All the phone calls have been made. All the rush is over. Now, it's just another quiet evening at home. Somewhere across the country my mother is sitting in church for the 4:30 p.m. Christmas Eve service. Afterward, she'll stop by the house to pick up the gifts and her famous potato salad and then head over to my aunt's house. They'll eat tamales, sopa, potato salad, plus a number of other goodies.
Around 9, the males in the family will sit to play nickel and dime poker. For the first time in a couple of years there won't be a female, me, joining them. Hopefully next year.
Around 10, the children will begin to wonder how soon they can start separating gifts so that they're ready at the stroke of midnight. Tradition holds that we start with the youngest and work our way to the oldest. You just sit around in anticipation of getting to open your gifts. Usually, around that time, my mother and I would leave and go home. We'd turn the TV onto midnight mass at the Vatican while we opened our gifts. We'd sit and talk and laugh about what we'd received that year.
Finally, around 2 or so we'd go to bed: already planning our breakfast of leftover tamales, or ham, or whatever sounded good for the next day.
Mom promised she'd keep the tradition. She's not going to open the gifts I sent her until she gets home later tonight. Since it's going to be around 2 or 3 in the morning for me, and I took call at the hospital tomorrow, I won't be able to call and hear as she opens her gifts. But, I'll talk to her tomorrow and hear how things went, the latest gossip, the usual raves about her potato salad, and it will be almost like I am there... almost.
Days until the end of the rotation: 13
Actual number of days I will be working during that time: 12
Days left until the painful attending returns: 6
Number of days until my next 24 hours off: 12 (I am taking the very last day of the rotation off, so it's going to be a while, but worth it in the end.)
Number of short call shifts remaining: 2
Number of long call shifts remaining: 1
Number of patients: 3 - that's what I had when I left, we'll see who's still around tomorrow
Number of super nurses in the unit: 4
Number of evil nurses in the unit: 3
Number of evil Internal Medicine residents: 3 1/2 (1/2 because I like the one I took call with the other day, but he stole one of my procedures)