If you want to know what kind of night you will have on trauma call, you need only look to the skies. Warm, clear, sunny…there will be no rest. It will be busy, steady. And if there is a full moon…brew an extra pot of coffee. You. Will. Get. Crushed.
Yesterday was warm and sunny. But the day was not too busy. Surely, the night will not remain calm, I thought. I laid in the bed in the call room, lights on. 10pm: Resting. Midnight: I dozed off. 1 am: I shot up in bed. There is no way I haven’t gotten paged. I check my pager. And my phone. Nope. Didn’t miss a text or a call or a page. I drift off again. Kind of. It’s a strange sleep. Where you want to sleep, but you are afraid to. You know you will be woken up soon. It could be a minor trauma, just a few scrapes and bruises. Or it could be the big one. The trauma that changes lives. That cuts deep into a family. That keeps me in the OR, challenging my mind and my hands and my spirit. Thankfully, that trauma never came in last night. I melted into the bed by about 2am….and woke up at 5am to a page for a trauma that, thankfully, would not take a life. I found some coffee and ate a banana. I brushed my teeth…because post-call, I feel like my teeth have socks….I need the refresh. I went to sign-out conference at 7am, feeling far more awake and refreshed than most post-call days. And since it’s the weekend, I planned to go straight home. But I sat at my desk for a minute. What will I do now? I’m not utterly exhausted. I don’t have that “I didn’t sleep at all last night” funny taste in my mouth. Strange how getting some sleep on call messes with your mind more than staying up all night. I mean, I just assumed I would go home and sleep most of the day away. Instead, I sat there with the day ahead of me…and nothing I must do.
As I drove home, I decided I couldn’t let this gorgeous day slip by. No runner can resist 60 degrees, sunny, no wind. 5 miles, by the reservoir. And then what? I made a big salad for brunch. And then…the Sunday drive. Yep. I did it. I felt like I was 30 years older than my stated age. And it was delightful. I drove off with no particular place to go. I ended up meandering towards our new town. I drove to our new house…about 20 minutes from where I am staying now. I pulled in the driveway…and sat there…and took it all in. A new job, in a new city. A new home, in a new town. But more than that…a new peace. A new perspective on life.
I came back to the little pool house where I am staying and spent the afternoon reading by the pool…soaking up some sunshine…Vitamin D therapy. I might have gotten a little pink. Don’t tell my dermatologist….it feels so, so good! This day was the first day in a long, long time when I had no real agenda. No two page “to-do” list. And while it took me a minute to figure out what to do with this rare day of freedom, I found it to be a blessing. Of peace. And relaxation. And you know what, I think that’s what God meant for this day. It was a surprise day. And I am so very thankful that I didn’t miss it. Deuteronomy 23:5 “…but the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing to you, because the Lord your God loves you.” I think we toss that word blessing around to mean something other than what God means for it. We seem to use that word, blessing, to mean good fortune, hitting the lottery, surrounded by stuff. But I think God meant for blessing to mean just simply being happy; full of life-joy, satisfaction. If we are looking for blessing in houses and cars and promotions and big vacations, I think we will be repeatedly disappointed; but if we open our mind to watching for the blessing of the unexpected day, of the sunshine, of the tingly little sunburn, I believe we will be continuously full of life-joy. Let’s not miss the blessing…
Disclaimer: My viewpoints are not necessarily reflective of my employer, or any local, regional or national organization that I belong to. As a matter of fact, I pretty much just speak for myself. Please keep that in mind.