Missed a call today.
I hate when that happens, and this is the second time in the last week.
I was out of the district, running errands.
Pager went off.
We headed out here anyway, because I recognized the address and knew the patient, and because of the type of call, and not knowing whether it would end up needing additional manpower.
Got stuck behind not one, but two school buses.
Made it to the driveway of the house before being told to remain in service.
Do I think I could have provided better care than what happened, had I been home at the time?
I knew more about this specific patient (including expecting this call because I knew the patient had not been feeling well for over a week). I've known the family since I was in high school. I have more training, more experience.
Would it have made a substantial difference to the outcome?
Probably not, this time.
One of the things I value most, one of the things that keeps me here, is the sense of providing care for my community in a way that people who don't know these people can't do. I want to be there for them, and it sucks when I can't be.
At the same time, if I let this turn into stress, and then into guilt, I'm not going to last very long.
I don't feel guilty for not being there today.
Do I wish that I could have been? Yes.
But remember the point, of providing care. In this case, I know that my being there, although I could have been a familiar face, would not have made much, if any, difference in the actual outcome, and that has to be enough.
Otherwise, I'll end up never leaving the house.
And that's a bit too egotistical, even for me. :-)