When I was an intern in the medical ICU, I didn't get along very well with my senior resident. There was a name I used to call her and... well, I'm too polite to say it on this blog, but it started with the letter B and rhymed with "switch."
On my first call in the ICU, my senior resident who I will call Cruella (yes, I've been watching too many Disney movies) sent me to see a patient in the ER. I saw the patient, she came down to see the patient with me, and eventually he was stabilized. It was after 1PM and at that point, Cruella said to me, "Why don't you go get lunch?"
I was quite relieved because the cafeteria was closing soon and I needed to get some food for dinner too, considering I was likely not going to have time to make another trip down there. I got a sandwich (and one for dinner), ate it in maybe five minutes (chewing a total of six times), then went back to the ICU where Cruella promptly paged me.
"Where were you?" she demanded to know.
"I was eating lunch," I stammered.
"I told you to get lunch!" Cruella said angrily. "I didn't say you should eat it!"
I swear to god, she said that.
Cruella's switchiness aside, I feel like lunch is something I've had to fight for ever since starting my clinical years and it's gotten less and less acceptable to me. On my first day of residency, I nearly fainted because I skipped lunch. I attracted quite a crowd and I ended up having to confess to my attending that I was two months pregnant because otherwise she'd think I was a wuss who fainted from removing a G-tube. I also remember there was one day when I was six months pregnant and rounds were lasting forever, well past lunch time... I told my attending I needed to eat because I was feeling faint. She said, "You really think you're going to faint? Okay, let's just round on one more floor of patients, then you can eat." I swear to god, she said that. (And she was actually pretty nice otherwise.)
Moreover, I've noticed it seems commonplace for clinics to be scheduled to go straight through lunch. When I did clinics with surgeons especially, there was never ever a lunch break planned into the day. Surgeons eat maybe one meal every two days, which they eat standing up. I've theorized they must have some sort of bear-like fat storage system to allow them to go for long periods without eating.
Recently, my morning clinics have been running past 1:30 and I feel too embarrassed to complain. I honestly feel like there must be something wrong with me because by 1PM, I am actually really hungry. In fact, I'd rather eat at noon. Am I really the only one? Am I weak for needing to eat lunch? Should people who need to eat lunch avoid medicine entirely?
I don't want to have a gigantic lunch followed by a siesta. All I want is like ten minutes built into the middle of my day when I can sit down and eat some food, preferably with a drink, and not have to apologize for it.