By: Ellie Wallace, MD

Alone.
Empty room.
Alarm goes off, shower, coffee, run to the bus, get to work.
Sorry for the long sign-out, sorry the board is so long.
Man with leg swelling, can’t afford his medications, now needs dialysis.
Girl with scars from old gunshot wounds, now here with back pain and anxiety.
Homeless man so cold, just wants to sleep.
Angry woman wants an MRI and prescriptions, mostly just wants to yell.
“Fuck you bitch, fuck this hospital”
Another man with leg swelling, smiles when I get him some juice and a warm blanket.
Young guy getting wheeled in from the ambulance with six security guards around.
Agitated, intoxicated.
Now medicated and restrained.
Keep moving, keep charting.
Can’t let that patient sit for five more minutes.
Lady is yelling that she has been waiting an hour for a bed.
Man next to her has been waiting for eighteen.
Keep picking up patients, waiting room is getting full.
You forgot to order Tylenol.
The contrast consent form was done wrong, you have to fix it.
“Why haven’t I gotten a bed yet?”
“I still haven’t seen a doctor, only that girl over there”
Almost done, time to dispo anyone possible before shift change.
Sorry, another long sign-out, sorry the board is so long.
Back on the bus, back home.
Dark apartment.
Call mom, day was fine.
Shower, change.
Nice first day, nice guy, nice small talk.
Don’t be too talkative, don’t be too loud.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen?
Don’t talk too much about work.
“Oh, lots of things, you name it I’ve seen it”
More small talk, friendly smiles.
Nice to meet you, but I know I won’t talk to you again.
Back home.
Brush teeth, contacts out, change.
Empty room.
Alone.

Resident Author: Ellie Wallace, MD
Faculty Review: Elizabeth Mitchell, MD
Photographer: Ben Grimmnitz, MD