Work Stuff

Things You Shouldn’t Do When You Visit Your Doctor – Part One

(The things not to do “rules” came from this website. I thought I would run through the most common ones here and offer my thoughts since I work in a doctor’s office).

1. Do not be a passive listener

This means, don’t just simply sit there and nod like a robot. We can tell by your glassy-eyed expression you’re overwhelmed and don’t really understand what we’re saying. This is why I always tell patients that we encourage an “extra pair of eyes and ears” at your appointment because you’re the patient, you’re hurting and stressed out – what is the doctor going to do to me? Having someone there with you will help you retain more of what is being said. That person can write things down and/or will have additional questions that you, Ms. Patient, didn’t think of when you were in the office.

This is your body, your procedure. The more you know, the more you will be able to prepare for whatever is advised. We don’t have it happen very often, but we do have patients that will call us, RIGHT AFTER THEIR APPOINTMENT, and ask, “I’m not sure I understood what the doctor wanted me to do.” It’s very frustrating for the doctor, and the staff and once in a while, it requires another appointment so that the doctor can go over his recommendations – AGAIN. Bring someone with you. Bring your questions with you. Pay attention. Ask questions! And if you have a doctor that doesn’t want to answer your questions, find another doctor. Yes. I’m serious. You should feel comfortable with your doctor and if your personalities are not meshing and/or you are unhappy with your care, request another doctor in the practice or go somewhere else. Again, this doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen.

2. Do not self-diagnose yourself and then try and tell the doctor what to do

Welllll …. yes and no. Let me explain.

You want to take an active interest in your health/body, so researching things on the Internet is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it IS a rabbit hole. There are so many symptoms that can mean so many different things and before long, you’re convinced your dying and completely freaked out. So if you’re going to jump down that rabbit hole, take everything you read with a grain of salt – it’s informative but it doesn’t necessarily mean it applies to YOU.

If you want to tell your doctor that you did a little digging and think this condition might apply to you, by all means, let your doctor know. He/she will give you his/her opinion on that theory but ultimately, you can’t compete with years of education and experience when it comes to a final diagnosis. And if you’re wanting a specific outcome, a certain test, or some medication, again, talk it out with your doctor and again he/she will offer an opinion on that request.

NEVER demand something specific to be done because I’m telling you right now, doctors will not respond in a positive way and you don’t want to risk hurting your relationship with your doctor because “you think it’s best.”

But, at the same time, you DO know your own body. You know what’s normal for you and what is not. So that should be taken into consideration. Just don’t act like you know more than your doctor or the visit will be awkward and unproductive.

3. Do not lie!

I always tell people, this is a no-judgement zone. You have to be honest with your doctor and his staff, otherwise, your doctor won’t have all of the information that he/she needs to diagnose you. Trust me when I say:

  1. We’ve pretty much heard it all and
  2. We don’t care if it’s weird or embarrassing. No really. We don’t.

4. Do not leave things out

Don’t neglect to tell your doctor something because you think it’s not important nor relevant to the situation – let your doctor be the judge of that.

BUT –

At the same time – he doesn’t need to know what happened to you in 1970 – unless it has something specific to do with why you’re there to see him/her.

Oh – and if you’re seeing a specialist, say, a neurosurgeon, who specializes in the brain and spine, do not waste his/her time complaining about an issue he/she doesn’t address. For example, don’t think you can just kill two birds with one stone and use your specialist as a one stop shop – if you have issues outside of the brain and spine, then speak to your family doctor – that’s what he/she does. Family doctors address the general complaints and then refer you to the specialist that can help you with a specific problem. Think of a family doctor as an air traffic controller – they will direct you to the correct doctor after assessing the problem.

5. Do NOT be late!

Doctors’ offices have a late policy – some will cancel your appointment if you’re five minutes late, some will give you 15 minutes to show up and then cancel your appointment. This policy does not exist to piss you off but to keep schedules on track. It’s not fair to make someone who showed up for his/her appointment on time to wait any longer because you couldn’t get your butt to your appointment. If you’re going to be late, then call the office and/or reschedule the appointment.

It’s rude. You have an appointment, arrive when you’re supposed to. And secondly, when you’re late, then it makes patients scheduled after you late, too. And then the whole day is thrown off balance and every one is cranky.

And if you know you can’t make the appointment, please call the office no later than the day before your appointment and let the staff know so they can give your spot to someone on the cancellation list. And yes, we use the cancellation list! It’s just courtesy.

And speaking of wait times – nothing annoys me more when people get pissy about wait times. Look. I get it. Your time is valuable, too. And if it’s going to be a long wait, by all means, reschedule the appointment. But you can not expect to be shown back to your room at EXACTLY the time of your appointment. Most of the time, doctors are behind because they’ve had complicated cases that require more explanation and/or patients are super chatty and have a lot of questions, (which is fine, but it does take time), and/or patients spend a stupid amount of time going over history that your doctor doesn’t care about thereby wasting valuable time. People are complicated. Every case is different and comes with it’s own set of challenges. When you have to wait, there is usually a pretty good reason why – I can promise you, the doctors are not making you wait because it amuses them. They are spending time with their patients and when it’s your turn, they will spend time with you as well. Be patient.

And for the love of God, bring something to do – a book, play a game on your phone, etc. It makes time go by faster.

6. Do NOT be a jerk to the office staff

One – it’s rude – don’t be rude. I can tell you if you’re rude, then the staff has ZERO motivation to help you, let alone go above and beyond.

Two – I can PROMISE you, the doctor will hear about it and if it’s bad enough, or happens often enough, the doctor will fire you as a patient. And yes, the doctor can 100% do that. Doctor’s practices are their own, they have the right to decline to see patients – just because they are doctors does not obligate them to see you.

Doctors are very loyal to their staff. We are a work family – we see each other more than we see our families. And if you’re rude to the staff but nice to the doctor, he will hear about it and if it’s bad enough, he will refuse to treat you.

Yes people, they can and they will. Be a decent human being. It’s fine to be frustrated, we expect that – it’s hard to be nice when you’re hurting. But we know the difference between hurting and just being an asshole.

Don’t be an asshole.

7. Do not show up with stinky body odor – take a shower

I wish I didn’t have to mention this one, but yes, this happens A LOT.

You think doctors want to smell your unwashed body when they examine you? I can tell you, it doesn’t give them a good impression of you. If you can’t be bothered to take a shower and do the bare minimum to take care of your body, how do you expect to convince us you’re going to take care of yourself after surgery?

Not to mention, it makes them want to rush through the exam, or even the consultation, because they can’t stand the smell of you. Take a damn shower.

And for me? I have to go in and not only sanitize the room afterward, (which I do after each patient anyway), but I have to spray the room down with Lysol because the smell lingers.

Not a good impression, folks.

8. Do NOT tell us the medication you’re taking is “a little yellow pill”

Guys. It ASTOUNDS me the number of patients that have NO idea what medications they’re taking. Some don’t know the names, some don’t know why they’re taking a specific medication – sometimes both! You’re putting this substance in your body – its kind of important that you KNOW what it is!!

You should always have a list of medications on your person at all times. You never know when someone needs to know this information, for example: an EMS person may need to see that list when they take you to the hospital via ambulance. It’s very important that you give your doctor, and his staff, what medications you’re taking. This is especially vital when other medications are prescribed as your doctor doesn’t want to prescribe something that could have a potential interaction with a medication you’re already taking.

Take a medication list, or better yet, take the bottles with you to your appointment – especially if you’re seeing a new doctor. Do not rely on your memory and I can promise you, trying to pronounce medications, or spell medications, is a nightmare because there are a lot of medications that sound, and are spelled, very similar. Medications are not a guessing game.

9. Do not bring people to the appointment who monopolize the conversation

Again, it’s encouraged to bring an extra person with you to your appointments. However, that person should not be the one to supply all of the patient’s answer, unless, of course, the patient is not able to verbalize his/her own answers or is a minor.

But. When the person giving the information is not the patient, it’s suspect. Is the patient really feeling this way or is the person supplying the answers just tired of the patient complaining. I’ve never had to ask someone to step out of the room because he/she wouldn’t shut up, but I’ve gotten really close. When a situation like this happens, I will purposefully ignore the person talking and focus all of my attention on the patient often waiting for the patient to answer the question even though the person with the patient already answered it. I’ve pissed some people off with this tactic but ultimately the hint will be taken and the patient will start answering questions.

This happens a lot with married couples. The wife will do all the talking and the husband, who is the patient, will just allow her to answer for him. Or, there are times when the wife tries to answer for the patient and the husband will turn to her and bite her head off.

It’s a bit satisfying, not gonna lie.

I know support people think they’re being helpful when they talk for the patient, but I can assure you, they are not. Allow the patient to tell us what is wrong. The appointment is about them, not about you.

Hush.

10. Do not be a no-show

Not showing up for your appointment is extremely rude. This tells the doctor that the patient doesn’t respect his time. And when you don’t show up for an appointment, again, it throws the schedule off because now we have a doctor twiddling his thumbs. Which is NEVER a good thing.

And I will tell you, if you no-show three appointments, doctors WILL fire you. No-showing appointments takes time away from patients who are desperate to get in and it’s a colossal waste of everyone’s time.

Don’t do it.

That wraps up part one! There is still so much to say, so, part two is coming soon!

Thanks for reading.

Reflections

April 2022 Reflections

(My Reflections posts are more stream-of-consciousness kind of posts so I apologize up front if some of what you read doesn’t make sense. But this is me we’re talking about here so … are you really surprised?)

Apr 1: It was a quiet day at work. Everyone left me alone – BONUS. No one tried to pull a fast one on me being April Fool’s Day. Most likely because they know I don’t like surprises and when I am surprised I tend to get snappy and angry because DON’T SURPRISE ME. I’ve been taking my wireless earbuds into work on Fridays and slipping into my own world listening to music or some podcasts. My current podcast obsessions are:

Morbid: A True Crime podcast
“It’s a lighthearted nightmare in here, weirdos! Morbid is a true crime, creepy history and all things spooky podcast hosted by an autopsy technician and a hairstylist. Join us for a heavy dose of research with a dash of comedy thrown in for flavor.”

It’s a fun podcast hosted by two women who I think are related (?). They have a lot of fun with these stories and often make me smile/laugh. I will say though, sometimes I just want them to get on with it the story because the stories are FASCINATING! Especially the The Dyatlov Pass Incident – episode 3 – HIGHLY recommend. It will have you scratching your head far after you finish the podcast.

Crime Junkie

“If you can never get enough true crime… Congratulations, you’ve found your people.”

I know, they are a bit morbid, (ha! see what I did there?), but they’re fascinating, are great fodder for story ideas and the best part? They’re true! People are weird, ya’ll.

Anyway. I’m enjoying a chance to decompress at work and it makes Fridays go way faster than they do. (Why does time seem to stand still at around 2:00 PM on Fridays??)

Apr 2: I’ve been hooked on Solitaire lately. But not the traditional game, but a variation of it on my home computer. I know it’s because I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and it helps calm down my anxiety and center my brain for a bit. It’s been nice.

Took my quiz today. I’ll work on my assignments later. This class has been pretty easy, so far. But then again, I do a lot of this stuff in my current job so …

I’m dying to ask Branson how his date went but I don’t want to be one of those mothers that breathes down her children’s necks whenever something personal happens to them. I’ll ask eventually, or I’m hoping he just tells me. I’m excited that he has a date, but I’ll be honest, I can’t help but worry about him. Women are trouble, especially women nowadays – let’s face it ladies – there is a lot of indoctrination and crazy beliefs out there right now. But I don’t want our boys to grow old without someone special in their lives so we’ve just been praying that whatever woman they end up with is kind, intelligent, self-sufficient and has a sense of humor.

Is that asking too much? I feel like that might be, actually.

Apr 3: Ready for this class to be over. I’m learning a lot but then again, I’m not really trying all that hard, either. It’s just a back-up plan if this healthcare gig doesn’t work out. And by “work out” I mean, the hospital doesn’t honor my SINCERELY HELD BELIF about annual vaccinations.

Apr 4: I was in a really pissy mood today. Everything and everyone were getting on my last nerve at work today. Nothing bad happened, I just wasn’t in the mood to deal with people today. I had one scoop, ONE SCOOP, of regular coffee in my brew today, (I usually dump three scoops of decaf) and I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest today. I can’t tell you how annoying it is that I can no longer tolerate caffeine. What the hell. I had to take a baby aspirin to calm it down today. And no, I don’t have heart issues, but I am prone to palpitations whenever I drink caffeine, or get this, also eat dark chocolate. I’m assuming, because of the caffeine in dark chocolate. And actually, I don’t even think it’s palpitations, but my chest … vibrates. It’s hard to describe. I check my pulse and my heart is beating fine but my chest vibrates. It’s a very weird feeling. It doesn’t hurt, but it is uncomfortable, mainly because I don’t know what the heck is going on and it freaks me out.

Kevin got a freaking jury duty summons today! AARGH! We’re supposed to go camping at the end of the month. We’re hoping he can get out of it. One of the acceptable excuses is legal guardian and he’s a legal guardian for his special-needs uncle and has documentation to back that up so hopefully …

Apr 5: Worked a different provider’s clinic today. I always get super nervous when I have to do that because I sort of have a reputation for being a good, (decent), MA and I feel like I have to live up to that expectation. This provider, she’s a nurse practitioner who is just starting out and she asked me for some suggestions on how she can run her clinic more efficiently after it was over. She’s not terribly happy with her permanent MA and I went up to help gauge what I thought could use improvement.

I’m flattered that I’m asked for my opinion so much, I’ve been working there for ten years, I know my way around a clinic flow, but it’s exhausting and I just sort of wish people would leave me alone. I know that makes me sound ungrateful, and I’m not but … *sigh*

Apr 7: Sat by myself behind one-way glass today and most people didn’t know where I was, nor bothered me. It was glorious. I got A LOT done and felt relaxed. Though, my blood pressure was high today. I don’t know why some days are like that. I don’t feel particularly stressed. I’m still doing alternate fasting – my window to eat anything is between 1:00 – 6:00 though I’ll be honest, I have gotten lazy and have been consuming way too much sugar. I need to whip myself back into shape.

Kevin’s jury duty excuse was granted! That’s such a huge relief. I really wanted to go camping the end of April and now we can!

Slept with an ice pack on my arm last night. My upper arms have been A.C.H.I.N.G. Again. I have no idea why. Maybe I’m over doing the vitamins? Maybe it’s the flu vaccine? I don’t know. All I know is my body has felt more achy these past few years than in my entire life. Yes. I’m getting older. Yes, some of this comes with age … but I also wonder what else is going on. That’s another reason I’m DONE with vaccines.

Apr 8: Today was weird. Management asked me to sit with a fellow MA who needs some .. um .. fine tuning and I was happy to help. We sat together, we went over some stuff, (which to be honest, the lack of knowledge on her part for the amount of time she’s been with us was a little alarming, not going to lie), and I thought it went well.

And then everyone and their grandma came up to me later to tell me this person was crying and upset. She apparently thought she was in trouble because she had to sit with me so I could go over a few things with her. After she had calmed down, I found her and apologized for making her cry, that I was only trying to help. She said it wasn’t me, that it was management, which to be fair, management is not always diplomatic in their approach, but we ended up hugging, (and you all know I HATE hugs – I have a bubble, remember?) and we’re good.

But here’s the thing – it exhausted me. It’s hard navigating young people nowadays. I feel like they get butt hurt so easily and of course, do NOT know how to emotionally handle constructive criticism. I mean, who does? It’s not easy swallowing a humble pill now and again – trust, I’ve swallowed my own bottle of humble pills in my decades of working life, but wow – her reaction was a bit over the top. I’m not trying to imply she’s a wimp and/or a cry baby, like I said, it’s hard to look someone in the eyes and admit you’re not “all that,” but I feel like it’s a good indication of where we are with our young people today. And that concerns me, quite frankly. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes, but you have to be mature and motivated enough to accept you made a mistake, that you’ll learn from that mistake and try very hard to not make that mistake again.

I know we talk about how young people today can’t emotionally handle anything remotely hard nowadays but I had a front row seat to just how bad it really is.

I’m concerned.

Apr 9: Made reservations for Ozark Outdoors in a few weeks. I love researching campgrounds. I’d like to stay at some state parks but a lot of them don’t come with a sewer option and though it’s not that big of a deal overall, Kevin and I can’t make it through the night without a pee, or two, (or three), so it’s definitely a consideration. We’re tossing some ideas around on how we can get around that, the biggest option, of course, is to get a small gray tank to push under our camper and dump every few days. We’ll see. I haven’t give up yet but for now, we’re sticking to private campgrounds until we can come up with a solution.

Apr 10: Today sucked. I took my week five quiz today for my class and bombed it – 74%. Are you kidding me right now?? WTH?!

Side note: I have two instructors for this class. Apparently, they got to talking and one felt like the other one was too strict in his grading and after talking it over, they re-evaluated the grading system and I ended up getting an 83% after it was all said and done. It was one of those quizzes where the multiple answers could really apply to more than one case scenario, which I can see would be harder to grade but at the same time, grading should be a bit more liberal given the multiple answers. Anyway, I was happy they re-evaluated because it made my grade go up.

I’m ready for this class to be over because it’s tough working on a class after working a full eight hour day – my brain is absolute mush. I see they are offering some extra credit at the end of the class and I fully intend to take advantage of that option to give my grade a boost.

Apr 12: One of the MA’s put her two weeks notice in. I knew she was teetering on the edge so I wasn’t surprised but *sigh* here we go again. Who knows how long it will take to hire someone and guess who they will ask to train this new person. Again, I’m flattered they have so much confidence in me but at the same time – IT’S A LOT OF WORK. Oh well, more overtime.

My garage door spring broke as I was leaving for work. I didn’t know it happened until Kevin text me later. He said it wouldn’t go all the way down. He thinks he can fix it. I can’t tell you the number of times I thank God he’s a fix-it-kind-of-guy. So thankful for him.

Apr 13: Found out by accident I was expected to cover another provider on Thursday. The revised schedule went out and I never really paid attention to it, (I have a bad habit of ignoring emails), because it doesn’t affect me, right? Only, this time it did. My manager didn’t bother to come to me to 1. ask if I could cover this provider, and 2. let me know that she put me on the schedule to cover a provider. Lack of communication drives me nuts. I don’t mind covering but I need to know! One, because it’s common courtesy to at least ASK me and Two, so I can manage my time. If I know my Thursday is going to be focused on a provider other than my normal provider, then I can make sure certain things are done ahead of time because I won’t have time to do it later.

Apr 15: My left shoulder KILLED me today. In fact, the palm of my left hand went numb. I can’t figure out if it’s my shoulder or my neck. And I can’t figure out WHY my shoulders are hurting to begin with. It must be something I’m eating, or maybe I’m taking too many vitamins. I need to research some exercises. Maybe it’s because I sit all day at a desk with my arms on the desk next to my keyboard. Maybe I just need to focus on stretching my arms more, surely holding them in on position for too long is not good for them.

I ended up sitting three different spots at work today. I don’t have a desk. I share a desk with another MA who has clinic on opposite days than me. I have clinics on Mondays/Wednesdays, she has clinic on Tuesdays/Thursdays. But on Fridays, there is no where for me to sit so I just have to sit wherever there’s a spot. Super annoying.

Apr 16: Class is finished! Turned in a bunch of documents – a compilation of the assignments over the past several weeks. It was a lot of work but not really that hard. Looks like the last week is a “dead” week so the instructors can grade our final work and we have a chance to submit an evaluation for the class. I have a few suggestions. 🙂

Apr 17: Easter! I woke up and hit the ground running. I did some last minute house cleaning and made some carrot cupcakes, (that no one ended up eating – oh well) and my parents came over for lunch. We had ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, black-eye peas and rolls. Mom brought over a really yummy broccoli salad, carrot casserole, (SUPER GOOD), and deviled eggs. She also brought over a cookie cake. It was a great lunch and we had some great conversation. Love my family!

Apr 18: Kevin took the trailer for a test drive with the new truck. He said it pulled easier than the Ford 150, but not as easily as it pulled with the Ford 250. That’s fine. I’ll take it. He backed it into the yard so all we have to do is drive it out. Backing that thing stresses me out but we’re getting better working as a team. Can’t wait for the weekend!

Apr 19: Super frustrating day. It was one of those days when you take two steps forward and one step back. The hospital updated it’s mask mandate – if you’re vaccinated and around other vaccinated co-workers you can take it off but you have to put it back on when around patients. If you’re unvaccinated – TOO BAD – you have to continue wearing them all the time.

Bwhahaha – yeah, that’s not happening. I refused to be treated like a second-class citizen. So stupid.

Apr 20: We had a group lunch after clinic today – we brought all the fixings for tacos. It was a nice lunch and it was fun to relax and have some conversation without the stress of patients around. It felt like our old team dynamic again and it was really, really nice. I really do like the people I work closely with – they are good people. I hope I can continue working with them after the Fall. In the meantime, I want to continue making memories together. We need to take more pictures together. I’ve been taking pictures of our group over the years at various times, parties, etc., and turning them into magnets. They are stuck to the white board in our little break room and it’s fun to look back at all the incredible memories we’ve had together. I hope we can make more. We’ll see if the hospital honors my sincerely held beliefs!

Apr 21: I was supposed to be off work today but I opted to go ahead and work it. I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be as far as finishing my work and I didn’t want to leave a lot of unfinished stuff for my coverage while I was on vacation – I think that’s a bit rude. I got a lot done and I actually left at 3:00 PM. It was a nice, easy, catch up day.

I’m burning through my vacation time because who knows what will happen this Fall. Yes, they would pay me for any vacation time I didn’t take if I were to quit but why? Why not take that time off now and enjoy it while I can? I’m done working myself to the bone – it’s time to balance some of this hard work with some time off so I don’t get so burned out and snippy.

Apr 22 – 26 Camping at Ozark Outdoors! I’ll write more about this soon.

Apr 27: Still on vacation but now it’s a staycation. I didn’t really have any plans after we got back from camping so it’s nice to just relax and do what I want when I want. I found out my final grade in my class today: 89.81. I should be getting a certificate in the mail in the next six weeks or so. I also researched some resume templates. I don’t have a resume ready – yet. But it’s definitely on my list of things to do. I think the more prepared I am, the less shocking this will be if/when I have to put my notice in.

I really don’t want to put my notice in. You can read my final thoughts on the class here.

Apr 28: Shopped around for ideas for T for nurse’s week. It’s the second week of May. Otherwise, a pretty lazy, relaxed day of doing nothing. It was great.

Apr 30: Got my stamps from Studio Calico today and I LOVE them. I will definitely be buying more stamps from them in the future. I also put my May bullet journal spreads together. I love working on this bullet journal. It’s so fun and I think the boys will get a kick out of reading them when I kick the bucket.

I also spent a considerable amount of time researching state parks. Wow. The popular ones are already booked for the rest of the season!! Granted, we would be going over the weekend because we can’t really go during the week due to Kevin’s client that demands all of his attention during the week, but still. I really want to go Johnson’s Shut In. My sister-in-law raves about it and the pictures look incredible. It’s also one of the few parks that offers sewer but sewer is only available in a handful of spots so you can imagine, they go fast! So, I bit the bullet and reserved a spot for four days next April – as in 2023! But that will give us something to look forward to and I’m excited to camp there. I just hope it’s not too rainy. I would rather go to popular places in the off season because .. well, it’s just more relaxing without a lot of people around. But you do have to deal with the cold and wet during those times. That’s okay, we’ll make do.

Another nice thing about state parks – they are a lot cheaper than private campgrounds. Like half the price. If you live in Missouri, you can find out more about the state parks here. If you live outside of Missouri, here is a handy link to get you started.

Thanks for reading!

Bullet Journal

Creative Outlet

Yes. I’m still bullet journaling. And I’m not bored, in fact, I’m pretty fired up about this. I’m having a blast! I’ve found my groove and though it still looks like crap when compared to other bullet journalers out there, I’m okay with that. It works for me, I’m enjoying myself and it will be something fun to leave behind for future generations to make fun of. Ha!

I have found spreads that work for me. Nothing much has changed since the last time I wrote about my bullet journal but let me share what works for me.

The beauty of bullet journaling is that it’s customizable. You can do whatever you want, however you want, it all depends on what your wants and needs are.

After experimenting with many different mediums, I’ve determined that what works for me are stamps and stickers.

I was going to make a video on my bullet journal but honestly, I don’t have the fancy equipment to hold my camera above my desk and I can’t be bothered. So photos it is.

This my cover page for May. I’m digging pictures for my cover page. I find these pictures on Unsplash, in case you’re interested. The only spreads I’m really interested in are: steps,

sleep, weather …

books read that month, world news, (because it’s fun to look back on what was going on in this crazy world) …

and journaling. That’s it. I’m more interested in the journal part of bullet journal and I haven’t missed writing down a day yet, (this year). I use the rolling weeklies inspired by the Plant-Base Bride’s YouTube channel and I LOVE this process. I write my weekly to-do list on the side and every day, at the top of the day, I write down my mood and use an emoji stamp to reflect that mood. I tried using a mood tracker for a while but honestly, I have so many moods I didn’t want to limit myself to four moods and I wanted to know what sort of day I was having that caused that mood.

And that’s it. Though I’m going to add some detailed journaling pages at the end of the months that we go on vacation. Yes. I document those trips here on the blog but there are some things that are too private for the Internet.

Sorry.

But the biggest reason I wanted to talk about my bullet journal is because I stumbled onto a YouTube channel that I’m absolutely obsessed with right now. It’s called My Little Journal.

The reason I’m really digging her channel is because she works in nearly all stamps and stickers and she does a bang-up job of putting her spreads together. She never fails to inspire me and I discovered so many cool resources through her channel. For instance, Studio Calico.

I LOVE clear stamps. They work so much better than the traditional wooden stamps – crisp and clear.

I’ve already spent a fortune on stamp kits.

I bought the road trip set, the camping set, the May calendar set, and the June calendar set.

And yes, I have every intention of collecting all of the months, eventually.

And crap, I just noticed they have a new lake set. MUST. HAVE.

Anyway. I’m having a ball using these stamps throughout my journal and it motivates me even more to continue journaling. In fact, I’ve done so well with my journaling that I’m close to finishing this journal and will need a second journal for the second half of the year. I might break down and buy some Archer and Olive journals next year.

Watch this video from Heba and tell me you’re not motivated to try some interesting stamps in your next spread.

Oh, and I’ve already figured out the rest of 2022’s monthly cover pages – here they are, if you’re interested.

If you buy any stamps, let me know where you buy them, or if you would like to share pictures of your spreads, feel free to drop a link in the comment section! I would love to see what you’ve been up to.

And if you haven’t tried journaling, I highly recommend it. You don’t have to get fancy. You don’t have to buy stamps or stickers – you can do whatever you want. But it’s nice to to have a place to purge your innermost thoughts, worries, and triumphs because it frees up space in your head to tackle other life issues. Journaling encourages you to be honest in a private space. You can be real, raw and true to yourself. It’s quite cathartic.

Anyway. I wanted to share this valuable resource in case you needed some creative inspiration.

Happy journaling!

TBR

May To-Be-Read Stack

The class I took really took the wind out of my sails. But now that it’s over, it’s full steam ahead on my reading pile.

Here’s a quick wrap-up from the books I read in April:

1. FIVE STARS: Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover
Story about mistakes and forgiveness. A little far fetched but touching. Cried like a baby at the end.

2. FIVE STARS: Blind Conviction by Michael Stagg
A good courtroom mystery, believable until the bad guy was revealed.

3. FOUR STARS: Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score
Cute but Knox’s hesitation over being with Naomi was stupid and dragged out way too long.

4. FOUR STARS: Unmissing: A Thriller by Minka Kent
Woman kidnapped and imprisoned for ten years comes back to get old life back – great twist.

5. FOUR STARS: Edge of Darkness: A Post-Apcoalyptic EMP Survival Thriller by Kyla Stone
Master of suspense – several story lines at once but not confusing, a lot of tension.

FAVORITE BOOK FOR APRIL:

Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover.

Honestly folks, you can’t go wrong with any of Hoover’s books. She’s pretty good.

_________________________________________________

You can tell which book I’m currently reading by the Goodreads widget in the sidebar.

I’m all about Kindle e-books. I’m a hard core e-book reader. I haven’t read an actual book in quite a long time and I find that when I hold an actual book, it feels large and clunky. I much prefer my Kindle e-reader than an actual book. With that said, I get all of my books from Kindle Unlimited – I rarely, if ever, spend money on a book – it all goes into the $10 dollars a month I pay for Kindle Unlimited.

So, if you’re interested in reading lesser known authors and want to save a ton of money in books, join me!

I rarely read anything lower than a four-star review on Goodreads – I’ve come to trust the reviews of Goodreads readers. I stopped reading for a long time simply because every book I read was stupid, or disappointing and ultimately, a waste of time. (I feel the same with movies – haven’t watched movies, or TV, in about a year). I’ve had great luck sticking to this philosophy and most of the books I read are pretty good.

You can see my book ratings on my Goodreads account.

I have currently read 18 books out of 55.

Moving on, here is my May TBR stack:

  1. Write My Name Across the Sky by Barbara O’Neal
  2. Misjudged: A Legal Thriller (Sam Johnstone Book 1) by James Chandler
  3. The Locked Door by Freida McFadden
  4. The Pawn and The Puppet (The Pawn and The Puppet series Book 1) by Brandi Elise Szeker
  5. Sea Storm: A Thriller (Underwater Investigation Unit Book 3) by Andrew Mayne

Happy Reading!

Work Stuff

Class Dismissed

So, my Legal Secretary class is over. It was actually six weeks of work, the seventh week was sort of a catch up week. They give you the opportunity to re-do assignments (quizzes? Not sure about that part), if you received below 70%. You must make at least 70% in order to pass the class and they give everyone ample opportunity to pass it, which I appreciated because that’s a lot of money to “fail.”

For those just tuning in, I took a class at CLS by Barbri – formerly known as Center for Legal Studies. This is not sponsored post – I’m just telling you where I took the class and my personal experience. Would I recommend it? Meh – the jury is still out on that but I’ll explain.

I took the Legal Secretary class. I’ve always been interested in the legal field and quite frankly, had always intended to go to school and become a Paralegal, but then I snagged the job at the hospital, which was always supposed to be temporary until I could figure out what I wanted to do, only it morphed into permanent and then my job as a scheduler was eliminated and I became a medical assistant by default. No formal training, no schooling, I learned on the job and quite honestly, it’s one of my greatest achievements. Not because the job itself is hard, per se, but because I crammed years of schooling into months of hard, stressful work and I conquered it.

Medical is like learning a new language and living in a whole different culture.

For example: COVID wasn’t that big of a deal outside the medical environment. At least, in my opinion. But you all know how I feel about THAT topic. Which actually, is one of the biggest reasons I even took the class to begin with – it’s my way of building a plan B for this Fall when the hospital will require that I either take a COVID booster, and the flu vaccine.

I’m telling you folks right now, right here, I’m done with forced vaccinations. My body is my temple and I don’t believe it’s necessary to get annual vaccines for diseases that will continue to evolve and mutate into other viruses – it’s an endless game of a dog chasing it’s tail – I choose to make healthy choices and live my life to the best of my ability.

But again, you know how I feel about this topic. I’m getting off track.

I could have taken the paralegal class. And I seriously tossed it around for several weeks, weighing the pros and cons. It’s a lot more expensive than the legal secretary class, which was a big factor, but my biggest con was time.

I’m old. I only have about nine more years before I can safely throw in the towel and collect social security. Do I really want to spend a portion of those nine years learning a whole new industry? The payoff doesn’t seem worth it. If I’m going to invest that much time and money into pursuing a paralegal career I want to get my money’s worth and reap the rewards for several years.

But legal secretary – to me, that was a compromise. I can learn it much faster, the class was not as expensive, and I can get my foot in the door relatively fast. I currently haunt Indeed.com jobs and there are always several legal secretary/assistant job openings.

But I have zero experience in the legal field. Trying to get a job in an industry I know nothing about is nothing new to me – I did it with medical. But I’m also realistic – I need to pad my resume so an employer will even glance my way. Realistically, I needed some knowledge, some baseline, to at least speak the language. The tasks themselves are not hard, more on that in a minute, but I figured earning a certificate would at least make my resume stand out a bit more.

And I’m a planner. Realistically, I know that this Fall, when the hospital starts bullying, erhm, encouraging, vaccinations and I file my religious exemption, they probably won’t approve it. They might approve the COVID booster since they granted my religious exemption last year, but they also approved it with the caveat that it was only for the year, I would have to go through the same process the next year. I’m not worried so much about that one, but the flu vaccination, yeah, they likely won’t approve that because I’ve taken the flu vaccination for the past eight years – why would I suddenly not want to take it now? I see where the hospital is coming from but people’s “sincerely held beliefs” do change and mine CERTAINLY have these past two years, no question.

So, it’s very possible that I will be fired. I’m okay with that. Well, I’m NOT okay with that, but I’m not playing their games anymore so I guess I have to be okay with that. For the record, and I’m stating this again and will continue to state it, I love my job. I love the people I work with. I’m good at my job. I’m comfortable working there and doing the work. I don’t want to leave. But when it comes to my health and my body, no one will take those choices away from me. I have to live with the consequences and I want to try and live a more healthy life so I’m strong and ready for my twilight years.

This is the hill I will die on.

So, where does that leave me? Without a job. So, taking this class and preparing myself for the next chapter of my life is my way of preparing for that very strong possibility. Spending the money on this class was a gamble, an investment really, that we were willing to make because we, me and Kevin, FEEL THAT STRONGLY ABOUT THIS.

I’m getting off track again. I just wanted you, and anyone from work reading this, to fully understand my thoughts and feelings on this. I do not have any animosity, nor hold any grudges against anyone at work. This decision is not based on any one individual, nor even the hospital I work for – it’s about the trajectory of healthcare as an industry. I don’t like where it’s going and I’m not going to play that game anymore.

My body, my rules.

Back to the class.

My textbook was “Legal Secretary Handbook” published by The Center for Legal Studies. You can not buy this handbook on Amazon, I’ve already checked. However, I do believe writing a handbook and offering it for sale on Amazon would be a great idea as there are virtually no options otherwise. If I end up working as a legal secretary, maybe I’LL write such a book.

Side note: I actually took this book to work with me a few times to read during slow times. I carried the book in the same bag I carried my water and coffee containers and I accidentally left the book in the book overnight so when Kevin got up in the middle of the night to take some Tylenol, he unknowingly knocked the bag over and my nearly full water container soaked the book. So now, it’s all crinkly and the pages stick together, but I can still read it. Oops.

Week one: Intro to the legal system and ethics

This section talks about the duties of legal secretaries: reception, sorting through/handling mail and emails, file management, schedule management, accounts management , etc.

It talks about the importance of professionalism and the ethics of being careful what you say to clients as you don’t want to inadvertently give a client legal advice – I’m very familiar with this because the same rules apply in my current job – I’m not a doctor, I don’t play one on TV.

It also talked about the legal process, which is what I really needed to know as again, I have no idea what sort of documents are filed or what the process is from the moment the attorney accepts a client to the closing of a case. It was very interesting.

From beginning the lawsuit, the retainer agreements, the demand letters, the jurisdiction (VERY IMPORTANT component) and how to prepare for trial, this is the stuff I really needed to know. I’m very familiar with receptionist duties, answering the phone, taking messages, etc., I do that every day, but the nitty gritty of the process – that was the part I had no idea about. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert now, but again, I have a baseline and that’s better than nothing.

Week two: Reception duties, correspondence, file management and accounting practices

It covered phones, (no brainer), processing incoming/outgoing mail, composing letters, (for example, did you know that you put a colon after the salutation, not a comma?), demand letters and the various filing management systems that offices use, alphabetical, numeric, barcode, chronological, etc. We actually got to practice listening to voicemails and taking messages. Again, no brainer – I do that every day at my current job.

Week three: Calendar and docketing feels, billing, and accounting practices

This was interesting and an important duty to both the legal secretary and the law firm as a whole.

“Time is the law firm’s stock in trade, and its value cannot be overstated. Good time management produces efficiency and profit while poor time management terminates legal careers.”

This section went over court deadlines, “tickler” systems, (a system that “tickles” the memory, basically, a memo to the attorney to remind him/her that an important deadline is coming up), and how important to-do lists are. It also covered legal fee agreements, billing and timekeeping fees. I learned a lot from this section and I didn’t think I would.

For example: did you know that when a client pays an attorney it goes into a trust fund, not the attorney’s personal account? It’s because that money hasn’t been “earned” yet. Once the money is earned, then it’s transferred from the trust account to the attorney’s account. Interesting.

Week four: Word processing and legal document preparation

This section basically went over the various word processing programs and the various tools you can use to write form letters and other correspondence more quickly. For example: macros, templates, style themes, mail merge.

I also learned about legal document preparation and formatting guidelines. The courts are VERY STRICT on formatting guidelines and not doing it correctly can really mess up the process and delay resolutions. Such as: pleadings, complaints, summons, a demurrer, a cross claim and pretrial motions, to name a few.

Week five: E-discovery, computers in law office

This section covered legal citation formats, which was REALLY interesting to me.

For example: Cashen v. Spamm, 66 N.J. 541, 334 A.2d 8 (1975)

In a nutshell, this tells you all you need to know about a case. Really interesting stuff. To me, at least.

The last part of the week we spent on spreadsheets and creating databases. Admittedly, my biggest weakness. I confess, I asked Kevin to help me with that part because he’s a whiz with spreadsheets – it’s what he works in all day every day – he’s an accountant.

Week six: The practicum

This week, we worked on taking voicemail messages, responding to emails, dictating a letter, (which took me nearly an hour to do – I suck at this but it was still fun), working in a client ledger and “billing” how much time we spent on this class. It wasn’t hard, though it did take some time. Well, the client ledger was hard but I understood it way better with Kevin’s help.

If I land a legal secretary job, I’m going to definitely have to teach myself about getting around Excel.

The class was entirely online. I never had to talk to anyone and for a few weeks, I thought I might have been the only one in class, but when an email went out from my instructor I saw it was addressed to ten of us. There was a Bulletin Board that we posted some assignments to and you had the opportunity to ask questions there, but I never did. Everything seemed pretty straight forward to me. There was an opportunity to email the instructor, but again, I never really had a reason to do so.

It was always encouraged that we do our work in a word processing program, I personally use Open Office because I’m too cheap to pay for Microsoft Word, and then save the document and upload it. So I still have all of my assignments, which is cool if/when I want to go back and look them over again.

Feedback and grading was slow. However, I’m sure my instructor teaches real-live classes so I’m sure he was busy and pushed us online students to the back burner – it wasn’t that big of a deal but it was a bit annoying at times.

It took a while to get my final grade – it’s decent, not bad really, but I could have done better. I confess, I really didn’t put 100% effort into this class – it was pretty easy and I was bit bored though I did learn a lot about the legal field, which is exactly why I took the class to begin with.

The reason I said at the beginning “meh” on whether I would recommend it or not – it all depends on what you want out of the class. For me, it was just to get my feet wet, to get an idea what a law office looks like and what a legal secretary’s duties were. Since I already work in an office, some of the material was a bit redundant and elementary but to someone that has never worked in an office, I think it would be pretty beneficial.

I would recommend CLS by Barbri though. It was super easy to navigate and a pretty smooth process overall. I really like that they partner with universities around the country so that my certificate in particular will arrive from the University of Central Missouri. To me, this adds a level of legitimacy to the certificate so that if/when I apply for jobs and provide this certificate, it’s more credible to a prospective employer.

It also set you up with payments to help pay for the class. We opted for the six month option so it will be paid off by the time I have to submit my exemption request this Fall.

I’m glad it’s over and I’m glad I took the class. I think it will help me pad my resume and hopefully land a job, if/when I get to that stage.

I hope this information was helpful and I encourage all of you out there – don’t be scared to try something different if you’re unhappy with your current job. Research the industry you would like to work in and figure out what you can do to get your foot in that door.

In fact, I ran across this video – it’s called “quiet quitting” – where people just sort of give up on their jobs, do the bare minimum to stay out of trouble but they dread to go to work and hate every minute while there. I had never heard the term before, but it makes sense. I wouldn’t say this applies to me, per se, I’m just preparing to move on because healthcare as whole is trying to take our bodily autonomy away, I love my job, but I can definitely see some of these people in my job and it makes me sad. I know it’s easier said than done – “you don’t like it, get a new job!” but honestly, we spend so much time at work, it consumes so much of our energy, that there HAS to be a happy medium somewhere? Right?

I’m currently dusting off my resume. Actually, I don’t have a resume, I’m currently working on building one. I want everything to be in place for if/when the time comes that the hospital forces my hand. I have to say, thinking ahead, mentally and physically preparing myself for this change months in advance is super helpful. I have more than enough time to prepare and just get used to the idea of making big changes in my life. I hope it doesn’t come down to that, but if it does, then I’ll be prepared.

Thanks for reading!

Glamping

Cargo Trailer Glamping – Trip #3 – Cooper Creek

Cooper Creek is our go-to campground. It’s in Branson, Missouri, and it’s right off an arm of Lake Taneycomo. We like this campground because it’s not widely known, the people who run it are pretty great, and the air coming off the lake is really nice and cool making it an ideal place to hangout in the dead of summer.

It’s also cheap. Compared to most places nowadays.

The campground also has cabins so if/when we can get the boys to come with us, they can stay in the cabin and we’ll stay in our trailer. I’m really excited about this – we can grill food, fish, or in my case, hang out near the water and read, toast marshmallows, watch movies … we used to go camping quite a bit when the boys were little. We started with a pop-up camper and wore that thing out, then graduated to a Hybrid camper shell – the tent beds folded out on either side. It was a cute, comfortable camper but it leaked and waterproofing the canvas was a full-time job and every time it rained, it would stress me out because I didn’t want it to leak on us while we were sleeping.

I’m proud to say that as of now, the trailer has not leaked, not once. Really happy about that.

But it is heavy. We haven’t actually gotten around to weighing it yet, but Kevin thinks it’s likely around 4,000 to 4,500 pounds. So owning a truck that is big and tough enough to handle it has been a challenge.

I took a long weekend off in April and we headed to Cooper Creek. Another reason we like that campground is because it’s so close, only about 45 minutes from our house. So we feel like we’ve gotten away but we’re not far enough away that we couldn’t run home if we needed to.

April 17th started my mini-vacation and I spent the day running errands and getting the trailer ready. I have to admit, I HATE packing. I would much rather unpack and clean up than pack. I think it’s primarily because I’m so focused on making sure we don’t forget anything that I overthink everything. Though I do have a master list and it’s not as much work as it used to be since we keep the majority of our stuff in the trailer, I still have to think about clothes, health and beauty aids, food, entertainment and of course, having enough water on hand for both coffee and drinking. It doesn’t sound like much but it typically takes me about an hour to fully pack and that’s IF I don’t have any interruptions because I have learned that if I get interrupted while packing we inevitably forget something.

Which is not that big of a deal when there’s a Walmart on every corner, but it’s becoming a running joke that we end up going to Walmart at least once every trip so it would be nice to get to the point where we don’t have to go to Walmart.

Thursdays are Kevin’s busiest day. He does payroll for a client and they don’t usually get their information to him until late in the day so we have to plan our vacations around this time period so Kevin can take care of them. It’s annoying and super inconvenient but they pay well and their employees need to be paid so we make it work.

He worked most of Thursday and I ended up picking up some dinner at about 4:30 and we got on the road about 5:00 PM. We got a call from the campground letting us know that we would be checking in after the office closed so they would leave an envelope for us on the office door with the bathroom keys.

We had plenty of daylight left and the day was gorgeous – nary a cloud in the sky. Kevin was driving his Ford 150 and things were going great … until we hit the hills of Branson.

If you’ve never been to Branson Missouri, there is a strip, the main strip, called 76. It’s quite similar to the main strip in Las Vegas – everything is located on that strip. So, traffic is always backed up and if you happen to stop on a hill, well, you sort of hold your breath when it’s time to go again hoping your car doesn’t roll back into the car behind you.

I think you might see where I’m going with this.

We make it to Branson, we’re on the strip and we get stuck at a stoplight, on a hill. The truck starts making some weird noises, like it’s not idling fast enough and wants to die. It also sounds rough, like a diesel engine – Kevin’s truck wasn’t a diesel.

It dies on a steep hill. And we’re towing a 4,500 ton cargo trailer behind us. And the traffic is bumper to bumper.

To say I hyperventilated would be putting it mildly. It absolutely freaked me out. I said a prayer, (or ten), and luckily, the truck started right back up when the light turned green. It would start okay, it just wouldn’t stay running and Kevin had to continually gun it to keep it from dying. I’m happy to report there were no mishaps but it was a nail biter for a bit. We weren’t out of the woods yet. We still had a ways to drive to get to the campground but the traffic wasn’t as heavy and though it was still stressful, I didn’t feel like I was having a heart attack. We made it to the campground in one piece but I no longer trusted the truck to get us from point A to point B. Kevin said it acted like that a few times for him while not towing the trailer and he thinks it gets too hot and starts blahblahblah – I won’t pretend to know what he was talking about – I just knew, we were going to have to get a new truck before I would agree to go camping again. That was too stressful.

It rained pretty much the whole next day but we were prepared for that. Here’s the thing – there is never a great time to go camping. Sure. You could wait until the summer months when it’s less likely to rain but then you have to deal with the heat and the humidity and quite honestly, I’m finding that I prefer to camp in the Spring and Fall when it’s rainy and a little cold – it’s more comfortable for me personally. So, when it rains, it really doesn’t bother me. We just stick around the camper and read, play games or watch a movie. And that’s what we did this go around. Camping is good for Kevin because it FORCES him to slow down – he’s one of those go-go-go personalities and he doesn’t slow down unless he doesn’t have a choice – he doesn’t have a choice when we’re camping and it’s raining. So, he pulled out his PS game thingie and played Ace Combat for a while.

I worked on my homework. Yep – I did homework. You can read about my class here. I’m finished with it now and I’ll write more about that soon.

We ventured out for dinner and ate at the Mexican Kitchen – which is awesome. Kevin says they have the best refried beans he’s ever tasted – they taste smoky. We then got back to the camper and watched “Dallas Buyer’s Club” and “The Princess Bride”, which I confess, I have never watched in it’s entirety. Kevin wanted to watch “Dallas Buyer’s Club” because its mirrors what happened with COVID – the government wouldn’t allow people with AIDS to take alternative medication and the medication that was “approved” was actually making people sicker and killing them. So, Matthew McConaughey’s character took matters into his own hands and started a buyer’s club where people could become a “member” and get the drugs they needed to manage the disease. This is quite similar to what happened with COVID – there were alternative treatments out there but the government demonized the options and the “approved” treatments that people received in the hospital were ineffective and ultimately killed a lot of people. This is our personal opinion but mark my words, it will show this when we look back on this period in the history books.

But I digress.

We went to bed late and we knew there would be more storms but whatever, we’re in a metal box, it’s pretty sturdy, doesn’t leak and we would be fine.

It stormed. Big time.

Our mini-split runs all the time. And though it’s pitch black in the trailer, there are various pinpoints of light coming from electronics, etc. So, there is constant noise, which is good for sleeping, and there is just enough light to see shapes, etc.

So, when the mini-split stopped working, it woke me up. I’m a light sleeper anyway so to be fair, it doesn’t take much to wake me up, but when I woke up, it was pitch black. No pinpoints of light. It was dark and very, very quiet.

What the hell?

The electricity had gone out. I was annoyed more than anything at first but I wasn’t panicking. Sure enough, it came back on, lasted about two minutes, then went out again. This time, Kevin work up. We laid there for a bit and it came back on again. Kevin got up to see what was going on and when he opened the door, the lights went out again. And this time, they stayed off.

The campground is next to the arm of Lake Taneycomo, as I mentioned, but on the other side of the lake, there is a hill. And on top of this hill are houses. So at night, you can see the lights from these houses lining the top of the hill. When the lights went out a third time, Kevin had the door open and he saw the lights on the hill go black. I was a little relieved to know this because at first I thought it was just the campground and I was thinking, how are we going to contact the park owners to let them know the electricity was out? Since the houses on the hill went black, this was a much bigger outage – it wasn’t just us.

But it was spooky. The place was BLACK. You could hardly see anything and since we were camping in the “off season”, there wasn’t that many people in the park to begin with so it felt very isolating and spooky. There was a lot of lightening though so it wasn’t surprising that we lost power. But we got to talking – what if that had been an EMP, (electromagnetic pulse) attack? What would we do? The boys knew where we were but if it was a true EMP attack, our cell phones wouldn’t work, our truck wouldn’t work, (because it’s mostly computerized) and even if it worked, we didn’t have enough gas to get home.

And we had very little food in the trailer. We stopped talking about it because it was scaring us and we went back to bed. I don’t feel like I got much sleep after that but I must have dozed off because the mini-split came back on about 4:00 AM and jerked me awake.

Thank God the power came back on.

But it got us to talking about it over coffee the next morning and it made us realize, you just never know what is going to happen in this crazy world – especially right now with Russia acting unpredictable and putting everyone on edge. It makes you realize how much you take for granted and how much we rely on technology, and the internet, to live our lives every day. What would happen if it all suddenly went away? Not just the physical inconvenience but how would people react? I would like to say we would come together, work together and get through it but let’s be real – it would be hell on earth and I’m picturing a Mad Max world – every man/woman for him/herself.

You better have some weapons nearby – just saying.

Anyway. The next day was gorgeous and it more than made up for an uncomfortable and scary night. I finished my weekly quiz and after that, we walked to the camp office and bought a magnet, (we’re collecting magnets from places we’re camping to put on our fridge), and then we walked about 2.5 miles around Table Rock Dam and worked up an appetite for dinner. We tried to go to Uptown Café, a 50’s-style café, but they had a tour bus and were super busy so we ended up going to Culverts. (Those butter burgers are ‘da bomb). We watched “The Poseidon Adventure” and went to bed.

*Spoiler alert – it was bad – like REALLY bad.

By the way, neither of us watches TV or movies so camping is the only time we really watch movies together. Again, it forces Kevin to slow down. Which he will only do if he doesn’t have a choice.

We overslept the next morning. We got up at 9:00 and had to scramble to get packed up and out by check out time at 11:00. It’s so easy to sleep in the trailer because it’s so dark and with the fan and the mini-split going, it gives just enough background noise that we don’t hear a lot of what’s going on outside.

Kevin’s truck started acting up again as we got closer to home and I spent the majority of the trip home convincing him that he needed to buy a newer, bigger truck. I know trucks are insanely expensive but he’s gone through two trucks in the past three years and it was time to upgrade and buy something that he wouldn’t have to stress over.

I planted the seed, at least.

When we went to meet the boys for Brandon’s birthday, LeRoy saw some trucks at a dealership on the way. He talked Kevin into looking at them a few days later and they just so happened to have a 2018 Dodge Ram Longhorn that just came in. They hadn’t even had a chance to clean it before Kevin looked at it and took it for a test drive. He liked it and it only had 27,000 miles on it – so, virtually brand new. And it was in excellent condition and came with all the bells and whistles – heated seats, a heated steering wheel (!!), a sunroof. Really nice. He text me a picture and I encouraged him to buy it. Yes. It was expensive. No. I won’t tell you how much. But Kevin has worked so hard all of his life, he deserves a fancy truck that he won’t have to stress about fixing any time soon.

He bought it.

And that’s the story of how we came to buy ANOTHER truck. I’m excited to see how it does on our next glamping trip.

Which we just back from and I’ll write about soon.

Thanks for reading.

Get out and live life, folks!

Reflections

March 2022 Reflections

Mar 1: Well. Let’s start this month off with a bang, shall we? I screwed up clinic. Only in that I overloaded the team with too many complicated patients, we got behind and that always makes Dr. M. and H extremely annoyed – they don’t like running behind. I work for one of those rare doctors that actually respects patients’ time and he usually runs on time, in fact, ahead of time, unless something comes up. I felt so stupid. I’m solely in charge of his clinic schedule, T, his nurse, is in charge of his surgery schedule, (she has the harder job, trust me), and he trusts me, meaning, no one really looks a the schedule, they just trust me to fill it. He had a clinic day open up and I got so excited because I had so many patients that wanted to be seen that I didn’t pay attention to the type of appointment, (because that makes a huge difference), that I got carried away. I know better, that’s the thing. I’ve done this before and I told him I wouldn’t do it again and what do I do? I do it again!! AARGH. Anyway, I felt terrible and I emailed him an apology because I could tell he was disappointed in me and I hate when he’s disappointed. Anyway, lesson learned, it sucked and I’ll be more mindful of that in the future. 

Mar 3: So much work drama. It started with me. I KNOW. But hear me out. I just asked if it would be possible, on some Fridays when we don’t have any providers in the office, to leave early sometimes. That’s it. That was the question but you would think I was asking to close the clinic down on Fridays. It blew up. I opened up a can of worms. People liked the idea but now, the nurses are mad because the benefits there were promised weren’t happening yet and it likely wouldn’t happen if the MA’s and medical secretaries were able to leave early sometimes. Which is ridiculous, but that’s how our manager made it sound. I think she likes to pit each of the groups against each other – the nurses, the MA’s and the medical secretaries. I asked the question because one of the things upper management is really big on is making sure we have work/life balance. We’re not working too much, we take time to be with family, etc. Well, My question piggy backed off that idea, right? Anyway. It soon became a “thing” and everyone in the clinic was pissed off and ready to walk out. 

It was just a question, sheesh!

Mar 4: I had the day off. It was great but then I get a call from Dr. S’s nurse – they are getting ready to head out to an outlying clinic and she calls to ask if I know where the clinic keys are. At first, I was like, “uh, no,” but then ….

CRAP! I remembered I had them in my purse!! So. Dr. S’s team sat in the company truck, ready to go, and was literally waiting on me to run the keys up to them. I was in sweats, no makeup, (though wore sunglasses – duh) and drove like a bat out of hell up to the hospital to pass off the keys. Good thing I live close to the hospital. Wow. Another grand mal mistake on my part. 

Mar 5: I’m not prone to depression, but I was depressed today. This past week was rough on me and I just feel stupid. I feel like a lot of people are mad at me and I’m just sick to death of the drama, this job and being tired all the freaking time. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I am just not motivated to do anything. I need a change. I need a long vacation. And I’m tired of my body aching. Perhaps it’s getting older, and I’m sure that’s part of it, but the other part of me can’t help but wonder if it’s because of the flu vaccine I got in October. It took me nearly a year the vaccine before last to finally feel normal and then it was time for another vaccine. This makes me even more determined to make changes this go around. 

Mar 7: Felt much better today. Clinic went off without a hitch and Dr. M was more relaxed and more himself. I feel like the old team is finally starting to find our groove again. COVID nearly broke us and we’re not the same as before the scamdemic, but we’re finding our new normal, I think. 

Got my sign on for my Legal Secretary class. (You can read more about that here). I clicked around, read some syllabi and got a feel for the structure. No one has posted in the forums yet and I’m wondering if I’m the only student. I sort of hope so, but then again, do I want the SOLE attention of the instructor?? No. No, I don’t. Looks like I will submitting an assignment, posting in the Bulletin Board and taking a quiz every week. I’m excited to get started but at the same time, I’m ready for it to be over and I hope I made the right decision taking this class. It’s an investment for whatever happens in October, (that’s when our flu vaccine is due and if the hospital doesn’t accept my religious exemption, which quiet honestly, I don’t think they will, then I will have a backup plan –  hence, this class). 

Mar 8: Worked Emily’s clinic today. She’s a nurse practitioner that works with our surgeons – she triages patients – works them up and if she feels they need to see a surgeon, she will schedule them with one of our nine surgeons. I really like her, she used to be Dr. M’s nurse. I never worked with her when she was a nurse, that was before I started, but she’s smart, kind and very patient and I really enjoy working with her. 

My upper arms are KILLING ME. They’ve been hurting, on and off since I got my flu vaccine but here lately, it’s been brutal. It hurts to lift my arms whenever I brush my hair, wash my hair, etc. I haven’t really done anything about it, I just grit my teeth and get through it, I guess I’m hoping it goes away on its own, but wowsiers, they really hurt. 

Mar 10: One of the new MA’s had a car accident. She was T-boned by a woman who wasn’t paying attention and flew through a four-way stop. She’s okay, but the airbag knocked a few teeth out so she’s in some pain. This is the one who has six children. In addition to her wreck, her son has to be rushed to Urgent Care because he wasn’t breathing very well and they had to admit him. Her grandmother also died and she had to rush home to support her mother. This poor girl … Missouri has not been very kind to her since getting here. It really makes me thankful that my life is calm and drama free in comparison. 

Mar 11: Spring break is next week but my nurse and mid-level area already out. I always dread when they are out because that means I’m the only one left to really deal with any patient issues though anything too medical related I give to my covering nurse, but still, I handle the majority of issues, patient questions, etc. that comes along. T will be taking the first part of the break off, then I’ll take the last part off. Kevin and I are planning on taking a quick camping trip. 

Mar 12: Daylight savings starts! It’s nice to wake up to daylight. It’s so hard to wake up and start your day when it’s pitch black outside. I finished my first homework assignment and quiz and honestly, it was harder than I thought. I had some presumptions when it came to the legal field, I have watched numerous TV shows and read a bunch of legal thrillers so CLEARLY I thought I knew my way around the legal world but alas, I know nothing. 

Is anyone really surprised?

Mar 16: Super busy day at work, which of course, happens on the last day before I’m scheduled to be off. I handled it though. A medical secretary put her two weeks notice in because our manager is terrible and micromanages everyone. This secretary works the closest with our manager, (who is also a nurse for one of the doctors), and she flat out lied about some patient things and the secretary was, and is, over it. This started another whole drama thing at work and everyone is even more pissed off and several are looking for jobs. Upper management has gotten involved though, so we’ll see how this shakes out in the end. 

Dr. M. gave me and the medical secretary Yeti cups one Christmas and I still carry it around every day. I use it for my water. I put my Yeti cup and my coffee cup in a Joann’s craft bag and carry that into work every day and today, I left my legal secretary handbook in my bag, with my nearly full Yeti cup, when I got home from work. I guess Kevin got up in the night and knocked it over, not realizing there was water in it, he was half asleep after all, so by the time I discovered it the next morning, my legal secretary  handbook was completely drenched and soggy. I can still read it, thankfully, but it’s water logged and ruined. I wasn’t that upset about it, accidents happen, but I wonder if that’s a bad omen? Not that I believe in stuff like that, but still …

Mar 17: I was off work today and spent the day cleaning out the camper and packing up. We plan on leaving later this afternoon after Kevin gets done with his work. I honestly HATE packing. I would rather unpack and clean up than pack up. I hate feeling stressed – “do I have everything? What am I forgetting?” I load up my clothes hamper and make several trips out to the camper that way. It works pretty well. Especially since we are keeping a lot of things in the camper and really, the only things I have to pack are clothes and food. Making the bed is probably the most challenging because I have to crawl around to tuck in corners. I ended up getting Wendy’s for dinner and Kevin and I ate before we left. The campground was only about 45 minutes away but eating before we left was definitely the better plan. Will have to remember that in the future. I plan on writing about the trip in more detail soon, so stay tuned!

Mar 20: Clinic went surprisingly well. I always dread the first clinic back after getting back from a (mini) vacay. Everyone seemed to be relaxed and it felt like the old team again. It was nice. 

The whole clinic is very upset and ready to walk out. Upper management has gotten involved and has been telling everyone, “give us a month to make changes.” so, we’ll see. It’s not that A is a bad person, she’s actually a good person, I like her outside of work, but she’s a terrible manager. Primarily because she micromanages and you simply have to give people some freedom to do their work. You have to trust people, at some point, to do their jobs, without breathing down their necks. Management is giving us an opportunity to take charge of our own schedules and low and behold, they are going to allow us to take off early some Fridays, provided we don’t have any providers and our work is done. 

That’s all I was asking. I just wanted the OPPORTUNITY to do that. I feel vindicated, in a way, but also, I feel sort of sorry for A – her boss is now watching her like a hawk.

Mar 22: Grades are starting to come in from our first week of class and quite honestly, I could care less. I just want a passing grade. Remember, my goal is just to pass the damn thing, I’m not looking to be the best in my class. I want enough knowledge that I can get hired if/when the time comes for me to leave medical. 

Mar 24: Super quiet day at work today. I sat by myself, was not bothered much and though I had to cover hospital calls, (calls from the hospital floor), and another doctor because his MA was out on vacation, I got a lot done. I love days like this. I can stick my earbuds in and escape into my own world for a while. It’s nice. 

I had a pretty big anxiety attack that night though. I woke up and my heart was beating a mile a minute and it took forever for me to calm down. I have to really focus on breathing deeply when that happens and it usually goes away after a while. I haven’t had one in a while but with everything going on at work, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I need to work on staying calm and not getting so worked up over things. These past two weeks, I got pretty worked up over all the office drama. It doesn’t help that everyone comes to me with their problems, too. 

Mar 25: Brandon’s birthday was today! He’s 27 years old. Wow. Our BABY is 27!!! How does this happen?? We took him, Blake and LeRoy out for Chinese. It was fantastic. Then we came back home and had cookie cake. The boys stuck around and we played two games of Forbidden Island. HIGHLY recommend. It’s a collaborative game and perfect for six people. Side note: Forbidden Island has two more in the series: Forbidden Desert and Forbidden Sky. I will definitely be buying those, too. 

(Oh my gosh, I just stumbled on to another cooperative game: Pandemic. Yep, buying that one, too).

Brandon also told us he was going on a date tomorrow night!! Our boys, to my knowledge, have not dated – ever. So this was welcome news! I’m nervous for him, though. I hope she’s nice and treats him well. One of my biggest fears is the boys get stuck with a woman who is a leech, an idiot or just downright bitchy. I would rather they be by themselves the rest of their lives than be saddled with someone like that. Yikes. 

Mar 26: Hold on to your wigs, girls. Kevin bought ANOTHER truck. He sold his Ford F150 and bought a pearl white 2018 Ram Longhorn. 

I won’t even talk about the price, but suffice it to say, I encouraged him to do it. Here’s why – the man has gone through three trucks in the past five years. All of his vehicles have been about 200,000 miles so you can imagine, things break down. And it’s not easy to repair these things anymore because they are computerized so it’s not like Kevin has been able to do much about these repairs. Which means, he sinks money into these trucks and they still give him issues. He DESERVES this. The man has worked very hard over the years and he deserves a truck that will last him ten + years. His truck has 27,000 miles on it!! It belonged to an older man who traded it in and ordered himself a newer model. Anyway, there is a big reason why I encouraged him to do this, and I’ll write about that soon, too. 

Mar 28: Got my yearly evaluation at work today. It was glowing and though I was happy to see it, it was embarrassing how much they gushed over me. Of course, let’s keep in mind that management is on thin ice with a lot of people lately so that might have something to do with it, but I kept a copy of it and fully plan on submitting that if/when I start interviewing for jobs this Fall. It will be a perfect recommendation, in my opinion. Anyway, I got a raise, which always a nice thing, too. 

We picked up the truck today. The dealership cleaned it up and it was my first time seeing it. WOW. 

Mar 29: Covered Emily’s clinic today. She asked me for some suggestions after clinic as she’s tired of always working late. Her full-time MA is great, but she’s slow. Changes will need to be made and you know how people are when you propose change – resistant. Once again, I’m flattered that they asked for my opinion/help, but honestly folks, I just want to be left alone, do my job and go home. I don’t want to be pulled into drama and projects. It’s exhausting. 

Mar 30: Governor Parsons “officially” called an end to the pandemic – we’re now in an endemic. We’ve been in an endemic for a year now but whatever. Let’s all move on. We’re still wearing masks at work, I’m still spitting into a test tube every week to check for COVID, but at least the world outside the hospital is getting back to normal. Now, if the airline industry and the cruise industry would settle down, maybe Kevin and I could go on a cruise in the near furture. 

We’re not holding our breath.