Thursday, September 12, 2019

Vacation Time; We Need It!!


Let's talk about vacation time today. I'd like to cover two bases; vacation time, and how that time is spent, but that would be too long of a blog post. So, let's just stick to vacation time. We'll get to how we vacation on my next post.

First-- vacation time. How much time do you (if you are the physician) or your Doc SO get? 5 weeks, 7 weeks? 12 weeks?

I'm asking because, if you've been in this medical grind for any length of time, you realize physician burn-out is REAL. The sleepless nights, long hours, stressful situations, physicality, and non-ceasing intellectual demands are not sustainable for long periods of time.

So, here we are just six months into private practice and taking our first full week of "vacation". We left hospital employment where Doc H received seven weeks of vacation time and was able to accrue additional weeks as his overtime compensation. We were flush with vacation days. With the hospital we had a vacation schedule which allowed us to visit our vacation home for long weekends quite frequently. It was fantastic! It allowed him to recharge. We slept, ate good food, socialized with our neighborhood friends, and enjoyed lots of outdoor activities.

Now, in private practice, we are down to 5 weeks. Frequent long weekends for recharging are out of the picture. To further the matter, it's very hard to schedule vacation time. We are blessed with a busy practice. Busy practice = Sick patients.  He has a partner, but it's still difficult to dump it all on just one physician.

But, we need to take the time off. He needs it. I need it. We need it. It's the only way to stave off burnout which not only takes over his emotional well-being, but festers through the house, eventually making its way to me and the kids. Not good, right?

So, here we are. On a full week's vacation, recharging our batteries, and it's doing wonders! As soon as we left our driveway and got on the road, I saw an immediate shift in Doc H's mood. It was like a quick jolt of energy infused his spirit.

So, again, I ask you. How much vacation time do you receive, and what type of practice/employment are you currently in?






Monday, August 26, 2019

Identity Check


Outside the world of blogging, many may think it's a rather solitary hobby or way to make a living. And, in the beginning, it is. But then a funny thing happens... you end up making blogging friends along the way.

These people support you, share in your pain, share in your joys, and yet, you've never met them. Sometimes (like if you have read this blog from the very beginning) they may know you better than some of your own "real" friends. 

Then, for reasons just called "life", you stop blogging. You stop logging on and reading all those blogs of your friends. Your job, your family, your emotions, just don't allow you to engage like you once could. Blog life takes quite a bit of time, and lately, I just don't have it. It's been so long since I've written anything other than a check, that I don't even consider myself a writer anymore.

I used to.  I kept telling myself that I had come to peace with losing that portion of my identity.

But, then serendipity takes place. Doc H and I are sitting at the bar of our favorite restaurant. We strike up a conversation with an older woman sitting next to him who is dining alone. She is from another part of the country and traveling through on business.

Throughout our main course, our conversation with her covers the basics; where we're from, family, what we do for a living, etc. We learn she is in education, and is a retired English teacher now leading teacher training programs all over the USA. But, she says, "I really hope to find time to get back to writing."

And, that my friends, is when my Doc H gave me the shot in the arm I needed so bad. 

He enthusiastically interjected, "My wife is also writer!" And there, I watched him proudly talk up this blog and what I've accomplished here over the years. {I love this man SO DAMN MUCH}.

I'm a writer?? 

I watched her eyeballs bulge from their sockets as I quietly told her how this little blog of mine now has over 1 million organic page views, and one post has over 83,000 page views. I shared that I had been contacted by the Today Show and asked to share my opinion based on one of my blog posts, but I had to declined in order to keep my promise to my husband: complete anonymity.

And then, she asked THE question... "What do you plan to do with it?" And there, for the first time in a very long while, I shared my wish. The words fell from my lips landing hard and heavy in my lap; a weighty reminder as to what I had planned and wanted for myself... writing a book, using parts of this blog as a foundation, and fictionalizing more from there.

I'm a writer!!



Friday, August 23, 2019

Birthday Blues

It's my birthday.

Woo.

Hoo.

We are heading out of town to celebrate my birthday. We stopped for a late lunch, and now I find myself with a full belly, sitting alone.

I got a table alone. Ordered lunch alone, ate lunch alone, and now wait alone.

Meanwhile, Doc H's lunch is now stone cold.

Where could the man possibly be, you ask?

In the car, on the phone with another doctor. I won't bother you with the infuriating details, but I will say this... Some doctors are just better than others. Period.

I have a sinking feeling this whole weekend will be hijacked by blood and guts phone calls.

I'm still sitting... And waiting.

We probably should've stayed home.

Happy birthday to me. Yay.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Credentialing Process Bites Weenies

I shared with you that Doc H left his hospital employment for private practice.  We (read- I) promptly began the arduous task of filing credentialing applications, compiling proper documentation, and submitting online applications to various hospitals where my Doc H will be working.

For various reasons he (read- I) needed to apply to three hospitals. That means three different web portals, three varying application requirements, and three different Medical Staff Offices to work with.

My friends, simply put, this was a freaking nighmare!

All point of contacts said the process was simple and should take about 30 days.

I call bullshit.

One hospital came in at 45 days only because we had an emergency and we were lucky enough to know a hospital exec who was able to push it through for Doc H.

The second hospital came in just over 60 days.

And the third and last? Almost 5 months. FIVE MONTHS!!

Do you know how many follow up emails and phone calls that is? I lost count.

I can tell you I spent over 60 hours submitting and uploading all materials. That doesn't account for any CV prep/update time. That is all time spent at the computer entering information on their portal and uploading documentation.

It sucked.

Every hospital had their own portal and each varied greatly in ease of use. Some were not user friendly at all. One portal only let me input data for five minutes before timing me out without saving any information. Another portal didn't like to work 3 out of 7 days of the week.

I would start the process at 6am, be banging my head on the keyboard by 7am, downing Tylenol with coffee by 7:30am, and spent the remainder of the day until I went to bed cursing at the powers that be.

Oh, my friends. If you are in the process of applying for privileges, I cry for you. Stay strong! Keep calm and credential on.




Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Frustration of Being a Doctor's Wife: Where is HE When I Need Him?

The frustration of being a doctor's wife goes without saying.

Before I write on, I want to address each and every woman who is married to a workaholic. It is here where I will remind you I was once married to a workaholic, non-doctor. I get the similarities, but I also KNOW the differences... and there are glaring differences between the two, and for those of you who are married to non-doctors, here is where I, and most likely any other doctor's wife, would love to walk in your shoes...

Quickly, I'll go over the back story:

I had a bad cold.
Cold improving.
Upper toothache, but I figured it could be sinus issue from cold.
I ignored it for a few days.
Toothache worsened.
{Okay, it hurt like like hell. If I was on a deserted island like Tom Hanks in "Castaway", I would've been looking for that ice skating blade, too).
Finally, I call my dentist.
Dentist says you need emergency root canal. Go now!


So here's where it gets ______; choose your word- "frustrating" or "sad". I can 't decide.

My dentist makes me an immediate appointment with a specialist. As I'm driving from my dentist to the specialist, I realize I'm driving to an out-of-town endodontist who I've never seen before for an emergency root canal, and no one knows where I am, or what's going on.

So, I do what any wife would do. I text my husband with this update and sent a photo of the business card with the endodontist's information.

I know my husband is booked and busy all day. I don't expect a return text right away. However, I'm thinking this is a big deal. He'll text me as soon as he sees it. I know he will.

After a 30 minute drive, I arrive at the office, fill out the paperwork, and wait. I meet the new dentist, he completes his testing, and agrees with my dentist. I need an emergency root canal.

I check my phone for his text. Nothing. It's been 50 minutes since I sent him my text.

I am numbed and the dentist is ready to begin. I check my phone. Nothing.

Lots of drilling. An hour of drilling. I check my phone. Nothing.

More drilling. Then some smoke. Nothing.

Two hours in the chair. I check again. Nothing.

I check out of the clinic. Get in the car. Nothing.

I drive myself home in traffic. Nothing.

Finally, at 7:45pm my phone rings.

Me: Hello?
Doc H: Hi, Honey. I just got out of a horrible case. I don't know what going to happen to this patient. She is in real bad shape. She's alive, but I don't know if she will make it. What's going on?
Me: Did you see my text?
Doc H: No, I've been so busy I haven't checked my phone. I finished, spoke with the family, and got in the car to drive home and am calling.

I tell him what I've been through. He felt so bad.

He came home and was visibly upset. This was just that reminder. Something could happen to me or any of our loved ones with hours passing by without him knowing a thing. In this case, five and a half hours. A lot can happen in that time span. He understands and shares in my frustration.

And, yet. I get it. There's always going to be someone is worse condition that I am. They will need him to save their life.

But, every once in a while, I would really like him there to hold my hand, or at the very least, just return my damn text, giving me the peace-of-mind that he knows where I am and what I'm going through during these types of occasions.








Saturday, February 9, 2019

It's All About the People



It's all about the people.

That's what makes or breaks a job, wouldn't you agree?

We are finally settling down in the new job. It didn't start out smoothly, but then again, I can't think of any job that has. There's always that period of adjustment where you are thrown into a new environment, and you go through the dreaded learning curve.

And here's the kicker... I didn't realize DocH's new job would mean a new full-time job for me. Being in private practice is a TON of work! Man, we took so many things for granted at the hospital. I submitted his credentialing packages over six weeks ago and we are still waiting. I know. It takes forever. In the meantime, I have a husband who is dying to get back into the OR.

But, who cares? He is HAPPY. He is busy with a full clinic, and more importantly, colleagues and staff who are happy to be at work. They are happy he is there. They are bending over backwards to make sure he is loving his new digs by reorganizing and reconfiguring the clinic to his liking. It's a great vibe. It's all about the people.

He comes home, and let me tell you, he is a different person. He may be tired, but it's a good tired. He is re-energized. At dinner, he smiles, he laughs at my dorky jokes, he even cracks his own dorky jokes. I can go over business items with him and he is attentive, conversation bounces back and forth like it should. Seeing him like this gives me all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings. It's sooooooo good!

Before, he thought he had about six years left in him. Now, he can see himself doing this until he is no longer competent. *Insert the sound of tires skidding here.*  I'm not sure how I quite feel about that.


Friday, January 18, 2019

What Happens When Hospital Admins are Unsupportive

Ok, here we go.... this is the post my husband doesn't want me to write.

The past two years have been shit at the hospital. I don't normally like to swear. I like to keep it for special occassions, so family and friends know I'm really upset or dissagreable with something. So, again, I tell you these last two years at the hospital have been shit.

Today, let's tackle the hospital administration. Remember my posts about Doc H's last start-up? The one that was successful and all above board with the previous supportive hospital administration? It was wonderful. Doc H told them what he was doing, they supported it, had their legal team draw up some documents outlining boundaries (to eliminate any conflict of interest), he signed, everyone abided, and all was good in the world. No problems. A precedent was set.

**In case you are new to my blog or need a refresher, in addition to his passion for surgery, Doc H is an innovator. While he innovates, I manage the business end of our start-ups.**

The current hospital administration (well really, the top administrator) is just a whole new type of batshit crazy. It took them almost two years to tell Doc H, "No, sorry. No can do." In the meantime, here we were under the impression all would work out, because it did before, right?

To make matters worse, the admin retaliated. I seriously think they hated Doc H for putting them in the position of having to make a decision. So for the past two years, Doc H ran his department with absolutely no support of the hospital admins. Whatever he asked for, whatever idea he came up with, admin always nixed it. Or worse, they listened to his idea, implemented it, and gave credit to someone else. Such bastards.

But, here is the worst. Admin gave Doc H orders to reel in his partners; cut down expenses; run a much leaner department. Well, of course no one liked the changes Doc H had to implement. Doc H didn't like doing it. So, when his partners complained and pushed back to the admin, admin decided to take it out on DocH.

Yes, the messenger was shot by both sides. On one side, Doc H's physician colleagues were acting like bratty 5 year olds, no longer inviting him to sit with them at their lunch table, and on the other side the admin {GET THIS} is upset that DocH has angered his colleagues by implementing policies which they pushed him to do! So, what did admin do? For TWO YEARS they withheld Doc H's bonuses. Yes. They withheld his bonuses because DocH did what they asked him to do.

Oh, no! Wait, I lied. One year they gave him .05% of his normal bonus.

We were beyond insulted. I still am... hence the birds flew towards the hospital as I left with him the final time.

Ok. So, this was my Mama Bear, don't mess with my family post. Maybe next time I'll write the rational, intellectual, calm post which would (and should) outline why hospital policies forbidding physician innovation are bad policy. I'm sure that's the post Doc H would want me to write. Not this one.

Thanks for reading and allowing me to vent. I feel better already!





Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Doctor is Outta Here


So, here we are-- 2019.

First, if that photo has your mind racing and your wondering if DocH left me, let me put your mind at ease. No. We are still very happily married! Phew!

Let me underscore the highlights of 2018 for you, because I know I haven't been the best at keeping you informed.

LB graduated high school
D2 graduated from college
D1 broke up with her live in BF
LB left for college
D3 graduated from college.

On a personal level, 2018 was wonderful to us. We are now empty nesters (are you considered an empty nester if you have an adult child living with you? Not sure?). We feel free from lots of financial responsibility to our kids and former spouses. It's quite liberating, and we love our family and are so proud of our kids. They have all done so great and continue to amaze us as they follow their own dreams.

But, probably most important to this blog, DocH kindly, gracefully, and humbly stepped down from all his administrative duties at the hospital, and then gave his contractually obligated 30 day notice the beginning of December. He made sure to thank everyone for their hard work and for supporting him and his department. I, on the other hand, waved the bird with both hands, as we packed our SUV with the last of his personal effects from his office of almost 20 years and drove off. Yeah, it made for an interesting Surgery Department Holiday Party, that's for sure. More about that event later...

Ugggg. You guys. These last two years were ROUGH for my DocH. I don't know where to begin. So, here's what I'm going to do. I tried to write this all out in one blog post. It is way too long and convoluted. I'm going to break this up into small blog posts, so I don't overwhelm myself and end up with nothing to post for you all.

Plus, I want to dish the dirt properly and give everyone their fair share.

More to come. I promise.




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