Thursday, June 30, 2011


God, I finally figured out why I've been completely fragged with my muscles feeling like bags of Jell-O and my head stuffed full of oatmeal. Medication reaction, yay. In a couple of days I should be back to my usual scintillating self.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


OK I had this awesome post all planned about the difference between spoken and written English. It's still there, but I was so exhausted when I got off work tonight, so it will have to wait until tomorrow.

LOL I suck.

Monday, June 27, 2011

When you go to kiss your honey and your nose is kinda runny...

Mucous and mucus. These are two words that get mixed up so often that I have a shortcut for feedback (qmuc). Yes, they are different, and here's why.

Mucous is an adjective most often used to modify the noun membrane.

Mucus is a noun meaning the icky slimy gross stuff (if you had a brother like mine it was also known by snot and other, more disgusting names that I must stop thinking about before I ralph all over the keyboard) that is secreted by mucous membranes.

Also I am a moron who can't figure out how to make colored text on this blog. :(

My thanks to Common Errors in English Usage, a very useful site that you should bookmark immediately, because it explains said common errors in plain language, and also sometimes has little stealth puns that will sneak up on you.

OK look people

When doc is dictating a cardiac catheterization, it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that he is going to comment on the patient's LEFT KNEE in the middle of the angiogram.

It's a good thing I'm obsessively professional. Otherwise I would leave extremely snarky feedback and make that MT cry, because I'm a huge bitch and OH MY GOD IT IS SO OBVIOUS WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE.

I wish I had a glass of wine. :(

Can't brain today

I just spent 10 minutes looking through old reports looking for this medication "Emalen." I was just about to give up when I found it and it was MILK OF MAGNESIA. Em oh em. -_-

Also I cleaned off my desk today in preparation for taking a picture of my workspace for Project365 (which I am doing on Facebook, not here) and found my hamster on a wheel. :D And also some ketchup and fire sauce packets, and several Reese's peanut butter cup wrappers. :(

This is why I rarely clean off my desk, because every time I'm like OMG I SHOULD BE ON HOARDERS :( :( :(


Edit for additional insanity: The next blank he's spelling out. What a nice man. Tylenol is totally spelled T H L E N O L.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A picture is worth how many words?


The patient does not verbalize the last time she ingested alcoholics.

My brain:


I'm still giggling madly.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New one on me

Never heard of a TAP block before.

I must peruse the rest of that site some time (I originally typed pursue instead of peruse which gave me a rather hilarious mental image of a computer monitor running away, screaming and waving its little monitor arms in panic).

Edited for typing fail. :(

You know what I hate?

Blissfully QAing report after report, secure in the knowledge that everyone else is more ignorant than me... BAM.

Doc has dictated a drug. MT has typed a drug. The drug is spelled correctly, but my QA sense is tingling!

I'm 99% sure this is not the correct drug. For one thing, it's a cancer drug, and the patient doesn't have cancer listed under past medical history or diagnoses or anything. For another, it's smack in the middle of a list of inhalers, and the patient DOES have a history of COPD.

Unfortunately since doctors totally flunk Drug Pronunciation 101, I am unable to find what drug it is, so I have to do that thing where I replace the MT's carefully looked-up spelling and replace it with a blank.

It makes me feel fantastically lame when I do that. Every time I make a correction I ask myself what I'll say if someone comes back and questions it. In this case all I'd be able to say is, "Well, I don't know what it is, but it's not that.

Maybe I'll just start linking to this blog post in my feedback. LOL.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I don't think I want to meet his mother...

The patient's mother also brought his electric chair, which helped in mobilizing the patient.


Gettin mah hurr did

On Sunday, Fairy Princess Sister cut my hair. The eMpTy Boy has been kind enough to illustrate this for me, so you can all see:

I actually love it, although today I learned that if you go out in the wind with wet hair, it turns poofier than a bridesmaid's dress.

Monday, June 20, 2011


D: Lives at home, denies any alcohol or tobacco use.
T: Is a homo, denies any alcohol or tobacco use.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Question of the day

Why is subject-verb agreement a closed book to so many people? Didn't everyone else have to learn how to diagram sentences in school to learn which verb went with which subject and therefore how to make them agree?

It drives me crazy.

Edit for the purpose of being more helpful than bitchy: If you have no idea what I'm talking about, the Purdue Online Writing Lab has a helpful page to help you with subject-verb agreement.

Use this page! PLEASE! Before what's left of my brain congeals into a solid mass of gelatinous-cube type material that makes everything it touches shrivel and die!

Edit 2 (Electric Boogaloo): This is standing in for the LYNXPLZ post I was supposed to make yesterday, except I was being possessed by the spirit of Donna Reed, so I wasn't on the computer. LOL.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Stage Fright

The problem with blogging is that I feel compelled to come up with something devastatingly witty at least once a day; since I can barely crawl out from under this backlog to post at all, I feel unequal to the task.

This will no doubt be the first of many displays of inadequacy which I will spew all over the internets. I hope your clothing is washable.

If you're wearing any.

If you're not, please don't tell me.

Anyway, I hear that liquid inadequacy washes out pretty easily with club soda.

The backlog stands behind me like a Nazi commandant, cracking its whip, so I must now bid you adieu... back to Stalag 13!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Things That Are Not God, Part I

Oh, my children, the spelling/grammar checker is not god and you do not have to follow every freaking suggestion it makes.

When you type the plural of a word already in its dictionary, it will suggest you use an apostrophe. THIS IS WRONG.

It thinks you should put a comma before every single instance of "which." THIS IS WRONG.

Unless you've added them manually, it doesn't know what phrases like "in toto" and "Dalai Lama" mean. Until I added "en route" to my personal dictionaries, it always suggested "in root." NO.

Its thesaurus is puny and horrible and wrong. What it calls "synonyms" are responsible for a lot of the terribly bad usage in amateur fiction.

Context? What's that? It doesn't know if you're making a list, or typing in an office code. It ABSOLUTELY REFUSES to put cc: at the beginning of a line in lowercase. I can't tell you how many damn reports I get with Cc: at the bottom. Which makes me scream.

Please do not slavishly follow the recommendations of the spelling/grammar check in Word or any other platform. If you're truly in doubt, do something wild and LOOK IT UP so I can stop banging my head against the keyboard like some poor pseudoautistic freak.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Let Us All Learn This Word Together

It's ASHKENAZI Jewish. Not Akinosi, not Okefenokee, not Anasazi, not Karankawa.

Let's all say it together. ASHKENAZI.

Ashkenazi Jews are an ethnic group who have some specific genetic risk factors, which is why doctors bring it up. You can read more here.

Say it again with me. ASHKENAZI.

Aaaaaah. Doesn't that feel nice?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Handy Search Tip

You know when you're searching for something on the internets and you get eleven million useless results because your search term is similar to something totally unrelated?

Say you have a job on a patient with schizophrenia and the Axis II diagnosis is "Cluster A trait, MMR." You're supposed to spell out MMR but you don't know what it is, so off you go to Google (at least I hope that's what you do) and search schizophrenia cluster a trait MMR. And you get a bunch of crap about the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella.

"IT CRAP!" you scream, and go shoot up the Luby's.

No, no, wait. Don't do that. There is a solution.

Your original search string is good, but if you add -vaccine to it, it will filter out all that crap about the MMR vaccine. Your full Google search string will be schizophrenia cluster a trait MMR -vaccine.

You still might have to wade through a bunch of scientific twaddle, but at least it won't contain anything about vaccines! Also, you can keep adding more minuses to filter out useless results as you find them.

Now your searches will be more efficient, your mind will be serene, and the people at the Luby's don't have to worry about getting shot. :D

Transcription Fail

"Schizo typo" personality. WTF is that? Do you go hear voices telling you to type things wrong and make up spellings?

I suspect MTs are more likely to have this disorder than patients are.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


…because the cross is freaking OCCUPIED.

We have a backlog at eMpTy job #1. Especially on this one client. I AM THE ONLY ONE WORKING ON THIS BACKLOG. I guess the others don’t want to because this client is being audited for quality and we’ve been told multiple times that we will be up shit creek if any of us are found wanting.

Well, they said it in a much more professional way than that, obviously.

Anyway, I’m doing QA on reports 2 days old. Earlier they were 3 days old, but I finished all those. There are still over 100 jobs and about 20 of them are from 2 days ago.

And this is my day off.


There is a rant coming up, but I had to stop writing it because it was putting me in a bad mood. And when I say a bad mood I mean I was getting to the point where all I could think of to say was “RAWR STUPID DUMB HATE HATE HATE HATE!”

Anyway, because it’s Saturday I want to share a useful link. My plan is to do this every Saturday, because I have a GINORMOUS link library and want to share.

Today’s link is OneLook. This is a dictionary search engine that will search over 9000 dictionaries for whatever word you’re looking for, including Dorland’s Online. It will also let you search for words containing whatever you’re looking for, like if you have a *mumblemumble* cyst, you can search for phrases containing cyst.

Recently they’ve added searches where you can find words related to certain concepts, and also acronyms. The instructions for doing so are all on the front page of the site, so I won’t repeat them here, but really, use this link. It is the best word finder on the internet as far as I’m concerned.

Now, it’s the weekend, so go eat some chocolate or something.

Friday, June 10, 2011

How To Feel Like An Idiot

Go looking for samples of a frustrating doctor. Find nothing. Go back months and months looking, spending at least 30 minutes looking for just one damn sample. Get frustrated. Decide to kill him and everyone in the Medical Records Department at that hospital. Go have a cigarette and a cup of coffee and think about how you are not making money while on this wild goose chase. Decide to kill whoever invented money. And your boss who asked you to do this particular report. Get really frustrated, make RAWR noises, and close the search results window.

Then realize you have spelled the doctor's name wrong. -_-


I’d like to explain to you that “???” is not a useful QA note. In fact it’s damned irritating, because I have to highlight and delete it, which adds to my keystrokes, and that, my friends, is on the order of Lex Luthor stealing 40 cakes.

You know what else is not a useful QA note? One that is so cryptic that it’s just word salad. I have one up right this very minute that reads “clicked on as saying word.” What does this mean? In what universe does it make some kind of sense? Even when I go into the report and look at the blanks that were left… I have no idea. Perhaps we should get Encyclopedia Brown on the case, because me, I’m on the clue-free bus.

Another one that I hate is one like this: “Cannot understand, could not find this.” REALLY? I thought you just left those blanks in there for fun. Never occurred to me that it might have been because you couldn’t understand them. Thank goodness you thought to leave a note about it, or I’d be really confused.

I sometimes wonder if these MTs were traumatized by cruel, vicious, tyrannical QAs who stood over them with cat o’ nines, demanding that they justify EVERY BLANK EVER with a note. I picture them looking around furtively as they type these notes, tears flowing from their eyes as they type in whatever nonsense is coming my way.

What a tragic image. I must remember to send a card.

The point of all this is that useless QA notes cost you and me money. You expend keystrokes typing them in, I expend keystrokes deleting them; how about if we all agree that QA notes should be coherent, to the point, and not blindingly obvious? This way, we both make more money, and also my rhythm is not disrupted and I remain a fairly well-adjusted person, as opposed to the screaming banshee I become when my rhythm is disrupted.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

This Post Has No Title

The reason this post has no title is because it is about my son, the eMpTy Boy, who defies all attempts at categorization or description.  Even the color of his hair changes every month.  The only three things that can definitively be said about him are that he’s very intelligent, he’s very good-looking, and he takes after me.  J

The eMpTy Boy has his own blog, which you can find here.  Tonight we are chatting on MSN and writing blog posts about one another.  He thinks this is a great idea. 

My personal jury is still out.

I’ll try to give you a basic understanding of the eMpTy Boy:  If George Takei somehow merged with Mister Spock, and then the two of them turned into a Broadway musical that had collided with a rainbow and a wolf and had glitter sprinkled all over it and at the same time was extraordinarily handsome, talented, and intelligent, the result would be my son.

I am 100% objective on this subject.

Of course, he does have his faults.  He is hideously cruel and demanding at times.  Currently he’s standing over me with a whip, forcing me to finish this post, even though I’m completely stuck and don’t know where to go from here. 

He also makes me watch anime.  “OMG MOM, THIS IS SUCH A GREAT STORY!”  So I go to Netflix and click on it, and am immediately assaulted by more T&A than a thousand screenings of Porky’s. 

“Child,” I say, “there is far too much emphasis on the secondary sex characteristics of women in this animated cartoon from Japan, and I would like to point out that any woman who really had breasts that large would not be able to stand upright.  Also, why is she putting war paint on her buttocks?”

At this point I am branded a perverted old woman and informed that HE never even NOTICES all the buns and boobs that are taking up 75% of the screen time.  Silly me.

In retaliation I force him to watch shows that I like.  He hates all of them until he sees them, and then he loves them as much as I do.  Even Buffy.  Or should I say especially Buffy.

Who would have thought that the tiny boy with whom I had BBQ-potato-chip-and-Banjo-Kazooie parties would turn out to be such a martinet?

I’ve just realized that this post has nothing to do with medical transcription, so allow me to share an anecdote.

Back in the day, long before HIPAA, I used to let him sit with me in my office while I typed.  One day I had a report about a little boy who came in to County Hospital with some kind of bug in his ear; this was of great importance to the boy, because he had recently had a similar encounter with an otophilic insect, so I was giving him the blow-by-blow.  He was fascinated.  Then the doctor began describing how he had to take the bug out in pieces.

That sounds very benign, doesn’t it?  If he’d just said, “So I had to take the bug out in pieces,” it would have been fine, but no, he had to describe in horrible graphic detail how each piece of the bug broke off with the “gentle traction of the forceps,” including the color, consistency, and smell of all the fluids involved.  The expression on my face was something akin to those YouTube reaction videos of people watching 2girls1cup, causing the child to come up and tug my sleeve, demanding to know what was so awful.

As I said, this was long before HIPAA, so I just turned the speaker on (it was an old Lanier machine) and let him hear it in all its ridiculously disgusting glory.

After that, he was always asking me to turn on the speakerphone while I was working, in case anything gross came up.

Aaah, little boys.  It’s a good thing I’m not afraid of garden snakes, given the number of them he left in his pockets. 

Of course at this point the eMpTy boy believes I should tell you that the magic monkeys came and carried him off to a magical land where he ruled with an iron fist (and a large piece of cheese).  Personally, I think that’s a lot of very creative hooey, but there you are.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Typos T_T

It never fails, if you criticize someone else's spelling, you will make a spelling error of your own.  There is no way to escape this.

I always spell hypochondria with an extra R for some reason.  Just then I was typing it and actually trying not to and I still did.

God.  Now I can't complain about people not spell checking until this post is off the front page.

Things That Make Me Go Hmm...

I am a very curious person.  When I was a kid, I wanted to know why the sky was blue, why cats couldn’t talk like people, where the sun went at night, and things like that.  My parents encouraged this intellectual curiosity even to the point where I didn’t get called on in Sunday School because my questions made the teachers go into collective apoplexy.

Anyway, now I’m (theoretically) grown up and I wonder about other things. 

Today I’m wondering why it is that MTs leave a million hard returns at the end of a document.  Ever since I started working in QA I’ve been mystified by this.  Where do they all come from?  Why don’t people take 2 seconds at the end of a job and delete them?  It is a mystery.

The other thing I wonder about is why people are so resistant to change even when it makes their lives easier.  I’ve had the dubious pleasure of training people on new things that make their lives easier, and boy did they bitch about it.  It went like this:



Even a very small thing like auto-numbering, which just recently became available on one of the platforms I work on.  I hailed this as an answered prayer, because one of my pet peeves is having to go through and re-number a list because the MT didn’t get it quite right.  I was like J J J NO MORE RENUMBERING! J J J

No-one uses it but me.  Seriously.  And I can’t figure out why.  I mean, which would you rather do with a 20-item list – hit one key combination and have it all numbered just the way it should be, or laboriously enter each number, hoping you don’t miscount or put a tab instead of a space or whatever. 

These are the things that make me tear at my hair and scream OMG IT’S EASIER YOU IDIOTS AAAAAAAAAAAH!  Except I don’t really do that, because if you actually do it people think you are crazy and put you in the mental hospital.  But you know.

Now I’m gonna go take a class on how to wind up a blog post, because I never seem to be able to, LOL.

Earth Logic and Hypochondria

So I’m sitting there going about my usual workday, logging reports, fixing mistakes, complaining to myself, my friend and colleague Vicarious Boat Lady, and really anyone else who will listen about repeated mistakes, and sending feedback (which is much nicer and far more professional than my complaining), while fielding interruptions from people who think “I work at home” means “I am constantly available for whatever inane bullshit you want to throw in front of me,” and trying not to let Farmville eat my soul/paycheck.

Suddenly, the unexpected happens:  A disease I’ve never heard of!  This is exciting!  Off I run to Google and type in a speculative spelling of New Scary Disease… and voila, there it is.  Yay!  I have added to my general knowledge of things that can go wrong with the human body!

Well, I think to myself, I should a) bookmark this page, b) send the link to Vicarious Boat Lady in case she hasn’t heard of it either, and c) read a little more about it.

Earth Logic heartily approves of A and B, but on C makes a noise something like the high-pitched screeching emitted by girls in teen screams (another of my guilty pleasures).  “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” it shrieks.  “DON’T START READING!  GO BACK TO WORK!”

I, of course, blow Earth Logic right off and start researching the signs, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of New Scary Disease… and after a while Hypochondria rears its ugly head and says, “Hmmm… that sounds like the headache I had last week.  Oh, and dry eyes, I’ve got those too.  Neck pain, yes.”

Of course, Hypochrondria always ignores the fact that what I haven’t got is THE MAIN HUGE OBVIOUS SYMPTOM of New Disease.  And since I practically have to be dragged to the doctor’s office just to get blood work and refill medications, you can bet I’m not going to do the sensible thing and just go find out.

Instead, I’m going to spend the next week or two obsessing on whether or not I have New Scary Disease.  I’ll read and re-read every internet article I can find about it.  I might even buy books about it.  Then I’ll read and re-read those. 

As time goes on, I’ll message eMpTy Boy and tell him I think I have Scary New Disease.  Now, eMpTy Boy regards himself as the Champion of Earth Logic, and also has been through this before, and will immediately look up New Scary Disease and tell me in his Mister Spock Voice that I probably don’t have it, but if I really think I do, I should go to the doctor.

I’ve mentioned above how difficult it is to get me to a doctor just for routine stuff; the ensuing conversation will revolve around eMpTy Boy harassing me about going to the doctor and me resisting.  Sometimes he wears me down as far as making an actual appointment, but I invariably cancel it. 

When Nurse Mom was still alive, I’d call her and casually ask if she’d heard of it (she always had), and then she would take me to new heights of horror describing some of the effects of New Scary Disease she’d personally seen during her time in acute care. 

By this point I’m a gibbering crazy woman with a very, very thin mask of outward sanity.  Finally I beat off Hypochondria and plead with Earth Logic to say it ain’t so. 

Of course, Earth Logic is not content to simply reassure me – it must instead tick off all the individual reasons it knows I do not have New Scary Disease in order to thoroughly grind the idea to powder and incidentally make me feel like a dumbass for ever believing Hypochondria in the first place.

A long time ago, before I got into this racket, someone told me this was called Intern’s Disease, which made me laugh at the silly interns who didn’t know any better.  Well, har dee har har.  This is only one of the hazards of being an overly imaginative person working in medical records.  There are many, many more.

Like, you know, when you try to tell a non-MT person about something funny that happened at work… if they’re polite their face will become a mask of benign interest and they will laugh uneasily when they think you’ve reached the punchline, which they won’t get.  If they’re not, they’ll just say something like, “Jesus Christ, is work all you ever think about?”

Hence this blog, despite the fact that the world doesn’t really need another MT blog (because most of them are dead boring, sorry kids), and who knows if anyone will even read it!  It’s an outlet, created for my own glorious and 100% selfish pleasure, but I hope other MT people will find it amusing as well. 

Now, however, I must put aside the selfish delight of rambling on without end, and return to the thrill, excitement, and glee of my non-blogging life.


Edited for stupid typo.  L