Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In: Still Limping

I spent most of the week limping (literally) from one thing to another.  When I could, I would sit with my leg elevated, sometimes I could even ice it.  Of course, I was working most of the week and that may have had something to do with exacerbating an already painful and swollen situation. 

I went to an Aqua Fit class on Saturday because they say that it’s easy on the joints and knees and such.  When I woke up Sunday in more pain, I was so discouraged.  I can do upper body strength stuff but only sitting and I can’t really get down on the floor for core/abs.  I’m limited but not stoppable.  I am doing what I can, when the pain is not too much for me.  Otherwise, since Friday, I’ve tried to stay off my leg as much as possible.

I lost 4.5 lbs (2 kg) this week.  Still over my goal for the year.  A little disappointing.  It doesn’t help that I am physically unable to do all that I want to do to lose the weight I have regained.  At least I am losing the weight but I would like to catch up with my goal and even get ahead of my goal, which is where I was before I left to see my mother.   So my short-term goal is to get back on track. 

The workout goals for the week:
Use free weights for upper body
Take care of my knee
Take care of my knee
Take care of my knee

Monday, June 30, 2014

Halfway Through the Year and . . .

It’s so cliché to say that time seems to be flying by.  How can tomorrow already be July?  I ended May expecting to end my volunteer internship, hoping for a job offer to be made.  June, obviously, imploded on me.  An offer was almost made then not firmly made then made then changed.  And I walked.  So here I am at the end of June trying to figure out what I want for my month of July.

(BTW, if you missed yesterday's post, you might want to stop reading, check it out, and come back to this one.  It's worth it because it puts the above in context.

So what’s going to happen in July?  I obviously don’t know because I didn’t even know what would happen in June but here goes . . .

Italian—Rob and I have been listening to the Pimsleur cds on my way to and from the office.  I would like to continue that, in spite of my not working.  I’ll just have to schedule time for it each and every day. 
Calligraphy—I would like to start using my supplies.  I keep saying this.  Seems now is the perfect time to make it happen with no trips to the office on my immediate horizon.
Exercise—As I write this, my knee is giving me a lot of trouble. I’ll be seeing a doctor about it soon.  In the meantime, I can do some upper body work and maybe some abs too.

By Month’s End
Assuming my knee gets better, there’s a lot of housework I can get done.  The office has become a bit of a mess.  Okay.  It’s a friggin’ disaster.  I want my office back.  I can make it happen if I can get in there and do things without hurting myself in the process.  So, until my knee heals, I’ll just pretend my office doesn’t exist.

I have a new laptop and I need to learn to navigate my way through it.  It has a touch screen; I don’t even know what to think about that.  One thing I know is that I’m super leery of using it because my old laptop has the conduit virus on it and I don’t want to accidentally transfer something from one laptop to the other.  So I keep avoiding my new toy for fear I’ll make it sick.  Maybe my son is right when he says I don’t need such a bad ass laptop and should just give it to him.

I’ll be getting a new haircut this month.  The guy who is working his way through his certification has given me some really great cuts.  I absolutely love the one I have.  So why would I give it up?  Because hair grows.  And it’s very hard for him to find models willing to go very short.  Which is why I will have a pixie cut by the end of the month.  Actually, I’ll be getting my hair cut tomorrow!  So I’ll be starting the month with a new look.  Sounds like a great way to start the month.  A new look and maybe even a new outlook.  Maybe . . . 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Two Week Update: Keeping Up With the Craziness

Waiting at the airport
Good luck keeping up with the rollercoaster craziness that is my life of late. 

On Thursday, the 19th, I’d walked out of the office with no offer presented to me in spite of the doctor and her consultant a week earlier saying one would be made.  So I came home disappointed, wrote a letter explaining that I appreciated everything, and hoped to hear from them soon.

Did you know Marc
has a twin brother?
Of course “soon” didn’t mean while I was sitting at the airport picking up my son and his roommate from the airport but that is when she finally sent me a text asking me to call her.  I replied, saying I was at the airport, picking up my son, and could call her tomorrow.  Seriously, I wasn’t about to be stuck on the phone talking to anyone when I am seeing my son for the first time in two years.  Would you?

Marc and his roommate David came through the airport from a different direction from the one where Rob and I were waiting but we found them easily enough and Marc ran over to me, threw his arms around me and gave me a huge hug.  We headed home and I fed the boys something before we all went to our respective beds.  Thankfully, I was able to borrow an amazing air mattress from Kanika or someone would have been sleeping on a couch. 

David, Marc, and Shira
Here’s a down and dirty rundown of all the fun we had while they were here.  We went to Joe’s place to play games, watched Tangled, had Thai food with Shira, talked a lot, enjoyed the World Cup.  Okay, I didn’t do that last one but they did, as did Rob.  We ate so indulgently that I regained all of the weight I’d  lost after losing the weight I’d gained during my visit with my mother.  They rented a car so they were able to visit David’s cousin, hang out with one of Marc’s friends, and Marc shared some of his favorite haunts. 

During the week, I heard from the doctor and she asked me to come into the office on Father’s Day to discuss things.  Yes, she actually said she knew it was Father’s Day but would I mind?  Since Rob didn’t mind, and it was scheduled for early enough in the morning, there was no reason for me not to say yes.  Maybe, just maybe, there was a job offer in the offing, right?  Well, no, not so much.  Instead she and the consultant wanted me to learn the database used in the office to the best of my ability from home.  Because I knew the boys wouldn’t be hanging out at the house every day, I knew I would have time to learn everything I could. 

Bibi wearing the floral headband
I bought for her in NJ
Wednesday Rob and I took Bibi to a local crafting class being offered by Michaels.  It was great fun for her but difficult for me because that morning I woke up with my knee aching.  It was bad enough that I was limping slightly so Rob and I sought out a place where I could sit while Bibi enjoyed the class.  I signed her up for the classes knowing that the doctor’s office is closed on Wednesday. If a job offer were to be made, my taking Bibi would not interfere with anything. 

Plus, bonus, quality time with Bibi.  Yay!

Thursday, the doctor called, ready to make me a job offer because the new person she had hired to cover the front desk had quit and would not be coming back on Monday.  After only two weeks, she was done.  The doctor asked me to come in on Friday to discuss a solid offer.  The offer made was 58% less than what I had made at my last job and equal to what I was paid when I first graduated from college but I really wanted to learn all that I could about working in a medical office.  When the doctor asked me to cover the front desk, I offered an enthusiastic “yes.”   First, I would need to get some scrubs.  So instead of going straight home and having dinner with my houseguests, we had to stop off at the store and buy me some scrubs—two tops, one pair of pants would carry me through the week.  And, after my second paycheck, I could go to a thrift or second-hand store and buy one or two more pieces. 

Matt & Thomas having fun
with my Razr flip-phone
The idea was that I would learn how the front area of the office should run then gradually work my way to the back office, cross-training so I could easily step in where needed when needed, but with an eye to eventually taking the place of the biller & coder. 

Interjection:  On Friday, I mentioned to the doctor that we would be celebrating my husband’s birthday on Saturday and Sunday we would be saying goodbye to my son.

Saturday, we were expecting people because we were going to celebrate Rob’s birthday with two kinds of cake and lots of pizza and snacks and such.  And everyone came, which was great.  Joe had to work but was able to get out early enough to join the party.  We played a lot of games, including some with Bibi, of course.  We ate cake and pizza and just enjoyed one another’s company.  Lots of laughter and great company.  Rob had a gig that evening so he left before everyone else did and we were up late playing games, including one David had brought with him. 

When I went to bed, my left leg was swollen and my knee quite painful so I spent most of the next day in bed, my leg propped up on a pillow.

One of the cakes we had
for Rob's birthday
During the party, the doctor sent me a text asking me what time I would be in the office on Monday.  She also called my son who had given her quotes on computers months earlier and even sent her updated quotes (because prices on computers tend to change) a few weeks later.  Now you know why I mentioned telling the doctor about Rob’s birthday party, not that her knowing stopped her from texting and calling.  We had fun in spite of the interruptions.

Sunday we said farewell to Marc and David.  Holly absolutely adored David as soon as they met.  She loved Marc too (who wouldn’t?) but anyone could see she adored David.  And saying goodbye to them was not easy but they plan on coming again in September for Dragoncon.  I think knowing we’d see one another so soon made saying goodbye to my son a little easier. 

The boys leaving too soon
Of course, at this point I was shifting focus from family to my new job.  Not a lot of anxiety, probably because I had been coming in on a voluntary basis and was familiar with the office on some level.  I had no clue what the reality of the situation was.  Monday morning I came in only to discover that, over the weekend, the doctor had interviewed someone and hired her to work the front desk.  So I was relegated to helping her.  I was able to point out a few things about using the database (remember, I had been studying it albeit I’d been studying a different part of the system and was learning as I went along) and together we were able to figure other things out. 

Monday was a mess but Tuesday was better.  The new person and I were working very well together and I was feeling confident about our being able to whip things into shape.  Only, the doctor’s partner came in and started training me in how to do medical transcription.  Okay.  I really wanted to learn everything about how the office ran and, if I didn’t feel like I’d had enough time to learn the front desk area I didn’t mind learning something new. 

A picture I took of the desk
where I was doing the transcription
Wednesday, because the office was closed, I could finally rest my leg, although we first took Bibi to the craft class again.  She had an even better time the second time around.  How awesome is that?  Better still, when I woke up Thursday, my knee was feeling a little better.  Since I was doing the transcription, I wouldn’t have to worry about being up and down on my legs all day and hoped my knee would be okay.  Halfway through the day, the doctor came in and said she wanted me to do the notes differently.  Not a crisis but I had emailed the step-by-step process to both her and her partner, neither of whom made any corrections to what I had typed out on Wednesday.  I also typed up notes for the front desk person, outlining the processes we had figured out.  So I started the notes over again, filling in the gaps she wanted filled and finishing up the rest of the paperwork the way she wanted me to do. 

Someone left a job application
on a printer at the office
That night she called, telling me I would be sitting with the biller & coder who would train me.  This was actually what the doctor had offered to me back in March.  I would come in voluntarily and help the biller and coder.  She would train me as we went along and, eventually, we would be able to work our way through the backlog.  And months later I hadn’t been trained to do any coding—just how to do some data entry, something I already knew.  Of course, that didn’t keep me from being of more help to others.  I’d created a letterhead for the office, a few other documents for different people in the office, including tracking sheets and such, and more.  Fixing printer paper jams (something nobody else could figure out), removing over 300 viruses from one of the computers and, as I mentioned above, having my son provide her with quotes for new computers. 

Finally, after months, I would be doing what I had been there to do all along. I showed up Friday and got to work right away.  Before I could even finish coding the first encounter the doctor asked to see me. 

Now, let me pause a moment because the doctor had, at this point, made me the following offers:

  • Come in for free and get some training. 
  • Study the system for two weeks and come in and we’ll pay you money.
  •  Come in Monday to work the front desk for $xx.xx/hour.
  •  Transcribe the encounters for the next few weeks.
Do you see even one offer/promise upon which she had followed through?  Well, she kinda followed through on #3 because, although I only worked the front desk area a couple of days, she was still paying me the agreed amount per hour.  Sure, I hadn’t signed any paperwork but neither had the other woman who was covering the front desk.  I figured we’d both receive our new hire packets before the week’s end and there was no reason to believe that the doctor’s wanting to talk with me was anything else.

Rob bought me a rose
because Monday was such a
stressful day
So you can imagine my surprise when she told me she wanted to change the offer because it wasn’t fair to the other staff members for her to pay me “so much” when I was only in training.  Under the circumstances, she had decided to pay me one dollar less than what she had offered me a week earlier.  Excuse me?  For one thing, nobody knew how much I was being paid.  For another, when she made the offer, she knew what I could do and how hard I had been working for the office from day one.  Which is why her consultant urged her to hire me having recognized that I am an asset to the office. 

And that is why, after working in the office for only one week, I did something I had never ever done before in my life—I walked out of a job.  When I came home, I emailed the doctor an invoice for my hours and some of the documents I had created for her and the office staff.  I further explained to her that the other documents I had created could be found on the one computer I had used to store all documents. 

My leg at its worst
And I was done.  I spent the rest of Friday resting my leg.  Saturday morning I joined Kanika for an Aqua Fit class.  I had to avoid doing some of the moves because of my knee but it went well, in spite of my pain and vertigo.  I’ve learned how to care for myself for so long that I was able to make modifications as we went along.  I told Kanika and her husband about my week at the office, they both reacted with a “What?” when I reached the part about the doctor wanting to reduce my agreed upon wage.

The rest of the day I tried to stay off my knee.  Rob had a gig and I enjoyed a little solitude at the end of two crazy weeks.  Not for nothing, I’m ready for the upcoming week to be less hectic.  It could happen, right?  Please?