Friday, April 30, 2010

Tidings of Magpies

There is no law either natural or civil that says the rich must become richer by any means.

I told a friend that I wouldn't ask her about the novel she is secretly writing. I think I may have lied.

Profits are privatized , while liabilities must be socialized. This is called capitalism.

May I see your papers please? What!? No?

During my university years I was once ticketed by the police for driving an unregistered moped. Remember those?

The police impounded it. One drove off on it, which was comical enough, (imagine a big fat cop steaming along at about 12 miles-per-hour on a red moped) while the other put me in the back of the police car to be brought to the station. There was a bunch of guns in the back seat with me. I mentioned that to the officer driving. "Hey officer, there's a bunch of guns back here," I said. He screeched to the curb. "Get in the front," he said, and I did but he wouldn't let me play with the radio.

After a few days I'd gotten my moped properly registered and I went back to the police station to retrieve it from impoundment. The officer at the desk was disdainful and very rude. I remember telling him right to his face to "fuck off and die." Actually that is an exaggeration. I left out the part about dying. You cannot offend a police officer. It is perfectly okay to use crude language with them as long as it does not contain threats, and apparently this officer forgot to feel threatened at that time. I would not recommend doing this though.

He eventually gave me my key to my "vehicle" and I pedal-started it and rode off. Later the same policemen stopped me for riding without a helmet, even though at that time there were no laws requiring that I wear one to ride a little moped. It was slow. People in wheelchairs used to pass me regularly.

I promised a friend that I would always be there for them; the same one writing the secret novel. Even if they were to leave me, I assured them that I would wait decades for them. I did not lie about that. I am an elephant in that way.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Your Career

There is no aptitude test to take before you become a nurse. The same is true, of course, for many other professions. Any idiot, fool, or halfway intelligent psychopath can wait their turn and go to nursing school, just like I did.

Therefore, fellow nurses, you may find yourself in difficult situations as you negotiate the twisted path of your profession. People will give you bad information. You will react appropriately, only to find out later that you may have caused harm, through no real fault of your own, but it will be on your hands.

This is the story I was told, by a lab technician who I can trust implicitly with everything: a blood glucose level of 526 is reported to a nurse. That's odd, because the glucometers don't even read that high; at that level it would just read "HI." As if it were glad to see you. Our glucometers are then programmed to prompt the user to report the result to a nurse or doctor. The nurse calls the doctor to get coverage for the very high blood sugar level, the lab draws a repeat level to run on their big fancy million-dollar blood chemistry analyzer, the nurse gives the patient a boatload of insulin, and then the lab calls.

The true blood sugar level isn't above 500. It's 220. And here's the kicker. It never happened. The blood sugar level of 526 was ignored because it was an accident that the patient was even checked; they had no order for glucose levels. Somebody checked the wrong patient, got a way abnormal lab value, and blew it off. The patient went untreated.

What went wrong?


If you are working in an environment in which things like this happen, there's really only one thing you can do. Quit and get another job someplace else.

If that is impossible, then make as many friends as you can among the competent people among the staff. Respiratory therapists are good friends. Lab techs, aides, and especially house-keeping people! Call them by name. Ask them about their families. Tell them when they do good work. Bow reverently to them.

They are all you have.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In Wall Speakers

Vivica Genaux
Grand Canyon
John Cage score
Acapulco cliff diving

In reverse order!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Monday Dickinson

I DIED for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed?
“For beauty,” I replied.
“And I for truth,—the two are one;
We brethren are,” he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a night,
We talked between the rooms,
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names.

I Died for beauty by Emily Dickinson. Too good to spoil with comment.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Friday Plath

Winter Trees

The wet dawn inks are doing their blue dissolve.
On their blotter of fog the trees
Seem a botanical drawing.
Memories growing, ring on ring,
A series of weddings.

Knowing neither abortions nor bitchery,
Truer than women,
They seed so effortlessly!
Tasting the winds, that are footless,
Waist-deep in history.

Full of wings, otherworldliness.
In this, they are Ledas.
O mother of leaves and sweetness
Who are these pietas?
The shadows of ringdoves chanting, but chasing nothing.

November 26th 1962

She had, at this point in her life, three more months to live. Her journals seem to have ended the previous July with a description of the funeral of her neighbor Percy, so we don't have any direct access to Plath's thoughts at the time she wrote this. Leda was the mother of Helen.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


From RadioGraphics.

This is an emergency. This will make you late for lunch. This will spoil your lunch. Get the dilaudid, start the heparin drip, apply O2 if you haven't already, and get more dilaudid. With a little luck, soon your patient will feel better.