For my first nineteen years of practice, somebody else took weekend call when the big snowfall hit, then last year, my final one at Christiana, the lot fell to me. I stayed overnight there for two nights, handled one emergency from ten miles away and scratched the fender of my car on a snow bank. Now I am in Philadelphia where I take call half the weekends so having to cope with the Big One becomes inevitable. So it is this afternoon. I knew that the white downpour would arrive at about mid-day so I went to Mercy Philadelphia Hospital a little earlier than has been my Sunday custom, saw all the follow-ups and three new consults, then headed home with the expectation that I will be devoting tomorrow morning to shoveling rather than office patients. I'd have closed my own office in these circumstances as few people can get around, though a few hardy folks always manage to show up. Somebody is on site at the hospital so people receive the care they need though often from somebody who will need to catch up on sleep as soon as the relief crew arrives.
This time also offers an opportunity of a few hours without the usual intrusions. It becomes a chance to do things that are important when most work days are devoted to shuffling the urgent. Time has come to set the semiannual tasks, work on my two upcoming talks, tone down my ornery disposition by a vigorous session or two with a white driveway. No need to arise as soon as the alarm buzzes tomorrow.