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Things Doctors Can’t Do: Stay Up Late

A physician’s life with its quirky particulars escapes most non-physicians. Even spouses of physicians sometimes don’t fully understand. So I thought I’d share a few insights with you from time to time to paint a picture of a physician’s world.

Would you stay up all night to read late?Last night, I stayed up until 2am reading a good book. As I put the book on the bedside table, took my glasses off, and turned off the light, I thought about the time.

When I was practicing medicine on call, I couldn’t do this without a pang of worry about the consequences of staying up late. But last night I had no worry. I knew I’d be getting a full five and a half hours of sleep.

Staying up late, to watch a movie, to read a book, anything… carried the risk of losing a night of sleep. No sooner than a physician tries to sleep, the phone can rip a doctor out of the bed and seemingly in the blink of an eye, the hours most people whould be sleeping would have been spent wide awake in the hospital.

Therefore, to actively decide to read late must translate to potentially getting no sleep. The book had better be good!

Next time you’re reading later than your usual bedtime, while you think about exactly how late you should continue to read, ask yourself this question.

“Would I stay up all night to read this book?”

Because that’s probably the question your doctor asks him/herself every time they’re up late reading.

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