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.

Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

PARENTING STRIPES

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?”

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.

Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Protect and Serve

HALLOWEEN

A long, long time ago, in a county very far away, I was an ER nurse working nights. Indeed, this was so very long ago, that The Plaintiff had not, yet, become The Plaintiff.

It so happened that one Halloween I found myself working. At that time, in that county, we had a dispatch radio in the nurses’ station. After all, in a small hospital, in a very rural county, if you have advance notice of ill tidings, well, sometimes you can gather your selves, and more effectively address the particular ill tidings that are brought to your door.

My shift started at 1900 hours, and day shift had hardly departed when the tones went off dispatching the firefighters, rescue, and sheriff’s department from a couple of townships over. The nature of the call chilled my blood: child pedestrian, pedestrian vs auto on one of the local two lane state highways.

In rural The Un Named Flyover State, traffic on our state highways commonly travels at around 60 mph. Now, KE=1/2 MV2. That means that a, oh, say, 3000 pound vehicle at 60 mph runs around 361,040 foot pounds of energy. (By comparison, a 30-06 bullet runs around 3,133 foot pounds, and will kill any large game animal on the North American continent). When this strikes a, say, 80 pound child who abruptly darts out from between parked cars, well, it is catastrophic.

And, it was, indeed, catastrophic. Responding to the call, mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, sons, daughters: the entirety of the emergency response apparatus in that corner of our county: hell, from couple of surrounding counties, as well: responded, praying, hoping, that somehow they could mitigate this disaster.

It seemed as though the medics spent seconds on the scene. It likely seemed like hours to the horrified family. One second, this child was running along, gleeful and excited at Halloween, eagerly anticipating All! The Candy! that would soon be spread out on the living room floor, and a second later, he was unconscious, broken, in the road.

The county and State Police ran interference, shutting down the expressway to speed the ambulance along it’s way. Our local city cops closed the cross streets, and the medics screamed into our parking lot, where we waited, alerted by the phone call from dispatch.

There were an amazing number of personnel in and about our ER that night. Every floor in the hospital detailed someone to either help, or stand by to see how they could help. The lab was there, cardiopulmonary, and that is not to mention the firefighters from our town, and our cops, in the parking lot, waiting to see if they, too, could help.

The ER doc was not about to half step, and employed every tool at his disposal. But, sometimes Death wins, and we can do nothing to forestall His victory.

We nurses cleaned the child up as best we could, tucking him in with clean linens, and a clean fresh gown. We tried our best to make him appear simply asleep.

The family came into the resuscitation room, and wailed their grief. In that setting, there is really nothing that you can do, nothing of any substance. We stood by, silent witnesses to their heartbreak.

Eventually, they had wept themselves dry. Neighbors assisted the parents from the room, to drive them back home. Later, they would have to plan his funeral, put away his toys, clothing, and things, and come to terms with the forever loss of their little boy.

Halloween would never ever be the same for that family.

A couple of hours later, TDW-Mark I (subsequently The Plaintiff) stopped by. She had taken our two kids then aged 6 and 3, Trick-or-Treating, and they were so darned cute, it finished me. I swept them up into a hug, and likely puzzled them by weeping. Truth be told, I suspect that TDW was surprised, herself. Until one of my partners told her the story of earlier in the night.

Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Pre Planning Your Scene

If Only I had Gone to School For This, Or Something!

There has been a spate of RSV going around, lately. RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is contagious, via airborne droplets. In small children, it can lead to hospitalize-level-illness, whereas in adults it generally causes “a cold”. The reason younger children can get so ill, is that should the virus elicit swelling of the smaller airways, children, having narrower airways, cannot tolerate as much swelling as adults and older kids, before their ability to move air is compromised. We can test for RSV in the office.

So, from time to time parents bring in their kids, reporting cough, or lack of interest in feeding, or runny nose. Occasionally such a child will test positive for RSV. Occasionally such a child has alarming vital signs. One such child arrived, and the MA truncated her intake, once she noticed retractions and diminished oxygen level in this infant. She trotted out, figuratively grabbed me, and brought me in to see the child.

I saw, myself, the retractions. Retractions occur when the effort of breathing in, is increased to the point that the skin between the ribs, or below the ribs, draws in from that effort. NOT NORMAL!

We administered a nebulizer (“mist”) treatment of a bronchodilator. Subsequently, the retractions had not particularly improved, nor did the oxygenation of this child. I directed the mother that she needed to take her child to the emergency department. She responded that her ride was not present, and there would be a delay as the ride returned.

I recommended EMS at that point. The child appeared to be stable, presently, but I was uninterested in determining how long that would take to go downhill.

The mother responded, “No, I want to wait for my ride.”

It appeared that I had not successfully identified to her the ways that significant delay could make things go horribly wrong. And, waiting for her ride promised to present a significant delay.

Mother was not impressed. Her ride (eventually!) arrived, and everybody went to emergency. Finally.

Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Protect and Serve · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

Sometimes, The Pucker Could Squeeze Diamonds

So, TINS, TIWFDASL at an urgent care out in Flyover Country. It was a typical afternoon, featuring a parade of sniffles, coughs, and poison ivy. Our clinic was on the south side of the road, east of Middling Sized City, and the Big Time Big Deal Hospital And Trauma Center. In other words, to get the the BTBDHATC, one would exit our driveway, and turn west (that is, LEFT!)

Abruptly, the registrar summoned me. My MA and I walked over, to behold a limp toddler. Very Not Good!

The MA escorted the male carrying the child to an exam room, and began to collect vitals. I examined the child, discovering a heartbeat (Crom be Praised!) and spontaneous respirations. The registrar collected demographic information, and I asked the adult what had happened, prior to arrival.

“Well, he started shaking, and then he stopped. He just wouldn’t wake up, so I brought him here.”

Well, the “wouldn’t wake up” part was still descriptive of the child, and I noted that I would have to call an ambulance immediately, because this could have several causes, none of them good. Indeed, “floppy child” is right up there in my Triage Catalogue Of Very Bad Things.

The adult male paused at this. “I don’t want to send him by ambulance. I’ll take him myself!”

I was surprised. I noted, “So, you *DO* realize that several of the things that caused this, could reappear, and he could stop breathing or his heart could stop. EMS is trained and equipped to deal with those things, should they occur. You, while driving, are not, right?”

He persisted. “I’ll drive him myself”.

We directed him to go there immediately, with no delay nor detour. We explicitly directed him to exit our driveway, TURN FREAKING LEFT (that is, west), and not stop until at the ED.

He stated that he understood, and would do so.

He scooped the child up, and exited the building. I sat down to chart, as well as call BTBDHATC, in order to provide them with forewarning of the sick, sick, sick child coming their way. That is, until my registrar called me, excitedly, to report that this sunovabitch had turned EAST! (exactly away from the hospital) upon exiting our driveway.

WTAF!

I had the clerk print a face sheet, and called emergency dispatch. I related the above information to dispatch, along with my concern that a critically ill child was *NOT* being taken to the ED. I provided the street address we had received, as well as the contact information.

I next called the child protective services emergency number, to report the above. I was assigned a report number, which I charted, and my own name and contact information was taken.

Several hours later I received a telephone call, from a gentleman asserting he was from CPS. I asked him to confirm the report number, the child’s date of birth, name and address of our record. He did confirm all these details.

He queried me about the particulars of the child’s presentation. I supplied the requested information. I asked how the child was. The worker paused, and said, “Well, I am not allowed to provide information regarding an ongoing investigation, particularly one where the child in question has been hospitalized. I’m sorry. “

My response? “Yeah, it’s too bad you couldn’t tell me if the child had been hospitalized or anything. I understand. Thank you.”

Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Pre Planning Your Scene · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

Neighbors

One fine day, TDW-Mark II and I were at home, doing some sort of chore or another. Our doorbell rang, and I answered it, to find the neighbor girl, a seven year old classmate of Grand Daughter Number Two, standing there with her three year old younger sister, hands clutched one in the other.

“What can I do for you?” I asked.

“My grandpa fell, and he hurt himself, he’s not moving. Can you help us?”

I hollered, “Honey! Emergency at the neighbors!”, and headed out the door, TDW-Mark II watching me turn the corner into their yard.

The girls led me into their home, where I saw an elderly gentleman (now, THAT would be the pot calling the kettle over-the-hill!) prone on the floor, at the foot of the stairs, with a pool of blood about his head. The girls stood by, anxious appearing, until TDW-Mark II appeared, and led them into the kitchen, and attempted to distract them from the front of the house drama.

I asked the gentleman if he was OK, and his answer did not inspire confidence. Looking over the scene, multiple bad scenarios played out in my imagination, all leading to the conclusion that I did not want to manage this scene alone, and I really, reeally wanted EMS here, pronto.

I dialed up dispatch, and abruptly realized that I did not know the house number.

Fortunately, all those years of Street! Medic! Experience! started to pay off, as I realized that the house would have the number displayed prominently on the front. I walked out front to familiarize myself with that little detail. Oh, yes. AND the name of the street one block East of my residence.

You don’t have to say it, I already know. Bad Stretcher Ape! Situational awareness fail!

So, anyhow, I shared my new-found wisdom with dispatch, and summarized what I knew. She assured me that our little town EMS would be on the way, and then proceeded to start into pre arrival care instructions. I played along, until she paused, and I observed, “So, I’m an ER nurse. he is breathing, he is speaking, sort of, and I am reluctant to move him in any way, because it appears that he fell down the stairs.”

“Oh. Right. Well, if things change, call us right back!”

“Yes, ma’am, will do.”

The medics arrive shortly thereafter, and I reported the little that I knew. The one medic was surprised. “You don’t know any of his history?”

“Nope. We’re the neighbors. The little girl came over and got us, when he fell.”

At about that time, the mother returned home, and TDW-Mark II filled her in on what we knew. We turned the kids over to her, said our goodbyes, and departed.

Duty · Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Protect and Serve

Two More Tales

Once upon a time, Da City was “The Arsenal of Democracy”, heavily industrialized, and a place where a reasonably hard working high school graduate could graduate, and, within a year, have a solidly middle class lifestyle working in a factory. One auto company had established an industrial complex just outside Da City, and on an island in this complex, had established forges, stamping plants, and coking ovens. Even across the river, the smell had to be experienced to be believed.

I worked with one guy, back on EMS, who had worked, pre-fire department, for one of the private ambulance services. They had caught a run for some emergency or another on this island, and, this being the days of 24 hour shifts, my friend fell asleep, letting his partner, who was driving, take care of things.

He related, “I was awakened when the ambulance stopped. I looked out, at the gas flaring off, and the chemical smell of sulfur heavy in the air. The area aroiund us looked like a hellish war torn moonscape, and I thought, “Oh my f@@king Ghawd! He’s wrecked the ambulance, I’ve died, and this is Hell!”

Another story, from a slightly later time, had me working with Doug and Rob, at a house in the far western area of Da City. We were dispatched to an assault, and met the cops on the scene. Upon entering the house, a gentleman (looking to be something like 6 feet and some change tall, probably running probably 220 pounds) reported that the woman of the house, who, herself, looked to be like 5 feet 2 inches, maybe 120 pounds, had assaulted him, striking him with her fists. He reported that he needed to be “checked out” due to his (non evident) injuries. She interjected that she had not assaulted him, he had, rather, assaulted her (and inflicting no perceptible injury in that process). He responded, loudly, and it was on. The Great West Side Debating Society Quarterly Meeting began.

While “the adults” were yelling etc, I noticed, in corner of the next room a perhaps 5-7 yo little girl, crouched in corner, mouth open, fists clenched as in a silent scream. While cops refereed “the adults”, I crouched down in front of child, attempting to verbally soothe her. One female officer noticed, and came over. I introduced the officer to the child, “This is my friend, Officer Evans. She would like to talk to you for a while. Is that OK? She, and the rest of her friends will keep you safe.”

We disengaged, everybody signed no transport forms, we went in service. As Rob finished the trip sheets, he paused, and commented, “You know, I think we may have just witnessed a watershed moment in that little girl’s life.”

Bastard. I fear that he was right.

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.

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

The Apple Does Not Fall Far From The Tree

Long ago and far away, I married The Woman Who Would Become The Plaintiff. She brought two children with her, a son, hereinafter referred to as Adam, and a daughter, who we will refer to as Brenda. These children had two different fathers, Brenda’s being Of The African Persuasion, as an old medic partner of mine had termed it. TWWWBTP (“the plaintiff”) was, herself (as am I) of the white-bread heritage group.

This led, of course, to her mother referring to her brood as “My own little league of nations”.

Well, time passed, love bloomed (and, subsequently, withered), and my children (all four of them, notwithstanding that fact that two of them had my chromosomes, and two did not) all grew up, became adults, and set off to establish their own families.

Brenda had her own adventures, eventually settling down with a good man, who accepted her oldest daughter, treating her as his own. Brenda wound up having four children in total, ranging from melanin enhanced, to melanin deprived. (genetics can work out in surprising ways).

So, Brenda tells the story of having photographs of her mother (anglo), dad (anglo), oldest child (genes from 1/4 Africa, 1/2 Central America, and 1/4 Europe), and three youngest children (all of whom were paler, having no Central American genetics). You might imagine a picture gallery of “shades of gray”, if you wished.

Co-workers would wander past, and notice the chromatic array featured in her pictures, prominently displayed on my daughter’s (biracial her own self) desk.

“Who’s that?”, they would ask, gesturing at the children’s photos.

“My kids.”

“Who’s that?” they would ask, pointing at my photo.

“My dad.”

Who’s that?”, pointing at The Plaintiff’s photo.

“My mom.”

In Brenda’s telling, there would follow a metaphorical “tennis match”, and her interlocutor’s eyes would go from photo “A”, to her own visage, to photo “B”, and back to her face, and back and forth, for a couple of iterations.

“Were you adopted?”

“Nope.” (I never started adoption proceedings for my two oldest children, a failure on my part.)

More gaze-tennis, as they attempted to process this. And failed.

Brenda finished her tale, grinning. “I really enjoy spinning up folks’ minds! Most never seem to make sense of it!”

Which tale reminds me of another yarn, circling around my story of Carmen’s (the oldest child) surgery. I accompanied my daughter to Carmen’s pre op visits, both because she (Brenda) kind of wanted to focus on her child (imagine that!), as well as, I surmise, Brenda thought that having nurse-and-midlevel-Dad at hand, might be comforting.

So, TINS©, There I Was, sitting in the interview room as the intake nurse was interviewing Brenda, regarding Carmen’s medical history. The nurse asked Brenda, “Is there any diabetes, heart disease, lung disease in your family?”

Brenda responded, “Uh, no, no there isn’t”.

I chimed in (pay attention to this: Brenda is my STEP-DAUGHTER, recall!), “Honey, don’t you want to mention my cardiac stents?”

So, my daughter turned her gaze my way, and, gently, admonished me. “Uh, Dad? I really do not think that *your* genetics are going to affect Carmen. Do you?”

Brenda then turned to the nurse, and clarified. “He’s my step dad, you know.”