Meetings? Not me. I’m a leaver, not an owner

The truism needs no repeating,

That nobody likes a good meeting

    I’ll bypass the flap

   For a ten minute nap

Let others fret cooling and heating.


The joke goes: What’s the difference between a meeting and a beating?

Nobody pays for a really good meeting.

We have met on Tuesdays since before my arrival; every Tuesday at first, but for the last couple of years we’ve only met about once a month.  We discuss issues with staff, business, protocols, the building, and our relationships with various institutions.

Today would have been my last meeting day and I skipped it.  My input would be superfluous.  I took a power nap instead.

Changing my mind-set from owning to leaving has radically decreased my stress level.  The computer I carry from room to room, three and a half years old, has lithium batteries that don’t hold a charge like they used to.  When I pick it up and turn it over, it makes alarming rattling noises like something is loose inside the case.  It runs very hot and I face the annoyance of having to change batteries in the middle of the day, sometimes two or three times.  As of today I only have 25 days left, and I don’t worry about how long the laptop will last or how much it will cost to replace.  I’m pretty sure it will get me through till the end of my tenure.

I have permission to write about a couple whom I saw in the second afternoon slot.  They are in their early fifties and have been together since they were fourteen.  The wife showed concern without controlling about her husband’s care; he stayed strong but not aloof from her love.  When I walked in, even before I washed my hands or shook hands with either one, I said, “Let me hear you say no cancer.”  I watched the relief play over their faces as I pumped Purell onto my hands.  Not my regular patients, they hadn’t gotten the letter announcing my professional plans.  Looking ahead to the future, telling them my last day at that job would be May 21st and making plans for follow-up, they expressed their disappointment.

Follow up visits come in predictable increments.  I have gotten used to letting go those patients who need a three-month check, but now I’m sending away patients who need a one month check.  Most will stay in-house, but about 15% plan to move to other offices. I still see people who will need a one- or two-week recheck.

Saying goodbye does not come easily.  I did two well child checks today on infants under three months; I probably won’t see the children again professionally.  I will miss out watching the magic of the smiling months and the toddler defiance.  I won’t be there for the first school physical or the painful blooming of adolescence and the first sports physical. 

About half of the parents of children will take their kids to pediatricians.

Leave taking is bitter but my coming freedom is sweet.  I suspect a lot of my patients have switched care to other physicians already, as my work load lightens with every day.  People remark how happy I look and express surprise that I’m near sixty. I find myself singing when no one is listening.  I dance when no one is watching.


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One Response to “Meetings? Not me. I’m a leaver, not an owner”

  1. Tweets that mention Meetings? Not me. I’m a leaver, not an owner « Walkaboutdoc's Blog -- Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tim Ponting. Tim Ponting said: Meetings? Not me. I'm a leaver, not an owner « Walkaboutdoc's Blog: I took a power nap instead. Changing my mind s… […]

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