Thursday, November 27, 2008

Reason #968 Why I Will Never Take a Job with On-call Shifts Again (*)

Scene: Approximately six months ago, 7:30am, Saturday morning. I have to be at the hospital for treatments on the in-patients at 9. I’m in the shower, naked, with shampoo in my hair. The Nextel phone, which goes no further than two feet away from me all weekend, rings. I shut off the water and grab the phone, hoping that I’m not going to shock myself as I drip suds all over it.

Me: “This is Dr. B.” (Subtext: This had better be really important.)
Hospital receptionist: “Are you in the hospital?” (It’s always a really bad sign when the call starts out like this.)
Me: “Nope, I’m at home. What’s up?”
Receptionist: “We just had a client walk in with a rabbit.” Pause. “It doesn’t look very good.”

(For those unfamiliar with the hospital, having the receptionist tell you that something doesn’t look good means that it’s pretty much dying in the lobby. I had a client come in once with a seizuring bird and the receptionist didn’t mention it.)

Me: (Shivering in the shower, doing calculations on how fast I can get the soap out of my hair, get dressed and drive without being pulled over.) "I’m at least twenty minutes away. Can you get whoever’s on small animal emergency to triage and I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
Receptionist: “Okay.” She hangs up.

I put the dripping phone back down on the back of the toilet and turn the water on full blast to get most of the soap off. I decide to skip the jeans in favor of scrubs since I’ll be seeing a client the minute I get there, so I run out of the bathroom to grab the clean scrubs off the dryer, thus letting the cats into the bathroom.

At this point I’m rushing around getting dressed, brushing my hair, brushing my teeth, and in general opening and closing drawers much more quickly than usual, which leads to Ripley getting his foot closed in the drawer. He compounds the problem by jumping off the counter (with his foot still stuck in the drawer) and ends up hanging in the air by one leg. By the time his foot is unstuck, he’s not putting any weight on the leg.

There aren’t any bones sticking out, but I’ll be gone at least eight hours, so Ripley is now coming to the hospital with me. I shove him into a carrier and run out to the car. Total time since phone call: less than ten minutes.

As I’m going 85 mph on the freeway, I call the hospital.

Me: “Hey, it’s Dr. B. Can you let small animal emergency know that I’m on my way in with one of my cats – he got his foot stuck and is now non-weight bearing on the leg.”
Receptionist: “Okay, I’ll let them know.”
Me: “How’s the rabbit?”
Receptionist: “Oh, it died right after I talked to you.”

And yes, I got charged an emergency fee for my cat.


(*) I know, I know, “never say never”, “it’s not over ‘til the fat lady sings”, blah blah blah. However, to put this in perspective, here are some things that would actually be strong enough incentives:
1) Cure for cancer,
2) Neil Patrick Harris becomes straight and only wants me when I’m on call,
3) Approximately $1,000,000/minute (tax-free) for a two hour shift, followed by early retirement.


Eric said...

You never told us the rabbit died.

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

Ugh. You're off my Christmas card list for that joke.