June 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?)

June 1: Clinic went well. E. was very thankful for helping her out. I’m really enjoying working her clinic. She’s smart, articulate, gracious, considerate and accessible. She doesn’t see as many patients as the surgeons but it’s enough to keep us busy all day because we’re having to get more information on them than we would in the neurosurgery clinic. We had a really good conversation about where she wants to take the clinic and it was exciting, to me, anyway. I would like to be part of this process. To be part of something bigger, to help mold it into a successful clinic. My gut is telling me I should stay with her. But I don’t know if I can leave Dr. M. and H. I’ve been their MA for nine years – that’s not something you can easily just toss away. But staying with E. in some ways, in a lot of ways, would be easier but more challenging, if that makes sense. I know I’m only supposed to be with E for six(ish) weeks but … I’m torn.

June 2: I don’t know my head from my ass. The MA before me, who is no longer with us because 1. she was terrible and 2. she made some pretty bad choices, left everything in a mess. I can tell that she didn’t really know what she was doing. I’m trying to sort through it all. If I hadn’t tested positive for COVID, (I didn’t have COVID, folks – these tests are bogus), I would have had time to organize and be prepared to help E. out. In addition, there is an aspect to this job that requires secretary permissions – accessing PACS largely, (our imaging software – this is where MRI’s, CT’s, xrays, etc go and where doctors pull up the images to review), and other smaller permissions needed to other bits and bobs in order to get all of the information that E. needs to go over with patients and aid her with diagnoses. And let’s face it – rooming patients, getting that information, easy, I’ve been doing that for nine years. Scheduling testing, easy. I’ve been doing that on and off since starting with this job. But the secretarial part of this process, which is not hard, but time consuming and consists of a lot of moving parts, I’m unfamiliar with. So naturally, I need help with this part. And considering this is only my third day of helping E. out, I’m treading water here. So, I reach out to the secretaries in the neurosurgery clinic for help for example, in how to fill out FMLA paperwork. Again. We had secretaries for that in the neurosurgery clinic – I’ve never done it, I’ve never had to do it because it was someone else’s responsibility. My manager gets wind of my asking for help, even though she has repeatedly told me to ask for help if I need it and for once, I take her up on the offer, (because I don’t ask for help – I’ll figure it out on my own), and she comes storming up to my office and flat out tells me no.

EXCUSE ME?! She said I “needed to figure it out, that this is now my responsibility.” Um .. I’m happy to do the job but I can’t do the job if I’ve never shown how to do it! I was flabbergasted and PISSED OFF. And I wasn’t very nice back to her, I’ll be honest. It was an ugly conversation and one that E. heard every bit of because her desk is behind a wall behind my desk to give her some privacy and I don’t think my manager knew she was back there. E. was pretty pissed as well. We got through the rest of clinic, it was just me and E., but we talked about it later and she talked me off a ledge.

June 3: Today was much calmer. It was just me and E. but we only had a morning clinic so it was manageable. I prepared Dr. M’s clinic and E’s clinic for Monday and returned some phone calls. Luckily, it wasn’t that busy and I was able to get some things done. E. and I had another great conversation and I came to a decision, though let’s be honest, I knew this was going to happen – I told her I would like to stay with her permanently. I really enjoy working with her and I think we can do great things with the clinic. It was a spur of the moment decision, basically I said, “What do you say if we make this situation permanent?” She visibly sighed with relief and that’s that – I’m E’s new MA. I text Dr. M and H and told them and lastly, I told management, who can kiss my butt because I’m OVER them. So. They will post my old MA position for Dr. M. I will continue to prepare his clinics until they find and train someone to take over. I won’t work his clinics, another MA will do that, but at least they won’t have to worry about preparing his clinics – they can literally walk in and start rooming patients. Our assistant director, who is over my manager, came up to talk to me at the end of the day. He apologized on my manager’s behalf – no one should deny anyone help, especially when they ask for it, and told me there would be changes in the near future. Who knows what that means but I no longer care, my first priority is to E and turning her clinic into a well run machine. I really feel like God plopped this opportunity into my lap. I’m feeling very grateful.

June 4: Took Kevin to see my new desk today. I’m actually on a whole new floor, so that’s exciting. He helped me move our fridge around to figure out where we could put it. I’m really looking forward to this new challenge. I just hope I get to stick around and don’t have to leave in the Fall when the flu vaccine mandate rolls around. That’s like a black cloud always following me around. Starting to have some pain in my left lower jaw. It’s probably a tooth problem. I haven’t been to the dentist in years.

June 5: Went up to the middle school and used their track to walk on. It was a beautiful day. I really want to get back into walking again. I passed an old man and he said, “you are a beautiful woman.” Ha! He needs his eye sight checked. Gas is up to $4.29. FJB. If you know what that means, you know.

June 6: Strange day. E’s old MA came over to get some stuff she forgot out of her desk, so that was super awkward since I technically took her place. Then, about 20 minutes later, I don’t know what she said, but it was bad enough that security was called and she was escorted out of the building. It upset E. and we ended up canceling the rest of the day. There is more to this story but I don’t feel right sharing that here, suffice it to say, it was serious and she will never work for the hospital again.

June 7: I’m starting to get a handle on who clinic runs. I still have a lot to learn about E. and her preferences but I’m starting to get organized and I’m finally ahead of the rolling ball always right on my heels. I’ve been working insane hours – twelve hour days just to stay ahead. I’m preparing Dr. M’s clinic as well as E’s clinics, rooming, scheduling, returning phone calls … it’s been nuts. It’s been a challenge and I’m loving the multi-tasking but I don’t want to keep this pace up forever – hopefully, they will get me help soon. My paychecks are AWESOME though.

June 10: Fridays are half clinic days. E. only sees patients in the morning so it gives me a chance to get caught up from the week and prepare for the next week. It’s been rough having clinic every day. We only had clinic twice a week in neurosurgery, (the surgeons are in surgery the rest of the week), so the pace is sort of grueling, wash and repeat kind of thing. Getting an handle on it and the more I get to know E., the more I truly like her.

June 11: Kevin figured out how much it would cost us in gas to drive to Galveston, Texas in August if gas gets up to $5.00 a gallon – $800! Ouch. Hopefully, it won’t get that high but too bad, we’re doing this. FJB and his stupid, asinine policies.

June 12: Really hot today. I made the mistake of going to the middle school and walking and nearly passed out from dehydration. I had to sit under a tree to cool off. So annoying getting older. I used to be able to tolerate hot weather a lot better when I was younger. Sucks.

June 13: Good clinic day. I’m definitely finding my groove. I’m learning I can NOT procrastinate in this clinic – there’s no time to procrastinate because we will have a whole batch of new patients and problems tomorrow. In some ways, this is good for me because I’m a huge procrastinator. Another MA quit today. Our management sucks and it’s really taking a toll on everyone. There’s a lot of drama on my old floor. I’m so glad I’m on a different floor and drama free. God was definitely looking out for me.

June 14: Some asshole scrapped up Blake’s car. I felt so bad for him, he loves that car. People are jerks.

June 15: Another MA bites the dust. The director of the clinic pulled me aside and told me that they simply didn’t have the staff to help me right now so I’m basically on my own. I told him that’s fine but I will be getting a lot of overtime. He told me that was the least of his concerns right now. I’m up for it but let’s hope they find me help soon – maintaining this crazy pace is going to get old FAST.

June 16: Kevin and Brandon talked about moving into the rental house in February. The boys are ready to get out of their apartment. They are sick of noisy neighbors and the parking situation.

June 17: We took off at 12:30 today and headed to Linn Creek up by the Lake of the Ozarks. I felt really nauseous packing up, I have no idea why, but thankfully it subsided by the time we were ready to take off. I’m rarely sick so when I do feel bad, it always sort of takes me by surprise. It’s super hot today – in the 90’s. This might be too uncomfortable to camp in, but we’ll see. We got to the campground and the site they assigned us had little to no shade. The guy that was guiding us to our site felt bad and changed it to a site that had some shade trees. I’m so thankful, that would have been miserable. The KOA site is right off the highway and nestled in the trees so there was very little wind. This might be a mistake.

June 18 – 21: Will write more about this camping trip soon.

June 22: Back to work. E. and I went through her upcoming schedule template to try and figure out how many patients just her and me can comfortably see. That’s another reason I really like E., she thinks ahead like this. Makes life SO much easier when you have someone that thinks ahead. We now have three neurosurgeons that do not have an MA so realistically, this means E’s clinic will likely be the last priority as far as getting anyone to help. I’m up for it, though. And I have to say, I’m DIGGING not having a nurse to run things by. It’s just me and E. And she’s so accessible and available at all times to ask questions – it’s really freeing in a lot of ways. I’m loving it. Booked another camping trip – we’re going to a state park for the first time and it won’t have sewer. That will be a challenge.

June 23: Had some patients no-show their appointments today so the day dragged by. That’s the thing with her schedule – it’s VERY fluid. I find myself having to re-wire my brain as far as expectations and such. But at least I don’t feel as out-of-control anymore. I’m definitely getting into a groove.

June 25: Boys came over for a belated Father’s Day celebration. Kevin made us curly-cue hotdogs on the grill. He’s such a good cook. WAY better than myself. I hate cooking. I hate spending 30 minutes on something that literally takes five minutes to consume. I was hoping they would stay for games, but neither of them were feeling it. We talked more about them moving into the rental house with LeRoy. They seem pretty excited about it though I’m not sure LeRoy is very excited having to share a house he’s had to himself for about six/seven years.

June 26: Super tired and super not motivated today. I think my crazy work schedule is starting to get to me.

June 27: E is worried about me. She doesn’t want me to burn out and quit. The long hours are starting to take a toll but I’m determined to make this work – I want to be indispensable so that they won’t be able to let me go when vaccine exemption time rolls around.

June 28: Had a man with one leg and a body full of tattoos tell me I smelled good today. Um .. yuck. I really do love working with E. I get to schedule patients for appointments and testing and I really missed doing that as a scheduler. I’ll be honest, I don’t really like being an MA. People exhaust me anyway but to have to listen to their painful stories … it’s almost too much for my introverted personality.