Fun And Games Off Duty

Material From “An Away Game”

From Eaton Rapids Joe’s eponymous blog, a thought for all of us sick folks out and about:

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Strep Throat

Anecdotal evidence suggests that there is a lot of Strep Throat locally right now.

Strep Throat often follows colds and other viral infections. It is primarily an opportunistic infection that takes advantage of the fact that frequent coughing and throat clearing irritates the throat and removes some of the protective layer of mucous.

If you read “symptoms” on the internet you will find countless repetitions of the words “…the back of the throat looks beefy…” While this may be totally clear to medical students it was not clear to me. I am made of meat. All of my inside parts look “beefy”.

After way too much digging, what they mean is that the normal, whitish, filmy covering over the back of your tongue, upper mouth and throat is gone. The Strep bacteria displaced it.

Strep is nothing to screw around with if it doesn’t clear up in a day or two. It can infect your heart valves and/or kidneys.

Posted by Eaton Rapids Joe at 8:12 AM

MY COMMENT:

Simply to make things more interesting, technically, the strep does not, itself, “infect” kidneys or heart. Some varieties of strep B produce a toxin that elicits a sort of autoimmune response, “rheumatic fever”, which is readily prevented by antibiotics. Take note! The abx really do NOTHING for the sore throat (which, of course, is why we all see our doctors in the first place), rather, they protect us against a potential consequence of infection with certain varieties of Strep B which may trigger that response.

Should one develop rheumatic fever, (which itself may be life changing), that may be followed by rheumatic heart disease, which can be a BFD (Big Freaking Deal), with scarring of the valves, leading to narrowing thereof, and requiring increased effort from your heart to force blood through them, leading to heart failure. This, also, is generally prevented by antibiotics (abx).

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Fun And Games Off Duty · Gratitude · Humility

Everyday Folks, Everyday Gracefulness

Sometimes in my walkabout daily life, I encounter folks, simply being nice. So, TINS©, I Was NOT Fighting Disease And Saving Lives, rather, simply grocery shopping. I happened to get in line behind an elderly woman (Pot, meet kettle. You ought to talk amongst yourselves, since you have so much in common…) who appeared to not have altogether figured out the entire “One of these is a credit card, the other is your membership card.” thing, as she attempted to pay with her membership card.

The cashier was patient, and collected. She explained that, no, THAT is your card with which you get your discounts and points, and THAT is your bank card, with which you pay for your groceries. They are different cards, for different things.

It took a couple of attempts, but the customer got her points, and successfully paid for her groceries, and wheeled her way out of the store.

The cashier apologized to me for the hold up. I responded, “Ma’am, some things are problems, some things are inconveniences. If this wait is as bad as my inconveniences get, I am in pretty good shape. Oh, by the way: way to be patient and graceful with that elderly lady. Good on ya!”

Fun And Games Off Duty

The Cookbook Story

So, This Is No Shit, There I Was, Fighting Disease And Saving Lives…., well, I was off duty, and rolling through household chores. This was years and years ago, and TDW-Mark I was in RN school, and so I was up to bat with the kids, with dinner, with laundry, and all the other stuff that goes along with running a household.

My mother had presented me with a book of household recipes, and it did indeed include several of my very favorites. I had turned to it frequently over the years, but, in our recent move across The Un Named Flyover State, it had become misplaced.

I had asked her about it, had searched for it, and all to no avail.

So, on this particular evening, she was in class, and I was searching for one particular pan in order to cook whatever it was that she and I had agreed was to be tonight’s repast. As I searched in the recesses of one cabinet after another, I happened to see THE COOKBOOK.

TDW-Mark One had teased me about that book, suggesting that I cared more for that book than I did her. So, having found it, and, kids fed and cores completed, I figured that I would give her a “Found the cookbook of Saint Mother!” welcome home.

I set it on one of those book reading stands, on the kitchen table. I arrayed candles about it, and dimmed all the lights. Once I saw the headlights from her car enter the driveway, I lit all the candles, and prostrated myself before it, as if worship.

She entered the door, calling for me. She glimpsed me on the floor, kneeling as if in prayer, and dropped her school stuff, asking me what I though tI was doing?

“Sweetie, I found Mom’s cookbook, and am simply providing it the veneration it deserves!”

She was not particularly amused.

Fun And Games Off Duty · Life in Da City! · Pre Planning Your Scene

Lessons Learned From Other’s Experiences

Another blogger posted a recounting of his experience, recently, at a public range (I believe he is in Canada). He cited Elisjsha Dicken, the armed civilian who stopped the Greenwood Indiana mall shooter, hereafter referred to as Some Asshole In Greenwood, within 2 minutes of the crime beginning, and, according to Dicken’s attorney, from a distance of 40 yards.

Speaking only for myself, and throwing no shade one way or the other, I attempted to recreate Mr. Dicken’s accomplishment, with my EDC sidearm, and no time/life threat pressure. I failed, miserably. My personal take home, is “Moar! Range! Time!” If you get advice to practice, practice, and practice some more, that is sound advice, and we all should do so.

Other reports that I recall seeing, assert that Dicken’s girlfriend, a student nurse, responded to care for casualties, once the shooting had stopped.

THAT reminds me of everyday carry. As is often asserted on the blog, Gun Free Zone, if you carry a sidearm in order to put holes in bad people, should the need to stop such arise, then you ought to anticipate that these selfsame bad people may put holes in you, yours, or other innocents. Therefore you (and I) ought to be ready to address that problem.

There are many ways to address that need. I carry a CAT tourniquet in an ankle holster, as well as a SWAT-T elastic tourniquet in my pocket, all the time. There are two exceptions: when I carry TWO CAT tourniquets, or when I am swimming.

While it is worthwhile to carry a medic bag, suitable to your own training, getting that training is JOB NUMBER ONE! I betcha that I can finagle trauma dressings from at hand materials, faster than I can learn, in the first place, what sort of thing is immediately needful to care for a trauma patient.

Of course, I have something approaching 50 years (not a typo) of experience in this business, so, there is that going for me, I suppose.

If you wonder what you ought to pack for bad times, look over my blog post, here. Or, you could see what Aesop has to say. He is controversial, but, regarding medical matters that I have the experience to have an opinion about, he is spot on. No crap, straight up. He recently posted a set of links to his “greatest hits”. I direct you to peruse same: there’s GOLD in them thar hills!

So, I will attempt to let my preachin’ end, here, for a while. Thank you for riding along.

Fun And Games Off Duty

Am I A Guppy? Why, Yes!

As some of you may have determined, I am an OAMF (Old Ass…..). With that comes some of the consequences of (a) poor choices as a younger soul, and/or (b) wear and tear from choices made as a younger soul, and/or (c) simple poor luck.

In any event, my one knee recently could not decide if the patella was going to wander round and round my knee, or, give out altogether, or, ache either when I walked or when I sat overly long (or both), or, combinations of the above.

So, desirous of avoiding/delaying surgery, I visited my physician, and requested that that worthy send me hence to physical therapy. He did so.

So, approaching 8 weeks later, my patella appears to have resigned itself to remaining on the anterior aspect of my knee, which is nice. The whole “knee gonna give out and leave me in a heap on the floor/ground” thing has moderated, and the aching is less pronounced than before.

So, the following joke appeared on one of the web sites that I peruse from time to time:

“Me, “I can’t see you anymore … I’m not going to let you hurt me again.”

My Physical Therapist: “It was one shallow squat!”

I can relate!

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.

Fun And Games · Fun And Games Off Duty · Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

Gotta Scratch That Itch!

A week or two ago, my MA returned from her lunch, and showed me her parking lot find: a couple of dirty syringes, with bent needles. “I found them on the ground behind my tire”, she related.

My thoughts were, ‘what sort of fool, even among the universe of fools who inject drugs, leaves a freaking needle on the ground in a parking lot, where children come and go on their way to their own physician appointments?’

@

So, just the other day, TDW-Mark II needed to recharge her cash card. Off to her bank we went. The gentleman attending to her transaction appeared to be somewhere in his twenties, whereas I, myself, am approaching 70 (and so closely approaching 70, that 70 has started to tap his brakes, and slow down, in hopes that I would not admire his bumper so closely anymore!).

TDW was making conversation with this gentleman, and he was owning that this sort of transaction was unfamiliar to him. TDW then up and chirps, “It must be hard on poor elderly people, who don’t have computers, or know how to use them! That whole smart phone, and computer banking thing can be rough on the elderly!”

I looked at her for a moment, and spoke up. “Am I not standing right here? You CAN see me, right? Really? I. Am. Right. Here!”

cats · Fun And Games Off Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Housekeeping · Pre Planning Your Scene

TASK STACKING

Eaton Rapids Joe, proprietor of the eponymous blog, must have been an engineer in a previous life. (and, I must have been dyslexic in my previous life, as the previous 5 words, pre-auto correct, read “enbgineer in a previous lidfe.”. Sheesh! I scare me!)

In any event, I seem to recall he once explained the concept of “tolerance stacking”. As I recall, however imperfectly, the concept might translate into, say, a rifle trigger pack, wherein one would take Part One, at it’s maximal permissible dimension(s), and add it to Part Two, similarly pushing the boundaries of out-of-spec-large, and add that assembly to Part Three, (ditto), until, finally, you had, say, a trigger pack, each part in spec, yet the assembly would not function, or else would not fit into the firearm at all.

Not so very long ago, I was reminded of that when TDW-Mark II assigned me (or, maybe, I was voluntold….) the task of cleaning the piles from the dining room table. I confronted the concept of “task stacking”.

To be honest, I had several probably 12-18 inch tall piles (more about that, in a moment…) of papers, magazines (the literary kind), boxes, and assorted whatnot, that (a) I had NOT addressed appropriately, (b) in any sort of timely manner, and (c) that TDW had, at long last, grown weary of seeing.

Along the way, may I observe that I share my home with several cats? And that cats are Agents Of Entropy? My appraisal is that cats are genetically incapable of viewing an organized stack, of whatever sort of stuff, and of whatever degree of righteous organization, without feeling the overwhelming need to Tear! It! Down!.

Of course, having several days off in a row, I was, well, “willing” probably overstates my enthusiasm for this task. Still, it will do. So, I was “willing” to address this problem, but I needed to have a space to take the stack-du-jour, in order to unstack it, triage each component, and then address same.

That meant establishing subsidiary stacks, one of trash (simple: stack same in the…wait for it!…trash can!), one of things to be shredded, and one of other, kind of valuable, things. That last stack would then be the subject of a re-triage, and once suitably thinned, put away.

This process was to be repeated, until the dining room table had my computer, and one (SMALL) stack of whatever needed to be addressed in the next couple of days. And, nothing else of my bullshit.

Well, in order to accomplish THAT task, I had to clear the table in the kitchen, that had, itself, become home to (yes, he admitted, embarrassingly) several stacks of things awaiting disposition to the garage, the trash, or other longer term, somewhat organized, rest.

The trash component, here, was simpler, due to being closer to the trash can, after all. The put-this-crap-away-somewhere-not-the-kitchen-table task, elicited it’s own task-stack, as my imaginings of organized stowage in the basement, required that there be horizontal surfaces, in that basement, that were unoccupied.

Do you, as well, see a pattern here?

So, I thinned the herd of bullshit in the basement, and changed the trash can. I imposed some modest organization in that basement, and then found homes, however transiently, for the keep-this-crap-just-not-on-the-kitchen-table items.

I shredded much of the shred-able stuff, and changed the trash can. Again.

I eventually had emptied the kitchen table, which I then re-filled with dining room table stuff.

Rinse and repeat.

So, it turns out that I am not the only pile challenged soul. I get several days off in a row, that follows a stretch of many 12 and 10 and 8 hour shifts. When I am in the midst of my duty week, well, my ambitions do not particularly exceed “get up and get around”, “get to work”, and do the above in accordance with my employer’s expectations (that is, on time). So, being a geezer, after a 12 hour shift, I get home, graze a bit, and turn in.

I had requested TDW to thin the herd of home chores, so that I might kill of the remainder on my first day off, then to laze away the rest of my stretch of off days.

Hard fail. She injured her foot (neither of us has any clue how. It hurts, that limits her mobility, and that mobility is kind of mission critical to things like putting away the dishes, moving the laundry along, and so forth. In addition to nurse-maiding an ailing dog and ailing cat)(can’t say we don’t know how to have good times!)

Being the loving husband that I am, I offered to heat and deliver some supper to her.

Task stack. Be nice if I washed my hands.

Which would be helped by access to the sink.

Which would be facilitated by loading the dirty dishes into the dishwasher, thereby emptying the sink.

Which would be easier, from a no-two-objects-may-occupy-the-same-space perspective, it the dishwasher were to be emptied, and the clean dishes put away.

Which, aesthetically, ought to be performed by clean hands.

Which required soap and water, currently unavailable due to the mosh pit of our sink.

Which inspired my present blog post.

After the dish part of the foregoing had been accomplished.

Finishing the dining room table is Tomorrow’s Task.

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

Kitten Tales, Part VII

So, TINS…. OK, this is not another firehouse/”sea story”. I was lolling around the house one evening, and TDW-Mark II came to me, cradling our petite, mostly white (well, most of the time…) cat, Trixie. Said cat appeared to have settled herself, right side first, into an ash pile.

This was concerning, since when the kittens had first joined our household, four of them had taken to exploring our heatilator style fireplace. Said explorations were made considerably easier (for the kittens) due to the fact that one of the grates, in place specifically to prevent such explorations, had become loose. TDW-Mark II had (a) noticed that the kittens were not accounted for, and, after a frenzied search, (b) had noticed that one of the older cats, Max, had, pointer style, settled in in front of one of the fireplace warm air outlets. When she (TDW) investigated Max’s pointing, she discovered four grimy, meowing, kittens, noses pressed against the grate.

She removed that grate, and extricated the kittens. They were brushed off, and pranced away, none the worse for wear. Since I believe that too much of a good thing is just about enough, we expoxied the offending grate back in place, replaced the unscrewed-so-we-could-extricate-kittens grate, and placed the fireplace screen in a closet, and backed a piece of furniture against the opening for the fireplace, after placing a large sheet of cardboard over the opening.

Remember that cardboard bit.

So, Trixie’s ashen demeanor elicited some concern that other cats might have taken up spelunking. A hurried cat census revealed that everybody was accounted for, and the only problems remaining were cleaning Trixie, and more effectively securing the fireplace.

Inspection revealed that the cardboard had been bowed, producing a kitten sized sort of funnel devolving into the fireplace. Well, THAT was a permanent fix! Worked fine, as well!

Second things first. I retrieved a sheet of plywood (now, kiddies, once upon a time, mere mortals could afford this thing called “lumber”. Indeed it was so inexpensive that folks built entire houses out of the stuff! In a manner similar to the query, how did Californians light their houses prior to using candles? Electricity!) I placed this sheet in front of the fireplace, between the cardboard and the opening, and wedged it in place with that furniture I spoke of 3 paragraphs ago.

TDW-Mark II had determined that Trixie T. Cat had a bath in her future. Golly, I was so, so, soooo looking forward to that!

Fortunately, Trixie had previously decided that she needed to supervise my med passes, as well as my shaving and my tooth brushing. In the process, she would bat at the stream of water coming from the faucet, then licking her paw as if in surprise at that wet stuff appearing thereon. And, repeat. So, the water-running-in-the-sink thing did not concern her. She was even relatively copacetic with the run-warm-water-over-the-kitten part.

Not such a fan of the baby-shampoo-on-the-kitten part. Pro Tip! If you have occasion to bathe a cat, even such a placid cat as Trixie, bathe said cat with DROPLETS of baby shampoo, NOT streams. That latter initiative will lead to a prolonged period of cat rinsing, and, well, cats have a limited desire to play in the water. Particularly when said water is all over them. Trixie rapidly reached the part of our tale wherein she declaimed “Let me the fook out of here! I. AM. DONE. HERE!”

That is the bad news. The good news is that she articulated this complaint with pushing at us with her paws, claws retracted. Good on’er for the retracted part!

Soon, we had rinsed the shampoo from her, and wrapped her up in a bath towel, halfway drying her. Another towel, and she was as dry as we were going to get her.

We released her, and she walked away, pausing from time to time to shake one leg or another, as if to shake the remaining water off. She still looked bedraggled, but considerable less sooty.

By the following morning, between her own cleaning efforts, and grooming from her siblings, she was nearly entirely clean. And dry.

Duty · Fun And Games Off Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

9-1-1 Follies

So, TINS, TIWFDASL…. er, well, OK: I was NOT FDASL, rather, this was long, long ago, and far, far away, and Doug, my partner, had his car in the shop, and so I picked him up, and we went to headquarters in order to pick up our paychecks.

I was driving him home, and we were chatting about inconsequentials, when I had stopped at a traffic light. Coming from our right, a soul had stopped in order to make a right turn, and once he attempted to make his turn, another idiot (wait for it!) had stepped out in front of the vehicle.

The driver slammed on his brakes, and chastised the pedestrian-idiot (who had not been paying attention), whereupon the pedestrian rejoined with some unwelcome insights about the driver’s mother, and her lifestyle choices.

The driver exited his vehicle, displaying a knife (that was clearly visible from across the street!), and chasing the pedestrian. He (the driver) was bellowing, “You sunovabitch! I could have killed you!”, as the pedestrian retreated around the parked vehicle, retreating for his life.

Just past this dance, was a pair of pay telephones (remember them? Another artifact from my youth!). Doug went to one, and dialed 9-1-1, and I took the other, deposited some change, and called our dispatch Bell line.

My call got answered first. Ronnie the dispatcher answered my call, took my information, and passed it to another dispatcher. Then, he chastized me.

“Mcfee, you DO get, that you are off duty. Right? Why don’t you let the other guys get some excitement, for a change?”

I laughed, said my goodbyes, and hung up.

Doug was still awaiting 9-1-1 to answer his call.

We got back in my car, and drove on.