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My Name On Your Arm

I was listening to talk radio this morning because radio stations refuse to play music in the morning for an extended period of time.  The show I tuned in to had a woman as a guest who wanted to share a horror story about a tattoo she’d gotten about a year ago.  After dating for a few months, she and her girlfriend had decided that they were going to be together for the rest of their lives.  To add to that permanence, they both got each other’s names tattooed on their bodies; the woman on the show got her girlfriend’s name on her hand.  A few months after that, the relationship ended.  Unfortunately for them, their lease had another four months to go and at a New Year’s party, the ex shot the woman in her other hand during an argument.  Her ex went to jail for a month and she’s has plastic surgery and physical/emotional therapy to move past it, but her ex’s name is still on her hand for her to see every day.

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After getting the woman with a doctor who would provide free tattoo removal services, the discussion turned to the idea of getting your significant other’s name tattooed on yourself.  They called it the kiss of death to any relationship.  Once that name is inked on your body, the relationship is doomed to fail.  You see it happen with celebrities (Depp, Jolie, etc.) and you see it with friends or family members.  Saying you want to be together forever is one thing, but inking it only your body is an entirely different thing.  The relationship can end, but that name sure as hell isn’t going anywhere unless you can find an artist to provide a proper and GOOD cover-up or unless you want to endure the painful removal process.

Last year, I got my husband’s initials on my arm in Kryptonian lettering, along with a cherry skull male and female, so I think it’s safe to say that I don’t buy into the idea that the tattoo is a curse to the relationship.  I feel like I did mine the right way though; it’s obscure enough to where one wouldn’t know what it was upon first glance, but significant enough to where it still has meaning (my husband is big into Superman).  We know what it means and I’m vocal about what it means to everyone who asks, and even to some who don’t.  I had absolutely no hesitation in getting it either.  I know we’re in it for the long haul and I know that our relationship won’t crumble over some ink on my arm.

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The tattoo itself is hardly a curse to any relationship and it’s silly to think of it as one.  It’s the decision to get it that brings upon the so-called curse.  A tattoo is a very permanent thing and definitely not something that should be decided on at the spur of the moment.  For every one of my tattoos except my third, a year or more of serious thinking was behind them.  My third tattoo was done on a whim and I’m just lucky it isn’t in a very visible area.  Just because you’re in love and feeling as though nothing can touch the two of you does not mean it’s a fantastic idea to ink your love’s name on your body.  I was with my husband for four years before I was ready for his initials to be on my body.  Time is important here.  If you’re going to be with someone forever, the tattoo does not need to happen right at this moment.  It can wait.

I am totally in support of inking names, wedding or anniversary dates, or any other type of tribute to the person you adore.  It’s a great way to show your love and affection for somebody and to be able to carry them with you always.  That said, it’s not a necessary step in any relationship.  Just because the two or you are into ink doesn’t mean you need to get your names on each other to prove your love to yourselves or anyone else.  It is your body, no one else’s, and the decision to get the ink must be one that is not only your idea, but is something that is fully in your control.  If you let anyone influence you, chances are that things are going to end badly.  I suspect that is the reason for so many failed relationships after the ink dries.

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Get the tattoo, but think long and hard before getting it.  Don’t think that you’re limited to a name in a heart or some other typical and common design.  Don’t do it just because your significant other has already gotten your name on them.  Don’t rush into it and speed over to the nearest shop to have work done.  Don’t do it simply because it would be “cute” to do.  If you feel the urge, start with brainstorming ideas and designs.  Think long and hard about placement.  Research shops to find the perfect artist.  Take your damn time and do it right, otherwise you’ll find yourself single and alone with an awful “I Heart Brian” tattoo above your ass crack.  No one wants that.

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Give Me Meds

When I first moved to Indiana to be with my husband, I worked at Health 1st, a chiropractic and physical therapy clinic.  I went from a simple front desk girl to being a front office manager for all four of our offices.  I quit that job after spending months waiting for my annual review and a raise I deserved for all the extra work I had taken on and for all I had done for the offices.  As much as I loved that job, I couldn’t continue to devalue myself by letting the compensation issue slide while I put my heart and soul into my work.  Unfortunately, in the year after my departure, my office shut down completely and took others with it.  There is currently only one location open out of the previous four.

In addition to the chiropractors and massage therapists (MTs) we had on staff, we also had a physician and physician’s assistant (PA).  In order to bill for certain services, the physician needed to be present and/or sign off on treatment that the MTs performed and the PA subscribed.  Dr. William Terpstra was our physician during my time at Health 1st.  He would be in my office on Tuesdays or other days when the PA was working at the hospital, and would sign off on patient records for those seen on Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays.  He was a nice guy, as was his daughter who was an MT prior to getting pregnant and married. There was a big difference between Dr. Terpstra and our PA.  One day without question, he prescribed me vicodin for stomach pain when I was hurting so badly that I felt I had no other option but an exam.  Our PA on the other hand would always ask numerous questions and attempt to find a solution that did not involve pain killers and/or muscle relaxers.  Dr. Terpstra would prescribe pain pills to a patient on their very first office visit, while our PA would only do so after checking their prescription history and ensuring there was truly no other option available.  Since aches and pains are easy things to fake, Dr. Terpstra made himself a perfect doctor for a junkie or a dealer; he never seemed reluctant to prescribe a narcotic. Pain-pill-addiction-Top-10-signs-and-symptoms2 This morning, I heard a news report that immediately caught my attention by dropping Dr. Terpstra’s name.  Right now, the good doctor is in jail and facing 24 felony counts over prescribing narcotics and other controlled substances in excessive amounts to patients who were at risk of becoming dependent or already dependent.  He is among eight others from the Kokomo practice that are facing charges; three other doctors, three PAs, a nurse and an office manager are all in hot water due to the growing number of deaths by overdose that are a direct result of their careless prescribing habits. kokomo-doctors-wagoner_1363663203230_388797_ver1.0_320_240 According to reports, this practice was the place to go if you wanted narcotics; patients would pay their bill prior to getting their prescription rather than seeing the doctor and paying after services were rendered.  One patient stated that the physicians were aware that she was not taking the drugs she was prescribed (which is a clear sign she was selling them or giving them away to addicts) but they continued for seven weeks to prescribe her Lortab and Adderall for a fee of slightly over $300.  One of the twenty-seven deceased victims, an 81 year old man, was prescribed 420 Oxycontin pills all at once.  Reports state the physicians would sign blank prescription forms and allow the PAs or other office staff to fill in the information for the narcotic to be prescribed, something which is obviously against federal law.  All this, not from a pain management clinic, but from a family practice. l The 24 felony counts that Dr. Terpstra faces “include eight counts of dealing in a narcotic drug, all Class B felonies, six counts of dealing in a schedule 3 controlled substance, Class B felonies, seven counts of Class C felony dealing in a schedule 4 controlled substance and three counts of conspiracy to commit dealing in a narcotic drug and controlled substances.”  He received more charges than anyone else in the case.  He has already signed an agreement to cease distributing narcotic prescriptions and today, he will find out if his medical license will be suspended along with fellow doctors Don and Marilyn Wagoner.  He is being held with a bond of $1,000,000, cash only.  Knowing his daughter, I can imagine what a horrible wreck she is right now to know her father is in jail and has probably ruined his chances of ever practicing medicine again.  27 people are dead, and Dr. Terpstra had a hand in taking some of those lives. This story hits me in a strange way because I worked with Dr. Terpstra for nearly two and a half years.  He’s a gentle, quiet man who loves his family and was ecstatic about being a grandpa.  He worked hard and was always available when we needed assistance, for patient emergencies, or if we had a silly question that we knew he could answer.  He was never rude, never raised his voice and never offended anyone.  He was quick and efficient, working well with the staff to get patients in and out of exams in a timely manner.  I had always assumed his relaxed attitude toward prescriptions came from experience and the ability to distinguish addicts from genuine pain patients. in-pain Thinking back, it’s obvious that his arrest should not be a surprise to me.  The relaxed demeanor was actually carelessness.  His dedicated patients were actually addicts.  I don’t think Dr. Terpstra meant to hurt anyone; it’s hard for me to think that the person I worked with could be that cold hearted.  With 27 people dead, the motive does not matter and I don’t see good things in the doctor’s future.  He will likely lose his license today and be found guilty on most of the felony counts raised against him.  His life is ruined, much like the lives of the patients he served. My heart goes out to his family, especially his daughter who was always a joy to work with and his grand kids who simply adored their grandpa to pieces.  I’m a tad grateful that none of this happened while he was working for my former office, as I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be caught up in that mess and to have patients needlessly die under my watch.  And while I don’t think I should, I do find myself feeling a bit bad for the doctor himself.  I don’t know what went wrong in his life and career to make him stop caring and stop paying attention, but I feel bad that it happened and that this is the result.  At least now, he’s in a place where he cannot cause anymore harm.

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