Today is the day I go on standby for my first “on call” shift. I will finish work at 5pm this evening and be on call until 8am tomorrow morning.
Now some people hate being on call while others love it, for me I honestly couldn’t say yet because obviously I haven’t done it but there are pros and cons.
For example I get paid a single payment for being on call whether I’m called out or not, however because I have to be on site within an hour of the phone call it means I can’t really do a great deal other than sit around waiting.
Similarly I could have a call at 1am and still have to go to work the following morning. At present I’m not worrying too much because I’ve got a couple of funerals to do today so I have ages before I have to think too much about it.
3.10pm – Only two hours to go until I’m on call. Just finished my last funeral which was a straight forward and straight into the Crematorium. Straight back to base for the last hour and fifty minutes. At this point I have a mixture of anticipation, fear and excitement. Its hard to explain how I feel but it’s a little like when you’re young on the night before Christmas.
4.30pm – Just had a chat with my on call partner. He’s done on call loads of times but as he’s used to being with his normal on call partner I guess it’s new for him in a way. I suspect he has concerns for my ability as I am as new as I am, perhaps he is worried about me screwing up. If he is he isn’t showing it, In fact he’s more concerned with cramming another smoke break in before he finishes work.
5.05pm – I’ve done for the day and I’m on my way home. Already I’m technically on call however this next 40 minutes will be quite tough because I walk to and from work. If the phone rings with a job I might not even have got home let alone be ready to rush out on a job!
7.30pm – got home ages ago without a call which was good and now its tea/supper time. So far I’ve been checking my phone every 10 minutes to ensure I’ve got it on its loudest ring volume and that I havnt missed a call. Realistically I know it is and I know full well I’ve missed nothing however I cant help but check.
I can smell the food cooking and I have the feeling in the back of my mind that the phone will ring just as I tuck in to my first mouthful.
9.50pm – Still no call as yet. I suppose this is a good thing really because no poor soul has lost their life but for me it becoming annoying.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not willing people to die but despite checking my phone every 10 minutes I’m now beginning to worry I may not have a signal. Paranoia is setting in, so much so that I have just phoned myself from a different phone just to make sure.
I’m about to settle down to watch The X-Files (never got into it the first time round) and am anticipating a call before the end. It would just be my luck to miss the ending.
11.30 – That was a great episode, glad I saw it all the way through. As I finish my cigarette I’m toying with the idea of staying awake all night just to make sure I don’t miss a call. The problem is that if there is no call then I’m expected in work at 8am which wouldn’t be good with no sleep.
I’ll have one last cuppa whilst I wait a little longer
Midnight – the last drags of tea are now cold and I am feeling very sleepy. It is a very odd feeling waiting for something that may not actually come.
I guess with time being on call will get easier but for now I’m finding it quite difficult, and I havnt actually done anything!
I’ve given up the idea of staying awake all night and I’ve just checked everything is ready should my phone ring. Somewhat like a fireman, I’ve laid out my uniform in such a way that I can dress in a couple of minutes. There is a mug of coffee in the fridge awaiting only boiling water and even a cigarette and lighter are on standby to assist me in waking up should that phone ring between now and my alarm at 6am.
For now I shall retire to bed. I’ve checked my phone is on “loud” (again), it has a signal and is on charge. I’m too tired now to do anything other than sleep but I’m so scared of not hearing the phone that I’m unsure if I’ll sleep at all. Not only that but if I do hear the phone, how will I be able to operate after being woke up at some unholy hour?
I will let you know how things go tomorrow, goodnight.