Week 44: My first 24-hour duty
"This will be the first time I'll be seeing your face get oily," I told Carla Bonifacio, gifted with one of the freshest, most beautiful faces in class, as we awaited further instructions. Franco Catangui, one of the iPad twins, stifled a laughter, amused. It was our first 24-hour duty experience, a historical first in our medical training, and we felt a mixture of excitement and dread.
We had a call at the Emergency Room at 6 pm. We were assigned under Intern Janina Pao, a sweet, bespectacled higher-up who didn't mind answering our questions and who let us chill the night out, if we wanted. She didn't mind us butting in while she interviewed a 60-something patient who burned himself. We managed to drag her to a quick dinner at Wendy's where she gave us tips and reminders, things they don't write about in textbooks. We would accompany her for the rest of the night.
Were we toxic magnets (a term referring to medical students who attract the hardest and most number of cases)? We had one patient so far, but the night was young. Psychiatric cases could barge in the emergency room, especially in the wee morning hours.
As we were headed back to Ward 7, Dr. Larimer Hugo, our resident-in-charge, jokingly told us, "Let's hope we've met our quota for the night." After all, more patients admitted mean more work.
Inside the call room, Carbs, Franco, and I talked about anything and everything. We had board games, and we managed to squeeze in a four-hour sleep. At 5 am, we accompanied the intern to the OB-Gyne Deparment where a victim of sexual assault was waiting to be interviewed. We weren't going to do any paperwork on this, but we just wanted to go with her.
A few minutes before our 24-hour study ended, I thought of what happened during the night: we only had one patient in Emergency Room who was sent home with medications. Nope, we weren't toxic magnets.
I sleepily looked at Carbs' face again. It was nowhere near oily.
Many thanks to Ate Jack and Dr. Hugo for the unforgettable learning experience; and to Marvyn Chan and Jonas Bico who, at 2 am, delivered cold drinks.