Memorial Day: The most expensive holiday we have. People paid for it, with their lives. (stolen from comments of The History Guy)
STORY THE FIRST
So, TINS, TIWFDASL, just a couple of weeks ago, and, as I entered the room, I was greeted by the younger of the two women seated in the exam room. “There he is! You saved my mother’s life!”
While that certainly was a welcome greeting, I admitted that I was confused. The younger woman, evidently the daughter, filled in the missing pieces. Several weeks previously, she (the narrator) had accompanied her mother (the other soul in the room while we conversed) to a visit to our clinic. She (the mother) had been having a cough of some sort, and I had felt that something in the experience did not sound right. After some assessment in clinic, I had sent the mother to ED, and those worthies had identified a 100% occlusion of one of mom’s coronary arteries (the arteries feeding the heart). Mother had received a stent, and been sent home, and was still among us. Indeed, she was here, today, due to another cough.
Thankfully, today’s cough appeared uncomplicated, and I recommended my usual measures to ameliorate the post nasal drip that seemed to be the source of the cough.
Sometimes I get to think that I really do, from time to time, positively impact people’s lives. That’s nice to think.
STORY, THE SECOND.
Just the other day, I was shopping. Such is the life of a life saving, disease fighting, internet blogging champion (of sorts). As it develops, I am middling tall: 5-7 or so. It turns out that the pasta I was hunting for was on the top shelf, and several other people had purchased some, before me. THAT meant that I could just barely not reach the boxes. I had just realized that I, a tool using animal, could open my knife and extend my reach, tipping over the needed number of boxes, and add same to my cart. That is, I had just realized it, when a gentleman, taller than I, reached up, grabbed a box, and handed it to me, asking me if I needed more.
I requested two more, and thanked him, moving forward with my shopping.
A few aisles over I observed a woman attempting to retrieve an item from a shelf beyond her reach. Before I could respond, another (taller) gentleman stepped up, retrieved the sought item, and handed it to her.
Everyday, plain folks, acts of civility and kindness.
STORY, THE THIRD
We visited my wife’s sister, and her husband, recently. They live in rural Kentucky, and it is rather a change from their previous neighborhood in Metropolis. Indeed, it is a considerable change from my table-flat neighborhood of Un-Named Flyover State.
We arrived, following the directions provided, and noted that the terrain was, well, “hilly” does not really do it justice. As a consequence of that terrain, roadways tend to meander, circling around this hill, or weaving their way up to, over, and down that ridge.
We had spent something like 45 minutes meandering , as the road took us up in elevation, when I noted a sign ahead, announcing “Curves Ahead!”.
I turned to TDW-Mark II, and exclaimed, “Wait, what? THAT was the STRAIGHT part?”
STORY, THE FOURTH: OOPS!
So, TINS, TIWFDASL, and, well, things had come to a slow down. I was working with a physician, on this day at this clinic, and she had never handled an adrenalin autoinjector. We had one handy, and I handed it to her so she could examine it.
I was not quite quick enough, to admonish her to not remove the guard, nor to handle the trigger, on the one end of the device. Therefore, she did, successfully, remove the cap, and then trigger it, sending the needle into one of her fingers, along with some of the adrenalin therein.
The Good News was that, since she was youthful, she promptly withdrew her hand, and therefore only received a fractional dose. The bad news is that adrenalin is a very, very powerful vasoconstrictor, and therefore her affected finger became very, very white, and also burned. Oh, yes, it burned. I cast about, wondering if we had any phentolamine. (an alpha blocker: used to reverse the effects of, among others, adrenalin, when injected into an end capillary bed, Like you would find in your fingers.) Since ours was not an ICU, nor an ED, we did not have phentolamine, nor anything that would serve.
The good news, such as it was, is that due to her youthful age, good health habits (spelled n-o-t s-m-o-k-i-n-g) and the fractional dose of adrenalin she had received, well, after around 20 minutes, her finger regained it’s color, the burning pain faded, and she returned to normal, simply just a bit more shaky than previously.
Subsequently, I obtained, and CONSPICUOUSLY labeled a trainer, specifically intended to harmlessly teach folks how to handle and operate an adrenalin autoinjector. This one has no needle, and no drug.
STORY, THE FIFTH
So, TINS, TIWFDASL….well, okay. I was NOT FDASL, rather, I was off, and, having accomplished all my chores (or, such fraction of “all my chores” as I was going to accomplish that day), my step son (son of TDW-Mark II) called. I had spoken to him about a range day, and he was off work that day, I was off work that day, and it was off to the range we went.
I took my Garand, my .380 pistol, and my 9 mm pistol. Of course, I grabbed the ammo can labeled 30-06 (for the Garand), .380 (surprisingly enough, for the pistol in caliber .380), and the ammo can labeled “9 mm” for, no doubt surprising, the 9 mm pistol.
Now, recall that I have been an RN for, lo, these many yeas. That I have passed uncounted thousands upon thousands of doses of medications, and double checked myself each time, so as to accomplish the “5 rights” of med pass: right patient, right drug, right dose, right route, and at the proper time. This was effected by reading the order, the med container, comparing each with the other, and then, DOING SO AGAIN.
So, we arrived at the range, uncased the Garand, and set up targets. Several dozen rounds later, we placed the rifle in the case, put the ammunition away, and took out the .380 pistol. Fun times.
When it came time to take out, and shoot, the 9 mm pistol, well, I went to the “9 mm” ammo can, opened it, and beheld something like 200 rounds of RIFLE AMMUNITION.
For those in the studio audience who are unfamiliar with Things Firearm, well, 9 mm is a pistol round, and rifle rounds are (a) the wrong size overall, (b) with the wrong projectile (bullet), propelled by (c) an entirely wrong charge of powder, leading to (d) entirely way, way more pressure once the cartridge is set off, for any common pistol to contain, meaning (e) should, somehow, a rifle cartridge be forced into the pistol that I had before me, anyone firing it, should they survive the resulting explosion, would forever after be known as “Lefty”.
Not mentioning the emotional distress I would experience should this pistol, one of my favorites, be reduced to shrapnel.
Sigh. It appears that I had horribly failed the ammunition labeling process, leading to jovial kidding from my step son. Other than that, a good day at the range.
And, the ammunition got re-(and correctly)-labeled.
The other day, I was reading about everyday carry, and one writer was talking about how “two is one, and one is none”.
I recalled one night, nursing midnights in ICU. Now, every single hospital that I have ever worked at, has an emergency generator. These are equipped (or, at least, SUPPOSED to be equipped) with an automatic apparatus, that is intended to identify an interruption in the supply of power from the local power company, and start up the on site emergency generator, and then, once said generator is up to speed and functioning, disconnect the hospital from the shore power, and energize all “emergency” circuits from the generator.
As it developed, on this night, the power went out, and everything went black. We eagerly awaited the onset of generator power, but, alas, such was not to be.
Now, y’all may not know this, but in an ICU, there is an abundance of very, very sick folks. Indeed, several of them are dependent on ventilators to, well, ventilate them, since their illness renders them incapable of breathing adequately on their own.
With that thought in mind, it may not be a surprise that these life saving ventilators require an uninterrupted supply of several things, not the least of which is electricity, in order to function. When the power fails, and the emergency generators do NOT promptly start up, well, things get interesting.
While the ventilators, themselves, do NOT have battery backup, the alarms signaling malfunction, do. In order to respond to these alarms, the nurses, such as myself, need to alight from our chairs, walk around the nurse’s station, enter the room, and identify and remedy the fault eliciting the alarm.
(a) That is considerably easier to accomplish when you can see where the frack you are going, and identify trip-and-fall hazards, prior to, uh, tripping over said hazard, and falling upon your face.
(b) Should you have TWO ventilated patients, you are tasked with reaching each patient, disconnecting that soul from the (nonfunctioning) ventilator, and manually ventilating them employing the manual bag-valve resuscitator kept at bedside for just this sort of problem.
Except, you are one, non elasto-nurse, person.
As it developed, our ward clerk was in nursing school, was intelligent, and had paid attention. She ventilated my second patient, and the on-unit respiratory therapist ventilated Mary Sue’s second ventilated patient.
It only took a couple of minutes (…that seemed like hours!) before we regained power. But, I thereafter took to carrying a flashlight on my person.
Problem solved, right?
Not so right. A couple of weeks later, the power failed, again. The generator failed to generate, again, and I thought, “Voila! I’ll whip out my handy-dandy flashlight, and illuminate the area!”
Problem with that, is that the flashlight had somehow turned itself on, while on my belt, and was deader than disco. So, same cluster…er, hug (yeah! HUG!), same musical ventilation, and same subjective eternity until power came back on.
New! Improved! Plan, was a couple of flashlights, with a regularly (every other month) assessment of function and battery charged-ness. As well as additional flashlights squirreled about my person. So, presently, I have two flashlights on my belt, two in my shirt pocket (one Streamlight Stylus Pro, another that has been customized with a near UV emitter, so that I can use it as a Wood’s Lamp), one on my badge (one of the coin cell lights thrown in with my order from the folks selling me my CR 123 batteries), and one on my keyring (a Streamlight Nanolight). (none of these are any sort of freebie: I bought the Nanolight, and the Stylus, and then bought several more, at retail, because they perform for me what I need doing. Like, illuminate my way when nocturnal dogwalking, allowing me to avoid a dirt faceplant.)
Another blog had an entry that reminded me of one of my own parenting moments. As I recollect, Number One Son was misbehaving, and so The Darling Wife-Mark I and I imposed some limits: grounding or some such thing. We observed that a repeat performance would elicit a spanking.
He responded, “Well, I’ll just call the police!”
I smiled. Told him to get his shoes, and get in the car. Now.
We had a leisurely drive to our local small town police department. I asked if I could speak to an officer. The nice desk lady asked, why?
I responded, “This child just informed me that should he require a spanking, and I administer it, he will call the police. I simply do not want to wait. May I speak to an officer, please?”
She bade us sit, and soon an officer arrived. I introduced myself and Number One Son. The officer asked, had I spanked the lad yet?
I replied, no, not yet.
He asked, in what manner would I spank the child?
I responded, with my bare hand, since the point was not pain, nor injury, but, rather, recalibration of his behavior. Once my hand started to hurt, likely my purpose had been accomplished.
So, the officer asked, you intend to spank this child, if other measures do not change his behavior, in order to discipline him?
Yep, was my answer.
“Isn’t that kind of your duty as a parent, to correct misbehaving children? I do not see anything you are describing as actionable by me. You’re simply doing your job as a dad.”
I turned to my son, and asked, “Do you have any other questions for the nice officer?”
Glenn Reynolds, proprietor of Instapundit, wrote an article for USA Today, nearly three years ago. Read it, please. And, reflect on who benefits when we are set at each other’s throats.
I have had similar experiences, among them one chronicled here. It was as if we had our own “Insert Name Here County First Responders Association” meeting, there on that highway.
Again, this tale recalls a similar event. In this case, folks trudged their happy asses out of their warm, dry, non-windy homes, to help push a nearly (lessee: nought goes into nought… divide by zero…. carry the eight… three guzintas…) 10,000 pound ambulance out of a snow drift, at night, while it was snowing it’s freaking ass off.
So, tell me again who benefits when we are set against each other? If we are demonizing each other, how likely is it that we can ever (a) agree on a list of priority problems, (b) discuss rational maneuvers to address these problems, and (c) agree on any sort of effort to implement these interventions?
Por ejemplo, howzabout covid? Could we have discussed risk vs benefit of lockdowns, of “two years to flatten the curve” (had our governor been honest), or, even, “two weeks to flatten the curve”? Could we have had a real, ya know, two way, conversation about vaccination, efficacy, adverse drug reactions, liberty, personal autonomy (remember “my body, my choice”? Seems so long ago. Good times, eh?), risk vs benefit? Instead, anybody who speaks about any sort of disincentive to accepting vaccination, like, say, severely truncated testing protocols, or, say, known (even if small in magnitude) incidence of cardiac adverse reactions, or any of a dozen (that I can think of off the top of my head) risks genuinely presented by the extant vaccines, gets shouted down, deplatformed, or, worse, fired and hounded. So, I ask, who benefits when that happens?
In stark contrast to the Chattering Class, above cited are first person narratives of genuine Americans who, in a crisis, come together and identify what needs doing, and then, quietly, FREAKING DO IT. These folks identified one of their neighbors, identified that this neighbor was in need, and set to work. No command, no haggling, no bullshit. Simply, “How can I help?”
Tell you what: I resolve to be inspired by good examples. I will try to NOT buy into name calling, and, rather, own disagreements with others, and seek to see those disagreements as honest differences of opinion, where I am able to do so.
I resolve to try to be inspired by volunteer firefighters who interrupt Christmas with their families, in order to respond to a neighbors catastrophe.
If we open our eyes, there are uncounted examples of folks living up to their ideals, even as there are examples everywhere of those who fail. Sometimes fail horribly.
Mr. Reynolds, thank you for reminding me that most of the time, most folks simply try to get through their day, and, maybe, help their neighbor. To paraphrase his thought, I will try to let myself be reminded that, given the opportunity, most folks will reveal their fundamental decency.