When you are unexpectedly out for a week as I was recently, you realize how dependent you are on your staff to get things done when you are not sitting in your chair. Luckily, I have a great staff that managed to keep the boat afloat while I was trying to mend.
I would have thought that technology would have been a bigger asset for me, being sick and away. Unfortunately, I felt so horrifically bad that I had no aptitude for helping clients, reading and responding to emails or otherwise getting stuff done. I realized that my mental capacity, agility, and ability, were so compromised that I would be adding no value to clients by trying to suffer through work while feeling sick. During the week I was out, I did very little by way of email, remote access to my office, or even cell phone voice mail. I simply noted on my voice mail that I had pneumonia and that they should contact my office if it was an emergency. It is interesting to see how the voice mail messages dropped off from a flood of ten to twenty early in my sickness to virtually none by the end of my sickness.
Also of note is the fact that my clients were extremely understanding and supportive during this time. I did not receive a single complaint from a client about my unavailability. Instead, they rolled with it, were patient and have simply waited for me to get back in the saddle.
One of the difficulties of being an independent practitioner is the fact that you are not a interchangeable piece with a bunch of other lawyers at a large law firm. No one could step into my shoes while I was gone and things simply had to wait. While my staff kept things moving while I was gone, it was a great opportunity for them to get caught up as well.
Being sick is part of the ebb and flow of life. Thank you to Carolyn Elefant at My Shingle for her advice and good wishes during the time I was down and out.