Pulling his head from the pillow, he fumbled for the pager. Reaching across the nightstand, the contraption is knocked to the floor, sending the device's holster skittering across the cool, dark floor. After a few expletives were uttered beneath his breath, he locates the black sleep-deprivation device and presses its button:
"888-555-1234 CARDIAC ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY ON CALL"His heart sinks. "At least it's not the ER" he thinks.
He carries the cordless phone to the adjacent room in a futile attempt to avoid waking his wife and calls the number. A robotic voice on the other end answers:
"You have reached Cardiac Electrophysiology. Our office is closed. If this is an emergency hang up and dial 911 or you may leave a message at the tone to be handled the next business day. If you'd like to speak to the doctor on call..."He hits zero to shut the robot up. Horrific music with some type of horn that sounds like it has been flattened squeaks in the background. He waits.
Good morning. Cardiac Electrophysiology. How may I help you?The horrific music returns, then:
"This is Dr. Fisher returning your page."
"Yes, doctor, let me look up the page."
"The call is from Justaya Smith. She has a fever to 101. He said her doctor is Dr. Jones."Confused, the semi-comatose duty physician wonders silently when his colleague, Dr. Jonathan Jones, cared a damn about someone's fever. Coming to, he asks:
"What's the patient's date of birth?"Realizing the futility of the situation, he states:
"You must have the wrong doctor."
"He said her doctor was Doctor Jones. Would you like their number or should I connect you?"
"Both, please."Soon a man answers.
"Thank you. Just a moment..."
"Hello, this is Dr. Fisher returning your page..."-Wes
"Yes, thank you doctor. My daughter sees Doctor Jones and she's had a fever for the past five days. We've tried alternating Tylenol and ibuprofen, but her fever keeps coming back. This evening, she started to vomit..."
"Excuse me. Sir?"
"I am the cardiologist on call, covering for Doctor Jonathan Jones."
"But my daughter's Doctor is Dr. Sally Jones. I don't need a cardiologist..."
"I'm very sorry sir. I think you'll need to call your doctor's office and have them contact the person covering for your daughter's doctor."
"But that's what I did!"
"I would suggest you call then again, but this time be sure to give them the first AND last name of your daughter's doctor ...
... Oh, and if you know your the date of birth of your daughter's doctor, you might want to give THAT to the answering service, too."