I was born in Baton Rouge, back so long ago that even radio programming was in black-and-white, hundreds of years before the dawn of time. Got a ‘general studies’ degree (low-status but it turned out to be very useful), hung around BTR having fun and working at the LSU College of Engineering and later the public relations department, mostly as a line editor for publications. I also got some cobol and statistics, and lots of spreadsheet experience, all of which turned to be useful.
In 1988 I got married and we moved to Raleigh NC, where Mrs Ken had a job teaching theatre at one of the local colleges. I got a temp job at Duke Medical Center, doing clerical stuff. They needed a data person and it seemed like a nice place. (It was)
I went soon to the pulmonary division, originally collecting and analyzing data for several studies (mostly WRT lung damage after high-dose chemo.) Wound up adding managing grants, lab finances, IND studies, and pulmonary function testing. (I *loved* PFTs, especially setting up new labs.)
I went with the lab head when he went to University of Louisville–originally for six months to help him get things set up, though I loved the job, the city, and U of L, and stayed for 18 months. But Mrs Ken couldn’t leave her job at the time, so I finally came back to Raleigh.
I took a big pay cut to go back to Duke, to the BMT division (high-dose chemo again), again abstracting data, though I didn’t get to do much of the analysis–the data mostly went to a public health agency.
Stayed 11 years there, and like my previous Duke and UofL jobs, I worked with some great people.
During that time, I had an accident. Duke’s vascular surgery saved my left leg (though it’s still weak) but went 0-and-6 on my right leg, so they cut that one off. From start to ‘finished and back home,’ it was about two years, with another six months in a wheelchair. These days I walk (very badly) with “Peggy,” my prosthetic leg.
This is where going back to Duke paid off for me–the employee health insurance was amazing. Around 15 separate operations, many weeks and even a few months spent in bed at the Duke Vascular Surgery Bed & Breakfast. My total copays over that time were a few thousand dollars.
Being out of work so long made us burn through our emergency savings, but without the insurance we’d have lost our house and gone bankrupt.
I kept working for 4 years, but it was a grind, and I was experiencing depression, and acting like a butthead at work and at home.
So I retired, to form the “Hammock and Lawn Chair Quality Institute,” devoted to intensive testing of hammocks and lawn furniture in our usually beautiful North Carolina weather. 🙂
I can’t walk very far, nor stand for long, so I’m fairly sedentary now.
I read a lot of history, play with my radios, play mandolin, play with our dogs, do some photography, and work tirelessly to crush the brutal forces of plutocratic capitalism.
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