We’re coming off of an incredibly busy time, all of us here in the Genmedmom Village. And every day that I don’t blog, I feel guilty. And cheated! It feels GOOD to blog, to share our experiences, to get feedback and know that we’re not alone in our wacky workaday lives.
This lovely thunderstorming Saturday morning, I awoke to our fatter cat’s butt in my face, as he purrled and gnarled at our pillows. This is his pasive-aggressive way of saying “Get up you lazy bohunk, feed me!” It was 6:15 a.m. Sigh. This was a nice little sleep-in.
Yesterday Babyboy awoke with a grumpy howl, at the bright and shiny hour of 4:45 a.m. I got up, figuring, hey, I have to be up at 5:30 anyways, might as well get up now. I let hubby sleep a bit as he had been up with Babygirl at 3 a.m. And we’re both up alot at night anyways shifting around the soft-space-heater-like bodies of the two huge male cats that sometimes sleep on the bed with us, sometimes not. Of course now that we’re in a heat wave, they’ve been on the bed every night.
Babyboy did go back to sleep yesterday, but I was up. I knew I had a full day scheduled, morning and afternoon clinics.
And man, was it full. 17 patients. For me, in my little primary care office, this is alot of patients in a day.
I rocked it, though. At the end of the day, I did semi-collapse, but in a good way. I really felt that I was able to sit down and TALK to my patients and effectively deal with issues, everything from preconception counseling, to itchy vaginitis, to ADD, to obesity (and obesity, and obesity) and high cholesterol and high blood pressure and aches and pains and fatigue and tick bites (and tick bites and tick bites) etc etc. Man, it was a full day.
I ran more or less on time. I felt… like I liked my job. I actually enjoyed the day. And I’m not sitting here running back over it in my mind, worrying and fretting about patients…
This is great! What happened???
Lately I have been concentrating on keeping “professional distance”, so to speak, and not taking things personally. Like, when a patient is difficult, or there is a bad outcome, or there is a logistical snafu at work, I try not to get emotional about it. From a practical standpoint, I have made a few changes.
One was: backing off from some needy patients. The needy are the few who use the Patient email system several times a week, and write looong essays about their emotional or physical chronic pains. I typically respond to these same-day, and write back what I think are sensitive, thoughtful and supportive notes. I was trying to see these folks on a regular basis, myself, and trying to manage their issues, myself. But lately I had realized that with these very few people, nothing I write matters, nothing I do seems to help. It seems that I just get caught up in the drama, and very often end up fielding negative feedback. “i.e. “You don’t really do anything for me, you don’t care enough, you don’t prescribe what would really help,”" etc.
So, I am delegating a bit. My new tactic: I respond briefly and then ask my (REALLY WONDERFUL) nurse to touch base with them more fully, by phone, to ensure that they are stable and safe. I refer them more quickly to therapy, psychiatry, Pain clinic. If the patient chooses not to go to the specialist to whom I have referred them, that is their choice, and I try not to get into a tug-of-war about it.
And, almost magically, the handful of patients who were causing me so much angst, so much hand-wringing, have sort of… disappeared. Since I instituted this, I haven’t gotten long emails or multiple phone messages a day. My days are much… calmer.
And so a very busy double-clinic-session Friday with a maxed-out patient load and a wide array of medical and psychological issues and challenges went by, and it was Okay. I was Okay.
And here I am ENJOYING a quiet, rainy, sleepy, rainy Saturday.