I had convinced myself that I was an irreplaceable part of a complex machine instead of expendable cog in a machine that somehow runs on inertia alone.
In the 3 months since I left, a lot has changed. There are 3 new clinicians: one PTA, one part-time PT and a student who will graduate in 3 weeks and begin working as soon as he passes his licensing examination. My former boss, who had not worked clinically in over 7 years (and has not opened a book since the mid-90s) is working full time as a clinician. I cannot imagine that these changes have improved quality of care, but I am uncertain if that was ever the objective of management anyway.
As much as some things have changed, though, a lot has also remained the same. The walls did not crumble when I left. There is still an aide in the gym teaching exercises. The office still has 12 new patients to evaluate per day and the machine continues on as it had for 20 years before me, and will continue to do so now many years after my departure.
I have happily moved on, and they have too. I am only sad that it seemed so easy for them to do so.
I should have known that I was merely a cog, but I had convinced myself otherwise.