the first post about the job

So did I mention I have a job? I’m a research assistant at a hospital here in Boston. I don’t intend to fill the site with entries about the job, partly for fear of getting Dooced, partly because my website is supposed to be the place I go to get away from it all. Since I am now employed full-time, “it all” pretty much means the job.

Thus far, the job has two major benefits. The first is health insurance. For a paltry sum of money I get some excellent coverage. This means that, should I be hit in the ribs by a baseball bat covered in tuberculosis tomorrow, everything will be just fine.

The other major benefit is that I have to be up every day at 6:30. Since I refuse to set my alarm any earlier than that, it means that I have to be UP at 6:30. None of this snooze button business. It’s been a hard adjustment to make. I’m the guy who once snoozed for three hours straight and then didn’t feel bad about it. On the up side, I’m more productive than ever, because hey, there are only so many hours in the day, and I’m in a hospital for eight of them.

Part of my research job requires looking through patient medical records. I say “looking through” because “reading” definitely isn’t the right word but “deciphering” is a four syllable word and some people have trouble with those. Medical records are hand written (and I use the term loosely) by many, many doctors. It’s not really sentences and letters so much as scrawls and hieroglyphics, a loose configuration of angles and intersections that has a meaning that will reveal itself if only you stare at it long enough. Like a Magic Eye poster, only with IV drips.

Despite my nonexistant experience with this kind of thing, three things have given me an advantage when it comes to deciphering (ouch!) the files. First, my own handwriting is awful. In third grade it was fantastic, and while my assignments all looked wonderful, they seemed to take me forever to complete. As it turns out, my handwriting was only good because I was taking large chunks of time to meticulously draw out each letter. Eventually I decided to speed up, and my true penmanship revealed itself as a harsh, angular mess that is an affront to human eyes. Still, I graduated Summa, so I guess the tradeoff was worth it.

Second, I have a natural talent for acronyms. Whether this is a product of my love of letters or Instant Messenger remains to be seen.

Lastly, ER. I’m not kidding you. It helps.


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