Happy New Year from HOSPITALstyle!
I ended 2010 with two months in the ICU. This meant that I had to create a miracle to get time off for Christmas. In the world of medicine, especially during residency, making it home for the holidays is quite a daunting task. With that said, let me tell you why.
I had requested the December 24, 25, and 26th off in order to fly home to be with the people I care about. The ICU schedule was to come out December 15th and flight prices were climbing steadily so I preemptively purchased a flight for December 24 in hopes that a miracle would take place. Miracle = post-call on Christmas Eve.
When the ICU schedule arrived, I had been granted the 23-25th. In order to make XMAS flight I switched 7 days of my schedule with another resident (Thanks Alex!). This is how it played out..
Thursday Dec. 23rd: Arrive @ hospital 7 am, work all day, on call overnight.
Friday Dec. 24th: Sign out patients early @ 6:30 am, rush to La Guardia to make 9 am flight.
Sat Dec. 25th: Celebrate XMAS.
Sun Dec. 26th: Blizzard in NYC. Flight canceled. Spend night in airport hotel.
Mon Dec. 27th: Supposed to be back in ICU. Rescheduled flight again canceled. Unable to fly into New York City until Thursday December 30th. Fly into D.C. arriving @ Midnight. Take overnight train @ 3 AM into NYC. Arrive in city @ 7 AM. Go directly to hospital with luggage.
Tues Dec. 28th: Work Full day in ICU. Public transport delayed. Walk to 1.5 miles to subway station in 6 feet of snow (uphill..just kidding) with luggage for a 2 hour commute to my apartment (not kidding).
This example is a quick snapshot of my 2010. If you are like me, we are so busy taking care of our patients that there is little time to take care of ourselves. My goal for 2011 is more sleep, more exercise, more balance. When we are able to take better care of ourselves, we are able to better care for our patients.
More sleep: Most important time spent outside of the hospital. Get a sound/white noise machine. Invest in a new bed. Set a schedule as if you were still in grade school (8:30 pm lights out).
More exercise: Keep your cardiovascular pump in shape. Quality over quantity. Try and integrate a 30 minute workout/run into your routine at least 3-4 times a week. Mix it up. Go dancing. Go skiing/snowboarding. Try and pick activities to do with your friends outside of the hospital that require activity.
More balance: Less street corner Gyros on your 15 min break during your day. More salads and making healthy meals ahead of time to bring to the hospital. Leave 10 minutes earlier than normal in order to avoid commuter stress. Plan ahead. Take vacation. Avoid being entirely consumed by hospital happenings.
Let's get 2011 started the right way. The HOSPITALstyle way.