August 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?)

August 1: I think I’m finally starting to get a handle on this new (ish) job. It was rough going at first, being thrown into the lion’s den and trying to sort through, organize and then come up with a system to keep track of everything. But I think I’m getting there. I’m not bored with this job, not sure that will ever be a problem since I’m E’s liaison between patients and other co-workers, but I’m definitely becoming more comfortable with the job itself and being around E. She is brainstorming to re-work/organize the clinic with the new girl starting soon. I’m very, VERY grateful she’s so organized and efficient as I think working with someone who is more seat-of-my-pants sort of person would be very hard for me. I’m not OCD, per se, but I definitely work better when there is a process. I bet it’s sort of fun for E to see her clinic expand and grow. She wants to eventually see 14 people per clinic day, which roughly works out to be about 55 to 60 patients per week that all three of us (when the new girl starts) will handle. That’s a lot. But our clinic is set up for the short term – E determines whether the patients we see are surgical or not and if they are, we schedule them with a surgeon, if they are not, then we refer them to non-operative doctors for further treatment options. We do end up seeing quite a few patients at least twice though to discuss how physical therapy or an injection went, so it’s not like a one and done sort of deal. She does a lot of test results, too. Meaning, if I set patients up for an MRI or CT then she will read the results and offer her recommendations and I will then call the patients and go through that with them and carry out E’s recommendations. That means I have a lot of phone work, which I detest, but it’s part of the job. Talking about this with her makes my chest tight because that’s a lot of pressure on me, but I can handle it. Pretty sure I had an anxiety attack today, though. Not fun.

August 2: Felt much better today. According to my Garmin Tracker, my heart rate got down to 61 last night. That might be a new record. In fact, my resting heart rate now stays in the mid-to-low 60’s. This is unusual for me because my resting heart rate rarely got below 75 in the past. What changed? Two things: I’ve gone through the change (menopause) and I do intermittent fasting (IF) every day. Yes. I’m still doing that. I eat between 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM every day. (Though honestly, if I really wanted to amp things up, I could shorten that window but I’m not disciplined enough or motivated enough to do that right now). Every since I started IF I’ve been feeling better and my labs certainly show it. The last time I had labs done, all of my numbers came back where they needed to be – so I must be doing something right. We only have Sarah for one more day before she has to go back to take care of her doctor. I’m going to miss her. She’s phenomenal. I wish we could keep her. The president of our clinic came up today and gave us kudos for jobs well done. She says she’s been hearing good things about our clinic from other doctors and the ER (we get a lot of patients from the ER). That was really good to hear. I think E was very pleased.

August 3: Days are blending together – I frequently forget what day of the week it is. Since we have clinic every day, it’s hard to keep them straight. When I worked with Dr. M., who only had clinic twice a week, (he was in surgery the rest of the week), it was easy to keep track of my days – clinic days and off clinic days. But now that we see patients every day, I struggle to remember what day it is. It’s sort of embarrassing, to be honest. I’m getting a small taste of what it must be like to work in a primary care physician’s office. Though you couldn’t PAY me enough to work in a PCP’s office. (Kudos to those of you that do).

August 4: We had a goodbye lunch with Sarah today. I’m actually going to miss her. I don’t really like a lot of people, but I really liked her. And I like E. She’s pretty great. I’m very blessed to be working with her. We get along so well. Blake rear-ended someone today. It was just a tap, thank God, no one was hurt, but still, I think it woke him up a bit. Unfortunately, it takes things like this to wake people up. Not that he doesn’t take driving seriously, but you take it MORE seriously when something like this happens. It didn’t really do a lot of damage to his car, just scratched it up. But that poor guy – he had someone scratch his car in the apartment parking lot, someone broke in to his car but luckily he didn’t have anything valuable in it so they didn’t take anything and now this. He loves that car, too. I’m just thankful no one was hurt. It doesn’t matter how old your kids get or how long they’ve been driving, they are still your children.

August 5: We bought black out curtains for the trailer. They are way too long but oh well.

August 6: Cut my hair shorter. I had asked for a lighter color last time and all it did was pull out too much red, which I hated, so I asked her to go darker this time. I’m thinking of getting highlights but probably not until next summer. It already costs so much to get my hair done, I shudder to think how much highlights will cost on top of cover my gray and trim cost.  Though my stylist does a good job, I hate how she styles my hair. And she puts all of this product in that does nothing but weigh it down and it feels and looks greasy. I always hate my hair when I leave the stylist. I should just ask her not to dry/style it next time. (Would that be cheaper? Hmm). And I’m too stubborn to wash my hair for a few days after getting it done because I’m afraid I’ll wash some of  the color out, so I look like a drowned rat for a few days. Pretty sure this is the opposite result of what you expect when you go to the salon but … been thinking a lot about the flu vaccine mandate coming up. I’ll be so glad when that issue is resolved however it turns out. (Pst – you can read this to find out how that turned out).

August 7: I woke up upset. I dreamt I couldn’t find my car and I was late to work and crying. I honestly fear getting older and losing my mind. I never want to live like that. I hate my hair but I’m glad it’s shorter. I’m clearly conflicted. I’m thinking of going shorter in November, (when I go to the salon again – I only go every 12 weeks because I’m too cheap to pay more often than that). I’m just thankful I still have hair, I suppose. Dear God I pray I still have my hair and my mind when I get older. It’s all about priorities.

August 8: I have mixed feelings about this job. I love it, but I get lonely. Now that I’m on a different floor than the rest of my co-workers, I get forgotten. And I get it. When I was on the 7th floor I completely forgot about the people on the 9th floor, too. Now, I’m one of those people that are being forgotten. We are kicking ass though, E and I. Our new girl starts next week. But I’m worried. Our patient load has decreased substantially. Our first new patient spot was three weeks out, now it’s tomorrow. I’m not sure what changed. We did have a new doctor start so I suppose that’s a big part of it, but E thinks there is something more going on and she’s looking into it. I’m just worried that our patient load will drop down and management won’t be able to justify the new girl coming in or even keeping our clinic open. I really like what I’m doing up here and I believe in what we’re doing – getting patients to doctors that can help them faster. (What patient can’t relate to feeling frustrated and tossed around from one provider to another). But if we don’t have the volume, then management will have to make some decisions. A lot of people have been leaving healthcare, too. I don’t blame them, healthcare has gotten a really bad wrap these past few years and it’s almost become toxic now. Which is a shame, honestly.

August 10: E brought in an $8 watermelon today. She bought it at a farmer’s market. It was a very good watermelon, but I’m not sure it was $8 great. EIGHT dollars for a watermelon?! No wonder people don’t want to eat healthy, it’s freaking expensive. Reached out to T, my old nurse. She’s loving being a school nurse – I bet the kids love her. I’m SOOO happy for her. Life is too short to be miserable.

August 11: E. is restructuring her clinic cheat sheets. We use these sheets to gather information for the providers. All of the doctors have cheat sheets though they vary from doctor-to-doctor. Now that I’m here, (that makes me sound so important), and the new girl is coming, she’s an LPN and will already have the basics down, E is starting to feel a bit more confident in her staff. So, she wants us to get more information from the patients when we room them so she has more information before going into the room and can focus more on the diagnosis and the plan as opposed to getting the information. It’s an art to communicate with patients. You want to get the information you need without rushing the patient and at the same time keep them on track so that you’re not in the room for 30 minutes. The goal is not to be in the room for more than 10 minutes and even that’s a bit too long. But we have to keep the pace going because there are other patients waiting, not to mention your provider is waiting on you so he/she can do his/her part. That’s why we always seem to be in a hurry when you go to the doctors’ office because we are. The MA’s are responsible for maintaining a flow so that we don’t put the provider behind and make other patients wait longer. That’s why it’s important for patients to answer our questions and not veer off into left field about an issue they are not seeing our provider about. I know patients don’t get that, but hopefully this gives you a bit of a glimpse into the healthcare world.

August 12: Kevin and I did our usual Friday night shopping. Groceries are definitely costing more money thanks to the bumbling idiot in the White House and a Democrat-run Congress that continues to spend money on crap we don’t need and can’t afford.

August 13: Woke up to a sinus headache. I haven’t one of those in a while. It’s likely because the weather is changing. I had to take half of a Sudafed. I can’t handle a whole one, it makes my heart race. I ended up sleeping another hour while waiting for it to kick in so my day got a late start but at least it got rid of the headache. If I don’t get those under control, it makes me nauseous and I throw up. Fun. Kevin asked me if I remember when I got my ears pierced, both times. I know, random question. I don’t remember what we were talking about that prompted that question but no, I don’t remember. At all. I have such a terrible memory, which is another reason I NEED to get back to blogging. But I just don’t dwell on the past, I’m always focused on the future. I need to re-train my brain. We bought locks for our trailer cabinets. I’m always afraid we are going to get to our destination and open the trailer door only to see every cabinet open and all of our stuff broken and on the floor.

August 14: I nearly fainted today. I went up to the middle school to use their track to walk and I got too hot. It was 88 degrees today. And the track is all in the sun – no shade at all. And I’m a dummy and didn’t take any water. About an hour into my walk I started feeling woozy and dizzy and had to sit in the shade for a bit. Any time I start to feel dizzy I freak out. I’m traumatized from my Vertigo episode, I guess. Ever since I’ve gone through the change I can’t tolerate heat like I used to. I don’t feel like I sweat as much as I used to, either. I used to sweat so much I would be SOAKED – like I just stepped out of a shower soaked – when I exercised. I get sweaty, but nothing like I used to. Something else I have to readjust to. Still worth not having a period though.

August 15: Getting nervous. I honestly don’t see how Emily is going to be able to run this clinic without me. (Yes. I have a healthy ego, why do you ask?) Sure. Management can rob Peter to pay Paul, (i.e., ask people from the 7th floor to fill in), but she’s really relying more and more on me and she’s getting to the point where she is expanding the clinic and seeing more patients so I’m feeling pressure to do a good job. If the hospital doesn’t approve my exemption, she’ll have to cut her patient load down again and basically start over. Went to today and saw that the law firm that drew up our living will is urgently hiring. Wouldn’t that be something to work for the lawyer that we used for our living will. My parents used them for their will and they weren’t impressed with the staff, probably because they were short staffed. Which I feel like every industry is short staffed right now because no one wants to work – but that’s a topic for another day. Have to re-start the stupid COVID tests soon. I had four months reprieve because I tested positive for COVID in May, (but didn’t even have a sniffle – suuuure), but now it’s time to pay the piper and start back up. Goody.

August 17: M, the new girl, is bored with her training on the 7th floor. They’ve been showing her how to room a patient and because it’s the same process over and over again, she feels like she has that down. I suggested she hang out with me so I can start teaching her our programs and how to schedule so she’ll be with us tomorrow. I really hope I get to continue scheduling patients. I don’t mind rooming patients but I LOVE to schedule. It reminds me of my old scheduling days. I also love to train people. I know. I’m one of THOSE people.

August 20: The boys hung out with us today. We ate at Culverts then had ice cream afterward. We had some good conversations and it warms my heart to get to know the adult version of our children. They are great people. We are very blessed.

August 21: Went for another walk around the track at the middle school today. I was smarter and actually took water and drank water about halfway through my walk. I like to walk about three miles. I really enjoy walking outside.

August 23: Rachelle, (my nephew’s wife), went into labor. I feel like she was one month overdue as there was some question about her actual due date but I’m sure I’m wrong. That’s a long time to be overdue. She had a mid-wife but she had complications during labor and ended up going to the hospital for a C-section. They had a boy! I’m sure my sister-in-law is thrilled as she has eight granddaughters and one grandson. E told me that if the hospital does not approve my flu vaccine exemption then I could work for her husband – he needs an assistant. I thought that was very sweet! We paid my legal secretary course off today! We’ll see if I actually have to use it. I tell you though, it’s nice to have a plan B, not gonna lie.

August 25: Trying to wrap things up at work so that we can drive to Texas tomorrow. Why is it when you are trying to leave work that’s when you get dumped on? So frustrating. I ended up staying at work until 6:00 PM even though I worked like a fiend today to try and get it done before closing. Oh well. Overtime. E is nervous about me leaving. In fact, she ended up moving a few clinics when I’m out. It’s not that she and M can’t handle it, but M is so new – it’s just too much too soon. I totally get that. I had big plans to go grocery shopping, pack and make the beds up in the trailer when I got off work but all I had energy for was to get shop for food. I’ll have to do the rest of it in the morning before we leave. Darn it.

August 26 – 31: Drove the trailer to Galveston Texas! (I’ll post about that vacation soon-ish – ha!)