A Tale of Two Calls

It was the best of calls, it was the worst of calls. It was a time of wisdom, it was a time of foolishness. It was a season of belief, it was a season of incredulity. It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. We had straightforward admissions, we had lousy cross-coverage. In short, the resident slept soundly for six hours, the intern was busy with paperwork, hypotension, and desaturations all night.

When it was over, the next morning, the intern had prepped discharge paperwork for more than half of the admissions, with two more leaving against medical advice. The census would stay managable. And the cross-coverage patients had all survived.

They said of the intern, after the call that night, that it was the peacefullest man's face ever beheld there. Many added that he looked sublime and prophetic.

Some of the most remarkable sufferers of this same process have been allowed to write down the toughts that inspire them. If he had given any utterance to his thoughts that morning, they would have been these:

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known."

-- Loosely adapted from Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.