After I fail to toe the line, the hospital district informs me that they no longer want my services. And hand me a three month severance check.

They have to pay me more, because that weekend I'd signed off a back log of maybe fifty charts, before the computer update might wipe them out. Took me five hours.

And a year later I open my own private clinic in town.

It takes me two years and a meeting with the CFO to get them to fax me ER notes on my patients and let me know when they are admitted. The excuse from the CFO when I meet with her is that they do not have my fax number.

"I still have hospital privileges." I say to her. "The hospital has had my fax number since the day I opened."

She studies me. "Perhaps we should add your fax number to the computers."

"Oh, that would be wonderful, would you? Thank you so much!" She does. It works nine times out of ten. The tenth we have to hunt down. Even though it is MY patient and JThe Joint Commission says that the hospital has to communicate with the primary care physician, they make us fax a request in writing to medical records when they fuck up and don't send it to us. Sure. Right.

I get sick out for two months after my sister dies and then out for ten months a year after my father dies. I think it's because I am too stupid to take time off to grieve and so I just work harder. Hopefully I've learned.

And the hospital labels me when I go to them to help and they do the opposite of help.

Another physician says to me: "I heard about you in a meeting. After all, we aren't really friends."

Oh, I think. I thought we were. Nope. Ouch.

I lay low as far as the medical staff go. It's fucking impossible to scotch rumors. The patients, however, don't care. They come to me. Even after I am gone for ten months.

In August of 2016 I am invited to a County Medical Doctor picnic. I am usually invited by the other independent physician. For some reason no matter how many times he gives my name and email to the hospital staff member who sends out the invitations, I never get one.

I go and as usual, very few people talk to me. Whatever.

There is another get together about six weeks later. Again, I'm not on the list, but my fellow cash only independent calls me. It's at a physician's lavish house with a water view.

I walk in and the doctor who said we aren't really friends comes up and hugs me.

Honey, I get piloerection immediately. (Down, boys, it's not what you think.) I am on oh, shit, fight or flight adrenaline alert. WTF?

Another physician sits by me. "I heard that you were out sick for a long time. What happened?"

"Uh." Holy shit. The worms turn. "I had strep A in my lungs and muscles and it put me out for ten months." I am looking at her like she's grown horns. And there is a table full of other providers who may or may not be listening. I tell her part of the story.

"I had a bronchoscopy four months later and the muscles in the trachea were still inflamed. Dr. C the pulmonologist said I looked like an inside out candy cane."

I tell a friend afterwards.

"What the hell was that about? Do they expect me to forgive them 7 years later?"

"Yes," says my friend.

"I want an apology."

"The hug and asking about it WERE the apology."

"Well, it's not enough. I trust them as far as I can throw them."

"You should forgive them."

"Oh, I forgave them a long time ago. But we are not reconciled."

This weekend there was a class for medical people on suicide prevention. I did not get notified. Same damn list. I asked my informant to please start forwarding me the notification. I also didn't get invited to the latest county doctor meeting. So much for reconciliation. Fight on.

And now I hear that the doctor who hugged me has resigned. She is quitting medicine. She is my age......