Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tomorrow 2

Tomorrow will be my last day to report for work.

As mentioned in my previous post, I had to make a decision by tomorrow regarding the future of my hospital career. But I guess the curtain went down a little too early.

5 days too early, in fact.

That day started with me talking to the new Chairman of the Department I was working in. He talked to me at length regarding my extraordinary 6 month leave, my current illness, and about his concerns for my well-being. He never made any overt calls for me to decide right then and there, but he said that if he was my father, he won't allow me to endure the effects of my illness and my medications any further. He also asked for my current medication and promised that he will bring some for me later in the day.

Just before lunch, I had a chat with the Training Officer. The Chief Resident sat in on the conversation. He reiterated his belief that I was severely incapacitated by the medications I was taking. He asked me two things:

"Do you want to be in this program?"

Of course sir, I answered, that is why I applied in the first place.

"Okay, granting that you want to stay in this program... but are you fully capable of discharging your duties as a resident?"

Well sir, I won't be telling the truth if I told you that I was 100%. Even right now I feel like I have this perpetual hangover. I am also sleepy at times. So, no, at my current state I am not fully capable of doing my duties as resident.

"That answer came from you. You should think about the consequences of your decision, too. For example, if you would unfortunately miss a diagnosis and give the wrong treatment to a patient, and someone uncovers that you are under medication, it would send the wrong message. There are legal implications with that."

Silence.

"I am not rushing you to make a decision. You could make it today, or up to Monday if you want."

I think, 48 more hours wouldn't make any real difference on the decision.

I showed them a draft of a resignation letter I was crafting precisely for this contingency, just to see their reaction. The Training Officer read it for what seemed like a while, then turned and said: "What should you do about this?"

I said, sir, please give me time, I have to call my parents first. "No rush," he assured me.

I spent my lunch hours between attending to a patient with pleural effusion and calling my parents and my girlfriend Joy. They all were relieved that I had made this decision, but they were also aware that it was made in post-haste.

After doing the requisite management for the patient with pleural effusion, I came back to the Chief Resident's office with three copies of my letter, largely unedited. The Training Officer came off another meeting, and had to make this one quick.

"So, I take it that your decision is final, then?"

Yes, sir.

"Well, I hope you understand that this really is for the welfare of our patients. Of course, our doors are still open for you to reapply anytime."

Would I have an attached stigma like that of other residents who resigned? After all, I said, I did have a valid medical excuse.

"No, of course your case is different. But still you will start from scratch in your training."

With that sobering thought, I asked to leave.

I was about to watch a movie when I was texted by the Chief Resident to return. The Chairman would see me now, she said.

I told the Chairman about the decision I made, and he told me that it was the right decision for my well-being. He also gave me a sealed packet of medicine, enough to last for 20 days. A sort of a sending-off gift.

I also saw the former chairman at the Chief Resident's office, seeing some private patients. When he was finished, I had a brief but memorable chat with him. He encouraged me as always, and was almost apologetic for the idea that I was resigning on the strength of a potential legal hazard.

"Go where your talents are appreciated. All that you have learned here - hard work, integrity, quick decision making - can be used in your next sojourn. If you cannot find your niche here, you could always test the waters abroad."

And so my day ended brighter, even when the clouds hinted of rain.
==

My anxiety attacks have reduced dramatically and I am now down to one pill per day. And tomorrow would be something to look forward to, for a change.

Balthier: I'm only here to see how the story unfolds. Any self-respecting leading man would do the same. - From Final Fantasy XII

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