I got home today to hear that Rebecca and Jason are on their way to California. After her internship in Chicago, they returned to Utah for Jason to begin his semester at UVU. Since it is a long weekend, they decided to make it longer by driving two 10 hour trips in 4 days. But, of course, Northern Nevada is 43% more beautiful this time of year. I have done that trip so often that I have started to name the tumbleweeds along the way. It will be great to have them here with us for a few days.
Work has been extra busy the last two weeks. Generally, I work three days a week. But recently I have been working on my off days. This is my choice, however, because we are essentially revising the schedules of all of our doctors to adapt to a completely new way of caring for patients. Over the past two years we have reduced the time it takes to see a specialist from 14 days to 10 days and now to one day. This is not just us, but all of the specialties at Kaiser in Northern California. Two of the ways we do this is to daily carry a phone, that when called by any primary care doctor, will be immediately answered by a urologist. That means that while you are sitting in you doctors office, you can get an on-the-spot opinion from the specialist. Second, we now offer patient telephone consult to replace their initial visit for certain diagnoses. Thus, the patient's first actual visit is for the procedure they need. It saves the patient from missing work and paying for the initial visit to come in to discuss the pending procedure. It's a wonderful idea, but can be a scheduling labyrinth to line up the doctors and the patients from all over Sacramento to have their consultations within 24 hours. Anyway, I lay awake at night trying to figure out how to keep 57 moving parts to align in harmony. Currently, the brass section is still cacophonous.
Last week I informed my leaders that I will step down as chief of the department next year. (Not because of the above, I am very excited about the way we are revolutionizing medicine). Rather, I now realize that my chemotherapy schedule will go on indefinitely and there are times when I am, well how do I say it... sick. This is a very difficult decision, as I truly enjoy the challenges associated with this responsibility. I am amazed at how supportive and patient everyone has been. I feel if I worked anywhere else, the would see only my limits and liabilities.
Notwithstanding, I plan on working as long as I can.