I had not intended the title of my last posting (“Goodbye”) to indicate that I was going to stop blogging. But I found it more and more difficult to think of what I might write next, and in the end I decided that it should be my swansong after all. I am most grateful to those readers who kindly wrote to enquire whether I was alright.
Of course, I wasn't. Not really. Burned out, I suppose. I felt as though I had been dragging along the bottom for some time, although when I look back at diary entries from decades ago I can see that I have felt inadequate and unhappy as a doctor for much of my career. Not a brilliant career choice then, you may think! I recently attended the funeral of the schoolmaster who encouraged me to study medicine, so now I only have myself to blame.
I was finding the blog increasingly hard to write. It was based on the “reflective log” which I keep, partly for appraisal purposes (to convince my appraiser that I occasionally think about what I'm doing) and partly to look back on when I am in the Sunset Home for Old Doctors (who never die but just lose their patients). But I would edit it, polish the prose, try to make it seem educational or witty, and try not to make myself sound like an idiot. Which was hard work.
But when I was appraised recently, my appraiser was enthusiastic about my professional log and suggested I think about publishing it in some way. She also thought I was reasonably competent as a doctor, so her judgement is clearly suspect, but it made me wonder about whether I should start blogging again.
So here's the deal. I intend to publish the log “as is”, just as I write it, apart from a few minor adjustments to keep things as anonymous as possible. It may not be witty and it may not be educational, but it will be honest. Please be gentle with your criticism. Remember, it's all my appraiser's fault anyway.
We have had a lot of changes in the practice over the past few years, one of which is that I have cut down my hours considerably. This has given me some breathing space, and allowed me to renew my sense of vocation and interest in my patients. I am very grateful to my partners for allowing me to remain in the practice working reduced sessions; for some reason they seemed keen that I should stay. I must say that I have a high opinion of them, and I am glad that the younger partners seem as motivated and concerned for patients as we oldies like to think we are.