Seeking Certification

We got our new jackets on Friday – don’t they look snazzy?! I’m SO BLESSED to work with such incredible people!!

Work is going well. I continue to work my ass off but I’m starting to feel more and more comfortable with what I’m doing. There are moments when I feel like I’m sort of flying by the seat of my pants and thank goodness I think quick on my feet and can ooze fake confidence when I need to, but for the most part, I’m settling into the medical assistant position.

I’ve been a medical assistant for a little over one year now. That sort of blows my mind when I stop to think about it. I honestly feel like I still just stumbled into this gig and I’m BSing my way through every clinic. I’m confident on the phones and handling the scheduling part of the job, of course, but the actual medical part of this job still sort of scares me a little bit.

I guess I’m going to stick this out. I had thought, at one time, I might just hang it up and move on to something else, but this past year, though terribly challenging, and continues to challenge me every day, has been one of the most rewarding years in my life. There’s something deeply satisfying helping people and it’s such an HONOR to work with some of the top 1% of the doctors in the country!

I’m pretty sure this is my last job. I will likely retire from the medical field. Which is so crazy for me. I never, once, in my whole life, aspired to be in the medical field. I wanted to be a writer, a paralegal, or a medical transcriptionist, which true, is in the medical field, but more on the outskirts of the medical field, not in the trenches actually interacting with patients.

And yet, here I am.

I have spent hundreds of dollars on scrubs. When I started as a scheduler, we wore a different color each day of the week. So I spent $200 just on that my first week of work. Now that I’m a medical assistant, our colors have changed again – navy, black and gray. And I have added on to my scrub collection as I’ve gone along because I get bored with one brand, I find something just a little cute/different and/or the fit is unflattering that I can’t force myself to wear them anymore.

Scrubs are NOT cheap. I just recently bought another scrub “outfit” for just under $70.

One scrub top. One scrub bottom.

So. There’s that investment.

And now I’m getting ready to spend another $150 in order to become certified. And another $50 bucks to purchase the study guide and an online test so that I can prepare for this certification process. BUT. If/when I do this, I will automatically receive a $1 raise which means I will have paid for my investment in three weeks and ultimately make more money.

Not to mention, being certified carries more responsibility and more opportunities.

And I’m motivated to do this because the government has implemented yet more strangling meaningful use policies and I’m no longer able to do a few tasks like I used to be able to do. However, I can do these tasks if I’m certified. So OF COURSE, I have to become certified because nothing frustrates me more than NOT being to do something or do my job to my maximum ability.

I will learn everything there is to know about being a medical assistant. I honestly have no intention of going any further than this, at this point. But if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I have an uncanny knack for sort of falling into things so who knows where I’ll be five years from now.

I never imagined I would be where I am now five years ago.

As far as the people … my nurse still drives me nuts – in fact, there are days I would gladly punch her in the face. But she’s sweet and funny and we’re all getting used to her, I suppose. Her personality is just so ABRASIVE! AARGH! And everything about her rubs me like sandpaper, her tone of voice, the way she treats patients, the way she has to include herself in EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION THAT GOES ON AROUND HER, whether she’s included or not, her obsession with food, her butt crack. Yes, her butt crack. She was a size smaller when she came to us from the hospital but she refuses to allow herself to buy bigger pants, so she wears these tight t-shirts and low-waisted scrub pants and when she bends over – HELLO MOON. Our nurse manager actually came by her one day, yanked down her t-shirt and whispered in her ear loud enough for me to hear, “your butt crack is showing again.” AAARGH She’s just so immature and self absorbed … drives me nuts.

However. I don’t see her going anywhere any time soon so I guess I just need to suck it up. I’ve worked with my doctor for over a year now and I’m the “veteran” on the team since his nurse started with him in October and his PA started with him this past January. Even though I’ve worked with him over a year now, I still feel pretty shy around him. We’re both loosening up around each other now and I am starting to see a lot more of his personality. I’m VERY FORTUNATE to work with a laid back, easy-going doctor. He rarely loses his temper (in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him lose his temper), but you can tell when he’s annoyed. I just try and make his clinics run as smooth as possible, even if that means I make other people in the clinic mad at me because I INSIST they do their jobs.

Go figure.

We’re supposed to be moving into our new home in July. The hospital is adding onto the main building and neurosurgery will be taking over the 7th floor. My doctor was on the planning board for this move so he views it as his baby. I’m really looking forward to moving to our new digs. Not only will it be “new”, it will be next to the hospital and Kevin and I are already planning on meeting in the hospital cafeteria for lunch. (They actually have pretty good food for cheap). Parking will be a challenge as it’s already a challenge at the hospital as it is now, let alone when our clinic starts going over there every day, but we’ll find our new normal, we’ll just have to endure the speed bumps along the way.

The building we’re in now is embarrassing. It’s so old and ever since the announcement was made that we would be moving to the hospital, there has been very little motivation to fix or maintain our building and it’s starting to show a lot of wear and tear.

Oh. That reminds me of a story.

Our air conditioner went out – again. Our air conditioner goes out about every other month, it’s so annoying. So our HVAC guys showed up to take a look at it and found that the wires had been yanked out. Apparently, some homeless guy was living in the area, (the area is enclosed by a privacy fence) and he had cut out all of the copper wiring presumably to sell it. This is what happens when you have a crappy economy and more and more people are out of work – desperate times call for desperate measures.

There is now a lock on the fenced-in area. (There probably should have been a lock on it to begin with but you don’t think about things like this until they happen). There are always weird situations that crop up in this business.

Our nurse manager is moving on to another position. We’re all pretty shaken by this news. She’s AWESOME and she will be SORELY missed but we can’t fault her for wanting to further her career. In the meantime, management has formed two committees, (sounds like something management would do, lol) in order to help interview her replacement. I didn’t volunteer for the position, I wasn’t sure I wanted to put myself in that situation, but when they came to me and asked me to participate I couldn’t really say no. This is going to be doubly challenging considering we’re getting ready to move and we won’t really have a “captain” to guide us.

I have a feeling this summer is going to be crazy busy for us.

Work: Take Your Crown, Princess, and Shove It Somewhere Dark

angy-drama-queen

Can I vent?

Too bad, I’m gonna vent.

I don’t DO drama. I just don’t. It’s stupid, immature and a complete of waste of time and energy. I’ll pick my battles.

And today, I picked a battle.

Look. I don’t ask much out of my co-workers. Be nice. Have a sense of humor. Be professional. AND DO YOUR DAMN JOB.

That’s it.

Well. Bonus points if you have common sense. (A rare commodity nowadays, granted).

I work with all women, save for one male MA, the doctors and the PA’s (though my PA is a woman and QUITE AWESOME, I must admit).

So learning to get along with all of those personalities, and yes, divas and drama queens, can be quite challenging.

And when I say divas and drama queens, I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. We all have our “days.” Those days when every little thing sets us off and we’re either snapping with claws out, or we’re crying and dabbing at runny mascara.

I have my days, too. The difference, I think, is that I RECOGNIZE when I’m feeling hormonal and I issue blanket apologizes and warnings before it gets out of hand. And I try my hardest to keep the collateral damage to a minimum – after all, my issues/annoyances will soon pass.

But I think that comes with age and since I’m the oldest person in my group (wow – when you put it that way), I have experience to back me up. I know where that line is and I’m very careful not to cross it.

I had an one-on-one meeting with my boss this past week. Nothing too unusual in that – we have a standing monthly meeting with her to address any concerns we have and to bring her up-to-date on what’s going on with the nursing department. She’s always busy with meetings and whatever else managers do on a daily basis.

The meeting was going great. (I truly admire my boss). And we get to this part,

“How is clinic going?”

I wasn’t going to say anything, guys. I truly wasn’t. I mean, my nurse is new, she’s still trying to get the hang of things … give her time. And I overlook, and ignore, a lot of things. (Such as the fact she gives more attention to the lunch menu, what she’s going to order and other food topics more than she pays attention to clinic, but I didn’t bring that up. I think her obsession with food is stress related and I don’t want to add to her stress).

success-work

But if there is one thing I can’t stand is lazy. Do your damn job. We’re all there with one goal in mind: to take care of the patients. And if you’re not going to do your damn job, then don’t you DARE complain that it’s not going well and THEN TRY AND BLAME ME for that.

Oh yes she did.

She didn’t come right out and blame me, but she certainly implied that the reason things were not going that smoothly was because of me. She told our PA that.

I never take lunches. At times I’m literally running to bring patients back and keep his exam rooms full so that he’s happy and we’re taking care of patients in a timely manner. I’m responsible for bringing patients back to exam rooms, starting notes, recording current complaints, getting vitals and then after the doctor has seen them, to schedule whatever they need before wishing them a great day and showing them to the exit.

I’m fast, but I’m not THAT fast. So there are times we have several charts up front (which is my cue that patients are ready to come back) and several empty rooms. In the meantime, I’m stuck with either starting notes or scheduling follow ups – I need help. This would be the perfect opportunity for my nurse to jump in and help me unless she’s busy scheduling a surgery or in the middle of something.

But most times, she’s not. And she just chooses to sit on her ass and let me run around with my head cut off.

And even though I hinted that we had patients to show back, she either chooses to ignore my hints or just ignores me entirely. And I’ve let it roll off my back. Whatever. I go on thinking pretty bad thoughts but keep them all to myself.

Luckily, other people have noticed this little snafu in our clinic. My PA has noticed it. Another nurse from another team (that we share a pod with) has noticed. And I’m relieved because I thought maybe I was just being overly sensitive.

Whew. It’s not just me.

What I’m asking her to do is not unreasonable. All the other nurses help room patients when they can.

So. I mentioned the lack of help to my boss. I mean, how can a person improve on something if that person doesn’t ever know there’s a problem, right?

My boss listened to my concerns and then said, “Well. Let’s have a meeting with said nurse later today and see if we can’t come up with a solution.”

Erhm, awkward, but I agreed.

We had our meeting and I was pretty honest in my “suggestions.” To my surprise, instead of this nurse saying “Oh sure, I can help out more,” she has multiple excuses as to WHY she can’t help more.

I was truly flabbergasted.

But you know what? Screw it. I voiced my concerns. My boss knows about the situation – I’m just going to continue doing my job to the best of my ability and say nothing more.

I’m confident my performance will speak for me. And I’m confident that her lack of performance will speak for her.

Work: The Sky is Falling

So, I get to work (side note – it was freaking COLD last week!! Wednesday’s high was 13!), reach out to grab the door handle to go into the clinic and I hear it – the faint sound of an alarm.

Was the alarm our clinic? Was the alarm coming from the apartments behind the clinic?

Feeling cold and not really caring overly much, (I’m curious – but not THAT curious), I enter the clinic. I head back to the pit (side note – did I tell you guys that we call the nursing area where we answer phones – we don’t have voicemail – the pit? Because it is … the pits. Get it?) when the medical secretary asks, “Did you hear the alarms when you came in?”

“Yes. But I couldn’t tell where it was coming from.”

“It’s us,” she says.

“Wait. How is it us? Wouldn’t we hear it in here?” Which I didn’t.

“It’s coming from the back, something to do with the sprinkler system, I think.”

“Humph,” I shoot back, because honestly, I don’t care overly much. I’m very choosy what I expend energy on – just ask any of my co-workers. lol

I go out into the clinic area, grab some clean gloves and Sani-wipes and begin to clean my exam rooms. (Because I forgot to do it the day before). As I’m nearing the last room, I hear dripping water – like several drips. I round the corner and see this …

wet-room

I hunt down management (they’re in a huddle near the door trying to figure out why the alarm is going off because OF COURSE).

“Um, guys? Did you happen to see exam room 15?”

Apparently, we had some pipes burst. But not because of the cold but because the pipe threads, on several pipes over exam room 15, had rusted through, weakened and with the cold weather expanding them, they broke, spilling A LOT of water. I don’t if you can see it or not, but the white chunks on the floor? Is ceiling tile. A big section fell into the room. Management put trash cans out to catch the dripping water and started making calls.

Luckily, that didn’t happen the day before, because there was a doctor USING that exam room yesterday. And I remember that doctor’s team commenting on how HOT the room had been – a precursor to today’s disaster, I suppose.

And luckily, it wasn’t one of my clinic days. Because the MA’s who were in clinic that day had to re-direct their patient traffic in order to avoid wading through ankle-deep water.

And that was the start of my day that day.

If there is one thing you can count on in healthcare, you can’t count on anything in healthcare. It’s constantly changing from day-to-day. Sometimes, from hour-to-hour.

Prompt: Accidental Healthcare Career

Tell us about your first day at something — your first day of school, first day of work, first day living on your own, first day blogging, first day as a parent, whatever.

It’s Obama’s fault that I work in healthcare.

I never, in a million years, even TOSSED the idea around of working in healthcare before our glorious dictator, erhm, leader, (*said with sarcasm*) started the current nightmare we’re living in right now. (Have you guessed that I DESPISE the man?)

It never even occurred to me to attempt it. I knew I could never be a nurse. Not so much for the gross factor (though there is that – KUDOS to nurses!), but I get so impatient with people who are sick or in pain. (Just ask my family). My first reaction is to say, “suck it up, buttercup.”

Not exactly stellar bedside manner, right?

This attitude applies to me, too. It drives me CRAZY to be sick or have some pain I can’t seem to control or get rid of.

But when Obama waved his scepter and deemed Obamacare to be the law of the land (*snicker* – yes, I’m being bitchy), I knew I had to DO something to protect my family. I had been a stay-at-home mom for the past seven years – the kids were old enough to take care of themselves and it was time to get back to work. But where to work? I could try and use my degree (I graduated from college in 2003 with a Technical Writing degree – more on why I didn’t pursue this later), but what if it took me forever to FIND a local job in that field? Time was of the essence, who knew how Obamacare would screw everything up for us?

Kevin was (is) self-employed. And with me not working, we were paying ASTRONOMICAL fees for family health insurance. And we were looking at even higher fees once Obamacare passed.

What were my options? I could go back to retail, banking or even the restaurant business. I have a lot of experience in all of those fields, but even then, how much would it ultimately cost us for health insurance?

I admit, the main reason I applied at the hospital was because I wanted to thumb my nose at Obama and his stupidity. How ironic would it be to have health insurance through a healthcare facility? Oh sure, I know that Obama will never know, nor care, about my decision to work in healthcare simply because of his God-like complex to ultimately control his minions (again with the bitchy), but I figured, on some level, that it might be the safest option in order to protect my family.

So. I applied and to my utter astonishment, I got the job.

Actually, that’s not true. I applied first to the insurance processing center and made it to my second interview. I sat at a table with four other women, the women I would be ultimately working with, interviewing me and I guess they didn’t like me because I didn’t get the job. I didn’t give up though. There was a scheduler’s position at the neurosurgery center that I went for and got. I was now responsible for scheduling testing for two neurosurgeons.

I was both excited and terrified. I bought my required scrubs (at that time we were wearing a different color every day so it was quite expensive initially) and my first day on the job consisted of all-day training, becoming familiar with the hospital rules and regulations, signing up for benefits, etc. We were allowed to wear business attire for my first two days of training.

There were a handful of us – maybe around 20? I remember feeling VERY THANKFUL because the economy was tanking at that time and I was just grateful to have ANY job, let alone the job I landed. I felt extremely grateful to be there.

That feeling quickly dissipated when I started my first day at the clinic. It was on Wednesday and after my boss took me around the clinic and introduced me, I began to fully appreciate what I had gotten myself into.

I knew nothing, NOTHING, about the medical field. In essence, I had to learn a whole new language. I had to learn new software; I had to learn how to be what they wanted me to be by constantly adjusting and readjusting my expectations and my personality. I was absolutely terrified and I wondered, on more than one occasion, just what the hell I was doing there.

I also came very, very close, to walking out several times. (Even recently).

I was so stressed. Just when I thought I had “gotten it,” something, or someone, would throw me a curve ball and I was left floundering. I suppose I did a good job of hiding my terror because months later, when I had become comfortable with my position and the people I worked with, I told them how I felt when I first started and my co-workers were shocked – they had no idea, they said.

I guess that was something, at least.

I could BS my way through patient interactions. I’m telling you, the most helpful class I took in college was communication. It taught me to understand different personalities and how to get along with those personalities. It taught me patience and how to word things so that people didn’t take offense but at the same time, it allowed me to maintain control over the situation.

I think everyone should be required to take a communications class like that (and I’m talking about the art of communication – studying Aristotle and the likes. It sounds boring, and it was, for the most part, it was also difficult to digest, but once that light bulb went off in my head, I feel like I can pretty much handle any personality now).

What stressed me out the most, and still does on many levels, was interacting with the doctors. As if rubbing elbows with doctors in general is not nerve-wracking enough, I’m rubbing elbows with BRAIN SURGEONS. To become a brain surgeon, you have to be the top 1% – these guys are SCARY SMART. Human, but Einstein smart.

I would feel nauseous anytime I had to speak directly with a doctor. Did I ask my question plainly? Should I have been able to answer my question without going to the doctor? Did I present myself in a professional manner? Will they like me or ask management to get rid of me?

(Hey – that’s actually happened before).

The doctors TERRIFIED me. I drove home, on many, many occasions when I first started working for the hospital, crying because I was so stressed out from trying to learn everything. Thank God I’m a fast learner. I tend to catch on quickly.

Looking back, I’m pretty proud of myself. I stepped into a world I knew little to nothing about and conquered it, somewhat. I’m currently working on educating myself so that I can take a certification test and become a CMA (certified medical assistant) which will lead to a raise and more responsibility. I’m feeling more comfortable in my duties and I’ve been told by both management, and the doctors (EEK!) that I’m doing a good job.

It sort of blows my mind, to be honest.

Oh – one more first to tell you about – the first time I had to take staples out. It was a PLIF (posterior lumbar interbody fusion). The nurse showed me how to use the tool and I got down on my knees, swallowed the bile back down my throat and took those suckers out. It’s actually sort of fun, to be honest. Unless they’ve been in for a while and they’re starting to scab over. Then you have to dig into the flesh a bit and that hurts the patient. I’m still not 100% confident on removing staples, but I just swallow my apprehension, grit my teeth and force myself to do it and appear confident while doing it. (Which is key – my lead nurse told me that patients will never know that you haven’t done something very often, as long as you sound confident while doing it).

I watched a carpal tunnel suture removal the other day. I haven’t done one of those yet. My doctor doesn’t do very many carpal tunnels. That’s pretty cool. You first don a pair of clean gloves, swab the stitches with rubbing alcohol to remove germs/bacteria, then you take your scissors and snip the stitch while pulling it by the knot with the tweezers. I’ve yet to see one long continuous stitch removed – I’ve put the word out if anyone gets one of those to come get me so I can watch how they do it.

So those are some of my firsts. Without sounding like a braggart (too late, I’m sure), I have to admit, this job is one of the things I’m most proud of in my life. I have grabbed this medical monster by the tail and conquered it. Not bad for someone who didn’t go to any sort of medical school. The other girls I started out with? The other schedulers? Didn’t last. They couldn’t hack it and transferred to other departments.

I’m the last scheduler standing.

Work: I Live in Lounge Wear

hello-kitty I bought this scrub top for work – and then actually wore it.

Once.

I felt like a fool and won’t wear it again.

I do that. I get bored. Buy/wear something and then promptly regret it.

(I actually bought four pairs of reading glasses from Coastal.com. Why? Because they’re cheap, for one thing. And two, because they tend to change my look with very little effort on my part).

I mean. I wear scrubs to work every day. Basically, pajamas. Which on one hand – COMFY! On the other hand, they’re dangerous. Because we’re talking elastic waists and polyester, which easily expand to allow for expanding waistlines.

Overall, I LOVE wearing scrubs to work. The biggest reason is because I don’t have to rummage through my closet every day trying to figure out what to wear. My biggest challenge is choosing which color I’m going to wear that day and I only have three colors to choose from: Navy, Black and Pewter.

I HATE dressing up. I HATE trying to color coordinate my clothes then finally picking an outfit only to find out that it’s too tight because I ate one too many cookies the week before. Then I have to rummage further in my closet for an alternative which takes more time, frustrates me even more and makes me long for the days where I could eat what I wanted and not have to worry about adding an extra fleshy roll.

And then, there’s another 15 minutes trying to figure out what accessories to wear.

I spend my days in scrubs and my nights in t-shirts and sweats, or shorts if it’s summer time.

I’m so sexy.

I know Kevin probably gets sick to death of seeing me in lounge wear but honestly, if I’m comfortable, then I’m happy. And since we never go anywhere anyway …

I bought the Hello Kitty scrub top because I’m a child at heart. I’ve always loved Hello Kitty and I don’t know, I thought it was cute. It IS cute. But probably not appropriate attire for a nearly-50-year old woman.

Scrubs are not cheap. I wear cargo-style pants (which are super cute, are somewhat fitted and don’t look like something out of an MC Hammer video) and those suckers cost $30 bucks. Scrub tops are about $20 bucks a piece. I guess they figure you aren’t going to buy scrubs very often so they might as well gouge you while they have the chance.

I work with a gal who is a double zero ….. *pause* …… (just letting you soak that CRAZY fact for a minute). I kid you not, she’s a double zero. She’s TINY. Not just in size but she’s not very tall – I don’t think she’s even five feet tall. I call her my pocket MA … but I digress.

This poor girl has to have her scrubs ALTERED because even the smallest size is too big for her. So, not only does she have to pay about $50 bucks for a pair of scrubs, she in essence has to pay twice in order to get them altered to fit her teeny-tiny frame.

I guess that’s one advantage to being an Amazon – my size is pretty typical and completely average so I never have to worry about that sort of thing. My biggest challenge is finding pants that are long enough. But even that’s not that big of a deal anymore since they have tall sizes.

Since I wear scrubs all day every day, I like to mix things up with different hairstyles, earrings and shoes. My favorite hairstyle at the moment is the hairstyle in my profile pic in the right-hand column. And my favorite shoes at the moment are my uber-cool Sketchers – I blame my mom for this latest obsession. I saw her wearing a similar pair the other day and I HAD TO HAVE A PAIR. I’m currently on a mission to find the same style in blue. And they’re so comfortable! I don’t even feel like I’m wearing shoes, it feels like I’m walking barefoot.

My favorite brand of scrubs are Dickies, though WonderWinks are cute and comfy, too. I used to wear Cherokee, but they are boxy and tend to fit poorly, at least, in my opinion.

I won’t even tell you how much I’ve spent on scrubs in the three years I’ve been working for the hospital – it’s downright embarrassing. I buy everything online, so I’m never quite sure how something is going to fit. But I’m tossing the blame on to the people I work with because of the styles they wear – I had no idea there were so many CUTE scrub styles! Who knew!

Sometimes I miss dressing up for work. Who am I kidding – no I don’t.

Someone’s Trying to Be My Friend

I really don’t want a friend.

I really don’t need a friend.

The nurse I work with is a sweetheart. She truly is.

But … (you knew that was coming) …

She wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s highly emotional and she’s a stress crier. Which means, when things get stressful at work, and they often do because, hey, it’s healthcare, she cries. Which leaves me feeling helpless; I have no idea what to do for her or how to make her feel better. When you first meet her, one would think she’s flighty and a bit dingy. But actually, she’s quite smart and pretty sharp for only being 27.

SHE’S SO YOUNG.

She’s made some, erhm, bad choices in life. I won’t go into details, her story is not my story to tell, but she has a lot of … personal drama. And that’s exactly what I’ve always tried to avoid my entire life – I DON’T DO DRAMA.

But I can’t help getting sucked into her world because we work closely together and I have sort of taken her under my wing because did I mention SHE’S SO YOUNG?!?

I feel like I could be a positive influence in her life – teach her how to become emotionally strong and how to deal with, erhm, less-than-favorable people in her life.

She has two small children. Well, not small-small, but school-aged children. So, she’s a single mother who works damn hard and has to deal with being an every other weekend parent. I can’t imagine how tough that has to be for her. And her family doesn’t even live here, they live in Oklahoma, so she literally has no one she can turn to in town because her family is not here and all of her “friends” sort of disappeared when she divorced.

So even though this girl is 20 years my junior, I sort of committed to being her friend … sort of.

She’s on a mission to better her life and get a nursing/teaching job back in her hometown. That way, she can be close to family, she will be working the same hours her children are on in school, she gets a pretty good deal on housing and she’ll actually end up making a bit more money.

It’s a win-win.

friends-fingers But there are a few tests she has to take, and pass, before that can happen. I’ve been encouraging her to go for it because it would cruel NOT to. I can see how excited she is about the prospect of going home, she’s very close to her family, and honestly, there’s nothing here for her. But I told her that if something dreadful happens and she doesn’t pass her tests, I would be her BFF.

As soon as that offer came out of my mouth, I wanted to slap myself.

I’m a cold fish. I’m not a very good friend. Granted, I’m friendly enough and people seem to like to be around me because I make it a goal to make everyone around me laugh, at least once a day, but after work? I sort of want my time to do what I want to do. I’m selfish with my time. It’s okay, I can admit that because that’s the truth. And the last thing I want to subject myself, or my family to, is dealing with someone whose emotions are so near the surface and whose life is volatile even on the best of days. I’m not sure I have the patience for it, to be perfectly frank.

But if there’s one thing you can count on with me, whenever I make an offer, I stick to it. So if she needs me to be her new BFF until she can direct her life down a path she wants to take, I’ll be there for her.

But I really hope she’s able to pass her tests. For her sake, and for mine.