A New Baby Boy and a Little Sleep Deprivation

At the time my second son was born my partners and I were on a pretty tough work schedule. We manned our hospital through the night to be there for emergencies and to look after the growing number of patients under our care.

When I look back, I would never design the work schedule we kept. In the rotation we had one weekend where one of us would leave home on Friday morning, work Friday, Saturday and Sunday until five o’clock without going home. If it was quiet at night we got to sleep. If not, oh well. Debbie was pregnant with Adam and her due date happened to be that Friday. I went to work and it was agreed that if she went into labor I would leave and Tom or Ken would take over. The weekend was extremely busy as July tends to be in our business. By the time I left the hospital Sunday evening I had only slept a couple of hours since Thursday night. 

I got home exhausted and Debbie was still patiently waiting for labor to start. I went to sleep at 9 pm only to be awakened an hour later to go to the hospital for our new baby to be born. The labor lasted until the next morning and we were both thrilled to say the least.

I finally left the hospital that afternoon and headed home to get some sleep. I was amazed at how awake I was considering the lack of sleep. It was only when I noticed that I had missed my exit by about five miles that I realized that the adrenaline of a new baby only carries you so far. 

I reflect on this and wonder if the model of using interns in human medicine and working them up to 100 hours per week is the safest way to train our next crop of doctors. I can only hope this type of work ethic is not expected to be a right of passage and we can allow some common sense to prevail. In any case, I learned a lesson about going without sleep and vowed to both enjoy my rest as well as my family and career.

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