Making My Own

I made my own coffee this morning, French Roast from SBUX. I don’t know why. Usually I feel I need to be in a coffee shop to feel in the right mood to write, which is why I leave so early in the morning. But yesterday was such a day from hell that I was practically asleep before my head hit the pillow at 2100, and this morning woke up 20 minutes before my alarm (0540 for those who are keeping score).

I left my notes on HIPAA at home, so I came home to retrieve them and take the test. I flunked it three times in a row. I was so confident about it because I knew the material cold, and finally I called the testing agency to see if there was something wrong with my computer. This is because there were java applets in the course that would not run, and I thought that some of the information I’d missed might be contained in them. The person on the phone told me I’d missed questions in the same section over and over, and that he would reach out to the instructor of the course.

She called me back and said that the online course did cover the material, but not in-depth, that there was a 400-page manual I didn’t get with the online course… and just basically “this online course covers everything, except it doesn’t.” She said she would give me the class and the exam for free if I could make it to San Diego in September. Right now I’m in the process of trying to get money back from the testing company based on what the instructor told me. There’s no reason I shouldn’t have passed that test if I was literally copying down the slides verbatim and memorizing them… otherwise, I wouldn’t have been confident enough to sit through the exam three times in one day.

It should have been a tip-off that the exam questions were nothing like the practice exam given on the training web site. You had to get at least 80% of the practice questions right in order to pass it, and I did (they won’t give you your exact score, only PASS/FAIL). Apparently, I got at least 5% dumber in like, half an hour.

I am not one of those people who cannot take responsibility for failing. I know when I’ve put in the work and when I haven’t. If I’d blown off the training and not taken notes, I wouldn’t have been surprised that I failed. The surprise was poring over the materials for days and still failing. I am blaming the online course materials because the instructor literally said that it wasn’t the same as the course I would have taken in person, and that there was a whole bunch of material I didn’t get. It also hurts not to know exactly how much I did get right, and how close (or not) I was to passing.

The instructor promised that there was no way I’d fail if I just came to her class in person, but I have other stuff that my boss wants me to work on, so I doubt it will happen. It’s nice that she gave it to me for free, though… and sad that I was so confident at the amount I studied that I was willing to fork over $800 of my own money to prove that I had indeed learned the material that was given to me. I don’t expect my boss to pay for the tests I flunked. If we get the money back from the testing company, that’s enough.

I am incredibly hard on myself when it comes to studying. I learned how to digest material by taking Con Law in college- writing down everything I possibly could so that I didn’t have to be connected to the Internet to study… because studying while connected to the Internet is a bad idea entirely. I mean, I don’t like cat videos (sue me), so there’s that. But there are no end to other distractions.

Speaking of cat videos, I like cats a lot. I’ve had three that I’ve loved beyond all measure. But I like playing with them in person, not watching other people’s. I am also not a cat mom. That shit drives me insane. A cat is not a child to me, and to compare them is ludicrous. I have owned cats. I have not babied them. They don’t seem to care.

I have also never been a “dog mom,” but a dog owner. That doesn’t mean I put them out in the backyard and forget about them. They’re members of my family, but have never and will never have the same status as any child I adopt, have, acquire as step-children, etc.

This is a huge tangent to get me off of the fact that I am desperately sad I flunked an exam that I spent days studying for, and that all of it is for naught. It’s just fucking depressing to an enormous degree, because I am smarter than this. But I cannot help but feel that the deck was stacked against me no matter what I did. The instructor even said that the online course was designed for people who already had a background in HIPAA, and that the part I learned while working in a doctor’s office was barely covered in the material. It was mostly laws passed and when, as well as what clauses fall under each section. The course was not laid out that way, so there was no way to know which sections fell under the Final Omnibus Rule and which fell under the Security Rule, etc… and yet, that’s the way that the test was set up. There were also trick questions reminiscent of Ken Wall (great guy, evil Con Law tests) that said, “choose the MOST correct answer.” And those were tests on which I got one C the entire semester and all As on the others… and passed the final with 102. However, what KWall had working in his favor was that he told us his tests were evil up front. 😛

I am reminded of when I went with Dana to her allergist when she got hives, and the nurse left her workstation unlocked so that I could have pwnd her computer in a hot second. I didn’t, but I should have called the Office of Civil Rights and made a formal complaint, because anyone can do that. If you see a HIPAA violation, report it. This was a blatantly obvious mistake, because not only did I have access to Dana’s medical records, I had access to everyone in that system. It is only because I am a true White Hat that I didn’t peek… just noted their abject stupidity, because I could have gotten into billing as well.

I was just too worried about Dana to make reporting the HIPAA violation a thing.

I can’t help but think that I am partly responsible for those hives, because they are brought on by stress, and we were under a lot of it. I just remember crying in the allergist’s office because as I have said before, it was like watching my baby get a Vitamin K shot in her heel and hearing cries of anguish.

I am strong, but not that unbreakable.

When you go to see an IMAX movie, a real one and not a Hollywood movie, they make an announcement that if you get motion sick, just close your eyes, and the feeling should pass.

Though Dana shouldn’t have had to wait around for me to deal with the enormity of my feelings for Argo to pass into manageable friendship and getting away from sharing secrets that made me want to fix everything, it would have helped if Dana had closed her eyes, and waited for my feelings to pass, because they did indeed. Feeling like I was “in love” with Argo’s brain didn’t last nearly as long as trying to put dirt into the hole I’d dug, but when you break something, it is damn near impossible to put it back together again… and I mean that in the most sincere way with both of them. I just ran out of time, and we each said things to each other that pushed us away instead of closer together.

Regret and shame is a recurring theme, because I don’t want to be that person anymore. I was so anxious I couldn’t breathe, because everything was slipping through my fingers. Just everything. Starting over was my only option, because there was no way that either one of them was truly going to give me another chance, especially when Argo laid it out for me that I was never going to get away from her feeling that I was this dark and twisty character even as I tried in so many ways to try and get her to smile.

In our last fight ever, and should be, she escalated a conversation and I fucking lost it, a place I never wished to go and couldn’t really help because I do not have the emotional tools to deal with being threatened, especially when I feel that things are unjust.

Being an INFJ, it’s the judging part that eats my lunch, and probably why both of them have said that being in relationship with me is “too hard.” It’s a shitty place to be when the people you love the most say that about you, as if I am terminally unlovable. I worked hard on proving that I am not unlovable, that I have dark and twisty moments because of all my PTSD, but that doesn’t mean I don’t also have redeeming and awesome qualities. I don’t think I’ve ever been so broken, so angry, so depressed… because while their negative opinions swirled around me, I could only think of the blessings they’d brought into my life and wanting to give them big thank-yous all around that were rejected in a hot second.

I have no hope whatsoever that Argo will see this in me, because her feelings are her feelings and she is entitled to them, but losing Dana is a never-ending battle for me because she has known me, loved me, for over a decade. I am wrecked that Dana stopped seeing the good in me, because there were so many years of it.

Ones that I remember when I feel horrible that I’ve failed… in more ways than one.


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