Monday, December 21, 2009
Let me start off by thanking you for calling me each day and not only wasting my time with your endless barrage of inane questions (most of which a small child could probably answer for you), but also for reminding me just how lucky I truly am to have, as they say, the sense that God gave a goat. I mean it. Each time you call I say a little prayer of gratitude that up to this point in my life I have managed not to make a fool of myself by asking such idiotic questions or treating another human being the way that you treat me.
That said, I realize that "Hospital Administrator" sounds an awful lot like "Medical Doctor" and can see how you would get those two terms confused. I understand that when you're upset the most logical thing to do is to call the first Hospital number you can find in the phone book and start yelling at whoever is lucky enough to answer the phone. This makes sense, doesn't it? I mean, why wouldn't everyone in the hospital be thoroughly familiar with your particular story and set of circumstances and able to give you exactly what you want?
I'm writing you this letter today with the hope that I can clear a few things up for you because I know how confusing everything in the medical world in general, can be. First things first, as crazy as this is, I can't write a prescription for you. I know, I know...the injustice of it all! You're preaching to the choir, baby. But I can't do it. For some silly reason the powers that be have decided not to award prescription writing privileges to anyone who doesn't have an M.D. after their name. Self-righteous exclusivists. But they make the rules and if you call and ask me to write you a Rx I will have to politely say "No." If you call back and ask again I will still say, "No," only slightly less politely because, haven't we been over this already? Now the third time you call and ask you're going to start irritating me a bit and if you're bold enough to try a fourth time...well, I don't recommend trying that fourth time. As my mom would say, "Do NOT make me tell you this again."
Next let's talk about money. Yes, I realize that I work for the CFO and yes, I realize that the "F" in that stands for Financial and in your mind, Financial = all things money. Certainly things would be much simpler if that were the case but unfortunately, here at the hospital we like to do things a little less straightforward. We have an entire Finance Department here! Crazy, huh? And on top of that, we have a whole other department that handles Patient Billing! And here's the kicker; not only are neither of those departments located in my office, one of them isn't even located in this state! You know what that means? When you call and demand that I let you talk to the CFO because you don't think you should have to pay your bill, my hands are tied. I know this is a tough one to wrap your brain around but the CFO does not actually handle any individual patient accounts. If I let you talk to him he wouldn't be able to answer your questions. Trust me on this. When I tell you you really need to call the Billing Department, I say it with all the love in the world and your best interests in mind.
(As a side note, when you do finally figure out the magical formula for absolving yourself of all financial responsibility and for getting out of paying for anything just because you don't want to, let me know. I've got a student loan that by golly, I ought not to have to pay for)!
The last thing I'd like to bring up hits a little closer to home for me. It really offends me when you call and ask me the same question over and over again and imply that you don't believe what I am telling you. Why do you call if you're not going to trust what I say? Ask yourself this; what motive would I possibly have for lying to you? You don't even believe me when I tell you things that are public information and that you could easily verify if you took fourteen seconds to look at our website. If I don't know the answer to your question I will tell you I don't know the answer and promptly set about trying to find it. But if I tell you I know something then don't question that! It hurts my feelings and makes me less inclined to be friendly to you.
In closing, I would just like to reiterate how much I appreciate our relationship and how I so look forward to your calls each day. If you should have any questions about the things we've discussed today, please feel free to give me a call (God knows you have my number).
Hugs and Kisses,
P.S. I don't care if your uncle's cousin's boyfriend said it's ok; I can't give out patient records either. Sorry.
Friday night, just as I was sitting down to watch the greatest movie ever made (don't even act like you don't know I'm talking about Gone With the Wind) my sister called to announce that SHE GOT ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's right, her boyfriend of seven years proposed Friday night so we've got another wedding in the near future!!! I'm so excited for them. And I can't wait to get home for Christmas now to see the rock.
Saturday morning I did what is maybe the girliest thing I could have possibly done and went to a high tea party at my friend Ashley's house. I had never been to a high tea before. In fact, I haven't been to a tea party period since I was maybe four. I had no idea what to expect but it was so much fun! She's definitely very creative when it comes to throwing parties--I'm jealous actually. She's constantly coming up with really cute ideas like that. Having never been to a high tea I made and took the only thing I was positively sure even went with tea; scones. I did blueberry-lemon and (in the spirit of the season) gingerbread. Never made scones before but I'm gonna go ahead and say I rocked these.
Sunday was church and then I spent the afternoon braving the crowds to finish the last of my Christmas shopping. Seriously, everyone and their brother was at the mall yesterday, I'm pretty sure. The good news is, I finished and more importantly, I made it out of there with all of my limbs intact and without having a nervous breakdown. I'd call it a successful mission.
Now that I think about it, I'm not really sure anyone cares all that much about what I did this weekend. Maybe I shouldn't have spent the past fifteen minutes typing all this up but well, on the off chance someone was curious about what I've been up to, now you know. You're welcome.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
This is an excerpt from an article on ESPN.com about New Orleans and the Saints. Read it.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Unlike my parents lame artificial tree, Allan is the real deal. Our entire downstairs now smells like pine tree and Christmas which I happen to love.
The other thing I love about this tree?
GO BIG BLUE.
Italy (Rome specifically but all over really),
And back to Paris.
I have caviar (travel) tastes on a fast food budget. The good news is, if you're trying to decide what to get me for Christmas, a plane ticket would do nicely :-)
Monday, December 14, 2009
This is what it looked like when I was driving home.
What's frustrating to me is that while it did rain a lot Saturday, its not like it was a monsoon and we still flooded. Since then I've seen/read in the news that one of the biggest causes of flooding here is that the city's drainage system is so sold and outdated. The storm drains are not big enough to handle the amount of water the city takes on on a regular basis and the pumps that New Orleans has to have (since some genius decided that building a city in a hole was a good idea) aren't powerful enough to keep up. Forget hurricane season--they're not even designed to be able to drain the city when we have a big rainstorm. As one person so eloquently put it, if more than two people in New Orleans spit at the same time, it's gonna flood. Grrrrrr!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
The buffalo was given to us by family friends to commemorate a trip we took "out west" years ago.And of course, Mickey came from Disney World my junior year of high school when my basketball team played in a Holiday Tournament there.
At the risk of getting sappy and sentimental I'd just like to say that as I sit here and think about decorating that silly fake tree, I'm almost overcome by how blessed I feel. All those good memories I have truly are priceless to me and each and every one of those ornaments (as goofy as some of them are) represent a little piece of my life serve to remind me of just how fortunate I am. I still hate the artifical tree with a firey, burning passion but nonetheless, I love what it represents.
Wow, I had planned to include in this post a part about my and Zack's tree here in New Orleans but this has gotten ridiculously long so I better hold off until another time. Guess you'll just have to wait in suspense until then...
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
(Yes, I realize that in this matter my opinion plus a buck ninety-nine will get me a cup of coffee at Starbucks--that is to say, my opinion is worthless, but I'm giving it to you all the same).
The best I can tell, the spouse of a 1L has a few responsibilities of their own during Finals Week(s). For me those responsibilities have been to provide an endless stream of "study snacks" and to make myself available to quiz him over his study guides when he needs me. (I've also tried to take over all household chores for the next couple weeks so that he doesn't have to worry about anything but school, but that is not necessarily required). Oh and also to make sure he eats and sleeps and consumes some beverage other than coffee at some point every day. Those are my jobs.
The study snack one has been easy, and fun, because its given me an excuse to make chocolate chip cookies and come up with creative ways to surprise him. The quizzing him over his study guides has been roughly equivalent to gouging my eyes out with a rusty spoon.
Since I don't speak Lawyer, I usually have no idea what he's talking about. I mean, I'm totally and completely lost. Our household is now bilingual and I'm not so sure that English is the official language anymore. Limited subject matter jurisdiction what? Um I'm sorry, did you just say real words? Its like listening to someone talk to you for an hour and a half and having to follow along with what they say and point out what they forget, only they're speaking a foreign language so really, you 're not entirely sure if you've gotten it all right or not.
In all seriousness though, I know he is working really hard and I'm happy to do whatever I can to help make this process as easy and painless as possible. Finals last for two weeks (TWO!!!) though, so we'll see if I still feel this generous next Friday afternoon...
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Peppermint Bark Shortbread - Now this one is new and I'm pretty pumped about it, not gonna lie. I love shortbread and I love peppermint bark and I think the genius who thought of combining the two ought to win a medal. There's no way this can't be good. There just isn't. Plus its going to be super easy to make. So...win-win.
There are probably others that I'm forgetting about or have yet to find but this is a good start. This will definitely keep me busy in the kitchen for a little while. Oh and, if by chance you want any of these recipes, just leave me a message and I'd be happy to send them to you.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
See, I was young and naive once too and thought that working in the office meant I'd be effectively hidden away from the human side of this job. Ha. Ha. Hahaha! That's just funny to me now. I've learned over the past couple months that in fact, working in the Admin part of the hospital makes one a target for patients actually. At least once a week or so we get some random crazy person who will wonder into our office and "Need to file a complaint with the CEO." Obviously, that's not exactly how we handle patient complaints here. You can't just walk in and demand and audience with the top execs. More often than not these are psych patients who have escaped from their rooms and found their way into our office...that or they're people who are drugged out of their minds and looking for someone to write them another prescription.
Some of these people are pretty funny (in a crazy, talking-out-of-their-head kind of way) some are kinda scary, and others are just very sad. My patience for dealing with these people is directly correlated to my mood and how busy I am at that particular moment. If it's a slow day I'll sometimes sit and listen to their ramblings for awhile. It's amazing what kinds of stories people come up with. If I'm super busy I'll just politely direct them to our Patient Relations Department, or in some cases, call Security to come haul them off.
I also get lots of phone calls. Lots and lots of calls. Sometimes two or three a day from people who either want me to give them drugs, cancel their bill (one guy told me that; he thought he just shouldn't be held responsible for the billfor his treatment), or let them in to talk to the CEO. None of which I can do.
I got a call yesterday from a lady who had "lost" her prescription and wanted me to call the pharmacy and get them to give her another bottle of pills. Are you kidding me? Now, I know I'm still pretty new to this but I didn't fall off the old apple cart yesterday! I'd say the odds that this woman truly lost her prescription and needed another one are oh...1 in 4769603746585. Give or take. Maybe she did and I'm judging her unfairly but based on the slur in her voice and the "seemingly" drug-induced, borderline incoherent rant she went on...I'm gonna go ahead and say she was already hopped up on something.
The fact that they've called the Administration Office means nothing to these people either. I'm amazed at how many people out there truly believe that as long as they call a hospital number, any hospital number, anyone who answers the phone is going to be a doctor and thus capable of answering all of their questions. Our conversation went something like this (just imagine her voice with a thick Cajun accent):
Her: I'm calling cause I done lost my prescription and I'm trying to tell these people at the pharmacy and they tellin' me they can't give me another one without the doctor's approval and I just don't understand that cause don't they know I NEED these pills? I've got fluid and breathing problems and fluid and fluid on my heart and I lost my prescription and I need to get another one. I done talked to the nurse and she said she gon' investigate and talk to the doctor about what he want to do about it but I done told her I NEED this prescription and I don't understand this.
Me: Ma'am, you've already spoken to the nurse? What's the Doctor's name who wrote the prescription for you?
Her: Yeah I done spoke to the nurse and she said she gon' investigate but I don't understand why you can't just call me in another replacement cause I already told them I lost mine and I need these pills. You just gotta go get my chart and look at it and see what pills I have and call them and tell the people at the pharmacy that I need some more cause I done told them I already lost my prescription and I need some more. That's all. I don't understand this. I don't understand why you can't just look at my chart and see what that doctor gave me and give me more.
Me: Well ma'am, I'm really sorry but only doctors can write prescriptions. A nurse can't write a new prescription and I certainly can't. This is the Administration Office. I don't have access to any patient records so I can't go pull your chart. What's the Doctor's name?
Her: I don't know no doctor's name I just done told that nurse that I need this prescription and she said she gon' investigate it but I done never heard back from her and the pharmacy say they can't give me no pills without investigating. That doctor's name was Paul maybe I think.
Me: Ok, so you saw Dr. Paul? Do you know a first name? Or do you know the name of the nurse you already spoke to?
Her: Well I don't know if Paul was a first name or a last name but the nurse's name is Terry.
Me: Terry? I'm really sorry ma'am, but if you can't give me a name for the doctor who saw you I don't know exactly what you want me to do. If you've already spoken to his nurse then you need to call and follow up with her.
Her: But I done told you his name was Paul. And I was there on the 19th. All you have to do is go look at my chart and see that I was there on the 19th and what doctor I saw and then you can call in that same prescription.
Me: But ma'am, we have several hundred doctors here; I don't have any way of tracking down someone who either has a first or last name Paul. And like I said, I'm not a doctor and I don't have access to your records. Now if you can give the name of someone who treated you I'd be happy to try to track that person down for you. But otherwise I'm not sure I can help you.
Her: Well I saw a Dr. Lisa Craft once.
Me: Dr. Craft? Is she the one who wrote you the prescription?
Me: Did she treat you for the condition you have this prescription for?
Me: Did you even see this doctor at this hospital?
Her: I don't remember.
Me: *Bam bam bam. (This is where I started banging my head on my desk).
Me: Ma'am, I'm very sorry but unless you can call me back and give me the name of the person you actually saw I don't think I can help you. You need to follow up with that nurse you already spoke to.
It went on from there for quite some time more (luckily it was a slow day so I let her stay on the line and talk for awhile) before I finally transferred her. She then proceeded to call me back not once but twice, with the exact same story to which I gave her the exact same answers.
I guess when I think about it its really very sad. Its sad that people get so addicted to drugs that they get to this level of desperation. It's sad that there are still people in our society who are so ignorant of how the "system" works, and its sad that in a lot of times, these people are all alone and have no one to help guide them through it. So yes, I sometimes laugh about some of the calls I get because hey, you gotta admit some of it is pretty comical. But a lot of it is also pretty heartbreaking too.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Mom has already promised to fix whatever I want for dinner while we're home, I'm HOPING HOPING HOPING I'll get to see whatever of my Kentucky friends are in town, and we're going to the UK vs. UT football game Saturday. Could it get much better than that? I don't hardly see how.
Just so everyone knows, I am fully expecting to freeze to death at the game Saturday. I'm not exaggerating. I'm barely able to stay warm enough as it is; I'd imagine that living in the tropics for the past five months hasn't done anything to thicken my blood. I'll most likely be a Lauren-Popsicle by halftime. It'll be ok though. It's going to be worth it to see one Kentucky football game this season...especially if we can pull out a win against Tennessee. Funny story. The people who have lived down here in New Orleans are seriously messed up when it comes to their body temperatures. This summer when it was sweltering and I thought I was dying on a daily basis, our landlords made fun of us for keeping our house so cold. Every time they came in they commented on how cold it was, and how they didn't see how we could stand it. Yeah...our house wasn't cold by any stretch of the imagination. It was barely cool enough to keep from breaking a sweat just sitting on the couch. Well, now that its finally cooled off and the temperature has started to approach what I would consider pleasant, our landlords are freezing to death! They've had their heat running since the beginning of October (at which time we still had our A/C going, if that tells you anything). Every time they see us out they ask if we've turned our heat on yet. This confounds me. It gets kinda chilly at night I guess but its still in the high 60s to 70s here during the day. Heat? Really?? At this rate I'm planning not to turn the heat on all year.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I had a moment like this yesterday.
I was trying to login to one of the Accounting programs we use here at work so that I could run a report for my boss. When I typed in my password I got a pop-up box informing me that my current password will expire in 15 days and would I like to change it now? Sure. Why not? So I clicked on the Change Password link which lead me to a screen where I had to type in my old password, a new password, and then a confirmation of the new password. Standard stuff. This should not be hard.
(As an aside, I have a real problem with password setup boxes that don't explicitly list the restrictions on the password; don't make my try to guess the exact number/letter/symbol combination you want. Good grief! Just tell me what it needs to be)! This was one of those boxes. I swear I tried no fewer than half a dozen new passwords and every single time I got a different error message. My password must be longer than 7 characters. It must contain at least one capital letter. It cannot exceed 9 characters. It must contain at least one number. It must contain at least one non-numeric symbol. It cannot be a real word. Blah, blah, blah. See, if I had known these were all the restrictions I could have easily enough started out with a password that matched. But no. Whatever genius decided to write this program apparently didn't have the foresight to include any actual instructions so instead, I just got to blindly type in combinations of stuff and hope to get a match.
So here's where I got lazy. After trying all these different password combinations with no success I just gave up. I sat fuming, looking at my computer screen and I just couldn't muster the mental energy to to to come up with another password right then. Couldn't do it. So I just stopped. I told myself its all cool cause I still have 14 more days to think of something.
Yes, today my computer won.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
That sign. The one that reads "God Hates You."
What kind of disgusting, hate-filled person do you have to be to justify in your mind carrying a sign like that around? I don't know which is more disturbing; the fact that someone actually believes such a thing and is ok with broadcasting it to the world, or the fact that someone who is clearly an adult is audacious enough to wave that sign at a bunch of elementary school kids. These people call themselves Christians too, which I cannot fathom. Who do they think they are, to speak for God like that? Who are they to tell someone else that God hates them for a lifestyle they've chosen or the color of skin they were born with?
The God I know does not hate anyone and all I've ever learned in Sunday School and Church has taught me that we, as Christians, should practice and cherish love and acceptance above all else. Period. End of story. What happened to Jesus loving all the children (red and yellow, black and white) of the world? We were not put here to condemn each other, or to decide for ourselves who is or is not worthy of God's love. And I'm pretty sure God doesn't need any of us to speak for Him.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
and this.And there's not nearly enough of these...
I mean, do kids even play outside anymore? Do they still have bicycles and rollerblades and trampolines like we did when I was growing up? I don't really understand what makes any parent think its ok to feed their kid a continual diet of processed, packaged fast food and then let them spend hours on end sitting on the couch in front of the television. My brain cannot wrap itself around the line of reasoning that goes on there because its just ridiculous!
Whew! Sorry. I got a little fired up there. I just think its a horrible failure on the part of any parent who lets that happen to their kid. Children who struggle with their weight don't have easy childhoods. I know they have to deal with self-esteem issues, getting made fun of by other kids, and just a general inability to participate in the physical activities they should be able to participate in at that age. What part of that sounds good, or like something you would want for your child? Why as a parent would you ever let that happen if you could prevent it? I just don't understand.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Moving to a new city where I know no one hasn't been easy for me. It has however, made me painfully aware of just how fortunate I am to have the people in my life that I do, and has shown me how much they really mean to me. I miss them like crazy and if not for their constant long distant support (the texts, the phone calls, the silly cards in the mail and the care packages) I don't really know what I would do or how I would survive.
I don't really know how I managed to do this but somehow, I've convinced this incredible, amazing, wonderful group of people to love and accept me unconditionally...and for that I am very grateful.
Monday, November 9, 2009
For someone who said a couple months ago that I'd be out of here at the slightest hint of a storm, I feel like I've failed miserably in my prep for this one. To be honest, I didn't even really know about it until I got to work this morning. They're not calling for evacuations so I guess the only things I might have done differently would be to buy a couple cases of bottled water and fill the cars up with gas. I'll admit; working at the hospital has given me a sense of security for any storms that may come. Maybe it's a false sense of security and I'm being foolish, but whatever. During Katrina most of my co-workers actually rode out the storm here in the hospital. They've told me stories about sleeping on cots in their offices and having emergency planning meetings in a board room that was upwards of 110 degrees. I know conditions got pretty unpleasant at some points (once the power went out and the generators flooded especially) but it was for the most part a safe place to be. So,worst case scenario if it ever comes down to it and for some crazy reason we can't leave, I'd probably just hole up here in the hospital with everyone else.
But seriously, I don't think it's really going to be that bad. There are very mixed reactions about the storm by people here. Those who were here for Katrina seem to be the most cautious. They're already talking about how they're going to go about draining the water from their yards and gauging how high they think the water will get. At the same time though, those people don't seem too overly worried, you know? They know it won't compare to Katrina and after living through that, well...there's not much that can scare them. Then of course there are those who are completely freaking out right now and others who think the whole thing is ridiculous and everyone is overreacting big time.
So, we'll see. They say that we can expect the rain to begin this afternoon/evening and I guess last until...God knows when. January maybe. I'll keep you posted and if not, just assume that New Orleans is under water and I'm floating around the hospital somewhere.