After our mother died, my sister and I were ok....

....for a while. And then we weren't. I think she was first. My father and I flew down to help and my understanding of how to navigate the medical maze came in very handy. It protected her job and health insurance when all she wanted to do was hide.

Our mother died in May 2000. I became Chief of Medical Staff at the hospital in January of 2002. This was not so much a vote of confidence as a vote of right then all the other medical staff were fighting with each other. I was too new to be embroiled.

I felt like things were going reasonably well, though I still missed my mother....

....until February. At the end of February I hit the wall.

I had trouble dictating clinic notes. I was slow. I felt stupid. I felt like I knew nothing. Dictating was like entering a black hole.

And I knew that it was dissociative feelings. Feelings that had nothing to do with the dictating. My notes were fine when I read them over when they came back. They were not stupid. Specialists were happy with me. My colleagues were happy with me. The staff was happy with me. Patients were happy with me.

But I was not happy with me. And my first thought was, but this is the first time in years that I have felt relaxed at home and at work. It's only been two months. Can't I have a little longer? Please?

And off I go to fire up help. One helper laughed and said, "Aren't YOU on schedule." Thanks, asshat. But I knew that he was right.

Dissociative symptoms can be terrifying. For me it was a clear signal that now that life felt the faintest bit under control, I needed to empty out old feelings and really look at my life and my relationships and my grief about my mother. And make changes.

I resigned as Chief of Staff in September, holding a meeting where I said I had things going on in my personal life and was burning out. Burn out was apparently so forbidden to bring up that not one person on the Medical Staff would even talk to me about it. The only comment at the meeting was a PA who said "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." They all avoided me afterwards. Untouchable...

Heh. Well, duh. That is why I was resigning. And in 2016 the hospital holds a dinner and program for the medical staff about burn out because it's a crisis now, and half of primary care doctors surveyed say they are burning out....Funny, but they didn't invite me.