Oh sleep. How I have missed that normal 'lay down in bed, close my eyes at night and wake up with the morning light' kind of sleep.
During my three years of medical residency I developed more of an 'oh look, the pager hasn’t gone off in the past five minutes, I haven’t stopped working in over twenty-four hours, that desk is starting to resemble a pillow, a hard, metal pillow, so maybe I should try to sleep for just a second, oh crap there goes the pager again' kind of sleep.
To clarify, I should explain a bit about the bizarre world of residency. They call us medical residents because we are the junior doctors who reside at the hospital. We work there (up to 28 hours at a time), we eat there (mostly stale PB&J sandwiches), we bathe there (when splattered with blood or other human matter), and very occasionally we sleep there (when the stars align). Unlike what you see in the movies, our sleep is not comfortable, there are no sexy nighttime rendez-vous in conveniently located broom closets or well-furnished bedrooms. Instead, we have the option of either trudging down to the basement (just a hop, skip, and a jump from the morgue!) to relax in our assigned/mildew-scented/paper thin walled call rooms, or we learn one of the five main residency sleeping positions, which I have documented for my own entertainment over the years, and will now share with you.
Residency Sleeping Position Number 1: The “Oh my lord, that desk looks just like a pillow”
Residency Sleeping Position Number 2: The "I'll just hide in this corner filled with stacked chairs, electronics, and trash, and sleep on my hands"
Residency Sleeping Position Number 3: The "I'll just try to blend in with all of the other humans in scrubs, and hopefully no one notices me sleeping in this lecture hall in the middle of the day"
Residency Sleeping Position Number 4: The "I’m going to pretend like I’m pouting"
Residency Sleeping Position Number 5: The "I just do not give one damn"
THE ENIGMA: And finally, the Cadillac of all sleeping positions, the "I made it to the basement, actually found the Call Room, brushed my teeth, climbed under the dirty sheets that smell like last night’s resident’s cologne, but I am in a bed, and this is amazing!!" *
Dr. Skye Clarke is an osteopathic physician who lives in Austin, Texas, with her handsome husband Brian and their brilliant dog Willie. In another life she was a fabulous actress and comedienne. Her (hilarious) recent musings on when it's okay to laugh, published in May, are available online at TexasMedicine.