Monday, March 23, 2009

It’s UP!

Dow chart Nice to see a little positive news. The Dow is up, and has gained 1200 over the past two weeks. (Click on the picture to get a more detailed graphic.) They're saying that confidence is up because of the plan to buy toxic assets in order to get credit moving again, as well as a 5% upswing in housing starts. I'm sure we haven't seen the end of this recession yet, but it really was nice to hear some good news rather than the constant barrage of bad news and scary numbers. I see a glimmer of hope. I really see it! And color me shocked! They're interviewing Ben Stein on CNN, and he has pretty good things to say about the plan, that the assets that Wall Street is going to snap up at these prices are pretty good, and he thinks this will get investments moving. Ben Stein is saying this? [clutching her heart] I'm comin', Elizabeth! (A Silver Squirrel to anyone who gets that reference. I need to make the award first, though!)

I want to thank everyone for their thoughtful comments on my previous entry about healthcare. I think everyone realizes that there is a big problem, and it needs more than a Band-Aid. It needs major surgery. (Not to beat the healthcare metaphor to death. Ha! Death! Get it?) We really do need a major shift in how we think and operate. (Ha! Operate! Get i--oh, never mind.) I believe with all my heart that we must transition to a preventive mentality and provide preventive care for all, rather than ignoring our own health because we can't afford preventive care and waiting for a catastrophic illness to force us into the ER. We can save millions in healthcare costs. Here's just one example: a yearly Pap smear for sexually active women who aren't in a monogamous relationship (every other year for women whose previous Pap was negative and who are in a monogamous relationship). If caught early, cervical cancer is very treatable. But if it progresses too far, the costs of aggressive treatment, chemotherapy, surgery, etc., will become astronomical. We're talking $150 versus $150,000. Minimum. It adds up.

I especially want to thank my British and Canadian friends for weighing in on the issue. It's invaluable to get the perspective of someone looking at our country and saying, "Wait a minute...why doesn't everyone there have care?" We must do better, and we can do better. I know it.

Lab work I also got a couple of comments about my profession, Medical Technology, that I want to address. The Wiki page I linked to is very accurate as far as our training and the jobs that we can do. Even though I'm not working now, I still feel that I am an MT and always will be, and I'm very proud of the work that MT's do.

Giovanna wrote: I have a question: How can an internship be done in 3 months? If it used to take 12 months. Are they still learning the same or are they learning less?

And DB wrote: 12 month internship to 3 months is a big leap. Were you prepared after 3 months?

This is the first time Giovanna has commented, so welcome to Nutwood, Giovanna! And D, it's always good to see you, my friend.

Very legitimate questions. My internship started in July after my junior year, and went to July of my senior year. I had to move off campus (Remember the house on Rex Street, Dan? We had at least one big party there.) because I wasn't technically a Ball State student any longer, but I also didn't have to pay tuition! I stayed in Muncie, doing my internship at Ball Memorial Hospital, although there were several sites in the state where I could go. Even though I wasn't done with my internship until July, I got to go through the May commencement, so that was cool. Kind of a strange arrangement, but it all worked out well. (My parents especially loved the no tuition part!)

The internships are much shorter now, and I'm glad that I got to do such a long one. The shorter internships merely mean more classroom instruction. The training and knowledge base is the same, but the hands-on work is curtailed. We have to rotate through all departments in the lab, and my Microbiology rotation was...I think 11 weeks. Chemistry was the longest at 13 weeks. Most students now spend about 4-5 weeks in Micro, and the other departments are obviously shortened as well. I'm not even sure if they spend any time in Histology and Cytology, and I spent about 3 weeks going through those areas. (I'll never forget my first view of an amputated leg in Histology. Whoa.) Students now still receive plenty of classroom instruction, but the hands-on stuff is limited. Part of this is due to legal issues and more stringent regulations about who does testing. In my internship, those of us who showed special aptitude would end up doing the morning Hematology run, for example, and report out those results with the oversight of the tech who was working with us. I don't know about other departments, but in my most recent job, we did not let students report out any patient results.

Agar plates I think the main difference is that with a year-long internship, I was probably a little more in tune with what is was like to work in a lab. My first job was still an eye-opener, but I'd say it was an easier transition than some experience now. When you actually get in there and find out what a crazy workload it can be, it can be overwhelming. Of course, everyone remembers the really good students who seem to "get it," especially in Microbiology, because not many do. Those are the students that end up getting hired at the lab or hospital where they do their internship.

So rest assured, there are plenty of good people working in the lab, doing your lab work. There are multiple inspections for every lab, continuing education is a requirement, and almost every lab requires that their techs be certified by at least one regulatory agency. Several states also require state licenses.

Have you hugged a Medical Technologist today? [grin]


  1. Hello? Sanford and Son, much?

  2. Anyway, i got so excited I forgot to add:
    I, too, am hopeful. I think Ben Stein, even though he's made movies and TV shows, is very good at financial analysis. He seems to put things simply, which is good, because all them numbers up in my head makes a girl confused,
    Huh? What? Huh?
    I loved the Health Care post, and all that acroos the pond and way up north info. Makes a body think........

    Good stuff you're feeding me today!

  3. Even Ben Stein approves? Wow, maybe donkeys DO fly! Anyway, it's kind of fun to bask in an up stock market for a while. Hope it lasts!

  4. I'm so glad to hear this good news!!!! A glimmer of hope is better than none at all.

  5. Why, yes I have hugged my MT today :o)

  6. Tell Ken to give you another hug from me too! Kudos!

    Hugs, Rose

  7. Hey Ken...would you please give an extra hug to your MT for me too.

  8. Wow ... maybe I should be looking for a 'boehemian like you' ..? I wonder how that would work for a cat like me!!

    It is good to hear that Ben Stein is liking the plan, if for no other reason, than his instincts are republican. When you press on, and those who were once against you, sign on, then you more than likely are doing something right.

    I have to wonder if the MT of today are as good as the MT's of the past ... what would you say to that, Beth?


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?