Saturday, 22 January 2011


It was my birthday yesterday, so I went out with a couple of friends and found myself in a slightly tipsy state, arriving home in the early hours. My rota has been a little busy of late - 17 shifts, seven of them 13 hours long, in 18 days - and with the weekend off, I fancied a nice lazy hungover Saturday, as advised by wise words from elsewhere.

Imagine my surprise when awoken at nine thirty by the sound of my telephone ringing. It was the consultant on call. The SHO for the weekend wasn't feeling well, and she asked me whether I could come in later on once I had sobered up and work a late shift.

I declined. I've been working hard, my sleep patterns aren't the healthiest at present for various reasons, and I've really been looking forward to this downtime. I think I need it. I told her that I was still drunk and I suspected I wouldn't be well enough to work later today.

It's now 4pm, and I feel a little fuzzy, but generally okay. I am following my original intention and having a lazy day. However, I can't fully enjoy the glory of doing nothing of note, because I'm feeling guilty. Work are short. They've asked me to come in. I've said no, and for good reason, but I can't help but feel like I'm letting them down.

Is this a situation unique to medicine? Do people with other jobs feel like this? Do I just need to get over the fact that I am not completely and uniquely essential to the running of the NHS?

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