That was awkward

I just finished my shift, with helping prep a lap appy patient. Everything marched out as it should.

Surgeon calls to book a case.

I text the anesthesiologist and the anesthetist that there is an appy to do.

I call the night call team in.

I call and get report from the ED.

I go and get patient.

The night nurse arrives and I tell her to get the room ready, I’ll prep the patient.

The evening tech is opening the case. We both can’t leave until the night team is here.

I begin prepping patient.

Realize I hadn’t yet had a reply from anesthesia.

I call anesthesia, both of them. And inform them there is a lap appy for Dr. X.

I continue prepping the patient.

Surgeon has not yet arrived.

Anesthesiologist arrives to interview patient. He is perturbed that the surgeon is not yet on site.

I inform him I had spoken to the surgeon thirty five minutes before when he called to book the case.

I finish prepping the patient.

Surgeon has not yet arrived.

I walk over to the OR to inform them that the patient is prepped, consent has not been obtained because he hasn’t talked to her yet, and the surgeon is not yet here.

The night nurse and I walk out of the room and toward the patient.

The anesthesiologist confronts me about being called too soon, as his part only takes a couple of minutes and the patient seems healthy.

I change my posture to that of PARADE rest, hands clasped behind my back, legs slightly apart.

I acknowledge his feelings. And remind him that he has asked me in the past to contact him immediately upon notification of a case, even if it is the middle of the night and the case isn’t until morning.

He informs me that what I am talking about and this patient is apples and oranges. And that sleep is precious and he could’ve had 10-15 more minutes of sleep. Unsaid is the how dare I?

I refrain from reminding him forcefully that the previous case he’d fussed about not being called and woken at 0200 was also a lap appy on a very similar patient. Out loud I say nothing.

He leaves the substerile room the three of us had been in.

I shoot the night nurse a look.

We continue toward the prep area.

We are now in the hall outside of prep.

Anesthesiology reminds me again that sleep is precious and he has 26 more years of this unlike some of the other anesthesiologists who are closer to retirement and he would prefer to sleep as long as he can.

I say nothing.

Anesthesiology informs me that he doesn’t like group texts, because there will be an informative text and six acknowledgements. And he’s afraid an urgent text will be missed among the inconsequential responses.

Anesthesiology informs me that he does 2 call shifts a week and it’s a lot and he needs all the sleep he can get and he has 26 more years of call shifts.

I inform him the only group texting I do is to both members of the anesthesia team, him and the anesthetist, including myself in the number.

He says I don’t know what the answer is and goes to the dictation computer to sit down.

I turn to the poor night nurse who is witnessing this and tell her that I was surprised the surgeon wasn’t at the hospital yet, as I’d spoken to him over 35 minutes before.

She says that when she spoke to him, because she had answered his page, that the surgeon said he would see her in a minute before they hung up.

With my eyes I say sorry.

I bid them both goodnight. Hang up my work phone and go the long way to the locker room so I won’t be a visible target.

I’m alone in the locker room and I take a deep breath.

I am upset.

I change my clothes and get ready to go home.

What I don’t do is go back out to the anesthesiologist and inform him that he may have 2 call shifts a week, but I have to work with a different anesthesiologist every evening and I do this five fucking nights a week. So sorry about his two.

I don’t inform him that I do a group text of myself and the anesthesia team because if I had to text each separately it would double my work. And both the anesthesiologist and the anesthetist would ask if the other had been informed, which I would have to reply to separately again.

I don’t inform him that I didn’t have to call him myself, that I could’ve had the nursing supervisor do it and she would have called him when I called her, after talking to the surgeon, instead of when I had the patient in prep.

I don’t inform him that I also have 26 more years of this bullshit.

As I am in my warming car, I text the night nurse how awkward that was and I tell her to have a good case and I would see her on Monday.

I am still upset.



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