28 November 2008
My mother and I had a favorite tradition on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. We would get up at 5 in the morning, dress warmly, and head off for the mall. We'd get the front line parking space and sit in the car waiting for 05:55 when we'd go stand at the door and walk in with the rest of the crowd.
We had our list. We'd do our shopping. And, at 08:30, we'd be done. While the rest of the cars were circling the parking lot, my mother and I would be allowing some lucky soul to take our spot as we headed off for breakfast. We might hit a specialty store or two after breakfast. Maybe go to a movie. Pick up something to snack on. Then come home and watch TV while eating leftovers from the night before.
We haven't done this in many years, but every Thanksgiving I still ask my mother if she'd like me to pick her up early to go shopping. She always laughs and asks what plane I'm landing on and is Starbuck's going to open early as well.
This year, I shared my Thanksgiving with family and friends, not my family and not my friends, but nonetheless, a warm loving atmosphere and good food throughout.
I do want to share a poignant vignette shared by one of my attendings yesterday. He stated that they had received a small child in cardiac arrest. The E.D. staff did their best, but there was no resuscitating the child. The family was in hysterics, and this increased as more family members arrived. The child was the youngest of three. It appeared to be a SIDS death.
The family stated that they had never heard of "Back to Sleep," and that the child was always placed to sleep on their stomach, covered by blankets. They didn't know any other way.
My attending stated the obvious, that a child's death is always hard on the staff. He shared that the way he dealt with it was by personally carrying the child down to the morgue. Which he did with this child. No cloth-covered gurney for these smallest of patients.
Tonight I'll be going in for a string of overnight shifts, and I'll be hoping that we're not "in the black" in the E.D. We'll see.