Day off vs. being a team player, an easy choice.


I awakened feeling so great

From the hour I’d spent sleeping late

     The best of the best

     Is getting good rest

And I said yes to working at eight.

Synopsis:  I’m a family practitioner from Sioux City, Iowa.  On sabbatical to avoid burnout, while my non-compete clause ticks away I’m having adventures, visiting family and friends, and working in out-of-the-way places.  Just back from a six-week assignment in Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost point in the United States, right now I’m working on the North Island of New Zealand.

Today was my day off, and the first work day after daylight savings time ended. 

Bethany and I slept in, awakened feeling rested as the sun rose, and talked about what we would do for the day.  Breakfast to start, then we’d go to Pakiri Beach, and actually take a swim.  After that, we said, we’d go to Sheep World, where the trained dogs show how great they are at making sheep do the right thing. 

I sautéed onion, Portobello mushrooms, green peppers and locally smoked fish in olive oil, opened four eggs, waited till the right time, then broke the yolks and stirred things up while the cheese batard toasted. 

We ate outside and marveled at dramatic clouds in blue skies over rippling seas.  We commented on the lack of surfers.

We had finished our leisurely breakfast, just starting to clean up when my phone rang.

The cell phone that the agency obtained for me has not worked reliably.  It makes a chirping noise when I leave or enter the service area.  It chirps a lot, understandable while driving New Zealand back roads, not understandable when it just sits on the table.  When it rang, I asked Bethany what the noise was.

“It’s your phone,” she said.

The office manager asked if I would mind working the Matakana clinic that morning, as one of the other doctors had taken ill. 

I keep trying to be the best team player on the field, and I saw a golden chance to further my goal.  “I’d be happy to,” I said.

She asked if I would be happy to work the afternoon clinic at Wellsford as well.

I told her I’d wanted to talk to Bethany about it, and asked for forty-five minutes to get to Matakana.

During the flurry of clean up, I realized that the other doc had probably been scheduled for the Wellsford clinic in the afternoon.  When I called, the manager confirmed that to be the case, and I told her I’d be delighted to help out.

I realize that in the process of slowing down I should choose leisure over work consistently.  On the other hand I faced a thirty-two hour week before I agreed to take the two sessions. 

And I couldn’t forget all the times my colleagues had filled in for me when I came down with strep or faced a death in my family.

 I had the best part of the day off: an unhurried awakening and breakfast.

It didn’t hurt that I sleep better knowing I can’t do anything about my phone’s unreliability.

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