The humble cheese toastie

Now I’m not a cheese toasty type of person, in fact I’m actually not a huge fan of cheese. I don’t hate it but it doesn’t really bother me if it’s there or not. My impression of this has changed though because a cheese toasty may have just saved my life..

I was in the middle of a really busy, physically and mentally exhausting run of nights. On the last night shift I was six hours in, it was 2am, we had already transferred two kids to intensive care, another probably heading there, we’d been to three deliveries (i.e. check over the newborn as they are delivered) and there were so many kids to be seen in the Emergency Department i had run out of space to write their details. It was just one of those nights where it seemed like it was never going to end. Busy was the understatement of the year.

We needed to stop though. I’m all for thinking that we are no good to our patients if we don’t look after ourselves. My ability to actually stick to this has improved in the past few years. When I was more junior I used to prefer to just keep going and going – not go to the toilet, not drink, not eat, just do everything that needed to be done. I suppose when you’re junior you feel that that’s the way it works. We are expected to do every single thing straight away so we do it. Now that I’m more senior, I’m more confident in my decisions so I work faster, and I’m more self aware (that last point was the hardest to get to) Hence why what I said at the start of my ramble is so true.. we are no good to our patients if we don’t look after ourselves. So as it happens I was that point in the shift where I had “hit a brick wall” i.e. the time had come stop for a minute and have a breather and gather our thoughts. But I needed some food in my stomach to keep my energy levels up and to satisfy that grumbling I had been ignoring for the last few hours. And then suddenly, like my prayers had been answered, there appeared a tray full of golden brown, hot out of the sandwich press, oozing with yellow goodness – cheese toasties. The lovely nurse (who in her stroke of genius made cheese toasties for the night staff who had been running around like headless chooks) walked in with a halo around her head. No – a double halo because she buttered both sides of the bread!! Never has a cheese toasty tasted so good. Every child I saw after that was better for it.

Dr. Nelu x


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