What a day!

What a day! The end of February brings the annual in-service exam, preparation for the board exam emergency medicine physicians' take for licensure after their residency is complete and gauges a resident's academic progress and to stress their already harried nerves. Here's my day:

6:43 a.m.

First beeps from my alarm, I slap the snooze for 9 more minutes of sleep.

6:51 a.m.

Second alarm snoozing of the day.

6:58 a.m.

I pull myself out of bed before the third ear-piercing alarm.

7:17 a.m.

Done showering and shaving, I pull on comfortable jeans and sweatshirt in preparation of a long day of test-taking.

7:21 a.m.

Yogurt and daily quiet and prayer time calms my anxiety.

7:38 a.m.

I figure a stop at Starbucks for a Vanilla latte may help my test prep.

8:02 a.m.

After a longer-than-expected line at the local Starbucks, I arrive at the hospital two minutes late for the exam. Our program coordinator, Laurie, looks like she would kill me if she wasn't so glad I'd finally arrived. All the other residents have already arrived

8:09 a.m.

Exam begins, 35 picture-related questions begin the exam. The picture book that corresponds to the questions is called the "stimulus book." Funny, it's not too stimulating. Fuzzy pictures of ultrasound screens and radiographs have me squinting to divine their intent.

10:32 a.m.

Nearing question #167 I answer something about indications for hyperbaric oxygen therapy indications.

11:17 a.m.

225 questions down, I turn my test and answer sheet in, the first resident done with the exam. (We're given until 12:30 p.m..) I've always taken exams quickly, and today is no exception. I've always figured I either know the answers or I don't. I choose an answer and stick with it, no dallying.

11:34 a.m.

I run some errands awaiting everyone else's completion of the exam, and a trip to the local watering hole, the Winking Lizard Tavern. I stop by the library first to find something to read besides emergency medicine review material that's been my staple over the past couple of months.

11:47 a.m.

Next stop is the post-office.

12:06 p.m.

I pick up a wedding card and gift certificate for a friend's wedding that I will, of course, not be able to attend because I am working. Oh well, I just hope all my friends don't wonder why I've disappeared from the face of the earth over the past couple of years.

12:39 p.m.

Make my way to the Winking Lizard Tavern for fun and frivolity with my fellow residents to celebrate. One rule: no talking about the test!

1:13 p.m.

Someone starts talking about test questions and is summarily yelled at by everyone else at the table.

1:54 p.m.

A large cheese burger and fries are the reward for a hard day's work.

5:04 p.m.

After hours of telling old stories, new stories, and laughing out loud with my friends and coworkers, I head home. Did I mention I have to work the night shift?

6:01 p.m.

Arrive at home and decide that out of guilt, I'll try to read some of next month's required reading. I begin a chapter on cold-induced injuries, like frostbite and trench foot.

7:12 p.m.

I try to lie down for a few minutes before my shift, but have difficulty falling asleep. I decide to finish the cold exposure chapter instead of sleeping. I may regret this decision later.

8:48 p.m.

I get dressed for work and can't motivate myself to shave twice in one day, I'll go with some stubble.

9:07 p.m.

I leave for my night shift.

9:28 p.m.

Arriving at work, there's 9 charts in the rack, and I see 5 patients before I find an attending to run my plans by. Should be a fun night!

4:03 a.m.

I regret reading about cold exposure rather than sleeping for the first time.

7:11 a.m.

I continue to regret reading instead of sleeping as I wrap up the 20th patient of the night.

7:43 a.m.

I get done with my shift mercifully close to the time I'm supposed to, and drag myself to the car to drive home.

8:01 a.m.

Scrubs still on, I collapse in bed, exhausted.

I won't wake up until 5:30 p.m., the next day, on Thursday. I have to work night shifts through the weekend so four more nights of this. Another day, one more day closer to being done with training and onto this career I've wanted and worked for these past couple of years.

Andrew Jacques ('05)