Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City!

Paying Attention Is Important

So, TINS (c), TIWFDASL (c), and working in Da Corridor. This was Da City’s, well, let us say, in paraphrase of the immortal words of Old Ben Kenobi, “Da Corridor: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy!” So, not the nice part of Da City.

I was working “The Corridor”, and an academy classmate, let us call him Gordon Lightfoot, was detailed in that day from another house. At this point of time, TBTCIDC was closed, as they were in the midst of moving kit and caboodle to the shiny, new, and in-the-medical-center hospital they had just opened. (Well, it had not been opened, just yet, and that little detail will figure prominently in this tale!) The hospital that was TBTCIDC’s “stand-in” was NOT generally the trauma center, but was in the medical center.

We caught call after call, transported sick (and a lot of not-so-sick) people, and generally saved lives. Our next run was on an asthma patient, and off we went. In fact, this particular address was only a block from the medical center.

We arrived, announced ourselves, and acquainted ourselves with this person’s malady. I brought the stair chair, and we wheeled this soul out to the ambulance, and settled them onto the cot. I had JUST entered the cab, preparatory to a leisurely trip to The Stand In Hospital, when Gordon stuck his head through the window connecting the cab with the patient compartment, and bellowed, “Reltney! He’s arrested!”

I hopped around to the back, and helped Gordon get set up for a spot of in transit CPR. Once he was set, I re entered the cab, and called dispatch: “Medic One, Code One, Stand In Hospital. Cardiac arrest, witnessed. Eta One Minute!”

Dispatch acknowledged. I tuned in the hospital alert frequency, and called: “Stand In Hospital, come in for Priority One traffic!”

They acknowledged, and I started my turn out into traffic, lights flashing, and siren wailing. “Witnessed cardiac arrest! CPR in progress! ETA one minute!”

The nurse on the radio was not clear on the message. “Say your ETA?”

“Open the doors! We’re here!”

Fun With Suits! · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

Kharma

This looks like it’s going to be a lengthy spiel. Hope y’all are ready!

Perhaps, in previous ramblings, I have touched on the assertion, I credit it to Ragnar Benson, relating that, if one were to consider the deaths and illnesses attributable to contaminated water supplies, it is not unrealistic to consider that it is entirely likely that plumbers, and assurance of safe water that is their stock-in-trade, have preserved more lives, and done more to alleviate human illness and suffering, than all the physicians ever born.

I remember this thought every time that I am credited with saving lives, or some such stuff. I am as good as I am, in large part due to the folks with whom I work.

And, then there is the lay-of-the-land aspects that can accompany cordial relations with your co-workers.

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL© in a walk in clinic in Da Nawth Country. It had been somewhat tumultuous , negotiating with my locums company, as they had contracted that I start on “Date A”, yet, 4 or 5 days prior to “Date A”, had informed me that things were not organized as needed, and some aspect of my credentialing was awry, and therefore I was not going to start on “Date A”. Therefore, I was not going to be getting paid, starting on “Date A”.

I acknowledged this tidbit. I asked when they anticipated my starting work, and starting receiving pay.

My recruiter could not tell me.

I noted that I had a contract stating that I would be working for The Locums Company, starting on “Date A”, and I anticipated starting to receive pay from The Locums Company, beginning on “Date A”.

The recruiter protested that, since I was not fully credentialed, I could not work, and therefore I would not be getting paid until all these wonderful things came together, and I was, indeed, working.

I set a limit. A hard limit. “Well, simply so that you understand how things will work, *SOMEBODY* is going to be paying me, starting on “Date A”. Your input into this conversation, is will it be The Locums Company, or will it be somebody else. And, just to make everything even plainer, whoever is paying me on “Date A”, will have my loyalty. That means that, if you folks are *NOT* the ones paying me, and you abruptly get your shit together, and invite me to start working at your client’s clinic, well, I am not about to pimp the folks who are providing me with a paycheck, simply because your organization is so grabasstic that you cannot get your credentialing in a group, by the date that *YOU* specified.”

He sputtered, “We have a contract! You have committed to work for us!”

I had read that contract. “Yep. You committed to pay me for my clinical services starting, oh, next Monday. Now come you, to inform me that you are not planning to pay me, starting next Monday. Now, I am not a lawyer, I do not play a lawyer on TV, and I did not stay in a Holiday Inn last night, but it certainly appears that you are proposing to breach one of the foundational elements of your contract, and thereby nullify the entire thing. If you are paying me, then my time is yours. If you have breached that contract by not paying me, then you can go piss up a rope.”

He continued to sputter. “I cannot simply approve paying you for not working.”

“Cool story. Howzabout you speak to somebody who can, indeed, authorize you to abide by the terms of your contract, and let me know how that turns out? As for me, I’m looking for work. If you get your shit together before I find other work, perhaps we can move forward in a mutually profitable way. If not, well, toodle-oo!”

The call terminated. I placed a call to Another Locums Company, with whom I had worked, and who had demonstrated that their stool was, indeed, in a pool. That recruiter and I had a cheery chat, and she promised to see what they had available, and call me back as soon as possible.

The next day, The Locums Company recruiter, who triggered this rant, called me back, breathlessly informing me that they *WOULD* pay me, as if I was working 40 hours, 9-5. In return, I would be on a 24 hour alert to report to the client clinic, upon The Locums Company’s notification that all had been ironed out. His tone was consistent with “…and don’t you try to weasel your way out of it!”

My response was, “Well, if you are paying me, then my time is yours, and I will be available to report for work as soon as is reasonable. 24 hours sounds reasonable.”

So, I hung around, puttering around, and after a couple of days, received The Call, shortly followed by a call from The Client Clinic. These worthies articulated concern. “Uh, you know we are up north, right?”

“Yep. I kind of had figured that out, in the course of the interactions with The Northern State Licensing Authorities. Those conversations led me to assume that this placement would be in The Northern State.”

“So”, they continued, “It’s January, and, well, we get snow here.”

“I had assumed that snow had something to do with your state’s reputation as a skiing destination.”

“So, have you ever driven in snow?”

This was surprising. If somebody had read, oh, the FIRST 6 INCHES of my FREAKING RESUME, it is exceedingly likely that this reader could figure out that I had spent considerable time in A Northern Fly Over State, wherein, every year, there was an abundance of snow on the ground for, oh, heck, 5 or 6 months of the year. My response did not, however, convey this surprise. “Uh, yeah, some.”

“Are you comfortable driving in snow?”

Another aside: it occurred to me that this particular line of inquiry might have been useful, say, during the freaking phone interview. Not the goddamned day before I was to drive my clinical ass up to start work. Again, my response was milder than my thoughts. “Yeah, I’m Ok with driving in snow.”

But, they were not going to let this go. “Are you sure? We really get a lot of snow, you know!”

I was over this line of conversation. “Look, I grew up in A Northern Fly Over State, we get assloads of snow every winter. If you have seen my resume, you will realize that, not only did I learn to drive in that state, I worked my way through Nursing school working for EMS in Da City in that very state. My children were born there, and every one of *them* learned to drive in the winter, in the snow. Since this is not Fairbanks Regional Medical Center, I am pretty sure that I have seen me some snow, and that I can handle it.”

I packed up my stuff, and set out for The Client Clinic.

I got oriented, and was introduced to the EMR. On my first day in clinic, I introduced myself to the registration staff, and the floor staff. Between patients, we swapped stories. This MA was prepping for Nursing school, that one was in undergrad for business. This other one was a survivalist, and prepping for The Zombie Apocalypse. (Kindred spirit, right there!)

A couple of weeks into the contract, things were tranquil. My MA asked me if I knew why my predecessor had quit, abruptly.

I allowed that I did not know all that much about it, simply that this soul had departed with inadequate notice.

Her eyes lit up. “Ahh! You need ‘The Rest Of The Story’!” She informed me that my predecessor had discovered that he, the clinician, had not been accredited with two of the most common third party payors in that area, and, since they were something like 70-80% of the payor mix, not receiving payment for care of those patients would present a cash flow problem of significant proportions.

It seemed that the clinic had elected to have this clinician’s visits billed as if another, credentialed, provider had in fact seen, interviewed, evaluated, diagnosed, and treated those patients. Since this was not exactly accurate, it potentially could get ugly. Very, very ugly.

When it appeared that this clinician would not see that situation remedied, right stat like, that clinician elected to remove himself from that particular pot of stew, immediately. Hence, the opportunity which featured me fighting disease and saving lives.

I spoke with my recruiter at once, and observed that, he either would provide satisfactory evidence that I was, in fact, credentialed with these payors, or I would unass that scene so fast that The Flash would ask, “What the fuck was that, that streaked right past me?” And, he did not have a lot of time to convince me that this was actually so.

An hour later, he not only effusively professed my actual credential-hood, he e mailed me copies of supporting documents, such that my black heart was grudgingly convinced that it was truff! (pronounced “True-ff”)

And that, boys and girls, is one reason that I treat my floor staff, and other co workers, nicely. That, and it is simply good manners.

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

Guardian Angel, Working Overtime

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL©, working a weekend gig in a very, very rural corner of The Un-Named Flyover State. I was a mid-level in, completely out of character for me, a very, very rural hospital’s (VVRH) walk in clinic. I was working with an LPN, a woman of sense, alertness, and industry. Sometimes, Blessings are not obvious.

So, mid morning, she gave me report on Our Next Contestant. Late 20’s fellow, had complained of back pain for a week or two, and he attributed this pain to “I pulled my back, working out doors”. So, this was long about February, and in VVRH’s catchment area, it was mighty freaking cold. Snow, long about hip deep, lined the roadways, and the roads, themselves, had been plowed, and, in keeping with Flyover State Rural Road Commission Operating Procedures, had *NOT* been salted. Since everybody got their water from wells, and most of us thought that salting our water was ill advised, the roads had some sand applied, “upstream” of intersections.

I listened to the vitals, and noted her assessment that “this guy doesn’t look right”. I entered the exam room, introducing myself. He told me that he had started to hurt a couple of weeks prior, the pain in his back, described as “Like something tearing”, had increased with time, despite his employing the ever popular intervention of “ignoring it, hoping it would go away”.

Having concluded on this beautiful sunny 8º F day, that is was *NOT* going to get better, he had WALKED three miles into town, by his estimate, seeking help.

He had muscle spasm in his back, true enough, but something about his story sounded several degrees out plumb. I palpated his belly, and felt something therein pulsing away. He also reported that my pushing on his belly, made his back pain worse. I was not certain what it was, but I was pretty sure that this was way, sway above my pay grade.

I phoned the ED physician, spun my tale of oddness, and he accepted my patient. My nurse wheeled him down the hall to Emergency, and we plodded through the rest of our day.

Nearing the end thereof, the ED physician walked in my door, and told me a story, featuring my long walking friend. He, the physician, had also thought that the examination, along with the back pain, was odd, and so he, the physician, had CT’d my patient. That study revealed a honking big, seriously dilated abdominal aortic aneurysm (a dilation of some part of the aorta, in this case in my patient’s abdomen).

For those in the studio audience who are not medically inclined, the aorta is the single largest, highest pressure, artery in your entire body, running about 2 cm in the area just below your diaphragm, about at the level of your renal (kidney) arteries. Those of us who have studied the US Military’s tactical trauma care course, or have had some sort of “care under fire” training”, will have learned that, should the aorta be penetrated, either by projectile or through a rending of it’s wall, the entire blood volume of an adult male (running around 5 quarts) can empty out in something approaching a minute, plus or minus. One thing that places you at risk of experiencing that, besides the projectile-through-your-aorta thing, is having a large aortic aneurysm abruptly rupture.

Of course, in VVRH, there was no abdomino-thoracic surgery service. My friend the ED doc attempted to arrange a transfer for this fellow, only to be SOL (Surenuff Outa Luck). The roads in our corner of the state were being snowed in, and therefore ground transport to pretty nearly anywhere was not going to happen.

Doc cast his net more widely, and more widely. Adjacent State Big Time Medical Center would accept him, but, alas, we would have to figure out how to beam him up transport him there. Middling Outstate Medical Center could not accept him, since they had no vacant ICU beds, which our new friend would certainly require, assuming he survived (a) the trip, (b) the surgery, and (c) the post op period. Any one of which could end him.

Next Up Upstate Medical Center, alas, similarly had no ICU vacancies, and so, finally the physician negotiated a transfer to Downstate Academic Medical Center, who, miraculously, sent a fixed wing aircraft and critical care transport team to our little single runway county airstrip.

A couple of weeks later, I was working a weekend as was the physician in question. He made a point of strolling over , and relating the above to me, both because it was remarkable that the patient had not only survived the trip, as well as the surgery, and the recovery, into the bargain, but was home, and evidently neurologically intact. The doc knew this, because this fellow had come into ED seeking care for a sprain or some such thing, that he had newly acquired, working outdoors!

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

Phone calls that make you go”WTAF??!!”

So, TINS, TIWFDASL as a nursing supervisor in a small hospital in Da City. I had checked our afternoon staffing, and accounted for all the staff. I had wandered around, meeting and greeting my staff, and made arrangements such that everybody could eat. I checked in with security, and, as usual, there was nothing happening.

I was back in the nursing office, completing some paperwork or other, and received a call from the switchboard. The operator informed me that Channel 69 news was calling, asking about some patient who had fallen out of a window at our facility. I told the operator to send the call to me, and stat call the security supervisor to meet me in my office, RFN.

The call was odd. (Now THAT is a surprise, idn’t it?) The caller identified herself as a reporter for one of the local stations, and that they had received a report that a patient had fallen from a window, and landed on a roof of part of our building. I responded that this was inaccurate. I knew this to be inaccurate because, in the event that such a thing had occurred, the staff would call me immediately, no such call had been placed, therefore no such thing had happened.

We concluded our conversation, and I turned to my friend the security supervisor. I asked him to immediately inspect our roofs, either in person or with one of his officers doing so in person, and ascertain the absence of anybody (or, any body) on any of our roofs. He hopped right to it.

Next I called each of my charge nurses, and ordered them to immediately, with no delay, personally lay their eyes on each and every one of their patients. They were ordered to immediately call the switchboard to report that they had indeed personally laid eyes on every one of their patients, or stat page me overhead in the event that any patient was not physically on their unit.

One charge nurse protested that she was too busy to perform this task. I noted that this was what we termed “a work order” in our employee handbook, and her options were to get to it, right now, or prepare their soliloquy for 0900 the following morning, wherein they would have the opportunity to convince the director of nursing that they should, indeed, continue their employment at our hospital. Because ANY other response other than “Let me go, so I can get to this”, would result in their being clocked out and escorted from the building, right about now.

Surprisingly, that elicited compliance.

The security supervisor paged me, requesting that I meet him in the cafeteria, that being about the center of the hospital. I arrived and he briefed me: his officers had inspected the roofs, and noticed nothing awry. A couple of his officers had shanghaied the maintenance man, and secured a ladder. They were going to climb up and re-inspect the accessible roofs, to verify what their preliminary survey had suggested. And, nobody/no body had been found.

I physically went to each nursing unit, spoke with each charge nurse, and had them show me their census, along with a report of their actions to inspect each patient. No missing persons. Hallelujah!

I phoned my immediate supervisor, and gave her the short form report. Of course, the long report, in five part harmony, with full orchestration, with circles and arrows and illustrations to fully communicate the entirety of the affair, was waiting on her desk for the morning.

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

Serendipity

One evening, I was eagerly anticipating the prospect of departing work on time. We had not turned a metaphorical wheel for something like 45 minutes, and the clock on “the clubhouse wall” promised us only 20 more minutes until we recreated a LeMans start, jetting off into the night.

So, of course, somebody wandered in. She got registered, and my MA roomed her, interviewed her, vitaled her, and got some pee to analyze for indicators of a urinary tract infection, as such were her reported symptoms.

I reviewed the vitals, allergies, meds, and past medical history, as the urinalysis machine deliberated, finally printing out it’s findings. Surprisingly, given Miss Lady’s report of frequent, urgent, uncomfortable urination, there were no white blood cells nor nitrate (indicators of bacterial source of her discomfort). What there was, was an abundance of glucose (sugar). Indeed, the machine indicated something like 1,000 mg of glucose per decaliter (100 ml, or 1/10 of a liter). That’s a lot of glucose. I requested a finger stick blood glucose test.

That read “High”, as in, too much glucose in the drop of blood tested, for the machine to measure it. The machine will register blood sugar levels as high as 600 mg/dl.

I entered the room, introduced myself, and asked, what prompted her visit tonight.

She recounted the urgency, frequency, and discomfort with urination. “I feel like I have a bladder infection!”, she declared.

“Well, ma’am, there are no indications of infection in your urine. There is, however, an abundance of sugar in your urine. This is present, as well, in your blood. Are you a diabetic?”

“No.”

“Well, ma’am, you have more sugar per ml of your blood, than is present in a similar volume of sugary soda pop. You are, indeed, a diabetic. You need to go to emergency right now, so that they can get you started on managing your diabetes. Give me a minute, and I will print out your chart so you can show the folks in ER what I have found.”

Duty · Fun With Suits!

SURPRISE!

One day, not so very long ago, I arrived at work, and went to log into the electronic medical record (EMR). Generally, there is no drama. I power up the computer, click through the labyrinth of password prompts, web pages, and suchlike preparatory to actually accessing the charts of the patients that I would see that day.

On this day, I could not access the EMR. Since I am somewhat geezerly, computers are NOT in my wheelhouse. I assumed that I had mis keyed my password, and checked it, and re entered it. No joy. I re checked it, and re-re entered it. Again no joy. The computer steadfastly ignored me.

I finally determined that I was not going to be able to cajole the computer into opening up and allowing me entry into the charts. Therefore, I called tech support. Of course, I was electronically placed into the queue, and serenaded by somebody’s version of soothing music.

Since I try to arrive early, so as to allow me to still be on time should traffic be screwed up in my commute, I placed my call around 10 minutes prior to my start time.

Something like 40 minutes later, I spoke to a human being, who took my information, placed me on hold (again!), and soon returned. She informed me, “Oh! You cannot log in, because we changed your login name!”

Now, let us consider this. If you or I were to, oh, let’s say, figure that for some reason we needed to change somebody’s log in name, you, or I, for that matter, might wonder if it would be a good idea to, oh, gosh, lemme see….. TELL A SUMBITCH WE HAD CHANGED HIS FREAKING LOG IN!

Maybe, even, before his next duty shift, perhaps?

I shared this with the young lady. “Wouldn’t that have been useful information to share with me?”

She had no reply.

I thanked her for her time. I turned to the floor staff, and announced that I was, at last, logged in. I observed to my colleagues, “If only, if only, I had provided my personal e-mail, so somebody could change my log in, and, gosh, let me know!”

Pre Planning Your Scene

Reading Recommendation

https://eatonrapidsjoe.blogspot.com/2020/10/home-field-advantage-egress.html?showComment=1602787988156#c8439774302017330220

I don’t think that this guy needs *my* paltry recommendation, but, he has successfully drawn me in, and engaged me. His series-s are very, very thought provoking, in a Aesop’s “Tomorrow” sort of way. Lots of food for thought both at a “micro-economics” as well as at a “macro-economics” level.

Is your larder prepared for the presentation of spice? Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Fun And Games · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Pre Planning Your Scene

Random Thoughts, Part IV

You may have heard of the ChicomFlu. It has been all over the news, and, evidently it is all Mr. Trump’s fault. Interestingly, the same folks voicing concerns about Mr. Trump being a fascist dictator, who is planning on a putsch in order to become President For Life, also are criticizing him for failing to seize control of the economy, and not dictating the minutiae of our lives in order to Halt! This! Scourge!. Apparently, that entire Federalism thing, and Tenth Amendment thing, bypassed these commentators in Government class.

Or else, our government schools failed them. Again.

So, in clinical medicine, in 2020, we now have drive in care. Care, that is, of a sort. So, folks drive up (remember that point), announce themselves (no clown’s mouth, thankfully!), and our registrar trots out and registers them. Our MA does preliminary interview, and obtains most of the vital signs (except BP). I then suit up in an impermeable gown, goggles, N-95 mask, with another lesser mask over top of it to prolong it’s service life, and gloves, and stroll out. I interview them through the vehicle window, examine ears, throat, auscultate heart sounds and breath sounds (and, by the way, I can tell you things about your engine and transmission). With this information, I form a diagnosis, formulate a plan of care, and instruct the patient in that plan.

I nearly always ask if my patient smokes. If the answer is affirmative, my response if “Stop doing that!” Occasionally, when the answer is “No”, I have indisputable olfactory evidence that this is an untruth. If I can smell your marijuana fumes through two masks, you are doing it wrong.

*History Lessons*

If you live in Bagwanistan, or Cuomo Valley
 New York, or, really anywhere, KNOW 
YOUR DAMNED MEDS!

It's commonly considered to be A GOOD
 THING if I avoid prescribing a medication
 that, in concert with whatever crap you
 take daily, will turn you into a flaming 
zombie, or cause your ears to drop off. So
 write that shit down someplace where 
you can find it. This appears to be a novel 
insight to a significant fraction of the
 population.
 

And, while you're at it, ask your pharmacist 
what you're allergic to, and WRITE THAT 
DOWN, as well. 

And, for those of you who are thinking
 that “All that is in my record!”, uh, well,
 if your records are in, say FREAKING
 FLORIDA, it might be a bit difficult for
 me to access. Particularly on 
weekends, or after 1800 hours their time.
 By the way, this also applies to folks
 whose records are in Milwaukee, and are
 visiting Flambeau Hospital, since that is
 the nearest healthcare to Copper State
 Park in BFE, Wisconsin.  Big City Hospital
 in Milwaukee may not see us as an 
entertainment subsidiary of their 
megalithic hospital system, and your info
may well be securely hidden away, 
from us. 

Jes' sayin. 
Fun And Games Off Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Pre Planning Your Scene

Clem, Cletus, and Why Heavy Equipment Operators Require Functional Partners, Too

Many, many years after I had left the employ of Da City, I came to live in Small Rural Town. Our little slice of Heaven featured, among other things, a municipal water system. The town had been built out shortly after the Second World War, and the infrastructure was contemporaneous with that construction.

Apparently, the engineering lesson of corrosion occurring at the junction of dissimilar metals, had not percolated to the individuals who built the house in which we lived. This epiphany developed after I noticed one Friday morning that there was water pooling in our front yard, between the door and the street.

Side note. NEVER! call the water department with that sort of observation on a Friday. They will shut off the water. It turns out, the service line from your home to the main is YOUR problem. You will NOT get that problem resolved late on a Friday. Or on a Saturday. Or on a Sunday. Not having running water makes for a long weekend of work.

Monday, I was again working, but TDW-Mark I had successfully contacted the Knob City Excavating Company to respond and repair our service line.

This involved excavating my front yard, and, having accessed the service line, replacing it.

It appears that professional excavating practice involves having one individual operating a back hoe, with another standing by, inspecting the back hoe’s progress, apparently in an attempt to avoid engaging the service line with the back hoe’s bucket, reefing thereon, and using that service line as a leader to abruptly extricate all the plumbing from your home.

So, about that. Clem was the back hoe operator, and Cletus, evidently, was tasked with leaning upon his shovel so that neither he, nor the shovel, fell over. In that, he appeared to be successful. Clem DID notice the entanglement of his back hoe bucket with my plumbing, but only after he had begun to extract my plumbing from my house. Fortunately he had only JUST begun to do so, before he determined that Things Were Not Right, and stopped. That was about the point at which I returned home from a day of fighting disease and saving lives.

Things were at a standstill as I entered the house. TDW-Mark I was standing there, gazing into the hole adjacent to our foundation, looking decidedly unamused. Clem was there as well, while Cletus was a’holding that shovel, determined that it was NOT going to fall!

TDW pointed into the depths of the hole, calling my attention to the copper stretched out from the foundation to it’s junction with the iron pipe that, evidently, had been our service line. Another vehicle pulled up, disgorging a worthy who was, is seemed, Bob The Knob, owner and operator of Knob City Excavating. TDW beckoned me inside, where she showed me where the service shut off on our domestic water feed, formerly near our ceiling, was now located at the floor. I suggested to Bob The Knob that he might want to get somebody with plumbing expertise in to review the situation, and effect such repairs as seemed needful. On his dime. And, RFN. (Right Fucking Now)

He did not appear to think that this was particularly unreasonable, particularly if he were to consider the alternative, which would involve court, attorneys, attorney fees on both sides, and much bad Ju-Ju.

The next day, I returned home from work, and TDW-Mark I informed me that Some Dude had arrived, crawled around in our attic, and had pronounced everything shoreward of our shut off to be intact. This worthy had then replaced our shut off, and the associated piping, and Knob City Excavating had replaced our service line with copper, had installed a bimetallic junction (TDW-Mark I had asked/insisted) at the main, backfilled everything once the city building inspector had signed off, and we Now! Had! Water! (cue the rejoicing)

It turns out that Bob The Knob was satisfied with my check in the original, estimated, amount as payment in full. We did not have any leaks subsequent to this adventure, and we all lived happily, ever after.

Fun And Games Off Duty · Gratitude · Life in Da City! · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

Splinting a Cat, And the Lesson I Learned….(Not What I Had Expected!)

A long, long time ago, in a Blue Hive not so very far from here, I was a street medic for Da City. (Gasp, NO! Say it isn’t so! I…I..never suspected!) I was working nights, attending nursing school days, and attempting ti triage my weekends between school projects, studying, sleep, and having a social life. Oh, yes. AND working.

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL©, and, having concluded a rollicking night of same, I entered my apartment. The building in which I lived had been built circa 1910, and had seen sporadic maintenance since then. This is particularly relevant given that I observed my cat, imaginatively named Mr. Cat, seated at my front window.

It was summer, and I had left my windows cracked. My cats had taken to lounging in the window, both to take in the scenery as well as to bask in an intermittent breeze. This was OK, until in one particular window, in which Mr. Cat had been loafing, the sash cord, which held the window open, failed, sending the window crashing closed.

Mr. Car’s “catlike reflexes” were sufficient to enable him to avoid being entirely trapped by the weight of the closed window, but he wasn’t quick enough to entirely extricate himself. His one front paw was held as if in a bear trap, and he greeted me with a look as if to say, “I say, old man, could you assist me? I appear to be stuck, and it is becoming tiresome.”

The cat-length semicircle of destruction spoke to his efforts to resolve his problem on his own.

I opened the window, and he promptly removed it, and began to clean his paw, as if dust were the only problem. When I observed that he did not appear to want to walk on it, I corralled him, sat down, and began my secondary survey.

I could not palpate any discontinuity in his bones in the affected paw, but he was very reluctant to have me confirm that appraisal with a repeat examination. His breath sounds were clear, and his heart sounds were rapid, but regular with no murmur. (Of course, how much “rapid” was kitty baseline, versus pain versus irritated cat, was difficult to discern.)

He continued to limp, and so I gathered up materiel, and set to fabricating The McFee Cat Splint. I cut out cardboard from a box, wrapped it about the injured limb, and secured it (or so I had thought) with roller gauze.

He, unimpressed, shook his injured limb until the splint went that-away, and he went this-away, and he limped off. Sigh.

I re-corralled him, and we wrestled him into The McFee Cat Splint Mark II. This version featured several wraps about his torso, so as to slow the shake-this-thing-into-next-week response that he demonstrated once I had released him. Good news? It did not head off into a far corner. Bad news? Well, howzabout YOU attempt to explain the concept of “no weight bearing” to a cat, and let me know how well that works?

Sigh.

So, we collaborated (for certain values of “collaborated”, particularly if those include one handedly immobilizing a non-compliant cat, placing a New! Improved! McFee Cat Splint Mark III upon said cat, and then, again, single handedly, securing same upon the same non-compliant cat) in splinting his foreleg, again. This version extended beyond his paw, so that, crutch like, the weight that he would usually place upon this paw was transferred to his chest wall/”armpit”.

Kinda like rodeo, without the clowns. Unless you included me, that is.

I began to put my crap away for the morning, but he persisted in not bearing weight upon the formerly trapped paw, and I soon determined that it was time for an assessment by someone who knew their way around a cat. Against Mr. Cat’s protestations, off we went to the veterinarian.

I had not, in all the excitement, changed out of my EMS uniform that morning. So, there I was, once I had registered Mr. Cat, and requested a “walk in” visit (“Be patient, no telling when a slot will open up.”), seated in one of the chairs, cat in lap, uniformed, sleepy (although, that was kind of my ground state in those days), next to a grandmotherly Black woman at the vet.

She asked me what had happened to my cat, noticing the splint he still wore, and (score!) pretty much as I had designed it. I told her the tale, truncated a bit for the waiting room retelling, and she made sympathetic noises. We conversed a bit about pets, and how they fare in our absences, and so forth, passing the time.

Her name was called, and she looked at me, and at the vet tech summoning her, and then she performed a no shit act of Christian charity. She said, “His kitty has been injured, please take him before me, I can wait a bit longer”.

If you have read more than a couple of my posts, you likely realize that I am generally a cynical bastard, a curmudgeon. I commonly have low expectations of people, and they commonly fail to meet them. This tale took place something on the order of forty years ago, and, retelling it now, I am tearing up. This woman, who I had never met, showed herself to be more giving, more compassionate, than I was. She showed me that individuals can be beacons of community, of respect, of sympathy, for folks that do not look like them. She took pity on a white guy, and his cat, because she could.

Because she was capable of empathizing with another, not of her “tribe”. And, being capable, did so.

My cat recovered from what the doctor determined to be a sprain, and lived a long and (cat) happy life.

I moved out of Da City, married, got divorced, remarried, watched my children grow, and have families of their own.

And, today, I offered a prayer on behalf of that woman, my neighbor-in-fact, who bathed me in her compassion, and for whom, today, I cried.

Ma’am, thank you for that lesson.