More time than we could handle.
The other day, something very unusual happened: we had more free time on our hands than available work. The day was already off to an atypical start when the patient list fit onto a single page as opposed to the usual two. While rounding, it soon became clear that many of them would be discharged, leaving little in terms of in-house management.
"Perfect!" said my preceptor. “We will go to the hospice then and review our patients there." And so we went, having finished early. A typical morning seldom included the hospice round because of time constraints. This day we were lucky.
We arrived on site to find: only one patient issue. Total time of management: ten minutes. Yet again, we were stuck. My preceptor scratched his head as he sifted through his planner. There was nothing to do for another two hours.
In a career where there never seems to be enough time, we suddenly found ourselves with more time than we could handle.
"Well this is awkward," he commented almost disappointingly. “Shall we go for coffee then?"
And so we sat in a Starbucks and caught up on life, the universe, and everything. There was an otherworldly feel to the morning, an uncomfortable ease as we tried to relax into our seats. Threaded through the eye of the medical storm, we tried to enjoy a moment of downtime but could not, knowing there was more work to be done, more work waiting for us, helpless to the time that separated us from it.
Sitting there, I wondered if we were truly lucky to have had time to sit and talk. I wondered if medicine suddenly found itself with more moments like this, would it drive doctors mad?
How wonderfully odd creatures we are to thrive on the fast track life of our work.