Silly Season: The Doctor’s Definition

That morning, you drive to work in record time. Did the whole world go on holiday simultaneously? you wonder, only vaguely aware that the answer to your question is yes.

You go to the Human Resources department, and find them on skeleton staff. Nothing of importance can really be done until the middle of next month, you are told, by a bored-looking clerk wearing a summer dress and pretty sandals. Her cheeks have the glow of recent sun exposure, and she sits restlessly, as if a schoolchild, waiting on the final bell to ring.

You stop at the store on the way home. The chocolate shelves are half-empty. Children run barefoot through the aisles, tracking sea sand through the store.

On call the next night, you treat only trauma. Mangled limbs, stabbed abdomens, hearts that miraculously survive bullet wounds. This seems worse than usual, you think. But you don’t have time to really think. All you know is that more people seem to have stomachs full of alcohol when they get stabbed, shot, or run over. You know what’s worse than placing a nasogastric tube? Doing it for a drunk person.

Exhausted, you collapse on the living room couch at home the following morning. Next door, children’s laughter rings out from the pool. Then, music starts, so loudly that you think for a second it is inside your own house. But no, it comes from the house across the street. Who is disturbing your post-call sleep? Shouldn’t most normal people be at work at this time?

And then, you realise it. You realise why most normal people aren’t at work right now. The majority of the country is on holiday at the same time.

It is December. It is the festive season. Christmas is just about here, and you’ve not been in the pool (or the ocean) once this Summer, nor made ice for the visitors you’ll be having, and all the ingredients for the Christmas dish you want to make, are sold out.

You’re not a grinch. It’s just that the “Christmas Spirit” is catching, and the hospital’s feeble attempts at decorating have not proven to be very contagious.

And then you feel silly, for not realising the time of the year, silly for letting time go by unnoticed, silly for not taking time off this season (although, would you have succeeded if you tried?).

And that is why it is called the silly season.

Disclaimer: the images in this post were created with Checkers’ Make Your Own AI Art feature.

1 Comment

  1. Refreshingly honest. Since I left med school in 2019, Christmas is less special to me. I’m usually working and dealing with the worst of what humankind can do to each other. Exhausting

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