I went to college in northwest Georgia. Our weather was normally pretty tame, blah even, compared with our counterparts in the northeast or northwest parts of the country. Once in a great while, we would get a snow storm. Maybe even some ice. Bread and milk were endangered during those times in the north Georgia foothills.
Most of the time, winter weather at the college was just gray and blah and rainy and cold and dreary. The kind of weather that made one not want to venture out of the quasi-warm dorms to class. The kind that made one long for the warm days of spring.
You could of course choose to sit tight and never venture out, but that lead to poor performance in courses and even poorer grades come report time. Not good. So, you chose, if you wanted an education, to go out into the weather, to brave the storm, as it were, and do what needed to be done.
Fast forward forty years.
I’m sitting in my quasi-warm mental health center office, looking at my schedule for the coming day. I’m booked solid. One patient every thirty minutes all day long.
It’s gray and rainy and blah and dreary outside.
One of two things will happen, as is always the case. Either no one will show up and my no show rate for the day will be gruesomely high, or everybody will show up, every single patient, in spite of the terrible weather outside.
I fire up my electronic medical record and wait.
Do I secretly (or not so) hope for a few gaps in my schedule for a breather, time to read, catch up on writing prescriptions? Of course I do. I’m human, just as I was at eighteen years old.
Do I expect that to happen? Not really.
You see, college students quickly figure out that if they decide to never go to class during bad weather, they don’t graduate and get a degree.
Patients quickly figure out that if they don’t come for follow up appointments, medication checks and therapy sessions, they get sick and don’t do well, maybe even ending up in the hospital.
How did my day turn out?
Eleven of twelve came to see me.
I learned something new from seeing them, as I do most every day.
The rain and cold and gray eventually went away, as it always does.