My year is now over. My staff and I started the habit of closing down mid-December in 2013, when we realized that patients generally didn’t want to come in then, either.
To me a year really ends the day we close up for the holidays. I put away the season’s decorations, send the final batch to my billing company, and lock the door. Not much of a New Year’s, but at my age it’s not a holiday I mark, anyway. It’s more a relief that my office year, at least, is done.
So it’s always a time for reflection, between the more mundane work of returning calls, reviewing the tests that come in, and getting taxes ready. I try to relax as much as I can (given the weird state of our times, I haven’t left town since November 2019, so this is my vacation for now).
Plus, my kids all come home. I have no idea how much longer that’s going to happen, so I’ll enjoy it while I can.
It’s now almost 3 years since I last rounded at a hospital, and I can’t say I miss it. While I usually have plenty to do on my breaks and weekends, and the occasional patient call to return, it’s nice to know that I can stay in my robe, PJs, and slippers through it all.
2022 certainly wasn’t bad for my family and me, though not as good as any of us hoped. The world, already battered by the pandemic, was thrown into greater uncertainty by the war in Europe and its ramifications across the globe. In comparison, I’m very grateful that higher prices are the extent of my suffering as compared with what the people of Ukraine are going through.
But, at the end of it all, my little practice and two wonderful staff are still here, just as we’ve been since 2000. My kids will (hopefully) all be through college by the end of 2023 and moving on with their lives. I love them, and will miss them if they move away, but part of being a parent is accepting that your kids are only visitors and have their own paths to follow.
For my staff I’m glad they’ve stuck with me through good and bad times, and that we still have fun together – even when we haven’t worked under the same roof in a while.
For my patients and their families we’ve seen a few glimmers of optimism in treatments and hopefully they’ll continue to grow and be built upon. Heaven knows my field – and many others – can use them.
Dr. Block has a solo neurology practice in Scottsdale, Ariz.