Saturday, March 04, 2006

Free at Last...Free at Last...But Not Forever

Am just finishing up five weeks of work and beginning five weeks of "retirement". That's what semi-retirement is all about. My friends ask me how I like my five weeks of "vacation", and I have to explain that it is not "vacation". One gets paid during vacation, not during "retirement". There is a difference.

After my first couple of "times off" I really did not want to go back to work. I had fun doing a little traveling, catching up on some projects around the house, sleeping in late (while my wife continued to get up early and go to work), reading, enhancing my cooking skills, and just enjoying the bliss of being completely worthless at times.

But after my last "time off", which luckily included the Christmas Holidays, I was really looking forward to getting back in the saddle at the clinic. My children had come for Christmas and returned home. My wife, still working full time, could not get off anytime she wanted to go on trips with me. And, remember, I'm not being paid when off. After years of lying to myself that I enjoyed golf (and it is called this because all the other four-letter words were taken), I quit the stupid game. I have enough humbling things in my life without going out and seeking them and paying good money for them to boot. Anyhow, it was winter. Why not work?

I returned to work full of vim and vinegar, ready to conquer disease once more. Then several things converged that really wore me down. The Flu season appeared with a vengence. I'm talking about the real influenza here. Hundreds of cases I'm talking about. There was also a flu-like illness that mimicked the real deal in all aspects except for the negative flu test. On top of this a nasty vomiting and diarrhea bug struck. Of course, there was the seasonal RSV (respiratory virus) intrusion causing cough, cold, and wheezing in infants and toddlers. And we had our usual number of routine physicals and various episodic illnesses to deal with. We had more admissions to the hospital, as we usually do in the winter, meaning more work and more time at the hospital in addition to the clinic. Moreover, it seemed that about every baby born was a product of an emergency C-Section delivery (better known as a "vaginal bypass") for some reason or another, necessitating a pediatrician at the delivery. Such daytime deliveries took one of the doctors out of the office for an hour or two, adding to the patient load of the remaining docs manning the fort. Such nighttime deliveries, and there were many, got me up out of a nice warm bed. I should add that most of the newborn babies did fine, and those who experienced problems after birth ultimately did fine also. So why am I complaining, we did good. But it was tiring.

Then, one of the younger doc's wife had a baby, and he took off a couple of weeks to help out with the baby, the older brother, and parents and in-laws. He came back to work this weekend and said he was ready to come back to work for relief. So we were a doc short for two weeks. Let me make one thing clear. I'm not faulting the doc. I would have done the same. Of course, his two nights of night call had to be covered by one of us. As luck would have it, the schedule made it perfectly clear that I was the logical choice to cover both nights. I was "Unlucky Pierre" as we say around the clinic. In the past I have been both "Lucky Pierre" and "Unlucky Pierre", and it all evens out in the long run. But in the short haul, it is tiring.

Lastly, one of the other young doc's daughters got ill enough to be hospitalized. Of course, he took off to help out with her and the two other daughters, both of whom were also sick but not sick enough to go to the hospital. Bottom line, another slot to fill at the ranch. We all pitched in and things worked out. His daughter is making a nice recovery, and the other two are better, also.

So, now I'm free for five weeks. The first week will be spent at the beach. My wife and Mom will be there the whole week. My best friend and his wife will join us for a few days. My two children are flying in for the latter part of the week. Unfortunately, they could not come for a longer stay, but they have lives of their own many, many miles away. I cherish the time they can get away to spend with us. I'm just sorry that their friends could not accompany them. The house we are using is huge. It sleeps 18 according to the literature. But, who would want 17 other people in a beach house with them? These young people have such busy lives, why aren't they tired?

After the beach, no real plans. Maybe, just maybe I'll choose to be completely, utterly worthless again for a few weeks, so I will be ready to go back to the clinic when I am no longer free.


Blogger StratoCade said...

Glad to hear you're getting some well-deserved time off. I vote for being worthless for a while and simply enjoying the Spring.

March 21, 2006  

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