On Watching Words


I take more care with my words than I used to.  I rarely regret my quiet, I often regret speaking extemporaneously.  I hope for those who have known me the longest that I don’t intend to give offense.  When I do, I acknowledge it immediately and I do my best not to repeat.  There are those people whom I love and who are easily offended, and around them I speak little, grateful for their company.  My silence is my apology.

There are others who more resilience, and I strive to be more like them.

I spoke with a recruiter today.  A small town in northeast South Dakota seeks a new doc, but they want someone full-time, and I’d prefer to work a large number of short gigs.

Actually most small towns can’t hire new docs, leaving rural areas very badly underserved. 

The Indian Health Service usually lacks doctors.  When I served with the IHS the medical staff got badly overworked, and received about one-fourth of what they could make in the private sector.  Sleep deprivation ran rampant, time off was hard to arrange, and the doctors burnt out, which should come as no surprise.

In the next week I’ll talk to the Indian hospitals where I worked.  I look forward to getting my Navajo language back in use.

I’m re-examining my mission statement and I find a lot of what I do never made it onto that initial mission statement.  Thirty years ago I set out to provide medical care for the underserved, and the Indians have remained the most underserved.  When I came to my current practice site it qualified as one of the underserved areas in Iowa.  It doesn’t any more.

The same day I spoke with a recruiter I went to my first real saxophone lesson.  I played for a long time and I want to play again.  I haven’t had time for decades.  My teacher says that though I taught myself I apparently picked up a lot of good habits. 

I called the Nebraska Board of Medicine to find out about reinstating my license; it will cost somewhat under $300, but re-upping my New Mexico license approaches $900.  My Iowa, South Dakota, and Wyoming licenses remain current.

If most of New Mexico has a problem with lack of doctors, I can’t see the sense of charging that much for a license.

Tomorrow I’ll tell my partners my plans for a change in career.  Three either know or suspect.  For one it will be a complete surprise.  I truly do not know how the meeting will go, but I will use as much positive spin as I can.

In the last year, I’ve gotten used to having Thursday off, though Thursday off can mean a lot of things.  This morning I started with a radio show and a meeting at the hospital, followed by my own appointment at the VA clinic.  In the past I started my day off with rounds at the hospital, followed by a session at the bow shop and some sweat time either outside or at the gym.

The meeting was the Credentials and Privileges Committee.  We get to see the seamy side of the medical community and we never get to talk about it.  Trust me on this, the stories are really juicy.  Once again, I have a good reason to watch my words.

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