Last week I finished my Last Emergency Night Shift Ever (Hopefully. Until consultants do night shifts. Perhaps 2025?).
Of course, I've got plenty more ICU nights to work. But nightshift in the Emergency Department is a particularly offensive beast, so it's worth marking the event.
There's nothing like coming on to a department with at least 25 people waiting (read: any metropolitan department I've ever worked in), receiving handover of a further 30 patients, and then the usual updates: "The police have phoned in two section 10s. One's drunk, the other was wandering on the highway with a knife. They can't find the knife. Oh, and did they tell you about the bat phone? There's a GCS 3, ETA 10 minutes. I've cleared resus 3."
And then it's on. No Sleep till Brooklyn. Or 10am. Whichever is later.
But you know, there are some good times. Like the time I convinced a nurse to eat three cherry ripes and then breathalyse himself. (He got 0.01). Or the lovely family who sat with their dying father and sang Ava Maria, whilst the ice-addled patient in the next cubicle hurled obscenities at everyone. Or the polite patient who bled all over the waiting room and then offered to go and clean it up because he has hepatitis C.
Anyway, I could go on but the interesting stuff just ain't fit for sharing. And the polite patients bear mentioning only because they are the stark minority.
Finishing my last night shift I felt so tired but euphoric, it reminded me of coming down after a huge night when I was 20 or 22. I remember standing in the shower listening to Idioteque, and just bawling. Smiling and bawling.
So perhaps I'll leave you with this.