The Slippery Slope


The school district just closed. Are we closing the clinic? A text from my office manager the night before.

As I pondered my answer, I was calculating in my head the lost revenue from three physicians being out yet again. We have staff to pay and a lease to cover, for crying out loud.


Ah, yes. Oddly, we had snow again and the kids are now enjoying their fourth snow day of the past two weeks. Weird weather.

“Mommy, winter is my favorite season!” my son gushes as he smacks me in the head with a powdery projectile.

I can’t blame him. I remember those rare snow days I had as a kid.

My daughter is standing at a safe distance giggling as a snowball explodes at my chest.

I wrestle mightily, though:

There is guilt that I carry for not being there for patients.

Not that they would drive in this. Actually, I bet a lot of them probably would… Even if they shouldn’t.

I tell myself that I want to model hard work in the face of adversity for my kids. It makes me feel better for having guilt about not being there for the patients, but the reality is that I don’t have a sitter when school is out like this and they are just not at the age they could hang at the clinic without being a major disruption. 

The guilt keeps me from enjoying my time off.

Secretly, I want to be home with my kiddos, though I would not say that outright to patients necessarily. I want to show the kids that they are more important to mommy than the sick people that take me away from them so often. They are my kids!

I want to teach them to take care of themselves and show them that life can be spontaneous and fun, to not trap themselves within other’s expectations all of the time.

Another snowball whizzes past my ear. I realize that it is time to focus on what is important… survival!

Photo: The Swiss Alps


67 thoughts on “The Slippery Slope

  1. Snow days made for anxiety for sure. I worked about 30 minutes from home via interstate and when the snow started one eye was always aimed toward the windows of each surgical room, wondering how many patients might actually venture out and if/when we would be going home. My employers lived close to the office so they always came in, but they were very cognizant of those of us who had to travel and would make do if needed when we just couldn’t get there or felt safer leaving early. I had one horrendous, white-knuckle drive home in the dark on heavily snowed and icy freeway that about did me in after snow dumped on us in a matter of just a few hours. I think it took almost 2 hours instead of 30 minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s nice to know I am not the only one who feels guilty no matter which choice I make. You are doing a fabulous job, balancing work and motherhood. That is an excellent thing to be modeling for your children, even if it means you are not with them as much as you would like. I totally get the snow day dilemma. I am a stay at home mom, and have no idea how people work and have kids with all the days they are off due to breaks, illness, snow days, half days, teacher/administrator days. It boggles my mind.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. You shouldn’t have to feel guilty if you just remind yourself that by closing the clinic and cancelling appointments, you might have actually saved one or more of your patients from harm. Some of them would have tried to keep their appointments no matter what the weather. A couple of winters ago, we had to take my daughter for her colonoscopy in the middle of the worst blizzard that year – couldn’t see the car in front of us, couldn’t see cars coming when turning, and nearly missed the driveway into the clinic. But the clinic had stayed open (and we went) because no one wanted to cancel those patients who had gone through that horrendous prep the night before. My daughter was the last patient of the day, and believe me, everyone got out of there asap once she was stable enough to go home. Dad and I refused to take her to her own apartment, so we took her to our house instead, which was closer, and let her sleep in her old bed until the next morning.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I totally relate to this. As a hair colorist, if for any reason I have to cancel clients it’s not good at all. When the circumstances are out of my control (power outage or major illness) I get so freaked out about not being there for my clients. I wish I could just enjoy the gift that is an unexpected day off but I just can’t!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think the slope is most slippery for parents, no matter their occupation. We actually want to enjoy ‘snow days’ like our kids do, but with adult responsibilities, we have such a hard time ‘letting go’ and just BEING. Good luck with that. You have lucky kids – AND lucky patients.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Completely different circumstances but I too have battled the guilt of missing work when the weather turns nasty. In my case it’s battling my dad and uncle’s voice in my head (they were my first employer’s who would not call work even in the most nasty weather, and 75% of our work was outside) Now that I am my own boss my cut off temp’s are 10 degrees and windy. I really do appreciate you giving us a glimpse into your head even on these kind of decisions., makes me feel more normal. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well… you know how I am about the snow… I have been posting about it all week. I keep thinking I need to go in because we NEVER close and I feel guilty because the clinicians still go out and make visits when it is 20 below and blowing snow sideways.
    Enjoy the time off, work is work, children are a blessing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I remember being a single mother and not having any family around to pitch in during snow day. The guilt when I did get a fill-in, but then I couldn’t concentrate on my work and anyway driving was hazardous and I could have cried but grit my teeth, got stuck in the snow, had to wait for service, was late for work.
    I’m sure lots of patients cancelled appointments anyway. Enjoy your kids.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Complicated question Victo. I find as I get older, I have less worry about working in storms and such. It’s really a personal subjective call. My wife and I had a “babysitter” who would see the kids off to school, meet them after school and work any snow days or if the kids were sick, so we could go to work. Carmen was about 65 and lived a half a block from us. She was a God-send. But there still remains the question of whether to go to work or not. I worked transportation so we had trucks on the go 24/7 – I pretty much had to at least try to get to work. My wife worked at Canada Post’s head office as a director. She would take the days off but be available by phone or pager. She also worked a gazillion hours extra for no extra pay – evenings and weekends.

    It’s a bit different for everyone Victo, I can see how it would be hard for you when your patients are depending on you. Personally unless I was in bad pain, I would not be upset by a doctor rescheduling. If it was urgent I could always call 911. Especially as people get older, getting around is more difficult and a snowstorm is nothing to laugh at.

    From a safety perspective, I used to be the director for a fleet of petroleum tankers and my opinion on snow days was that if people could safely delay their business, be it personal or work, they should not be out in a storm. It just makes it that much more difficult for essential and emergency services. If you’re safe and your clients are safe, stay home. Never mind expectations or a show of solidarity, safety is the key determining factor. If you’re an emerg doctor – get to work, even if you have to call the cops to give you a ride. People’s safety depends on it. Otherwise, stay home – people’s safety depends on it. Many times when I was a safety director we had tankers hauling fuel to hospitals and fire dept’s and plow sheds that would be delayed or diverted because someone in a car had spun out on a hill in an effort to get to work. Don’t do it unless someone’s safety is at risk.

    Ha! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Another great post. Man you are consistent! I can tell you from my experience (and you know a bit of this) I would have killed to have a mother who was a doctor. A competent, ambitious, hardworking, intelligent, moneymaking, Doctor. You worry about all the right things and that is going to ensure things will turn out okay.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’m beyond flattered. But no, not the hockey ones, too much to explain. Hahaha. Your kids are lucky. Very fortunate, which I’m sure they are aware of, but if our paths ever cross I’m going to be sure to tell them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for saying such nice things. I don’t think anyone can truly appreciate what they have unless they experience life without it. You can bet that when the time comes I will make sure you can tell them. If not in person, then at least through your stories. πŸ˜›

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve been a single parent since my daughter was one. I shared her with grandparents, neighbors, babysitters, and of course daycare workers, due to my work commitments. She’s twenty-five now; graduated college in four years, and has been financially independent for four years. She is incredibly conscientious. I really think it’s because she’s learned what she’s lived.

    With you as a role model, your kids are going to be amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. After being stuck in a snowstorm for three hours and serious wondering how long it would take others to find me, I’d say you made the right call. I was an x-ray teck at a hospital at the time and had left 2 hours early. It was very scary!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m a little jealous that you get snow days. Somebody here always has that super vehicle that if necessary will go and pick people up. In Ohio we don’t get a choice so enjoy the fact that you do and enjoy those babies!!

    Liked by 1 person

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