As the surgical SHO, one of my jobs from time to time is to act as the receiving surgeon. On those weeks, I see all the patients who come into hospital with a potentially surgical problem and implement an initial plan, then I try to keep them straight both in my head and on my obsessive list so that I can present them to the consultant on the ward round and some actual decisions can be made. In the between times, I call my registrar a lot. One of us does that all day. One of us does it all night. Those are the weeks when I really don’t sit down much.
With a patient in ED, going through my usual list of “and now I’m going to ask a few general questions that might seem irrelevant but I ask everyone just to make sure I’ve not missed anything” questions:
ME: Any tummy upsets or problems with the bowels?
ME: Any trouble with the waterworks?
PATIENT: … well, not really, but … now that you come to mention it … there was a day last week when I went to the loo after work and I realised that it was the first time I’d been since I left the house in the morning … and that’s not normal, is it?
ME: Huh. Really?
In evening handover, with a very lovely and enthusiastic third year medical student who had asked where we might best be found when they came in the following day.
ME: It depends. At about what time are you going to come in?
STUDENT: I’m not sure. What time do you come in?
ME: I come in at eight. Don’t.
STUDENT: At eight o’clock in the morning?
STUDENT: Have you been here since eight o’clock this morning?
ME: Um. Yes?
STUDENT: But… How?!