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 · 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 · Fun And Games Off Duty · Fun With Suits! · Gratitude · Life in Da City!

Snippets Part III

I have a flexible spending account at work, so as to be able to pay my copays, deductibles, and suchlike with pre tax dollars. Late last year, I noticed that the card by which such expenditures were paid for, was getting declined. I assumed that I had spent all the money and thought no further of it.

Then, I began to get messages from the administrators of the account. Finally rousing myself to speak to them, I learned that the card had been frozen, because, I was informed, they required hard copy receipts for 3 or 4 of my expenditures. This included purchases from my optometrist for, oh, gosh, GLASSES, as well as at the podiatrist, for TDW-Mark II’s ingrown toenail.

It puzzled me, Visa, nor Mastercard never had such issues. I assumed that, just like the commercial banks, that the electronic billing that led to the vendor of, say, my gasoline, getting paid, had all the information required, kind of like a grocery store receipt.

Perhaps I was wrong. Or, perhaps, somewhere in this favoured land, folks go to their podiatrist, or their optometrist, when they feel the need for hookers and blow. (I wouldn’t know, myself, and Hunter Biden was not available to comment on that possibility) So, I guess, I will have to remain puzzled.

@@

Occasionally, I am humbled. Just the other day, I had such an opportunity. The lady bringing the pre school aged children in for whatever their complaint that day, was approximately my age (and, I am by no means of child rearing age. Hell, my youngest grandchild is already in primary school!) She reported, in the course of the conversation, that “My husband and I both got them when they were very, very young.”

Just, matter of fact. No inflection, dry fact.

As I was charting later, I noted that the parent was identified as the grandparent.

So, let’s contemplate that. Some of us are anticipating retirement, with few responsibilities, plenty of free time, and no pressing concerns.

Others, around us, are raising a SECOND family, at our ages, and not flinching.

Some of us are facing demands of duty, and stepping up to those demands, and in doing so are protecting, and nurturing, the most vulnerable among us.

@@

So This Is No Shit (TINS), There I was Fighting Disease And Saving Lives (FDASL), long, long ago and far, far away.

Well, okay. REEEAAALLLLYYYY!, I was shopping in Farmer Jack, in Da City, on one of my off duty from EMS days. I was pushing my shopping cart down one aisle or another, occasionally consulting my shopping list, and a fellow approached me.

He greeted me. “Hey! I know you!”

I did not just recently develop my aversion to Humanity. I spent years perfecting it. “Uh, no, you don’t, sir.”

He, on the other hand, was undeterred. “No, I know you! You work for the fire department!”

“You have the wrong guy!”

“No, really! I remember you  You saved my brother’s life!”

“Yep! That’s me! That’s how I spend my days! How is your brother?”

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

Parenting Win

This gentleman gets it, and kudos to him for Being The Dad.

https://ogdaa.blogspot.com/2021/04/sunday-video-2_01180543565.html#comment-form

As may prove to be no surprise, it reminds me of one parenting encounter of my own, years and years ago. One day, TDW-Mark I, our children and I were out someplace having dinner. It had occurred to me that TDW-Mark I might enjoy an evening NOT in the kitchen, and so we bundled up our brood, and went out to dinner. So, there we were, conversating and dining and generally having a nice time, when Number Two Son, whom we will call Charlie, apparently decided that he was not receiving enough attention. Now, Charlie was, at this point, something like 3 years old. I expected that he would know better, but, well, I was mistaken.

So, he was yelling, and standing up in his chair, and generally making a scene. I attempted to verbally redirect him, but, no-go.

My wife was not enjoying the shenanigans, and therefore I decided to remedy her dilemma. I stood, scooped Charlie up, placed him over my shoulder, “fireman’s carry” style, and walked out of the restaurant.

I could feel the eyes on me, as we departed, with a Bill Engvall-esque vibe of “somebody’s gonna get a whooping!” But, I had a slightly different plan. (don’t imagine that I was not tempted…)

Outside of the restaurant was a low stone wall. I sat Charlie thereon, and assumed my R. Lee Ermy persona. I placed myself nearly nose-to-nose with my son, and barked, “You are not a baby! You know how you are supposed to act! This acting up is NOT acceptable! You will sit there, quietly, until you are able to behave correctly! Do you understand me?”

His eyes teared up, and he replied, a quaver in his voice, “Yes, daddy.”

I snarled, “Very good! Now, you tell me when you are able to behave like you know you are supposed to!”

I stood, wrapped one hand in the other, behind my back, and paced back and forth before him, a scowl written large across my face.

After several minutes of this pacing, I turned to my son, and addressed him. “Have you had enough? Are you ready to act right?”

He sniveled, “No, daddy. Not yet.”

I had to abruptly turn, to hide the smile that burst across my face, and to hide my struggle to not laugh out loud.

Another couple of minutes later, he volunteered, “Daddy? I’m ready to behave, now!”

We re entered the restaurant and Charlie was subsequently the very model of proper toddler behavior.

Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important!

PROFESSIONALISM, PART II

So, Carmen, my grand daughter, had a couple of additional Magical Mystery Tours of Peds ICU. Brenda, her mom, wound their way through the maze of physicians, and specialists, treating, and attempting to diagnose, what was underlying our recurrent Monday-evening-Grandpa-visits.

Eventually, one of the specialists determined that a surgery would mitigate Carmen’s breathing difficulties, and so a surgical date was set, in a distant Big City Medical Center. Brenda told both of her parents, and her conversation with me went along the lines of “Dad, so Carmen is going to have surgery on (date), at Big City Pediatric Hospital.”

(Dad): “uh huh. I’ll be there.”

(Brenda): “Uh, Dad? So, Mom is gonna be there, too.”

(Dad): “Uh huh. Why would there be any question about that?”

(Brenda):”Well, I know you guys are going through that divorce, and things might be…tense..if you were both in the same room.”:

(Dad):”Well, Honey, your mom is a grown up professional, I flatter myself that I am a grown up professional, and while we are there with you, for that time, what I think about your mother, or what she thinks about me, well, nobody cares. This is about you and Carmen, and nothing else is on my plate for that time. I don’t anticipate any drama coming from either of us. I know I won’t cause any drama, and I am confident that your mother will not, either.”

So, we met at the appointed time, and greeted each other. Carmen received her IV, and was pre medicated, and rested on her mother’s lap, soon falling asleep. I have a photograph, somewhere, of Carmen, relaxedly asleep, on Brenda’s lap, Brenda appearing fatigued herself.

Carmen went for her surgery, and returned, post operatively. Carmen had an uneventful post operative course, and Brenda took her child home. Today, a dozen years later, Carmen is newly adolescent, The Big Sister, and perfectly healthy.

Oh, and my pre and post op interactions with The Plaintiff? Benevolent, professional, and child (and grandchild) focused. No drama.

Duty · Fun And Games Off Duty · Gratitude · Pre Planning Your Scene · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

PROFESSIONALISM

While my divorce was unwinding, I was working midnights in the ED of Mid Sized Hospital in the Adjacent Relatively Big City. I had a seven on/seven off schedule, which worked out pretty well for the week on/week off custody schedule for the youngest two kids.

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL© (well, to be precise, I was standing in my kitchen, looking around to see what I had forgotten to pack for the night to come), when my phone rang. My darling daughter was on the line. “Hey, Dad! How would you like to come over and take a look at your grand daughter?”

“I’m always up to visit my grand daughter, as well as her mother! What’s the occasion?”

“Well, Carmen is having some difficulty breathing, and I’d like you to look at her and tell me what to do.”

“Be right over. Unlock your door!”

A couple of minutes later, I was knocking on her door, stethoscope around my neck. Brenda opened the door, and I heard Carmen wheezing from across the room. “Call the ambulance, right now!”

Brenda was unconvinced. “Dad, if we call the ambulance, they will simply take her to Local Small Town Hospital. They will simply wind up transferring her to Next Town Big Hospital. Why don’t we just drive her to Big Hospital, ourselves?”

Good time for me to collect data. “Honey, do either you or baby daddy know CPR?”

“Um, no.”

“Y’all have oxygen in your car?”

“No!”

“You guys have any way to alert Big Hospital ED that you are coming in hot with a critically ill child?”

“You know we don’t!”

“So, let’s call EMS, who do indeed know all those things, and have all those things, so that they can treat Carmen properly, hmm?”

“We’ll just drive her over to Small Town Hospital, ourselves.”

“NOW, sweetheart. Right now!”

“I just have to…”

“No, you don’t. Get your ass on the way, right freaking now, and no more delay. Now!”

As they cleared the door, I phoned Local Hospital ED, where I had been an ED nurse, and provided a heads up. “Hey, my daughter is on the way with my grand daughter, who is in respiratory distress. Under a year of age.”

“When will they be here?”

“Open your door, now!”

I locked up, and made my way to Local ED. Once there, I saw the staff meeting that was a pediatric critical child. The ED physician was in the room, my daughter and baby daddy, two ED nurses, a respiratory therapist, the lab, and a couple of other folks that I could not make out in the crowd. I spoke to my daughter, and told her that I was off to work, and I’d stop by in the morning to see how things were going.

I called my daughter the next morning, on my way out of work, and met her at the Big Hospital Peds ICU. She told me that, unsurprisingly (to me), Local Hospital had tested, x rayed, oxygen-ed, and IV-d Carmen, and then transferred her to Big Hospital, via Peds Mobile ICU ambulance. Carmen was considerably improved over last night. I could not hear any wheezing, and she appeared to breathing easily within her oxygen tent. I said my hello to Carmen, ascertained if my daughter needed anything from me, and said my goodbyes to return home, and to bed.

Carmen was discharged the following day, and Brenda had a ream of instructions, as well as the opportunity to administer breathing treatments, as well as oral medications, to an infant several times daily. As a civilian, not a nurse.

A couple of weeks later, I was again preparing for work, and, again, received a phone call from my daughter, again inviting me to visit Carmen. “Always delighted to visit. What’s the occasion, this time?”

“She’s struggling to breathe, and the breathing treatment did not seem to help today.”

I instructed Brenda to immediately go directly to Local Hospital ED. “But, they will simply send her to Big Hospital again!”

“Yep, that is entirely likely. As is the fact that they will send her in a peds MICU, with a physician, respiratory therapist, and a couple of paramedics. All of which I highly approve of. Now, get going, right now!”

I, again, met Brenda at our local ED, again Carmen was the center of a veritable staff roll call in the treatment room, and, again, that evening she was whisked as described, approvingly, above, back to peds ICU at Big Hospital.

I stopped by the next morning. Brenda greeted me. “Dad, just like you said, they transferred her by ambulance back here. When we arrived, all the ICU nurses remembered Carmen, and were crying as they brought in the vent, the crash cart, and the intubation cart. Mom was here, and, gotta tell you, I was trying as hard as I could to keep it together for Carmen. The nurses’ crying was *NOT* helping! If mom had not been here, I would have lost my mind!”

I replied, “Honey, your mom is a pretty good nurse, and she keeps her head really well in a crisis. I’m really glad that she was here for you!”

And, at that point, I did the smartest thing I had done in a while. Right then, I shut up!

Duty · Pre Planning Your Scene · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

Health Care Stagecraft

So, I see children from time to time. Commonly, they are dubious about the entire “Going to the doctor” thing (yeah, I DO realize that I am not a physician, I am a midlevel. May I observe you explain that distinction, to an anxious child?) With that as a starting point, you can imagine that my approaching said anxious child with a stethoscope, and then with an otoscope (“the ear looking thingy”) might not end well. Yeah, me too.

One of the lessons I learned on Da Street (besides knock from the side of the door, and always have a second way out of any room I enter, and always have a knife, and…well, the important lesson is…..) is misdirection. On the street this manifested itself as changing the topic of conversation, as, on a hostile scene, announcing, “WE have to go and get the stretcher!”, and then both of us doing so, and motoring merrily away from the threatened free fire zone. Returning, if at all, with police.

In a more sedate clinical setting, this manifests itself with my (now) stock spiel for kids.

“This here (hold stethoscope up) is my body tickling thingy. Now, this is really, really tickley, but I only have one, right? That’s not enough to share. So, if you laugh, everybody will know how much fun it is, and they will be sad. ‘Boo-Hoo! (insert child’s name here) got tickled, and I didn’t! That is so unfair! I am so sad!’ Now, we don’t want them to be sad, do we?” (generally, toddler-sober negative head wag) “So, try very hard not to laugh, so that they are not sad! Okay?”

(generally, “ok”)

Once heart and lungs are auscultated, I continue with my misdirection. “You did so very, very well in not laughing, now we move up to the ear tickley thingey! Same rules, try not to laugh so that they do not know how much fun it is, and they are not sad that I cannot share, okay?”

Generally, again, “Okay.” While the child is trying to identify what the heck is so darned tickley about otoscopy, I finish.

One bonus point, is, even if the child screams and kicks and writhes, I can congratulate them. “Wow! You did so very well! I don’t think that they even suspect how much fun that was! You can stop pretending, now! You have successfully finished! Well done!”

Sometimes it is healthcare stagecraft, that lets you complete your job.

Duty · Gratitude · Protect and Serve

Duty.

Occasionally, I am humbled. Sometimes, I am moved to tears.

So, TINS©, I was lolling around the house on Christmas Day. TDW-Mark II and I were casually surfing the web. I had my handheld amateur radio on, monitoring our county’s fire dispatch. Because, well, I can.

In our county, emergency personnel are generally volunteers. The EMS is paid/full time, Sheriff and local PD are paid/full time, but the firefighters and rescue are volunteers, dispatched by pager. The tones dropped for a cardiac arrest, CPR in progress, in the outskirts of the county. Now my county is rural, primarily (by surface area) farmland. The ambulance was called out, as well as the County Seat Fire Department (Hereinafter, CSFD).

I heard EMS acknowledge, and the duty fire chief as well. He (the chief) directed that the firefighters respond without him, as he was a couple of miles from the scene and would respond directly.

Dispatch then filled in the dispatch information, beyond the address. A 70-something male had collapsed. CPR was in progress. He was vomiting, and the family was clearing his mouth as best they could. A couple of minutes later (likely that seemed like days, to the folks on the scene, performing CPR on one of their family!), the fire chief called out on the scene “Chief on scene with one firefighter. Sheriff on scene. Dispatch, roll one engine for manpower.”

So, let’s “dolly back”, and consider this. With the possible exception of the deputy (who might have responded, off duty, from home in his patrol car), all these folks were snug in their own homes, fat, dumb and happy, savoring the anniversary of The Birth of Our Saviour, as well as immersing themselves in the excitement of the children at All! The! Presents! they had received.

They carry pagers because, well, that’s what they do. More likely than not, they do not see themselves as heroic, or making sacrifices, because, after all, in most of America (hell, I suspect in most of the world), the men and women performing these jobs simply see themselves as doing what needs to be done, because they are able to do so.

And therefore, when the pager alerted them, they grabbed their coats, put on their boots, and left their warm and happy homes, heading to somebody else’s home, someplace where, as Chief Dennis Compton of Mesa, AZ Fire once described it, “We are responding to somebody’s worst day of their life”.

So, as I imagine it, the duty chief was enjoying a Christmas with his family, the tones dropped, and off he went. Before he could get out of the door, one of his sons, or maybe a son in law, (or daughter or daughter in law, here in the 21st century) said something like, “Hey, Dad! Hold up a second! I’m taking that call with you!”

These folks voluntarily immersed themselves in another family’s tragedy. Strove to hold the line, to reverse the evident course. Went to work on Christmas.

When the firefighter came on the radio requesting the sheriff department’s (volunteer!) Victim Support Team, I could call that play. I do not know if I teared up at the family’s terror, at their loss, at the fact that forever more Christmas would not hold happy childhood memories, but, rather, would be “the day grandpa died”, or if I teared up thinking of the folks who, simply “doing their jobs”, had left their warm homes in response to some stranger’s plea for help.

But, I wept.

Please, give a thought to those who respond to those calls, today and every day of the year, all over the world.

And offer a prayer on behalf of those they go to rescue.

Duty · Life in Da City!

“This is no shit….”

Occasionally, I receive a comment to the effect that my acronyms are confusing, and my correspondent has been unable to divine their meaning. (which would be why I have a tab captioned “Abbreviations, Acronyms, Jargon and Terms of Art”). Perhaps it might be entertaining (well, I might be entertained!) should I review how that particular preamble arose.

Something on the order of 40 years ago, the magazine Soldier of Fortune had an article about “War Stories”. Near as I can recall, from the mists of time, there were three essential elements of any good war story.

First, the Obligatory Disclaimer: “This is no shit!”

Second Required Element, The Required Preamble: “There I was, fighting disease and saving lives….” (In the SOF formulation, it was more along the lines of “fighting communists and defending Freedom…”)

Third Required Element, The Compulsory Thematic Element, wherein The Narrator is a HERO, of Olympian proportions, overcoming impossible adversity.

So, there I was, seated on the bench (yes, reminiscent of “The Group ‘W’ Bench” of Arlo Guthrie/Alice’s Restaurant fame) outside the Department Doctor’s office. The preceding evening, while carrying some soul out of their house on West Boulevard, the gusts had lofted some speck of debris into my eye, and I had reported same to my supervisor, who had sent me to ED and those worthies had sent me home for the evening. In order to return to duty, I had to be cleared by the Department Doctor.

I was seated among a batch of firefighters, and we all were swapping stories of how we had come to receive orders to report here. This fellow slipped on wet pavement and had wrenched his back, another had injured his knee, and was only awaiting clearance from the department to return to duty, since his orthopedic surgeon had released him post operatively.

The next guy to tell his tale clearly had been schooled in The Grand Tradition of Firehouse Stories, and rolled right into his story. “Yeah, we caught an alarm, and the first floor was pretty well involved. We knocked it down with the deck gun, and started an interior attack. So, there I was, fighting fires and saving lives, and the floor fell in! Dumped my ass into the basement! Everybody was pretty excited, until they dragged me out, and found I was only banged and bruised up. The chief sent me to the hospital, they sent me home, and now, here I am!”

My turn. “I was on a run on The Boulevard, and some dust got blown into my eye…” (“….and they all moved away from me on The Group ‘W’ bench…”) “…and the lieutenant ordered me to go to ER, and they put me off for the night. I thought that it was overkill, but, what are you gonna do?”

They all moved back, and one offered, helpfully, “Kill a morning outside the department doctor?”

Yep, pretty much.