In My Spare Time…

I’ve been doing some at-home, online transcription work for a few months now. I will never get rich doing this. It’s piece work at the very best, paying pennies per downloaded screen.

But it’s generally easy, keeps me busy, hasn’t inflamed the arthritis (yet) and provides both some meager additions to my rainy-day fund, as well as allowing me to feel as if I have some purpose.

A lot of the transcription is medical in nature. I’d say that 80% of the images are clear enough to decipher. It helps to have some medical knowledge as well so that when you see something like ‘fybroids’ or ‘demunta’ or ‘alsheimrs’ you have a pretty good idea of what was intended. I am torn quite often because this company wants their workers to type EXACTLY what they see. I often have to force myself to turn off my internal auto-correct and actually type those words incorrectly.

So many people use a combination of caps and lower case throughout their writing. I think I may be one of those and I apologize to any medical office/transcription service that has had to put up with that crap. I regularly see mixed case paragraphs that just aren’t worth the time involved, nor the low low pay.

“PaTiENT hAs 2mm LEsioN ON rigHt ANTERioR… again, because I must transcribe exactly what I see…

I have been doing a lot of posting of death certificates, some simply verifying others work, some actually entering the original cause of death. So many involve cancer, heart issues, lung disease, dementia. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen ‘Natural causes..died at home peacefully surrounded by family.’ Perhaps those are the ones that are simply left blank, but it stirs something in me that simply being old and tired and ready isn’t worthy of a column of it’s own.

I’ve also done quite a few verification’s of the disposition of a body after death. Those are mostly just checking the checked box and moving on.  I never knew that one had so many options after death. Most choose burial or cremation. I’ve only run into one who checked donation.

I remember feeling slightly uneasy when I first realized that I was transcribing this type of information. It seemed as if I was invading the privacy, the intimate aspects of someone’s life even though there are no identifiers with this information. These pages have also made me realize how sick our society is, how quickly our health providers can label illness, how so many of us will simply be known in the end as a cause of death on a form.

I was slightly rattled today when I saw Osteo Arthritis listed as a cause of death. Premonition…surely not.

In the last few days I have had three listings that have touched me deeply. Two ‘failure to thrive’ pages came across my screen. Babies…and death should not go hand in hand.

Just a few hours ago I saw this as a cause of death:


I had to stop. Our old neighbors lost one of their college age sons a few years ago from this very same accident. It’s easy to get complacent with the ongoing lists of cancer, heart disease, etc. Although I shouldn’t assume, I tend to think older person when I see those those causes listed. Then you see a statement like that. I have no way of knowing how old this person was, their sex, where they lived, but those words were shocking and hit too close to home as I remembered someone I watched grow up, someone my children played with. A young man.

I’ve done enough for today. It’s time to put illness and death aside for now. I know there will be pages waiting to tackle tomorrow.


6 thoughts on “In My Spare Time…”

    1. I seem to form little mental pictures as I move through these lists–older folks fill my head with their wrinkles and dark spots and bent postures…then one line, out of the blue will hit me. Had a few more yesterday that made me stop and think and remind myself to recognize that lives end not just after decades, but often inexplicably much too soon. Sometimes it’s easy to get insulated in your own word and ignore these facts. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes Deb… What I struggled to find the right words to write was that I was struck by the fact that you weren’t just totally ‘insulated’. You were working with sensitivity. Tough, but also nice to see… If you get me..? !

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It can be…interesting. Today I have had a few blunt force trauma to head and “self-inflicted oral-facial gunshot wound” Imagine what images are running through my head…

      Liked by 1 person

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