Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Orientation hell

Today I went to orientation for my new job, except not really. The orientation was for all new employees of the hospital system without being specific to anyone's job. I can see the advantage of covering general information that applies to everyone like benefits and safety. I could do without the extensive examination of the over-long mission statement. Plus there's the fact that I just went through the same orientation a year ago. I didn't sleep well the night before, so I was a little irritable when I arrived. Here are some notes I made:

It's only five minutes in and I'm already simultaneously bored out of my skull and preoccupied with violence. Hmm, not the best mindset for a healthcare job. Clearly I need to be fired immediately. Hee.

There are many awful jobs, cleaning pig pens or cold-call sales for instance, but high on the list must be leading weekly orientation sessions. Repeating the same information every time, answering the same insipid questions, forcing a smile every damn week when some self-amused joker cracks wise at the start of Q&A by asking, "When do we get paid?" Ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha...ha. Sigh. Someone jam a pair of forceps in my brainstem and stir vigorously. That's what I'd say if I had the job.

As soon as I walked in this morning I said to myself as I scanned the room, "Don't sit at the all-guys table. It's nearest to you with several empty seats, but you know for a fact since you did this last year that forced camaderie and lame art projects are on the agenda. Guys generally aren't good at these things. Sit at the table with the sparkly-eyed women who glory in this crap and they will allow you to eschew enthusiastic participation with only mild looks of disapproval." Alas, I hesitated and was lost. The HR folks sent me to the guys table (wouldn't HR want to prevent such a concentration?). At least at this table nobody is going to nosily ask what I'm writing.

Sitting at an all-guys table has some distinct advantages, a minimum of forced conversation and the barest effort to complete lame, "team-building" exercises being the two that come to mind. The primary disadvantage is that no one wants to volunteer to be our table's speaker. Fortunately we have a go-getter dad at our table and it practically defaulted to him.

Orientation is over. Note to self, do not quit your job and then go back to the same hospital system for another job more than six months later cause then you'll have to sit through this again.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Pulled across water on slabs of fiberglass

Yesterday I went waterskiing for the first time in over 10 years. My roommate's parents gave her their old boat and she's been going out to the lake for the last few days with some friends trying it out. After I finished up some errands yesterday, I drove out and met up with them. It went well, I got up fine and had one good, long run. I guess it's like riding a bicycle. I forgot that waterskiing uses muscles that do not come into play much in my regular life. The muscles in the top of my feet (extensors?) were sore this morning. I'm looking forward to a summer of boating and skiing. It's good to have friends with boats. Boats, boats, boats. Wheee!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Pop Prom '06

Voxtrot at Pop Prom '06

Went to Pop Prom last night. It was fun, I'm glad DJ Jennifer organized it. Voxtrot played, mixing in a lot of covers. My personal favorites were Magnetic Fields' "You and Me and The Moon", a ragged, just-learned version of OMD's "If You Leave" with Jennifer assisting on vocals, and Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark". The King & Queen were good, dressed well and game for dancing, but nowhere near as awesome as Jenny and me when we were Queen and King. I'm just saying.

Click on the pic above for more.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


One of my last classes at school concerned the lower GI tract. Specifically, the anus and what comes out of it. So, whooooo! GUAIAC test cards, otherwise known as a fecal occult blood test, were passed around. It would be a lot more interesting if it tested for magickal, fortune-telling bloody shit, but no, it just tests for hidden (occult) blood in the stool. Usually indicative of a problem.

Our instructor, a very enthusiastic person even about fecal occult blood tests, asked, "Has anyone done a GUAIAC in their clinicals? Nobody has done a GUAIAC? Oh, you’ve missed out on some real fun."

Err, yes, real fun. Just what we were all thinking.

Then she hauls out a piece of medical equipment called a hat, though you do not want to put one on your head. They look like this (upper right corner)

All sorts of fun stuff

and they are for assessing urine and fecal output (yeah, we say output). So she's waving this around and it's clear that there is a brown mass contained within. “Don’t worry," she says, "It’s just frosting.” So there goes the idea of chocolate for at least the next few days.

While running us through the procedure she notes, “And you’re breathing through your mouth.” Of course, everyone in the classroom is well aware of how odors actually work. Little tiny particles of whatever you're smelling go right up your nose. So breathing through your mouth is not really better, per se. Like many things involving the body, it's best not to dwell on the aesthetics.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Murderously angry

I've always had a high opinion of Mac products, but right now I'm seething. After I take pictures with my camera, I import them to my Mac with the software that came with my camera. Then I import them into iPhoto and use it as a management tool. It also has a nifty way to export them to Flickr easily. I had assumed that iPhoto just organized the photos that could be anywhere on my hard drive. Last night, while looking to delete files to free up space, I came across iPhoto files of all my pictures. "Huh, I guess it was actually copying them into new folders. Wow, I've been storing my pictures in two different places, what a waste of memory."

After double checking it, I went about deleting the original picture files. Tonight I just pulled up iPhoto to find that the thumbnails are still there, but the actual picture files? Gone. Searched all over, trying to figure out what happened. Still clueless. Last night the files were all there in iPhoto file folders, tonight they're gone. WTF?

I can only be comforted that most of those pictures I uploaded to Flickr, so they still exist, but not all. Seething I tell you.

End of the semester

So here it is over a week since my semester ended and I'm just now posting. I can only claim extreme laziness. I talked to a couple of my school friends and we've all been doing the same things, sleeping and reading for pleasure. I swear it's like my body downshifted from the frantic pace of the semester and now I'm plagued by lethargy.

I haven't been a complete slug. I've been organizing CPR classes as a fundraiser for our nursing student association and gone to the gym four times since my last day of tests. Next week I go for drug screening in preparation for starting my summer job as a clinical assistant at a psychiatric facility. So that should yield a plethora of stories on par with last summer when I worked at an ER.

Tomorrow I will be carrying a flag as part of the nursing school graduate procession at UT's combined graduation ceremony. When I volunteered for it I did it out of sense of duty, but was pleasantly surprised last night at practice when the orchestra played a part of Verdi's Aida. It's the only opera I've seen, and while I don't enjoy operatic singing, the music is great and I happily hummed along last night.

Ummm, I guess that's it for now except I got a 4.00 this semester and scored a scholarship for next year. So, rock on.