Monday, January 4, 2016

Being an LMT is hard!

Okay, it might seem like a whine, and let me just say, I love my career. I'm ridiculously in love with my chosen career, otherwise known as "the day job".

HOWEVER, finding out I made the wrong choice in which job offer I accepted was heartbreaking. I had two choices, a spa, or a chiropractor's office. The office was going to pay for my license, and in the mean time I could shadow the Dr. Learn things I needed to learn for the job, create a good relationship with the patients, which I believe I did. They were going to pay me more an hour than I'd ever made before in my life, guaranteed holidays and weekends off, PAID holidays after my probationary period. I would have been stupid to turn that offer down!

So... in I went. I tried performing to the best of my ability. I was told laundry was a duty shared by all three in the office so it would be fair. I was told the weekly to-do list was also shared by all of us. I was told that every once in a while, I may need to answer a phone or two. I was told that I might have to hook up a patient to the Estim and traction tables to help out the doc. That I might be asked to run the ultrasound machine or talk a patient through therapeutic exercises. All FINE! I didn't mind sharing duties and helping out. I didn't mind helping the receptionist sort out files during down time either. I rather enjoy organizing, so alphabetically arranging them and putting them where they belong in the filing cabinets were kinda therapeutic to me. -- who knows, maybe I have slight OCD. Either that, or the fiance's OCD is rubbing off a little.

Two weeks go by, I'm thinking I"m on top of the world, I love my patients, I love the people I work with, the Chiro and the Receptionist are awesome people, genuine and caring individuals. I've gone to a health fair with the Chiro, and I was alright with falling to the back a little because it was my first one and I wasn't sure what to do. No big deal! we got some AWESOME patients in from it, and I still adore every single one of them that came into the office.

A month goes by, and I'm starting to feel the closeness of the holidays, and what the approach of Thanksgiving entails. The Monday before Thanksgiving was difficult, but not unbearable. It was the same day I lost my step-mom last year. They say the first holidays without are difficult. Knowing it'd been a year without her was almost unbearable. I popped my klonopin, and put on a brave face for the patients I saw, hiding away in my room feigning a headache, because otherwise I would collapse into tears, and I couldn't do that. Tuesday was alright, a half day, quick day. that Wednesday... There was 20 patients scheduled for the morning! By 11 AM I was ready to curl into a corner and sob for the rest of the day, begging for release so I could just crawl into bed where I wanted to be between the safety of my blankets and warm inviting mattress. I popped more anxiety meds, and pushed on with my day, putting on a smile and swallowing my tears down.

But... among all that anxiety... the receptionist is suddenly coming down hard on me. Demanding I put away the files, demanding the office be cleaned. Demand after demand after demand. Could she tell I was breaking down internally? No. Because that's what leaving your shit at the door means. No one knows what's really going on inside. no one can see the war and panic and complete and utter emotional break down going on behind the smile and kind eyes.

I was belittled in front of patients, made to seem as if I didn't know what I was doing. Cause a couple patients to lose confidence in me. I LONGED for my Massage Therapy classroom, where everything made sense last year, where I found comfort, and the shoulders of people who cared about me. .... brings tears to my eyes just writing this... If that's ANY indication of how badly that week affected me. Then to have unwarranted hostility thrown at me... I thought I was over exaggerating. Thought I HAD to be mistaken... Thought I was just being overly sensitive.

I had to be wrong, right? The receptionist was a good person, wasn't she? I had to brush off the hurt feelings and move on, continue pushing forward because that's all I had.

But yet... that Monday was more of the same. belittling and hurtful comments. Being told I couldn't do this, or I couldn't do that, that I wasn't ALLOWED to say certain things, because it had to come from the Chiro, like I wasn't educated, or didn't know how to say these certain things. I was astonished. I was HIRED to do this job, RIGHT? Still I tried to brush it off, and let the uneducated remain that way, and go about my business the way I knew how.

the next day, it was the SAME thing. More down talk, more of her acting as if she was better than me. More belligerence and belittling. More distrust between patients and I.

That Thursday, however, I was sent to another office, where I found out that the LMT before me wasn't relocated to the office closer to her town. She was let go "Because she didn't do anything there." hmm. Well that was something new. I'd been misinformed by my boss as to why the previous LMT was gone from the office. Willfully and knowingly misinformed. Figured, nahhh gotta be some rumors or something.

That week I'd also let the Chiro work on my hands, because they HURT. He fucked them up. BIG TIME. I had my ulnar nerve and possibly my radial nerve pinched because of the massage he gave me. I had him put kinesiotape on me, but it didn't do much. Self massage over the weekend shifted my carpal bones back where they needed to be and my nerves FINALLY relaxed.

The next week the receptionist was on vacation, and the one from the office I'd been at that Thursday was in our office to fill in. She tried having the Chiro and I scrubbing and disinfecting the office. I looked her dead int he face and told her I'd scrubbed the whole office on my own the week before, I'd wipe down a few things, but I was NOT doing that all over again. My hands and back was already killing me from the scrubbing I'd given the office the week before, and I needed to keep myself in working shape for the patients.

And what started making things all the worse? the girl filling in over that week had the SAME views about LMTs as the other one does! I was shocked, and couldn't believe that my boss was allowing this kind of thinking to go on. That we were an after thought, that what an LMT does isn't as important or as beneficial as what the Chiros do, That I didn't know what I was talking about with recommending heat and ice to the patients!

I tried contacting my instructor from school because I knew that she and my boss know each other, to see what my boss knew about LMTs and the credentials and things we learn through our school's program. I got a very vague response, which really doesn't sit well with me. Something is being hidden. And she'd even seemed iffy about us taking a position there.

I started not feeling so hot, and by Saturday I was REALLY off. It took me calling out that Monday, and then that Tuesday before I got into the hospital to find out I had Pneumonia! I'd also brought my time sheets home to work on the calculations that weekend, because it went from the receptionist inputting my times and sending them off to the boss (her mommy) so I'd get paid properly, to suddenly, it was MY job to do the calculations. then when I don't have time at the office to do this, I get my ass reamed because to was told it was my job, but I had no other time to do it! because when we have down time... I'm berated and yelled at and commanded to clean!

I was off that entire week, and when I came back the week of Christmas, the Chiro was happy to have me back, hung out in my room as i unpacked everything to see how I was feeling.

I'd also been bringing my laptop in, because there was nothing about it in our employee handbook about not bringing in things like that, I'd asked, and the receptionist even helped me connect to the net so I could have nice music in my room.

that week, the boss was in, and told me that she wanted happy and uplifting music playing. Not a problem. I found a christmas music playlist. Not another word was said to me about it.

Then last Wednesday I was called to a meeting before lunch. I was accused of "not doing anything around the office" and "The doctor shouldn't have to clean everything." .... wait what? That wasn't me you saw scrubbing the bathrooms the last three weeks, on MY OWN?! "We shouldn't have to ask for help." .... Uhmm... you don't?! "Laptops and personal tablets aren't allowed, as it's in the employee handbook." .... uhh... what? no it's not! "Anything going on at home needs to be left at the door, because you're on Health Solutions time, not your personal time." .... Uhm, scuse you bitch, but I deal with grief differently. I want left alone You're lucky I even CAME IN! I was told that hooking patients up to the Estim and traction was "Part of your job description." oh and "Garbages and the coffee maker are to be taken care of by the LMT every night. As well as any other cleaning that may need done." .... Wait... wait a god damned minute.... I'd had enough. absolutely ENOUGH.

I already was irritated that my boss told me that me working on patients outside of the office would "interfere with their progress" ... uhhhhhh no?.... noooooo..... definitely NOT! Well... yeah. I'd been giving my number out to many patients whom I knew would benefit from being worked on MORE THAN THE EIGHT FREAKING MINUTES I was given in the office.

Then today... Miss high an mighty pulled the final straw. and I got my paycheck... Missing $225 for three referrals that was there for their five office visits. I had written the referrals on the time sheet. I wasn't given ONE of them. I almost walked out right there and then. I stayed only to let the last few patients I had that day know that I wasn't sticking around.

My scope of practice was being violated. An LMT is not supposed to use ultrasound therapy or Estim. Yes, it was a Chiro ordering it... but it's outside an LMT's scope of practice to use such equipment. I was also told to start patients on therapeutic exercises, yeah, that's outside my scope of practice as well. they were also billing for MANUAL therapy, a code reserved for physical therapists, NOT massage therapists, because it gets them more money -- of which... I don't see a cent of that more. Other tasks and duties that were supposedly "Part of my job description" was being given to me as if I should know it all, and I knew nothing about it, and hadn't heard a damned thing about it until that moment it was spoken. I was expected to file EVERYTHING in that office, clean the whole thing, massage -- without using my knowledge I was given during that year of schooling. as well as violate my scope of practice, and compromise my ethics for the company. I couldn't do it. I couldn't sacrifice what I knew to be quality care of patients because it was "Company policy" I couldn't have HIPPA preached to me when I didn't violate it, only to find patient files left where ever around the office, patient's blood pressure and weight out for all to see in the X-ray room. -- hippa violations.

I had to get out. I'm saddened, and I've cried all weekend really about having to walk away from patients that I know and care deeply about, hopefully the ones I've spoken to will come to me at my new place -- I found a spot in a spa I think will be a great fit for me. I'll be an independent contractor they take 30% of my massages. Not that big of a deal really. I will have the freedom to care for MY PATIENTS the way I know how. The proper way, The decent way. the CAREFUL way. I'd rather not know how much I'll earn in a week and know what I"m doing is the right thing than have a guaranteed income and sacrifice my self worth both as a person and an LMT.

Yeah it sucks that this has happened, but I gotta look at it as, everything happens for a reason. I was meant to be in that office for a reason. I hope that reason was to build good relationships and have clients for life.

You gotta do what you gotta do, not only for your family, but for yourself as well. It was no longer the calm and welcoming atmosphere I'd enjoyed for the first month. So here's to a new spot, here's to a new beginning in 2016.

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