February 26, 2022
by Dr. Plastic Picker
I worked last night the staggered shift. 25 patients evenly spaced out in 20minute appointment slots. No longer the triple booked patients at 6pm and leaving at 930pm and overeating at night at 10pm. Pneumonias and bilateral ear infections. I had to order a fair number of antibiotic prescriptions yesterday. It almost felt normal, pre-COVID pandemic like. One of my work colleagues reminded me that I had come up with the idea of the “Happy Hour Shift” and indeed that was what started it all. Fixing a broken scheduling template that would garner so many complaints and predisposed doctors and nurses to make errors. There was no conceivable way to see three patients in the same appointment slot.
But people forget, and as life improves – they often forget what was the catalyst. Indeed, I had forgotten – but then this work friend who is not in our department, reminded me.
This change was good for me as well, and I fought for the sane scheduling system with my own family’s well-being in mind. It was a long day, but I had time to walk up to the #guerillagardening project at my “lunch” hour which was at 2pm. I walked and looked at the plants I had planted there almost 2 years ago.
It’s all growing and thriving now. I had to put in effort at the beginning. But now, the natural rainfall and once or twice a month watering from saved bathwater from my own house – is enough. It took me courage to fight for those changes in the schedule. It took creativity. It took rationality and a mind that thinks clearly. There are some minds that are so chaotic that threatened to make all of our lives intolerable.
But rather than dwell on the those forces I had to counter, I focus on the growth I see. I focus on what is beautiful and what has worked. And this plant was the first one that proved to me that in the desolate area of the upper parking garage planters that had been abandoned for decades – something beautiful could grow.