Well, week #1 is done! Whew! As I mentioned in a previous post, it was kind of rough getting back into the swing of things. The week went pretty well, except in an effort to save my back, I only took one of my Civil Procedure books with me. Of course, we spent time reading directly out of the other two books. And, since I have to read them on the weekends, I can’t just leave them in my locker. Oh well. That’s why they invented chiropractors and massage therapists.
So, this weekend was about catching up, regrouping, and — hopefully — getting a little ahead.
A month ago, I had booked a reservation for Friday for Restaurant Week. Since Friday was the only night I could do dinner, the choices were somewhat limited, and I booked on OpenTable: DC Restaurants as soon as they announced the dates. I like to use Restaurant Week to try restaurants I wouldn’t otherwise spend that much money at. I’ve had great experiences at 1789, for instance. This time, my reservation was at Chef Geoff’s Downtown. I had heard very mixed things about it, so I ended up canceling the reservation.
I stayed in on Friday and got my reading for Civil Procedure and Criminal Law both done.
Saturday was the trainer (that’s why everything hurts!!), and a really wonderful second date.
Today, was reading for Rhetoric, as well as cleaning off my desk.
But It’s Not Over!
Wait! It’s a 3-day weekend! I get an extra day to enjoy.
Actually, tomorrow will be spent first working on my next Rhetoric writing assignment. Then, I need to run to Target and the grocery store. I’m going to cook some chili so I have something healthy to eat this week.
Speaking of healthy cooking, I started reading An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler. I’ve only read two chapters, but it makes me want to cook in a very simple, filling, and tasty way. I’d recommend picking it up.
UPDATED 11/21/13: OpenTable asked me to update their link to go to the DC restaurants.
I realized tonight that I need professional help. I know what some of you are thinking! That’s not what I meant, but may be material for another post.
As I was driving through the 7th torrential downpour of the day to go to the all-night animal hospital to pick up Katie’s medication (which I probably could have made at home if I called in a few prednisone tablets to the local CVS — and wouldn’t have cost me $60), I realized that I while I think I can manage work and school, I think I need help with the rest of life.
Anyone interested in the job? Your duties include such mundane tasks as:
- Picking up cat medication. Giving said medication to the cat once a day.
- Getting my watch battery changed. Yesterday, I realized it was two hours behind, which got worse though out the day. You’d think I could survive without a watch, but it’s a problem at work. Every clock is different: my Blackberry, iPhone, computer, office clock, clock in the hallway, etc. And they vary by as much as 10 minutes, which means I’m usually either early to meetings, or late, depending on the clock in the room where they’re holding the meeting.
- Going through my mail and tossing out the junk mail. If you want to open it and pay the bills for me, you might get a little extra in your holiday card.
- Watching the weather in the morning so I know how to dress.
- Picking up the wine and Peanut Butter Cup Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, so I can have Second Dinner (Watch this episode of The Office to see where that comes from).
- Reminding me what day of the week it is, and possibly where I’m at.
- Petting the cats. They’re feeling neglected.
- Fighting with my Co-op Board when I’m busy at work. (More on this one later.)
- Unpacking and repacking my work/school bag. (As an aside, I’ve been having a lot of neck and shoulder tension. I realized today that it’s because the bag is so damn heavy. Tonight, was Contracts and Legal Rhetoric. My bag weighed 15 pounds.)
- Get my Jeep’s oil changed.
- Go through my DVR and delete duplicates. (Who the hell scheduled law school to overlap with the start of the new TV season?)
- Other To Do List items as assigned (Can you tell I’ve worked with government HR?)
These are simple tasks, I know. I just don’t have time to do it. I’m not sure I am going to have time to get my watch battery changed this weekend. And there’s a fair chance my car may go 35,000 miles without an oil change.
I can’t pay you for your time, but I will cover the expenses. I’m not asking you to buy the watch battery. And, in exchange, you have access to anything you find in my refrigerator. That includes the over-ripe apples, the possibly expired Chobani yogurt, that weird wheat side-dish I made that was tasty but still got pushed to the back, the pizza from the other weekend, and both bottles of ketchup. It’s all yours!
Just send your cover letter and résumé to me through this blog, if you’re interested in helping me out.
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.