It's unusually quiet in the trauma unit tonight. For a Sunday night call, in the middle of the Cape Flats, this is peculiar because Sunday night is a very popular night when it comes to Hospitals. Sunday night visits gaurantee a sick letter for work on Monday. As a result, we have stocked up on those. But tonight is quiet. And I, Dr S, exhausted from three years of government service (slavery) post med school, is always on the look out for sleeping opportunities.
YAY! SLEEP! I allow myself a few secret minutes of elation as I walk to the room the hospital has graciously allowed us Community Service Officers to use. It functions as the Termination of Pregnancy room during the day, and is apparently haunted by the sounds of a screaming fetus. But I am not frightened, a sleeping opportunity trumps even a disturbed fetal ghost, so I carry on walking...terrified only that the sister will run up behind me with the news that I need to return to the unit for a resuscitation attempt.
Phew, I made it to the room unhindered. There is a three thousand year old bed in the corner. I don't think the sheets ever get changed as the funny brown stain on the pillow from last time is still there. Furthemore I know immediately that I will not be sleeping alone as a giant drain-dwelling cockroach scuttles across the floor. I quickly weigh up my options: return to the trauma unit, or take my chances with the stain and the cockroach. I figure that the cockroach probably is less dangerous than some of the gangster patients I've seen, so the decision is made, and I crash.
Two hours later, I wake up with an army of ants merrily marching across my face. ANTS. plural.
I'm too weary to complain. So I just brush them off and go back to the unit. It's beginning to get light outside...a symbol of hope that my call is soon coming to an end...The sister unexpectedly brings me a cup of coffee. In my delirious state I nearly cry about this small act of kindness.
One hour until the next dr arrives to take over. I'm counting the seconds...