It's some combination of sound and sensation. It starts in the middle of the workday, and lurks in the back of my mind as I make my way through the ED. My pace isn't quite the same; my balance is ever-so-slightly off.

The unsettling feeling gains traction on the commute home -- spilling into conscious thought the moment I walk through the door, into the quiet, familiar apartment.

Yes, there is definitely something stuck to the bottom of my shoe.

Before I even look, I'm performing damage assessment: how bad can it be? I've only taken a few steps in my kitchen...

Fear and loathing give way to surprise and recognition -- I've never expected to find something pleasant under my shoe, but today I saw a sticky pad from an EKG lead, nestled near the heel of sole.

I pulled it off and speculated on when we first came together. Was it at the bedside of the bradycardic woman? Maybe during the central line? The lead pad reminded me of some interesting patients, some memorable rhythms.

I threw it out. And then I washed my hands.