Work Stuff

Doctors are Human Cyborgs

This is a picture of my inner bad bitch self. Be scared, Dr. Bob.

Well goody, I’m being assigned to one of the biggest asshole doctors in our clinic next week.

Can’t wait.

Doctors are a different breed of person. I sometimes have to remind myself they are HUMAN. They have lives, they have feelings, they have bad days, they want to be included in things because it’s human instinct to BELONG to something.

But they are also highly intelligent and sometimes I feel like THEY have to remind themselves that they are human as well.

Translation; don’t be a dick to the very staff that are being paid to HELP you.

I work with neurosurgeons – brain surgeons, if that makes a bigger impact on you. I feel like brain surgeons are in the top of the doctor spectrum. They are elite, intelligent and literally save, and change, people’s lives.

They can also allow this elitism to go to their heads and they can be moody, volatile and temperamental. But they have enormous pressure put on them too. More pressure than most of us will feel in our entire lives, let alone DAILY. Cut them some slack.

If you see a doctor for whatever issue and you feel like that doctor isn’t really listening to you or acts impatient with you, try and have some patience because you have NO IDEA what sort of day he’s having. It’s very likely he just came from a room where he had to tell a patient they have an inoperable brain tumor and only have weeks to live.

(True story).

I’m not trying to excuse the doctor’s that are flat out rude or abrupt, just know that these doctors are HUMAN and you truly don’t know what it’s like to be in his shoes, what he sees or what sort of mental anguish he has to go through every day when dealing with difficult, and sad, cases.

BE PATIENT WITH YOUR DOCTOR. You just don’t know what kind of day he/she is having.

The key, at least, in my lowly medical assistant experience of working with brain surgeons for the past eight (EIGHT!?) years, is to take your cues from the doctor. Are they smiling? Kidding around? Seem to be in a good mood? Probably a good day to give them a hard time and remind them they are human – in a tasteful, professional way, of course.

Are they expressionless, staring at images intently, or highly focused/serious? Those are the days you stay professional and focused yourself. You don’t make eye contact. These are the times you put your head down and do the best job you can possibly do and work to make their day as painless and smooth as you possibly can.

I’m very, VERY, VERY lucky to consistently work with an even-tempered, pretty chill, kind and funny doctor.  Patient’s also love him. I pretty much adore him. He’s ‘da bomb.com. But let’s be real, he has his moments, he’s HUMAN after all and he’s certainly allowed to be grouchy from time-to-time. A bad day for brain surgeons are VERY BAD. When you have to declare someone brain dead and then tell the family … most of us can’t even IMAGINE the absolute hell that must be to experience.

(True story)

And remembering they have to do unthinkable things like that makes me WAY more patient with them when they are being dicks to us that day. It’s the nature of the “business.” You can’t take it personally. You just can’t.

However, there are those doctors, and thankfully, I haven’t experienced very many of them in my years working for this clinic, but there are a few doctors that are just ASSHOLES. Not to their patients, but with their staff. The doctors I’m talking about are the doctors that literally throw things when something doesn’t go their way. Or they cut a person to the very bone marrow with sharp criticism. Or they threaten to walk out of their clinic because their computer will not respond fast enough to their liking. Or they arrive two hours late to clinic, CONSISTENTLY. That’s when you start being proactive and schedule his first round of patients at the time he rolls in because when you have to hand out gas cards to patients because your doctor is two hours late to clinic, THAT’S A PROBLEM.

(True story).

The kind of doctor who discards nurses and medical assistants like bags of dog poop. The kind of doctor who now has such a hellish reputation (not just in the clinic but in the OR room as well)  that when an applicant finds out she’s interviewing to be his nurse, medical assistant, the applicant promptly says “no thanks” and walks out.

(True story).

Which brings us to now.

This doctor, let’s call him Dr. Bob, has scared nurses away, has thrown fits and demanded a member of his team be taken off his team and has literally walked away from a full clinic for technical issues.

Now granted, let’s be perfectly fair here, he has worked with some less than intelligent people. It could be that he has scared the common sense right out of these people, but for whatever reasons, they haven’t satisfied his level of competence, I suppose. Whatever the reason, he has gone through A LOT of people. His current nurse, who we all liked, including Dr. Bob, had to quit due to family issues. We are all VERY sorry to see her go, she was a good match. But life happens. There’s not much you can do about it. And his medical assistant has reached her limit, which honestly, I don’t blame her for not wanting to work with him anymore so now Dr. Bob doesn’t have a nurse, or a medical assistant.

Management is scrambling to try and fill those holes. I don’t envy them that job. But in the interim, he has to have someone run his clinic.

My doctor, who I adore and work very hard to take care of, is in clinic on Mondays and Wednesday, he does surgery the rest of the week. Dr. Bob’s clinic days are Mondays and Thursdays.

I can’t cover him on Mondays, I have my doctor to take care of, (THANK GOD), but that means I CAN cover him on Thursdays.

And management caught me, literally as I was walking out the door on Friday, to tell me I would be covering his Thursday clinic this next week.

And I’m foreseeing, because I’m a big picture sort of gal, that I will be his Thursday coverage for quite some time because it’s hard enough to get anyone to apply for a medical assistant job, let alone get hired.

*sigh* Awesome.

A few years ago, I would have been absolutely petrified about this turn of events. I have covered him a few times over the years, but honestly, I don’t really know him and though he probably recognizes my face, I bet he doesn’t know my name. That’s fine, whatever. I’m not being paid to be the man’s BFF, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to thinking about next week, pretty much non-stop this entire weekend.

And by thinking I mean, planning. Mentally giving myself a pep talk.

I’m not really nervous, per se, but I’m definitely not looking forward to it. I’ve been doing this job for a while now and I’m pretty confident in my abilities and honestly, I don’t give a rat’s ass if he likes me or not, I just want to do the best job I can possibly do and move on.

I guess I’m just bummed that we have, once again, reached this impasse with Dr. Bob. Surely he sees the common denominator when it comes to his staff, he’s not stupid. I suppose he just doesn’t care.

One silver lining to this situation, his mid-level is a sweetheart. He can at least act as a buffer between me and Dr. Bob. I have no intentions of interacting with Dr. Bob, and I’m quite certain Dr. Bob will not interact with me, if he needs to tell me something, he’ll tell his nurse to tell me.

(True story).

But I’m perfectly fine with that. And when, (because it will happen), he throws a temper tantrum about something, I will simply wait for him to finish his temper tantrum and continue on my merry way.

DR. BOB WILL NOT DEFEAT ME.

I’ll keep ya’ll updated.

Reflections, Work Stuff

Thinking Outside Yourself

I was recently told by someone I see nearly on a daily basis:

“I like your blog. You’re a good writer and I really enjoy reading your work. You should write a how-to-live manual.”

(Hi Tiff)

I don’t know if she said those exact words, but that’s the take away from what I heard.

First of all, it’s SUPER weird to be outed by someone in real life. Sure, Kevin, my mom, possibly my sister, knows about my blog but I cringe whenever they mention anything about what I wrote in my blog. I honestly try to walk the tightrope between being honest, fair and authentic without coming across as a know-it-all bitch. Pretty sure I fail most of the time.

When you have a presence, or lack thereof in my case, online, when you carve out a piece of cyber space and make it your own, you really don’t think about how people in your real life would react to this “persona” you’ve developed, or nurtured, online. You feel safe because the web is so massive and anonymous, right?

Not really. Not truly. There are ways of secret identities bleeding into your reality. And when that happens, you just have to grab the exposure by the balls and own up to it. I try really hard to live by my own rules – don’t write anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. It’s definitely not my first choice to tell people what I really think but if push comes to shove, here’s my thought: don’t ask me if you really don’t want to know because, sweetie, I’ll tell you.

Some of this bravado comes with age, though to be honest, I’ve pretty much always been the sort of person who just doesn’t give a shit about what someone thinks of me. True, I may not have been as bold in the past and the degree of my bravado may have changed over the years but my motto has always been, on some level – I am who I am – take it or leave it. 

Because baby, if you leave it, then I didn’t want it to begin with.

I think this mind shift started in high school. I secretly wanted to be part of the popular crowd but I never was. I was one of those fringe people who just stood on the outskirts of … everything. I wasn’t popular, goth, nerdy or super smart. I had just enough personality, instinct, common sense and grit to somehow fit in with every group. A chameleon, I suppose.

And I feel like I’m like that now. I can get along with everyone, truly. Now that doesn’t mean I LIKE everyone I “get along with,” in fact, it’s safe to say most people truly get on my nerves. I don’t TRULY like very many people. I feel like people nowadays are self centered, selfish, whiny, lazy, and looking for excuses to excuse away poor planning, time management or simply incompetence.

I feel like most people have a hard time thinking outside their existence and that attitude and inability, or unwillingness, to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, or be emphatic to someone’s plight totally and completely TURNS. ME. OFF.

Which leads me to the reason for this blog post.

Though I was flattered that my real-life person said the above thing to me, it got me thinking. Why would she say that? What is it about what I have to say that she finds refreshing or worth spending her valuable time reading?

Again, I’m not especially smart. I’m not Gandhi – I don’t have any life-changing wisdom to share though I suppose if you want to count age then perhaps the mere fact that I’m more “mature” (i.e. older than most of the people I work with) could count as “wisdom”.

I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about this in older blog posts but I wonder if what Tiff sees is my ability (ability – *snort* like I’m some sort of sage) to think outside of myself.

Now don’t think this means I’m a super-giving person or self-sacrificing servant, no, I’m not. In fact, I’m incredibly selfish with my time and if I don’t want to do something, I’ll flat out tell you I’m not interested, in a nice way, of course. I’m not one of those people who like to disguise my disinterest in partaking of an activity I’m less than enthusiastic about simply to be polite and says, “Sorry. I really don’t have time for that.”

Bullshit. Just tell me. You’re not interested. Don’t try and sugar coat it and try and make yourself look more important than you think you are in your head. You have time for ANYTHING if you WANT to make the time for it.

If you don’t want to do something, then simply say, “no thanks. I’m not interested.” Okay, thanks, got it. This whole “I don’t have time to do that” , or, “Gee, I WISH I had time to do that.” just pisses me off and makes you look superficial, fake, condescending and stupid. You’re no busier than I am, I just choose to spend my time on activities that interest me. If you don’t, that’s your problem. Prioritize your time.

But I digress.

One of the best pieces of advice, or lessons, that my mom taught me is to have empathy for people – train yourself to look at the situation from the other person’s perspective.

I feel like this is a foreign concept in today’s world. Today, it’s all about ME. And NOW. Or WHAT I’M FEELING AT THIS MOMENT.

I think that’s evidenced by people assuming you care about the latest baby picture, or family drama, or emotion of the moment.

I get feeling proud. I get wanting to share excitement when something great happens in one’s life, but I also feel like most of these same people don’t take time to ask, “Hey, how are YOU feeling?” “How is YOUR family?” “What can I do to help YOU today?”

If it’s not about them, then they are not interested.

It’s sad, annoying and exhausting.

I don’t like to talk about myself much at work. I bet there are less than five people who can tell you the names of my husband and boys. On one hand, it’s sad but on the other, I haven’t exactly offered that information either.

I’ve always told the boys, if you can’t think of anything to say in a group setting, just ask the person about themselves – people LOVE to talk about themselves.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing – just that it’s the normal thing nowadays. People are truly not interested in hearing about something that doesn’t involve them, or something they’re interested in. I’m guilty of this as well, I admit.

But I feel like I have to constantly interject whenever someone comes to me with a problem, or the person needs to get something off her chest about something or someone and remind said person that there are two sides to a story.

Have they taken the time to look at that side?

Have you?

I’m not talking about just at work. I’m talking about society as a whole. Would we have the political divide we have now if people would just stop and CONSIDER the viewpoint from the other side? I’m not saying that you have to change the way you think or your opinion on something just by looking at the other side, but I do think that people would make better decisions or at least understand why something is done if we made it a habit of looking outside ourselves.

I think exercising a little empathy would help society be more patient, understanding and compassionate, but we’re all so ready to think badly of one another when again, unless you’ve walked in the shoes of that other person, you really have no right to make assumptions.

I wonder if that is what my friend was trying to say about my writing. Because I do make a CONSCIOUS effort to stop, think and reverse roles for a minute in my writing because I think it’s important to at least see all sides to a story before coming to a conclusion.

I may not change my mind, or your mind, but at least I UNDERSTAND where that other person is coming from. Ultimately, I feel like that helps guide me, people, society to come up with better solutions.

Or – maybe I’m overthinking this whole thing and she was just trying to be nice.

 

 

 

Work Stuff

Noted

Or don’t forgive me, I don’t care.

If you ever see me write the word noted, or hear me say “noted,” – RUN.

When I took two weeks off in May, (yes, I took two consecutive weeks for the first time in my entire working life and it was WONDERFUL. And I will definitely be doing it again though I know it was hard on my co-workers it was great for mental health), I did a lot of soul searching.

I came to the conclusion that I care too much. It sounds great on the surface but it sucks the life right out of you.

Because you get worked up or upset over everything.

I have learned that is not a good thing. It means you’re worked up most of the time, and you’re tense, and it raises  your blood pressure, and gives you headaches, and heartburn, and you go home just mentally wiped out.

I’m not going to do that anymore. It’s just not worth it. The job will continue whether I’m there or not. I will continue to give 150% but at the end of the day, does it really matter?

In fact, my 2019 mantra is “Pick my battles” and I have been.

I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. Someone didn’t like my tone of voice? Ok.

Someone doesn’t appreciate my honest? Ok.

Management doesn’t want to hear my ideas on how to make a problem area better? Ok. (Their loss).

I. Just. Don’t. Care.

So “noted” is my standard answer. It means, I’m not going to argue with you because I don’t care enough to engage with you. I don’t care what you have to say because ultimately, it has zero impact.

Here are some examples of things recently that I’ve just shrugged my shoulders and moved on.

Patient and her husband came in the other day. She’s not doing well after surgery. She continues to have back/leg pain and though she is walking, she’s using a cane. Testing shows everything is normal from a technical standpoint. (So, it comes down to, lose weight and move more. Those are two things the patient rarely likes to hear).

She comes into the office with a serious ‘tude. First of all, she’s thirty minutes late and the last patient of the day. We are literally waiting on her. Which doesn’t happen often. People are complex and the number one reason doctors run behind. Because people talk too much, or their situation requires more explaining, or a patient is upset and needs a little extra TLC. Or the doctor gets called away to attend to a patient in the hospital. Waiting, unfortunately, is part of healthcare.

This patient argued with the registration people because she didn’t think she needed an xray prior. When she found out she did, she had to go through the process of having one. By the time the patient and her husband made it to our floor, I was literally standing outside the elevator waiting for them because now my doctor is waiting on them.

When they arrived on the floor the husband smirks and says, “Oh, are you waiting on us?”

I don’t play that game. I’m here to help you, not kiss your ass. So I say, “Yep. Let’s go.” There’s no small talk, there’s no sugar coating, it’s all business.

I get her weight and we get back to the room. The patient is actually … not pleasant but not that bad to talk to. I’ve dealt with a lot more hostility. The husband, however, was an ass wipe. He kept cutting the patient off to cross his arms, glare at me and say, “Yeah. She’s not getting any better and I’m not happy about this.”

Noted.

I ignore him, because he’s not the patient, his attitude is not productive and I don’t give a shit if he’s pissed or not. I focus my attention on the patient to try and ferret out why she is continuing to hurt. She answers my questions and I allow her vent a bit.

Little known fact about medical assistants – we’re the first line of defense. Which means, we are the first people the patients see so we are often the people who the patients unload on. By the time the doctor gets into the room, they have typically run out of steam and can allow themselves to focus on the solution – in other words, my part of the process is to endure the bitch session.

I don’t mind, really. I’m quite used to it and sometimes, you just have to allow people to talk. Get it off their chests. And most of the time, they just want someone to HEAR them because most people nowadays don’t actually listen. And I can tell when someone just wants to bitch and someone just wants to tell his/her story. When it’s his/her story, I let them vent. When they are just bitching, I cut the conversation short.

Noted.

However, this patient’s husband just kept on, “I’m not happy, I’m not happy … blahblahblah.” And I wanted to say, “well I’m not happy I have to sit here and listen to you bitch. Now shut up and allow the patient to talk.”

I get that seeing a loved one suffering and be in pain is a lot to process. It’s especially hard for men to see their women hurting because men, at the core, are fixers. And when their women are  hurting and they can’t fix them, it really eats at them.

Again, I can see when that happens and I’m sympathetic. But when you are not the patient and you won’t shut up, I’m not quite as nice.

I usually just look at the ass wipe then pointedly look away from the ass wipe, I’ve “dismissed” them in a sense, and totally ignore them from that point on. This is about the patient, not you. Get over yourself.

Another situation – a potential patient reached out to us via the website and wanted to come in and see my doctor. She read about him online, saw he has good reviews and he specializes in the type of condition she has. The only problem is, she lives in Illinois. She also wanted an appointment with neurology as she’s unhappy with her neurologist in Illinois and asked if it would be possible to have an appointment with both my doctor and neurology the same day. So, emails were being tossed back and forth trying to work out how we could make this happen in one day for our potential patient. I suggested neurology be the first to schedule her as we have more flexibility than neurology – I’m the gatekeeper for his clinic schedule, I can make anything happen. (Not to toot my own horn, but it’s true). Our new patient department goes ahead and makes an appointment for the patient. This annoys me because again, neurology needs to start that ball rolling so you’ve gone ahead and done something I specifically asked you not to do. I respond to the email asking the question, “I thought we were going to wait for neurology to schedule an appointment first?” The girl who made the appointment wasn’t privy to the rest of the conversation and didn’t know the patient requested an appointment with neurology but proceeds to get defensive and tries to bait me by instant messaging me and emailing me. “She needed an appointment, I gave her an appointment. Why is this a problem?” (Long story short, neurology required a referral before they would make an appointment but my doctor agreed to see her).

My response to her increasingly aggressive attitude?

Noted.

Little girl, you don’t know what you’re talking about, back off. It’s not important to you or your job function. Go away.

And she did. It really is more effective to just not respond sometimes. Here’s a mirror, argue with yourself because I have neither the energy nor the inclination to speak to you.

Here’s another example – the medical secretaries in our clinic are great. They really are. They are helpful and make our jobs easier. But let’s be completely honest, they could be busier, a lot busier. So when registration is short staffed and they don’t have anyone to man the podium (the podium is where the patient stops when he/she gets off the elevator and directs the patient to the correct waiting room), we have a resource that can be utilized.

Did tasking them with helping out at the podium go over very well? No. A few of them were upset that they were being asked to do something “outside their normal work duties.” Would it ultimately affect their workload or work day? No. We were asking for 30 minutes of their time.

My response to the bitching?

Noted.

Now get your ass out there and take care of the patient?

See? Bitching really is a waste of energy people because ultimately, it doesn’t do any good.

My nurse asks how I can NOT be upset at things/people. I don’t know, what’s the alternative? Give myself an ulcer? Be forced to take high blood pressure medication because I’m always wound so tight? Take ten years off my life because I’m so stressed out all the time?

Nope. Not happening.

It’s. Just. A. Job.

You’re upset?

Noted.

Post Eight
Camp NaNoWriMo, Work Stuff

I Don’t Play, I Slay

(Fifty points if you get that reference).

Work is going well. I took two weeks of vacation off in May to go on our cruise. Our cruise was 8 days so I had nearly a week left of vacation when we came back and I spent that time doing whatever I wanted to. *snap* It was a time to recharge my batteries, Lord knows, I needed it.

I went way too long between vacations. By the time our vacation came around in May, it had been a year since I took any time off and I was going crazy, not to mention my attitude was BAD by the time April rolled around.

I won’t do that again. For my own mental health.

I love my job as a medical assistant. I work for neurosurgeons and there really is never a dull moment. You’re never caught up and there is always something to do and learn. Especially for me, since I didn’t come from a medical background, I just sort of fell into this job. (I was a scheduler and the hospital decided to eliminate my position and said, either become a medical assistant or bye Felicia).

It’s pretty much the same job, day-in-day-out, just the characters change. I think the biggest challenge is making people understand that ultimately they are responsible for their own health, that there is no magic solution, pill, or surgery that is going to fix them. It may help them on their way, but when push-comes-to-shove, people have to take responsibility for their life choices.

Another big challenge is reminding people to keep their expectations real.

For example: Dr so-and-so is going to cut you open, use surgical retractors to keep you open, move organs aside and expose your vulnerabilities to the surgeon working on you. He is then going to cauterize your vessels to keep you from bleeding out, drill and saw into your bones, move your muscles back into place, sew several layers of skin back together before closing you all the way up and stapling the incision closed.

Now you tell me, do you think you’re going to experience pain afterward?

Let me answer that question for you – DUDE, YOU’RE GONNA HURT.

Do you think the doctor prescribes muscle relaxers and pain medication because he thinks you might need it? Trust me, you’re going to need it.

It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who call us after major back surgery to complain of being in pain. I’m not talking unusual, something is wrong pain, THAT’S when you need to call, when something hurts so bad you can’t breathe and it won’t go away. I”m talking about people who call and complain of intermittent muscle/nerve pain. That’s completely normal.

These calls got so bad that our clinic came up with spine camp to help offset those calls. Whenever someone is going to have a fusion, meaning, something is going on with the back and it’s severe enough the surgeon feels like the patient will need hardware placed in their spine, we send them to spine camp. This is a two-hour meeting where the nurse teaching the class goes over everything to prepare the patient for the procedure. From getting things ready at home, to what goes on in the operating room to what kind of pain and experience they can expect in the hospital after the surgery.

Since implementing that class, the number of calls we’ve gotten has DRAMATICALLY decreased. It’s because we have done a good job of teaching patients realistic expectations.

It’s a fine line between being real and being … polite. Patients need to understand there are consequences for poor choices. If you smoke, you could get lung cancer, or COPD, where you are short of breath simply sitting down and trying to have a normal conversation. If you eat too much, you will become obese and suffer from the problems that come from that issue. And speaking of that, I have a “too fat for surgery” speech that I have to give some patients. That sounds crass and mean but it’s true. If your BMI is too high, which is doctor speak for too fat, then you can’t have surgery because the risks of surgery outweigh the benefits (pun intended). For example, you’re under anesthesia for longer because it take the doctor longer to get to the issue because there are layers and layers of fat to swim through first. This in turn, is stressful on the heart, which is already stressed because the patient is too large to begin with. It takes longer to heal and if you’re carrying too much weight, that puts too much stress on the spine and the surgery won’t if the spine continues to be under stress, the surgery will not be successful.

It’s harder to intubate a large patient. Wounds tend to take twice as long to heal on a large patient. And the list goes on.

And yet, I feel sorry for patients in that situation because sometimes, they really need the surgery but they have to get their weight  under control first. When that happens, the surgeon recommends bariatric surgery to help kick start their weight loss journey. (Side note: my spell check does not like these medical terms).

Luckily, I’m a pretty good communicator and I can take my cues off the patient’s tone of voice and body language as far as how to handle them. Some patients are very no-nonsense, so I need to be no-nonsense. Some patients need to tell their story because it helps them understand and process what is going on with them, so I simply sit and listen to them. Some patients need some TLC because they are scared, frustrated, angry at their situation and just want someone to help them.

Being a specialty, we often times get patients that at their wits end. They have seen multiple doctors and have been told, repeatedly, they can’t help them. Sometimes, when patients find out our doctors can help them, they will burst into tears because finally, FINALLY, they see a light at the end of the tunnel.

I have to tell you, I didn’t go into healthcare with the thought it would be my career, like ever, not once did I even contemplate it. But now that life has thrown me into it, I have to say it’s SO SATISFYING whenever someone comes back in after surgery and they are doing well and so happy to have their life back. I can’t imagine how a doctor must feel when that happens.

Anyway, I got off topic.

The purpose of this post is tell you that when I’m at work, I’m there to work. I’m not there to play, to gossip, or sit around and watch the clock hoping that 4:30 will hurry and get here. I’m one of those people that give 150% and have little to no patience for whiners, complainers and people who like to make excuses. You don’t have to like me but if you are fortunate (!!) enough to work with me, then by gosh, you better get the job done. Am I a bitch? Depends. We all vent, it’s how we cope with stress and frustration, I do it as well. But if you have an excuse for everything and you are always asking for help when you can clearly do it yourself or you’re being friendly to my face but ugly behind my back, yeah, I don’t like you and I’m not going to pretend otherwise.

Will I be professional? Of course, but don’t expect me to care about you, or your life. The hospital is paying us to co-exist and give the best care we’re capable of giving to the patients, anything more than that is bonus material.

However, with that said, I am very fortunate to work with some pretty amazing people. They are professional, compassionate, knowledgeable have great senses of humor. We all have bad days, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t, but we all get along and that makes working alongside these people that much  more enjoyable.

I think people are a little scared of me, if you want the truth. And since we’re being truthful, I’m going to say that I sort of dig it. If you’re scared of me, then you’ll take me seriously and think twice before crossing me.

I tell people all the time that you have to have a line when you deal with the public. I will allow you to push me, scold me, and get me in my face if that is what it takes to get whatever is bothering you off your chest, but there is a line – if you start cursing or getting hateful or disrespectful then all bets are off. I use my “professional firm voice” and trust me when I say, I don’t give a rats ass if I piss you off or “offend” you.

Enough is enough. Back off, check yourself.

And people are so self-centered and selfish nowadays. It’s amazing how often you have to steer a conversation in another direction and point out to people that there are two sides to a story. Just because you heard this way or want it this way does not mean IT’S THAT WAY. You know?

I”m awesome to work with, but don’t cross my line.

Post Five

 

Work Stuff

Watching a Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection

My nurse has plantar fasciitis in both feet, though her left is worse than her right. I know, by the end of the day, she’s hobbling around and in a lot of pain and has to sleep with an ice pack on her feet at night. I can’t imagine what she has to endure and I’m very thankful I don’t have that problem.

This has been going on for quite some time though when she was pregnant with her girls, the pain only got worse.

She has seen a podiatrist for treatment options but our own neuro radiologist (who is AN EXCELLENT DOCTOR) offered to do a PRP injection on her.

A PRP injection  is a platelet-rich plasma injection.

What is platelet-rich plasma?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a patient’s own concentrated platelets. PRP contains a large number growth factors. These growth factors stimulate healing.

What are the goals of a PRP injection?
When PRP is injected, it can aid the body’s natural healing of injuries. The goal is not only to relieve symptoms but to create actual healing. In some cases, PRP may reduce the need for medication and/or surgery.

She wanted me to accompany her and I went. I knew I would feel awkward, and I did, but I went because she’s the daughter from another mother and I wanted to be there for.

I watched as a fellow nurse drew her blood. She seemed nervous. I’ve never drawn blood (thank goodness), but I can imagine it’s nerve wracking to draw blood on a fellow professional. I know my nurse has had to draw blood from our doctor before and she said she was really nervous.

After her blood was drawn, it was put into a centrifuge and spun at high speeds to separate the platelets from the blood.

It was fascinating to watch the nurse put together a sterile environment with all of the syringes he would need for the procedure. I helped, but mostly I feel like I was in the way. But it didn’t seem to bother the doctor that was there with her.

When it’s done, the liquid that has been separated from the blood looks like thick urine making really thick blood.

The doctor numbed her up and then injected her platelets into her foot. The doctor’s nurse helped to distract my nurse but I was left to watch the actual procedure. He was repeatedly stabbing her in the same area while slowing injecting the platelets.

It was a little disturbing to watch but fascinating at the same time.

After it was over, I brought her the wheeled knee walker she will be using to get around for the next two weeks as the doctor has recommended that she not be on her feet for two weeks, after that, she can walk around but will need to wear a boot.

She will be back next week to help with clinics, it will be interesting to see how she navigates around the clinic and helping patients with any surgeries we schedule.

It’s times like that, when I get to watch procedures, that I’m thankful that my job doesn’t require any type of blood draws or other procedures. Not because I can’t do them, I’m sure with training and practice I could, but because I really don’t WANT to that sort of stuff on people.

I’m a spoiled medical assistant, no doubt about.

Work Stuff

Monster Doctor

I hesitate to write this post. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about the medical field, or more specifically, neurosurgery, but I feel I must talk about this because it HAUNTS me.

I don’t know if anyone outside of Texas would really know about this case. I certainly never heard of it until my PA started talking about the podcast and how we MUST listen to it. (Actually, my doctor might have been the one to bring it to my PA’s attention, I’m not sure).

The name of the podcast? Dr. Death.

It’s a true-life horror story of Christopher Duntsch, a neurosurgeon who maimed, and in two cases, killed, over 30 people in a two-year span.

33 Patients. A Charming Surgeon. A Spineless System.

We’re at our most vulnerable when we go to our doctors. We trust the person at the other end of that scalpel. We trust the hospital. We trust the system. Dr. Christopher Duntsch was a neurosurgeon who radiated confidence. He claimed he was the best in Dallas. If you had back pain, and had tried everything else, Dr. Duntsch could give you the spine surgery that would take your pain away. But soon his patients started to experience complications. And all they had to protect them was a system ill equipped to stop the madness. From Wondery, the network behind the hit podcast Dirty John, DR. DEATH is about a medical system that failed to protect these patients at every possible turn. Reported and hosted by Laura Beil.

In case you’re not aware, I am a medical assistant that works in a neurosurgery clinic. We have nine surgeons in our practice, eight neurosurgeons and an interventional neuro radiologist (he specializes in aneurysms). I’m very blessed to work with some of the best doctors in the country, in my opinion. They are all awesome and they are all excellent surgeons.

So, listening to this podcast REALLY hit home for me. Too close to home. I feel like it’s changed my perspective in regards to my job, the doctors I work with and the medical field as a whole. I frequently got goosebumps listening to what this crazy man did to people.

But it’s almost more alarming that he didn’t stop even after being confronted with the results, he refused to accept the reality that he was hurting people, and that he was allowed to continue to maim people.

In a nutshell, this man graduated from med school in neurosurgery. In addition, he had a PhD in research developing some serum that would regenerate cells in the spine and in essence, make spine surgery unnecessary in some cases.

There’s no question he was smart. You would have to be to graduate from medical school and become a spine surgeon.

However, he reportedly became addicted to drugs and there was a witness account of how he would be up all night partying, then put his lab coat on and go to to work the next day.

And this was during his residency.

“Over the course of two years, Christopher Duntsch a.k.a. Dr. Death operated on 38 patients in the Dallas area. Of those 38, 31 were left paralyzed or seriously injured and two of them died from surgical complications.”

One of those patients? Was his best friend Jerry Summers.

Mr. Summers had neck surgery. Duntsch botched his surgery so badly not only is he a quadriplegic today, but Duntsch nearly decapitated him due to drilling out nearly all of one vertebrae.

He placed screws into muscle. He drilled “ping-pong” sized holes in vertebrae. He completely destroyed nerve endings. He killed one side of the thyroid in one patient and I believe put a hole in the same patient’s esophagus.

Listening to this story made me physically sick.

How can a person purposefully do these things to other humans? How does a person not SEE what he’s done and STILL continue to operate as if nothing is wrong?

The man is pure evil.

In the case of Mary Efurd, she was on the operating table when his previous patient was hemorrhaging, BROKE SCRUB, which means, he left the operating room and compromised the sterile environment and the patient’s back was still open with her spine exposed, to argue with the hospital administration to allow him to operate, once again, on the dying woman because he was convinced he could fix her.

One of his patients came in for a follow up and when Duntsch looked at the patient’s scans, he noted a foreign object was in her spine. That turned out to be a sponge he left in the patient.

He diagnosed another patient with a malignant tissue and that turned out to be the patient’s normal muscle tissue.

It just goes on and on. And the whole time I’m just sitting there, flabbergasted, that 1. he continued to do surgeries even though he KNEW he harmed other patients so that to me means he was intentionally doing it, 2. that the operating staff allowed it to happen, though there is a story of one resident surgeon physically putting his hands over Duntsch and telling him to stop, he was dangerous and he wouldn’t work with him ever again, 3. that someone didn’t report him to the medical board, it took getting the police involved before he was stopped.

It’s so disturbing on so many levels. Are doctors really that untouchable??

Listening to this real-life horror story has really changed my perspective at work. I think I take my job even more seriously now and it awes me that so many people put so much trust in my doctor and his team. It’s humbling, quite honestly.

I can’t imagine the pressure that realization is to doctors.

And it concerns me that there doesn’t seem to be a checks/balances process in place for a situation like this. Granted, this was a one-of-kind tragedy and I pray nothing like this ever happens again, but how effective is the disciplinary actions for when something doesn’t go right?

I also put myself in the shoes of his office manager and the nurses that worked with him in his clinic. How could you ethically work with a monster like this? I know his office manager did end up quitting and telling anyone who would listen what was going on, but still, IMAGINE THE STRESS AND THE GUILT OF IT ALL.

And how must Duntsch’s parents feel when they found out what their son had done to people? I truly can’t fathom it.

It’s a shocking story but one we can learn from, I think.

I just pray, we do.

Work Stuff

The Difference Between a CNA and a CMA

In case anyone was curious to know the difference between the two positions:

CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant)

The requirements for becoming a CNA vary from state to state. So you may need to certify again if you move or take a job in another state.

CCMA (Certified Clinical Medical Assistant) – This is me

If you’re earning your Medical Assistant Certification (CCMA), your certification will be nationally accredited and not tied exclusively to a state-run certification or license. That said, some states have specific scope of practice, training or other licensing requirements to perform specific skills such as x-rays. You should make sure you know whether your state is one of them.

CNA tasks are mostly clinical

Certified nursing assistants perform mostly clinical duties related to the patient. Common duties of a CNA include:

  • Collect laboratory specimans
  • Provide bedside assistance
  • Assist with daily activities of living (bathing, dressing, eating)
  • Monitor, record & report changes in patient health
  • Maintain a clean patient environment
  • Provide comfort to patients

CMA tasks can be either clinical or administrative or both – (This is what I do)

Medical assistants perform both clinical AND administrative duties. They are one of the most versatile members of the ambulatory health care team. Common duties of an MA include:

  • Check patients in and out upon arrival and departure
  • Answer phone calls and questions
  • Perform basic billing and coding procedures
  • Assist providers with exams and procedures
  • Assist with minor surgeries
  • Administer injections or medications
  • Work in the electronic health record (EHR)
  • Perform EKG, phlebotomy and laboratory procedures
  • Take patient vital signs
  • Help patients stay up-to-date with preventative testing
  • Perform health coaching or patient education

It’s hard to outline a “typical day” for an MA because each day is different, and there’s little repetition. Moreover, MAs work in a variety of settings and help many different types of patients. If you’re someone who likes variety in your day, becoming an MA could be a good fit for you

CNAs work with nurses

Certified nursing assistants, also called nursing aides — as the title implies — primarily assist the registered nurse (RN) or licensed practicing nurse (LPN). Because they serve as direct caregivers, they are most often employed by nursing homes, residential care facilities and hospitals.

CMAs work with a variety of providers

With a broader skill set, medical assistants assist a variety of providers including physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. They typically work in medical offices, clinics, urgent care centers and may work in general medicine or specialty practices. It isn’t typical to see MAs in the hospital, but with the need for healthcare workers increasing the opportunities for MAs are growing and changing rapidly. (Source)

It still surprises me that I’m a Certified Medical Assistant. I never had any desire to go into healthcare, never envisioned myself doing the job, and yet, here I am.

I don’t even like people that much, ya’ll! How did this happen?

And yet – why do I enjoy it so much!?

Work Stuff

Pick Your Battles

I work with a lot of alpha females. In fact, other than our doctors/PA’s, we have ONE guy that works in our whole clinic.

The females that I work with are smart, fierce and work hard to get the job done and to do it to the best of their ability. We have to all have strong personalities in order to handle our very strong, very smart neurosurgeons. (Who have NO patience for stupidity, to be honest). I don’t mind it, in fact, I sort of enjoy it.

However …

Since we all have very strong personalities, we also have to learn to accommodate and adjust to those personalities.

I have definitely chilled out over the years. I wish I was this “calm” and “zen” when the boys were little – I put impossible expectations on them for which I regret today.

But I have a ways to go. My mantra for this new year, “PICK MY BATTLES.”

I have a tendency to be high strung anyway, especially when I’m at work. I want everything to go smoothly so I’m both nowhere and everywhere at once. I’m hyper-aware of my surroundings and who is where at all times. this helps me to plan the clinic day, keep the flow going, and it works, but it’s also exhausting.

By the end of the day, all of my mental energy has been sapped and I just want to sit, absorb the quiet, not talk and stare at the wall.

I go into zombie mode.

And that works for me.

However …

There is drama at work. How can there NOT be when we have so many women with strong personalities. There are days that we don’t get along, or we perceive a slight when in fact, it’s really not that big of a deal. People snap and are snarky and bitch and moan about situations that in the big scheme of things, are simply not that big of a deal.

At least, in retrospect.

This is apparent whenever we are all in “bitch” mode, blowing off steam and our male doctor simply shrugs and puts things into perspective. Suddenly, is it REALLY that big of a deal?

A little testosterone goes a long way.

I have to work hard to shove my ego into the corner at times. Do I get worked up along with everyone else? Of course, but I also try and look at all sides because it’s not all about me. Is it easy? Oh hell no.

It’s not about being the loudest, but the smartest when it comes to conflict.

If I’m going to get involved in a problem, I want to make sure I’m heard and taken seriously.

I can take this stance because I’m older. The majority of people I work are much younger so I feel like I have an advantage from that standpoint. Sometimes I’m the voice of reason, sometimes I’m the irrational one I need someone to bring me back to earth.

I could care less what someone says about me or if they like me. I truly don’t care. Take it or leave it. Sure, it’s more fun to have fun but ultimately, we’re there to do a job, do it and we’ll get along just fine.

But I do get worked up over injustices. People taking advantage of others. People making excuses for piss-poor work performances because they’re too lazy to learn and do it right. People being holed away from the watchful eyes of management to spend their time on their phones the entire day and making their team partner do all the work.

I’m a hot head and I tend to mouth off when I’m really annoyed or worked up. But I’m going to work on doing a better of job curbing that response and looking at all sides of the issue before flying off the handle.

  1. It’s a more mature approach
  2. My blood pressure will thank me

So. My 2019 mantra?

PICK. MY. BATTLES.

 

 

Work Stuff

Christmas at Work

Happy New Year!

It’s 2019! Next year I will have been married for 30 years. WHAT?!

That in itself is mind blowing, but when I stop to think of the number of years I’ve been on this Earth, it doesn’t feel real. I’ve been alive since 1965. It’s now 2019.

THINK ABOUT THAT FOR A MINUTE!

It SOUNDS old but I honestly don’t feel that old. Well, most days. There are days my body creaks and moans a little more than others.

I honestly think it’s mostly because I work with so many young people. They keep me young. And my job (medical assistant for a neurosurgeon) requires that I’m constantly on my feet a few times a week so that helps, I suppose.

Work is going great. I love what I do (most days) and of course my team is phenomenal. I do have a weird dilemma though – the nurse I work with has discovered my blog. *waves* I freaked out at first and hid my blog for a time but now I’m back and I guess it is what it is. I never write anything that I wouldn’t tell someone to his/her face, but still, it’s weird to make myself vulnerable in that way. I don’t really talk much about myself, my life, my thoughts/feelings much at work so to have someone read these thoughts, here, where I just sort of do a brain dump, is … strange.

At any rate, here we are and hello! to anyone reading this in my real life right now.

Welcome to my internal madness.

The doctor I work for is amazing. He actually invited all of us to his house this past week for a Christmas lunch. His house is gorgeous. It’s brand new, he just had it built, and it’s full of impressive technology and gadgets. The decor is a bit on the minimalist side, which we all knew that was more his style, but personally, I would have liked to see a bit more warmth scattered throughout the house. When we saw his son’s messy bedroom and his attic (which is a space above his garage on the 2nd floor) and saw all of his boxes, cobwebs and other knick knacks, I breathed a sigh of relief; they are not robots after all.

Because let’s face it. We all like nice things and to have our things in their proper places but all people are messy on some level, it was nice to see his level of messy.

We had delicious Mexican food and ate our lunch on their gorgeous dining room table in front of a wall of windows that overlooked their front lawn. We then had dessert in their modern kitchen and breathed in crisp December air after he opened up a full wall of windows that overlooked his backyard. It’s an impressive house.

We then sat down and opened gifts. I feel like my doctor liked the gift I gave him.

It’s an eyeglass holder.

I bought it because we’ve all been talking about glasses lately at work, getting our eyes checked, where the best places to buy eyeglasses, and then showing our new eyeglasses off whenever we buy them and my PA mentioned my doctor didn’t really like his contacts and was back to wearing his glasses and I stumbled across this gem.

I think he liked it. Who knows if he’ll actually use it. But it was good for a laugh.

I bought my PA, nurse and secretary a ring light to clip on to their cell phones. In theory, it’s supposed to help make your selfies look better. My nurse took a pic with it and then without and I think the pic with it looked better.

It was super cheap and I’m going to buy one for myself, but I think they all liked them.

My PA made a longitude/latitude picture for us. They match the colors in our rooms at home. It’s the longitude/latitude of our residence. It’s super cool and Kevin is going to hang it up in the family room sometime soon.

My nurse gave us cute “party of ….” pictures. The number matches the number of people in our families.

My secretary gave me a book, (which I found on Unlimited Kindle and put on my Kindle) and some yummy chocolates.

My doctor gave me a CUTE little Bluetooth speaker to put in our “new” office at work (we actually just swapped spaces with another team but it’s new to me and my nurse) and a jug of protein, mixer cup and protein bars (which I’m keeping at work because I like to eat a protein bar on clinic days because momma ain’t got time to eat in between patients).

My doctor’s wife, who gave me a hug (*squee!*) and his adorable youngest daughter, hung out with us the whole time we were there and it was great to get to know them a bit better. Even though I’ve worked for my doctor as his MA for nearly five years, I don’t really know his family very well. I mean, WHY would I. But it was nice to see a different side to his life.

Our clinic hosted a Christmas open house for surrounding doctors and hospital VIPs. It was the brain child of our PA. She’s super talented and such a hard worker and her and my nurse did the bulk of the work. And WORK they did. We had 14 Christmas trees. In addition, my PA made wreaths to hang around the clinic and my PA’s mom made EVERYONE in the clinic their own stocking to hang up on our individual pods. Close to 800 save the dates / invitations went out and I think we ended up having nearly 300 people attend. We hired a Santa and the kids had their pictures taken with him. We had a hot chocolate station, a cookie-decorating station, a “sign a card for the troops” station as well as a refreshment / finger food station. Everyone walked around to each station. 

This picture is all of our nurses with Santa. Again, an AMAZING group of women. The picture below is one of our PA’s sitting with our Santa.

It’s safe to say that “Buddy the Elf” was a HUGE hit with the kids. We even had pom-pom snowballs that the kids had fun throwing at Buddy, who ran all over the clinic with the kids chasing him.

It was a hugely successful evening and the first of many open houses to come, I’m sure.

It took a lot to persuade the hospital to allow us to throw the open house, but in the end, I think it ended up making our neurosurgery department shine.

I know everyone had a good time planning it then working it.

Me? I was a runner. I constantly walked around to make sure everyone had what they needed at each station. I refilled the cookie tray, made hot cocoa and made sure Santa and our photographer had enough water. (I wracked up 15000 steps by the end of the night).

The last few weeks, with Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Tuesdays, it’s been a ghost town at our clinic.

But not without some drama.

I think people are a bit bored and stir crazy. When we’re all busy, we’re really not paying attention to one another so a lot of things go unnoticed or not reported. But when we’re slow, well, some things stick out more.

Our management team is great, but they aren’t very proactive or timely with any sort of disciplinary actions. We have some people who spend the majority of their days on their phones and others that come up with every excuse in the book as to why they didn’t do something. Management is very aware of these individuals and yet … nothing happens. I realize that these things take time, that there are certain procedures and protocols, but I feel like stress levels are high right now. Who knows what sort of changes will happen in the new year.

Me? I’m perfectly happy with the team I have and I feel incredibly lucky to have them in my work life. I had enough drama with my old nurse, I’m DONE with drama and I’m minding my own business. I’m focusing on doing the best job I can do and everyone else is on their own. I have neither the time, nor the patience, to deal with sub-par associates. All I can do is report it to management, what they do with that information is up to them.

You can’t change people, all you can do is change the way you react to people. You have to think that way or you’ll drive yourself crazy. And honestly? Life is too short to be stressed out all the time. So I’m on a mission to stay chill. My blood pressure has been on the rise again and I’m working on getting it under control again. I need to start walking/exercising again as I know that is a large part of why my blood pressure is wonky again.

I’m looking forward to a new year and new adventures.

Work Stuff

Insert Coffee to Begin

insert-coffee
And MAN, do I need to coffee to keep up at work! Read on …

Hi. I’m still alive, always lurking in the background and avoiding my blog because every time I sit down to write and I see that little blinking cursor, I freeze up and go brain dead. But I feel like life is starting to settle down and I have found my new normal, so I feel ready to start sharing my life again.

Work is good. My new nurse has been working with our team for over a year now and things are settling down into a routine. I feel like we all work extremely well together, we all get along, we make each other laugh, patients compliment us as a team, we throw fun little parties, we make an effort to eat lunch together at times and we genuinely like each other.  I hope this continues for a very long time. I feel like after the two years of hell I had with a super crappy, crass, rude/crude nurse, I deserve some fun times at work. And I’m having fun, I truly am. I ADORE the people I work with and I don’t mind going to work each day. In fact, I really enjoy it.

If I haven’t told you, I work in a neurosurgery clinic. I feel like it’s the perfect balance of patient interaction. My doctor sees patients in the clinic two times a week, and when he’s in surgery the rest of the week, I manage the phones and make sure tests are scheduled and we’re ready for the next batch of patients for the upcoming week. I love this balance because I truly don’t think I could handle working in a family medicine clinic where they see patients every day. I generally don’t like people. I know that’s sort of a shocking thing to say considering I’m in healthcare, but I can only handle listening, sympathizing and being nice to people for so long before I’m simply DONE. I truly enjoy helping people and it’s SO REWARDING to see people feel so much better after having surgery, but being at everyone’s beck and call for 45 hours per week just sucks the life out of you.

But, as I mentioned, I have a phenomenal team who all pitch in and pull their weight. I trust them and I hope they trust me. Somehow, we get the job done. We have perfected the way we do things and our clinics run like clockwork. So much so, in fact, that my boss has asked me to put a clinic prep “guide” together to teach my fellow medical assistants. I guess the doctors, (not my doctor, thankfully), have been complaining that things aren’t being done fully or correctly and they want changes. I’m flattered my boss is asking me to do this and I’m glad to help in any way I can, but if people aren’t willing to make those changes, then no amount of “teaching” will help them. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

We’re planning some fun stuff in the upcoming weeks at work. We have two birthdays coming up, our medical secretary and our physician’s assistant. The nurse and I have been shopping for presents and we’re planning on “themed” food days. For example, our doctor’s birthday was the first of June and we had a “beach” party because he mentioned how he really wants to take his family to someplace like Mexico but he’s afraid of exposing them to “bad” people so we brought the beach to him. I think he really enjoyed himself. Here’s a picture of our beach party:

beach-party

Starting on the left side: Nurse, Doctor, me, secretary and physician’s assistant. Our facial expressions KILL me! LOL (By the way, see the matching scrubs? Our doctor bought us matching scrubs for Christmas – how cool is that??)

As you can see, we like to act goofy.

Then we had a 4th of  July party. We actually had the party on the 2nd and here’s why. Since 4th of July was on a Wednesday, and we have clinics on Wednesdays, we tried really, really hard to talk our doctor out of having clinic on Monday, then some of us could take a few vacation days off. But for whatever reason, our doctor didn’t want to do that so we thought, “okay, fine. If we have to work on that Monday, then we’re going to have a party, damn it.”

And we did. Our doctor, and another doctor from another team, bought BBQ meat from City Butcher and we all brought in side dishes. I brought in deviled eggs and Snicker-doodle cookies. and though it’s always a challenge to try and find time to eat together on clinic days, we managed to do it. It’s so fun to let our hair down and just be goofy and funny. It blows off steam and we bond a little bit more as a team.

Here’s our 4th of July party picture:

4th

God Bless America, I love these people! LOL The nurse and the PA are hugging me because I jokingly said, “I don’t know what to do with my arms” since I was in the middle.

Here are few older pictures:

workgroupBB

This was when our nurse came back from maternity leave. She actually surprised us one day in clinic. We were setting things up and she walked in and said, “I’m back bitches!” I squealed like a stuffed pig and hugged her. (Which is sort of a big deal because I don’t like hugs – at all). So, we were all feeling a bit stupid and giddy in this picture. It was a very good day.

This picture is our PA’s birthday last year:

workgroupA

Yes. We made t-shirts because we love her so much.

We’re a fun group, what can I say?? We enjoy each other. I don’t know if our doctor really knows how to take being surrounded by so many crazy, alpha females, but damn, we have fun.

I’m so, SO thankful we have a fun group. I hope none of us goes anywhere for quite some time.

In the meantime, we’re planning a few more parties. The entire clinic is dressing up for Halloween. The year before last, our group dressed up like the Wizard of Oz, I was the scarecrow (of course), our old nurse was Dorothy, our secretary was Glenda the Good Witch, our PA was the wicked witch and our doctor was the Wizard of Oz but unfortunately, he wasn’t able to participate because his dad passed away a few days before Halloween. But we had a yellow brick road around our part of the clinic, a huge Wizard head, a house, a tornado, haunted trees and a hot air balloon. It was pretty incredible and OF COURSE we won the costume trophy that year. We didn’t dress up last year, it fell on a surgery day and our team wasn’t together (I was sort of glad, I actually hate dressing up), but THIS YEAR, it’s going to be a blast.

The entire clinic, (well, the teams that have clinic on that day and since it falls on a Wednesday, that would include us), are dressing up in time period costumes. Each team got to pick a time era and our team chose the roaring 20’s. I GET TO DRESS UP LIKE A FLAPPER!! I can not wait! We’ve already picked out our dresses on Amazon – they are all going to be the same kind of dress but different colors, and we found a “flapper” set of accessories to go along with it. Including candy cigarettes! I’m pretty sure I already have some shoes that will work.

It. Is. Going. To. Be. A. Hoot.

Our doctor is game, so our PA is going to find some wingtip shoes, suspenders, tie and a gangster hat for him to wear.

Oh, don’t you worry, we’ll take pictures.

Then, for Christmas, we’re not dressing up, but we’re decorating our clinic for a Holly/Jolly Open House. We plan on having five (?) themed Christmas trees, a hot chocolate station, a “decorate-your-own-cookie” station, an area for the kids to do a craft and watch snippets of “Elf” while their parents rub elbows with our doctors, a station for people to write notes to our soldiers and a LIVE Santa where we will have a photographer taking pictures. The clinic is throwing this shin-dig to help promote neurosurgery to referring doctors in outlying areas. Since patients have more of a choice on where they can go now with insurance changes, (which, I’m not a big fan of OBummer care, but giving people a choice on where they want to go is a good thing), it’s forcing everyone in healthcare to compete and step up their game to provide better service. Capitalism is a good thing, people!

In addition, we’ve had two new doctors start in our clinic and a slew of new faces to staff those teams and I’ve been busy helping to cover those new doctors as well as train new people. It’s been busy, we plan on getting busier (because the hospital hasn’t approved to hire another MA for our newest doctor yet, which means we’re all having to take turns to fill in and help out) but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Everyone is so incredible and I’m so blessed to work with each and every one.

I have to confess, this time two years ago, I didn’t know if I would be able to stay in my current job. I was miserable and so stressed out that it was affecting my health but I’m glad I stuck it out because honestly, I’ve made some pretty incredible friends and I’m really having a lot of fun – which is a rarity in today’s working world.