I have been asking myself for several years, What’s with November? It was November 2011, just after I lost my dear aunt to ALS before the Thanksgiving holiday, that I began wondering why November was such a confusing month for me. It was November of 1981 when I lost my favorite person, my maternal grandmother, and November 1987 when I lost my beloved mother, but I never connected the dots till I lost my aunt.
The two women closest to me now – my wife of 23 years and my office coordinator of 12 years – are both November-born. God knows how indebted I am to these two women, without whom I would be a sure failure in life.
It was my wife who picked up and moved across continents after she married me, without a doubt in her mind. She moved with me from NYC to the Louisiana Bayou and finally Bucks County, PA. She helped me set up my “mom & pop” solo practice in 2002, serving as front desk operator and babysitter for our 6 month-old son. She’s managed payroll, paid taxes, bought office supplies, reconciled Quickbooks, shuttled kids to afterschool activities, prepared meals, kept the house in order, all while substituting as office help all these years.
On the other side, my office coordinator, who joined my practice in 2004 (her first and only job so far) became the intricate nerve center of my practice. She knows our processes, philosophy, and EMR in and out. She’s managed our clinical trials for several years, trains other employees, and even fixes our computers from time to time. Hundreds of patients are fully convinced she is wonder woman.
In a strange twist of fate, November has proven near-deadly for both these admirable women. In November 2014, my wife suffered a sudden bowel rupture while walking our dog far away from home. Fortunately, she recovered from this, but not before three ER visits, two operations and one bout of septicemia. This past Thanksgiving, my office coordinator went down with a severe illness, from which she is yet to recover.
It was also November eight and four years ago that we had to endure the very undesirable outcomes of two Presidential elections, but this November, we got to rejoice a rather unexpected result.
So I come back to wondering, what is it about November that so conflicts me? How would my life have been if there was no November in the calendar? As I sit in early December, feeling very uneasy, praying for my employee’s full recovery, I reconcile with the fact that we humans are in fact, utterly powerless to even understand, let alone control the strange happenings of life. Perhaps November just happens to be a strange month for me. I suppose I can keep it in my calendar for now.
Photo by aaron_eos_photography