Burnt toast

Last week I was simply toast, burnt. Charbroiled. Someone suggested taking a month off of work. In a service industry career, you eat what you treat. And as long as I am practicing medicine the old-fashioned way where you hang out your shingle and see patients, being away from the office means you just don’t make any money. While I don’t actually MAKE anything, I am (as are the other four doctors with whom I work) the revenue stream that employs 12 other women. It’s a balancing act to be both labor and management. The squeeze can grind on me and I needed a break. I ask my office manager how many days I have left of personal leave for the year. Ten days. Ten. Two full business weeks. I’ll end the calendar year as I do most years, with time on the books unused. And because of that, I am burnt. By my own choices, I am brittle. And there is no faking empathy and compassion. If you are burnt, you have to reach deeper to find the love and kindness. Finding the cognitive components is undeterred by burnout, but the delivery of care is profoundly influenced by it. Patients (and staff) know when your heart is absent.I needed a break to be kind to my own heart and recharge.

Because of my burnt state of mind, I was glad I had a long weekend. Three days instead of two. A Friday off to supplement the weekend. I had hoped to visit the DMV and update my license. I wanted to go to Dadant’s and buy my own beekeepers get-up. I had a myriad of errands and my best friend and I had hoped to skip off to Jacksonville and the Super Joann’s. But good plans get displaced by life. I spent Friday devoted to my younger son, who had a royal meltdown Thursday night over school work and several projects. After discussing it with his Dad, we agreed to take a mental health day and tackle all the work. And he worked all day Friday. No cheating, no TV, no goofing off. I was so thankful to have had the day off from work. By 4 pm, he had regained his confidence and assurance. He told me while we drove into town that he felt like he could finally breathe.

Tonight, that is how I feel. After three days away from the office, I can breathe. I had 3 cubic yards of peanut hull mulch dropped onto the driveway on Friday. I bought a wheelbarrow and spread mulch in the clover and rose beds. I have enough to ring the trees at the property line. I borrowed a beekeeper’s suit from a friend and added the second story of my bee hive tonight. I will have honey by Christmas. The hive is healthy and vibrant. I hung my orchid planters (now all we need is rain to water them). On a down note, I also managed to decimate my home’s wireless network, at the dart throwing instructions of the Roku tech support. This lead to me sitting perched atop an 8 ft aluminum ladder in my kitchen with a laptop, cordless phone and a Cisco tech support dude trying to reconfigure my Linksys router…..for THREE FREAKIN HOURS. So today, in a solid and concerted effort to avoid the Sunday doldrums, I went to the Thornebrook Arts Festival. We also went to the New Wild Birds Unlimited store front and bought a new bird feeder. Then I came home and made some proper English shortbread and laid on the sofa and watched….something….I watched something.

It was a good weekend. Lots of other small and simple treats and tasks were done. It was a good weekend. It will be a good week and I won’t be calling in sick.


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