Sleep. It’s now the basis of my most lurid fantasies. I chanced upon the mattress store while getting lost on my way to the path lab, and stood with my nose pressed up against the window, like a Victorian child outside a sweet shop.
I tried my access swipe card. It didn’t work. I went back to getting lost.
And it’s a sad day when you realise you are jealous of the bed bound patients, as they are actually lying down.
But the worst of it is that, even when you can sleep, sleep eludes you. I wake at 4am systematically, and worry about my patients for at least 90 minutes, before falling back asleep. On the rare weekends that I actually get off, I’m bolt upright in bed by 8am, wondering who died on the ward over the previous day, because of something I forgot to do.
I think I’m too tired to sleep. My body just thinks – ‘sod it – it’s not enough time – so lets not bother at all’. And the tiredness is playing havoc with my social life. I drive home in time for my long-suffering flat mates to cook me food, and then I pass out. I’ve realised I’m going to have to make friends with my neighbours, as I don’t have enough energy to leave the house, and it’s the only way I’m going to have a conversation with anyone that isn’t about medicine.
My darkest moment came earlier this summer when I cycled past a group of tramps, drinking their cans of Special Brew under a tree. I was jealous because the tramps were drinking with their friends in the park. As I said. Dark moment.
This is why all doctors marry doctors. They meet at medical school, then they never have any time to meet anyone else ever again – and nothing to talk about outside of medicine. So they end up with other doctors – because they’d bore the shit out of anyone normal.
Doctors are also notorious for their epic ability to party. And it’s easy to see why. You have been surrounded by shit and death all day. When you leave hospital all you do is worry about the patients you might have almost killed. The only way to handle it is to get so obliterated on a Friday night that you forget everyone and everything. And then wake up on Saturday and do the same.
And I have no idea when I’m supposed to do normal things like go to the bank or the dentists or get a haircut. I leave my house at 7am. I return at about 10pm (if I’m lucky). I don’t get a lunch hour. I work most weekends. My bed sheets are so disgusting that the council will be forced to evict me, and there’s actual mould growing on my towel. I think this is also why doctors marry so early. If they don’t marry another doctor and have such a large income that they can afford to hire help, then they need a housekeeper – usually in the form of a wife. I personally am looking for a house husband. So far in vain, but I live in hope.