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The Stresses of Working

If you’re familiar with confirmation bias, then you know what this post will be about. Humans have the tendency to interpret situations based on their current situation and beliefs. I’m thinking about this reflecting on the stresses of working.

No Longer Working Full-Time

Now that I don’t have to worry about going back to my full-time job, I look around and think of the things that I truly won’t miss about it. I’m sure much of it has to do with that bias I mentioned, while some is perhaps legitimate.

I won’t miss the standstill traffic. Though I thankfully don’t own a car to have to worry about sitting in it, I still have to deal with it while riding my bike. Getting passed by diesel trucks and smelling fumes from idling cars is now something I don’t have to worry about – I get to decide when I want to get on the road. 10-11am seems to be the least crowded time in Portland.

I won’t miss finishing work at 10-11pm and getting home at midnight-1am. I won’t miss needing to eat something late at night to wind down, which rarely is anything healthy. Well, maybe I’ll miss the late-night binging just a touch.

Anxiety Before a Shift

I won’t miss waking up on a workday and constantly thinking about my upcoming shift. I won’t miss having to hustle to get whatever I want to get done for the day. I will enjoy my coffee lazy-cat style, take my shower without feeling rushed, and go to the gym whenever I feel like it.

The Work Stress

I won’t miss the 1pm patient bolus. I definitely won’t miss the 5-7pm rush. I won’t miss the nurses complaining about every single patient, making fun of whatever stands out about them. I won’t miss the 801 admin interruptions I have to deal with while seeing 3-5 patients an hour. Instead, if I ever pick up a shift again, I will do it in the middle of summer, from the hours of 2-4pm… or maybe never at all.

I won’t miss the pissy ED doc calling me up, trying to give me shit for sending an ankle fracture to ED because he was too lazy to read my note or look at the x-ray and see the tri-mal dislocated compound fracture.

The Pissed Off Patient

I won’t miss the drug seekers, I won’t miss the 97 yo brought to the urgent care for ‘not feeling well.’ I won’t miss the fever of unknown origin workups. I won’t miss the URI discussions and the constant push for wanting and not giving antibiotics. And I definitely won’t miss the sarcastic replies of “You tell me, you’re the doctor!” when I start with “Please tell me what’s going on today so I can see what I can do for you.”

Board Exams

I won’t miss the crappy online tests I have to take every year to keep up my Family Medicine board certification. I won’t miss having to take the Family Medicine boards again – I’ve taken it once, and that’ll be the only time for me.

I won’t miss having to document my exam for the lawyers. I won’t miss having to work-up someone to death just to cover my ass. I won’t miss the fear of a lawsuit or regret a bad outcome. I will hopefully be among the few who haven’t been sued, who won’t get questioned by a lawyer, who won’t have to make a statement on a stand.

Ah, and dear to my heart, I won’t have to navigate a shady, complicated, and unfair tax system just to be able to earn a living. I won’t miss being discriminated against for earning a higher income. And I will use every tax loophole available to me to make sure that I keep as much of my money as possible in retirement.

The Things I’ll Miss

But I will miss the cute kiddos who come in trying to give me a hug with their nasty ass runny noses and gross hands. I will miss the hard-working nurses who bust their butts running around, making sure the patients are cared for. I will miss the scared, bewildered patients who just need some reassurance or a simple treatment to help them feel better. I will miss the cute little geriatric couples who come in together to be there for each other.

I will miss the great colleagues with whom I get to discuss cases, kick the soccer ball around between patients, laugh my ass off, and talk shit with. I will miss the camaraderie at work, learning from colleagues, and being humbled by mistakes. I will miss the brilliant medical students and residents who rotate through the urgent care or family medicine clinics.

I realize my sentiments will change over the next few months or years. I’m curious to see what things I will miss, what replacement I will find and what I will remember a couple of years from now. Will it be the acid-inducing challenge of the job or the positive interactions with patients and colleagues that I’ll come to miss?

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