THEY CALL ME A COCKEYED OCTOPUS
18 April 2002
I remember the old days. Or perhaps the "young" days. The days before I
became old(er). I remember being so overwhelmed my head would spin trying to get it all
done. I remember balancing seventeen different tasks at once and kinda sorta getting them
all done. I remember people marveling that I was able to do it all.
Then I quit work. And sat at home. And got out of practice.
Today feels like a crash course in "yesterday."
The day started at 4 a.m., when I got up to type. I have a bazillion projects, most of
which are due before I leave for Seattle...tomorrow! I typed my little fingers to
the bone last night until I finally couldn't type any more, then slept 4 hours and got up
in typing mode yet again. I typed fast and furious until 6, when it was time to leave for
Last night, on my way home from work, a warning light came on in the car. I checked the
manual and read all the dire predictions of what would happen if I continued to drive with
the warning light on and that I should get it to the shop immediately. They were, of
course, closed when I read that. It also said that sometimes after the car has cooled
down, the light goes off.
So at 6, I got all ready to go to the club, got into the car, and there was the light
again. I wasn't going to risk driving it. Then I stood there, the wind blowing, the
temperatures in the mid-to-high 40s, looking at my bike, thinking about all the typing I
had stacked up on my desk and tried to decide what to do.
As I told Dr. G later today, "the days when I really, really don't want to go to
the gym are the days when I really have to go." So I went. I bundled up in a
heavy coat, thanked Alameda Bike for my cool biking gloves (which kept most of my hands
warm), I put my head down into the wind, and off I pedaled, as the sun was coming up.
I felt very virtuous. And once I got there, I was glad I'd gone. Did my hour workout
and then decided to take the long way home, through the greenbelt. I rode about 3 miles
(don't know for sure because the damn odometer stopped working in the middle of the ride,
and then started working again. I have to go see my friend Gene about that!)
Climbing the dreaded overpass after you've already given your legs an hour of workout
was a real challenge, and I had to drop down to gear 3, but I did it again. I climbed my
mountain and from there, I was home free.
Having now had my exercise, and since the first patient wasn't due at the office until
2:30, it was time to devote my energies to clearing away as much of the transcription as I
could. I typed fast and furious (and made a small dent, only to discover the psychiatrist
had dropped off another tape while I was working) until 1 p.m., then took everything I had
for the office, loaded it into the car and went to my real job.
It was a ridiculous day. A full slate of patients again, Dr G's need to get financial
information before I leave, backed up filing to get through, blood pressures I couldn't
get a handle on (I took this one woman's blood pressure and got 145/90; Dr. G got 118/80.
Sigh. I'll never get the hang of this stuff!) There were messages to answer, trying
to set up Dr. C's schedule, confer with the lab, etc., etc. It's all the same stuff I
always do, but generally not all at once. I felt like an octopus on speed.
The difference that the years have made is that I no longer do this stuff efficiently.
I forget things. I get flummoxed. I can't seem to concentrate on one thing when I have 10
things piled on my desk. I fake it well and I get it all done eventually, but I am
learning my limitations.
I finally had to leave after 5 and leave work on the desk, because the transcription
ain't goin' away and I'm outta here tomorrow. So now the night stretches before me and I
will spend it sweating into the keyboard. Tomorrow I have to help with patients, water the
plants, wash the speculums, empty the garbage, try to think about clearing away space for
Walt to fix his meals when he gets home from Oregon, and hope that I catch the bus to the
airport in time to make my plane. I figure the way I've been going, I'll either be four
hours early, or miss the plane completely.
I can handle a couple of days like this, but I used to do this every day. Sure can't do
that now. When I get on that plane tomorrow, I'm closing the big door to RESPONSIBILITY in
Davis and just plan to have a FABulous time with Diane and Mary in Seattle.
Rain or no rain.