Friday, October 23, 2009

A Little Bit of Sunrise

One of the reasons I often write about watching the slow waking of the world from the window in my study, is because so many cannot. I have a friend who may, just now, be looking out a hospital window after a long night on-call, weary and bleary-eyed -- she would like this view. Too tired to sleep, too much to do to contemplate it anyway, the coffee in the nursing station might as well be water for all the good it does, so she settles for a window and a little bit of sunrise.

She checks her watch, hoping her replacement doesn't oversleep and arrive late because she still has notes to write and there are six ER admissions waiting for transfer to the medical floors. One is in restraints, having been convinced by PCP he was invincible, an argument none of the seven who held held him down for sedation found persuasive. His wildly flailing fist narrowly missed her jaw before a security officer nicknamed Andre the Giant -- for obvious reasons -- grabbed it in mid-swing. That was exciting, she thought later, while rubbing hands that had begun to ache from performing Osteopathic treatments on another dozen patients with pneumonia or H1N1. And when did they call that cardiac code? Was it before or after Mr. PCP? It all runs together after 3 AM.

That's the worst time, from three to five. If you're really lucky, things have wound down to the point where a nap could be more than a figment of your imagination. If you've been a team-player, worked hard, and earned their respect, the nurses will try just as hard to make certain you get a couple of hours. If not, they'll manage to wake you every fifteen minutes for medication orders that could easily have waited until shift change. It's a good lesson some have difficulty learning.

It's really my conscience that refuses to allow me to sit here on the edge of morning as though it was my private possession. It's too good not to share anyway, but even more so when you think about those who'd enjoy seeing it but have notes to write and admissions to process. Oh, there's fresh coffee in the nursing station, did you know?

For all the good you will do.

(Image of early sunrise by the author; note to the reader: while I've used the female pronoun in this post, I could have just as easily used the male -- both are out there doing the work, each as well as the other.)
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