Thursday, January 19, 2017

On Call Nights, Breaches in Protocol, and Cunts

Related image
This is obviously not I, but it is an approximation of how tightly my "shrunk"
scrubs fit me. P.S. I'm a bit less endowed, btw.

Tonight was one of my on-call nights. It wasn't supposed to be, but someone else got sick. It's in my orders that I'm not, until my status changes, to be called to fill in for sick or otherwise unfit-to-work colleagues unless not calling me leaves positions inadequately staffed. Because we're there for our own benefit -- to observe and to learn from the observations, and not to make any staff-to-patient ratios legal -- the position should have been left unmanned rather than my having being called to staff it.

Situations such as these put me in predicaments. If I work through too many consecutive nights and sleep too little, I'm more likely to get sick. No one else usually is walking around with the knowledge in his or her head to speak up for me when vacancies pop up and someone is called upon to fill them. Yet it is clearly coded in the computer system whenever my name is selected from the database that I have limitations, and the person who calls me to fill in is ignoring restrictions that are impossible to miss. 

In the morning, when my preceptor and/or the Director of the Year 3 Clerkship program logs in, it will be apparent that someone ignored codes. Who it was that ignored codes will also be apparent. Will that person blame me? Will my preceptor or the Director blame me? I wouldn't mind having it clarified once and for all as to whether  I'm supposed to speak up when my lower-level superiors screw up and assign me for fill-in slots  despite obviously written orders to the contrary, or whether I'm supposed to do as I am ordered and allow it to be sorted out later. In more clear-cut issues, as in once we've reached the point that we're not mere flunkies and that our presence serves a purpose to preserve patient safety and to protect  hospital liability, obviously I'll do whatever is necessary, then deal with the repercussions after the fact. but when we're little more than mere gawkers, I'm not sure I should go to quite such lengths.  In any event, it will be sorted out in few hours, as I'll be on the hospital floor by 6:00 a.m. at the very latest, which is less than an hour from now.

My skin decided to becoe sensitive to certain fabrics again all of the sudden. The previous time it did that and my dad ordered several pairs of hypoallergenic scrubs for me, the condition lasted just long enough for me to wear each pair of scrubs just once. When I put on a set of them for the second time, it became clear that the washing/sterilizing process had shrunk them ever so slightly, not to the point that the pants were high-waters or that the scrub top was too short, exposing my mid section. It was just that the scrubs fit me "very well," if my intent in dressing myself was to impress others with my slight curves. (I know it's the scrubs and not any recent changes in my body dimensions, as every other garment in my wardrobe fits me in exactly the same way it did before winter break. If anything, my other items of clothing are just a bit looser, as I haven't entirely regained a few pounds that I took off when I was sick.)

Wendell (pronounced wenDELL), a male surgical technician who is very openly gay, spotted me from down the hall wearing my flaming-pink scrubs. "Miss Alexis," he called out, "I don't know if you've been shopping recently or have just gained a few curves in the right places, but I must say I LIKE your new look!"

Just around the corner was, unfortunately, the cunt who took exception to my Minnie Mouse costume that I wore on Halloween. Her curiosity picqued by Wendell's outburst, she took a few steps to look at me from around the corner. 
"Alexis," she said in what I presume was her most officious voice, "I though we had discussed this earlier and that I had made myself perfectly clear. The slut look is unbecoming to you both personally and professionally. I expect you to take note of this and to dress more appropriately from this point forward."

Unbeknownst to the cunt, the Director of Nursing was standing on the other side of the corridor in an alcove. She stepped out to survey the situation. I should add for purposes of clarification that the Director of Nursing does not technically oversee medical students in any way, but that her words concerning our performance in any way when shared with our superiors tend to carry a great deal of weight. 

The Director spoke first to the cunt. "And who might you be?" The cuni gave her name. "And what is your position in thes hospital?" The cunt identified herself as a 4th year medical student. "And who is the person about whose attire you are so concerned that you would use crude and derogatory terminology in describing it?" The cunt pointed at me.

"And what is your name, Miss?" the Director of Nursing asked. I identified myself.
"What is your position?" I identified myself as a third-year medical school student. The director of nurses asked me to turn around slowly. I was hesitant to do this, as it doesn't fall under the job description of the Director of Nursing to critique the attire of medical school students. Still, I sensed I had an ally, so I complied, doing a slow 360-degree turn. 

The Director of Nurses smiled at me. She then turned her attention to the cunt.
"I see nothing in any way inappropriate in this woman's attire. If I did see something of concern, however, my action would be to report it to the young woman's job superior, possibly discreetly snapping a picture of the area that I found to be in violation of uniform code. Were I you, I would not ever loudly call her out on any supposed uniform infraction, especially within the earshot of patients and visitors, particularly using the vulgar language used by you, and especially when you may have seniority in your favor but otherwise have no direct authority over her. Are we clear, Miss (cunt)?" 

"Yes," she replied, red-faced.

"You should be forewarned that I will speak to the Director of Clerkships in regard to this incident," the Director of Nursing forewarned the crab*.

Tacitly the crab nodded.

Numerous personnel had stopped to observe the spectacle. "You can all go back to what you are supposed to be doing now," the Director of Nursing called out to the gawkers.

Wendell fist-bumped me as I passed him in the corridor. As the cunt and I passed, she hissed "slut" at me. I would have liked to have hissed "cunt" back at her, but her cell phone was in her hand and looked as though it might possibly be in "record" mode. I instead admonished, "We should probably avoid vulgar language while on the job."  Not only did I not use the "c"word. but I said just enough that it would be difficult for her to doctor the tape and insert someone else's voice saying what she would have preferred for me to have said. 

Even though I had finished my final of three calls over the night (deliveries of three healthy babies -- 2 vaginal deliveries and one c-section, which is about par for the course these days) sleep was out of the question due to adrenaline flowing freely following conflict. I returned home to shower, dry my hair and dress for today. I don't usually wear scrubs to the office unless I am anticipating an early delivery, but I packed the periwinkle pair of the hypoallergenic scrubs, which have been sterilized and will fit me especially well. If I'm called in to observe and assist in another delivery and happen to run into the cunt, once again she will see me attired in a manner of which she does not approve, not that it is any of her concern. 


  1. Well... she sounds like a pearl.

    1. She's a peach of a human being. I ordinarily wouldn't use such language in describing or referring to a sort-of colleague, but she has earned it in every way. For the most part, I'll let Karma deal with her and will not take it upon myself to go out of my way to even the score with her, but if she affronts me directly, I may at times respond. I'm going to say a bit about it in my next block, which would probably be better not to do as it might be taken in some way as a response that I'd prefer not to make (I think you know what I mean) but in this instance I feel like explaining myself this once.