Tales From All the Comforts of Home Hospital, Vol. 1

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Tales From All the Comforts of Home Hospital, Vol. 1

Sarah Underkofler, Writer

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“Ugh, I can’t believe Dr. Johnson gave me the patient requiring a manual disimpaction again,” I said, scrunching my nose in discontent. 

“You really do get unlucky with those,” Becca said to me as I went searching for 3 extra pairs of gloves and a plastic gown reaching to my knees — all necessary for such a gross procedure. 

Being a resident at ATCH is the biggest sacrifice I have ever made. Having to respond at a moment’s notice to potentially dying patients is STRESSFUL. One time, there was a man in the ICU who we thought was stable, and then BOOM, his lung decided it wanted to collapse again. The surgeons had to perform an immediate surgery and it was all a mess, but he ended up doing fine. 

“Uh oh, here comes Dr. Johnson again. He looks like he’s in a really bad mood. Becca, I should get down to 4 East,” I said as I turned around, heading for the nearest stairs.

After I removed what felt like 3 buckets of stool from Mr. Twiver, I heard a beeping sound. It was my pager, AGAIN. It feels like that thing is constantly going off, like a time bomb, ticking, waiting to explode. It was just Becca, informing me that it was time for evening rounds and that the night attending had just arrived and was waiting for me to take sign-out from everyone who got to actually leave the hospital. 

After 12 hours of constant running around, writing notes, answering pages, and being too busy to go to the bathroom, you would think I would get to go home and immediately collapse. Well, you’re wrong. Tonight I’m on call. This wonderful job means that I get to sleep in a tiny room on a paper-thin mattress in the hospital so that I can be easily reached for things like new admissions or patient needs. I go to the on-call room and start to drift off to sleep when all of a sudden I hear a beeping. It’s that stupid pager again. “Call 555-7362.” I groggily dial the number to hear nurse Mike saying, “Mr. Twiver’s belly pain has returned and is worse. I think you should come see him.” I pull myself out of the bed and attempt to flatten the pillow creases on my face and make myself look professional so that Mr. Twiver can realize that I’m the doctor and not Mike, which is a common mistake. 

I arrive in Mr. Twiver’s room only to be greeted by him asking for the doctor and not the nurse. I wearily explained to him for the 10th time that despite being a female that I am his doctor and that Mike is the nurse. I addressed his needs and decided to sneak off to the cafeteria for a late-night ice cream cone before sitting down at the computer to check everyone’s night labs. No sooner had I sat down at the computer with my ice cream, then my pager went off again. I looked down at the pager, sadly glanced at my already melting ice cream, and picked up the phone to hear, “Come now. We seem to have an issue with Mrs. Jones on 6 North…” 

Stay tuned for the next edition of Unleashed to find out what happened to Mrs. Jones. 

*This story is a creative interpretation of all real events. Names and locations have been changed to maintain privacy.