One of the things I have noticed among my roller derby teammates is that everyone keeps their gear bag stocked with “extras”. Tampons, tylenol, toe-stop wrenches – the essentials for skating. And it’s an unspoken rule that we all share…. even down to the mouthguards. (Yes, really. Thanks LowBlo!)
Because we’ve all been the one to show up at scrimmage night with the wrong colour shirt (which recently led to some interesting announcing as two Maggie Kill’n’Brawls lined up on the jammer line… along with some nasty Maggie-on-Maggie violence.) and appreciate it when our teammates help us out.
The same rule applies in medicine.
It had already been a stinker of a day – the IT system maintenance that was supposed to end “in the morning” rendered every computer the equivalent of a LCD paperweight until late afternoon, we were short staffed despite being at No-Room-At-The-Inn capacity for three days straight.
So when the “uncomplicated pneumonia” patient my colleague received from the ER at 6:30 PM on a sunday turned out to be “Oh, Holy CRAP this one is sick” in that internal medicine way – only fixed by personally calling in three consults tonight, running a battery of tests and remembering which serologic marker is affiliated with which nasty auto-immune disease and marching down to the lab to check on the peripheral smear yourself, we rallied.
I knew one of the lab techs and called over to see if they could whip up a slide for us real quick so I could go down and render my verdict (using my pathology skills, which are limited to “That’s screwed up” versus “That looks ok”). Anurita had the consultant’s personal phone numbers and called both of them before it got to be too late in the night. Everette had UpToDate open to see if there was anything we forgot to order.
In the meantime, the originally assigned doc had enough time to go back and review the fine details – oh wait, you started taking a new antibiotic a few days ago? – instead of scrambling to get all of the above done.
Recognizing that it could just as easily be you left without extra socks or with a patient who can’t leave until someone gets them a prescription for their walker is what makes my teams work so well. It’s why I chose them, and it’s why I stay.