Slowly you regain consciousness, wondering where you are. Are you in your call room? The surgery lounge? Has someone just paged you? Someone looking for emergency line access? No. You drift back to fitfull sleep. The scene repeats itself, each time with slightly less intensity.
In a depressed state of conscousness, you are awakened by a loud, insistent, MRRROWWW…. It’s your cat, Louise. You’re main squeeze. Squeeeezie you think to yourself, smiling. You grab her and squeeze her against your chest, a loud, purring, warm fuzzy ball of impatience. She tolerates your love for about 15 seconds, but all you can see in your mind’s eye is the blood streaming from a 16 year old’s face. A new driver who lost control of her car…answering her cell phone, changing a CD…
You were awakened at 1 AM for this young girl covered in blood. I’m supposed to be in charge you think to yourself. Thankfully, as most truamas do, this one begins to run itself. She’s not breathing well. Is the breathing tube too far down? The nurses are impatient to take her to the scanner. NO, you insist. A B Cs you think to yourself.Where is the attending? Why isn’t he helping me this time? Let’s pull her ET tube back, you tell the other residents. Finally, you see both sides of her chest rise. She’ll be OK, you think to yourself again. God I want this over with.
Once again, you open your eyes. This time both cats are hovering around you. Where am I? crosses your mind once again. They finally wake you, and you stumble to the first floor, feed the cats and take a shower. It’s 7pm, 12 hours after you’ve finished with your patient care responsibilities, but somehow, it’s hard to leave it all behind. You find your solace at the corner bar and watch Sunday night football…the cathartic nature of watching grown men pummel one another somehow makes you feel better. Oh, and so do the three local brews that serve as your dinner.