"Ah, shit," I mumbled to myself, "I forgot my damn lunch."
This is a bigger deal than you would think. I get pretty nervous if I leave the ER for even a few minutes to grab food from the cafeteria. Who's dying while I'm gone? Sit down for a nice half-hour and enjoy the scenery? Forget it. I haven't had a lunch break since medical school ended.
In fact, nowadays I eat like a wolf, which I'm pretty sure is not flattering. As long as the calories can get me through the shift, I go for it as fast as possible. This originally contributed to a 20 pound weight gain during residency... which I have finally shaved back off by cooking my own, healthy food.
And so, I come back to the saddening realization that my delicious salmon stir-fry is sitting at home in my fridge, and my stomach is all alone for the next 11 hours.
And then, "Hey man, I've got some food in the doctor's lounge upstairs if you want it. I already ate. If you're hungry, it's yours for the taking." I swivel around to see one of the hospitalists at my new job.
Let us be clear - other physicians do not share food with ER doctors. We're pariahs. Persona non grata. Veritable untouchables within the hospital hierarchy. Every time we call, we add more work to the pile. Every train-wreck nursing home admission, teetering on the border of life and death, comes from us. Every medical mystery that I can't figure out - once "fun" and "interesting" is now just more work. Shoot the messenger applies in full force.
But here was a wholly unexpected olive branch! Not only was it great food, he didn't even poison it! And his reward?
An unresponsive nursing home patient who was drooling all over herself.
Sorry, dude. I really am. But seriously, thanks so much for lunch, I was getting hungry. I'll give you some of my stir-fry tomorrow if you're still talking to me.