Tuesday, November 4, 2014

It's About Time

The early bird gets the worm, er, blueberry pie.
It's 4:30 a.m. in early November on my day off, and I'm asking myself "WTF am I doing awake right now???" This ridiculously antiquated daylight savings thingy has messed with my circadian rhythms so much so that for the past few days, I've been hitting the hay at 8:30 pm and rolling out of bed eight hours later. The crazy thing about changing time is that we don't even understand what time itself is. We've developed super-precise atomic clocks that are accurate to 0.0000000000000001 second, but scientists can only offer theories about time because guess why? Time isn't a natural phenomenon. It's a human invention that's morphed into a tool of social control. Sort of puts a new spin on hurrying and procrastination, doesn't it?

It's only been a little over a month since I published my last blog post. It's not that I haven't had anything to write about. I haven't had the time, and that's sort of shaken my world a bit. For the past 2 1/2 years, I've had a pretty light schedule, giving anesthesia three days a week and having the rest of my time to do with as I pleased. Having a schedule like this isn't normal in my line of work.

Being a physician is such hard work!
 "Lazy" and "physician" typically aren't words you'd use together in a sentence, but the compromise I worked out with my burned out self so I wouldn't quit medicine altogether did indeed involve me becoming just that: a lazy physician. Laziness has definitely had its perks. I no longer work in a hospital. I don't take call. I don't work on weekends or holidays. I sleep in my own bed at night, instead of a call room. I have days off during the week where I can sleep late and do whatever I want. It's really been a best-of-both worlds situation. The only thing that's really been challenging has been learning to survive on half of my previous income, especially since I've been paying two mortgages this entire time.

Six months ago, I decided I'd had enough of being a landlord, so I put my rental house back on the market. The loss of rental income has been incredibly painful. Living paycheck to paycheck has sucked, and it's a position I never thought I'd see myself in when I first became a practicing physician.

No explanation needed.
Since I wrote about my rental house ordeal pretty extensively in my last blogpost, I won't bore you with those details again. I do have some awesome news, though. My house went under contract on October 7, and is set to close in nine days. Free at last! Aside from one minor hiccup with the inspection (which cost me $900), everything's been moving along nicely. The final mortgage payment's been made, and I'm like a little kid at Christmas, counting the days before Santa's arrival.
The only bugaboo here is that I have to bring money to the closing table. Because I don't want to borrow against a credit card, I've had to shift gears from being lazy to modestly busy.

My light morning reading. Coffee is mandatory.
I won't lie. The past couple of weeks have been pretty intense. Not only have I started orienting in clinic for my upcoming new gig in interventional pain management, I've been working more at my regular job. I'm temporarily back to working five days a week, but surprisingly, it really hasn't been too terrible. I've been able to accumulate the funds I need for closing without having to go into debt. Acclimating to my new job has necessitated some case study and textbook reading, so I'm back on the learning curve. Thank goodness I didn't get rid of my old iPad. Instead of purchasing unwieldy hard copy textbooks, I downloaded cloud-based Kindle versions from amazon.com, so I can access them via my laptop, iPhone, or iPad. It's made reading, a task that I truly don't enjoy, much more convenient and even somewhat pleasurable.

I'm feeling excited about the work-related changes going on in my life, despite the stressful and time-consuming logistics of securing malpractice insurance. My current job contract specifies that I must secure tail insurance coverage upon leaving the practice. With tail insurance running around $28,000, I've been engaged in negotiations with my new employer to cover my tail on their policy so I won't have to pay the premium.

Chester, rescuing his fallen lens from a giant burrito.
Yesterday, I received confirmation that I was approved for prior acts coverage, obviating the need for separate tail insurance. Hallelujah!! Now I can finally sign my contract. I'll finish my current job in mid-December, and then, I'll drop back down to four days a week in my new position. That means I'll still have plenty of time for hanging out with my favorite people during the week.

After months of upheaval and barely scraping by, I feel like I can exhale again. The weight of my domicile and malpractice albatrosses have been lifted. I've successfully avoided foreclosure, which at one point was a serious consideration. I'm entering a new phase in my career, one that will eventually lead to board-certification in pain medicine. My professional tail is covered. Even though I'll be working one extra day a week at my new job, my income is going up considerably, so I'll be able to splurge on a few of the little luxuries I've been missing, like pedicures and massages. My feet resemble those of a yeti. My shoulders and back are constantly knotted up from weight-lifting. My 52nd birthday's coming up on Friday, so I'll be giving myself a spa day this weekend for sure. Woot! Like the autumn leaves falling from the trees right now, everything's relaxing into place. It's about time.






17 comments:

  1. Welcome back and I'm glad things seem to be going your way.

    Um...what's tail insurance? Is that malpractice insurance as in "Covering my tail"?

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    1. Yes, Big D, that's exactly what tail insurance is. Based on the type of malpractice you're covered under, you have to purchase a tail if you leave the practice and don't maintain a solo policy afterward with the same carrier. Luckily, my new employer elected to cover me retroactively, so I don't have to worry about a tail. It's a huge relief!

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  2. It looks like you've just waded across some trouble water and ready for a new chapter! Being able to sell that house must be such a relief. Congrats!

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    1. Selling that house has been like a dream come true. You have no idea how many times I've fantasized about burning it down. It's a terrible feeling to be saddled with that kind of financial burden, a burden which results from the corruption on Wall Street, corporate politics, and our own government. I've never understood why the banks were bailed out when the economy crashed, but those of us with mortgages still owe the same amount we did before on houses that are worth 30-50 percent less than we bought them for. Makes no sense to me.

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  3. Kris, looks like you've tied up a lot of loose ends and are ready to move on to your next phase of life. The new job sounds pretty interesting. Love what you said about Time being an instrument of social control. Had never quite thought of it that way.

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    1. 2014 has seemed like a year of loose ends, so I'm glad that I've been able to tie them up before the new year arrives. My new job will be challenging, but will also provide me with a means of becoming board-certified in pain medicine without having to take a year off to do a fellowship (like an apprenticeship). Several of my anesthesiologist friends have either done fellowships or a route similar to what I'm taking and they love the independence that comes along with working in this field. Re: Time being an instrument of social control, I really think that's what it's become. It makes all the hurrying around people do seem so pointless.

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  4. Sounds like everything is coming together nicely for you. I bet you are looking forward to those massages.

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    1. Yes, I surely am! It's hard for me to reach the places on my back that need attention and my husband isn't great at giving massages, so getting professional ones really does help.

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  5. Im glad the difficulties have resolved --Enjoy the good times :]

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  6. Thank you for that reassuring window to your life; it is both a lesson and a relief. Always work the hardest till you can exhale.

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    1. Uma, at times it's seemed like that window of reassurance has been buried under a brick wall. I will fully exhale when I sign the closing documents and turn over the keys on November 13.

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  7. So true that time is not a natural phenomenon but rather a human invention for social control. My circadian rhythms are off too for a while when we turn the clocks forward or backward. It really is an antiquated system not needed in today’s world.

    Congrats on the sale of your house! And congrats on your new job, too! Sounds like an exciting and interesting career change. I really like reading on my iPad too.

    Very happy for all your good news and it’s so great when things fall into place, “like the autumn leaves falling from the trees.” Nicely put. Love that photo of Chester, and the one of you with the balloon glove on your head LOL!

    Hope you have a fantastic birthday on Nov 7th! (That was my Dad’s birthday too.) Definitely have a spa day, you deserve it, Kris! :)

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    1. Thanks, Madilyn. Glad to hear I'm not alone in my circadian dysrhythmia. Lots of exciting stuff happening at the end of a very loooooong 2014. As for my birthday, thanks! The nurses where I work are throwing a party for me today and Brad and I are having dinner at a very nice restaurant tonight. Life is good!

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  8. Congratulations on selling your house! And moving to an IPad. I still love interacting with real paper, so it will be a while before I can give up textbooks.

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    1. Thanks, Vanessa. I know what you mean about real paper vs iPad for reading. I have limited storage space so this is the best compromise for me. I've been pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy reading books electronically.

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  9. I'm glad things are settling down for you again. The house is sold. Yay! I hope you enjoyed your spa day. Sounds like it was well-deserved! I've been a little busier, too. I'm subbing at the high school and having a blast, but that's left no time for blogging. Just glad I've still got time to check in on my peeps! :)

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