Friday, September 2, 2011

A New Chapter

I officially started a new chapter in my life this past week.  I started a part-time job that I am blessed enough to be able do from home... sitting on my couch, in my p.j.'s and I don't even really have to take a shower.  I don't know if I'm going to be able to do it, but I'm going to give it shot.

Several months ago my friend Darryl, who is doctor, told me he was closing his private practice.  I couldn't tell anyone just yet because he hadn't given the hospital his notice yet.  I sat on my couch in utter panic.  He's my doctor, the doctor that takes care of my family, and I trust him with my life and the lives of my family... no pun intended.  My mind started racing, What am I going to do?!?  WhatamIgoingtodo?!?!  WHAT. AM. I. GOING. TO. DO?!?!  HowintheworldamIgoingtokeepthissecret?!?!  Everyone is going to see what basket case I am and what am I going to tell them?!?!  It took about 5 seconds for all of that to go through my head.  Then he told me he planned to keep a few patients and see them in their homes.  Thankfully, I was at the top of the list.

I could write a 5,000 word essay on why I have so much trust in him.  It literally sends me into a major panic to even think about seeing someone else.  My disease is so complicated, and he's been there from the beginning of onset.  He actually saved my life... well, you know, with God's guidance.  That also could be a 5,000 word essay, but for now I'll save you the boring details.

Back to the new chapter...

A few weeks after he shared his plans with me, he sat on my couch one night and asked me if I would help him.  I told him yes.  I was thinking I would just be helping him set a few things up as a favor... helping out a friend.  That wasn't what he meant.  He was offering me a part-time job.  For the next few weeks I wrestled with the decision.  I've seen so many friendships that have ended badly over business.  My friendship with him is far more important to me that any job.  Darryl isn't just any ole' friend.  He's become my big brother.  He and Mary are my best friends... well, and Connie and Robyn.  We talked through it to the point of exhaustion, and I finally decided to give it a try.

August 31 was his last day in private practice.  He's now seeing patients full time in the nursing homes and seeing a few patients in their homes.  Mostly the elderly and those who are really ill.  His heart is with geriatrics, and he felt like those patients weren't getting the quality of care they deserved from their doctor.  Due to the mass volume of patients he has and the constraints on time in which he had to get everyone seen, he just wasn't getting it all done to his satisfaction.  It makes me even more grateful for him.  So often folks who are in the nursing homes become less of a priority with doctors.  Some refuse to see patients in nursing homes because reimbursement is so little.

We have spent the past week being trained on the new computer system we will be using.  Needless to say, it's been adventure.  It's been a bit frustrating, but it's also given us a few chuckles.  There have been several glitches that have had to be worked out but that's just par for the course.

He brought me a hefty stack of demographics to enter in the system, and as I thumbed through them quickly I noticed 2 of the facilities' demographics were missing.  One of them was from were I used to work.  Yesterday he brought those demographics to me.

Paper clipped together was a small stack of information from where I worked.  On the top of the stack was a fax cover sheet where they had been faxed to his office.  The first thing I noticed is they were sent from the lady who took my position.  I felt like I had been punched in the gut and my eyes started burning with tears.  

I worked there for 17 years.  I still had braces when I started.  I married and had my children while working there.  I developed friendships I thought would last a lifetime.

So I thought.

I lost my job when I got sick.  I'll admit, I'm still very hurt over the way it all happened.  I learned quickly that loyalty and longevity really mean nothing.  I learned I was quickly replaceable.  My immediate supervisor had nothing to do with what happened.  I'm not going to go into details.  It just hurts.  Even after 3 years.  It took me 3 months to even go through the stuff that was packed up from my desk, and then I just took out the pictures of my kids and the bible I had at my desk.  I threw the rest away.  I just didn't want to have anything to do with it.  Looking back now, I couldn't have gone back to work there physically, but at the time we didn't know that.

I asked Darryl, Why is it still so hard?  He reminded me it was a big part of my life for 17 years.  As we talked through it a bit, I told him the hardest part is loosing the relationships I thought would last a lifetime.  It's like experiencing the death of a friend almost.  I don't understand how people can just disappear out of your life so easily.

This new opportunity is bittersweet.  I'm so grateful for it.  It gives me a purpose and makes me feel like I'm actually contributing to the well being of my family.  It warms my heart that after all of these years, I finally get to do something to help out my friend.  But it is bringing back a flood of emotions I didn't expect.  Anger, sadness, hurt and a renewed longing to just spend time with my friends catching up.

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