poured out before bed
“Well, I need to go and get my nail fixed.”
The fellow holds out her hand, displaying five very black acrylic nails, one of which sports a nearly imperceptible chip in it’s deep polish.
“Oh…OK,” I say, looking at the clock over her head.
It is 3:30. The witching hour for consults.
“I’m going to give you the team pager. You’re a senior student, so you can handle it, I think. If we get a consult and you have questions, you can page me. Otherwise, I won’t be coming back for today.”
“Oh…OK,” I take the pager, looking over at the senior resident on the team.
She smiles superficially.
“I’m going with her to get mine done, too. I’m so excited! So, I’ll see you tomorrow, K?”
I turn back towards the clinic note I was finishing and return the quarrelsome look my computer screen reflection gives.
The two senior trainees giggle together as they pack up their belongings (in their designer purses), the hollow (and rather shallow) sound of their collective (designer) stilettos diminishing as they make their way toward the elevators.
Ten minutes later, the pager goes off. I’ve barely seen the first patient and paged the attending to staff when it sounds yet again. I alert the attending to our second consult and hightail it off to see him, sighing at the beeping that comes from my belt as I begin to check patient number two’s cranial nerve function. I excuse myself, get the skinny on patient number three from the medical team, then return to patient number two to finish my exam.
As I once again ask him to follow my finger with his eyes, not his head, he smiles weakly.
“You have very nice hands,” he whispers. “I’ve always liked clean, natural fingernails.”