This is my summer weekend to be on call. Summer call when you are a pediatric anesthesiologist tends to be busy. The beautiful weather and outdoor activities lend themselves to injuries which often require surgical correction: fractures, lacerations, head injuries, etc. So I expect to be busy. But so far this weekend (knock on wood) it has been slow. I do have one case booked for tomorrow and there is still lots of time to get busy, but right now I am home.

“Home Call” means that I can wait at home for the call to come in to give an anesthetic as opposed to waiting “in house” for the need for my services to arise. This is a blessing for family life. I can be at home with my family instead of hanging out at the hospital. But it is also a real exercise in staying present for me. When I am on call, I always imagine the worst. I plan as if I will working all day and night long – i.e. I don’t plan anything for my call days. If I am not called in, I find it hard to relax and just enjoy that I am home for the moment. It is almost impossible for me to just carry on with my day, pretending as if I am not on call. I am constantly aware of the pager in my pocket, and its potential to bring me work.

And so recently I have made it a little practice in mindfulness. When I notice the pager, I try to be aware of it, observe that I am aware, and then use that as a reminder to bring me back to the present. Bring my attention back to the baking I am doing with Ariel, or the bath I am giving Kirby. It has been working out well – although I need the constant reminder to return to the present.

It is funny, though, that I never seem to be aware of my pager when I am actually working at work!

Happy summer weekend to you all. And may everyone be safe and sound in their summer activities and not require my services, for your sake and mine 🙂