Oncall for the next week. It hasn't been too busy, with a patient list covering only 2 (of a possible 5) hospitals.
And then, early this morning, I was rudely awakened by a loud beeping. I look at the time: 1:31 AM.Uh-oh. A call at this unholy hour- what can it be?
Diabetic ketoacidosis? Severe hypoglycemia? Thyroid storm? My mind went over the possibilities as I called the operator.
"Good morning, doctor. It is a patient call..." as she proceeded to put me through. Must be someone with glucose issues, I thought.
"Good morning; this is Dr. V. What can I do for you?" I asked.
"Yes, I see Dr. X (one of my colleagues) for testosterone. Anyway, I am having bad insomnia and restless legs. What can I do about it?" said the voice on the other line.
The things I was tempted to say, but didn't. Amongst the possibilities:
Oh yea? Well, thanks to you, now you're not the only one awake
Would you like me to sing you a lullaby?
Maybe I can prescribe some insulin. I'd bet you'd be unconscious if we drop your glucose to less than 20 mg/dL
Take some Benadryl. About 2 liters of it.
But no. I diplomatically said: "Call your family doctor. This is not an endocrine issue...". The problem with being accessible to patients who really need us, is that sometimes this service is abused. Thankfully, this doesn't happen too frequently.