It’s been almost two months since I last posted. Wow, this semester’s been kicking my ass, I guess.
Hurricane Sandy blew through here yesterday, with a little rain continuing today. The lights flickered once last night, but otherwise it was pretty uneventful here. Living downtown, all the power lines are underground, so I’ve never lost power in the six years I’ve been in DC. I haven’t gone out yet to see if there’s much damage with tree branches down, etc, but given the last couple of years of big storms and the dorecho we had this summer, I think all of the weak branches were already down.
I spent yesterday catching up on the pile of magazines that has been piling up all semester. Then I watched three movies:
I also cooked. Beef stew in the crockpot on Sunday, and chili, yesterday. Now the freezer is stocked, and I have food for the week.
The best part of Hurricane Sandy was that they closed everything yesterday and today: work, my trainer, school. I’ve had two days with ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do! It’s been fabulous. I’m even going to celebrate by taking a nap later today.
Sunday was my birthday. I’m 41.
I had a small birthday party at my house on Saturday. It was a good excuse to clean up, throw stuff out, and invite some people over. There was a good turnout and I think everyone had a good time.
And mother nature gave me two days of relaxation, which is the second best present I got.
This semester has gone pretty quickly. We’re already in Week 11. I had one midterm, which I should get the grade for this week. Last year, I would have loved to have a midterm, so I had some idea what to expect on exams. This year, it was just a pain in the ass. For finals, we at least get about a week to study. For midterms, it was just business as usual: class on Tuesday, exam in class on Thursday. And a one-hour twenty minute exam isn’t very long for an essay. It was hard to get everything down and organized in that short amount of time.
We’re a week away from spring registration. I don’t think I’m going to try to squeeze all my classes into two nights. It hasn’t worked out as well as I had hoped. First, I still have to go in and do office hours for the law review. Since I don’t to do that from 9:30-11:30 pm, I end up going in a third day, anyway. And because I have to leave work early on Tuesday and Thursday, I end up having to work later on Wednesday, so I get home about the same time I would if I had class.
Oh well, I gave it a shot.
It’s almost November. That means I need to start thinking about outlines and studying for finals. So I don’t have to take much time off work, I’m hoping to get started earlier this year. Maybe I’ll at least be able to get some of it done ahead of time. Luckily two of my finals are at the end of the exam period, so that gives me some extra time, too.
I know I’ve said it before, but I’m going to try to do a better job of staying on top of posting.
This is just an update, since I haven’t posted in a while.
School’s going ok. Legal writing is taking A LOT more time than I expected. The final draft of our first memo is due this week. I’m sure I’ve put in at least 40 hours working on various drafts of this memo. Hopefully it was worth it.
This week, Contracts is cancelled on Wednesday because of the Jewish holidays. So, I get a free evening! (But, we’re making it up in two weeks.)
At some point, I need to start reviewing. Hopefully the next few writing assignments won’t take as much time and I can get back to focusing on Torts and Contracs.
Did I mention that Alex’s been much more affectionate since she spent the day locked in the bedroom? If I leave the bedroom window open, it often blows the door shut. I usually leave a shoe in the doorway, so the door doesn’t latch. The cleaning people moved the shoe and when I came home, Alex was in their begging to be let out. Ever since then, she’s been up on me like a conjoined twin. Right this minute, she’s lying on my desk, with her paw resting on my hand while I type.
I’ve still been hitting the trainer twice a week. It’s the one commitment I have worked to keep school from interfering with. Sometimes I don’t know why. Many weeks, there are only one or two days where I can move without stiffness or pain. But, it’s working, I guess. My chest, arms, and shoulders are definitely getting bigger. And yesterday, I was told my butt looked “perky.”
Today is a relaxation day. I’m doing laundry, catching up on the DVR and paying bills. At some point, I need to take some underwear back to Macy’s and get the security tag removed. This afternoon, I have a BBQ with the Lambda student group, and later tonight a birthday party, that I’m sure will be awesome. Tomorrow’s going to be my study day. I may also try and get a movie in there at some point. I hear Drive is really good.
I finally have more than one staff member! Two new employees started two weeks ago. Now, someone can be on vacation, and we still can have staff meetings.
Going Back to Clinic
About a year after I moved to DC, I started having a regular clinic, again. (It took them that long to process my credentialing paperwork.) So, since late 2007 or early 2008, I’ve been going to the VA hospital most Friday mornings to see patients. Overall, I’ve enjoyed it. Most of the patients have been nice, and I know I’ve helped a few of them. Some of the patients have been a bit more challenging. And they’re the ones that come in more frequently. The staff have always been great. Without them, it wouldn’t have been possible to do clinic one half-day per week and maintain my other jobs.
But, as I thought about going back to school, I was worried that it was just one more responsibility I’d have to juggle. It’s not like my regular job reduced my workload by 10% since I was out of the office 10% of the time. And with classes 4 nights a week, I can’t afford to work late, so need to keep my schedule as close to 40 hours a week as possible.
I also started studying for my Internal Medicine board recertification exam. Every ten years, we have to take this exam, along with several online self-education modules. As I was studying for the test (which I did pass, btw), I realized that I had forgotten a lot of medicine that I used to know. When you don’t do rheumatology or cancer care, it’s hard to keep up with the new tests and treatments.
Both of those factors helped me decide that it was time to give up clinic.
About 3 months ago, I told the clinic staff, who were all saddened to see me leave. And we started telling patients. Several of them didn’t seem to care. They were just stoic that this is what happens in the clinic. Staff come and go. Residents rotate out every three years. Most of the patients said they were very sad that I was leaving. One patient asked me to come back just every three months so that I could still be their doctor for their regular appointment.
This past Friday was my last day in clinic. It was bittersweet. I’m excited to be taking one more step towards simplifying my life as school’s about to start. But, I will miss the staff, and most of the patients. It’s also a little sad because I’m not sure I’m a “real” doctor, anymore. I even gave my stethoscope away to one of the staff.
They had a going-away party and breakfast for me before clinic started. It was supposed to be a surprise, but it ended up getting included in some general clinic announcements I was cc’d on. There was lots of tasty food in the conference room.
They even got me gifts. I got a beautiful red leather toiletry bag, which means I can use my old one for the gym instead of going to buy a new one for the gym. (One item checked off my To Do list.) I also got a card with lots of nice comments, a box of chocolates, a plaque thanking me for my service, and a box of Pop-tarts (my secret indulgence).
Before the gifts, the clinic director made a brief speech, which was very kind. She talked about how they often assigned me patients that were having conflicts with their other doctor because they knew I could handle them in a kind way. It reminded me that so much of medicine isn’t about the science of medicine. It’s the ability to listen — to connect — with a patient. I will miss that.
I will probably be back in clinic next week. First off, there’s a fair chance I’ll forget I don’t have clinic. I’ll just wake up like any Friday and drive there. Even if I remember, I probably need to go in and do some paperwork. Friday morning, I realized that I hadn’t told anyone in administration that I was leaving. I stopped by Friday after my clinic was done. (None of my patients showed up!) The guy who handles that paperwork was on vacation. It’s my own fault. About 3 months ago, when I made the decision, I realized I needed to tell them, but figured I’d wait and do it about 4 weeks before I was done. Then, I forgot.
I worked with some really great people there and I will them all much more than I miss the patients. I will also miss a few of the patients.
But, I guess I can always go back to clinic. I am Board Certified until 2021, now.