I think it’s fair to say that post call days in the medical world aren’t all they are cracked up to be. After a 24 hour shift, regardless of how many “naps” someone got in, you will never convince me that person is fully functional. Mr. Dr. used to look forward to post call days because it’s time in the daylight that he isn’t in the hospital which is a nice, strange phenomenon. Turns out, the grass isn’t greener on the other side. I used to not believe Mr. Dr. on the days he would come home and say he didn’t sleep a wink during the whole shift. How could he really go that long without sleep? Then I noticed his behavior over the next 24-48 hours following the shift and I realized what he said had to be true. It’s hard to describe unless you live with someone who works these kinds of crazy hours but it’s like they turn into a different person…or rather a different being. They are in a fog almost. They take a seat for the first time in hours and the eyes are shut within seconds. They wake up after a few hours of napping on what the hospital calls “their day off” when it’s really supposed to be the equivalent of their night time sleep. It never is. They sleep for a few hours and wake up in a delirium. If anyone else is like my Mr. Dr. he never wants to waste a day so rather than really catch up on the rest, he only naps and then carries on with the rest of the day as if he is superman. Then that evening he crashes yet again after some crankiness which is unrecognizable to him of course, and voila I lose him early to the zzz’s. This is why I feel like post call days are ineffective. Sure they are nice for the times he can suck it up and muscle through it to enjoy the “day off” but if that happens, the next day is spent in even more delirium because it’s essentially two days of no sleep. That third day is deadly. And if he can’t suck it up because he reaches the point of total exhaustion he ends up sleeping the entire day, waking up for a quick dinner and then back to bed, only to get up at 5am to go back to work. It is a vicious cycle that can’t seem to get broken when he is on a rotation that requires 24 hour call.
This is why come March 2014, I am very much looking forward to him never having to be in-house for it again. Ever. That doesn’t mean he might not get called in and be there for almost the same amount of time. It’s just nice to know it won’t be a staple in the schedule.
And of course…linking up with for November Medical Monday.