“Doc, something weird just happened.”
I stopped with my hand on the door handle and turned around, heading back to the rolling stool in the corner by the sink.
Dang. I had almost made it.
“Oh, yeah?” I tried to smile and waited expectantly for him to say he had experienced a run of palpitations as he was sitting there or that he just had a spell of crushing substernal chest pain. If something like that is going to happen it will always be at the very end of the visit when I have already run overtime.
Still. It must be dealt with.
“Your hands. They weren’t cold!” He had a funny look on his face as he knit his eyebrows. “Why weren’t they cold, Doc?”
“Oh.” I shrugged, relieved. “Probably because today I am very, very angry at the IT people.”
“Got your blood pressure up?”
“You betcha.” I gave a brief explanation of the printer error which left 3/4 of the staff unable to print documents for patients. It had mysteriously surfaced on a Monday morning and supposedly, no one could fix it.
I paused in front of the full length mirror in my office before seeing the next patient and realize that I really looked angry, even through the smile plastered on my face.
If looks could kill those IT people would be dead ten times over.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Exhaled. Again. And then again.
You cannot fix this, either. Getting angry about it won’t make things work faster.
Part of me said, “But I want to be angry! I have every right to be angry!” Another side said, “No, it does NOT feel good! Give it up. Be grateful that you have a job.”
I closed my eyes and made the tension wash away. I willed the arguing voices to shut up.
And then I had an epiphany. This may sound kooky not getting to it until I am almost 42, but here it is:
There will never be a perfect world.
That’s what free will gets ya. Turmoil and drama and instability are the only constant. I keep holding out for when things get better but they won’t ever be better. There simply will never be a day when I don’t have staff errors and patient drama and IT failures and I need to accept that. Humans are by nature unpredictable and unreliable and unstable. The more I try to control the less control I have and the unhappier I become.
I have known this intuitively but it is a far cry from knowing to understanding and an even father leap to acceptance.
So, I squared my shoulders and picked up the computer. I knocked three times on the door of the next exam room. This time, I smiled from the inside as I entered.
We will see how long this lasts…