So… today is my 27th birthday. I’m not sure how this happened, but I have apparently at some point entered my late twenties. Somehow, I even got a dog, married a husband, and am considering buying a house. Also, I seem to be less than a month away from earning my MD and being called “Doctor.” I have, for all the world, become a “responsible adult”… to my own horror, I might add. It’s been nearly 10 years since I graduated high school, but I have to say that I don’t feel any more “wise” or “mature” than I was then.

Like many other Asian women, I look quite a bit younger than I actually am. This has resulted in all sorts of hilarious situations: being carded for an R-rated movie when I was 23, getting questions about who the “older gentleman” is that I spend my time with (my husband is actually younger than me by several months), and being called “Dear,” “Honey,” “Baby,” etc. by more strangers than I care to acknowledge. That, coupled with the fact that I’ve never really spent any substantial amount of time out of school up to now, leaves me feeling like I really have no idea what the “real world” is like.

Call nights

Overnight call survival kit

Remember when you were a kid and a bunch of you would get together at a friend’s house for a slumber party? Going on overnight call is kind of like going to a slumber party… except that you don’t get much sleep, your “friends” consist mostly of drunk and belligerent ER patients, and pillow fights are replaced by midnight pages. But other than that… you pack a bag full of soda, junk food, and miscellaneous toiletries, lay sleeping claims to some piece of furniture that may or may not actually resemble a bed, and wear pajamas (scrubs… close enough) the entire time. Admittedly, I haven’t been on call since several months ago, back before I developed my now-crippling case of senioritis. This comic is just something that I’ve been wanting to draw and never found the time until now. But I remember the experience well enough.

A few stray observations:

  • The night before is actually the worst. That’s when I always found myself tossing and turning in bed, stressing about how I needed to get a good night’s sleep because it was the last sleep I would get for more than 24 hours. (Even though interns are no longer allowed to work for more than 16 hours at a time, medical students aren’t actually responsible for any real patient care and are thus exempt for this rule.) As a result, I would invariably wake up feeling like I didn’t get enough sleep.
  • Sleeping 1-2 hours is usually much, much worse than not sleeping at all… more specifically, being woken up after sleeping for those 1-2 hours.
  • I’ve never been a big coffee drinker, but I’ve found Mountain Dew to be the perfect mix of caffeine and sugar to keep me awake when my body would otherwise prefer not to be. I also usually dislike carbonation, but it’s nice in the middle of the night for some reason.
  • Apprently if I don’t manage to eat dinner by about 1:00am, none of the cafeterias will open again until about 6:00am. This has proved problematic on more than one occasion.
  • Being on call with a good resident makes all the difference in the world.
  • My bed at home is AWESOME.