The clamorous cacophony of multiple fire alarms pierced the silence as Ron sprung out of bed, launched over the pile of paper and doorstops next to his shoes, and slid to a halt at his desk. He groped around in the dark for another interminable thirty seconds before his fumbling fingertips encountered the culprits of this particular disturbance.
“Well!” said Ron as he pressed the mute buttons on his phone, tablet, and laptop. “What do you know? It worked! We’re up! Ready for another day of surgery, Harry?”
On the other side of the dorm room, Harry sat up in bed, muttered something unintelligible, and then dropped back to sleep with his ears pressed against the rattling air conditioning unit. Ron stared across the room at the mountainous, rising-and-falling silhouette (he still hadn’t switched on the light) and sighed.
“Maybe you’re right,” said Ron. “A few more minutes can’t hurt.”
With that, he picked up his phone, set the alarm for an additional ten minutes (“3:50 AM? Don’t wake me up!” the phone remarked in protest), and crawled over a stray surgery textbook at the foot of his bed before resting his head on his pillow.
His eyes flew open as the imposter fire alarm set off once again, but this time he stayed in bed and waited for the throbbing lightheadedness to subside from his brain. He eventually gave up, rolled over the side of the bed, slipped his right foot into his left shoe and his left foot into his right shoe, and blundered toward the door.
“I’ll leave the alarm on for you, Harry,” said Ron. The alarm continued to blare into the hiatus of humanity as he started down the brightly-lit hallway with his eyes shut tight, hoping that he wouldn’t collide with another sleepwalking indentured servant on his way to the communal restroom.
In due course, Ron returned to the dorm room to retrieve his phone, devour a chocolate bar for breakfast, and stimulate Harry to the world of wakefulness via an a capella rendition of the Hogwarts welcoming song:
“Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,
Teach us something please,
Whether we be old and bald
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads could do with filling
With some interesting stuff,
For now they’re bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff,
So teach us things worth knowing,
Bring back what we’ve forgot,
Just do your best, we’ll do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot!”
Ron felt no need to change clothes considering that he’d developed a convenient habit of sleeping in his hospital scrubs, and he’d only been wearing his current set for two days and two nights.
Next on his morning routine was the enhancement of his white coat, which came with two large pockets in the front, two large pockets on the inside, and a bonus chest pocket for speedy access to pens and Post-Its. First, he positioned his stethoscope around his neck just-so and clipped his ID badge to his collar (“RONALD WEASLEY, MEDICAL STUDENT”). He then loaded his white coat pockets with an assortment of essential items:
- eight ballpoint pens in shades of periwinkle, amethyst, grass, salmon, chartreuse, mango, sky blue, and sapphire
- three strips of Finding Dory and Frozen stickers (for appeasing the children)
- penlight with pupil gauge
- suture-removal kit, complete with scissors, forceps, gauze sponge, and plastic tray
- roll of surgical tape
- spare suture thread, for practicing knot-tying during longwinded lectures
- collapsible clipboard
- seven granola bars in flavors of chocolate, double chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, banana chocolate, cranberry chocolate, coffee chocolate, and triple chocolate
- twelve pages of surgery notes
- fourteen pages of patient documents
- twenty-six pages of surgery case schedules
- one paperback textbook
- phone with four-inch screen
- tablet with seven-inch screen
- one bag of IV normal saline (0.9%), 1000 mL
The right side of Ron’s white coat sagged down to his knees as he squeezed the last item on his list into one of his coat pockets. He balanced the load by adding a second textbook to a pocket on the opposite side.
Lastly, he reached for his bedside table (in actuality, a spare chair that no longer demonstrated the stability necessary for its intended use) and packed a small bottle of 100 mg caffeine caplets into the back pocket of his scrub trousers. He credited the caplets for preventing him from falling asleep on his feet during surgeries, even after a wholesome 4.5 hours of nightly slumber-time.
With all of the necessary preparations in place, Ron straightened his collar, grinned at the dashing young man in the mirror, and strutted down the hallway to the computer room. There, he would spend the next thirty minutes researching his post-operative patients before entering the hospital to meet them in person. He had about an hour before he was required to meet the resident and attending physician for morning rounds at 5:30 AM.
“It’s going to be an exhilarating day,” Ron exclaimed to a cohort of groggy-eyed medical students as he claimed his computer for the morning. “Just you wait.”