The Beginning of the End, Part 2

I stood in front of the giant mahogany desk, watching the man on the other side.  He was sitting down.  His mouth was moving, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying, due to the roaring in my ears.  I wrestled my consciousness back into my body just long enough to say, “Yes, I understand.”

The man smiled, stood up, reached over the vast expanse of desk and extended his hand.  I shook it.  It bit me, leaving two holes in the palm.  After it released my hand I put it behind my back, surreptitiously rubbing the bite.  He sat down, beaming.  I turned and walked carefully out of the office.  He shouted after me.

“Please have your accounts in by the end of the month!”

The jerk.  I always did.  Never missed. Struggling to get my physical and astral bodies aligned, I walked down the hill to my office.  Now the tears burned.  How would I tell Lorna, my nurse, and Della, my receptionist, that we had been eliminated?  Collectively discontinued?  Replaced by a newer, slicker model of practice than our old, warm, welcoming country doctor’s office?

It wasn’t just us: our little old struggling small-town hospital had finally caved in and accepted a buy-out by a looming juggernaut of a healthcare corporation.  Hell, my own mother was on the board of directors of our hospital, and even she had voted for the takeover, knowing she was signing the death warrent for my practice.  Her daughter’s practice.  Everyone’s practice, for the new corporate entity brought in its own doctors.

To their credit, they did offer me a position in their corporation, as a staff pediatrician in a city an hour and a half away.  I would be working under a director with whom I had already had some clashes over the care of my patients whom I had transferred to his hospital for a higher level of care than we could offer in East Bumfuck.  I had no choice but to decline, under the circumstances.

I was on medication at the time, but it was the wrong one, and couldn’t protect me from what was to come.  The stress of knowing that my practice was doomed threw me into a deep depression.  Added to that was the knowledge that I would not be able to start anew on my own: I had cashed out my retirement fund to start that practice.  Put all my eggs in one basket.

I did approach the juggernaut about actually buying my practice rather than stealing it, but they just out with a giant juggernaut belly-laugh and informed me that they’d take it for free, thank you very much.  So I was sitting high and dry.

Aside from my lifelong dream of being a country doctor, there was the issue of “not playing well with others” that had limited my tenure at all of my previous jobs to two years, before the powers-that-were and I started getting on each other’s nerves and throwing spitballs at each other.  From my perspective many years and medicines down the line, I can see that my hypomanic episodes might have had something to do with my feelings that I knew how to do things better than they did; or even if I did, I was unable to keep from running my mouth and offending the powers-that-were, and having an “I quit/you’re fired” moment, or a convenient lateral move to another practice.

So it was that I realized that my best chance for success was to be my own boss; and for two years it worked just fine, and was getting finer by the moment, until the juggernaut dropped a wrecking ball on my present and my future.

I dragged my tail home from the office that bitter January day, to find a Registered Mail notice in the mailbox.  Whoopee, I though, maybe Publisher’s Clearinghouse has finally come through and I’ll be able to buy back my horse farm and open another practice in Horse Heaven Acres.  I stuck it in my parka pocket and drove up the icy dirt road to my single-wide trailer.

I had been planning to live in that trailer while I built my log home on my 14 acres, but that didn’t look too likely any more.  I set my face grim and parked in the dirt turn-around. Joyous clamor roused me from my sour reverie: the two German Shepherds, the ancient yellow Lab, and the young Great Pyrenees leaped and bounced off the wire mesh of the dog lot.  I opened the door and let them out, and they cut all kinds of comic capers, each coming over to slobber on me again and again until I was good and slimy and cheered up.  I trod carefully up the icy steps to the deck and let them in.  The trailer was full of dog.  I shut the storm door, noting that the deck was covered with goat shit again.  Damn goats.  They were always trying to get into the house.  What did they think was in there?

I fed the dogs.  I fed me.  Then I settled into my recliner to have a good cry and sink into a suicidal depression.  I stayed that way until time to take the nighttime knock-out drops, did so, and fell into an unsettled nightmarish half-sleep.

The phone rang.  It was a mother whose baby had a fever.  I asked the usual questions.  It didn’t seem bad, but I gave her the guidelines.  If it got to a certain point, she was to take the child to the emergency department at what was still our small-town hospital.  If it didn’t get that far, I would see her first thing in the morning at the office.  At least I still had the office, for another four months until the wrecking ball came down for the last time. To Be Continued…..

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9 Comments

  1. How AWFUL. One doesn’t think about doctors losing their practice. A doctor’s practice is beyond business. But I guess not. I wonder how many other practitioners have been in your same boat. That would make anyone want to hang themselves.

    Reply
    • Not hang. That takes courage, which I lack. There are other, more elegant ways….

      Reply
      • HAHA, I agree. In fact, I think if one truly wants to be successful, one must have an obvious and another not obvious. So while they are working on the obvious, the other is killing you. That was always my plan in my suicidal days.

        Reply
        • Oh dear, another elegant suicide planner. When I was in my really ill phase I spent every waking moment refining my plan, so that it was virtually undetectable. Now I don’t need to do that because 1) I want to see the end of the movie and 2) it’s refined to where I don’t need to think about it anymore. See, one healthy and one not-healthy motive for not thinking about suicide! (Except on the days that I do anyway.)

          Reply
  2. *I sometimes *Struggle* with the Whole want to JUST be Normal thing…..That’s the downside of having Bi-polar 2 disorder AND recovery from addiction together! It can be frustrating. THANK YOU for helping SHATTER the STIGMA of Mental illness, as I try to do the same around people recovering from any addiction type.

    I enjoy your informative Blog SO much that I have Nominated you & your Blog for *THE WordPress Family Award*!! *CONGRATS*!! Your site will be listed on my Blog Page http://wp.me/P3xH1g-ar You may also pass on the LUV and Award to your “FAV” blogs if you wish! *Happy Friday* 🙂 🙂 *Author, Catherine Lyon*

    Reply
    • Thank you, Catherine! That is so sweet of you. It may take me some time to get your award up, as I am over-the-top busy now, but in the interim I thank you so much for thinking of me!

      Reply

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