It's 8:00 on Monday morning, and we find out that our afternoon secretary has called out sick. A quick check of the schedule indicates that Drew CANNOT do this day alone, so I'm called upon to fill in. I cannot tell you the comments that I get about "how nice you help out", etc. So for today, I want to give you a peek into what days like this are really like.
First, I'm already behind on housework. I send a note with my son apologizing that the "laundry fairy" didn't keep up last week and thus his gym shirt still smells of rotten bananas. I spend all morning trying to get things as caught up as possible before I rush off to get our oldest from school at noon. The first thing that I give up is a healthy lunch... hello Chick-Fil-A. Thanks for helping me have one less thing to do today.
Within minutes of engulfing a whole bag of GMO-Canola fried french fries, the kids run outside to play for a few minutes before it's time to go, giving me just enough of a moment to throw on some make up and a pair of semi-clean clothes.
I walk downstair and find that the kids are COVERED in sand. Head, to toe, sand. Umm, we HAVE to leave! Ultimatums are issued, orders given, and I leave with two kids barefoot, one in a shirt on backwards. I grab the Ipad, which is a rarely used device for the kids, as a back-up. We have just come off of a physically draining weekend and with no naps, late bedtimes, and early mornings, I know there will be at least one meltdown today at the office.
We have just gotten settled in, with a baby gate protecting the supplements and crayons strewn all over the floor, when patients begin to pour in and the phone starts ringing....
Yes, the chaos. When patient #3 shows up for the 3:30 (that weren't on the schedule), we began some "emergency procedures". The second thing that I compromised was the Ipad. Movies, games, whatever. Just keep the kids occupied. I'm answering the phone with confused patients because scheduling had been changed, a baby who is spiraling down the "I need a nap" path, and LOTS of people waiting... and waiting... and waiting...
Then the scheduling book logs me out. I don't have the password, so now there are people calling to schedule and I'm really up a creek... baby now crying in the background... kids needing help pulling up yet ANOTHER movie....
It was a few hours of crazy, then things began to wind down. With the waiting room cleared, I decided to nurse the baby (under blanket cover), only to have a patient walk in needing some supplements. No problem. I detach the baby, who is almost asleep, grab the supplements, the file, collect payment, and continue trying to get the baby to sleep.
I swore to myself that I would NEVER nurse a baby sitting at reception while checking people in and out. Well, there goes that.
Before I can blink it's 5:45 and as the predicted meltdowns begin there is a quiet lull. Drew helps me load everyone up, finish some paperwork, then I'm off to come home and figure out what is for supper. Thank GOD for left-overs, and patients who bring in fresh baked bread!
So that is reality. But, when there are patients coming in and LOVING on the kids, me and the whole family atmosphere it makes my heart skip a beat. I had to give up some things that are really meaningful to me, including a playdate that would have been divine, but after the dust settled at the end of a long day, I can look at my husband...tired and exhausted, and know that we are in this together.