Last day of work.
Lots of important questions run through my mind: what do I wear? Do I shave? Do I wear sandals? Should I have gotten a haircut?
In the office, I see consults on my desktop – consults that really mean very little to me now, as the majority of these patients won\’t go with me. I click on them anyway to see what the consultant thinks. Someone else will have to do the same, but I can\’t stop doing the job.
There are lab results that I respond to. Repeat the test in 2 weeks. Someone else\’s problem then, but mine now. All of the follow-up visits are with others, and my patients all want to talk about me. It\’s not about me, however, as they are going to the doctor. As much as it is momentous, I am a caretaker, so I can\’t stop doing that job.
In some ways, today has little meaning. It is the period at the end of the sentence. No, it is less than that, as punctuation can change the whole sentence. It is the last sentence in the novel, the words that suggest the nature of the sequel. The book has been written already over the past 18 years, and today is but a quiet ending. The seeming gravity of the day comes from the mass of my time already spent. What I do today won\’t be of much consequence.
So I just push through it like it\’s a normal day. I listen to people, make plans for them, try not to be distracted by the obvious and miss the subtle. I think on the long-term despite the reality of the short-term. I\’m still a doctor. I am still their doctor, even if it\’s just for today.