Cargo Trailer Conversion Build

Here is a quick walk-through video if you’re interested.

Here is the detailed discussion of the contents of our trailer that I promised that we would post months ago. It’s a bit tedious but hopefully you find it interesting and maybe it will inspire you if you’re thinking of building something like this.

My apologize for the birds, frogs, passing cars and the number of times we hit the table and shake the camera. I realize that’s annoying. Make it into a drinking game! Every time we shake the camera, take a drink!

I’m very proud of Kevin for taking on this project. I think he has done an excellent job of repurposing existing materials and somehow making it work for our trailer. We wanted something comfortable, durable and cheap and he hit it out of the park. We’ve used it a handful of times, in fact, I have some more trips to blog about, and we’re very comfortable in it. We feel a bit out of place when we go camping, we rarely see other cargo trailers when go out, but we like it and that’s all that matters. We’ve had some other campers comment on it a few times and a few brave souls have actually asked to look inside.

It’s not completely done. The bathroom area hasn’t been painted yet and there are some trimming details but overall, it’s functional and we’re enjoying it.

A few side note: we no longer store the TV by the toilet when we travel. It bumped around one too many times and we ended up cracking the screen. (Though Kevin found an even bigger one for dirt cheap – I don’t know how he finds all these deals!). We store the TV under one of the bed mattresses now and that seems to keep it safe and secure – so far so good.

Kevin is worried that we’re going to crack the toilet because it’s just a normal, ceramic house toilet, so we travel with the lid off the toilet tank and he bungees it in place so it doesn’t bounce around and move. Again, so far so good, no cracks. Which is surprising because we’ve taken a few wrong turns and have ended up on some BUMPY roads.

We’re talking about making some update videos soon, little 15 minute videos of things we’ve changed, upgraded, since we filmed this five months ago. Kevin even added solar panels!

Thanks for watching and happy camping!


June 2022 Reflections

(My Reflections posts are more stream-of-consciousness kind of posts so I apologize up front if some of what you read doesn’t make sense. But this is me we’re talking about here so … are you really surprised?)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Movie/TV Reviews

Movie Review: American Psycho

The last time I wrote a movie review was in 2013 – and honestly, that’s about the last time I watched a movie. Kevin and I have been anti-TV and movie for years and years – largely because most of the stuff that is out there is crap. At least in our experience. We were tired of being disappointed and always wished for our two hours back.

I would much rather watch YouTube – “real life” people doing “real life” things, that continues to be a lot more interesting to me.

Our interests in movies, or perhaps I should say MY interest in movies, started back up when Kevin and I went to an actual movie theater (*gasp*) to watch “Maverick”, the sequel to Top Gun. More on that movie later. But that re-awakened my interest in movies again.

Halloween rolled around and we invited our grown boys, men now, over for tacos and a movie. After dinner, we sat down to decide what movie we wanted to watch. Blake, our oldest son, is not a fan of scary movies but he stumbled onto American Psycho one night browsing YouTube. Someone had uploaded the movie, (and was forced to take it back down) and Blake watched it.

He suggested it and we all agreed. I had heard about the movie but knew little about it.

So we watched it.

To say it was a bit awkward watching the nudie scenes with our sons would be putting it mildly but I have to say, it was interesting in a macabre way.

“I think my mask of sanity is about to slip”. That’s a line from the movie and it perfectly describes what happens to Patrick Bateman’s humanity.

A wealthy New York City investment banking executive, Patrick Bateman, hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he delves deeper into his violent, hedonistic fantasies.

What’s interesting about this movie is you’re left wondering about a lot of things.

Some interesting points:

  1. The business cards. Patrick is obsessed with other successful people’s business cards. It was a symbol of elitism and power. The better quality card, the more that person demanded respect and was envied by his peers. We actually laughed out loud at the number of times Patrick and his co-workers would whip out their business cards and show off the “quality” of their cards. Patrick would ultimately be disappointed in that his card wasn’t as good as everyone else’s and he would end up bitter and resentful fueling his desire to up his card game the next go around.
  2. The fact that no one listened to anyone else. Patrick would say the most outlandish things but the people around him never paid close enough attention to actually listen to him. He felt overlooked and inconsequential even though he prided himself on being “perfect” on the outside. He was craving true connection but no one in his life cared enough outside of themselves to really SEE him.
  3. His demented sense of humor while he was carrying out horrific acts of violence left the viewer wanting to laugh but feeling guilty wanting to laugh.
  4. The fact that he made an obscene amount of money but did very little to earn it. You never really saw Patrick DO anything other than go to endless business lunches or meet people after hours for drinks. This was a man with too much time on his hands and very little to show for it.
  5. Patrick’s obsession with himself – with his hair, his skin, his body. Again, I think this goes back to the fact that no one really paid attention to him so he gave himself too much attention. This lead to narcissistic tendencies. It was funny at times, but mostly sad.
  6. The fact that everyone kept calling him by the wrong name. No one knew who Patrick Bateman really was. Even his fiancé only wanted his wealth and status, she was not interested in Patrick, the man.

At first, you’re distracted by the fact that this is one sick individual and disgusted by his sick and twisted needs. And though these events only get bloodier as the movie progresses, they also get more and more frenzied so that by the end of the movie, Patrick has completely lost touch with reality and desperately wants someone to stop him.

But the lingering question is: Did Patrick really do all of those terrible things? Or did he only fantasize about doing those terrible things?

It was a disturbing movie but a fascinating look at the human psyche. I think it was also a social commentary on how we’re all so deeply entrenched in our own lives that we don’t truly see anyone outside ourselves anymore. We only see what we want to see – the exterior, the façade.

Rating: B

At the Moment, Twitter Messages

A Society-Wide Problem

Did you see this crying barista video? Watch and let’s discuss.

First of all, I’m a big fan of Matt Walsh. He calls it like he sees it. He’s real and unabashedly honest. He doesn’t sugar coat it and he doesn’t apologize for simply pointing out REALITY to people. He’s part of the Daily Wire group, which I recommend following, for a number of reasons. But let’s get back to the video.

My first reaction is pity. I feel sorry for this girl. She’s clearly confused, on so many levels, and crying out for help that no one can admit she needs.

My next reaction is anger. At her parents. For not standing firm and teaching her that life will not treat you special. That you’re not special, not to the general population. I can ASSURE you, no one, NO ONE, cares what you identify as. NO ONE is going to cater to your hurt feelings or sensitivities. And no amount of facial hair, crying, protesting, anger, name calling, is going to change that. It makes me angry that parents haven’t taught their children how to handle reality. How to endure hardships. The importance of hard work and enjoying the fruits of that labor.

And the part where she says, “The customer mis-gendered me … I have a full mustache and beard!” All I hear, is, “play into my fantasy! Do you realize what I’ve gone through to make this charade a reality??” I just feel bad for her. She’s desperately trying to be special, to stand out … all this has done is break her. It’s just pathetic.

As Matt says, this is a system-wide problem. Our kids have short circuited and the “adults” in their lives are too scared to re-wire them. Everyone is so scare of being “labeled.” I’ve never understood why people are so scared of WORDS?! Who cares what you call me. Think what you want, it DOESN’T CHANGE REALITY.

And I truly don’t understand the NEED to post oneself having a mental break down to the Internet for everyone to see and ridicule. Why? What is the purpose of putting your mental breakdowns online? What is that going to do? How does that help? Short answer, it doesn’t. This girl not only posted her breakdown, she posted it WHILE AT WORK AND ON THE CLOCK. I’ll be shocked if she doesn’t get fired. And news flash, this is precisely why companies are loathe to set up unions because snowflakes like this will make crazy demands ultimately leading the business to closing it’s doors because it can no long afford to cater to it’s crazy employees’ demands.

Is it the attention? I guess negative attention is better than no attention at all?

“We have built a society filled with people who can not handle any amount of frustration at all, they can’t carry on, let alone thrive. They collapse and melt into a puddle. And the fundamental issue is that no one wants to work, these people think they shouldn’t have to. They just don’t wish for the magical genie, (to grant their every wish), they think that the world owes it to them. And when the world doesn’t give them what they believe they’re owed ,they cave into themselves even farther.”

Amen Matt, amen.

Here are two more examples of today’s system-wide problems:

This grown woman thought it was okay to dump the entire contents of TWO bowls of candy into her bucket, bag, whatever. What makes someone think this is okay?? What sort of upbringing did this woman have to not only think this is okay but to act upon it? She’s feels like this is “owed” her, I guess. I truly don’t understand this mentality.

And check out this kid:

I’m sure his parents are beaming with pride right about now. I say that with sarcasm but I don’t know, maybe they really ARE proud of this little shit.

And the fact that he flips off the camera at the end. So disrespectful and antagonistic.

If this is your child, or you have a child that behaves in this way, not only is your kid an asshole, but you need parenting lessons. Because THIS? This is not the proper way to raise a child.

Seeing the state of people’s narcissistic, selfish, entitled attitudes and behaviors sickens me. What are we doing? How did we get this way? I know the schools are a HUGE part of the problem but parents, what the hell?!

Kids like this boy and girl, who thinks she’s a boy, grow up into the asshole that is this grown woman. It’s a cycle of sadness, despair and disillusion.

Let’s get back to reality, shall we?

Parents, do better.

NaNoWriMo 2022 - 30 days, Work Stuff

And the Answer Is …

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those are some pretty crappy choices.

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

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

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

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

Sound familiar?

Fast forward ten years later to COVID.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September ended and October started. Still no word.

Mid-October arrived – still no word.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The last week of October starts and still no word.

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

Because of course.

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Thank you for your consideration.  


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

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

I stayed until 5:00 PM.


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dear Karen,

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Only time will tell.

So. The vaccine saga is over for now.

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

Thanks for reading.

NaNoWriMo 2022 - 30 days

My Story in Thirty Days


Welcome to November.

Wow – 2022 is nearly over.

Guess what time is is? It’s time for NaNoWriMo.

Which I won’t be participating in this year, at least, in the traditional sense.

I’m so out of practice writing that there is no way I’m ready to start writing fiction again. I want to get back into writing but on my own terms, starting with this blog.

My intention is to post something on my blog every day in November. Who knows if it will happen but that’s the plan for right now. I apologize if I overwhelm your email inbox but I need to challenge myself to get back into it. Time is ticking; I’m losing track of time.

I’ll try not to post a novel about my life every day, but I warn you now, there will be some political posts – how can there not be with everything crazy going on in our world right now? But I promise to be as fair as I can when evaluating the current state of affairs and if that’s not your bag of tea, please skip those posts.

Yes. A decision has been made regarding my career. My life path has been determined and I no longer feel like a worm squirming on a hook anymore. I will explain all in tomorrow’s post.

For now – I hope you’re doing well and as always, I appreciate the time you’re taking out of your busy day to visit my inner world.

Work Stuff

The Line Has Been Drawn – Now What?

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


Summer is over.


It’s September 3, 2022.

Blink. Blink.

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

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

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

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

Again, assuming you live until 90.

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

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

Sobering, isn’t it.

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

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

In this case, it’s option #2.

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

Sort of.

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

Let me give you the cliff notes version.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cue – me.

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

Well …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My health is way too important for a JOB.

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

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

My body, my choice. Right?

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

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

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

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

The countdown has begun. Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading.