A blizzard? Maybe not such bad luck.


It’s winter, and wouldn’t you know
It’s time for the wind and the snow
With the luck of a wizard
We had us a blizzard
And I handled it just like a pro.

Synopsis: I’m a Family Practitioner from Sioux City, Iowa. In 2010 I danced back from the brink of burnout, and honoring a 1 year non-compete clause, travelled and worked in out-of-the-way places in Alaska, Nebraska, Iowa, and New Zealand. After three years working with a Community Health Center, I am back having adventures in temporary positions until they have an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system I can get along with. I spent the winter in Nome, Alaska, followed by assignments in rural Iowa. The summer and fall included a funeral, a bicycle tour in Michigan, cherry picking in Iowa, a medical conference in Denver, working Urgent Care in suburban Pennsylvania, and Thanksgiving in Virginia. Right now I’m in western Nebraska. Any patient information has been included with permission.

I broke a tooth chewing on a slice of dried mango, and asked around the hospital for the name of a dentist. Good luck brought a 7:30AM appointment next day, bad luck brought a blizzard that night.
I started early next morning but cleaning the car and creeping down the ice-covered highway with low visibility took time.
I don’t mind going outside in the cold. Last winter, in Nome, Alaska, I cheerfully walked a kilometer to and from work. I frequently walked in the ditch, to get away from traffic, and when I finished that part of the walk, I climbed out.
But I mind going into a ditch if I’m in a car.
Still I attended to my hospital patient before dawn, put in orders, put off writing the note, and went out into the snow.
The temp had warmed up so that two inches of fat, wet flakes covered the car in a half hour. I brushed and scraped the car again, and crept down the hill into town.
In this sparsely populated area of the country, the dentist has a lot of out-of-town patients, and he faced a schedule full of cancellations. If I could get the prep work for the crown done that morning, it would cut my time away from clinic, and would help fill his schedule.
We saw it as a win-win situation.
I dozed in a state-of-the-art dental suite while he drilled and lasered, and walked out an hour later with a temporary crown to find 4 inches of fat, wet flakes covering the car. The white stuff came down so fast that it covered the armrest inside the door in the short time it took to put the brush in and seat myself.
Patient flow slowed to a crawl in the clinic.
I discharged my inpatient before lunch, and learned I could get free chili or chicken noodle soup in the cafeteria.
The cafeteria here doesn’t sell hot food to employees, but has a bank of 5 vending machines with a microwave, and the offer of hot soup came as a pleasant surprise.
I took care of a total 3 patients in the morning session and 3 patients in the afternoon session. My access to the EMR, NextGen, came through, and I have started the odious task of mouse clicking. I remained thankful to the blizzard that I didn’t have more time pressure while on the steepest, lowest point of the learning curve.
We closed early, at 4:00PM. I went outside to clean the car off, but the wind had picked up and the temperature dropped, so it went easier than the three times before. Visibility improved, and I arrived back at the townhome ahead of schedule.
I would have preferred a commute short enough to walk, but I benefited from very good dental services. I would have preferred better weather, but I got the work done in a timely fashion without cutting into my schedule.
Maybe the blizzard wasn’t bad luck after all.
Life is full of tradeoffs.

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One Response to “A blizzard? Maybe not such bad luck.”

  1. Leo Hammond Says:

    What are the blessings in Nebraska the snow melts faster due to the higher elevation. enjoy

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