I never really dreaded Monday, nor had I really looked forward to the weekends. I used to love Mondays, in fact, when the clinics were at their busiest, and I would go on rounds and attend conferences the whole day. Saturdays were also busy clinic days, as elderly patients were always brought to the clinic by their adult, working children on a Saturday. At times when clinic days weren’t so busy I would feel bad. Fatigue and the abundance of work have become my measure of success.
Until COVID happened, and rightfully trained me on self-restraint. I initially used COVID as an over-all excuse to limit my clinic hours, but now I am so used to it that I don’t ever want to go back to the clinics, specially when I’m in my lazy, hibernating Sunday mode. And, lest I forget, there is still the very real threat of getting COVID during face-to-face consults, so it’s not like I’m unjustly rationalizing my laziness. Last month I had a patient who came in for diarrhea. He was undergoing chemotherapy with radiation therapy for rectal cancer, so it was par for course. I prescribed loperamide. Before leaving the clinic he asked if loss of taste and smell was also a side effect of chemoradiotherapy. I said no, no it is not, but here is a request for COVID PCR, do it right now. I was texted that night that he was positive for COVID. Good thing I was totally wrapped in PPE from head to foot like an unsavory chalupa.
I am now having a hard time imagining what my work life was like pre-pandemic, but I guess the many recreational activities, and the trips, were always there to break the work routine. There was a lot of work, but there were also many exhilarating things to do.
Someone recently asked me if i can recall the last moment when I really felt exhilaration, genuine joy, legitimate thrills. The first thing that popped to mind was when I went to Cambodia with some friends. Of course that wasn’t really the last moment (that was like five years ago), but for some reason that is always the memory that comes to mind when I think of “exhilaration”.
After our annual convention Oxaliplatin, Eric, and I went on an Angkor Wat trip, and we were told that there was a row of pizza houses on a particular street selling “Happy Pizza”. We didn’t really believe that they could be edibles, so we went in and ordered a huge pizza, and paid for an additional “takal” of happiness. It didn’t take long before all three of us were giggling at the most useless shit. All of a sudden Eric stood up, and told us that he was feeling dizzy. He ran out of the restaurant. Oxaliplatin and I couldn’t get ourselves to care, we were just laughing our heads off. We then discovered that Eric had walked back to our hotel, but as we had already checked out he decided to just lay on the recliner chair by the poolside. We saw another tourist with his feet up as he was basking under the sun, and this caused Oxaliplatin and I to crack up like it was the funniest thing we had ever seen.
What I would give for just a slice of that pizza, now!