Sunday, November 8, 2009

My office

With my change in positions several people have ask, "Where is your office?"

The short answer and probably the most truthful is, "I don't have one."

Oh, I have an eight by eleven foot call room complete with bed, desk, and chair. I have grow so tired of this space in the last 6 months that I now only go there to sleep. I share a conference room, complete with two computers, monitors for all the beds in labor and delivery, and cable TV with any other obstetrician who happens to have a patient in labor. There is a common workspace I use in labor and delivery, again with monitors and computers to scan what is happening in each room or access medical records. Similar accommodations exist for my use in the emergency department.

Yet, it dawned on me one morning last week, as I slogged around a park south of my home, that my office is there also. On my non-call days, when I am not chained to the hospital by my contract which states I will be physically present to care for any obstetrical or gynecologic emergency, I head for this park. It has a one mile dirt trail, beautiful oak and pecan trees, a creek bed, and several grassy areas. Set back from the roadway, the sounds are birds, squirrels, and the rustle of the leaves.

The peace of this place passes any understanding. I can feel very beaten down when I arrive but I leave refreshed, physically spent, and believing I can make it at least one more day. And, lest you doubt, it is my office, my beeper is strapped to my side and my cell phone is in my pocket. Some days I spend more than one of the five miles I attempt to traverse talking with a young doctor about how to care for a patient. My counterpart, the person who is now captive in the hospital, will have to be the physical presence when one is needed. I am fine with talking for a few minutes as I sweat and struggle to make it around the trail again or as I simply sit and admire what a fine piece of work the interior designer of this space has done.

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