You might not know that doctors’ businesses in the US are going bankrupt. Mine did. Not me personally, but the business. Medicine is a cog in the economy like everything else. Lots of cogs are blowing out. I have a story, like everyone who goes bankrupt.
When I went to medical school I learned that doctors are pretty well respected. I think that most people live with a level of distrust for doctors…except their own. The other thing I learned was that if I lined up and kept my nose relatively clean (which I have not nearly always done) I would have job security in addition to respect and I could buy a nice house with a manicured yard and super linear shrubbery. I learned that I would work my ass off and I could expect to not make a nickel if I didn’t show up to work. No passive income to speak of.
Some of those lessons have changed. I have touched on the respect part above. Job security is not a given, although it is much better than many fields (but see below and above), and I still believe that there is always room at the top and I make my plan to be the best surgeon I can. I do indeed work hard and passive income is still hard to come by.
So my bankruptcy story has to do with a partner playing Jenga with our practice. He suddenly quit (not a typical partner move), defaulted on financial responsibilities, and those remaining got to watch the rather remarkable tumbling and destruction of a decade of work. I recently went to traffic school for a ticket (I got a warning one early morning from a really nice cop and the next day at the same time, place and channel we did a rerun. We both (kind of) had a laugh about it) and during the 6 hours of “class” we saw many slow-mo traffic-signal traffic-cam videos of car wrecks caused by drivers who were either a)inattentive or b)angry, I learned. Even though they are disturbing there is an irresistible modern dance feel to a car wreck that draws me to it. I catch my breath as the cars, which are usually stubbornly solo, find one another, finally. There is something beautiful in it. Anyway, I kept thinking that I was being reminded of something. Now I know that it is the demise of my business caused by inattention, resentments, assumptions. As I have lived through the process, I will indulge myself in another metaphor: it’s like when the charges go on a building being razed and the center gently drops to its knees and the arms of the building appear to rise in praise or supplication.
Even though I am making (up) something beautiful about this betrayal and embarrassment (I will take the liberty of claiming this blog as my attempt at beauty), I am here writing to get it out of me that I do feel exactly betrayed, pissed, and embarrassed. I am not looking for comfort, to hear its going to be ok (I know for sure it is more than ok, no matter what – for instance we have already been bought by a medium-sized (Ross not Macy’s) box store of a medical-practice-buying group and we didn’t miss a day of work – lots to be grateful for). I am letting myself have the feelings and I since I tell you about things like that, I am telling you about this. My (X)-partner? He knows his motives. I don’t. Don’t want to. I don’t think Karma is too worried about a little medical practice in Central Oregon, but who knows? I do. It’s not. At a minimum I will recommend that he not come here for a reference. His behavior is his problem (or reward depending on if you are me or him, I guess) and I am sure he will have an interesting and rewarding story about all this. My job, today, is to come to terms with rebuilding, remembering who I am instead of looking at what I do, and paying attention to these difficult feelings. Like with my little kiddo, if I pay attention and stay present when he is uncorking, he gets different in a bit. If he goes through uncorking alone or he sees me ignore it, it is actually damaging to him and he saves it as one of those millions of unfelt feelings that we store and eventually have to find an anesthetic for. It’s ironic that anesthesia means to have no feeling and in the world of our emotional selves it is feelings not felt that look for anesthesia, not the ones that we struggle through, feel fully and move on from. Those ones bounce away from us as harmless as the tire thrown bouncing down the road after a wreck.