Duty · Humility · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

Revelations, and Pride In My Child

A couple of months ago, I was chatting with my daughter, Brenda. She somehow revealed that, years ago, when she was a single mother, working part time and going to school, money was tight.

I had kinda known that.

Just HOW tight, I evidently had not appreciated. She revealed that several times, she had gone to bed without supper, in order that her child could eat.

Let’s consider that, for a moment. It certainly elicits mixed feelings in me.

Foremost, pride. My daughter is professional, committed, and decisive. Her revelation reveals outstanding triage skills, as well as monumental commitment to her child.

Secondly, frustration. It is not as if I could not/would not remedy her pantry problems. Hell, I have been an overtime working fool nearly all my life, and another day of OT, in order to feed my child and grandchild, well, I suspect “BFD!” communicates my feelings adequately. (that is “big freaking deal”, although the second word generally refers to certain ancient and generally highly regarded fertility rites…).

Thirdly, frustration. (again). It is not as if I do not buy groceries, to this day, just as if I were still feeding four hungry adolescents. That both provides me with plentiful left-overs for my meals at work, as well as abundant food-in-waiting. The only thing stopping me from a pantry filling visit to my child, is her failing to tell me such might be useful.

Finally, it reinforces my appraisal of my child, that she is A WOMAN, and, like her mother, knows not of this “back down”, you might speak of, with regard to her children. Formidable, competent, decisive.

Gratitude · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Humility · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

Family Business

My daughter, let us call her Brenda, got married a couple of weeks ago. She has found a man who is made of righteous stuff, who complements her, and fathers (dad-s?) her children.

Since I am a step father, I respect men who step whole heartedly into the role of fatherhood, even if ready-made fatherhood. This man is such a man.

So, several insights occurred to me over the past couple of weeks.

First off, without The Plaintiff, I would not have this wonderful woman, who calls me “Dad”, in my life. For all The Plaintiff’s (and my, to be honest) imperfections and shortcomings, if she had not married me, there would be a Brenda sized hole in my life.

So, as the Father of the Bride, when asked, “Who gives this woman?”, I replied, “Her mother and I”.

Secondly, this amazing woman put herself through college, as well as grad school, working full time, and mothering what would turn out to be 4 children. Proud Poppa moment, right there.

I took the chance to tell her how proud I am of her, and in so many ways that she has earned that pride.

When she responded, “Thank you, Daddy”, well I nearly melted. I had told her how meaningful that Christmas powerpoint was to me, how, even now, it moves me to tears.

So, of course, the Father-Bride dance was to, “He Didn’t Have to Be”, by Brad Paisley.

Thirdly, The Darling Wife-Mark II is an unequivocal blessing to me, in my life. TDW labored to make the decorations, to make everything at this wedding Just Nice. Brenda nearly gushed over the wedding decorations, multiple guests made a point of approaching TDW, and complimenting her over how well her efforts had turned out.

Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important!

The Heinlein Rule

Perhaps, I ought to initiate another tag, “The Heinlein Rule”. As Heinlein said, “Take a look around you. There never were enough bosses to check up on all that work. From Independence Hall to the Grand Coulee Dam, these things were built level and square by craftsmen who were honest in their bones.” (https://thisibelieve.org/essay/16630/)

I have spoken of Eloise in another post, as well as one particularly heads-up MA and how each of them, professional in their bones, acted on their own initiative and decisively to protect patients.

So, one day, TINS©, TIWFDASL©, when the registrar meandered back to the nurses’ station.

She opened her conversation, “Just checking. This woman reports that she is bleeding, and 3 days out from her delivery. You *DO* want her to go to emergency, right?”

Before I could contribute anything, my MA asked, “Does she look dizzy, or pale? Did she walk straight? Anything else going on?”

The registrar replied, “She looks pink, not sweaty, walked straight, no other complaints when I asked about any.”

My MA stated, “Please direct her to emergency.”

The registrar looked at me. I stated, “What she said. Does she have transport?”

“Yep, She is here with some family member.”

“Outstanding. She should be on her way, please.”

The Lord blesses me with partners who play “Heads UP!” ball.

Life in Da City! · Protect and Serve · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

Proud Poppa Moment

Thank you, ERJ, for the inspiration for another blog post. One of your commenters to your post about the fiscal consequences of “kicking the (payroll and benefits) can down the road”, and the implications of same for actually MAINTAINING a given level of government/police/fire/EMS services, presented the following:

“I suspect another reason for services eroding is lack of employees.
I know that many police departments have openings for lack of qualified candidates, as do many county agencies. Whether their qualification requirements are reasonable is another question. I know that some places intentionally understaff so that existing staff can easily justify overtime, occasionally to a ridiculous degree.”

This ties in, very neatly, to a conversation I had with The Darling Daughter the other weekend. She was talking to somebody with whom she works, this somebody being involved in some manner with providing EMS services. This Somebody (hereinafter referred to as “TS”) was sharing with her the difficulty of obtaining personnel to staff ambulances, in the numbers required to provide ambulances, 24/7/365/surge capacity in the event if BFD emergency.

The Darling Daughter (to be referenced as “TDD”) pointed out that she spent her childhood in the household of a medic, and noted to her correspondent that “You DO know, that McDonalds is paying more than you are, right?”

That elicited an observation about insurance company reimbursement for ambulance transport (TL:DR: meager), and the difficulties that provides in paying personnel more.

TDD noted that for mothers who might contemplate a career Fighting Disease, And Saving Lives, child care, and in particular child care after 5 pm, is AN ISSUE.

Her correspondent, TS, was reported to have metaphorically waved his hands, responding “I KNEW you were going to bring up child care!”

I agreed with TDD, noting that should a crew pick up a transfer to, say Ann Arbor at something like 3 pm, (the drive alone is on the order of 90 minutes, one way, from, oh, let’s pick a town at random: Eaton Rapids, and Sparrow Eaton Hospital. Not mentioned is unload time, as well as the drive back, restocking the rig, and tootling home.), then Our Heroine is looking at being, maybe, in the parking lot of University of Michigan Medical Center, heading home if she is fortunate, just about the time that her day care provider is beginning to blow up her phone with warnings of five-dollar-a-MINUTE late charges for EACH of her children, now that she is late.

At a pay that compares, sort of, with minimum wage.

So, hell YEAH, child care is an issue.

She (TDD) then noted to TS, that there does not appear to be any sort of career ladder for EMS. So far as she knew, it went something like

Basic EMT–>Paramedic–>Do Something Else.

She relates that this sort of issue might adversely affect retention. Which will, as a readily foreseeable follow on effect, “thin the herd” of individuals entering that pipeline. Leading to just this conversation.

Another Proud Poppa Moment!

Gratitude · Humility

Loss, helping me appreciate what I have.

Eaton Rapids Joe of the eponymous blog, had a link to, in effect, a video eulogy. The gentleman producing the video blog reported that, last weekend, he and his “Beautiful Wife” had gone to bed, just like a thousand other times, except that only he awakened.

In the course of his remembrances, he tears up, and APOLOGIZES! for doing so.

I commented: “Sir, please do NOT apologize for your tears. Be the genuine, grieving man that you are. And, thank you for the reminder of simply how important my own “Beautiful Wife” is, to me. The simple things are truly the most important.”

My own “Darling Wife-Mark II” (improved version!) did not change my life as dramatically as this gentleman credits his Beautiful Wife with doing, but she did teach me that I could love again, and that even my cynicism required some limits.

Presently she is toiling away, making decorations for my daughter’s wedding. She has devoted uncounted hours to this, creating place settings, hunting down this or that item, in an unstinting effort to make my daughter’s wedding beautiful.

And, to be plain, my daughter is my “step-daughter”. So, the woman she is losing sleep over, whose wedding she is working ever so hard to make just nice, is her step-step-daughter.

That is the sort of quality human being that has graced my life, has been my wife for ten years this autumn.

I will take the time, today, to try to be certain that she understands how she has affirmatively changed my life for the better.

An effort that, if I have a lick of sense, I will repeat daily until the end of time.

Duty · Gratitude · Humility

Sometimes, I am Humbled

Last week, I got back into my “groove”. I have had the reputation of sending folks to ED with greater frequency than my colleagues. So, this one gentleman arrived, in pretty remarkable abdominal pain. His exam was NOT reassuring, and I wondered if he had a hot gall bladder, or some other variety of intra-abdominal catastrophe-in-waiting.

Now, to be honest, I am not particularly young, nor am I particularly spry. Indeed, for the past several weeks I have been gimping about the clinic, as my one knee is undecided whether it will ache, give out, let my kneecap spin freely about my mid leg, or some unpleasant combination of the three. So, it is apparent to any observer who cares to notice, that my one leg is not making me happy.

Yeah, I know: STBM. (Sucks To Be Me), after a fashion.

So, this gentleman, in no small pain his own self, as a parting conversational gambit on his way to ED, and maybe surgery, wished, “I hope your leg feels better!”

Jeez! Some people! With all the setting good examples of compassion, and empathy!

Makes it difficult, sometimes, to be as cynical as I tend to be.

Duty · Gratitude

My “Problems”, Are Likely To Be Other Folks’ Blessings

My “Problems”, may well look like blessings to other folks

I was chatting with the physician with whom I was working last night, as we were working late due to a couple of late arriving folks. He observed that this sort of thing was one of the reasons we were paid pretty well.

Truth. I observed that, from one perspective, this sort of inconvenience, indeed, most of the sorts of things we generally thought of as “problems”, were, to other folks, blessings.

By way of example: “Waaah! It was so busy that I did not get the opportunity to write out and address payments for a couple of my bills at work today!”

Counterpoint: “So, Reltney, you are telling me that you have (insert non essential product/service, here), and indeed, have right this moment, the funds to pay that bill, in full, right now, but your EMPLOYMENT consumed so much of your WORKDAY, that you are now INCONVENIENCED by the need to pay that bill, on time and in full, at home, off duty, at your kitchen table? Rilly? Must suck to be you, amirite?”

Example the second: “Waah! I have a sink full of dirty dishes! Those food stains likely have set, and will be tedious to scrub off!”

Counterpoint: “So, Reltney, you have (a) a home, (b) intact, and (c) have a sink, in which your dishes from (d) your last several meals now rest, which you now have to clean with (e) hot running water, so that they are clean, once again, for when you prepare (f) your next meal, sometime, oh, gosh, TODAY? Did I miss any part of your tale of woe inconvenience? Must suck to be you!”

And so forth, with yardwork, laundry, shopping, fuel for the vehicle, etcetera, off into the distance.

Duty · Fun And Games Off Duty · Gratitude · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important!

Communication Breakdown

So, TINS©, TDW-Mark II had set out, because TSIL-Mark II (The Sister In Law-Mark II) had undergone surgery of some sort, and required assistance in the couple of weeks post operation. TDW does not work outside the home, and I flatter myself that I am sort of self sufficient. So, off she went.

Her journey to Another Fly Over State was unremarkable. She arrived, and notified me of this fact. I cooked up a batch of food, ensuring a supply of left overs for my work day repast. I laundered clothing and suchlike, and folded and hung same. I washed the dishes, and then put them away. I went to work, came home, played with the cats, and generally bummed around.

Just like I was a grown up, and had, oh, heck, maybe, done all this stuff before, right?

So, one evening I had changed into pajamas, hanging my pants and shirt up on the hook in the closet. My routine is that I will, the next morning, retrieve said pants and shirt, and transfer all my whatnot from old clothing, into the pockets of new clothing.

Well, when I do so, and leave my cellphone in my pants pocket, and retire to another room altogether to watch “Battleship New Jersey” videos (highly recommended, BTW!), or The History Guy videos (another enthusiastic Thumbs Up! Recommendation!), well, I cannot hear the ringer on my phone. Since I am not youthful, and do not have a pristine medical record, and, as well, TDW-Mark II is a bit of a worry wart, well, when I do not answer my phone, nor the texts, and this continues for something like a half an hour, well, she gets excited and calls a friend of ours, who also lives in town, requesting that he meander over and verify that I am not folded up on the floor, with the cats poking me and asking when I will arise, and feed them. Or something.

So, much to my surprise, our friend rang my doorbell at something like 2200 hours, and explained the preceding paragraph to me. I retrieved my phone, and promptly called TDW, and reassured her that I was NOT a crumpled heap of geezerhood at the bottom of the stairs.

The ringing in my ear, from the chastisement I subsequently received, has nearly resolved, as I write these words.

Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

Smoking is Bad, M’kay?

Several times a week I get the opportunity to “cheerlead” one soul or another along the path that ends with not smoking. Some folks are receptive, and they get the full orchestration. Others, not so much, and they get the admonition, “So, smoking is not health promoting behavior, is it? There, I’m done yelling at you about smoking!”

Those who appear receptive get told, among other things, that The Plaintiff smokes, She is a nurse, so it cannot be that she does not know the effects of smoking. And, if you ignore the fact that she married ME, and divorced me, well, ignoring those two errors of judgment, she is pretty smart. Finally, she has never been any sort of shrinking violet. As a mother, I enthusiastically applaud that sort of strength of character.

As The Plaintiff, well, not so much.

I move on to observe that this set of facts (see previous paragraph) tells me that stopping smoking is a monumental task, complex and demanding much of those who would make that journey.

Then, I observe that I worked, full time, in my Nursing school years. Spent two years on around 2 hours sleep a day, in my AD program.

Pretty worthwhile. Mighty difficult.

I conclude by observing that worthwhile things are seldom easy (cf. Raising children), and that easy things are seldom worthwhile (see: video games).

Occasionally, I will see some soul who was on the receiving end of that spiel, several months later, and some of those folks will tell me”I have really cut down, and am trying to finally quit, because of what you told me!”

Sometimes, you get to think that you have, indeed, made a difference!

Duty · Fun With Suits! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Pre Planning Your Scene

FPC: Phenomenal Phone Company

A long, long time ago, in a state capitol city not so very far from here, I was seated in the basement of The Enormous Hospital System Mothership, where She Who Would Become TDW-Mark II was undergoing surgery of some sort. I was seated next to, well, let’s simply call him my father in law.

At this point in the celebrations, the divorce from The Plaintiff had concluded, and she and I had a week-on-and-week-off child custody arrangement. My adolescent children had cell phones, and had both me and their mother on speed dial.

So, Number Three Son had occasion to call me, but I could not make out what he had to say, and my attempts to re connect with him were for naught.

I did not know if this was generic adolescent ‘gotta call dad’, or something emergent. That latter was very unlikely, but, after all, I have kinda spent my life in the “this is sort of an emergency” business, and therefore considering that possibility is an occupational hazard. Therefore, since I was NOT at home, and, should my children need me, their ability to communicate that to me in a timely manner was mission critical, well, The Phone Company, and their inability to connect a freaking call something like 12 blocks from the freaking state freaking capitol, well, to understate the thing, I found it unsatisfactory.

Father In Law offered the use of his phone, on Another Carrier. I entered the number of my son, hit “connect”, and, par miracle’!, just like that, I was speaking to my son!

We concluded our conversation, since it was a generic “ought to call dad” call, and I asked Father In Law if I could make one more call. He assented.

I then called “customer service” (spit!) of The Phone Company. I explained my problem, and how this was not acceptable. Phone Company Minion asked my location, and I described myself as being one floor down from street level, in waiting lounge of Enormous Hospital System Mothership. Minion then regaled me with a bit of RF theory, to wit: “You cannot reasonably expect a cell phone to have a reliable signal when you are underground!”

I asked Minion, do you have caller id?

Affirmative.

Could you tell me the originating telephone number for this call we are having, right now?

He read back Father In Law’s phone number.

Is that a Phone Company number? If not, what carrier services that number.

Why do you ask?, responded the Minion.

“Because, that is the carrier who is henceforth going to be receiving checks from me approximating $200/month, because my phone, my childrens’ phones, and the phone of every mo$%#r f@!%&er who will stand still long enough to hear this story, will be giving their business to this carrier, whose phone I presently hold in my hand, in this basement, as you and I converse!”

Having said that, I realized that there is no satisfying way to slam down a cell phone. I miss plain old wired phones.