Trailer Park Nirvana image created by Stefany Kleeschulte.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Spanish Word of the Day: Trabajar

My work history is varied - waitress, bookstore clerk, database manager, IT Goddess, data analyst, post office employee, transcriptionist. It's that last one - the one I liked least of all - that's saved my financial ass these past few years. Medical transcription has to be the most boring job I've ever had. Combine typing the same shit over and over (Dear Dr So and So, it was a pleasure seeing your patient Mr. Bad Heart...) with hours of sitting in the same position with your right foot perched above a foot pedal, your hands on the qwerty keyboard, eyes straight ahead and you've made for years of back ache, numb fingers, tingling sensations in the pedal foot, a wide ass and blurry vision.

These days I'm grateful for this transcribing stuff, however. Grateful I can work from home no matter where that home is. And I'm grateful that I've pretty much bagged the medical  work and instead have a pretty varied workload. Confidential restraints limit what I can say about our clients but I think I can get away with describing some of my work starting with my favorite: Internal Affairs investigations.

Ooowheee, there's some crazy shit going on with policemen and firemen. Officer-involved shootings can be pretty run of the mill. The stuff I like are the DUIs and domestic violence calls, hearing the officers try to wrangle out of those. One cop - I swear he was a sociopath - was suing or had been sued by every one of his wives and girlfriends of which he had many. I transcribed hours of his interrogations and that bastard lied, lied, lied, and that's the thing IA hates most - being lied to. I don't know what happened to him. The frustrating thing is after all this drama it's like the book ends with the last chapter torn out. I hope he got canned.

I've done some great interviews and presentations. The most recent was a talk by a healthcare policy wonk. I wanted to share his talk with every anti-"Obamacare" person out there. He described the attempts at healthcare reform going way, way back and the various reasons it got derailed along the way. His talk was clear, concise and funny, healthcare 101 brought down to an understandable level.

There are pharmaceutical company advisory boards which are a challenge, all these doctors talking over each other, drug names so long and complex, mechanisms of action - thank god for the internets! In the old days my desk was burdened with massive medical dictionaries and that giant drug book - the PDR - which had to be updated every year. These days if I can make out a word phonetically Google usually nails it.

Then there's the foreign language stuff. Or rather, African Americans who speak a form of English I have no familiarity with. I need a master's degree in ebonics to really know what they're saying. These are the men and women on the lower rung of the social ladder. It's interesting, when grandma talks, grandma uses correct grammar, seems well educated. She chastises her grandson for saying "fuck." There's no need for cussing, she says. Terms of endearment - from young men to their girlfriends - range from my nigger (I miss you, my nigger), to ugly (I love you too, ugly) and b (How you doing b?). Fortunately our instructions from the client are that if we can't grasp something, we can skip it. As it is I always listen at least three times before moving on. Takes for-fucking-ever, b.

Thanks to my mom, I'm able to support myself in my senior citizen years in a manner that isn't too sucky - like cleaning toilets or caring for snot-nosed kids. My mom always told me I should learn to type because I'd probably never get married. Gee, I hate it when my mom is right.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog. Pretty glamorous job! dg