Hipaa

All posts tagged Hipaa

At least this usually only happens once a month.

Published March 1, 2018 by Malia

If I ever don’t work in the world of healthcare, the one thing I will never EVER miss is working on the days immediately before, on, and directly following a full moon.

Full moons suck.

The boy honestly believes I’m just superstitious. I think he wouldn’t think that if he’d seen the weirdness that I’ve seen.

When I worked in the vet clinic, a full moon guaranteed that the worst, most bat-crap crazy pet owners and their even more insane pets would descend like a cloud of locusts. (Cloud? Herd? Flock? I can’t remember the right of term right now.) On top of that, downright weird stuff would happen. Awful phone calls, and things that were mind-blowing bizarre. It didn’t just happen once. I could depend on it happening Every. Single. Month. I would intentionally use vacation time, just so I didn’t have to work on full moon days. Looking back, my coworkers might have wondered if I was a werewolf.

Today, it was just reinforced to me how truly awful full moons can be. I can’t actually write about it A. Because I wasn’t directly involved, and more importantly B. I’m not willing to violate HIPAA just for a blog post. Let’s just leave it that it was sad and I was reminded, yet again, that I work with some amazingly strong, smart, wonderful humans.

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I Can Be Your Herooooooooo

Published June 1, 2013 by Malia

Today as I was driving to work, I realized that I have not updated this blog in nearly a month.  I had a few posts I started writing, but it was all awkward and slightly disjointed.  Mostly, I just haven’t felt like I’ve had much to write about.  Lately, my days consist of getting up, exercising, going to work, coming home, exercising, and going to bed.  My weekends replace going to work with puppet rehearsal and errands.  Oh, yeah, I’ve also been having mini-panic attacks.  I guess I’m becoming a grown-up.

Y’know, part of being a grown up is dealing with things.  Things like failures and screw-ups.  The counselor I saw last fall told me I have an adjustment disorder.  In case you’re wondering, that’s fancy talk for “doesn’t like change or accept it gracefully, if at all.”  It’s pretty much true.  Weirdly, I remember a time when I really enjoyed change.  Every time my  family would move, I’d be excited (unlike normal kids who pitch a fit about their lives being ruined).  I was convinced that each move was just another adventure.  I loved adventures.  I loved seeing new things, and meeting new people (I still love seeing new things, but not so much the whole meeting new people).  I’m not sure when this optimism melted into terror.  I just know that somewhere in the last ten years, I began to fear change.  Change was never good, nothing good could come of it.

I’m a vet tech.  I’ve even got a license from the state of Nebraska to prove this.  This means that I clawed my way through an associate’s program.  Sure, I attended a for-profit school.  I know a lot of people look down their noses at this.  However, I wasn’t just handed a degree.  I had to learn and prove I could do things like run anesthesia on a living animal (and successfully keep it alive during surgery), take radiographs, pill a cat, draw blood from a horse, assist in surgery, perform manual CBC’s, memorize more parasite’s than House ever mentioned, and a pile of other things that involved a lot more poop, pee, and blood and a lot less playing with the cute kitties and doggies.  On top of that I had to take classes.  And pass tests.  And do a 56  hour ward care week every 10 weeks (this was frequently included holidays, and I couldn’t always get the week off from my job).  Not only did I do all this, but once I did finally graduate (test anxiety helped push my 18 month plan out to being almost 3 years), I had to face the board exam.  The board exam was 225 questions covering all aspects of being a veterinary technician.  200 of the questions were scored, and 25 were thrown out, and of course we weren’t told which were the magic questions that were getting tossed.  I passed it.

The job I mentioned above?  I hated it.  I really, really hated it.  (However, I met some amazing people, and met some pets that will forever have my heart).  Not at first.  At first I loved it.  I was working in a vet clinic, and that was fantastic.  I started as a receptionist, with the understanding that I would gradually be worked into a tech position as I got further in my education.  At least, that’s what I thought.  There were a lot of things that went wrong (and most I can’t talk about, because the clinic would probably hunt me down and send dementors to suck my soul out).  I can say that the little confidence I had was destroyed by that place.  In the early days, when I was actually enthusiastic about learning to be a tech, the doctor blew me off more than once when it came to helping.  She regularly chose to have anyone but me lend a hand.  I know I wasn’t the best tech (but believe me, I’ve seen worse).  I struggled.  Lack of feeling in my fingers made blood draws next to impossible.  Emergencies made my mind go blank.  Asking people for money while they were saying good-bye to their best friend set off nuclear explosions in my heart, and  by the time I left I was completely heartless.  There was just a void.  (And yes, I know that medicine is all about the money.  Believe me there is nothing like having to ask someone in the throes of grief  and waiting for the euthanasia med to be administered, for over $100.  And when you get someone who explodes and tears you apart for something that’s killing you inside, it’s too much.  I especially hated how everyone around me acted like I was being too melodramatic.  “Sure, we hate it too.” They’d say, as I’d get ushered in to do the unpleasantness.)

I kept telling myself that I couldn’t quit.  I needed the money.  I had to pay my bills.  I think God knew I’d stay there until I had a stroke.  The job came to a painful end, but it was truly for the best.  I’ve never regretted my decision to leave.

I spent the next year looking for a job.  Most jobs that I applied to, I got replies like this:

Thanks for your time last week.  I have hired an extern instead of a full-time tech for now.  If things don’t work out, I will keep your resume.  Again, thank you for your time and good luck.   (Yeah, because a ungraduated, unlicensed, unexperienced tech is always the better option.  I translated this e-mail to mean: We don’t have to pay them, and we’d have to pay you.)

And then there’s this little gem:

After evaluating all candidates for this position we have determined that another candidate more closely fits the requirements set forth for this position. Accordingly, you will not be considered further for this particular opportunity.  

Anyway, this has been a long meandering route to get to the heart of what I wanted to talk about.  Basically, the nearly 5 years of constant rejection did quite a number on me.  I’m not proud of this.  I should be made of tougher stuff, but I’m not.  Following leaving the clinic, I really struggled with the idea of ever working in animal healthcare again.

Today, I was at work, doing my usual thing, and as I worked, my brain started thinking about things.  Things I didn’t necessarily want to think about.  I founds myself wondering if I could ever do anything good in animal healthcare.  Then, something wonderful happened.  I got a phone call.  Well, not me personally, but I’m the person who happened to answer the phone.  On the other end of the line was a vet tech who was absolutely frantic.  (And this is about where I have to skip over a pile of details, because I’m not wanting to step on HIPAA’s toes).  Long, long story short, she had a problem, and I was able to fix it.  It was positive for her, her clinic, and the animal.

Now, no one at work got why I was excited about fixing the problem.  I had done good in animal healthcare for the first time in forever!  I got to be the hero of the story.

How I Angered The Sea Witch…and Other Randomness In My Life

Published March 30, 2013 by Malia

-I love my job!  I really, really do.  However, because of the sensitive HIPAA (HIPPA?  I’m too lazy to actually Google the acronym right now), regulations, I can’t really talk much about my job.  I’m not 100% certain what qualifies as invasion of privacy.  Yikes!  Maybe just mentioning that I have a job that I love is invasion of privacy.

Probably not.

Anyway, much as I love my job, it has it’s own unique moments.  For example, yesterday.  There was an issue, with a situation (vague enough?  no one feels I’m invading their privacy?), and it resulted in this:

Okay, it wasn’t really Ursula, but there was this moment where I was sitting at my station, and all of a sudden this gal from a different department stormed into our department and came and towered over me.  She’s a very tall, big gal, and even though I’m heavy she makes me look minuscule    When I saw the wrath on her features that were looming over me, all I could think was, “Oh crap, how have I angered Ursula, the sea witch?”

Now, equating someone you work with to a Disney villain/villainess is hardly kind or fair.  However, I wasn’t looking to be fair at that moment, I was too terrified to be logical.  Anyway, much like a predator can smell fear, this gal seemed to sense just how freaked out she was making me, and she used that to her advantage.  The situation did get resolved-ish, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens Monday.

-One cool part of my job is all the different types of bodily specimens I get to see in a day.  I see things removed in surgery (I don’t do anything with those, but they come in our department so I usually see someone else working with them), and all sorts of bodily fluids and other things that normal people run far away from.  However, there is one specimen that it’s going to take me a while to get used to dealing with.

Semen.

About once a week I’ll have to ferry a cup of this stuff to another department.  I know that in light of everything else I see, this should not ook me out, but there’s just something creepy about having to handle it.  Maybe it’s because of the way it’s obtained.

And I’m thinking that’s probably about all I should say about that (before absolutely everyone stops reading).

-Camp NaNoWriMo starts on Monday.  Basically, this is kind of a practice for NaNoWriMo in November.  This is the first year I’ll be taking part in Camp NaNo, and I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to write about.  So far the only useful suggestion I’ve been given has been, “Anything with dragons.”  Which, as everyone knows, dragons automatically make any story better, so that was something I’d already been considering, but it was nice to have it affirmed.

-I’m starting to seriously think about getting my own car.  I know I need another thing to pay on like I need another hole in my head, but it would be nice to have my own vehicle again.

Hipaa

Published January 8, 2013 by Malia

So, it occurred to me tonight that while I get to see and handle a lot of cool and gross stuff at work, I can’t really talk about it for two reasons.  Reason #1: Most people don’t seem to enjoy thinking about blood and other things that come out of the body.  Reason #2: Hipaa.

If you’re not familiar with Hipaa, here’s a quick take on it.  Basically, Hipaa is something the government put into practice that’s supposed to protect patient’s and keep their information confidential.  This means that I can’t write and/or talk about specifics of the medical records I see, list people’s names/personal information, or disclose things I may have heard others saying.  Now, here’s where it’s a good thing my memory is so rotten.  I handle hundreds of samples a day, and look at the information for all of 10-30 seconds.  I couldn’t tell you, even if I wanted to, the names and other personal details.

I don’t think it’s breaking Hipaa to mention that I was super proud of myself for pouring urine out of a jug into a little container without spilling or splashing any.  I really didn’t think I could manage it, but I was successful!  (This is one of those gross things that I forget most people don’t really want to think about.)

Anyway, day two of my new job went pretty well.  I’m definitely learning, and will be quite glad when I can do things without having to ask for help.  Also, I’m super glad that my clinical pathology teacher in tech school got so in-depth in class.  What I learned in that class is starting to come back pretty clearly, and helping me to feel less lost.

Final positive part of my day: one of the gals at work asked me how old I was and she was really surprised that I was 28.  She was sure I was younger!  I love when people think I look younger than I am.  I certainly feel younger than I am.