Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bleary eyes in the clinic

It's been a busy couple of days for our ambulance service between two transfers up north and two calls to people's homes. Then you add in regular life, work schedules, the health fair most of us made time to help with yesterday, etc and you have a to squeeze in time for sleep.

Two of the people on the call and transfer last night--between the two trips we were up pretty much all night--had to work again first thing in the morning, something I'm very glad I did not have to worry about as I spent the entire morning in bed and now feel reasonably human again. But it made me think of the poor doctor who was on call in the ER.

In small towns the clinic doctors are usually general practice doctors--and I'm not talking about towns with 20,000 people, though many big-city dwellers may think that's small. These doctors also take turns being on call in the ER, which means if your doctor is on call when you go in for an appointment during the day, you could be delayed quite a while so they can take care of emergencies. It also means that most weeks all of our doctors are pretty much guaranteed to have at least one night of very little sleep sandwiched between work days of taking care of check ups and rashes and all of the other fun things they get to do in an average day.

This is just a general thanks to all those small town doctors who struggle to find time for themselves and their families around the varied needs of their communities. The long shifts and hectic schedules of doctors in big cities isn't much better.

And next time you go to a doctor's appointment and find your GP running late and a bit bleary eyed, remember he or she might be running on nothing but caffeine and a prayer, and a little understanding could go a long way.

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