Monday, March 17, 2008

Graham Crackers of Despair

Those of you who have been on inpatient services know exactly what I'm talking about.

You see, on inpatient services, there are many, many times where for whatever reason you will go for hours on end with no access to food. Be it call, or rounds which last all day (I wish I were kidding), or some procedure which lasts an hour longer than it should forcing you to run down the hall to the next disaster, there always seems to be something. And in these times your only hope for avoiding a hypglycemic coma is ducking into the supply rooms and grabbing the snacks they have set aside for patients.

I'm not saying this is a proud moment, but desperate times call for... well, frankly, they call for stealing food from sick people.

Anyway, when pilfering from the supply closet, your choices are scant, by which I mean your choice is to eat one of the graham crackers in the packet or to eat both of the graham crackers in the packet.

Now, I have nothing against the graham cracker in principle. They are handy little snacks. They are sweet, yet you can convince yourself that they are marginally good for you because they seem to have pieces of grain or some kind of grass in them. They go great with peanut butter and chamomile tea.

However, there are only so many times you can stuff graham crackers into your mouth while running down the hall wondering if you managed to get all of the influenza off of your hands from the patient you just examined while trying to prevent the gag reflex which may be due to the smell memory of the wound you just debrided or may be because you haven't slept in 30 hours, lamenting the fact that some protein might make your hands stop shaking but for now all you can eat is another... damn... graham cracker... before you totally lose it.

But Despair, you ask? Isn't "despair" a little dramatic? I mean, you're getting to eat, aren't you?

Well, the next time you see someone in a white coat walking down the hospital hall eating a graham cracker, take a look at their face. You will see Despair. Because, for most of us in white coats, the graham cracker has come to symbolize all that is crappy and unrelenting about our chosen profession.

Plus, they aren't even the kind with cinnamon-sugar on top.


docmama said...

even worse - i shamefully admit that i have sunk to the despicable depths of stealing from sick CHILDREN... but once you taste those PB-Jamwiches, you just CAN'T go back to crumbly graham crackers.

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heidi said...

May you never know the true despair of the 100 hour workweek dotted with ID crazies, and when you finally get downstairs to the vending machine at midnight to eat dinner (since the assholes in Cards didn't order dinner in for the team although it was their turn to do so), and you put in money for a turkey-cheese hot pocket, that the machine doesn't jam on you, leaving you with no money, no hot pocket, and an ice cream sandwich someone left in a break room freezer.

Not that anyone I live with has encountered this scenario.