Thursday, January 22, 2009
So hey how's the weather out there?
I have been put on restriction at work and no longer have the ability to adoringly worship the internet during work hours. Now I just wander the halls looking for work to do. For some reason the doctor/founder of the office I work at thinks my being on the internet makes it so I don't work. Now that would be true if there were work for me to do. See you can't hire a chemist (you know, those people who use chemicals), buy a $500K dollar instrument (that said chemist puts chemicals into) and then expect them to get on it. When you have no fume hood (to prepare chemicals in), exhaust vent (for the chemicals placed into instrument to go out), chemical cabinet, or glassware to measure said chemicals. That didn't exist there. I was hired in May. I asked things like "Where is your glass ware? And Where are the chemicals stored?" Simple things like this. They didn't even have the permit to have glassware in their lab. WTF? What kind of lab doesn't have beakers? Graduated cylinders? Anyone? Hello Houston I think we have a problem. It took the bean counters several months to figure out that putting the instrument downstairs in a 2 story building (fume hood exhaust vents normally have to go out on the roof) and next door to the pediatric exam room was a bad idea of stellar proportions. They had the instrument exhausting out into the ceiling. So, you know, the chemicals went right out into the rooms surrounding it. Like the pediatric exam room next door. Doctors are so pompous, really horribly so. They could care less about how things get done, just that they get done and get done now. The audacity is killing me.
So they finally bit the bullet, commenced whining about how much money they were paying on the loan for this instrument and wanted to know why it wasn't making them money. I gave them the laundry list of their short comings and they said, for all intents and purposes, that they didn't care what was needed and to get it done and get it done now. So the bean counter (the not so pleasant person who is the middle man for getting anything done) gets an estimate for building me a new tiny lab upstairs (novel!) with a fume hood and an exhaust vent. Wow, progress! The instrument and I continue to sit around and cost them money (it's called putting the cart before the horse, something they obviously didn't teach in med school) until this past December when the room was completed. Yay! Oh except for this little thing called air conditioning. My a/c is still connected to the rest of the office (ie women sitting at desks calling and trying to get people to pay their bills) which is not good. Why? Because the bazillion dollar instrument needs a stable temp to run. Women sitting at desks crank up the heat because they are sitting and cold and my room gets to, oh 85 degrees by noon when it started at 69 degrees at 9am. Instrument no workie in SAUNA.
So now I kinda work. I run the instrument knowing that all the data is garbage and I can't get it calibrated to run actual patient samples. Meanwhile in the land of pompous asses I have several doctors, mainly the head honcho, complaining about how useless the mass spec is. Yup it's a big fat expensive paperweight that sits useless because overly enthusiastic "oh lets buy one right now!" doctors thought it'd be brilliant if they could get one and show it off and brag about it. Before finding out what it entailed. They blame me now, 8 months almost of downtime and it's my fault. For not being given the tools needed to do the job they hired me for. How many years in college and they are how smart? Yeah I don't think so. My faith in modern medicine right now is at an all time low. Mind you it wasn't all that high to begin with but what I see now scares the crap out of me. We have the ambulance at our office doors no less than 3 times a week. There are like 8 doctors that work in our office, we do everything in house. Thyroid biopsies, bone density testing, nutrition counseling/classes, all the lab work. You name it we do it. In house. Adding me to the scene basically rounded it out. The very few things we had to send out are all covered by me and my instrument. Once I can get the damn thing working.
How long you ask? Good question. This is not a regular piece of lab equipment. I work with lab techs and they run all the other instruments. They couldn't run mine to save their lives, I may be able to figure out theirs but I'd need a manual. They couldn't figure out mine with a manual. It's like the difference between a race car and an F-18 Hornet. A pilot could drive a race car. A race car driver might get hurt in the plane. Or at the very least bad shit would happen. Did I mention the doctors had no idea what the hell they were doing when they bought my mass spec? Yeah not a clue. They think it's just like a black box, you put the blood in and it spits out a number. That may be true of the other instruments but not this puppy, nooo way. You have to have a degree in chemistry and find yourself a job in this field (rare rare rare) and then you can figure out how to run these things. Deciphering the data that comes out? Figuring out how to extract out what you want from the sample? Entirely different story. Click on the link, read a sentence, then tell me what you think. No, really I'm totally serious here. Quiz to follow!
Intro to mass spec, interpretation (from U of A, chemistry dept)
Average time to get a method up and running? 1 year. Yeah that's right you heard me, one year. They want to know why I haven't been running their samples yet. Well maybe because I don't want them to be sued? The main lab that runs the Vitamin D samples (that's the first test they want me to start with) is Quest Diagnostics. Do you want to know what happened to them? Their method was off. They had to 'recall' tests and redo them for free because they discovered that their results were wrong for late 2006 and early 2007.
People were coming back with toxic levels of vitamin D in their blood because they were under the assumption that their levels were low and they needed supplementation. Needless to say I don not want to be the one making these kind of mistakes and killing people. Ya catching my drift here?
Until I am absolutely 100% sure my numbers are right I am not making one single report. I don't care how many pissed off pompous doctors want their money back out of this machine, they can kiss my ass.
In the meantime when I have downtime (because the instrument can take hours to run all my tests) I am not allowed to go onto the internet nor can I listen to my iPod. In the back of the lab where they stuck my desk. Know why? Because it looks unproductive. I have no other work to do, if I did I'd be doing it. Really I'd love nothing more than to be able to go in to work and do my job. Sounds simple doesn't it? Not when you're working with doctors, the epitome of incompetent. Never again will I go for a diagnosis and not second guess it. Nor will I ever work for an office full of the greedy self centered vain bastards. If I was offered another job today I'd leave just to see how they'd like it if they didn't have a mass spectrometrist to run their instrument. We're not a dime a dozen, there just aren't many of us out there. I should probably start looking huh?
So I was indoor all day today but I heard it was 78 degrees out and Friday will be 80 degrees. Maybe they will fire me and I can hang out in the sun and collect unemployment, yeah.....