Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Travel Agency: A Nursing Story

Manuel was about forty years old and he had a colostomy from a previous gunshot wound. His family had a few retail businesses in the valley and he'd been behind the counter at his dad's paint store a couple years ago when robbers shot him and made off with the cash register contents. He said they didn't get much because his brother had taken the receipts and cash out an hour earlier. So he took a bullet for about eighty dollars.

He was with us because he'd been shot again, this time high enough up to require a chest tube to drain a right-side hemothorax. His XRay looked something like this one:

Bullet and colostomy. I ran antibiotics and gave him a little morphine or percocet once in a while. I didn't need to remind him to do incentive spirometry. That always makes us nurses happy. That, and he'd ask me to unhook his wall suction occasionally so he could walk. I never had to kick his ass like I usually have to, to get people to ambulate.

He was a really nice guy and when his wife brought in his kids his face lit up. Aside from making about fifty glove balloons they were perfectly-behaved young people.

A week earlier she had been backing their car, a late-model Corolla, out of their driveway when a passing van caught the rear corner of her vehicle. She pulled up into the driveway and the van parked. Two men came out and apologized profusely.

They were all exchanging insurance information when a bunch of people started to exit from the back of the van. The two men immediately rushed over and hustled them back into it and then they insisted that they give Manuel's wife enough cash to cover repairs. The police were not notified.

Manuel and his spouse suspected that the van driver gave false insurance information and they were right, but a friend of theirs who had a shop was able to repair the car for less than the money the two men had given her.

Manuel had gotten shot this time when he was stopping off at the grocery store on his way home from work. He'd driven his wife's car so she could use their SUV to haul their children and some of their friends around after she picked them up from school that day.

Two men stepped out of a nearby-parked white dented van as Manuel loaded groceries into the back seat of the car. They came up to him and said "don't say anything, any of you bitches," and shot him. It was over in a moment.

Other people coming out of the store called for help and he was quickly taken to our emergency department.

I am what you might call "pro-immigration," as if there were anything like an actual debate going on about this issue. I think the border should be controlled but open. Let anyone who wants to cross either way, just do a little documentation. It's what we always did when we used to travel to Canada.

The so-called war on drugs has just created a huge underground market for illicit substances, driving up profits for criminals. Same thing for the war on immigration, I suppose. Take the profit out of it and things might be better for everyone.


Eli Blake said...

What really bugs me about the whole immigration 'debate' is this:

I've felt for a long time that there are those who simply do not wish to discuss the really important issues, such as creating a better standard of living for everyone, affordable higher education, affordable healthcare, and good jobs. They want to ignore how much some big corporations are screwing the average American (for one thing, most of them either are the big corporations, or receive generous support for the same.)

So to distract people from these kinds of discussions, they do the same thing that has been done throughout the long and tortured course of human history (and I chose that adjective for a literal translation). They find a group to scapegoat, somebody to bash. Someone they can blame all our problems on, and then they can win elections by promising to take it to 'em.

In the past, many have served the same purpose, as political punching bags: blacks, Jews, women, Catholics, Chinese, Hispanics, Native Americans, pretty much you name it.

It is now getting harder anymore to bash homosexuals, the last group they tried to vilify (the return on that is diminishing and the costs are rising). Criminals like drug dealers and sex offenders offer tempting targets, but they've been around as punching bags ever since the first politician ran for office, so there is only so much that a politician can do by going after criminals.

So, in this framework, plus the fact that the Iraq war and other economic disasters of the Bush adminisrtation has been added to the list of things they don't want to talk about, is it surprising that illegal immigration has suddenly become high profile?

I could see this clearly in 2005, when I read a number of pieces saying that 'illegal immigration would be the decisive issue in the 2006 elections.' It of course was not, but what that really told me was that someone who has (or at least believes they have) the power to determine what will be talked about in elections, had decreed from on high that it was time to raise the profile of illegal immigration.

Dirk Gently said...

i'll go even further and assert that the issues eli mentions go beyond america's borders now. the world has shrunk and off-shore labor is a genie that will never be re-bottled. america is california to the third world's oklahoma dust bowl; the problems - and solutions - are the same.