After my soft opening return to being a doctor with my previous two short shifts two weeks ago I started back to work for real. The official return to being doctor Dudley. Well one of them. I returned to St. Elias today to start a two week stent as the upstairs doctor. I was greeted very warmly and embraced numerous times. Granted I was a little hesitant to be so friendly with the body contact but many of the hugs came from people who I have worked with for over five years and one from the time I started Residency. That one was, Lawana, the ever present Health Unit Coordinator who has been fixing my silly orders, reading my deciphering my poor hand writing, getting me a cookie if I am hangry, arranging all the labs and transfers I don’t want to (maybe can’t figure out how to) get set up, and overall just being a smiling face since I walked in as a too young looking resident. So I couldn’t help but share in a few hugs. The other thing is that many of the crew at the hospital were so passionate about supporting me with a bone marrow drive, following my posts, and just good thoughts it is hard not to be as friendly as possible because I won’t ever be able to repay that good will.
I mentioned above my return as one of the doctor Dudley’s. My dad, did exactly what all the people in Steamboat knew he would, he made everyone realize he is one of the smiliest, happiest, sweet guys you could imagine much less actually meet. I spent most of the day informing people and patients I would not be as nice as he was and although I was smiling a lot my mask would obscure this fact. Despite that I had two patients tell me hat yes, I was clearly Dr. Dudley’s son. They could see it in my eyes. I think the real problem is that I now have to live up to his standards. Not a bad thing to shoot for though. I pretty much had to tell the staff that I would recruit him to come back though so they would quit talking about him.
The day went pretty smooth despite the fact the hospital started a new electronic medical record Saturday and today was the first day the whole thing was really supposed to work. On top of that a near by construction site cut a power line and put the hospital on to the generator which quickly made it apparent all the computers were not hooked up to that supply system. Patients didn’t notice as all the patient rooms are set up but it clearly caused a little distress for the staff and my office was thrown into darkness. The obvious fact that the doctors office was not powered by the generator reminded me how despite the feeling of some power as the physician we (I) really aren’t that important.
I enjoyed listening to peoples, stories and being involved in that balance of health again. When I got home I realized though that my wonderful time over the last few months with the boys has drawn to a close though. I hope I still have lots of time with them in the future but with work and their return to school in a few days it will draw to a close some wonderful moments I have had with them because of cancer. I also realized this evening that I will miss their amazing little insights which they provided me. I was running while Liam rolled along beside me on his bike telling me I was going to slow when we passed a father carrying a little kid on a handle bar seat on his bike. Liam pointed out that the child had a helmet on but that it made no sense because the dad wasn’t wearing any helmet. I agreed it was a bit perplexing. Liam then said “I really think it is just dumb because they can’t live without each other, right dadda? They need each other and if one got hurt well what would happen?” I was able to keep running although I sort of wanted to grab him, hug him real close and tell him how much I am blessed to have such a sweet little kid. Before I could wrap him up though he said “come on your slowing down!”
I feel a real odd sense of accomplishment today. I know I didn’t really get much done but I went back to real work, well the start of a real stint, for the first time in 18 months. I saw lots of people who really cared about me and carried my burden while providing wonderful thoughts as I stumbled in the cancer canyon. I was reminded how great my dad is. I was reminded how wonderful my son is. I can’t really take much credit for any of that but I do feel like I have fought to get back to work, I must have done something right there before, I didn’t drive my dad crazy as he raised me, and I might be raising a good son. For a days work that isn’t something to be to ashamed of.
Head Up, Heart Strong. I need a cure.