In August of 1986, I started taking night classes to become a medical assistant. I was working full-time as a housekeeper at the Marriott Hotel with a six-month old at home. My in-laws would be making half of our house payment just until February, so the pressure was on for me to graduate and get a decent job right out of school.
I was up for it.
Taking classes at night meant there was an eclectic group of students in our program. We had a mother and daughter pair, a girl who had started out in nursing but I think it was too hard for her, a girl who had had half her arm eaten up by a machine in shop class in high school, a pregnant diabetic and Barry, who actually worked with me in housekeeping at the Marriott. I think we started out with close to 40 people in our class, but quite a few dropped out by the half-way point.
I got good grades, but Kristi, a blond bombshell, graduated top in our class. I wonder sometimes what happened to everyone.
The last month of the program we did our externship at an area clinic. Luckily they tried to match us up with facilities close to where we lived, so I was placed at the Parker Medical Clinic. Parker was a little town, even smaller than Castle Rock, and just up the road about 16 miles.
I can’t remember how long I had been there, a couple days or maybe a week, when Dr. Stevens told me that they had an opening, the medical assistant (I forget her name) who I had been working under was quitting and I could have her job. Wow, that was way easier than I had anticipated. The other gal quit, I worked her job for free til I finished my externship, and then – wow, I was getting a paycheck.
The hard part, believe it or not, was leaving behind the Marriott and their great benefits. It would be a long time before I accrued vacation time on any job and I still have never had insurance like theirs. Also, for many, many years I enjoyed working with the public, but sometimes when I come home from work these days, I think how sweet it would be to just be cleaning rooms and not have to deal with people.