I arrived to work at noon after a morning doctor's appointment, not having worked since last Wednesday. A text message immediately arrived on my phone---a unannounced patient is in the waiting room to see me.
Grabbing my stethoscope and my notebook, I rush out to the waiting room. The patient in question is across the room, but before I can make my way over to him I'm intercepted by someone else. I ask them to wait, but another patient materializes, wanting a word with me. Three more of my patients lurk in other corners. Is this a convention?
I put several of them off until tomorrow, deal with the issues needing immediate attention, duck into an exam room to sit in on another patient's doctor appointment, and head back to the office to catch my breath.
"Do you know that five of my patients were out there waiting to see me?" I ask incredulously as I enter the office. Two of the administrative assistants laugh knowingly.
"They had tents and sleeping bags set up all weekend, Keith. We told them you'd be back Monday at noon." They laugh again.
"Very funny," I reply. "Can I go home now?"
The phone rings apace all day. My voicemail is full but not overflowing. My mailbox? Stuffed. My desk? Covered in charts and papers. The state of my brain? Hmmm.
A massage at the end of the day slows me down. Then dinner with Mary nourishes me. Now we're baking tahini cookies as the wind howls outside and the temperature drops towards zero.
The return is over. Back to the fray.