Why Is There A Baseball Size Knot In My Breast?

As if my husband’s ghosting wasn’t enough, several months later, I discovered a baseball sized mass in my right breast—a rare fast-growing tumor that had the propensity to turn malignant overnight. The surgeon warned me that they were nothing to mess with—stressing that I needed to have it removed immediately. Only complete surgical excision and pathological examination afterward could differentiate benign from malignant masses of these kind.

You First … No, You First

Despite his warning, I put off having the surgery for nearly two full months. I did not want to further exacerbate the growing annoyance that I was picking up from my employers. I’d already been out of the office a lot due to my massive crying jags and major depression. The medical business I managed was in the process of a major software upgrade. I was truly committed to my bosses, whom I loved like a family. Because of this, I wanted to see the project through. Any  missteps in that process could have far reaching and deleterious results on the business revenue stream and overall finances. So regardless of the struggle in my personal life, I did not want such a thing to happen on my watch.

I was proud of the reputation I’d long held in my work community and the wonderful relationships I had developed with area health care accountants and consultants who recognized this as my area of specialty. For years, I’d been lauded as a go-to resource able to come in and help skittish physicians negotiate what their professional advisors called ‘seamless and transparent’ conversions to their systems. My trademark was being able to maintain efficient processes in a high-transaction workplace, without hiccups in revenue or increase in accounts receivable days outstanding.

Equally important to me on a personal level was how the physicians in this practice had been very patient and caring to me. That was until this point in time—when I had yet to discover that my direct reports had colluded to launch into full takedown mode. Nevertheless, in appreciation of how much they’d already done for me during my crisis, and respecting how we’d been like a  ‘family’ for nearly seven years before my life fell apart—I had no hesitancy in putting their business needs ahead of my own health.

I truly wanted to do what was best for them.

Covering All The Bases

To ensure that all the physicians were comfortable with the process, I put together a comprehensive Power Point presentation, outlining the entire process, complete [as usual] with graphics, color coded Gantt charts, and all needed references. I took great care to identify any and all contingencies that I thought might even remotely be a concern to them or weighing heavily on their mind. I listed each issue and detailed the procedures and redundancies I’d already put into place to address them.

I authored all of this information in eight-grade language. I packaged the contents of my presentation into individual tabbed three-ring binders for them to take with them after the presentation.

I even went so far as to format the summary into an at-a-glance Q&A sheet for those who may [would] later have a question and possibly be too busy [okay, too impatient] to scan the text for the necessary information.

In other words, they could simply tab to the neatly typed and widely-separated question list to find the clearly articulated answers. I had long been used to authoring internal user documentation for reference by reluctant or obstinate users, so, trust me, it was done well.

Quite frankly, an idiot who knew nothing whatsoever about the practice or the billing system could understand our procedures and conversion plan in a minute or two by simply reading my binder.

Tell ‘Em What You’re Gonna Tell ‘Em … Tell ‘Em Again … Then Tell ‘Em What You Told Them

A special Board Meeting was convened where I projected the same information up on the big screen in the conference room with a  physicians in attendance. I walked everyone through the information that was contained in their binders, orienting them to each section and it’s contents and purpose. I solicited and addressed any concern that I felt anyone might possibly have.

I explained in great detail how things would be handled and how each of them would still be able to continue doing business as usual during the upgrade. [Good grief! The system was only off-line for the second half of the day on a Friday afternoon and the practice did not operate on weekends.] Manual recording methods were in place and packets of prior transaction history had been printed out for each patient appointment, so as not to degrade throughput, volume, or billing.

Hedge Your Bet With Expert Validation … And Keep Copies!

Then, as yet another fail-safe, I followed up by contacting the software vendor—sending them a PDF copy of my implementation plan, the Power Point presentation, and the Questions & Answer sheet.

I specifically asked that their implementation specialist review my materials and let me know immediately if there had been any oversights or omissions. To cover my bases, I copied the email I’d sent to the implementation specialist [asking for this review] to each and every physician, ensuring that they would all see the vendor’s response.

The vendor did respond—stating that they had done thousands of these conversions and that the implementation specialist had absolutely no reservations about anything that I had set forth. They also added that my thoroughness was extremely comprehensive and that I should be commended.

There it was—in writing—that I had left nothing undone. Despite this, I was about to become villainized and my name forever cast out evil once I got into the operating room and began counting backward with a Pentathol drip in my arm.

In other words, the natives [my three direct report managers] were about to become restless—convincing the owners that I had not communicated the plan [developed based on a meeting with all of them in attendance] to any of them.

What is it they say? Sometimes, the best laid plans of mice and men …[?]. It just goes to show you that when it’s time to go, there is nothing you can do. Destiny speaks. Accept it.

Just be sure to watch your back and don’t trust those smiling faces.



Smiling faces sometimes pretend to be your friend
Smiling faces show no traces of the evil that lurks within (can you dig it?)
Smiling faces, smiling faces, sometimes—They don’t tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces tell lies and I got proof—Oh, oh, yeah

Let me tell you, the truth is in the eyes ’cause the eyes don’t lie, amen
Remember, a smile is just a frown turned upside down my friend
So, hear me when I’m saying
Smiling faces, smiling faces, sometimes, yeah, they don’t tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces tell lies and I got proof

(Beware) beware of the handshake that hides the snake (can you dig it, can you dig it?)
I’m a-tellin’ you beware of the pat on the back … it just might hold you back
Jealousy, (jealousy) misery (misery) envy (envy) … I tell you you can’t see behind

Smiling faces, smiling faces, sometimes, hey, they don’t tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces tell lies and I got proof

Hey, your enemy won’t do you no harm (Rap on) ’cause you’ll know where he’s comin’ from
Don’t let the handshake and the smile fool ya. Take my advice, I’m only tryin’ to school ya

Smiling faces, smiling faces, sometimes, they don’t tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces tell lies and I got proof
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Barrett Strong / Norman Whitfield
Smiling Faces Sometimes lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC