“I have GOT to see the doc. I have an awful boil right here…” He pointed to his left buttock.
It was 5PM. This patient, who had just driven forty minutes from his house to my clinic, had popped in the front door just as the front desk clerk was getting up to lock it.
“I’m sorry, sir. She is leaving for the day.”
“What? You mean I drove all this damn way and you are refusing to see me?”
“Sir, we had no idea you were coming…”
“Is she still here? I want to see her and have her say that she is refusing to see me to my face.”
Voices rose. The patient started shouting.
I waddled to the front. I was nine months pregnant with my daughter. My son was with the sitter and she had somewhere she absolutely had to be. I could not take even the extra 20 minutes to get this fellow incised and drained and on his way. I was already late after working someone else in at the last minute.
I had no choice.
I had to look him in the eye and tell him he was going to have to drive to the ER or the nearby acute care facility to have it addressed.
“Fine! I am going to find another goddamn doctor!” He stormed out, slamming the door.
And he did.
Do I want to be treated as an equal? No. I want to be treated better than that. I want my unique role as an employed caregiver to be recognized, honored, and accommodated.
But most days it just isn’t.
I am luckier than most women, though. I have resources others don’t.
Every day hundreds of thousands of women in the workforce are facing the decision to suffer their employer’s wrath or stay home with a sick kid.
Of eight support staff in my clinic of three physicians, three of those staff members are out with sick children today. That creates some serious hurtin’ in my world.
Why do I always hire young, single women with little kids?!?!!
I sent my son to school yesterday sick. Not contagious sick. Sick with asthma sick. I knew he was starting to not feel well and yet I still sent him on. When I picked him up yesterday evening, he was so short of breath he couldn’t even talk. A breathing treatment and some steroids helped but I felt like a terrible mom, choosing my patients and my job over my own kiddo.
It is a struggle every single dang day.