Duty · Gratitude · Protect and Serve

WHY?

TDW-Mark II and I are amateur radio operators. A couple of weeks ago, we heard one of our small town’s EMS units dispatched to a “woman fell and injured her face” call.

We listen to Fire/EMS dispatch, because it provides an insight into the events of our town, and perhaps distant early warning of spicy times.

In any event, the crew called on the scene, and, very (VERY!) shortly later, got back on the radio, requesting police.

Dispatch inquired, “On the double?”, and the medic replied, “Yes, on the double”.

They next called for another ambulance, and the fire department for manpower. Soon, we heard fire crews negotiating an entry, and one of the medic units transporting one to The Local Trauma Center, as a priority.

That assemblage of folks, all volunteers except the police (the medics get paid so little, that they might as well be volunteers!) led me to contemplate Duty, and the mindset of those who run toward the sound of trouble.

May I present a rerun? Here is the original post from 2019, and a link to the website entry that inspired me.

http://counterjockey.blogspot.com/2019/09/weapons-wednesday-service-smiths.html#comment-form

Why do MEN (and, nowadays, more and frequently, WOMEN) willingly go in harm’s way?

Why do folks bunker up, suit up, gun up, whatever, and run toward the sounds of trouble?

Counter Jockey has gunned up, and sought out the source of those sounds. As have thousands and thousands of others.

Yesterday was The Eleventh of September in the Year of Our lord 2019. Eighteen years ago,  343 members of the FDNY died, doing their duty. 60 police officers lost their lives. 8 EMS personnel died, not employees of the City of New York.

They died attempting to save some of the 2977 people who would wind up dying that day.

“Duty” is the simple answer, and we all are, or ought to be, thankful for our neighbors who see their duty, accept their duty, and pursue their duty.

But what makes someone see such a thing as “My duty”?

What makes someone say, “So help me God.” ? Those who have so sworn, know. Someone has to stare down predators, and say, in effect, “You stop, right here, right now.” Someone has to stand, and hold that line. Otherwise, the dependents behind those stalwarts will lie vulnerable to the heartless. And, those who have selected Duty, will not allow that.

343 members of the FDNY died, that beautiful autumn day, doing their duty. What sort of folks run into a burning building, a building which had already been sized up be one of their own with the prediction, “Some of us are gonna die, today”?

Read the “Never Yet Melted” blog, about Rick Rescorla. Brit born, naturalized US citizen, Director of Security at Dean Witter/Morgan Stanley (https://neveryetmelted.com/2019/09/11/colonel-cyril-richard-rick-rescorla-may-27-1939-september-11-2001-3/) He is credited with saving 2794 of the 3000 employees working that day. He, his deputy, and three other of his security staff were among the exceptions.

So, here’s what I leave you all with. Look for your duty. Do your duty. try not to flinch, try not to step back. Because, you, and I, all of us, are standing in the shadows of Great People. Imagine, if you will, that they are cheering us on, looking over our shoulders, and expecting that we will not falter. Because, they have left us a legacy of honor, of Duty, of doing their jobs, that make it possible for all of us to be here, today, to have the opportunities that we enjoy. Let us not let them down.

Regarding that day an entire generation ago, let us tell of the Heroes who raced into a building, knowing it was to collapse. Let us tell our children of the Heroes, civilians all, who sacrificed their own lives, that others would not die at the hands of the heartless. Let us tell each other of the Heroes who dwell among us, unknown to us, perhaps unknown to themselves, who will rise up to the demands they face, and risk all to save another. Let us measure ourselves against them, and be grateful they dwell among us. Let us hope we can measure up, should our time come. God Bless those who stand in harm’s way, on our behalf.

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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.

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.

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

Jes’ Folks. Plain, Everyday Folks

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.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/07/22/fatal-car-accident-reveals-fundamental-american-decency-column/1790753001/

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.

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

Telemedicine: Threat, or Menace?

One fine day, I was at work, FDASL, and received a text from my daughter, let’s call her Brenda. She related that her second child had developed what looked like pink eye, to Brenda’s assessment. She (Brenda) had contacted whoever, and that medical soul had video chatted/e-visited/virtually visited/some other bullshit with my grand daughter, and had prescribed an ophthalmic antibiotic.

Brenda was not altogether certain that this assessment was spot on, and wanted her clinician dad’s take on things.

As you may have surmised, MY take on non patient contact, not in the same room “visits”, is not filled with much enthusiasm. There is something to the gestalt of being in the physical presence of somebody, that provides you with clues that are neither evident, nor are they provided across a video screen of any sort. (Ever smell the fruity breath of diabetic ketoacidosis? Ever smell it over a phone?)

Placing that aside for a moment, I asked for some pix. (I am aware that this amounted to the very same thing I had just, 11 words ago, railed against. Wait for it.) My grandchild’s eye appeared red, and (uncommonly in pink eye), so did the tissue surrounding her eye.

I asked if this grandchild could move her gaze left and right, upwards and downwards, painlessly. Was there any change in her vision?

The response I received was that the vision in her affected eye was “blurry”, as well as “it hurts when she looks up”.

My response text, verbatim, was, “Who is going to see her in person, in the next half hour?”

Brenda took her child to our local urgent care, which clinician, to THIS clinician’s credit, is reported to have entered the room, taken one look at my grand daughter, and turned to her mother, and said “So, I’m not going to charge you for this visit. Do you know the way to Big City Referral Hospital? Good. Do not dawdle. Go directly there, now. Yes, I mean the emergency department. Thank you. Drive safely.”

THOSE folks examined her, CT’d her, and started an IV (a process that Grand Daughter did NOT approve of!), and IV antibiotics, and admitted her for several days. The CT had revealed a peri orbital cellulitis (mild, but, nonetheless…), which responded to the medication.

She is now home, sassy, and none the worse for the experience. Take home points: Brenda demonstrates many, many of the affirmative attributes of The Plaintiff: she is smart, decisive, has a finely calibrated and high functioning “shit don’t sound right” detector, and is a bulldog advocate for her children.

I loathe “telemedicine”.

Sometimes I am both blessed and lucky. This time, to the benefit of my grandchild.

cats · Duty · Gratitude · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important!

KITTEN TAILS PART VI

So, TINS, TIWFDASL….we, uh, no, I was NOT Fighting Disease And Saving Lives, rather, I was at home while TDW-Mark II recovered from surgery. (Thankfully, minor. Well, “Minor” from my perspective. I’m pretty cure that, for whoever goes under anesthesia and awakens with sutures and re-arranged body parts, ain’t no such thing as “minor” surgery!)

In any event, on my multiple rounds on TDW, I noted that there appeared to be two, or three, cats perched upon the bed. Should one depart, one would take station. The others would eat, play, loll about: typical cat stuff. The two, or three, “on watch” all appeared to gaze upon her, that is, if they were not snuggled up against her. Just as if they were, indeed, “on watch”.

Olivia appeared to be the one constant watch-stander. She was perched upon TDW’s pillow, and did not seem to move. Others would appear to rotate in and out, but Olivia was pretty constantly there.

When she (TDW) was up and about the next day, she commented about it. “Every time I opened my eyes, one or more of the cats was there, looking at me. I felt as if I had a couple of private duty, furry little nurses!”

Then she reminisced. “remember that time you had your GI bleed? The two dogs, and all three cats (at one time, my cat crazy was under better control….) were settled in all around you! They would only leave to eat, drink, and go. Then, they were right back.”

At that time, we developed the McFee Critter Triage System: if one animal is sleeping with you, that’s normal stuff.

If two of them, well, likely normal, perhaps not.

If three of them, The Spouse needs to take a closer look at things: it ain’t raht!

Four? When is your doctor appointment?

Both dogs, and all three cats? Call dispatch. It might take some explaining (“Ma’am? Did you just tell me that your emergency is that all five animals are sleeping on the bed with your husband? I…I..don’t understand..?”), but Bad Things are at hand. Do Not Dally.

Fortunately, TDW-Mark II recovered uneventfully.