Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Craptacular Week

Saturday is good because it means I don't have to go back there until Monday. It's bad because Monday is only two days away. I've always made it a point to not vent about my job in this blog, mainly because I've heard of people getting in trouble for that kind of thing. A couple of things have happened that have made me change my mind. First, I'm to the point where I really don't care if I get fired. I know it's a horrible attitude to have, but it's where I've been pushed. I used to like my job. Second, it's been a particular craptacular week. And lastly, about 2 people actually read this, and I'm pretty sure neither one will tell my boss, so no harm done, right? And now you get to listen to me vent.

First, let me say that's it's been over a year since I've taken any kind of vacation. The 5 days I took off to recover from oral surgery don't count, and I was paged to take care of a problem one of those days. On the 25th, some of my vacation days are going to poof, as I can only carry 6 weeks. It doesn't look like I'm going to have a chance to use them.

I should have been well rested after a nice 3 day weekend. No, I had to write a presentation on anesthesia service and support for the 6 Japanese visitors we had coming. Looking at the itinerary, I realized I had to give not one, but two presentations. These were scheduled for 1 hour each. I am not a good public speaker. Granted, one of the presentations was to be a collaborative effort between myself and one of the senior engineers. Both presentations were to be given Wednesday afternoon. I wanted to finish them over the weekend, so I could have my boss take a look at them on Tuesday (Monday was a holiday) and I would have time to make changes to the presentation.

No information about the visitors was provided, and I had to make some assumptions as to who my audience was. The first assumption I made was to assume our visitors could speak English. I had to, since I don't speak a word of Japanese. The next was a bit challenging. These are technical talks. I didn't want to insult these people by coming in with too basic information if they've had 30 years of experience. Likewise, I didn't want to start talking over their heads if they were hospital administrators and not real technical. I assumed a base of technical knowledge and went for the safe middle ground, assuming I could give more detail if necessary or skip slides if they knew a lot.

These were bad assumptions. On Tuesday morning I found out that the group couldn't speak English, and everything would need to be done through an interpreter. Eek. I guess I should have put more pictures in my powerpoint presentation. I also learned that I needed to drive these people around campus for a week and make sure they got to their scheduled destinations. Nevermind all the other work that's building up on my desk.

Tuesday afternoon was fun for another reason. I got a call that one of my hospitals was having problems with it's anesthesia gas monitor, again. This was left on my voicemail. Since I was carting the Japanese visitors around, I didn't get the message until about 3 pm. Why they didn't call the main desk or my pager is beyond me. Great now I've got to drive 2 hours to northern New Hampshire. While packing my tools, I discovered the best part. The calibration gas, essential for fixing a gas monitor, was in the anesthesia van that I share with another tech. He was in Rutland. So now I've got to drive 2 hours in the wrong direction to pick up the cal gas. Not impressed. To top it off, on the ride down I had to deal with traffic from the VT State fair, an accident on route 7, and all 19 of Rutland's traffic lights (21 in the other direction. I know this because I stopped at each and every one of them). The other tech, being the funny guy that he is, decided to play one of his jokes and proceeded to tell me that he looked for the cal gas in the van but couldn't find it. I managed to resist the temptation to lodge the car keys in a very uncomfortable place in his anatomy. I got the gas and went on my merry way.

Arriving in Littleton sometime after 8, no one form the operating room was around. I found someone to let me in the room and put on my very attractive paper suit (The locker with the scrubs in it was locked, so I just put on one of the paper bunny suits). After an hour of testing the machine, I couldn't find an error.It was working grat and just wouldn't fail. Great. I know the hospital won't be happy when I tell them that. Oh well. I arrived home sometime around 11:30. A bit wound up from the drive, I read for a while before finally falling asleep. As you can imagine, I was not well rested for my presentation the next day. As a side note, the hospital used the same monitor without incident for the rest of the week.

Giving the presentation to the Japanese visitors was interesting. We got through about half of what I wanted to cover for infusion pumps, in the first presentation. This is mainly due to the fact that we spent about 2 hours talking, instead of the scheduled 1 hour. I only got through about a quarter of what I wanted to cover for my presentation on anesthesia. If I knew we were only going to get that far, I would have written a 15 minute presentation.

All in all, the visitors had a good time. I do hope we gave them a good impression of American healthcare. Apparently this is the only place in the US they're visiting. I think it would have made more sense for them to visit a larger healthcare provider. Playing the role of tour guide wasn't bad either, I just wish I would have known beforehand. I'm just glad I managed not to lose anybody.

1 comment:

BlueMule said...

As one of the "two people who read this", I'm telling.