Work Stuff

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

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

1. Do not be a passive listener

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

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

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

Welllll …. yes and no. Let me explain.

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

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

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

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

3. Do not lie!

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

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

4. Do not leave things out

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

BUT –

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

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

5. Do NOT be late!

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

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

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

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

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

6. Do NOT be a jerk to the office staff

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

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

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

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

Don’t be an asshole.

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

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

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

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

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

Not a good impression, folks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a bit satisfying, not gonna lie.

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

Hush.

10. Do not be a no-show

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

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

Don’t do it.

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

Thanks for reading.

Work Stuff

Class Dismissed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the hill I will die on.

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

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

My body, my rules.

Back to the class.

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

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

Week one: Intro to the legal system and ethics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week four: Word processing and legal document preparation

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

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

Week five: E-discovery, computers in law office

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

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

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

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

Week six: The practicum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!

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 Indeed.com 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.

Paralegal.

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 Indeed.com. 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 Indeed.com 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.

Work Stuff

Living with COVID

So how is work going?

Glad you asked. I mean, it’s still the same shit show, but I’m glad you asked.

I’m writing about this primarily because I don’t want to forget this time period because I firmly believe we’re living history, (more so than usual), and future generations will look back on this time period, shake their heads and say, “what a bunch of fearful morons.” If you’re all for COVID vaccines, boosters, (1 through … ?), vaccine passports, magnetic chips implanted in your skin,  (mark my words, that’s coming – or is it already here?), do not read any further. It will just piss you off.

However, if you’re curious to hear what the “other” side thinks and can absorb the information without the top of your head blowing off, by all means, read on, my friend. I don’t want angry comments, emails, looks or cold shoulders, either virtually, or in real life, because I gave you fair warning. I would hope you’re capable of digesting information, where ever that information comes from, and making up your own mind. 

I’m simply sharing my thoughts, feelings and experiences as I see them through my unique lens. 

Now that my disclaimer is out of the way …

For those just tuning in, I opted out of the COVID vaccine. I am one of those *GASP* unvaccinated people. Or, as I like to affectionately call myself, a “pure blood.” (I saw someone label the “unvaccinated” this on Twitter and I like it – I am hence known as a “pure blood”).

Does this mean I’m anti-vaccine? Does this mean I’m a racist? A bigot? A white Supremist? Or any other labels the crazed, zombie-like pro-COVID vax people like to label people who disagree with them?

Of course not. It simply means what it means – I’m against THIS particular vaccine. I have questions and nothing makes sense. And the more Big Tech squashes the ability to TALK about it, the more suspicious and the more determined I am to NOT COMPLY.

And if I didn’t work where I work, I wouldn’t even think about COVID unless I was out in public and saw the occasional fearful sap still wearing a mask, but alas, I work in healthcare …

NEED I SAY MORE?!

Okay, I’ll say more. Since I work as a medical assistant in neurosurgery, I am quite literally surrounded by COVID every minute of every work day. And I get it, it’s healthcare and there are people in the hospital with COVID, though the numbers and statistics are a little blurry as it’s never disclosed the percentage of people that were admitted with COVID and the number of patients that were admitted for something else but tested positive for COVID, but numbers, statistics, and common sense do not matter nowadays. It’s all about stoking the fear and keeping this narrative going at all costs.

How and why am I still there?

Good question. I honestly don’t know. To catch you up, to give you the cliff notes version, the hospital mandated the vaccine. I turned in a religious exemption, was denied, turned my resignation in, then found out a co-worker had her religious exemption approved, re-worded my exemption request and was approved.

But a condition of them accepting my religious exemption, I have to take a test every week until … infinity, I guess.

Luckily, it’s a sputum test, not a Qtip up the nose test. And I’ve been doing this since November 1st. If I tested positive, I would be out for two weeks before I was permitted to return to to work.

Then the CDC shortened the requirements to seven days, and now it’s down to five days out. If I’m out, I have to use my vacation pay. *shrug* Okay, fine.

So far, so good. I haven’t tested positive. Things are good-ish. Or as good-ish as could be considering I’m one of two people in the entire clinic that feels pretty strongly against the COVID vaccine, but whatever, conversations pop up, I walk away.

Not that big of a deal.

And then, along comes Omicron. The little wannabe virus that people tried very hard to make into Delta 2.0. Thankfully, it wasn’t (isn’t) as deadly as it’s cousin mutation. But you know, we can’t be thankful for small reprieves because those don’t fit the narrative and negates Biden’s desperate attempt to bully people into getting the vaccine. Sure, Omicron is contagious, even more so than Delta, but it’s only as severe as a bad cold if someone catches it.

For most people, there are always exceptions, of course,

I’m thoroughly convinced, though don’t have anything to back this up, that I had COVID in April 2021. I lost my sense of taste/smell for two weeks and felt like warm death. It could have been a sinus infection and I thought it might have been at the time and asked Dr. M’s mid-level to call me in some antibiotics, which she was kind enough to do, and I felt better almost immediately. I will, at some point, get my antibodies tested because I want to know FOR SURE if that’s the case.

But I think it might have happened and I think I have natural immunity. Nearly everyone around me at work has tested positive for the Omicron variant, or COVID, in the past two weeks. Everyone completely freaked out and we had a lot of people out sick, though some people were asymptomatic.

I was fully expecting to test positive last week as I did feel poopy and I was around a lot of people who tested positive, but my test came back negative.

I was a little bummed, not gonna lie. I was looking forward to being off work for a bit. And who knows what this week’s test will show, but for now, I seem to be in the clear.

I feel like I’m spinning a Roulette wheel every week … round and round she goes, where she stops, no one knows! It’s exhausting and quite frankly, I’m over it and could give two shits any more. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t. My life will go on regardless of mass hysteria that I’m surrounded with every day.

And speaking of hysteria, we have to start wearing a special mask next week. It’s thicker and I’m REALLY looking forward to not breathing for a while. Even more so than now. We’ve been wearing masks everyday since April (?), May (?) of 2020, when this nightmare started, but we could wear cloth masks or medical-grade masks that were at least comfortable enough to breathe in, but now, we have to wear something the thickness of a Kotex maxi pad.

Sexy.

I’ve checked out. I’m not invested in this “pandemic” any more. I think the worse is over and the variants will never go away. We must learn to live with it. I’m just patiently waiting for the government and the medical community to finally realize it.

I wouldn’t say I don’t care about my job anymore but I definitely care LESS. I’m now a passive observer – I’m on the outside, looking into a big picture window dispassionately watching the chaos inside. I already feel like we, as in the human race, have lost a few years to this parasite, I refuse to lose any more time because of it. Life is too short to begin with, I refuse to participate any longer.

What does that mean, exactly? I’m not sure, to be honest. I’m keeping my options open. I’m biding my time, I suppose, just waiting to see how this madness shakes out.

I will say, I’m very encouraged to hear about the Supreme Court upholding the Constitution and striking down the mandate for employers. It was really the only conclusion they could have come up with and thank God for the Constitution – places like Canada and Australia don’t have a Constitution and look what sort of shape they’re in.

So, at least I won’t have to worry about addressing the vaccine topic with another employer and any employer that decides to go ahead and mandate it anyway, (I’m looking at you Starbucks – tyrannical weirdos), wouldn’t be someplace I would want to work, or shop, anyway.

I feel like I’m walking a tightrope and any wrong move will cause me to fall off into an unknown abyss. It’s not exactly a pleasant experience, or a great place to be right now.

Distancing myself from this madness has been difficult, but it’s also been … therapeutic. I look around and I feel sorry for people who continue to listen to the propaganda and continue to put their trust in people, or organizations, that could care less about them. This whole pandemic, after information started coming in and it was apparent that the government and Big Pharma were pushing an agenda, has been nothing but an attempt to control people and make massive amounts of money – both by Mr. Science himself, aka Dr. Fauci, and Congress.

If that’s not enough to convince you that something fishy is going on, just look around you. People that are getting this Omicron variant are both vaccinated, and unvaccinated. This even includes people that have been boosted.

Wait a minute, I thought the vaccines were designed to prevent you from getting sick?

No? Oh right, they are supposed to prevent you from being REALLY sick and having to go into the hospital.

But the booster protects you, right?

Well. Sort of. They may protect you for about ten weeks.

These vaccines and boosters that the government and the healthcare industry tout as IMPORTANT and VITAL to protecting you from COVID are a short-term band aid, apparently. Because they appear to lose their effectiveness after so many weeks and then a new variant comes out and OOPS, the vaccines are now not effective at all but never fear! We have a booster that will do the job – maybe – for a short time, at least.

It’s madness. Sheer madness that we keep falling for this rhetoric. And what’s even more maddening is that we can’t even TALK about prophylactics, such as alternative medications or treatments that can help prevent serious illness, or focus on living and choosing more healthy choices – getting fresh air, taking vitamin D and Zinc supplements, to name a few alternatives.

Nope. You can’t even MENTION these things without people rolling their eyes and labeling the people wanting to talk about these options as “conspiracy theorists.”

Hate to break it to you folks, but the “conspiracy theorists?” Have been right so far. Maybe it’s time to take off the blinders and take a good, honest look at the bigger picture here – we’re being lied to.

COVID is real, folks, I’m not disputing that. What I am disputing is the narrative surrounding it. It has gotten so convoluted and complicated that people don’t know what to believe anymore. And since most people have not been taught to critically think for themselves and do not possess common sense – there are a lot of confused people out there.

My advice? Get your news from multiple sources. Both for and against the narrative. Look around. Pay attention. What do your eyes tell you? What is happening in your area? Take everything you see and hear with a grain of salt and understand that everyone, EVERYONE, has an agenda or biases.

Yes. Even me.

Here is a good summary of what we’ve been experiencing thus far with Omicron. I’m not the biggest fan of ZDoggMD – he’s alt middle-ish – but he does a fairly good job of trying to stay as neutral as he can in explaining the crap information we’re being fed.

Key points:

  1. Hospitalizations vs cases vs deaths – Omicron is more contagious but it’s not as deadly than Delta. This is good news! This would be the variant you would want to get to build immunity. There are many cases, but very few deaths – again – GOOD NEWS! I wish the media would focus on that instead of cases implying that equates death – it does not. However, as I mentioned people are not critically thinking about this information, they are simply reacting to the media’s message.
  2. It’s refreshing to hear him even TALKING about natural immunity. This is a topic that needs to be talked about more – it’s NOT the jab and nothing else.
  3. Love how he describes masking and the temperature “guns” theater. Because that’s what it is, folks, theater. It’s primary function is to make people feel like they are doing SOMETHING when in actuality, there is very little we can do other than try and stay as healthy as we can, washing our hands, not touching our faces until we wash our hands, avoid touching high traffic areas – elevators buttons, door handles, stay away from people who are coughing, eat better, get more sleep, take vitamins and supplements. But we can’t talk about that stuff, right?
  4. Hospitals filling up this time of year. Yes, he’s absolutely right. Hospitals traditionally fill up during the cold/flu season. I would also be interested in knowing the number of influenza cases, on average, that are hospitalized each year. COVID comes around and suddenly influenza disappears? Hardly, and yet, we can’t talk about that. Why?? Also – hospitals are not filling up because they don’t have beds, they are filling up because they don’t have the STAFF to take care of those beds. And why don’t they have the staff? Because the asswipes fired a lot of people by taking their bodily autonomy away. Genius move, idiots.
  5. “We’re not testing everyone for what genotype they have.” Which affirms what I’ve always said all along – how do they KNOW that you have Delta or Omicron if they’re not testing for that specific strain? Which, I suppose doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, you tested positive for a COVID strain, but knowing for certain which strain someone has would definitely change the numbers and like he said, knowing which strain someone has would tell doctors what kind of treatment would work best as opposed to just throwing everything at the wall and hoping something sticks.
  6. Mass psychosis formation – absolutely, 100% this is happening. People are being told what to do and they are going along with it because it’s easier to do so. It’s MUCH harder to resist that “norm” and say, “this is not right for me, thanks.” I know this firsthand. However, ZDogg is right again – this mass psychosis goes both ways and even if you disagree with the majority, it doesn’t mean YOU’RE right either. That’s why it’s so important to get both sides of the story – get your information from multiple sources, not just the side you support, to avoid falling into this trap yourself. Get all the information, analyze this information, then make the best decision for your and your family. And then everyone else? BUTT OUT. It’s none of your business what someone else does, or doesn’t do. If you’re that worried, again, make adjustments. Buy N95 masks, get your tenth booster, stay home and cower in fear. You do you, I’ll do me. Easy.
  7. Adverse reactions to the vaccine are not happening … in the San Francisco Bay area. That’s the key here, ZDogg. This does not mean this stuff is not happening elsewhere and it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen at all. It simply means you’re not hearing about it, personally. And you have to wonder, the cases you are hearing about, are they because of COVID or was something else happening? And how many cases are we NOT hearing about? The bigger concern, is that we’re not talking about it!! That we’re not ALLOWED to talk about it because any time you start to question, or have some sort of conversation about it, Big Tech kicks you off and censors you. Hell, even Biden appealed to Big Tech the other day about doing a better job of squashing “misinformation.” Which loosely translates to – information that harms the overall narrative. It’s happening and it’s real.
  8. Also – the fact that all of this is happening makes me suspicious – what is really going on here? I think these vaccine passports are about much more than COVID. It’s a way to track you and ultimately control what you can, and cannot do. Go ahead, roll your eyes – I hope I’m wrong, but what if I’m not?
  9. BE IN THE BEST POSSIBLE SHAPE YOU CAN BE FOR YOUR DATE WITH OMICRON. Amen. I 100% agree. Get it. Move on.

So, with all of that said, here are some sites I get my news if you’re looking for some alternative news. If you’re still watching CNN, MSNBC, etc., the “traditional” news sources, okay, but consider ALSO getting your news from other sources, too. What are you missing? What is not being said? What is being said too much?

WND.com
News Coup (Alternative to Drudge Report)
The Daily Wire
Louder with Crowder
You Are Here
Gab

I’m also on Twitter a lot. I know, Twitter is the devil, but again, I’m not interested in hanging out with like-minded people, I want to know what people who don’t think like me are thinking. It’s important.

And that’s my life right now. I never know what is going to happen week by week and I’ve come to be okay with that. What choice do I have? I’m hoping the craziness is about over, but maybe not. And if not, then I’ll re-assess my life, again. Because I don’t want o spend my last working years, (I only have about nine working years left), having to stress, or fight, for my right to do what I want with my own body.

I hope you’re all doing well and I hope your working life will get better now that the Supreme Court blocked Biden’s stupid mandates, unless you’re in healthcare, like I am and if that’s the case, do what is right for you and your family. That’s all you can do and people can either take it, or not.

Be healthy, friends.

Work Stuff

The Worst Four Days of My Life

Honestly, the title says it all.

Gah – just looking at this picture triggers me. LOL

I wish I were being dramatic.

It all started on Friday. Our team traveled to an outlying city, about an hour away, to hold clinic. We hadn’t been to this particular city in quite some time because we simply didn’t have the patient demand, but for whatever reason the moons aligned, the stars sent a message, (I don’t believe in that stuff, by the way), and we had a small clinic’s worth of patients scheduled. We were going to outlying clinic.

I was stressed. Not gonna lie. We haven’t been to this clinic in quite some time and I knew that the location of this clinic had changed from the last time we had gone and I didn’t know what to expect, how it was set up, where the patients would wait, nothing. Not to mention, we were renting space from a competing hospital, it wasn’t even the same hospital that we currently work at so I knew we would have to take EVERYTHING with us, including a hotspot that sometimes, sometimes doesn’t, work.

Awesome.

But being the perfectionist that I am and determined NOT to let this situation get the best of me, I prepared the sh*t out of it. I got a contact number for our contact person, we emailed back and forth several times with her to find out what rooms we would be using, I called all of the patients ahead of time and got all of the information that I needed from them so that it would take no time at all to plug in their information and Dr. M and H, his mid-level, wouldn’t be waiting on me. I hate that. I never want to be the reason for something being done wrong or not at all. I had the team sign on to their computers before we left to ensure they would be able to establish a connection for their dictation/microphone thingie they use to write their patient notes.

I was ready, or as ready as I could be.

The day of clinic was perfect. The weather was nice, sunny, no issues there. Dr. M told us that he had to get back to town early because he had a meeting he needed to get to so I had called all of the patients the day before and moved their check-in times up but that meant we needed to get on the road super early. I got up at 4:30 AM, got ready, got to the hospital, clocked on and started the first two patient notes so that all I had to do was put them in rooms and get their vitals. I had loaded the company vehicle the night before so all I had to do was meet everyone in the garage and we would take off.

And that’s what happened. It was perfect. We were on the road at 7:00 AM exactly. Everything was going according to plan.

We get to the facility, we unload, we lug our stuff in and settle into our rooms. The hospital was actually really pretty and the rooms were spacious and we had plenty of room to spread out. Everyone signed onto their computers and established a Wi-Fi connection and again, everything was going according to plan. I roomed the first patient, handed her off to H so she could work her magic and then I roomed the second patient.

I was anxious but not really that stressed. At least, I didn’t feel like I was, to be honest. T, our nurse, brought bagels and I was looking forward to having a bagel in between patients.

And then, sh*t hit the fan.

I started feeling dizzy. I have no idea why, it just came on suddenly. I have had a few dizzy spells the past few weeks but they didn’t last long and I went about my day. This time, when it happened, I felt like I was going to faint.

We thought at first my blood sugar was low because I hadn’t eaten anything that morning and T dug out a bagel and I took a few bites thinking that might help. But then I started to feel faint, so I put my head between my legs to get the blood flowing figuring that would help and we could continue on our way.

Big mistake.

BIG. MISTAKE.

When I came back up, I was suddenly transported to Funhouse Hell. I really have no idea what happened, but my eyes wouldn’t focus on anything and the room was spinning and swaying. I completely lost my equilibrium.  T noticed it first and then H got involved. Dr. M was with a patient. I remember thinking, “oh thank God, this would be embarrassing in front of Dr. M.” It was embarrassing enough in front of T and H, but they are my girls and I knew they would help me get through whatever was going on.

I remember just sort of staring at the ceiling – it was fascinating in a way to see the room just sort of liquify. I knew I was experiencing Vertigo, but I had no idea why or what to do about it. I immediately started feeling nauseous and knew I was going to vomit. Like, BAD. Of course, this is the moment Dr. M. comes back into the room. At least, I think so, it’s sort of a blur.

H guides me out of my chair and into a reclining chair. She took my blood pressure – 173/105 with a pulse rate of 90 and I was sweating BULLETS. The movement of that transfer is what did me in. Luckily, a barf bag came out of nowhere, I don’t know how the girls found a barf bag so quickly in a room we weren’t familiar with, but it was thrust into my hand and I immediately lost the few bites of bagel and the water/coffee I had drank that morning.

I remember filling the bag up halfway. This barf bag looked like a giant condom and for some reason, on the level that wasn’t freaked out and spinning, I thought it was funny.

The things you think about in the midst of a disaster, I guess.

I started to feel very disoriented and I just kept puking. Dr. M. and H said we needed to wheel me down to the ER and the fact that I didn’t resist speaks volumes – I NEVER go to the ER unless I am dying and in that moment, I thought I might be dying.

Keep in mind, I’ve never experienced Vertigo before so I had no idea what I was dealing with or HOW to deal with it.

We get to the ER check-in desk and there was a female patient sitting there. It sounds like they are shooting the breeze to me and I’m now dry heaving behind her with Dr. M and H standing on either side of me.

Sexy.

I remember H saying to Dr. M., “you want to pull some doctor strings here?” And Dr. M. just sort of interrupts the patient and check-in girl’s conversation though to be fair, I think the patient went to sit in a waiting room chair by that point, and the girl asks for my name but I’m having trouble forming words because I’m thinking, “if I open my mouth I will most likely projectile vomit all over the place.” I didn’t know what I would projectile vomit, since I didn’t have anything else in my stomach, maybe the tail end of my small intestine …? So Dr. M., or H, I can’t remember who, maybe both, gave them my information and then the girl asked me for the last four digits of my social security number.

Social security number? My head was so fuzzy that I remember having to force myself to focus and to run my SSN through my head before giving her the last four digits. I was rather proud of myself for answering that simple question and I was disappointed Dr. M and H didn’t quietly congratulate me.

Kidding.

Sort of.

They wheeled me back to the room and everything and I focused on keeping my head as still as possible. Because every time my head moved even a millimeter out of alignment I felt like my head was going to detach from my body and land on the floor.

Wouldn’t that have been embarrassing. And keep in mind, I’m already MORTIFIED that this is even happening let alone that I barfed in front of everyone.

Oh wait, it gets better.

Even though I knew what was happening around me, it was like it was happening to someone else, or that I was living in a dream world.

I WISH it had happened to someone else. (Well, not really, that would be mean, I wouldn’t wish this experience on my worse enemy). I WISH it was happening to someone else and I still couldn’t believe it was happening to ME, even when we reached the ER room and I stumbled from the wheelchair to the table and then promptly dry heaved some more. (I had a new barf bag by that point – still don’t know where the second barf bag came from to this day – it was like H was a magician with those bags).

At this point, no one really knew what was happening. A tech/nurse, someone, female I think, came in to start placing electrodes on me so they could determine if I was having a heart attack. I didn’t feel like I was having a heart attack but hell, I didn’t know what was happening to my body at this point so I was like, “cool.” I think H stepped out of the room at this point, it’s a little fuzzy, but Dr. M. was close and I remember the woman saying something about having to lift my scrubs to place the electrodes and I was like, “Um …” and Dr. M. stepped out of the room to give us some privacy.

After the woman placed the electrodes she asked me to lie still so they could get a reading on my heart. NO PROBLEM. I never wanted to leave that table and that position ever again. She got the reading and it was determined I was not having a heart attack.

Cool. We could check that box off at least.

The woman left and H came back in. I could sense Dr. M was in doctor mode, (because he’s a kick-ass doctor after all) and assessing the situation. He asked me to smile, stick out my tongue, reach my arms out “to catch raindrops”, (thought that was a cute way of putting it and perfectly described what action he wanted – good job, Dr. M), then touch my nose with each hand. I knew he was assessing me for stroke-like symptoms but I passed with flying colors. I wasn’t experiencing any numbness and tingling in my extremities, just the damn Vertigo.

Cool. Not having a stroke.

H left to try and figure out a clinic that we, and by we, I mean ME, left hanging, (another guilt point for me), with T, who was by herself and likely doing damage control on, and another nurse came in to stick me to draw blood and give me Zofran, Meclizine, and Benedryl. Zofran is for nausea and the Meclizine is for dizziness. While I was waiting for the medication to kick in, I was hunched over on my left side because I was still dry heaving what little bile I had left in my stomach at that point and I was afraid. to. move. at. all. Any time I moved, I dry heaved. I was still sweating and was pretty sure I had wet spots on my scrubs by this time. Also, I had snot coming out of my nose and my eyes were watering so much I was crying.

Or I was crying, or both, I can’t be sure. I was a hot mess and did I mention this was all happening in front of Dr. M?

GADS – THE MORTIFICATION!

However, to Dr. M’s credit, he didn’t leave my side, which I thought was super sweet and I’m pretty sure we’re friends now because I feel like the working relationship zone turns to friend zone whenever you see the other person’s snot run down one’s face.

We’re friends now, whether he wants to agree to that or not. Ha!

Anyway, he’s still in assess mode because he places a finger on my eye lid, (because keep in mind I kept my eyes shut for the majority of this hellacious experience because it was easier for me to cope in the dark as opposed to try and make sense of the revolving world around me – and honestly, I’m getting nauseous just typing this out thinking about it), and he could feel my eye twitching.

There’s something I wasn’t expecting, though it makes sense now. My eyes were in constant motion. It’s because my brain was trying to make sense of what was happening and my eyes couldn’t keep up with the movement. It was like I was reading, but I wasn’t reading, if that makes sense. Kevin actually took a video of my eyes twitching, I haven’t watched it yet, I’m not ready to relive the nightmare quite yet, but he said my pupils were pinpricks and with the twitching, I looked possessed.

Well, isn’t that special. Kevin wasn’t there yet, I’m getting to that part.

I remember thinking, “Damn, Dr. M’s fingers are COLD.” Like ICE COLD. But it sort of felt good because I was so sweaty. Then he asked if could look in my ear and I’m thinking, “you know what buddy? You are seeing me at my absolute worse, what’s a little ear wax between friends?”

He looked into my right ear because remember, I’m hunched over on my left side and you could have offered me a million bucks to move and I would have said, HELL NO, because at least if I didn’t move I wasn’t dry heaving, and he asked, “do you clean your ears out?”

Now look, sir, I don’t need your judgement right about now. I almost laughed and said something stupid like, “really? You’re going to comment on my ear wax build up right now?” but of course, the funny part of me was buried DEEP inside my horrified, embarrassed, scared self and I simply said, “well, not as much as I should, I guess.” He said, “hhm, you have some dried blood in there,” and my very next thought was, “great, I’ve busted a blood vessel. Was it an aneurysm? Wouldn’t I have blood coming out of my ear if that was the case?”

Again, add that to the mystery of my life right about now.

Nothing more was mentioned about the dried blood but if I had a penny to give him for his thoughts, I certainly would have given it to him in that moment. Well, maybe not in that moment since the thought of moving even one muscle made me want to holler like a crazed banshee.

Dr. M does mention possibly getting a head scan and I’m thinking, “awesome, let’s stretch this hellacious highway out a few more miles, shall we?” The ER doctor comes in, diagnoses me and then starts explaining what BPPV is.

BPPV stands for:

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common causes of vertigo — the sudden sensation that you’re spinning or that the inside of your head is spinning.

BPPV causes brief episodes of mild to intense dizziness. It is usually triggered by specific changes in your head’s position. This might occur when you tip your head up or down, when you lie down, or when you turn over or sit up in bed.

Although BPPV can be bothersome, it’s rarely serious except when it increases the chance of falls. Source

He explains that the crystals in my ear have come loose and I likely have one in a canal it’s not supposed to be in. This disrupts the fine hairs in my ear that control equilibrium, hence Vertigo.

My rocks are loose. (Oh – so many comments to THAT one, eh?)

He then goes on to tell me there is no cure for BPPV and it’s more likely to occur in people who have had it before. BPPV can last from a day to a week.

When he told me that, I honestly thought I was going to cry. And I would have cried if Dr. M hadn’t still been in the room. Dr. M. didn’t say anything while the ER doctor was in there but I could sense he was still there and I caught a peek of his very stylish loafers beside me at times. (He was sitting on my left so he had a front row seat to my many, and very attractive, dry heaves. KILL ME NOW).

However, the ER doctor said there was something called:

The Epley Maneuver for BPPV

BPPV with the most common variant (crystals in the posterior SCC) can be treated successfully — with no tests, pills, surgery or special equipment — by using the Epley maneuver.

This simple, effective approach to addressing BPPV involves sequentially turning the head in a way that helps remove the crystals and help them float out of the semicircular canal. Several repositioning maneuvers performed in the same visit may be necessary.

The Epley maneuver and other bedside physical therapy maneuvers and exercise programs can help reposition the crystals from the semicircular canals. Recurrences can occur, and repeat repositioning treatments are often necessary.

After Epley maneuver treatment, the patient may begin walking with caution. He or she should avoid putting the head back, or bending far forward (for example, to tie shoes) for the remainder of the day. Sleeping on the side of the affected ear should be avoided for several days. Source

He actually put me through these exercises while in the room. Did they help? Not one bit. In the moment. But who’s to say it didn’t help lessen the length of my Vertigo? I will choose to believe that because being flipped around on the table only made it worse and my dry heaves started back up again. But this exercise is good to know for future reference because there is a good chance this could happen to me again. I pray to God it doesn’t, but I’m a realist.

Continue reading “The Worst Four Days of My Life”

Work Stuff

Well. This Was Unexpected

So apparently, I’m still employed.

After updating you last week, (I sound like a soap opera – and this week on Write From Karen), I went to work that following Monday. I was dreading it. Like, DREADING it. Largely because I was going to see Dr. M and his mid-level H in clinic that day and I didn’t know if they knew I had put my resignation in. I didn’t want to have the conversation, quite frankly, and I was hoping they heard all about it and I wouldn’t need to say anything, but at the same time, I felt like I needed to say something.

The day started as usual. We only saw recheck and post-op patients last week because Dr. M is going to be out these next few weeks to recover from his surgery so I knew it was going to be an easy day, and it was. But if felt tense. I tried my best to paste on a happy face and just sort of pretend that I was never going to see these people again after September 29th, but it was hard.

Another girl that I work with, M, was going through the same thing. She also submitted her resignation but her last day was going all the way to the deadline on October 15th so she had a ways to go. I took advantage of a little break between patients and went to her office to blow off steam. She hadn’t been in the office the Friday I announced to the clinic I was quitting though I did text her. I plopped down in the chair next to her and after a few dozen words, M says to me, “I submitted an appeal and they approved it.”

*blink*

“I’m sorry, come again?”

“I talked to a friend of mine and she suggested that I submit an appeal making sure to include a few keywords in my submission and I did that on Thursday. I heard back from them on Friday and they approved my appeal.”

*blink*

I just sort of sat there and stared at her for a few minutes. I was seriously shocked. I honestly had NO expectations for the hospital to approve ANY exemptions and yet, they approved hers. My wheels immediately started turning. Could I do the same? Would they accept mine? Did I want to try? Why wouldn’t I try? Did I dare allow myself to hope?

I asked M to send me what she put on her form. It wouldn’t hurt to see what she submitted, right? And what were these magical keywords she spoke of?

Now, before you go and think I’m a sneaky b*tch, because, I sort of am, using keywords to get what you want is not a novel concept. Whenever I was a scheduler I would have to contact insurance companies to try and get diagnostic testing approved and before long, I figured out they were looking for keywords, or phrases, something that would trigger their process into giving me an approval. I wouldn’t make things up, that’s dishonest and illegal, but if there was any hint of a condition or a diagnosis, in the doctor’s note you better believe I took advantage of that and used it.

Since we were still in clinic, I couldn’t stay in her office very long to talk to her about what she did in too much detail and I needed a moment to digest what she told me. I went back out to the clinic and it took everything I had to force myself to focus on the task at hand. But as soon as I got M’s email, I immediately sent it to Kevin and said, “What do you think? Should I try this?”

He helped me compile what I wanted to say because honestly, I was in clinic and didn’t have the time to devote to it and time was of the essence now that my employment clock was ticking, and by the end of the day, I had taken what he had given me, finessed it up a bit, took out some aggressive language, (because Kevin has been even more fired up about this ordeal than I have been), and I submitted my appeal.

I was really hoping I would find out as fast as M did because again, the clock was ticking and I just wanted an answer so I could move on with whatever answer they gave me. But I had hope. Why would they approve M’s appeal but not mine? And if they didn’t approve mine, I was planning on marching my butt into my director’s office and asking him, “What gives?”

I told Dr. M that I was submitting an appeal, just to keep him in the loop, because I thought he might be wondering what was going on and then the director of Neurosciences approaches me after clinic and asks if I have a minute.

Normally, I would be swallowing hard and wondering what I did wrong, but since I had submitted my resignation, I honestly didn’t care. Do what you want – I have one foot out the door anyway.

But he was very sweet and told me he was really sorry to see me go and if I needed to use him as a reference, I was free to do so. I thought that was so nice of him to offer that! I told him that I submitted an appeal to my religious exemption request and he perked up a bit when I said that. We did talk about the consequences of having the exemption approved, which I’ll talk about in a bit, but they are consequences that I will be willing to do, if accepted.

Tuesday rolls around and I’m covering Dr. S’s clinic. I’m actually really glad I covered her clinic that day because it didn’t give me a lot of time to obsess about my appeal but I was on pins and needles all day waiting for an answer.

Clinic was winding down and it was about 1:00 PM when I got the email.

I was afraid to open it. This email would literally decide if I stayed or left. This email would decide my future in healthcare.

I clicked it open and quickly skimmed it.

APPROVED!

What? What???

I calmed down a bit and then re-read the letter in more detail:

Your request for exemption has been granted through August of 2022, or the date upon which______________ again considers requests for exemption from the Covid-19 vaccination policy.  Please note that individuals will need to reapply for exemptions each year, unless otherwise determined by ___________. 

Now that your exemption request has been approved, we will begin assessing what accommodations can be made for you to continue to work.  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, but are not limited to, weekly nasal or saliva testing at ___________ expense; a change in work settings; possible work restrictions; and being moved to an alternative role if working with high-risk patients. 

We will coordinate with your department director to determine your accommodation, after which we will mail you a notification confirming your accommodation.  Because your exemption has been approved, you are not at risk of missing the October 15, 2021 deadline to be vaccinated.

Once you have been notified, your supervisor will be able to provide additional information to you regarding your specific accommodations.  Please also pay careful attention to the Connect Daily, which may contain additional information regarding requirements for unvaccinated staff. 

____________ reserves the right to take any necessary and appropriate steps, including but not limited to, imposing alternative COVID-19 prevention measures and accommodations, to ensure that individuals do not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others in the workplace.

Okay. My approval has been granted through August of 2022. What does that mean, exactly? I’m reading it to mean they are thinking about mandating boosters. Or, yearly vaccinations, same as the flu vaccine. At any rate, I will need to re-apply each year. Annoying, but okay.

I do not work with high-risk patients so I don’t think I have to worry much about being moved to a different department. I work in an outpatient clinic. I’m assuming my “accommodations” will mean I will have to test weekly and wear a mask. We all wear masks at the hospital now as it is and quite honestly, I don’t see that going away any time soon so I’m not overly concerned about that, but the weekly testing will suck balls. But it’s still better than not having a job. And I was relieved to see the hospital will incur the cost of weekly testing. I was worried they were going to make me pay for it. I know some employers are penalizing their employees if they do not get vaccinated and have to be tested – like Delta airlines, actually. And the country of Italy says you can keep your job, but we’re not going to pay you. So, it could always be worse.

I forwarded the email to Kevin and then text him the good news. I’m honestly not sure if he’s happy or not. I think he has mixed feelings. He just wants me to be happy and not be treated like a 2nd class citizen or be discriminated against. I can appreciate that. And though this whole thing sucks, I DO get where the hospital is coming from, after all.

After texting Kevin, I went to our office to tell my nurse. I walked in, opened my arms and with a huge grin on my face said, “You need to hug me right now.”

“It was approved?”

And when I nodded she screamed, sprang from her chair and hugged me. I think she was as relieved as I was!

A HUGE weight was lifted from my shoulders. I knew I was under a lot stress but I don’t think I realized just how much until that email arrived and I could finally breathe again.

I. COULD. BREATHE. AGAIN.

I then went around the clinic and told everyone my appeal was approved and then went to speak to my manager to see what we could do to rescind the resignation.

(Spoiler alert: the hospital rescinded my resignation).

Wednesday, when I worked Dr. M’s clinic again, I told him that the hospital approved my appeal and that I would be there when he returned from his surgery. His reaction was underwhelming to say the least. I wasn’t expecting him to jump from his chair and pump a fist in the air, but a smirk, a nod, something would have been better than his “okay.”

Alrighty then. His lack of reaction hurt my feelings but I guess shame on me for thinking he would be glad that I was staying. I think he’s glad, I just think things are weird between us right now because he and I are not even remotely on the same page when it comes to this vaccine nonsense. In fact, none of my team are really on the same page as me, except for our medical secretary. I feel like the odd man out but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. At any rate, it is what is and I still have a job, that’s all that really matters right now, I suppose.

So. It’s business as usual. I had to forfeit my vacation because it fell in my last two weeks and of course, you can’t take vacation during your final two weeks so I’m bummed that we weren’t able to go camping like we had planned. We couldn’t have gone anyway with Kevin’s truck being down for the count, but still, having some time off would have been nice. I plan on taking some time in November and we’ll likely go camping at that time. But I have to be careful with my vacation time because when I start my weekly COVID testing, if it comes back positive, I will be expected to be off work for about 10 days and I need to keep some vacation built up in case I need to use it for that reason. And the likelihood that it will come back positive is more than possible because remember the PCR tests are flawed and will be recalled at the end of year. So who knows how often I will be “positive.”

But we’ll see. For now, I’m taking one day at a time. I still have a job which is more than I can say for some other people and I’m grateful and thank God every day for looking out for us.

Now … let’s see if they accept my exemption request for the flu vaccine. And more importantly, how will I respond if they deny it?

Work Stuff

The Final Countdown

As you can probably tell from the title, my religious exemption was

DENIED.

Am I surprised? No, not at all, but I am disappointed.

Come to find out, there were approximately 2000 submissions, (which to be honest, I feel like is high, but maybe that’s right) and only two, TWO, were accepted.

Okay fine, what’s my back up plan. I would agree to weekly testing. How long can that go on for, right?

WRONG.

The DICK-tator-in-chief announced he was going to mandate vaccinations for all employers who employed over 100 people, OR be tested. And if they didn’t comply, they would no longer get federal funding for Medicare and Medicaid.

I knew it was over after that announcement. I knew the hospital was done trying to “accommodate” the difficult ones. I suppose the hospital’s patience has worn thin. (To coin a Biden saying, that is).

Not gonna lie, I was really hoping the hospital was using religious exemptions as an olive branch toward the vaccine-hesitant. On one hand, they were saving face by taking a stand on vaccinations thereby appeasing the public, on the other hand, they were giving an out to the vaccine hesitant so they wouldn’t lose a small chunk of people. I knew it wouldn’t have been easy, but it was SOMETHING.

I think I’m more upset by the fact that I allowed myself to hope. To think it might actually work and I would be “allowed” to continue working at the hospital. I guess that shows how naïve I can be, I suppose. This is one of the biggest reasons I’m a realist when it comes to things like this – I would rather approach an issue with a realistic attitude than try and hope for a different outcome. That way, I limit my disappointment. But alas, I didn’t do that this time and I was once again, disappointed.

And that pissed me off. Because quite frankly folks, I’m tired. I’m exhausted. I’m tired of being tired. I don’t want to worry or feel anxious anymore. I just want to return to normal and when you don’t listen to media, or you’re not in a medical facility, the pandemic really doesn’t exist anymore. The number of cases are going down and thank God, the number of deaths has gone way down, In fact, the Delta variant was contagious but the deaths seemed to be less this second go around. And that’s a good thing!! I think people hear cases and think deaths anytime numbers are mentioned in the media.

In fact, a lot of people think the chances you’ll end up in the hospital after contracting COVID is FAR GREATER than it actually is. The New York Times conducted a survey and here is what they found. (Play the video from Bill Maher).

(Side note: see how Twitter puts a disclaimer on “see the latest COVID-19 information” on this tweet? Because the social media Nazis CAN NOT stand the thought of you actually getting any information other than what they spoon feed you so they have to do what they can to make people who dare to think outside the Matrix that what they’re reading is false and shouldn’t be trusted. I don’t trust anyone and asking questions is how you get to the truth. Suppress questions and debate and what are you left with? A false narrative).

I’m not a member of the New York Times website, (and never will be), but I found the results of this survey on the Washington Examiner’s website. Perception is EVERYTHING.

The point being, the COVID hysteria is real and it’s sad that so many people are living in fear from a disease that has 99% recovery rate for most people.

I’m more afraid of the vaccine than I am of the virus. I just am. Yep, I said it out loud. The data on COVID is simply not as severe as the media is desperate to portray it. The data on the vaccines, however, is far more alarming. Chances are, I would be fine if I were to temporarily lose my mind and get the vaccine. But the point is – NO ONE KNOWS. No one knows what might happen because the damn thing hasn’t been out long enough for experts TO KNOW. I’m just not willing to potentially sacrifice my heath for, “well, we’re pretty confident it works.” And then if something SHOULD happen, no one is liable for pushing it on me.

No thanks.

Look. I just want to live my life. I just want to go about my days and not have to struggle to breath behind a face diaper that is not effective and purely for show and to give people a false sense of security or walk on eggshells because “I’m one of THOSE people.” I want peace.  I’m tired of enduring sly looks and feeling like I’m being left out of conversations because people have unconsciously already written me off. It’s not fun. Like, at all. I know my co-workers are not doing this to be cruel, in fact, I would even say they don’t even realize they are doing it and hell, maybe it’s just my over-active imagination because I’m uber-sensitive about this stuff right now, but all I know is, I’m done. I’m tired. And I. JUST. WANT. PEACE.

So. That’s the biggest reason I turned in my resignation on the 15th.

I played my hand and I lost. The game is over. It’s time to move on.

Do I want to? HELL NO. I’m very bitter that I’m being forced to walk away from people I care about. I’m very bitter that I just spent the last ten years of my life perfecting an industry that I knew ZERO about going in to. I’m very bitter that I don’t get to enjoy the pay raise that the hospital dangled like a golden carrot to try and entice people to stay. I’m very bitter that the industry is tossing people, good people, to the curb after those same people worked their asses off to save the industry when elective surgeries were canceled and the hospital was beginning to wonder how they were going to keep the lights on last year.

Heroes then, vermin now.

It’s sick and twisted how this is working out and everything about this situation pisses me off, but the dice has been rolled and the house won. It’s time to collect my belongings and move on. There is nothing else I can do. Or at least, nothing else I’m willing to do to keep this job. I would like to think everyone has a line, some THING that they will absolutely not compromise on and unfortunately, this issue is my line.

And to further crap on this dung pile, the people I care about are going to be left to find work arounds and to suffer extra work load because of the staffing holes. How is that fair to them?? Now the hospital is going to overwork the people who stay taking a chance they don’t lose more people because of pure burn out. I know, eventually, staffing will work itself out but who knows how long that will take?

The whole situation makes me feel like that graphic at the top. AARGH.

My last day is September 29th. I have eight days to go. I have a full week with my team this week and then three days after that to get through. I’m not looking forward to this – AT ALL. I’ve already cried more these past few months than I have in my entire life and I HATE. TO. CRY. I’m not looking forward to working with my team because it will be sad and weird and it kills me that it has to end this way. I will try my best not to be a Debbie Downer but this sucks – balls.

I know Kevin has been worried about me. I have STRUGGLED these past months. Torn between what I should do and not knowing when it would happen. In some ways, I’m relieved that a decision has been made and I’m moving forward. Being stagnant and not knowing what is going to happen DRIVES ME CRAZY. I’m a doer. I don’t like to stand around and talk a situation to death, I want to know what the plan is and then go with it. The end result is not anywhere near what I wanted to happen but it’s out of my control and the decision has been made.

It’s time to move on.

I walked around on Friday and told people personally that I was leaving. I just felt like an email was so impersonal and I care about my work family so I felt like I owed them that. I also made it painfully clear that I do not want any sort of going away party or any big hoopla because this is not a celebration. My leaving is not a happy event, for anyone, and I have no interest in celebrating anything at this point in time.

Did I mention I’m BITTER?

I have spent some time today being quiet and licking my wounds. I’m processing the avalanche of emotions I’m feeling right now and I’m allowing myself to feel sorry for myself – for a bit. Once that is over and I snap out of my self-imposed fugue, then I will get serious about making a resume and applying for jobs.

I see quite a few editing jobs out there that are interesting and I may apply for those. Banking is also a possibility as I did that back in the days that people actually went to banks to do their business and I really enjoyed it. Who knows which lucky employer will be stuck with me for the next ten years. *snort*

Speaking of ten years, my ten-year anniversary with the hospital is tomorrow. Happy anniversary to me!

*sigh* It’s a good thing I wear water-proof mascara because I will be putting it to the test this week.