In college, the longest that I went without sleep was 50 hours. By the end of it, I was actually hallucinating. It was a strange experience, and afterwards, I slept for 20 hours straight. Of course, I'm not a college student anymore.

Now, in my old age, being on call pretty much wipes me out, and that's a good night of call, where I can get a few hours of sleep. My last call was not such a night. I slept a total of 5 minutes. So, I went 33 hours with a total of 5 minutes of rest, not counting when I fell asleep during sign out. I did some errands, went to Best Buy to drool on new digital cameras, then went home. My plan was to figure out what to eat for dinner after a little TV.

7 hours later, I wake up in front of my TV and wonder where the day went. And I'm still tired. And I'm sick. My body hurts and my mind is cloudy, still trying to figure out what happened.

The truth about residency is that it's punishing. It's a grueling exercise where people expect you to be mentally focused 24-7, and the truth of the matter is that you just can't be that sharp. You wade through and try to stay on your toes, but really, it's a miracle if you can get home and remember that you were supposed to buy some cleaning supplies and something to eat for dinner.

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