It has been 10 minutes only since I decided to take a nap, when somebody tapped on my shoulder.
“Doctor. It’s time already.”
For a moment, I was disoriented enough to think that the patient died while on the watch. When the cloud of sleep finally unclogged my brain, I realised it’s time for the patient to finally deliver.
9 hours into the night shift in labour theatre and all I remember is the incessant groaning with few screams accompanying it. Technically, this is just the start of my day. But it feels like as if ages has evolved while I was stuck doing one per vaginal examination after another.
Night shift is a mythical abode where one should never state facts aloud that says “Oh shit!!! There isn’t much to do!!” “Looks like today’s gonna be a slow day” “Thank God the beds are empty today.” If you commit the mistake of saying it out aloud, you have to bear the brunt of wrath of not only your colleagues and seniors, but also the hoard of patients who will descend upon you, all in labour pain.
What does a day in doctor’s life look like during a night shift?
You learn how to inform a mother in labour pain that her child is dead and now instead of a healthy baby in her arms, she has to push out her stillborn child.
You learn how to yell at a mother in labour pain for yelling too loud, especially when the contraction has actually subsided.
You learn how to catheterise on the go because you are afraid that once the labour starts, she just might spray on you and everyone else. <sigh>
You forget all about comfort and sleep, and get accustomed to sleeping with a moment’s notice, in any position, irrespective of whether you are lying down, sitting, or for that matter standing.
You appreciate bathing on a whole new level once the shift is over, and you get to go home.
By the time you finish your duty in the labour theatre, you are thankful that your sex life is currently in the zero range. You end up making a solemn vow, like your other female collegaues, that you would prefer not to have a kid and go through the same experience.
Even if the day ends, you realise as a doctor that this is going to be your life where you are either studying to become a better doctor, or you are compromising your comfort and sleep to become a better doctor.