Sunday, July 31, 2005

Thanks, Roddy

This was in the Haloscan comments over at Eschaton this morning:

And what does a family need, Rickster?

Lower wages, according to the Republican party. Less access to affordable health care, according to the Republican party. Fewer schools, according to the Republican party. More arsenic in drinking water, according to the Republican party. More mercury in fish, according to the Republican party. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, according to the Republican party. Meat that has not been checked for contaminants like Mad Cow Disease, according to the Republican party.
According to the Republican Party, these are the ingredients for a strong family. And they're working hard to make sure each and every family other than their own has these things.

Roddy McCorley

Obviously a rhetorical response to Senator Rick "Man-on-Dog" Santorum. He's been on television talk shows like wet paint on a bench all this past week, hawking yet another "family values" book he's written. I'll bet that it's almost as good and wholesome as this philosophical masterpiece. Republican values have devolved into crappy comic book values, and they are proud of this.

It's more bait-and-switch for the red-state high-cholesterol types. Promise them "family values" (also known as homophobia,) but deliver more tax cuts for Tom Cruise and that guy who owns five mediocre Mexican restaurants.

Funny how it gets turned around. I'm for safer water, safer foods, better wages and benefits for working people with families, improved education for anybody willing to work at it, and health care that won't cause bankruptcy.

But according to the likes of Senator Santorum, I'm not "pro-family" because I believe, like most Americans, in a woman's right to control her reproductive life on her own, and I don't hate gay people. (Well, I must admit I do hate some of them, Ken Mehlman, for example. He's a loathesome little jerkwad, in my humble opinion.)

What do you want for your family?

Saturday, July 30, 2005

It's Just

They were hugging by the "time clock." It looked very serious.

I do not know why we all called the device we used to sign in to work a "time clock." Seems like a redundant and useless term. Aren't all clocks "time clocks?"

"Tina" was crying her eyes out. "Leo" gripped her tightly. I walked by puzzled. I had floated to ICU so I didn't need to slide my card at that time clock anyways. I didn't ask.

Their affair was rather well-known. To me, anyways, because one time when I got home they were upstairs in our spare bedroom. I could hear the mattress springs, and I could tell it wasn't just the cats jumping off the bed. Repeatedly.

I never bothered to lock my house when we lived there. On really cold winter days, people would leave their cars running with the keys in while they went in the grocery store to shop so they wouldn't be freezing cold when they got back into their cars. Minus ten degrees does that. Small town mentality. Bears were rare but more common than burglars.

Leo and I were friends outside of work. We would ski in the cold and bike when the winter sands were taken off the roads and the weather warmed.

Leo and Tina had used my house for more than one of their afternoon-before-going-home festivals of love. My spouse had a problem with that. Another time when I came home from work they were again already there. Done, I supposed, because they were sitting on the couch with drinks from my refridgerator. Cordially, they offered me one. Funny, that.

Then my spouse had her little talk with Leo. After which he just moved in for awhile. Even funnier, that.

Tina's husband was a tempermental and difficult man with many problems, so I had heard, and he had finally addressed these issues by blowing his brains out in their bedroom. He was home alone during the day; kids at school, wife at work. The police must have notified her while she was at the hospital, and arrangements were made to get her out of there. The shift was near-finished anyways.

Leo had been consoling her. So it was more than what I'd thought: that they were just coming out at work.

They were, and still are, nurses of great excellence.

Tina took a little time off to move in with her parents and to take care of things. When she got back to work, it was like she was really Superwoman or a Soviet spy or something and we all knew her secret identity, but she covered that up by disguising herself as a nurse. Leo formalized his separation from his wife, who incidentally worked at the same place.

I guess what I'm getting at is that a lot of times a nurse plays the role they assume at work, but outside of work their life might be very un-nurse-like, whatever that means.

You might be the same way at your job. Behind your work persona there could be a person in mourning, a person in recovery, a person whose life is just about to take a sudden sharp turn or a slow and wide gyre, or maybe a person who holds the winning ticket. Maybe a person with an undiagnosed dissecting abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Nurses can be like that, too, but at work they are always the nurse. Like the Museum of Natural History in New York City, and Holden Caulfield talking about how maybe you just saw a rainbow sheen on a puddle, and you're a different person because of that, but the dinosaur bones are the same.

I left out the "J" word, as usual.

Reliability Clause

If any of you at all doubt the complete bug-headed idiocy of our dear President Bush, then please click on the video link here. The smirk, the disregard for the power of the camera, his dismissal of the potential posterity of the video record, his insensitivity towards whoever may see it, his lousy judgement, all on tape.

This should be played in every church in the United States on a regular basis, for all congregations to see and meditate upon. This man has his finger, not the same one, I hope, on the nuclear button.

There has been some minor controversy surrounding a video that Leno presented this week on his television show, purporting to capture the president giving a one-finger salute as he walks away from a gaggle of reporters. You can click over to Desert Rat Democrat and take a look, if you are not already familiar with this.

The earlier video, however, is unambiguous. It is a very unflattering glimpse of the man who now leads us. I hope you can both look at it for yourself and then also imagine how it would look to the people of other countries.

Believe me, they don't hate us for our freedom. They hate us because we elected this dangerous plebian second-rate burnt-out frat-boy, twice, to represent us to the whole world.

Thank the stars we have a Constitution that prevents us from electing him yet a third time.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Number 5

If I ever make a rock album, it will have as its penultimate track a parody of "Revolution Number 9" from the Beatles' White Album. But instead of the phrase "number 9, number 9" intoning repeatedly (and which when played backwards allegedly said "Paul is a deadman,") one will hear the phrase "Amendment 5, Amendment 5" which will sound out "due process" no matter how you play it.

From what I can make of it, all the hoo-hah about the recent Supreme Court decision in Kelo vs. the City of New London is that it seems to allow municipalities to take private land from private individuals and then turn this property over to other private individuals.

That's kind of like stealing. Hence the concern.

Interestingly, New York State Senator John A. DeFrancisco says this:

Because I strongly agree with Justice O'Connor's dissent, I began drafting legislation to modify New York's eminent domain law immediately after the Kelo decision. The decision left leeway for a remedy. It hinted that each state has the right to decide how expansive its eminent domain laws should be within its borders. On July 21, I introduced my bill that would restrict the use of eminent domain.

State Senator DeFrancisco believes that within Kelo there is a "hint" that it would still allow states to maintain a certain amount of legal sanity regarding this issue. Perhaps even outlawing the inevitable abuse that could inherently flow from the Kelo decision.

I've e-mailed his office to see if I can download a copy of his bill, (or obtain a link,) because I'd like to pass it along to my legislators here in The Great South West.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Not bad, that. I would think that the 5th Amendment still has some advocates, maybe none among the President's business circles where it's probably seen as a hindrance, but here at a local level.

And now it's time to say goodnight.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Mundum reple dulcedine

This editorial suggests there are not enough people in the world of Islam speaking out against terrorism.

"Where are the responsible Islamic leaders? Where are the imams condemning the murderers who have hijacked their religion? Why are the mosques not ringing with condemnation of al-Qaida?"

Terrorism, of course, is narrowly considered to be only those bad things that Muslims do to other people. If people who are predominantly Christian steer cruise missles into the neighborhoods of large cities in Iraq, killing thousands of innocent civilians in the process, this is called "shock and awe." Not "terrorism." Nice, that.

It is assumed that if an American missle blows up your family in the middle of the night, you will not feel terror. In fact, according to the current American vice-president, you will instead be moved to joyously throw flowers at those who have just pulverized your loved ones to death.

That, certainly, is insane. The subject for some other newspaper editorial, presumably. America would need its print media to widely disseminate information regarding the deranged mental status of its leaders, you might think. Wrongly, in this case, though.

Christ himself was no advocate of mass slaughter. But many of the people who live in this largely Christian country often profess a desire to submit Muslims to genocide. Here is an example of some of the things they say. Perhaps, sheltered as they are, newspaper editorialists are unaware of such sentiments.

*"Can we eradicate Islam now, please?"

* "If there are no Arabs there are no attacks. How many more need be sacrificed?"

* "It is now time to force muslims to make a choice: Live peacefully or die. I prefer the latter."

* "We need to stop fucking with these people and kill every one involved. I mean anyone with prior knowledge, anyone who payed for it, and anyone who supported it. Regardless of nationality."

* "If its Islamic it will probably blow up. All Islamic get full body searches with VERY high intensity X-rays ."

* "The best way to deliver those high intensity x-rays is through some W76 warheads at around 100 kt a piece. It will be easier to give a full body search after that."

* "Britain should END ALL ISLAMIC IMMIGRATION NOW....Continuing to welcome the enemy into your country is insane."

* "subhumans, first time on 2 feet...round em all up, every friggin' last one of them...unfortunately, I still think it will take even more violence from the Arabs before the West wakes up and goes savage on em"

* "Martyring Muslims doesn't seem to make much of a difference to the fanatics. What is needed is to take their human capital out their hands - their children. No more warped children, no more jihadis. "

The calls for genocide and apartheid are flowing freely. There is a reason why blogs like Instapundit and Powerline do not allow comments, and why Time magazine would give its "Blog of the Year" award to Powerline even though Free Republic actually "broke" the CBS story. There is a concerted effort on the part of the right to prevent this sort of overt racism and fascism on the right from being given any sunshine. These, however, are not isolated comments. They are numerous and they are appearing on the second most trafficked right-wing blog in the country, and by far the largest right-wing blog that allows comments.

(Thanks to MyDD for doing the heavy lifting here.)

Or perhaps they, the editorialists, are merely projecting, in both the psychological sense of the term and as a sort of synonym for "broadcasting." I think one could surmise that the editorial cited above does a bit of both, in the sense that it also puts forth a talking-point seen to be beneficial to those who man the White House fax machines. Goodness knows they need lots of help, though perhaps of a different sort.

No, you are correct, I am being unfair. Rest assured that newspaper editorialists will soon, probably tomorrow, exhort Christian leaders and readers to denounce bigotry against Islam and Arabs, and to decry the violence our weapons have wrought upon their innocent children. Surely that will be so.

Pig feathers.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Typical Dilemma

It had been a while since I'd seen how the patient was doing. Most of the shift had passed quietly for him. When I stepped into the room the visitor at his bedside said to me "You might not want to hear this."

The patient was lying not uncomfortably in his bed but gesturing broadly with his arms. He was slowly and dramatically repeating one phrase with little variation. In a Richard-Prior-like Sunday-morning falsetto he said "My car... in the garage...smells like p*$$y!" He said it as if he were preaching it to some wide but invisible and appreciative audience, and he bowed his head a little after each recitation.

"My car... in the garage... smells like p*$$y!"

Okay, mon ami, I thought, no more drugs for you.

But then I thought again. Maybe he actually did need more drugs.

That was the limit of his strangeness. He wasn't acting out any more than that, and he seemed safe enough. I thought he might have been putting me on a little, because he was not entirely disoriented. He knew he was going for his procedure later, for example.

Hey, I thought, they'd be giving him more drugs there. Perfect. No worries, then.

Problem solved.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Pledge a Little, Pledge a Lot

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United Federation of Planets, and to the galaxy for which it stands, one universe, under everybody, with liberty and justice for all species.

A kid just tries to have a little fun by making up his own version of the Pledge and knickers begin to twist faster than longjohns hanging out on a clothesline in an Oklahoma tornado. Oh well. I suppose in the end the kid will have learned some important life lessons: adults often over-react to things, make great mountains out of little molehills, and a lot of times they just don't get it.

We all know the story but it never hurts to be reminded.

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and (to*) the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all".

The basically original Pledge, with the word "to" inserted as noted at a later time.

About thirty years after the 1892 creation of the Pledge, the reference to the flag "of the United States of America" was added, and Francis Bellamy, who penned the original, was displeased.

Bellamy did not live to see the words "under God" added by Congress in 1954, but relatives said he wouldn't have gone for it, as he himself was never a cowardly Cold War fraidy-cat McCarthyite eager to villify the people of entire countries as "godless Communists." No, he was simply a Socialist and a patriot.

Maybe the school principal who suspended the kid for writing a more universal Pledge is the only person left who takes it that seriously anymore. There are obviously people in government who do not. The Plame leakers would seem to value their political party and its narrow agendas more than they value the flag and that for which it stands. Isn't that treason?

How many times did Karl Rove stand beside his school desk and recite the Pledge with hand on heart? How many times did he thusly lie?

Lots of times. Lots and lots.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Look Out Behind You

Suppose you are one of those lucky people that actually has health-care insurance sponsored by your employer. I do. It's very nice. It might even prevent my family from going completely bankrupt due to severe illness or injury someday.

Having health insurance is like free money. These benefits certainly have value, which not even initially taxed. Not yet, anyways.

Oh great. More "limited government" from our friends and neighbors who toil so diligently on our behalf inside the beltway.

In place of the current system, the task force, known as the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, is said to be examining a plan that would allow employers to provide tax-exempt health coverage up to a certain dollar limit. Benefits that exceeded the limit would be treated as taxable income.

In theory, that seems fair. But in practice, it would further subject health coverage to the political process. Who would determine which treatments should be included in basic, tax-exempt plans, and which should be considered nonessential? These questions have provoked political storms in the past -- for example, the battle over how long mothers should be allowed to remain in the hospital after delivery. Why invite more battles over basic care -- and more lobbying by special interests for favorable treatment? Of course, Congress might simply set a dollar limit, and let employers and health insurance companies design coverage plans to meet it. But that would create a patchwork system, with some workers getting better basic care than others.

Not only will this proposal see to it that more money is taken from middle-class pockets; it will also see to it that another layer of interference could manifest itself between you and the healthcare you might need. It's personal.

All politics is local, they say, and this is politics that reaches once again into your medical files and checkbook simultaneously. To paraphrase Marx (Groucho, not Karl,) if it were any more local it would be behind you.

Note that this idea is coming from a presidential task force. It's the president's idea. He owns it. It doesn't belong to anybody else. But you just have to wonder how they will eventually spin it as a "grass-roots effort" to increase "tax fairness" while they slather you in newspeak. Kind of like Social Security reform. Or the death tax.

Orwellian soundbites for the lumpen proles.

Similarly, the expression tossing cookies sounds rather nice, like a children's game, but of course it really means vomiting partially digested food. If you are a working American with any sense, then that is just what this proposal will make you do, preferably all over the members of said task force. Don't forget to aim for their shoes. Or higher up. That, I suppose, would be better.

So please tell me again how glad you are that Bush gave Tom Cruise huge tax breaks.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Fifteen milliliters

He was one of the bigger guys, over 500 pounds. Tall, too, six feet and three or four inches. He said that all his life, no matter how much he ate, he never felt full.

He said that sometimes, even as a teenager, for dinner he would eat two whole chickens and wash this down with a half-gallon of milk, and he would still be hungry so he would have an apple pie, a whole one, for dessert.

If I'm remembering this right, after open gastric bypass the protocol was to allow the patient to take no more than an ounce of nutritious fluid, like one of those canned dietary supplements, and it had to be taken over at least ten minutes, once an hour. This was on the second post-op day. (The first post-op day they similarly took an ounce of just water over ten minutes, once an hour.) Rather stringent.

I was chatting with the patient after checking his vitals, and noticed that he had taken only about half an ounce of the drink since the last time I'd popped in on him.

"I can't finish it," he explained, "because I feel full."

For the first time in his life.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Benevolent Self Interest

My father was a very charming man; so charming, actually, that he could sweet-talk the knickers off a nun.

In fact, once during my college years he did just that. Well, almost. The person who we initially assumed to be a nun was really just some guy who rather resembled Mother Theresa and happened to have been wearing a penguin costume, which apparently was quite warm inside, and a fair amount of tequila had been consumed by many involved.

But that is another story altogether.

It was my father's subtle way with words, and his naive but deeply-held notions of respect for all persons. Though competitive in his fields of endeavor, he always seemed to come off as an advocate for people, even in confrontational episodes. If I am ever seen to be doing something like that myself, it is because of him.

One of the new residents was writing discharge orders for a patient who was on dialysis. Included in the prescriptions was one for PhosLo to be taken once a day. Of course, that is not how the drug is used. It is taken three or four times a day with major meals so it can do its job, which is to bind to the phosphorous in foods and prevent its excess absorption, as dialysis does not adequately clear this substance from the body.

I told the resident that I had a question about that order, and showed him that during the hospital stay the patient took it as I outlined above. Later he handed me revised discharge orders and a correct PhosLo prescription for the patient.

The reason why I am happy with myself about this is not that I did anything, as I tried to leave myself out of it and place the issue between the current orders and the discharge orders. I was careful not to appear to seem like I knew something he didn't, because heaven knows that is not a reliable stance for me to take.

Rather, I just wanted to give the resident some assurance that I've got his back. And that, I must say, is something that I learned from my father, the charming man.

I Have This Thought Almost Every Day

My spouse was home, pregnant. I was at work at the local hospital, deep among the mountains and lakes of the far northern reaches of New York where we lived in 1998.

The high-voltage power line towers, which looked to me like great frozen robot men playing impossibly slow jump-rope, crumpled into low piles under the weight of the ice. They folded like boxers knocked down for the count. And the count was us.

At the hospital the lights went out momentarily but came back on again as the back-up generator kicked in. Television news described the wide swathes of of areas without electricity, along with pictures of the trees bent over in half and the power lines down everywhere. Everything was icy white. Travel was life-threatening, more so than usual.

Then it seemed like a humming sound, which we previously didn't notice much, wound down and faded away, gaining our attention as it did so. The lights went out again, and stayed out. The generator had failed, and the hospital was without power. It was quiet then.

No computers. No patient call lights. No IV pumps beeping. No televisions. Just voices.

The phones had failed too, but there was one pay phone in the Emergency Room lobby that still worked for some odd reason, and the doctors solicited quarters from all the staff so they could make the calls necessary to arrange transfers of the ventilated patients.

At that time there were no cell towers in the mountains. No cell phones. Not that these would have worked, anyways.

Some of us left the hospital and went home. I did. It was a mile drive only. Sanders were out.

My spouse was warm by the woodstove which we routinely used to heat our beautiful little home. She made grilled cheese sandwiches on it. I quickly gathered flashlights and slid my car down off French Hill back to work.

We switched patients off their drips. The kitchen staff made a fireman's line to pass food trays up the stairwells, as the elevators were useless. We wondered how long it would last. The patients slept well that night, and it did not get very cold in the hospital. Must not have been electric heat.

The next day another generator arrived which had been donated by a local business. And the power returned to the hill neighborhood where we lived, but many sections right in town remained dark. Some of my coworkers had no electricity for two more weeks.

Nurses will complain about things. That is understandable, because the work is very stressful and difficult. Marathon running is comparatively easier. I know.

But sometimes when I am now at work and I overhear people complaining about patients, assignments, lack of supplies, management, or whatever, I catch myself thinking "well, at least we have electricity."

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Al Qaeda Po

This is how not to support the troops, and I am glad to see "kathika" over at Daily Kos address it. Randi Rhodes has focused on this quite a bit, too. Every time I've tuned in lately she's given it a mention.

Food that expired a year ago. Food left to thaw because they didn't bother to refuel the trucks to maintain refridgeration. Food blown up in attacks but served anyway. Overcharges. Double-billing. Truth, justice, and the American way.

You wouldn't feed shrapnel to your dog. And in all fairness, Halliburton subsidiaries see to it that shrapnel is not fed to our troops, either. They pick it all out before serving.

Vice-President Cheney, who was the CEO of Halliburton before taking on his job as chief White House string-puller, still gets deferred compensation from his old company. That bothers me. He shouldn't be making money from a company that is abusing our troops like this.

Yes, it is abuse. If you did this to your own children, they would be removed from you, for their own safety. Yet we allow the likes of KB&R to do so.

Who would be proud of this? Who would fight to defend companies that do this? Who would fight to defend a country that does this? Eventually, nobody.

Who will have won, then?

You don't really support the troops much by cutting VA programs, either.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Sagging Shelves

I am never going to move again. I will live in this house until the bitter end, or until I must be wheeled out to spend my final days picking at my Attends in some elderly care center or other.

There have been many major moves in my life, and at each of those junctions came losses, accidental and planned. The old army bugle that somehow disappeared during the childhood move from Woodstock to West Hurley via a summer in Hopewell Junction was one item that I am fairly sure was deliberately forsaken, as my musical talents did not lie with that instrument, nor horns in general. My parents tossed it, likely, to their great relief.

Later in life is was mostly books and records that accumulated between moves, only to be shed at the next round. I am still waiting for Hat Hut to re-release all those way-cool Steve Lacy records from the 1980's. I only disposed of them in the hope that these could be easily replaced in digital format. I long to hear Stamps again.

Hundreds, no, thousands, of books left behind. Unraptured.

Alain Robbe-Grillet novels like "Topography of a Phantom City." Tolkein in hardcover, from the first time around, when we read him to escape from Kurt Vonnegut.

Now we just don't have the space for every book we want, as the shelves are full enough. But there is one more (there is always one more) that I want to have, then pass along.

Over at AZ Place, Naum has a July 11th review of Dying to Win by University of Chicago Associate Professor Robert Pape. It's an exhaustive study (oooh, I like those!) of terrorist suicide bombings world round. Sounds like a "gotta read." Maybe you would like it when I'm done.

Why do they do that? I want to know. But does President Bush, really? Would he care about what they think? Or is he just too busy seeing to it that the Rove/Plame cover-up proceeds with all haste?

Or maybe he is busy helping Karl with his packing.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Blow Into This End

There is an old story about some English orchestral conductor, maybe it was Sir Adrian Boult, who was notorious for his short rehearsals. He had the orchestra start up the first few measures of Brahms' Third Symphony, then stopped the players and said, "Well that sounds pretty good. I'll see you all tonight at the performance."

The story continues with one of the French horn players, a new hire to the orchestra, protesting, "But Maestro, aren't we going to rehearse the whole thing? Why, I've never even played in it before!"

To which the maestro replied "Oh, well it's a great symphony. You'll really like it."

I would thusly amend the story: suppose one of the horn players got sick, and the conductor asked the new violinist just to take over on the French horn part. The violinist would protest that not only was he not entirely familiar with the Brahms Third, but would add that he himself did not even play horn.

Nurses do this all the time. It's called "floating," and it is generally accepted that a nurse will not be asked to go work on another specialty unit about which they have no expertise. For example, a male geriatric psych nurse would not be expected to float to an OB-GYN unit.

Well, probably not.

Recently I had the pleasure of finding that it was my turn to float, and that I was going to spend the day on the Spine unit. Alrighty then. I had never worked on one before. I hoped it would not be as difficult as learning to play the French horn.

Just the thought of floating, anywhere, gave me a little PTSD, because the last time I did was Christmas and one of my patients went to CAT-scan, where he pulled out his foley catheter, went over the bedrails, fell, and was found a bloody mess. I punched out at 9 p.m. that day. Merry Christmas to me.

Though unfamiliar with the Spine unit itself, the patients were basically no clinical challenge. I sent one home, two others were "walkie-talkies" who only needed the occasional pain medication and TLSO brace application.

I took a post-op who was only sent to Spine because he needed to wear an Aspen collar until morning. His neck and head CAT's were OK. His legs were all banged up from a motor vehicle head-on. I kept him all liquored up on morphine and zofran and consoled his parents, explaining everything I could. People like explanations, and I like explaining things.

The real fun began when I got report to take a patient from one of the surgical ICU floors. Among other things, the patient had a cervical corpectomy at C-3 through C-6.

"Whatever that is," I said to myself as I took report over the phone. He also had a Halo on, and I sort-of knew that that was one of those things where they put screws in your head and fixate them to a ring brace so your neck is immobile. Cool.

On tube feedings and Yankauer suctioning (which he even did himself,) and pretty stable, he sounded a lot more complicated on paper than he did when I finally got to working with him. It helped that he was a very sweet and simple person who said "thank you" and was very cooperative in his care. He tried, instead of wimping out like some people do, and for that I have great respect. He was blessed by a good attitude and general innocence.

The other nurse was very competent, low-key, and easy-going. Helpful to the maximum.

Interestingly, at one time I walked by the nurse's station to see him and one of the orthopedic nurse practitioners looking at the website I linked above, because he himself was not entirely familiar with the term "corpectomy." (Great website, by the way. Groovy animation.)

The day ended undramatically. The oncoming nurses were a hoot, and told a couple jokes during our report off. Listening to myself, I even sounded a little like I knew what I was talking about. I at least still knew what the day had taught me, it being so fresh in my mind.

And it taught me well.

While going home, I realized that I had never before cared for a patient with that kind of Halo.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Thanks, jimmymac and Photodump

Click and scroll down a little, and see Einstein explain the Judith Miller problem. It's that simple, really.

The spin regarding L'Affaire Judy amazes me. Otherwise half-way sensible newspaper editorialists everywhere in the U.S. are twisting this story like a Moebius strip to make it sound like Miller is doing the honorable thing by protecting some source. I do not think that is it at all. And neither does Einstein.

The press, along with Miller, seems bent on protecting the person who outed Plame, instead of skewering Bush with a few simple questions concerning his apparent disinterest in finding out who, in his White House, committed the crime.

Crime in the White House. Bush ignores it, or covers it up. The press abides. America loses another battle for a bit of its own soul.

Friday, July 08, 2005

$3214 Cash. Deal?

According to tha CIA (if you can believe anything they say,) the current population of Afghanistan is about 29,929,000 people, and the current population of Iraq is about 26,075,000. I've rounded things off a little.

Anyways, the combined populations add up to about 56 million survivors.

Though rising by over $1000 per second, as I write this the cost of the war is about $179,343,500,000. So, if you divide the cost of the war in dollars by the number of people in Afghanistan and Iraq you come up with roughly $3,214 on the increase.

Of course we've killed any number of civilians and fighters in these wars, so my little theory is going to be off by that much, but my point is this: we could have just paid every man, woman, and child in both Iraq and Afghanistan each about $3214 to just go away and not bother us, and it would still have been cheaper than going to war against them.

Hey. That's more money than Bush gave you when he cut taxes a couple years ago. A lot more. Sheesh.

Way back in 1979 when the oil was flowing, Iraqi per capita national income was only about the equal of 2313 U.S. dollars, and for 2004 that figure has dropped somewhat, to a scant $144.

It's about $200 for Afghanistan, but I think that does not take into account the recently increased heroin trade.

In either country, $3214 would be a considerable enticement for any one person to develop a warm and loving attitude towards the people of the United States. This could certainly have favorably affected the behavior of many insurgents and would-be suicide attackers, perhaps even persuading them away from violence.

Of course, if we had simply bribed the familes of all Iraq and Afghanistan into not harming us, then Halliburton wouldn't be raking in the millions they have become accustomed to in this war based on lies.

And that, really, is the whole point of this, isn't it?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Lost Favorite Nurse Cartoon: Your Patient

I've been looking all over the web for a link to a two-panel nurse cartoon that I saw tacked up on the bulletin board of the break room in an ICU I used to do a little work in a few years ago, but I haven't found it again yet.

The first panel showed a hospital patient climbing over the siderails, IV's coming loose, foley catheter stretched to its submolecular physical limits, bodily fluids spraying... the caption underneath the frame read: "Your patient."

Don't you hate it when that happens?

In the second frame, the same patient was depicted sitting up in a chair, lines intact, linens neatly arranged, smiling peacefully and holding a balloon on a string. The caption under that read: "Your Patient On Drugs."

I just love that.

It's something of a motto for me.

Of course, there's a lot more to the profession of nursing than just the medical model. You know, a problem is identified, and a medication or procedure is applied. Rather mechanical. Doesn't really treat the whole person. Whatever. Right. Okay then.

Morphine is cheap, and there's a ton of it in the Pyxis.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Simple Division Complicated by Tax Law That Favors Pals of You-Know-Who

If you take the current amount of public debt and then divide this number by the the current U.S. U.S. population then what you get is the birth tax.

This is the average amount of the national debt that each of us, as Americans, owes the various holders of our Treasury debt instruments; that is to say, cash owed to the governmants of Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, and the like. Of course your families' share may be higher, due to fancy-schmancy tax loopholes for the very rich, who simply do not pay their fair share, shifting the burden onto you and yours.

Think about what you could buy with that money. A year of college at a famous European university, for your brilliant daughter, let's say. Or a pretty nice car. Or a pair of these with appropriate amplification.

Or a down-payment on a stupid, miserable, decades-long war.

Bush's exit plan: when the oil runs out, the troops stop dying. That's it, folks. What? That's not it? What a laugh. And yes, you are correct. It's NOT FUNNY.

The Young Salome-Lover's Favorite Cat Video

Don't let this happen to you.

It's a modern-day metaphor, really. Superb film-making, and I rate it right up there with Citizen Kane and The Great Dictator.

The fan symbolizes the Bush administration, and the cat is us.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Stars and Citizens

One of my old music teachers from way back in my Crane School of Music days used to say this about wrong notes: "Once they're out there you can't suck 'em back."

He was originally a trumpet player before he became a sado-masochistic music theory and history instructor. We used to call him "DelBlasto." I loved the guy. He was one of the best teachers I've ever had, and I've had many to be thankful for.

But a musical performance is not a Letter-To-The-Editor, for even if you fire off some semi-intoxicated piece of bile-ridden nonsense you can always go back later and straighten out what you said, which you cannot do after a musical recital, obviously.

Apparently that's what happened here, when some dude shot off a LTTE that did more damage to his own shoe-crowded mouth than it did to the community. At first it seemed that the printing of the LTTE posed a substantial terrorizing threat to the Muslim communities here in The Great Southwest, and to me; yes, it did.

He later clarified this by saying that he was only referring to our military in the field. He was still wrong, of course, in suggesting that our military randomly blast people in their houses of worship. But the 1st Amendment assures his right to be wrong.

I am always getting caught defending loads of bullcrap. Porn, treasonous speech, foul statements about the abilities of Arizona Cardinals football players, Ice-T songs, and the like are all examples of speech I stand ready to defend, as should be the case for anybody who carries a copy of the Constitution around in their Palm Pilot.

So, I agree with the Court's decision. But what if...

But what if the LTTE recommended that after the next attack on American fighters, somebody should go into the nearest Christian church and blast away the first five white people seen?

I bet they'd not have printed that.

While I support the rights that allow the Tucson Citizen to print such crap, I stand in bold criticism of the stupidity of its editors in so doing. In my opinion, they showed themselves to be hypocritical, terrorizing, violent bastards for publishing that letter in the first place.

What? They didn't know?!

Long live the Arizona Star. Let this suggest changes in some of the shopping habits of Tucsonians, as regards those who choose to advertise in the Citizen. I don't even live there, but I know I'll be examining some of my purchases.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Cold War

Reagan had nothing to do with it. When he called upon Gorbachev to "tear down this wall" he was making mockery; a comic equivalent of Falstaff imploring "Let the sky rain potatos, let it thunder to the tune of Greensleeves."

Glasnost and Perestroika were the doings, yes, of Gorbachev, but the beginning of the end of the U.S.S.R and the cold war occurred in 1972, when Fischer routed Spassky for the world chess championship. Though without violence, Fischer did to the Russians what the 9/11 attackers did to the United States after Bush's summer vacation in 2001. Let's hope that our shock will not be as everlasting as the one Fischer gave to the Soviets.

He began by skipping the opening ceremonies and losing the first game; this, of course, after his last-minute demands about more prize money. Then came the notorious complaints regarding the cameras, for the joust was televised. Though these were completely silent and immobile, they "bothered" Fischer, and the venue was changed to accomodate his totally irrational demand.

Because those cameras were not yet removed, Fischer didn't even bother to show up for the second game, which he forfeited. A few games later he startled the Soviets by playing opening moves he had never previously used in the 700 or so previous tournament games of his career, thus catching his opponent unprepared.

Even off the board he was playing the Soviets.

After the tournament Fischer refused all challengers to his title as World Champion, throwing the chess world into disarray which still persists.

By ending Russian domination of chess, Fischer cracked the walls of Soviet empire. That lost empire fizzles yet.

Fischer became an outlaw later, when he played a rematch with Spassky, during a time when "trade" with Yugoslavia (where the match played out,) was banned by U.N. and Treasury Department sanctions. International warrants led to his arrest and subsequent release in Japan. Iceland has now claimed him as one of theirs. And so it goes.

Fischer is a genius. Bush and his accomplices are not.

Too bad. We might have simply bought off all the world's terrorists for less than the price we have so far paid for Bush's wars.