Friday, October 31, 2008

Arizona Early Voting, Part Deux

My spouse went to vote early today, Friday, at the same place I waited for an hour-and-a-half yesterday. They waited seven hours.

Everybody who was in line at the time the community center closed at 5 p.m. was promised they would be able to vote. It's probably still happening. My spouse (who was interviewed on-camera by local television,) said they were told it would stay open until about 11 p.m.

I wanted Spawn Of shrimplate to see this, so we drove over mid-afternoon. The parking lot was overflowing. The line of people started at the left front of the building, snaked around the back, then entered. We carried a pumpkin-spice latte and a scone to my ever-patient spouse, passing hundreds of people to get to them.

If there were any Republicans among the throng, they weren't talking. And everybody was talking.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Arizona Early Voting

Early voting location:

There were a lot of cars parked out front. I rolled in a little after nine in the morning. I followed the signs down the hall to where I was greeted by a gentleman handing out numbered sticky-notes. Mine was 111.

He directed me to a room where about thirty-five people were waiting. Another room across the hall was similarly about full, but not uncomfortable. People chatted amiably. Every once in a while the gentleman called us out in batches of five.

The volunteers (there were four) have to print up an individualized ballot for each early voter because we have come from different voting districts. One of the volunteers even folds it up correctly before you fill it out and put it in an envelope, seal it, and place it in the ballot box.

It's a paper ballot read by an optical scanner.

The process took me a little more than one-and-a-half hours, mostly waiting.

I would have waited all day standing on my head. With a full bladder. While listening to Kenny G. Anything to get out of my afternoon dentist appointment.

It wasn't that bad. A routine cleaning.

But unfortunately I did hear people ask about the wait and upon hearing that it would take that long said that they couldn't stay to vote. Hopefully they'll be able to work things out for tomorrow (Friday ends early voting in Arizona) or next Tuesday.

Eight early-voting locations here in The Valley, and about four million people live here. I would say that sucks. What also sucks is that less than half of those four million are registered to vote.

There was an elderly man wheeling his own personal oxygen tank. He practically crawled in to perform his civic duty. A lady using a cane. A young couple with a baby. The woman next to me was a city worker who said her boss gave her the morning off so she could vote.

The Arizona Republic reports:

"Officials predict 80 to 85 percent turnout from about 1.7 million registered voters this year, said Yvonne Reed, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Elections Department.

As of Wednesday, more than 13,100 county voters had cast early ballots in person, Reed said. About 486,000 early votes, including mail-in ballots, have been cast among the 861,000-plus early ballots requested."

The way people were talking when I was waiting to vote, I don't think 'Zona is a red state anymore. Maybe not blue, because it'll likely be a close race here, but definitely purple, as indicated in a local poll released earlier this week:

"TEMPE, Ariz. ––Republican John McCain leads Democrat Barack Obama by two points (46 percent to 44 percent) in Arizona, a margin that makes the race too close to call, according to a new Cronkite/Eight Poll. The poll of 1,019 registered voters in Arizona was conducted Oct. 23-26 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points."

That in itself is very interesting, but it gets more so later, continuing:

"The statewide telephone poll of 1,019 registered voters was conducted by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and Eight/KAET. The statewide sample for this Cronkite/Eight poll was 37 percent Republican, 34 percent Democrat and 29 percent Independent. Fifty-eight percent of the interviews were conducted in Maricopa County, 17 percent in Pima County and 25 percent in Arizona’s other counties. Forty-seven percent of the voters interviewed are men and 53 percent women. The Maricopa County sample was 43 percent Republican, 33 percent Democrat and 24 percent Independent, with 49 percent men and 51 percent women."

Details. I just love the details. Even though more Republicans than Democrats were polled, it's a dead heat?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Just Like My Dad

A commenter at BAGnewsNotes points out that Obama's shoes have already had at least one trip to the repairman to get half-soles.

My father used to do that. He wore very nice dress shoes daily for his work, and instead of forking over a couple/few C-notes for new shoes he took them to Bart's Shoe Hospital on Beekman Street. They don't have a website. Never did. Never will.

Hat tip to Marcellina; over the pond, among the big mountains, woodshedding away in The Practice Room.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Super Sonic Transport

Their IV was leaking. It just needed a little cleaning up. The tubing wasn't securely screwed onto the catheter, and it was fine after I took it down and redressed it. While busy with that, the call light for the room across the hall was activated, so when I was done I walked over. My hip-phone rang.

"Hey shrimp," said Arly, our unit secretary, "The light's on in room 15. They're on the floor."

"I'm right here now, Arly, and it's not them. It's a visitor. Can you put a call out for whatever team takes care of stuff like this?" I asked, and she said she'd call SST. The patient was standing up and she appeared to be just fine, but the visitor was laying out on the floor, eyes closed, his legs folded underneath him.

I did what any nurse would do in such a situation; I walked over to the man on the floor and kicked him to see if he would arouse. Then I yelled "Get the fuck up, loser."

Not really.

I checked a pulse, asked him if he was okay, and waited for help. He started to wake up a little and moaned, guarding the left side of his abdomen.

"So dude, what the fuck's your problem?" I asked.

No, not really.

He was moving okay and another visitor had explained that they lowered him to the floor and that he'd felt sick for a few days. Kaylee came in with a vital signs machine. She put a pillow under the guy's head. More floor nurses came and we helped him up to a chair. He looked like he was in a lot of pain, and he said so.

Arly had called SST (Special Situations Team) by now, and our nursing assistant Casey went to get a wheelchair or stretcher. The visitor was sitting up and talking. I got a phone call from the emergency department.

"Do we have to come up there, or are you going to bring them down here?" asked Jamie.


We got the man onto a gurney and rolled him down to the ED. We couldn't find Jamie and nobody else had the faintest clue that we were coming. The desk people pointed us to an open spot in the hallway. After a few minutes another nurse came along and directed us into an ED bay, and a few minutes after that Jamie came in. We reported off to her and went back up to our own unit.

We later heard that the patient was admitted for kidney stones and was scheduled for lithotripsy the next day.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pet Bowls

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stuffed Animal Toy Meme

Actually I had five: a daddy dog, a slightly smaller mommy, and three little dalmations to round out the family. One of my favorite kid movies was, of course, One Hundred and One Dalmations.

In young adulthood I went through a period where I had a lot of dogs. Seven. Big dogs. Four Borzois and three Salukis. Wonderful beautiful loving dogs, a whole herd of them, but too long a story for now.

Today at the hospital one of my patients coincidentally had a little family of five stuffed-toy dalmations who all sat on the bed with them.

Political jab of the evening:

Sarah Palin is like that dog who wants to get up on the bed with you in the middle of the cold night but there's no room so you have to shove them off.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Some thoughts on the debate tonight:

The best way to cook asparagus is to wrap it in bacon and then brown it up quickly in a good pan. It makes people happy.

If a patient appears to be a "hard stick," that is to say someone with veins which are difficult to access with intravenous catheters, I sometimes wrap their arm in a microwaved warm moist towel before insertion. It provides distraction, softens the skin, and sometimes even seems to dilate the veins a little.

If your cooking is troubled by dry chicken breasts, cook them on the bone. Or on the whole bird. It's cheaper and it tastes a lot better. There was a contestant on Top Chef who could take down a chicken in a minute flat. Very handy, that.

Practice with a metronome. Then practice without it.

I like to coat food items with things other than the usual breadcrumbs or batter. A second coffee grinder is good for processing nuts or cereals into a coating for fish, vegetables, burgers, or whatever.

In my years of nursing I've come to believe that men who enjoy performing cunninglus are the best for placing urinary Foley catheters in women, even the really big fat ladies. Especially those.

None of this stuff has anything to do with tonight's political debate between Barack Obama and John McCain. The same goes for just about everything the television pundits said about it afterwards.

But they get paid for that. To be irrelevant.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

See You Guys Later

We were at home sitting on the couch watching the cathode-ray tube. My spouse had the remote and I was thusly helpless. After beaming around the cable television entertainment universe we landed on animal planet; the show was about a woman who used her psychic powers to diagnose pets with behavioral idiosyncrasies.

That particular episode involved a kitty with problems. While the owners held and consoled the cat, which was obviously a little spooked by the goings-on in the production studio, the woman did her routine. Then one of our own cats hopped up on the arm of the couch next to me. And watched.

Then one of the other cats rubbed my leg with their face and came to sit on my lap. A moment later our third and final cat showed up on the back of the couch. All three of them seemed to be intently focused on the television show.

The episode ended and they broke for a commercial. Then the cats all jumped away and went off to do their cat stuff.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Love Not Love

May has a post up over at at About a Nurse which describes a situation strangely familiar to me.

"she was unarousable, holding a 10 ml syringe with about 2 ml of powdery, whitish fluid remaining, about 4 inches away from her IV access."

I walked in on the same sort of thing a few years back. Actually, the astute nursing assistant working that day called me in to see the patient, who was sitting in a heap on the bathroom floor of her room.

We woke her up and helped her to a standing position. She denied that she had passed out. "I'm fine!" she chirped, then she looked up, spun around, and passed out again. We dragged her to bed and another nurse fetched the Narcan.

They always bitch and moan after the Narcan. They're in so much pain. No doubt. No doubt at all.

Needle and the Damage Done. I remember seeing that on TV when I was little. The descending bass line against strummed chords. Afterwards I went to my room and learned to play it myself.

You have to cook heroin because it's not water-soluble at room temperature, like cocaine. After a while it doesn't really matter anymore, I suppose. The question of properly dissolving tylenol and oxycodone probably doesn't get lengthy deliberation when you're shooting up in a hospital bathroom.

When you're spitting out cheeked pills, mushing them up in a little plastic medicine cup, drawing this potion up into a discarded syringe, and injecting it into your intravenous fluid line, what exactly are you thinking about?

She had long wide scars on the internal aspect of each forearm. Necrotizing fasciitis. She was lucky to still have them.

Dark wavy hair, a beautiful-but-brainy countenance, a stunning figure; she had it all. In her early thirties still, and with a Harvard MBA, the world was her oyster.


One of her boyfriends had a friend who had a friend. That was not long ago; just a handful of years. She said that when she first tried it she fell in love.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

You Really Have to Read This

No, not this.


Mudflats. "Tiptoeing through the muck of Alaskan politics," as his header says. If you have any curiosity at all about Sarah Palin, that's the place to start. is also very handy.

Sarah Palin is a facinating woman. Or rather the plural, women, because the media has given us a picture of one person and she's really another. This is not all that uncommon.

For example, there's Tracy Morrow.

One of the highlights of my concert-going years was seeing and hearing him do Cop Killer before he took it out of circulation due to the controversy it stirred up. The following summer Mudhoney revived it because it was the only way anyone would get to hear it again.

Now of course the man who wrote that woefully misunderstood song plays one of the most famous cops on television.

Another and probably better example is Bob Crane.

The affable "Hogan" was really a demented sex addict who was mysteriously murdered in his shabby Scottsdale apartment; a crime yet unsolved.

By the way, the actor who played Colonel Klink, Werner Klemperer, son of famous conductor Otto Klemperer, was an expert classical violinist, not just a dufus on a television show.

Klemperer the elder was known infamously for his slow tempo choices and critics were disdainful of that even while admiring his greatness. He was truly one of the giants among orchestral conductors of the middle of the last century and his recordings continue to be cherished.

His 1957 recording of the Beethoven "Pastoral Symphony" is particularly relaxed in tempo during the second movement. It's my reference recording. It sounds so right to me. Perfect. I had a copy on vinyl when I was a kid so that may have something to do with my love for his realization, because I listened to it so many times.

Or more likely it was something like this, taken from the link:

In 1951 he was not a great conductor; in 1957 he was. In attempting to work out the metronome speeds of the 1957 performance I came up against the fact that he allows himself continual breathing space, he moves backwards and forwards in his tempi but with such naturalness that most people seem not even to notice it. The first movement is hardly slower than before, and the second movement has the same tempo, but the actual timings are considerably longer. He also has a quite different style of string playing, much less staccato, much deeper in the bow. This restless, wandering man had found a stability in has last period which corresponded to that which the post-war public needed. He finds in this music a heartfelt thanks for deliverance from the terrors of the past and a prayer for a better future.

That's it, really.

The Financial Meltdown

We could have the greatest and most affluent society in history if we would all do but one thing: Share.

Friday, October 03, 2008


Wednesday, October 01, 2008


There were a couple books on our aquisition list, and I felt like I needed a little "retail therapy" anyways.

I didn't spend much. I bought books and a double espresso with a squirt of sugar-free caramel syrup.

I really liked this Judith Weber teapot set but that's not something I would buy on a whim.

Very nice. Pricey, but I'd use it.

I was by the fountain sipping my coffee as other shoppers walked by. It's not so hot now. The breeze threatened to flip the pages of my open book.

A man and his school-age daughter were eating ice cream and they also came to sit by the fountain. She had a bookstore shopping bag, indicating they'd just been there and had made purchases. The girl reached in and pulled out her book; it was an Erin Hunter Warriors hardcover.

You just have to admire a dad who springs out the cash for a hardcover.

They chatted. Little sparrows stalked them and the girl plucked bits of waffle from her ice cream cone and flicked them to the birds. The father said something to his daughter about how pretty she was; I couldn't make out exactly what he said. But I distinctly heard the girl's reply:

"Dad," she said in a sing-song plaint, "Don't call me pretty. It's what's on the inside that counts."

She tossed another bit of waffle-cone onto the grass and several birds swooped in to get it. One bird was lucky. Though it was too big a bit for the bird to eat, it grabbed it in its beak and flew off instantly, leaving behind its fellows.