Yesterday I was nearing the end of my clinic day, without any more patients scheduled, when I got this kind of call. It was about 2 PM and my first thought was, "I wonder if they can just keep her until 5?" But they said no, come now. I figured, "Well, no biggie, nobody is scheduled anyway."
I went to the front desk to inform them that I was heading out early and was met with a sour face and a lecture on parenting. The secretary informed me, "Now, you know that you need back-up child care for situations like these?" (This actually went on for a few minutes while she proceeded to tell me how it was irresponsible of me not to know who was going to be picking up my child in case of emergency while I was in clinic.) The conversation came to an end when she said, "When you're a real doctor, you're not going to be able to just take off, you will have actual responsibilities." All of this, mind you, when I actually had zero patients scheduled the rest of the afternoon.
I was furious the entire drive home (still am, as you can see). How dare she give me a talk on parenting and doctoring! Then I thought of a million reasons other non-parents might need to leave clinic on a short notice. Maybe they themselves aren't feeling well (crazier things have happened.) Maybe another non-child member of their family has an emergency. Maybe they have car troubles on their way in and actually come late rather than leaving early.
What do the other moms-in-medicine-without-reliable-husbands do in situations as above? Does everyone have an emergency back-up besides themselves for sick days? Is there a single person out there who has never, not once, been to work late, or had to leave early, or missed a day altogether, for a sick child/sick parent/sick themselves? Are we not just human people working as doctors, that do have the same ailments as our very own patients??