Just Five More Minutes

Those four clichéd words made up the only precise thought I had; my fuzzy brain attempting to gather its bearings wasn’t behaving cohesively otherwise. I picked my phone up off the floor beside me to switch off my still-ringing alarm, replied to an early-morning message from my partner (and suggested that he leave at 8am to pick me up), and, with the special brand of irrational rationalisation I’ve now determined belongs exclusively to the domain of the very sleep-deprived, decided I could shut my eyes for “just five more minutes”, rolled over on my call bed, and promptly fell back asleep for another hour and forty-five.

No one paged me or texted me. It had been a very busy night. I’d taken a thirty minute nap between an emergency c-section and admitting two more labouring patients to the birthing unit and fell into bed around 6:30am again, hoping for another hour and a half of sleep before handover at 8 – which I subsequently missed. Medical students are arguably the least helpful players in this step (the resident and staff know everyone we’ve admitted), but I still like to be there and contribute where I can.

I woke up to five notifications from my poor partner, who ultimately decided to return home and await news of my survival. Mental faculties still obliterated, I pulled on my socks and shoes and half-stumbled to the nursing station (without my key card – required both to enter the birthing unit and to return to my room), feeling something between panic, apathy, embarrassment (at not managing to be where I needed to be on time), gratitude (because evidently they’d chosen to let me sleep – I was only a page away) and awareness of my own lack of importance.

No one was upset; everyone around was quite amused, if not confused as to why I was still there (and more sympathetic than was necessary, truly. I work with some amazing people.). The night team was long gone. A kind nurse let me back into the call room area, where I gathered my things. I changed as efficiently as possible given the fast that I was moving as though underwater and returned my key to security, texting my resident and sending an email off to my staff apologizing for my delinquency. Jacob met me at the entrance, looking quite entertained for someone who’d had to wake up early on a holiday only to be stood up (“I was a bit frustrated at first, not going to lie, but then I realized that I just needed coffee,”), and drove me home to sleep the remainder of the day away in our own bed.

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