A Day in the Life of a Doc

Today is research/catch-up/laundry day. Hey, a working mom has to multitask, right?

I begin the day by sorting through business mail and sipping a cup of mint tea. This morning I’m greeted by an unwelcome surprise – a debt collection letter! My clinic negotiated with a new lab and we got excellent prices, but I wanted to make sure the billing process would be smooth for my patients, so I sent in a lab on myself as a trial run. To my chagrin, the lab charged me their full price instead of using our special discount! I brought it up to my rep and was told it was taken care of. By dealing with this collection letter myself, I think to myself, I’ll be able to develop a better system so my patients will never experience this “surprise” like I have! After a round of phone conversations among our lab rep, the billing department, and myself, (along with some aggressive follow-through on the part of my assistant), I resolve the issue, creating a simpler financial process along the way and preventing this from happening to my patients.

It’s experiences like this that they never teach you about in medical school!

The research/catch-up part of my day is supposed to be spent looking into my patients’ challenges and developing new tools to help educate my patients. I sit down at my kitchen table, open my laptop, and begin to type up a handout on food intolerances. I get as far as “Foo-” when my typing is interrupted by the familiar “ping” of my cell phone alert. I’ve received an urgent message from my answering service (a company that answers calls when my private practice is closed). I log into my email account to view the full message. False alarm – it’s a tenacious sales rep who wants to sell me his newest product, and his three messages in a row set off an urgent alert.

Since I’ve already opened my email, I may as well start sifting through the morning’s messages. I see a memo from another doctor needing some input on a patient’s MTHFR status and give the doc a call – I get started on the laundry while talking. Treating MTHFR is something I am good at and I am happy to help other doctors find tools and perspective in their treatment of MTHFR.

Onto the next part of my day. One of my clinics is hiring and I am helping with the process. After cleaning out my inbox (well, mostly), I head over to review resumes and candidates’ initial responses to our questionnaire. This is actually one of my favorite jobs – I love meeting different personalities and seeing whether our skills and passions align. There are a few promising contenders; I look forward to hearing how the final interviews go.

I make it back home and it’s now mid-afternoon. After a quick veggie and chicken lunch, I complete the morning’s task of paying bills. Since I am working from home today, I take a few minutes to water and prune my potted plants. I let my mind wander. My garden is something that nourishes me. It doesn’t need too much from me. The celery is finally starting to grow, the calendula has adapted to its new spot, and the strawberries are happy just lying in the sun. Maybe we should all take a cue from the strawberries and hang out more often.

Back to the list. I remember that today I also have some welcome calls to make. As a part of the membership committee of the California Association of Naturopathic Doctors, or CNDA, it is my job to call new doctors and welcome them to the organization. We discuss practicing in California, benefits of the CNDA, legislative efforts, and any questions they might have.

Now it’s time to go pick up my son from school. I glance over at the still-full laundry basket as I make my way to the door. I know it’s mocking me.

Today it seems like my boy needs a little extra attention from mom, so we make a game out of checking in new supplements at the office before returning home. He gets excited about the chewable fish gels for kids, and I have to remind him that we have to finish the liquid version first.

The sun is already setting by the time we make it back home. I pick a few fresh veggies and herbs from my garden to spice up dinner, which I try not to burn while I simultaneously help the kiddo with his spelling homework. Tomorrow I have a full load of patients and I have to be prepped and ready to go by 9 am sharp, so my work for the day is far from finished. After dinner, I settle down with another cup of tea to review charts and check the rest of the day’s emails (yep, that inbox is full again).

Finally it’s time for bed. After shutting down the electronics and turning out the lights, I drift peacefully into a blissful dream of self-washing clothes.

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