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Perfectionism in an Imperfect World

I’m anxious today. I sprung out of bed when the alarm went off. That’s already unusual for me. I keep thinking, I have to get to work early to finish my medical records from yesterday. I need to get there before the rest of the staff come in, so that I have some quiet time to do my records. I am already forgetting which dog had which lump and where, how big was it?

Not finishing my medical records on the day of gives me anxiety. Yesterday was our first day of modified hours due to COVID-19. We had two doctors in, two technicians, one assistant and one receptionist. Our manager is working from home because she has no childcare. What does the staff have to do with my anxiety?

My first appointment of the day also wants a heartworm screening test, to get up-to-date with all vaccines, to go home with preventative medications. I come into the back to the treatment room, and two staff members are just standing around watching one of the techs write up the surgery protocol, but when I ask for help no one offers. Anxiety rises, now I have to be louder and firmer. I ask who is the surgery tech and who is helping with appointments. Blank stares. What? So now, I tell the tech writing up the protocol, ok, you are the surgery tech, that means you (the tech standing doing nothing) need to help me with appointments. I rattle on what I need, now just frustrated. That’s appointment number one. You think it gets better after this? No.

Eight hours later, no records done. I barely made any phone calls because the circuits were overloaded due to everyone working from home because of government encouragement. Veterinarians are a non-essential service, and those vaccine appointments can also wait two weeks. That’s not what is happening.

So now, I’m frustrated and anxious and I have to start my day all over again.

I am a perfectionist working in an imperfect world. This gives me anxiety.

This is also why I blog. The psychologist I spoke with about my insomnia had said I should journal before bed, so that I can leave my thoughts on paper and they won’t wake me up at night. I’m using this blog to put my thoughts in text form, so I can leave them here and go to work with a clear mind.

Writing reduces my anxiety.

For an analytical, borderline Type A personality, it is very difficult for me to leave my records until the next day. Some days I am ok with it, but others I cannot sleep because of it. I want my records to be perfect, or as perfect as they can be. Remember, medical records are legal documents. If it is not written down, it didn’t happen.

One of the reasons why I left the first practice I started at was that no one wrote their records. I would see patients who weren’t getting better with previous treatment, with no notes to go on other than what was paid. What were the findings on physical exam? What were the differential diagnoses? Nothing. I lasted a week and a half. There are more details to that story, but I won’t get into that.

I am now at a practice where I constantly feel like I am set up for failure. I fail to finish my records on that day. I fail to be efficient, having to do so much on my own when I have back to back appointments and no break, and feel like no one is there to help me. Type A people do not want to fail.

So I am writing my thoughts, sitting here with my coffee and my Happy Light on. Just hoping that my anxiety from work doesn’t bleed into my personal life, because my husband and I are good right now. He is much more understanding now that he knows what’s going on in my head.

Now, time for another day...

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