I Love My Job

I will start this post by admitting that it has two distinctly separate thoughts with a fine thread that connects the two. I think, technically, that it could qualify for two separate entries, but we’re not going to do that. I’ll start with the whole reason that compelled me to write this poorly composed thought…

To begin with, we’re all guilty of running on auto-pilot from time to time, especially at work. You get caught up in the daily routine of small details, and not so small details, that go into working at an office. Detail checking needs to be improved, more files need to be scanned, get the credit card machine fully functional, and discover why the picture taking apparatus works on a sporadic basis while making appointments, setting up new patients, updating returns, blah, blah, blah….you know, work.

Then something stops you short in your tracks to remind you why you’re doing this.

And that happened on Thursday, July 30.  Our last patient.*  She was running late and we’d had a slow day.  You know the situation.  When she came in I thought she looked familiar.  I took care of her input information and noticed the picture we had of her from last year.  Did not look like the same woman; haggard, tired and sick.  This year, she wore make-up, had done her hair and looked good.  I checked some details and found out last year, she was going through chemo, wore a handkerchief over what was probably a bald pate at the time and she had stage IV lung cancer.

I checked again.  Stage IV?  I have included a link to the American Lung Association so you may read for yourself the grim survivability rates are at this point.  I have known people with lung cancer, and I’ve known for quite some time that lung cancer, usually because of when it’s detected, is fatal.  And it’s fast.  Technically, the patient shouldn’t have been here, but against all odds, she was.  And even looking healthy.

When her visit with the doctor was over, I had to speak with her and her caregiver/daughter.  They came out all smiles and I had their recommendations printed up.  I told her how happy we were to see that she was here and what a great thing this was.  Her daughter described the desperate days of last year when she didn’t think her mother would make it and how she became very aggressive with the cannabis oil treatment.  And here she was, downgraded to Stage I lung cancer.

As the details unfolded, I thought of my Uncle Bill who died recently, and how studies in the specific brain tumor type he had showed great results when treated very aggressively with the cannabinoids found in marijuana.  Unfortunately, he’d been in Tennessee when this happened, and the doctors he and his immediate family consulted were concentrating only on traditional methods.  What a waste.  Then I looked at the patient in front of me, happy and given a fighting chance at living out the rest of her life without the immediate threat of cancer looming over her.  I ducked my head, wiped at my eye  and murmured something about having to print up something(yes, just like that), while my co-worker, Wendy, was openly crying, dabbing at her eyes with a kleenex.

Did the marijuana help or was the patient going to improve anyway with the chemo?  I don’t know.  I related this story to my general practitioner and his tone was very neutral when he said that was really unusual.  I understood his position.  Doctors in California have to be careful about their stance on marijuana; it’s not covered under any insurance, the federal government does not recognize its legality here or in other states and they have to consider the general consensus of what their patients think of it.  Most doctors with a private practice can’t afford to jeopardize their standing in the community, medical or otherwise.

But think about it:  A plant that has medicinal qualities, never caused a death from overdose, and even has the venerable AMA wanting to do clinical studies and the federal government has it classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.  I know, I know, I think I’ve talked about this before and until the issue is resolved, I’ll probably talk about it again.  When you have a documented case of stage IV lung cancer being reversed in an elderly patient, wouldn’t you want to how much of this was the traditional medicine, how much was the marijuana, how much was genetics?  So why is the government dragging their feet?  How many more people have to die?  And WHY?

Inhale deeply. Hold for 10 seconds.  Exhale.

Ok.

The doctors who are usually associated with cannabis have mixed motivations as to why they are practicing this.  Most of them are employees of a larger company with the protection that comes from having a group; kind of like

Dr. Banister wearing the hat I made for him for his birthday

Dr. Banister wearing the hat I made for him for his birthday

an umbrella.  The stories I’ve heard from some of the patients about their experiences at other clinics are appalling.  Patients packed in tiny waiting rooms, overworked staff and a quick how-de-do with the doctor.   No real information is given and definitely no rapport is gained with the individuals.  The three of us who work up front definitely try to make the experience go smoother, and the doctor who works here is in it for the right reasons, as far as I’m concerned.  He is a favorite for many around here and wherever he works, they’ll follow.

When his birthday rolled around this year, I thought I’d make him something special.  I put

Using the duplicate stitch was the only option here!

Using the duplicate stitch was the only option here!

aside my shrug (yes, I’m still stuck in the monotony of knitting 46 inches of pure stockinette!) and quickly whipped up a hat.  I tried to make the leaf look realistic, but in the end, I freehanded the Rx to leave no doubt as to what kind of plant was being depicted.  It took me awhile to get the plant graphic down, as I used an image of a real leaf.  Nature is not symmetric!  He accepted the gift with aplomb and said that definitely, he would wear it when he went skiing.  And no, it didn’t escape my attention that I was giving him a knit beanie on the hottest day of the year.  Oh, well.

 

*Patient names not used to protect identity.

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The Cat’s Out of the Bag

 

Looking like an old hippie - LOL!

Looking like an old hippie – LOL!

I was just going to go to work and back home. It wasn’t a patient day, just time for the office help to get caught up and set up a new computer.  So why not wear the tee? And don’t bother with makeup or doing the hair- just put it in a braid. It was appropriate.

wpid-wp-1427405756134.jpeg

Most of the shirt…

As much as I am an advocate for medical marijuana, I don’t use it,  and when you live in a small town, you have to tread carefully. So what do I find myself doing? Going to the local grocery store and pizza place. Yea. Treading carefully. If I was to judge by the looks alone, I’d say I was doing the butterfly stroke!  Oh, well.  No pussy-footing around any more-  the cat’s out of the bag!

Quick Clarification About My Job

There appears to be some misunderstanding as to what a cannabis clinic is, and what is my role there.  The cannabis clinic I work at is NOT a dispensary; it is a doctor’s office.  Real doctors with real life experience working with regular people.  They see patients on an individual basis, just like when you see your family doctor.  There is no marijuana (that I’m aware) in the office, unless patient’s who need it on hand bring it with them, and even then, this is just a guess for me, because I’ve never seen any.  No one has yet to whip out a joint and blaze one up in the office!

We also recommend holistic approaches to pain management such as massage, acupuncture, meditation and so on.  We’re all aware that some of the people who come in are most likely abusing the privilege, but this is something that also happens with pharmaceutical medications.  For the most part, the patient’s who come in are using marijuana for legitimate reasons.

And no, I do not use cannabis for medical or recreational reasons!

Any questions?

 

 

A Freebie, An Old Friend and A Job

I know, I'm wearing short sleeves and a neck warmer...

Click on this beautiful pic of moi, and you will be directed to the pdf file.

You know how sometimes you just want to knit some wicked cables without the commitment of a sweater, cardigan, etc?  I was feeling that way for quite some time when it dawned on me that I could make a neckwarmer.  Simple, quick and utilitarian (at least when it gets cold).

A week or two ago I meandered into a Tuesday Morning shop.  For those of you unfamiliar with this particular chain, think Big Lots, Pick ‘N Save (which I believe has been out of biz forever?) and other such establishments.  I hadn’t been to one here in Northern California yet, and wanted to discover what treasure lay therein.  Oh boy.  Fifty buckaroos later, I’m walking out with 7 skeins of name brand yarn and mentally trying to rearrange the grocery shopping so I can afford this.  Oops.  Part of the haul was the yarn I used to make this neckwarmer.  I doubt you’ll be able to find the exact color, and unless you’re a ginger, you probably wouldn’t want this exact color!  Anyway, if you feel so inclined, click on the pic and you’ll be directed to the pattern.  If anyone makes it, I would totally love to see it!

Which brings me to gingers.  (Oh, hush up.  Ladies, you know how circular thought processes work!)  Years ago, I met my first ginger friend.  For those of you who aren’t blessed with pasty white skin, red hair, sandy eyebrows and eyelashes, you probably aren’t aware that we are, quite literally, a minority, and it can be difficult to hook up with another redhead.  I have been blessed with two very good ginger friends, one I hadn’t been in touch with for quite some time.  Enter:  Twitter.  I had googled my friend’s name for awhile, but search engines, especially when you’re looking for a person, have a tendency to give you local results.  I knew she wasn’t local, so after awhile, I gave up.  It wasn’t until I got a wild hair and thought to use my Twitter account.  I didn’t find her directly, but I found where she works and we’ve been trying to get together ever since.  It’s just so exciting to reconnect with someone you’ve missed, looked at those old pictures and actually have her recipes in your old, overstuffed recipe binder, that I had to write about it!

The job.

This is one of those peculiar, kismet type situations.  I really wasn’t looking for work, but I felt I needed more structure to my life.  I’m one of those people.  Anyway, I happened upon Craigslist and thought, why not look in the employment section?  For office type jobs, Craigslist listings are rife with scams, work from home garbage and generally unhelpful crap.  This one post caught my eye because it was local and was for a cannabis clinic.  Here in California, medical marijuana is legal.  Intrigued, I responded to the ad and didn’t expect an answer.  A week later, I was called in for an interview.  The interview was the most honest I’ve ever conducted.  You know what I mean.  We all do it.  It’s not deception or lying, but when you’re in an interview, you present yourself in the best light possible.  It just makes sense.  This time, I turned off the filters and threw aside the “work interview” mind mode.  The lady interviewing me identified herself as the boss, and I actually liked her, so I thought, nah.  I ain’t getting this job.  Surprise!  I went in for a working interview, and that went well.

So now I have an interesting part time job.  😀

See you in the funny pages!