I'm on call this week and had some random thoughts about it. (My husband is one of the doctors I'm covering for to further explain the journaling.) Thanks for looking!

Being in call means: that I’m available to literally thousands of patients should they need me./that when I take off my beeper to change clothes, I should put it back on./that I’d better remember to set my phone to the “Do Not Show My Caller ID” option./that it’s certainly possible that someone will wake me in the middle of the night with the chief complaint that they can’t sleep./that if I don’t get a call for a long time I’ll call the operator just to make sure there hasn’t been some mistake./that I shouldn’t plan any long runs, at least not any timed ones./that I’ll get to relieve the anxiety of someone who feels bad calling on the weekend./that for five weeknights, and for two 24-hour weekend days, I will have the blessing of feeling needed.

Being on call doesn't mean: that my beeper is constantly going off; it’s actually pretty quiet most of the time./that I have to go into the hospital to admit patients, as we have inpatient physicians who do it./that I can’t schedule a haircut, although holding a phone to my ear can make for a lopsided result./that I’ll necessarily believe that “my dog ate my Lortab prescription”./that Mark’s patient will probably not be thrilled to realize that even though his doctor is lying in the bed next to me, I’m the one he has to talk to./that I have to stay home from a concert or sporting event; I just need an aisle seat./that I have to have all the answers. Sometimes a listening ear is enough./that I’m sad when Monday morning at 8:00 arrives and it’s somebody else’s turn.

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