Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wind & Interviews

About 1% of the time I wear contacts, and 90% of the time I wear glasses (the remaining 9% is when I take my glasses off to see something close up--yes, bifocals are just around the corner--or am wandering around the house in a myopic fog trying to remember where I left them when I was preparing for a shower or bedtime). 

As usual, then, I was wearing my glasses when I stopped by the grocery store on the way home from the gym this afternoon.  A stiff wind had erased all signs of the ice-spitting clouds that accompanied my trip to an interview at a local flooring supply company this morning (last week, as part of a wholly different interview process, I trailed a testing coordinator at a medical research organization for the day--more on that in a bit), and it was sunny, if chilly, by 4:30.  I had just finished loading my fortnight's supply of breakfast cereal and turkey bacon into my front passenger seat when a particularly violent gust came along and took off my glasses.  Fortunately, they didn't break, and the scratch-resistant lenses proved their worth.  The chimes on my back patio didn't stop ringing until the sun went down.

Crystal, the lady who saw me through my second, on-site interview with the medical research firm last Thursday, was blunt--most of the people that they see participating as study volunteers are "at the sunset of their lives."  They do research with patients suffering from all sorts of ailments.  Many of these folks are on dialysis, and some are able to live only because of study-participation, because their financial circumstances wouldn't otherwise allow for them to get the necessary medications (I was impressed at the strict standards the firm has for control-groups; they demand that drug companies supply known treatments to volunteers at the same time that they are testing new concoctions--that way, everyone is getting good care, it's not like the placebo group is left untreated).  I knew the theory and basic technique of dialysis (and that most don't live more than 5 years on it), but had not actually been to a dialysis center before, though there are almost two dozen in the immediate metropolitan area.  Dialysis is a lot like chemo--it debilitates those who have the treatment (weakness, nausea, etc.), and just when they get to feeling almost normal again, back they have to go for another round.  Except people in renal failure have to be dialyzed every other day.  And some centers run around the clock, offering "nocturnal dialysis" to indigent patients who otherwise would be sleeping on the streets.  It is an extremely sad situation.

Running medical studies would be a far cry from chaperoning undergraduates through study abroad programs, or helping people decide what sort of flooring they want to install in rooms in their house.  But it could be the most rewarding, and intellectually stimulating of the three jobs I've interviewed for.  They are looking for OCD individuals like me, who relentlessly check and double-check to make sure that the proper protocols have been followed.  But there is also an intensely personal, social element to the work--you have to meet with patients daily, make sure that they know you value them as individuals, not just as glorified guinea pigs, and keep in touch with them for periods from ten months to ten years ("Now, there's job security!" a colleague of Crystal's joked).  I should find out about the results of that interview later this week.

Tomorrow I go to be interviewed by an entirely dissimilar pair: a brace of sister cats whom a soon-to-retire Navy veteran has to rehome.  We will see if we like one another.  Even if we hit it off, I won't be able to give their human "mom" an answer on whether I'll be able to adopt them until after I know my job situation.  And my friend June, with whom I've been getting together on Tuesdays and Thursdays to study for our TESOL certificates, tells me that we need to go ahead and apply for fall teaching jobs in Korea within the next month.  Only God knows what my next year will bring.  I did get re-activated as a member of my local church, so at least I don't have to go through an inquirer's class on top of it all!


Barbara said...

Going through interviews, though not necessarily what most would call "fun", certainly seems to be a learning experience. Broadens your awareness of the world. :)

Yay for church membership!

S Dawg said...

People with ESRD never feel good, though; uremia also makes you feel like crap and kills you. ESRD is also usually the result of diseases like DM and HTN; I think the stat per NIH is that about 70% of ESRD is related to poor control of these "lifestyle" diseases. I'll let you do the math with regard to how the US spends its healthcare dollar (I'm sure you're aware of how dialysis is reimubursed). Anyway, sounds like a very fulfilling job. I hope you get it because then at least we can talk some shop.