Work Stuff

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

(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. You can read part one here).

1. Never Ask Your Doctor to Lie

I know this seems self-explanatory and when would you ask your doctor to lie, but it happens more than you think it does.

The incidents that come to my mind are when patients want to stay off work longer, or not wanting to go back to work at all, or they want the doctor to document that they are sicker than they really are because they need to appear that way in order to qualify for something or get something.

I can ASSURE you, doctors are not willing to forfeit their licenses to help you be dishonest. It’s morally and ethically wrong and they won’t do it. Don’t even ask. And if you ask, you’re risking the possibility the doctor will not see you back.

Yes. Doctors CAN refuse to see you and they can most certainly “fire” you from their practice. Don’t be that person.

2. Never Get Too Many Opinions

A second opinion is fine, in fact, we encourage it and it’s certainly the patient’s right to do so. You want to make sure what the original doctor is telling you is correct and it’s helpful to get a second pair of professional eyes on the situation just to ensure nothing was missed or missed diagnosed. And mayyyybe a third opinion, but you’re pushing it. Anything more than three opinions and you’re running the risk of the doctor not seeing you at all.

When patients seek multiple opinions it doesn’t send a very positive message. Why so many? Do you not trust the doctors you’ve seen so far? Are you just looking for someone to give you the answer you want? It’s not a good look and if doctors find out you’ve seen six other doctors for the same issue, they will refuse to see you at all.

3. Never Drink Coffee Before You’ve Been Shown Back to the Exam Room

Okay, maybe NEVER is a strong word. Of course, bring your coffee with you to your appointment but it’s best NOT to drink it before we have a chance to get your blood pressure because it will absolutely affect your blood pressure, i.e. elevate your blood pressure. It’s not that big of a deal, but it’s better not to do it just so we can get a more accurate blood pressure.

And a quick note about blood pressure in general. There are MANY reasons your blood pressure could be elevated. Pain, of course. Diet, caffeine, your overall physical health, being nervous. Remember, when we get your blood pressure, that number reflects what your blood pressure was IN THAT MOMENT. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s that way all the time. That’s why your general doctor will ask you to keep a log so that they can calculate the average, which will give them a better overall idea on what your blood pressure truly is.

4. Never Forget to Report Over-the-Counter Medications, Vitamins and Supplements

I know. Talking about medications every time you go to a doctor, especially when your doctors are all part of the same medical system, is a pain in the butt. Trust me when I say, we hate going through them with the patients just as much. So please, stop the attitudes, okay?

It’s important to go through medications every visit because quite often, patients have discontinued a medication but it wasn’t removed from the list. So, if a doctor sees you’re on something they will be less likely to prescribe you a refill or something else – it’s important to keep the medication list updated. So when we ask if there have been any changes, you need to tell us so we can ensure those changes are in your chart.

I probably get the most attitude about vitamins, supplements and OTC medications. The doctor needs to know EVERYTHING you’re taking. (And this includes marijuana!). The biggest reason is because supplements can sometimes be contraindicated (which means they negatively interact with another medication) with a prescription medication and we don’t want to inadvertently send you to the ER because of a reaction.

Don’t blow this off. Keep track of what you’re taking and let your doctor know.

5. Never Forget to Ask Questions

Patients have a lot of questions and understandably so. They are trying to make sense about what is happening with their bodies and the more information a patient knows, the better.

And we want to answer their questions. But the clinical staff can only answer so many questions – we’re not the doctors. So. PLEASE write down your questions and bring them with you to your appointment. When you get here, you’re hurting and distracted and 9 times out of 10, people forget to ask something, call the office and then get frustrated when we don’t have an answer for them. Appointments are YOUR reserved time with the doctor to ask him/her your questions. Make the most of that time because trust me when I say, a doctor’s time is VERY valuable.

And side note: Once a doctor leaves the room, he/she is DONE. Appointment over. Patients will remember something they forgot to ask and they will ask the staff to ask the doctor to go back into their room. I can pretty much guarantee you that is not going to happen. You’ll just have to leave your questions with the staff and they will ask the doctor when they can and get back to you.

Sorry. But that’s just the way it is. If a doctor had to backtrack on every patient he/she saw that day, he/she would not only be behind, he/she would never get anything else done. Use your appointment time wisely.

6. Never Save the Most Important Part for Last

Look. You’re there to see the doctor about specific issues, (most likely). Doctors and the staff simply don’t have time to work up to the issue you’re there to see the doctor about. Get to the point. Tell us where it hurts. The quicker we get to the problem, the quicker the doctor can diagnose you and the quicker the staff can carry out his orders and get you on your way.

And please. Don’t give us attitude when we’re asking you questions about your pain. I promise, there is a good reason we’re asking these seemingly benign questions. Believe me when I say, we have much better things to do than stand there and play 20 questions with you to find out what is wrong. Be patient.

7. Never Show Up with Small Children

There is nothing more distracting than trying to talk around, or over, a crying, fussy child. Not to mention, it’s distracting to the doctor and the patient and questions don’t get asked and everything is rushed and inefficient.

It stresses us, the doctor, the patient and other patients out when we have to deal with a screaming child.

Doctors’ offices are incredibly boring to a child. And we have better things to do than to try and distract your child while also doing our job. I know it’s not always possible to leave a child with someone when you have an appointment but if you can avoid it, please make arrangements for someone to watch your children while you’re at the doctor’s office. You will be more relaxed, your doctor can focus and we can work on giving you the best care we’re capable of.

8. Never Say “I Know My Body”

Look. I get it. I’m one of those people that know their bodies, too. And it’s not a bad thing to be in tune with your body so that when something weird happens you notice it.

However …

Doctors have years of education and experience so they know what they’re talking about. Can they get something wrong? Of course, they’re human, but don’t assume you know more than they do because it’s just insulting. That’s why is so important for you to be honest with your doctor about your pain and symptoms so that he/she can accurately diagnose you.

But …

If something feels wrong or off, absolutely tell your doctor about it. Just don’t insult their intelligence when you do so.

Doctors have BIG egos, in case you weren’t aware. 🙂

9. Never Stay on Your Cell Phone when Staff Walks In

People, seriously, I PROMISE you the world will not end if you rip your eyeballs from your phone. Put it down. You will survive without it.

First of all, it’s rude to not put down your phone when people are talking to you in general. But it’s SUPER rude when you can’t look away from your phone to pay attention to medical staff or the doctor. Think of it this way – you’re PAYING for this appointment, don’t you want to get your money’s worth? And if someone calls you while you’re in the exam room with staff or the doctor, let it go to voicemail. We had a lady answer her phone one time while the doctor was with her and he walked out of the room! The lady opened the door and asked if he was going to come back and we told her yes, he would be back but he was with the next patient and she would have to wait on him now. She wasn’t happy but she deserved it. Don’t be that lady!

Another note about cell phones: sometimes we have patients ask if they can call someone that couldn’t make it to the appointment with them and put them on speaker phone so they can hear what the doctor has to say. Doctors are not crazy about this idea, but most of the time they will say yes because they understand people have to work and can’t get away. But ask the medical staff before the doctor goes in so we can give him/her a head’s up on the request before they walk in. They don’t like surprises.

10. Never Try and Get Advice for Someone Who is Not the Patient

It is unethical for the doctor to give out medical advice for anyone other than the patient. Don’t even try and bring it up, I promise you, the doctor will shut it down, fast. If you know someone that needs medical help, that patient needs to make an appointment.

End of discussion.

Work Stuff

A Walk Through My Working Life

(Ignore my hair – I was bored and experimenting).

These are a few work “diaries” I made when I first started my job as an MA. I wish I had kept up with these videos, just to document my journey and struggles, but in some ways, I’m glad I didn’t – they just would have been videos complaining and who wants to hear that.

But these two videos were made at pivotal moments in my “career”, (and that’s in quotations because I still, to this day, don’t think of my job as a career – probably because I’m prepared to walk away at a moment’s notice), so I thought you might find it interesting to watch them. The first one was on September 27, 2011. I had just gotten hired on September 19, 2011 and I had no idea what I was doing. I was grappling to figure what was going on and how I could make sense of it enough for me to jump in and do my part.

I wasn’t trained well. I was trained with blinders one, meaning, I didn’t SEE the big picture. How was my work affecting everyone else’s job. I would literally stare at the computer and the different programs, and all of the options just to try and make sense of it because no one taught WHY we did what we did.

I would go home CRYING because I was so frustrated and felt stupid because I wasn’t “getting” it. But I didn’t give up and I slowly starting figuring out what my role was and what I was supposed to do. And then I started figuring out ways to be more efficient and soon, I was ROCKING it.

But it wasn’t easy and I’m proud of myself for conquering a career I knew NOTHING about. Google was my best friend back in those days and if I came across a term I didn’t understand, I looked it up. I listened to pronunciations through Merriam Webster so that I could correctly say medical terms because I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of patients, or my co-workers.

Because of my training experience, when it came time for me to train new people. I made a point to focus on the WHY we did things. I wanted to make sure the new people coming in saw the big picture so that what we were asking them to do would make more sense. I’ve been told I’m a good trainer, I don’t know about that, but I do know the people I train tend to stick around longer and do better, overall.

I felt confident in what I was doing and I truly loved it. I THRIVE on multi-tasking to this day and scheduling for three, (sometimes more because I was that good – not cocky, just honest),back then required a lot of quick thinking and volleying back and forth between taking care of patients that were in front of me, patients on the phone and internal messages from the clinical team asking me to do various things.


But it was an exhausting pace. There was NEVER a down day, or a slow day – it was a marathon sprint from the moment I clocked on to the moment I clocked off. And everything was on a deadline. I would schedule testing and the clock would start ticking. Would the insurance companies approve the testing in time for the appointment? Patients that called yesterday will start calling back because they haven’t heard back or haven’t gotten an answer yet. In the meantime, I still have to go through my doctors’ upcoming schedules to make sure the patients have completed the tasks that the doctor recommended they complete before they come back. If not, I had to call them and reschedule them because nothing makes a doctor more cranky than to see a patient back that didn’t do what they wanted them to do.

What’s the point?

I got to the comfortable stage. I’VE GOT THIS. I was confident, fast, efficient and people were now coming to me for help. It was awesome.

Fast forward two years and then this happened:

The result of that meeting? My scheduling job ended up being absorbed into an MA position. I had mixed feelings. I was scared, because what do I know about being an MA, I was angry, because I loved being a scheduler, I was nervous, because I had no idea which doctor they would assign me with and let’s face, neurosurgeons are SCARY. Some of them had a reputation of being volatile and hard to please.

My world, the world I struggled to understand, control and then conquer, just imploded.

I’ll make a follow up video soon about my experience entering the world of being a Medical Assistant and what these past NINE years have been like. This is actually a good time to make another video because my working world has just changed again these past few months and now I’m entering a new phase of my working life.

Stay tuned.

NaNoWriMo 2022 - 30 days, Work Stuff

And the Answer Is …

If you haven’t read my “The Line Has Been Drawn” post – go ahead. I’ll wait


To recap: I work in healthcare. It wasn’t my first choice, hell, it was NEVER a conscience choice at all, it was just something I fell into. I won’t rehash my history in healthcare in this post, you can read about my (mis)adventures here, but suffice it to say, I never had aspirations to work in healthcare. I needed a job and at the time, ObamaCare happened and in an effort to protect my family and make sure we all had health insurance, (because my husband is self-employed and health insurance for a family of four was CRAZY expensive), I figured the safest place to work at that time was healthcare.

I started as a scheduler and I loved it! I scheduled for three neurosurgeons, we have nine in our group, and whenever someone saw one of the doctors that I “took care of” needed to check out, they sat at my desk and I scheduled them for whatever the doctor wanted.

Then, about two years into it, the director of neurosciences decided that we needed to combine some jobs and duties and suddenly I was told, “we need you to be an MA or I’m afraid you’ll have to find another job.”

Surprise! I became an MA. I have never had formal training, I haven’t gone to school for this, I learned everything I know now on the job. I did end up passing my certification exam in 2016 and now I’m a certified medical assistant, or CMA for short.

The journey has NOT been easy. It’s like being plopped down into a foreign country and then expected to speak the foreign language and interact with the locals like you’ve been doing it your whole life.

A lot of tears were shed but I not only did it, I EXCELLED. I’m quite proud of myself, to be honest.

Around the time that the scheduler job morphed into a medical assistant job, the hospital starting making the annual flu vaccine mandatory; it had been a choice up to that point. Kevin and I talked and I AGONIZED over what to do as I did NOT want to take the vaccine. It’s not that I’m against vaccines, per se, I’m just against a vaccine that may, or may not, be what is needed for that season’s flu strain. It’s a crap shoot, let’s be honest. Yes, “experts” can make educated guesses but most of the time, they are wrong – so very wrong – and the current flu vaccine is not only not effective, it’s really not necessary.

At least, for healthy people such as myself. I do not have any co-morbidities and I do not take any prescription drugs. I pride myself on seeking the most natural remedies possible for whatever that ails me and if that doesn’t work, then I make different lifestyle choices.

It never made any sense to me to willingly subject myself to be injected with God knows what.

But my choices were limited: get the vaccine or lose my job.

Those are some pretty crappy choices.

But I had a family to protect. The thought of not having any health insurance terrified me. What if something happened? We could potentially be bankrupt because healthcare costs are insanely high.

So, I took one for the team – the team being my family. I got the vaccine. I hated it and I was angry about it, but I did it to protect my family. But I refused to allow anyone in my family to get it, even though the hospital highly encouraged it.

Stupid me. I had no idea filing an exemption at that time was even an option. I didn’t really learn about filing an exemption request for a few years and by then I thought, why would they grant me an exemption now when I’ve allowed myself to be jabbed for the past several years?

I wasn’t happy about it, I didn’t really believe in it, but I did it because I wanted to keep my job and and I felt like I didn’t have much of a choice.

Sound familiar?

Fast forward ten years later to COVID.

I was hesitant from the get-go about the COVID shot. I never truly, seriously entertained the thought of taking an experimental jab and the more I looked into the vaccine and noted all of the inconsistencies, the bribe attempts then the coercion I knew there was no way in HELL I was going to allow them to inject me; I resigned myself to losing my job because my health was WAY, WAY more important than some job.

And I loved my job – I truly liked the people I worked with. I felt confident in my abilities and I knew I was very good at what I did. I would be sad but I knew there was no way I was going to agree to this madness.

But I was encouraged to file a religious exemption. And was denied. And then, a co-worker, who felt the same way as me and was in the same boat as myself, filed an appeal and she was approved.

So, I did the same and to my UTTER surprise, my appeal was granted. I did not have to get the COVID injection but I had to agree to take a COVID test weekly. (Which was recently canceled – I don’t have to test weekly anymore! Woohoo!)

I got to keep my job but I was made to feel like a low-class citizen and often singled out because I was one of the “unvaccinated” people.

It sucked. But I got to keep my job so I endured it.

I was so relieved that the hospital approved my religious exemption for the COVID vaccine that I went ahead and got the annual flu vaccine. I didn’t want to but I was afraid to rock the boat so I stuck my arm out and got the damn thing.

And then two weeks later, I experienced Vertigo that lasted about four days. It was hell. It was so bad that I went to the ER. You can read about that here. Though the ER doctor said nothing about this being a possible side effect from the flu vaccine, Kevin and I were convinced that it most definitely had something to do with it.

And that was the point where I knew I would never take another flu vaccine again. I should have fought it from the very beginning and just got another job, but I didn’t and now I felt stuck. I’ve been living with a black cloud over my head for the past year dreading October when it would be time to get the annual flu vaccine again.

I even went so far as to take an online class and earned my Legal Secretary Certificate as a plan B in case I wasn’t successful in my exemption request. If I lost my healthcare job, fine, I would find a job in legal – I’ve always wanted to be a paralegal anyway.

I polished up my resume. I bought a nice blazer at Goodwill to wear for my interview outfit. I was ready for whatever happened.

I submitted my religious exemption request on September 9, 2022. The deadline to submit the request was the end of September and the deadline to get the flu vaccine was October 31st. I wanted to get this process over with. Give me an answer. I’ve been waiting and dreading this for 12 months – I didn’t even care that much anymore, I just wanted an answer so that I could move on with my life.

Weeks went by – no answer. I emailed human resources at the end of September to make sure they had received my exemption requests, (I actually submitted both a religious and medical exemption request because, why not?), I wanted to make sure they had received my exemption requests before the deadline to submit them. I knew they had to have them, I hand-delivered them to Employee Health but I wanted to cover all my bases.

September ended and October started. Still no word.

Mid-October arrived – still no word.

Okay now I’m getting pissed. Stop dragging it out, first of all, and secondly, it’s rude. If you’re going to deny it, I’d like some time to submit an appeal. Not to mention the people I work deserve an answer, too. We can’t expand the department until we know if I’m staying or leaving. Everyone was waiting with bated breath.

My manager kept asking me if I heard anything and he finally contacted HR to ask about it. “It’s still out for review,” he was told.

Finally, HR called me on my work phone. They wanted to let me know that my medical exemption had been denied but that my religious request was still pending.

I wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t expecting them to seriously consider the medical exemption as there was no proof that the flu vaccine from last year prompted my Vertigo but again, I thought I would give it a try.

Another few weeks go by .. nothing. The deadline to submit my resignation comes and goes – still no word. Since the deadline to get the vaccine is October 31st, the deadline to turn in your two weeks was October 17th. I talked to my manager and he advised me to hold off on submitting my resignation as he talked to them and he was “confident” they would approve it.

(Which tells me that he, and E. the provider I work full-time for now, appealed my case to the hospital. Which is very humbling that they went to bat for me).

So. I didn’t turn my notice in and my manager assured me that if they denied my request they couldn’t penalize me for not turning in my resignation late because it wasn’t my fault they hadn’t notified me in time.

I was beyond caring at this point. Just make a decision already! OH. MY. LORD.

The last week of October starts and still no word.

Finally. FINALLY, October 27th rolls around and I finally get an email from HR. It’s not a denial but they want to know why, now, when I’ve gotten the flu vaccine in years past, I refused to get it this year. What had changed? And the deadline to respond to this request for more information was October 28th – THE NEXT DAY.

Because of course.

But it was a fair question. And one I was prepared for.

Luckily, we didn’t have clinic that day so I was free to really focus and concentrate on my response. Kevin offered his two cents and after a few hours of drafting, this is what I came up with:


My visit to the ER shortly after being injected with the flu vaccine in October 2021 forced me to take a long, hard look at my mortality, beliefs and convictions. Though there is no way to prove this incident was directly caused by the vaccine, it prompted me to seek religious counsel and prayer to seek guidance. I have evolved and spiritually matured over the past year resulting in a stronger religious conviction regarding my body’s natural immunity and I do not wish to interfere with this gift from God. My relationship with God has strengthened over this past year motivating me to make substantial changes in my day-to-day life and practices. As the physical world changes and our bodies age we make adjustments to accommodate those changes. The same can be said and applied to spiritual and religious beliefs.   

I do not prescribe to any medications and I consistently seek natural remedies for any ailments.  God created our bodies and I trust in His creation and design and trust my body to heal and protect on its own.   

It is my sincerely held religious belief that the Holy Scriptures exhort us to make wise decisions and by making wise decisions it will keep us healthy and add years to our life.   


Proverbs 3:1-2, 8 My son, do not forget my instruction and let your heart guard my commandments, for they will add to you length of days, years of life, and peace … this will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.   

Proverbs 4:5-10 Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget and do not turn away from the words of  my mouth. Do not abandon her and she will watch over you, love her and she will guard you. Wisdom is the principal thing, so get wisdom; and with all your purchases, purchase understanding. Exalt her and she will lift you up; she will honor you because you embrace her. She will place on your head a wreath of grace; she will present to you a beautiful crown. Listen, my son, and receive my words, and the years of your life will be many.   

My deeply held religious belief is that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Before we show love to others, we must love ourselves. Loving ourselves includes taking care of our health and not taking unnecessary risks with our health.   


Mark 12:31 Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.   

I cannot, in good conscience, and in accord with my sincerely held religious faith, take any influenza vaccine. In addition, any coerced medical treatment goes against my religious faith and the right of conscience to control one’s own medical treatment, free of coercion or force. Please provide a reasonable accommodation to my belief as I wish to continue to be a good employee and a valuable member of the team.  

Thank you for your consideration.  


I received an email response shortly after submitting this and was told I would hear back from them by the end of the business day. That was at 3:30 PM.

This was it, the moment of truth. All of my worry and fretting this past year led to this moment – it was time to sink or swim. I would either have a job on November 1st or I would be submitting my resume on November 1st. Which would it be? Which road would I travel?

I stayed until 5:00 PM.


I went home with mixed feelings: apprehension, nervousness, agitation and annoyance at yet another delay.


I have to walk by Human Resources on my way out of the hospital to get to the parking garage. When I passed the office the lights were out and the office was locked. I gave up hope getting an answer that night.

Once again, I felt like I was being jacked around.

I get home, get changed, pull up my work email on my home computer and text my co-worker who wanted to know if I heard anything.

I fixed myself an egg sandwich and as I’m sitting back down at my desk, I noticed I have an email.

Here we go, the moment of truth. The moment I would find out if I would continue my career with healthcare of if I would be forced to start over in another industry.

I closed my eyes, said a quick prayer, and opened the email.

I quickly scanned the email … and the word granted caught my eye.

My breath caught and I forced myself to slow down and read it from the beginning.


Dear Karen,

We are writing today in response to your request for exemption from _______ universal influenza employee vaccination program.

Your request for exemption has been granted. Please note _______ may require individuals to reapply for exemption based on changes to the influenza vaccination policy.  

Now that your exemption request has been approved, we will provide an accommodation in light of this exemption. Accommodations are determined on an individual basis and depend on several factors including the essential functions of a job, interaction with high-risk patient populations, and ability to work under varying levels of supervision.

In all accommodations, employees will be required to mask when on _______ property. Additional accommodations may include a change in work settings; possible work restrictions; and being moved to an alternative role if working with high-risk patients. 

_______reserves the right to take any necessary and appropriate steps, including but not limited to, imposing alternative influenza prevention measures and accommodations, to ensure that individuals do not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others in the workplace.


And there you have it. All of the worry, doubts, fear, and uncertainties of this past year resolved in one small email response.

I have mixed feelings. For one, I’m honestly surprised they granted my request. I know they have denied others in the same boat as myself. Perhaps they knew I wasn’t bluffing since I have submitted my resignation in the past. Obviously, I’m relieved. This is the EASIEST way out – I don’t have to apply, interview, learn something different and deal with new people, but on the other hand, I’m sick of walking on eggshells with this job. I’m tired of agencies trying to decide what’s best for ME and MY body. I’m tired of jumping through hoops to maintain my position. I almost wish they would have denied it just so I don’t have to worry about dealing with this issue at some point in time because let’s be real, this issue will likely come up again, if not every year – do I really WANT to deal with the headache?

Only time will tell.

So. The vaccine saga is over for now.

But I will continue to have a backup plan, just in case.

Thanks for reading.

Work Stuff

The Line Has Been Drawn – Now What?

Hello – it’s been six weeks since my last blog post.


Summer is over.


It’s September 3, 2022.

Blink. Blink.

How does this happen!? The summer of 2022 is OVER. I’m afraid to blink any more because every time I do, more time passes. Not just a day or two, not even a week, but MONTHS. It alarms me how fast time goes. Truly alarms me. It may not seem like that big of a deal to you guys, but when you’re older, it’s a big deal.

Side note: I watched this video about keeping a journal, (yes, I’m still keeping up with my bullet journal – I’ve written in it every day this year), and in this video, he talks about a number he writes in large numbers inside the front cover. This number he writes in his journal represents the number of days he has left to live. Assuming he lives until he’s 90. Which most of us do not.

Yes. This is a bit morbid, but honestly, we are all going to die so we might as well face our mortality now and appreciate this life that God breathed into us.

How did I get this number? Assuming you live until 90 – 90 X 365 days = 32, 850 days. Again, assuming you live until 90. Take your age, times it by 365 – that’s the number of days you have lived so far. Now, take that number and subtract it from 32,850 and that’s the number of days you have left to live.

Again, assuming you live until 90.

Not a precise science, but it gives you a ball park figure and again, it’s meant as a prompt, a reminder, that life is short, so enjoy it.

My current number? 20,805 days lived. That means, if I live until I’m 90, I only have 12,045 days left.

Sobering, isn’t it.

Anyway. My point is – time goes by WAY too fast and 2022 is already half over. So, what has been going on in my world? I’m glad you asked.

As I’ve hinted in other blog posts, whenever I disappear for a time from my blog, this usually means one of two things: 1. I’m in one of my lazy funks or 2. something big has happened to rock my world and I’m adjusting to the changes.

In this case, it’s option #2.

Actually, when I go back and re-read some of my older posts, I DIDN’T drop a hint – interesting. Anyway, I have a new job.

Sort of.

And I’m not sure how much longer I will have it.

Let me give you the cliff notes version.

Back in May, when I tested “positive” for COVID, (*snort* I didn’t have COVID – I was completely asymptomatic, not even a sniffle, and yes, I realize that some people are completely asymptomatic, but I really think it was more likely that I had a false positive because the tests are flawed at best, deceiving at worst), and I was forced to be off work for five days because SCIENCE, *eye roll*, I came back and started a new job. I was thrown in with little to no warning and I was forced to swim my heart out and figure it out.

This didn’t happen against my will, I volunteered for the change, but I had planned on using those days I was out with “COVID” to prepare for the transition. Which didn’t happen.

So what did happen. For those of you just tuning in, (HI), I’m a medical assistant. I work in Neurosurgery and I’ve worked for the same surgeon for the past 8 years as his medical assistant. I was quite happy with him and the team members. QUITE happy. We all got along, we’ve had a lot of fun times together, (multiple lunches outside of work, Christmas parties at my doctor’s house, we even did an Escape room together), and we dubbed ourselves the “dream team.” You don’t have five people in a group that all get along and like each other very often and we had fun working together.

However. With every sweet situation there tends to be one fly in the ointment and that fly in our case was management. We had a manager that liked to micro-manage and make everyone’s lives miserable and our nurse had had enough of the crap and started looking for a new job. Well, she’s awesome and as expected, she found a new job – she’s a school nurse and so far, she is LOVING it. Which I’m really happy about, to be honest. It sounds like an amazing gig.

So. I knew she had one foot out the door. In the meantime, our Spine Care Clinic (SCC), which is a new clinic that our neurosurgeons/management created in order to triage patients to see if they need to see neurosurgery, was struggling. (By the way, just because you have back pain doesn’t mean you need to see a surgeon. Have you tried physical therapy? Injections? Do you have an MRI? These are the kinds of things the Spine Care Clinic prescribes and if, after all of that, our nurse practitioner feels like you need to see surgery, we will THEN make a referral for you to see a surgeon about your back/neck pain).

The SCC was struggling primarily because of staffing issues. A lot of businesses are short staffed right now and healthcare is no exception. And the staffing that was available wasn’t doing a very good job, (in fact, she was dropping the ball so badly our nurse practitioner was ready to throw in the towel), so they needed someone strong, someone with experience, to help out and get it under control because no one wanted to see it fail.

Cue – me.

Management asked if I would help the SCC out, get them up and running, iron some things out, for about five or six weeks until they could fill the spot with someone more permanent. Dr. M., the doctor I’ve worked with for the past eight years, was fully on board with the idea because again, everyone wanted to see it succeed and they thought my experience would help. I was a little hurt that Dr. M. didn’t act a little more sad to lose me, but it was temporary, right?

Well …

I started working with the nurse practitioner, E, and let me tell you, we hit it off immediately. (We could actually be friends outside of work and I NEVER say that). I actually knew who E was before working with her because she used to be Dr. M’s nurse before she went to nurse practitioner school but I didn’t KNOW her. Other than saying “hi”, I had never really spoken to her.

After about a week of working together, getting to know her and getting an idea of how screwed up the clinic was, (it was bad), and working loads of overtime to get it up and running, then listening to the struggles E had to endure while working with the mediocre employee, (who ended up being escorted out of the hospital for inappropriate comments – that’s all I’ll say about that), I knew I had to make it a permanent gig. So, I asked E if she wanted to me to stay and work with her? She said yes and it was a done deal. I didn’t even talk to management about it beforehand – we just made the decision.

I text Dr. M and H, his physician’s assistant, and told them the news. I don’t think they were surprised, maybe a little disappointed. At least, I would like to think they were.

It wasn’t an easy decision to leave Dr. M., I was, still am, very loyal to him, but E CLEARLY needed me. And like I said, we work really well together and since my nurse was leaving to be a school nurse, that meant I would have to “break” in a new nurse and quite frankly, I didn’t want to do that because what if the new girl was crap – I’ve already dealt with a crappy nurse and I didn’t want to take the chance of going through that again. So, deciding to be E’s permanent medical assistant wasn’t that hard of a decision, to be honest.

So it’s been me and E all summer long. AND I LOVE IT. The clinic includes me, E. and one other MA who helps out. This other MA rooms patients, then E sees them, then she brings me her plan and I schedule the patient for what he/she needs and then I walk the patient out. I keep track of testing that has been ordered so that when it’s completed, E. will review it and I call the patients to give them the results. I return phone calls and work ahead to make sure we have images, if the patient had images before at some other facility. We see, on average, about 10 patients everyday, Friday we see five patients. It doesn’t sound like a lot but when it’s consistently just the two of you going through this every day together, every week for months, it’s a lot and I stay quite busy. In fact, I’ve worked no less than 45 to 48 hours every week this entire summer.

But we’re in a good place, I LOVE what I do, (largely because E is great and we’re so much alike, but also, the job reminds me of my old scheduling days and I miss those days), and we’ve gotten to a point where we have established a routine that works for both of us. We even hired a new person to be with us and she’s currently in training. And the best part? I LIKE her. The future is looking bright. I’m excited about getting this clinic off the ground and E has so much confidence in both me and M, (the new girl), that she’s expanded her clinic template and we’ll start seeing around 13 patients every day starting 9-19-22. I’m excited to go to work again and I don’t have to deal with the stress and drama from the neurosurgery clinic. (The neurosurgery clinic is on the 7th floor, SCC is on the 9th floor).

The future is looking good. God is good. He took care of me because He knew how stressed out and burned out I was in neurosurgery.

We just got back from vacation, (more on that .. some day – no promises on time frame), and I checked my work emails so that I didn’t walk in next week with 50 emails to wade through.

And IT came. I’ve been dreading this for an entire year. I’ve been mentally preparing for this time even going so far as to earning an online certificate in another industry in case I had to change jobs.

It’s time for the annual flu vaccination. We have until 10-31-22 to get the flu shot or get out.

Here we go. Either crap or get off the toilet.

I’ve been researching religious exemptions for a few days now and I have a pretty good idea how I’m going to approach this. In addition to a religious exemption I will be filing a medical exemption as well. Why you ask? Because I had a WICKED bout of Vertigo about two weeks after my last flu vaccination that landed me in the ER, in a different city, when I was working an outlying clinic with Dr. M, who witnessed the whole thing. You can read more about that here.

Why the exemptions? Because there is NO WAY IN HELL I’m getting any sort of injection right now. I don’t trust the government, the drug companies or any narrative that it’s “good” for me, not after the whole COVID disaster. I’ve been reading articles on mRNA and how scientists are looking into incorporating this new technology into future vaccines because of how fast and easy it is to develop blahblahblah – I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of this new technology and I’m not saying this won’t be a good thing eventually, but maybe after testing it for another decade or so, we’ll talk.

It’s not going to happen right now, thank you very much.

My health is way too important for a JOB.

I’m not worried about a COVID booster being mandatory. There has been so much negative publicity about the (in)effectiveness of the jab and the side effects of the jab and so many people have finally woken up to the scam I don’t think they could successfully sell it again. And I did get a religious exemption for the COVID jab. Which is THE reason I’m still in healthcare at all.

But the flu vaccination is a different monster to slay. I’ve gotten the flu vaccinations in the past. I’ve never liked them, I don’t really even believe in them, quite frankly, but I was like, meh, whatever. I wasn’t worried about them in the past. And who’s to say that they didn’t do something nefarious with the vaccinations I’ve taken in the past, who knows what sort of poisons I have had injected the past. But now, HARD PASS. I simply don’t trust in the “science” anymore. Sorry. But that trust has been broken. Think what you will, I’ll think what I will. And I will be exercising my free will in this decision.

My body, my choice. Right?

I don’t even like taking Tylenol for anything, why would I chose to continue injecting God knows what into my body??

Anyway. I will print off the exemption forms when I get back to work on Tuesday. I can’t access the company Intranet at home. I will submit the forms, along with my reasons and ER medical records from my vertigo and I fully expect them to deny them. Then I will appeal them with a little more information and … we’ll see what happens at that point. If they deny my appeal, then I will be looking for another job – I have until 10-31-22 to find something. And when I find something, I will be turning in my resignation.

I would like to stay. I want to stay. ESPECIALLY now. I truly love what I do and I’m very good at what I do. But I feel VERY STRONGLY about this and I simply can not continue to give in to something I fundamentally don’t trust, nor believe in.

This is my line in the sand. I will simply NOT stand by and allow anyone to dictate what I put into my body. ESPECIALLY when I don’t feel it’s necessary nor good for me.

The countdown has begun. Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading.

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.


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.


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.

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 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!

At the Moment, Work Stuff

Taking an Online Class

I’m taking a class.

I haven’t been in school since I graduated from college in 2003 with my Bachelor’s in Technical Writing – which I’ve done nothing with, by the way, because I discovered, early on, that the field of Technical Writing is incredibly dull and dry and I couldn’t envision myself doing it for eight hours a day for the rest of my life.

No offense to anyone who is in the Technical Writing field.

The reason I settled on a Technical Writing degree is because I really wanted to study writing and I knew that getting a Creative Writing degree, though cool, wouldn’t be lucrative unless I happened to get lucky and become another Brandon Sanderson, so I thought a Technical Writing degree would be the more “responsible” thing to do.

Creative writing is my minor, by the way.

Anyway, all of this to say, I haven’t taken a class since the early 2000’s.

So why now?

Because of COVID.

For those that don’t know, I work in the medical field. I’m a medical assistant and work in neurosurgery. I’ve been doing this for the past ten years (!!) and I have quite enjoyed it. I’ve learned a lot, I really enjoy what I do and the people I work with and I’m proud to say, I’ve mastered it – I’m quite good at what I do. And I fully intended to spend the rest of my working days doing this job.

But then COVID happened. As you can imagine, my life was turned upside down. I mean, I don’t have to tell you that, you lived it too. I’m sure your life was equally thrown off kilter – it affected everyone.

But it especially impacted those in the medical field.

I feel like my team is just NOW starting to get back to normal after all of the turmoil and I’m grateful for it. I don’t want to go back to those awkward days of tiptoeing around each other and walking on eggshells every time the subject was brought up. I mean, we still do that now, but it’s not as bad as it was in the beginning. And the primary reason it really even became an issue is because I was (am) the only one on my team who chose not to get vaccinated. I won’t rehash all of that nightmare, you’re free to read through my thoughts and experiences here, but suffice it to say, it completely changed my working outlook.

I no longer trust healthcare. Not the people I work with, and definitely not the doctors I work with, they are amazing and I have the utmost respect for them, but healthcare in general. Specifically, government decisions on what is “best” for the people. As soon as my bodily autonomy was taken away from me – I changed.

I would love to challenge and fight “the healthcare czars” but I’m one tiny ant on a massive anthill so what does that leave? Just me, myself and I. I need to protect my future and my body.

Kevin and I have talked long and hard about this and we both feel VERY STRONGLY about this – I will no longer be participating in any sort of annual vaccine. Because I work in a hospital, I’ve had to, in exchange to keep my job, participate in an annual flu vaccination. At first, I was like, “meh. I’m not exactly loving this but whatever, I’ll deal with it.” But then, after COVID and all of the secrecy, the “misinformation”, (which really amounted to people who had legitimate questions but were not “allowed” to ask them), the dishonesty and the crazy agendas that seem to be more and more nefarious the more you dig, I no longer trust the flu vaccinations.

I’ve been reading that the mRNA is an efficient and cost effective way to make vaccines and that future vaccinations will most likely be made with this technology.

The future of mRNA vaccine field is potential, and the clinical data and resources provided by the associated companies and other academic institutions are likely to significantly build on and strengthen basic research into mRNA-based vaccines. Source

As someone who doesn’t even like to take Tylenol unless absolutely necessary and who looks for any natural remedy for whatever ailment I’m suffering from, this is not good news to me.

So now what? The clock is ticking to the next annual flu vaccination in October and I can assure you, I won’t be participating this year, or any future years. Feel free to disagree – you do you, I’ll do me.

But if I don’t take the flu vaccination, and the hospital doesn’t accept my religious exemption, (they accepted my exemption for the COVID injection but not the flu injection), then I’ll be out of a job. I hope that is not the case, I would prefer to continue working my current job but remember, I’m but one tiny ant.

I need a backup plan.

Realistically, I have about nine working years left before I retire. If I have to quit this job, what am I going to do? Yes. The easiest and simplest thing would be for me to find a mindless job with zero stress and wait out my retirement date. But GAH – that sounds so boring. I would prefer to be challenged. Something that would keep me on my toes and would challenge my brain.

I did A LOT of research and thinking these past few months. I haunted job postings and when I saw it, I knew I had to try it. It’s something I’ve talked about trying for years and years and honestly, something I likely would have pursued if I hadn’t fallen into this medical assistant job.


I’ve always talked about wanting to be a paralegal. I LOVE research and to me, it just sounds interesting and right up my alley. But I can’t waltz into an attorney’s office and apply for a paralegal job, I don’t have the knowledge, let alone the experience, to do that. And do I really want to spend a few years taking paralegal classes when I only have about nine working years left? Sure, eventually, the investment of going to school might pay off but for how long? Six, seven years? It might take me that long to pay off my student debt. (Because unlike progressives out there – I don’t take out debt and then expect someone else to pay it off – thank you very much).

But I didn’t give up. I kept on digging and I settled on plan B.

This is the logo I created for my documents

Legal secretary.

So, I applied for a legal secretary job on I wasn’t expecting much, it was sort of an experiment, but when I had to take an assessment test as part of the application process and not only had ZERO clue what I was doing but no idea what the multiple answer options even were, I knew I was in way over my head.

That pushed me to dig a little more. I started researching educational programs to learn more about the duties of a legal secretary. I mean, 85% of my current job is administrative duties, I’m no stranger to office etiquette, phone skills and of course, I can write, how hard could this be, right?

But here’s where it gets dicey. There are A LOT of places out there to take legal secretary classes but my question was, how reputable were they? And I certainly didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars just so I would have a plan B for whatever happens in October.

I researched for weeks and finally stumbled across the Center for Legal Studies (CLS). This is not a sponsored post, I’m simply letting you know this is who I settled on. What really sold me about this program was that CLS partners up with sponsor schools in every state. They have two partnered schools in Missouri, both of which are reputable universities. So my certificate would be from a university and seem more plausible than some out-of-the way, obscure company that no one has heard of and who might not even be in existence next year.

Now. How was I going to sell this crazy idea to Kevin? Again, this is my backup plan B – I will likely not actively pursue this option unless the hospital doesn’t grant my religious exemption request in October, so it’s not a sure thing. Just a maybe thing. And though the class wasn’t as much as I anticipated, it’s not chump change, either.

Kevin and I talked and he was surprisingly on board with this idea. He’s been wanting me to quit the hospital for quite some time and ultimately, he persuaded me to enroll.

I’m currently taking the class now. In fact, I have homework and a quiz to complete before 7:00 PM tomorrow night and yet, here I am …

The class is entirely online and it’s seven weeks long. I’m currently in my fourth week. It’s not hard, and it doesn’t really even take that long, but I’m learning a lot. The legal world is a whole new world. You wouldn’t think there would be much involved when it comes to being a legal secretary but there is actually a lot to know.

Quizzes are open book, thank goodness. Their reasoning is because in the real world, you would have loads of resources at your fingertips to look things up and I appreciate their real-world approach.

I’m taking this class seriously, but I don’t have a do or die approach to it. It’s actually nice not to get too stressed about it because honestly, I just want to get a passing grade, I’m not looking to be the best in my class; I just want to know enough that I don’t make a fool of myself if (when) I have to start interviewing.

There are a surprising number of legal assistant/secretary job openings on so I’m not terribly worried about finding something if (when) I have to start looking. I’ve already been looking at dress clothes and trying to put an interview outfit together – just in case.

That is a major drawback to my plan B – clothing. I’m not going to lie, it’s been really nice to wear, in essence, pajamas to work for the past ten years. I’ll have to seriously step up my wardrobe game if I land a job in the legal field.

Here is my syllabus, in case you were curious:

Lesson One: Introduction to the American Legal System & Ethics
Lesson Two: Reception Duties, Correspondence, File Management & Filing Systems
Lesson Three: Calendar & Docketing, Fees, Billing & Accounting Practices
Lesson Four: Word Processing & Legal Document Preparation
Lesson Five: E-discovery, Computers in a Law Office
Lesson Six: Legal Secretary Practicum

Anyway. That’s my current distraction. I know I’ve been pretty quiet on my blog lately but I’ve had a lot on my mind. I’ll update you again after I complete the course and give you my final thoughts on the experience.

I feel LOADS better about potentially losing my job in the Fall now that I have a backup plan. I would rather keep my job – I get paid well and I’m comfortable – but if I have to find something else, at least I’ll be prepared.

Thanks for reading.