DUST BUNNIES and
11 January 2001
Dr. G is a "duster," he tells me. He says he knows I'm not a duster,
because if I were a duster he wouldn't have to point out to me that there is dust on the
venetian blinds because I would already have dusted them. He's not really complaining
(well, maybe indirectly), but he did point out that dusting would be a good idea. So
today, since he was out of the office, I went in to dust.
My problem is that I don't see dust. I don't even see dust bunnies until they're all
rounded up in the corral and mooing at me ominously. Then I wonder how so many dust
bunnies got loose and were running around the house without my seeing them.
I have had dust bunny piles that would qualify for a national monument, like the
world's biggest ball of string, but I didn't want to be listed as one of the
"tackiest places in America."
Dr. G has decided that one way around my dusting dysfunction is to hire his wife to
dust. She's not a duster either (which, I guess, is why he can tolerate me), but he wants
to put her on salary so she can have her own IRA. Kind of a money-laundering scheme. So
he's going to pay her $1,000 a month to come in and dust a couple of times a month.
How can I get that job? How can I get her to wash speculums, scrub toilets, keep books,
make appointments, and chaparone exams (for which I am paid a pittance) and let me get
$1,000 a month to dust twice a month? That better be some fantastic dusting. But how would
I know? I don't see dust.
Dr. G also took on the subject of my desk.
As I've mentioned recently,
I'm a stacker. Dr. G would have a heart attack if he could see my home office. By
comparison, the office desk area is positively pristine. But he spent some time down on
his hands and knees eliminating the clutter of electric cords (and effectively taking away
my ability to plug the laptop in, so I'm going to bring it home again).
He then mentioned how I could "get back my desk" by removing some of the
things on it. He instructed me in the value of hanging files and made suggestions about
where and how I could keep stationery out of sight. He enthusiastically pointed out how
much more room I'd have on the desk if I managed to clean it all up. I think it was a
blatant hint about how he wanted my desk to look when he gets back into the office on
I thought I was actually doing pretty good. I have had this stack of stuff sitting on
the desk for weeks now and I've been working my way down it, going through files in the
drawer and finding out what's there, figuring out what I want to save and what it's OK to
throw away, etc., etc.
By last night I had reduced the pile to less than an inch. This was great
progress. So Dr. G picked the wrong time to suggest (even gently) that I might clean up
the desk and that his life would be much happier if my desk was clean.
But I decided I would get it done today. It shouldn't have been all that difficult. I
could clean the desk, check the mail, dust, and be home in time for Oprah. Only D
showed up. Dr. DC. She used to be in practice with Dr. G years ago and is another
Victim of the Stupid Hospital System that lost me my job. She was let go a couple of
months ago (it was actually a mutual decision--she didn't want to work for them any more
than they wanted her to) and has been trying to find a place to see her patients. Dr. G
asked me last night if I might be willing to work more hours so Dr. C could see patients
in his office for now--and they would possibly think of starting a collaborative practice
Well, She had a stack of patient information. Patients who need surgery. Patients who
have had surgery and need appointments for post-op visits. Patients whose insurance
companies need to be called in order to get authorization.
I did pre-authorization years ago, but only as a fill-in when the surgery scheduler was
on vacation, and don't really know well what I'm doing. The person at the insurance
company threw a bunch of gobbledygook at me and I didn't know what the heck she was
talking about. I called Dr. C and SHE doesn't know what she was talking about either
(doctors don't DO this stuff. They have "people" to do this stuff. I am not one
of those "people," but I figure I'm going to have to become one of those people
My pleasant little 2 hours at the office stretched to 4 and I tried to balance doing
Dr. C's telephoning (and deciphering what I should be doing) with bookkeeping,
straightening, spot-cleaning the carpet, and thinking about dusting.
At the end of the day my desk looked like this (I was going to do a before and after
shot, but the "before" shot got screwed up, so you're left with the after...it
looks worse than the "before."
I now will have to go in tomorrow morning to straighten it up because I couldn't stay
longer. I have to review a show tonight (Kurt Weil--not my favorite composer), and when I
get home, transcribe the things I was going to transcribe in the hours I expected to have
after dusting the office.
(and no, the dusting never got done).
It's going to be an interesting experience, though, working with this new doctor. Dr.
G, since he doesn't see HMO patients, gets pretty upscale clients. The kind who can plunk
down $200 for an hour of a doctor's time and not blink...and even make a follow up
Dr. C's patients weren't exactly the brightest group I've ever dealt with. The first
client spoke no English, and I speak no Russian. She was able to give me the number of her
translator, but he wasn't home, so I left a message.
The second client was having a very difficult time understanding me. When I gave her
the address of the office, she asked me what the area code was. I gave her the phone
number six times and she kept complaining that she was having difficulty writing with her
crayon. I have no hope of her actually being able to find the office next week for her
And so it went, client after client. Of the 10-12 I called, I only made one firm
appointment, to the lady with the crayon. It will be interesting to see if she actually
But I had to leave the office, leaving the dustbunnies, and the stacks of work, now
including Dr. C's stack as well, intact. I despair of ever being organized. Or tidy. Or
even dusted. And I never did get Dr. G's office vacuumed. Argh...
(I think that means working Saturday as well.)