My mind is filled with Korean these days. Between living with my in-laws for the last 16-17 years to binge-watching K-dramas to having my Korean New York City sister-in-law visit this weekend and being in the center of our essentailly Korean household, I’m an observeror and participant in this life we have. My Vietnamese parents are close by but I don’t see them as much and I don’t speak to them as much, so my mind turns toward Korean words these days. Every morning I have a quick breakfast and it’s a bit of kimchi and some side dishes with rice. Plant based because most cultures were plant-based before that word was a thing. What does 끝 (kkeut) mean in Korean? To Finish. To End. And I’m at a beautiful ending in my career.
There are 21 months and approximately 630 days left of my Assistant Boss term. Yes, I’ve decided in my melancholy and frustration regarding middle-managment to have a countdown. Yes I have. This is the beautiful United States of America and I have freedom of speech and freedom to count. If other MDs can have a retirement countdown and not suffer any professional repercussions, than I have an Assistant Boss countdown. I used to sometimes think about how many years to retirement, but I no longer even consider that thought – as the practice of actual patient care brings me so much fulfillment and joy again. Or maybe it never was as fulfilling and meaningful as it has been the last two years. But the Assistant Boss and middle-management time? I am doing a countdown. Yes I am. And no one can stop me.
I am also going to buy a rooster and I’m going to name him Louie. There is a special person named Louie and I talked to him recently. We caught up on life and I asked him how his retirement is going and he said with true happiness in his voice, “I’m good. I’m really content.” And rather than asking him to work shifts or talk about our middle-management needs, we just chatted about life. He really cared about the farm and wished me luck in Oregon. And I decided at that moment that when we start raising chickens (which the plan is relatively soon) that I will name one of the roosters after him. He laughed.
And that laugh, and that conversation made up for so much. His happiness and contentment gave me joy. During my time as Assistant Boss I was able to do certain projects that eased his transition. It eased the pain of what middle-management did to him at the end of his career. I remember the ignoble way the HMO machinery tossed aside one of it’s best leaders. As I think to my countdown the 21 months left, I don’t know where life will take me. But I always think to Louie when I have doubts. I call him sometimes when I have moral quandries. But it’s time to let him go too. He is living his life in retriement with joy, but I will have a chicken and name it after him so I can remember the Chief Boss and I’ll sing to that chicken/rooster that oh so fitting song.
“Louie Louie. oh no. said we gotta go. yeah yeah yeah.”
I’m tired this morning. I finished a Middle-Management Power Point Update I have to deliver at 730AM. I worked on it during the weekend, most of Tuesday, and finished it yesterday and practiced. I also worked like everyone else with a full day of clinic. I had an abnormal orthopedic MRI result in and I’m a bit frustrated. I had been up all night worrying about this particular patient and had sent them in for emergent care and specialty consult weeks ago. Now my suspected diagnosis is being considered weeks after the fact. The story is still unfolding, but it’s still frustrating. I texted several people yesterday to put my patient forefront in their minds. Sometimes as a primary care pediatrician that is what we have to do, just remind other people that our patients are important.
I posted a picture of a cooking error I made yesterday. I mixed up tajin for tahini. The “hummus” still tasted good and it was gone at dinner. The kids got fiber albeit from “hummus” that was runny with nothing more than pureed chickpeas and spices. It was actually probably healthier because there was no oil. Mr. Plastic Picker thought is was funny and I laughed as well, but I probably overshared and put it on Instagram. When I posted it I was laughing, but looking for “likes” from the 1000 or so connections I’ve made. The comments from those I know eventhough they were just laughing emojis stung a bit for various reasons.
I have been a middle manager now for 2.5 years. In our organization my position is a 6-year-term, so I am 41% of the way through this term. For about 2 years, I had tension headaches (80% of the time as a middle manager). I had never had many headaches before I became a middle manager, and since becoming drplasticpicker about 4 months ago – my tension headaches are gone (0% of the time as drplasticpicker).
I want to emphasize that before going into middle management, I had gone through the gauntlet of medical training with children and had never had any headaches. Sometimes the stress of moving up the professional ladder can be too much.
Today our middle management meeting was cancelled. We have iPhones with our meeting schedule on the iPhone calendar. There was a strike through the CANCELLED MEETING so I thought the CANCELLED MEETING was cancelled, and therefore we had a meeting. I showed up. No one was there. I was happy it was cancelled but did vaguely think slightly annoyed “If I had known, I could have picked up more plastic.” Today marks the moment when I reached my 100th instagram follower (real followers not fake followers, I did not pay anyone to boost nothing!) and 100th bag of ocean bound plastic collected, and 70th blog post. It’s been a busy 3 months!