Sunday, October 26, 2008

Superstitions

I was oncall last week. Needless to say, it was busy (well, relatively speaking. It's not going to be as bad as residency anymore, admittedly).
It's interesting how many of us, even the super-scientific sceptics, get so terribly superstitious oncall.
Yea yea, I know. You'll say there's no such thing. I know about the studies people have published showing no increased patients to the ER on nights with a full moon. While we often consider ourselves scientists and put a lot of weight on published research, good luck finding a doctor who believes that article.
A few interesting observations:


When asked how your call is going, NEVER say "Oh, it's pretty quiet so far". That's almost like placing a special order for 3 simultaneous ST-elevation MI and 2 DKA and 1 elderly-man-needs-digital-disimpaction patients


Full moon= sleepless night with plenty of calls from crazy patients (and nurses)

Friday the 13th. Bad. I was the senior in the medical ICU on a Friday the 13th, and it was a full moon that night. Needless to say, we needed ethanol therapy post-call the following day.

I had a classmate who would never have sex with his wife the night before call. Never. He said it brings bad luck. (No wonder they're still childless).

Another buddy always wore his green boxers for call. Not that I ever checked to see if he was making that up. Considering we were oncall every 4th day I never did ask if he did his laundry that frequently, or simply 'recycled'.

I had my pair of lucky shoes. Not that they worked. But I felt comforted and reassured wearing that pair of torn Nike shoes for call. Perhaps the sweetly-sour stench would ward off admissions? I still have that pair of shoes. Hole and all.

I've also learnt that things come in clusters. Eg. if your first admission was afib with RVR (atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular response) you can bet your next 4 will be the same. Or if your first admission was an 'chronic abdominal pain, needs demerol' then you're fucked. Same still applies now. I had been seeing a lot of diabetes and thyroid patients of late. And happened to mention to my medical assistant that I hadn't seen a hyperparathyroid patient in a while. Next thing I knew I saw 5 parathyroid patients that day.

And so, if you're going to be oncall, and happen to break a mirror in the bathroom, and then see a black cat cross your path while not noticing that you just walked under a ladder, better call in sick and forget about going to work that day.

What about you? Any superstitious beliefs/practices for call?

5 Comments:

Blogger ccc said...

Haha, they all belong to the same zodiac! When one DKA, everybody DKA!

9:24 PM  
Anonymous mumbler said...

yes! never eat a bao on your call night. it's crazy but it really works. was swamped in the a&e when i did that.

and in one particular hospital in sg, it's never take the lift at the far corner. some senior took it and walked right into 2 consecutive collapses in the ward. lol.

12:36 AM  
Blogger mich said...

LOL...
got such thing one ah??
hahhaha

9:00 AM  
Anonymous mayan said...

i TOTALLY practise not saying that "it's quiet", or "hope it's quiet" when i'm on-call.... i used to forbid anyone from mentioning the "Q" word!! & no red-coloured clothing/shoes etc.. hehee.. used to work with this woman everyone hated, used to wear red shoes when she was on-call to jinx it for her.. & it worked - ALL the time!!

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Kelly said...

Oh, not the Q word!!!


I also find that cases come in a cluster - when I worked in ED I've experienced seeing pretty much 4 AMI in a row, and one night a few rib fractures.

And if you think about the pager at any point, it will go off. (considering we get paged so many times in a day, it's probably just coincidental)

Excellent post by the way!

4:13 AM  

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