remembered to wash my hands after I cleaned the diarrhea off the edge of the stretcher in Room 3. Shrugging my shoulders, I step over to the back counter and guzzle down the remainder of my hot Diet Coke from 3 hours ago. Sally from Housekeeping is looking at me with a wary eye. I think I may look a slight bit possessed. She shuffles off into the ortho room to restock the closet and then disappears.
Dr. Q is nowhere to be found. I assume he has hit the sleep room with his blankie and a good book. I wonder why the doctors get to sleep during their 12 hour shift but the nurses do not. It seems like a slightly unfair working condition and I ponder staging a sleep-in to alert administration to the needs of the nursing staff. This thought is quickly discarded as I realize I drooled all over Dwayne Johnson's face in the magazine. Poor guy.
I haven't had a patient in 3 hours. Three hours that have passed over what feels like a solid month long stretch. Wandering slowly from room to room I straighten linens, restock cupboards, and organize the cords hanging off all the cardiac monitors. My muscles ache with fatigue and I feel like I am walking through the sludge of slowly drying concrete. It crosses my mind for the 5000th time that evening that I hate working night shift and will never volunteer for one again.
I sit back down at the desk and stare aimlessly into space, my mouth hanging half open and my arms flopped at my sides. "I wish I had something to do," I say to the walls.
Never wish for something to do in an ER. Seriously.
I am started out of my zombie like state by the EMS tones......."Head on collision on State Route 48. 2 victims, multiple injuries."
And so it begins.........