Wednesday, July 15, 2009
my career (grab some coffee...this is a long one)
A couple of weeks ago Dodi asked how I got into medical transcription and it is really kind of a mixed up story but here goes. When I went to college (in the stone age) I had a choice of being a teacher or a nurse. OK, I guess there were other options but not many for girls that grew up where I did. You either got married after high school, or went to college for one of the two above mentioned careers. I decided on nursing because, well you know, I wanted to help people (just like Miss America) so off I went. In those days nursing was not what it is today. It was basically bedpan duty, and grunt work, it was hardly glamorous. Anyway, I got half way through and realized that I really didn't like it. I had no idea what to do because I had spent all that time in school and didn't want to feel like I had wasted my time. One day after class I saw an ad in the paper for a school offering a course in medical technology, I called, I signed up and I loved it. It was my chance to work with people in the health care field without having to clean up vomit. After that I got a job at local hospital working in the cardiology lab doing all the diagnostics that were available there at that time and kept taking classes wherever and whenever they were offered. After a few years, the hospital was expanding their neurology department and the chief neurologist asked if I would be interested in setting up the lab with him. Sooooo...off I went to school again (this time on the hospital's dime) and I set up the department with Dr. Head of Department. My job entailed many different things and each day was different, each case was different, each patient was different, and when cool new equipment was developed I begged the hospital to buy it for me...um, I mean the department. I did this for more years than I had planned. I had a little diversion called infertility that sidelined my perfect plan of being a mother by my second wedding anniversary. Fast forward 8 years of working and it was becoming less and less interesting each day because I was consumed with becoming a mother. While I wanted a career, I didn't want to be a career woman...and nothing else. (if that offends some of you, it shouldn't...it was what was right for me). Then lo and behold, OHN became a momma on December 1, 1988. S1 had been born a few weeks before, but placement didn't happen right away. I had a call on Monday to pick up our son on Thursday. So much to do, so little time. I talked to my boss and took a "maternity leave", unpaid of course, cause you sure couldn't pay someone who has a newborn to be home with them (Oh wait, yes you can, but only if you somehow remove that child from inside your body--cuz we all know THAT is the only way to become a mom--don't even get me started). Dodi...you still there? Are you sorry you asked? Anyway, I was to return to work March 1, 1989. In mid February I was rocking my amazing new baby son and I totally lost it. I started to sob. I couldn't blame hormones unless you call unbridled happiness hormones. I told BigD that we had waited so long for this child that it was tearing me up inside to think about going back to work. He looked at me and said "then quit". Mind you, this was a Friday evening and I knew I couldn't turn in a resignation until Monday. I was twitching all weekend thinking that BigD was going to come to his senses, realize we would starve to death if I wasn't bringing in a paycheck, and by Monday he would look at me and say "your doing what??". He didn't say it. I went in and gave a 2 week notice....everyone laughed and said they knew on December 1 that I wouldn't be back...and they threw me a shower...in the cardiac stress lab. It was wonderful. So, now back to the question..how did I start doing transcription. After years of doing little things to make some extra cash so we didn't starve and when S3 was getting ready to head off to preschool, I decided that the babysitting I was doing wasn't what I really wanted to do. After all, I had changed about a gazillion diapers by that time (I watched up to 6 kids 3-4 days a week), and I wanted to do something back in the medical field again. It is what I knew, and what I was interested in. One day, I told BigD, that I wanted to work my own hours, be able to go pick up a sick kid at school in the middle of the day, take time off for school functions without a boss bitching, make good money, and not have to leave the house. He told me when I found that job to let him know, because he wanted it too. I called a few of my old doctor pals and asked what I could do for them with my fancy shmancy new computer. Unbelievably THE FIRST ONE told me his transcriptionist had just retired and wanted to know if I could do that. OF COURSE I CAN, I told him with way more enthusiasm than expected. (He is still one of my clients;) I went out, spent just under $100 on the bare necessities and my company was born. Timing is EVERYTHING. Had that woman not retired, I don't know if things would have rolled the way they did. I went on to add a multitude of doctors offices, hired and fired transcriptionists, added and lost accounts (my state has a crazy malpractice premium and several docs left for less expensive pastures) and here I am today, bitching and moaning about EMR's sucking the lifeblood right out of my veins. They will eventually put all of us transcriptionists (at least in the physician offices) out of business. It has been a great ride and I am still holding out hope that I can snag a few more offices to get me through till S3 heads off for college. By then, my other two boys will be out of college and so grateful for all of my years of sacrifice, they will set me up in a beachfront condo somewhere. It could happen, quit laughing. So Dodi...it is more than you really wanted to know I am sure. But this should be a warning for the rest of you. If you ask me a question, more than likely I will answer.