I get a lot of questions every time there is an ice storm.
“Did you have to work today?”
Healthcare does not get snowed out. Someone has to show up to work. I am not sure how anyone goes into any field of medicine without that expectation. From unit clerks at the hospital, housekeeping, the ultrasound techs, MA’s, RNs, NPs, and PA’s. I am not just talking about physicians here.
So when there really is a terrible ice storm, like there was several months ago with tree limbs down and power out, I wrestle with the decision to keep the clinic closed. Even if we cannot physically see patients, I feel like we should somehow still answer the phones, refill meds, etc.
Sometimes I just have no choice. None of my staff can come in because their children’s schools are closed and as single parents they have no one to watch them. Or a tree fell on my SUV.
But between you and me, I am wracked with guilt over that. I generally hover around my computer, even from home, and obsessively check it for messages and refill requests until 5PM rolls around and someone else is now responsible. I will work extra hours just to get everyone in later.
There are nice medications available to help me with this problem of mine, you say? True. And I have wrestled with that fact. But the bottom line is, I would want my own doctor to be this OCD. And if it is not hampering me in other areas, then I think I should just try to live with it. So I do.
Sometimes…very rarely…that computer system doesn’t work. And the powers that be don’t have enough tech people that showed up to work to fix it. After the first surge of anxiety wears off, I realize that I have no choice but to relax. Giddiness ensues! So I sit in the floor and play with my kids. And whip out the sugar and flour and make a magnificent mess in the kitchen: we must have M&M cookies to celebrate our snow day! I savor the moment because….
…I will pay for this tomorrow. And probably for the next week, at least.