Saturday, May 31, 2008
These are the knickers that Catherine collided with.
Sorry about the truncated message previous but something I don't understand is going on. I figure it out.
Terry Pratchett says that every second is a year to a gnat and their hearts beat reallyreallyreally fast. Elephants and people are, you know, like we are. And old growth forests have hearts that beat once each year with a resounding thump in Spring. That's what I was trying to say in the first post before it crapped out on me...time being relative and all.
Anyway, I'll be more clear and precise in some other post. I just wanted to say good morning. I have many more thoughts but I'll put them on hold.
I understand about the crane porn. I become livid when they say "you could be dead in an hour!---news at 11
This is a test blog. I'm having a terrible time getting my information out, I can't always make the text box work.
Anyway, that's a lot of info from you this morning, Hermana honey, very good info but lots considering you had nothing to say.
This picture is us. Sisters
Regarding the relativity of time: Terry Pratchett says
The link below is to an article from the Boston Globe, a paper that's in an incestuous relationship with the NYTimes. I don't know which one of them wears the pants in the family (in other words, "who pimps whom"), but since it's completely off the point, it doesn't matter.
Friday, May 30, 2008
- Look! It's Albrecht Durer's backyard!
- I MUST have paragraphs, so I'll make my own, using this handy-dandy bulleted list feature. Don't panic! Those are NOT spots before your eyes. (Well, they are, but I put them there.)
- There's a downside to having had a wonderful, long phone chat with your sister the night before you post on your mutual blog: We talked about so much that I can't think of anything new! I'll have to go read the paper and see if there's anything in it that's horrible enough to inspire comment. I'm at my most articulate when describing something outrageous or disgusting. Presently, WanderingL has the market cornered on 'disgusting'.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Not for the patients and not for the nurses.
Pity the lowly night nurse surrounded by the emotionally starved.
1. TURN EVERY 2 HOURS: Nice idea but this patient weighs 400 pounds and I'm alone here;
I'm 58 years old; hypertensive and not visiting my own doc because I'm pretty sure that my metabolic syndrome has turned into something else and I know what happens then. I see it all the time and I'm not letting it happen to me.
Time ravages us all. I'm going to live, live, live 'til I die.
2. DROPLET PRECAUTIONS: Gown, glove, mask, sweat. 40 minutes later emerge, scrub and move to:
3. SMALL BOWEL OBSTRUCTION: MD order reads 'insert NG tube' not a living chance, bub.
This patient is in a 2 bed room, its 2AM and I'm not going to have him gagging and crying and terrifying the guy in the next bed. I'll medicate him for pain and nausea and I'll reek compassion all over him but someone else at some other time is going to perpetrate this particular torture.
4. NEXT BED: TRANSFER FROM TELE: ADMITTED FOR CHEST PAIN: 50 y/o male confronting mortality for the first time. Scared and angry. Going home in the morning with an appointment to see a cardiologist.
5. ABSCESS 2 TO IVDA: CONTACT PRECAUTIONS: Gown, glove, administer pain med every 30 minutes. 5 minutes later, emerge, scrub, return in 25 minutes. This is the person I'm sorriest for. Aside from antibiotics and pain medication there is no help for him here.
Answer call bells, document, cover the institution's ass, steal crackers so you don't faint. Refrain from strangling the next patient on the list when she says: "the bed is wet--I didn't want to call you because I knew you were busy."
This is an easy night--business as usual.
No wonder there's a shortage.
Next is the series: HELL IS OTHER NURSES
when Steve Martin buys a paper from the machine, screams in horror and then pays again to put it back in??
That's how I felt this morning. But once you're exposed to dismal reality can you ever put it back? No, that's the lifting of the veil, I suppose, but then I got to thinking some more--which is a curse and why there are so many blogs and horrors in the world.
Are newspapers and magazines and journalists and researchers only reductionists pointing out facts, embellishing, shading, diminishing...? Hegel said that there is no truth but the whole---everything in context. Can you put the entire front page in context? Probably, but it still wouldn't be the whole.
All the perceptions of all the perceivers and all their collected biases. I can't figure it out and I guess that's philosophy for you.
So, I'll pick my battles like a normal person.
Thank you, Charles Winpenny. Photographer extraordinaire.
SEE NEXT POST
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
1) New York City has 11 letters
Sunday, May 25, 2008
He hasn't been allowed out of his cages yet (the dog crate was too small for him (!) so I've had to add an addition: I'm using the cage that served as Duko's 'time-out' room back when she was impolite.) We all slept with him last night. I put the couch cushions on the floor next to him and Shadow slept there with me. The two girls slept on top of his cages. I went to sleep with my fingers through the bars and he woke me up around 2:00am because he was playing with them. Progress! One more day and night in the cages and then I'll try letting him out for brief periods. Fingers crossed!
Saturday, May 24, 2008
This is the text of an email I received from a person who knows very well that I am NOT a person of faith and my reply to it. She has sent me other, weirder ones. I may post the one about the Archangels.....
What I find most interesting is the link she provided to a Q&A, regarding the Bible's position on diet. To me, the question is silly, the answer is pointless. But read the last paragraph of the answer. Apparently, Christians are not supposed to make life-style choices for other Christians. I think that'd be news to a lot of Christians. (Also, the Bible scholar does a good job of blowing off the Old Testament in favor of the New. This is after he criticizes others for cherry-picking passages.)
I came across this question and answer when I was looking up the section of the Bible stating that we are not supposed to eat meat. I know that your inquiring mind will be interested. I still don't understand why God allows us to slaughter animals for food. A question to ask when I meet Him. Love ya!
In answer to your question, (Aren't you getting tired of me pontificating at you?) the Bible presents enough contradictions and ambiguities to confuse anyone on any number of subjects. So, even if I were a person of faith, I wouldn't be able to take it as 'gospel'. (Hah! Sometimes I crack myself up!)
Biologically, humans evolved to be omnivorous. It's true that we eat far more animal flesh than we need, (thus providing a good living for cardiologists) but our cells do require a full complement of essential amino acids in order for them function correctly. There's no culture I know of (not religion, mind you, but culture) that ever chose vegetarianism as their diet. In fact, vegans and vegetarians are able to sustain their dietary choices because of our modern, highly technological society. It's only in the last few hundred years that we've been able to enjoy such a vast variety of plant foods, particularly soy and other legumes which provide amino acids that other plant matter doesn't. (Where would vegetarians be without tofu?) Most vegans and vegetarians also have to take dietary supplements to remain healthy; to replace what they're not getting from animal proteins. This simply wasn't an option for people who lived in earlier times or who live today in poorer conditions than Western societies. To them, meat is precious; costly and difficult to obtain.
Of course, there are monks, yogis, ascetics and various religious sects throughout the world who sustain a largely vegetarian diet in fairly primitive conditions. They also sleep on bare pallets, kneel on stone floors to pray and wear hair shirts in order to chastise themselves. These are the articles of their faith. They suffer (from anemia, almost certainly) as a sacrifice to their God (or Gods).
Factory farming, a cruel practice, is slowly coming under scrutiny in developed countries. It is possible to raise animals for slaughter without causing them to live miserable lives or die in pain and terror. (Reference author Temple Grandin for specifics on humane abattoirs.) It will cost more. We'll have to pay it. And we'll have to get used to eating less meat and more vegetables. It's that simple. Too bad that 'simple' doesn't mean 'easy'.
Next Day: Tired from too many nights at work. Lots of overtime but what good will it do me if I have a stroke for Pete's sake?
I love the Pacific NorthWest. Has everyone seen that a fourth foot has turned up on Vancouver Island?
This would be a great movie--a comedy. Although I doubt the reality of whatever is happening is the least bit funny
The Behemoth has beautiful eyes. How old is he? And how has Shadow reacted so far?
Hey, here's my resignation letter first draft:
"I'm outta here!
WanderingL, RN, FU"
...low and crass, unworthy of me.
I'll actually tell them that I'm leaving to pursue other interests.
Now I just have to decide which ones.
Five nights down, two to go. I'm in no state to blog today---I'd embarrass myself and I'm saving that for another day.
And so I leave ya'll
Friday, May 23, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I was supposed to write about the 'Cherry Bomb' this evening, but the story is too gruesome.
Getting back to an earlier subject, by definition; the word 'elite' means the top layer, the cream of the crop, the unusually successful, by whatever circumstances of birth or good fortune. I think it also implies privilege, entitlement and expectation of deference. Phooey on that.
But you needn't be elite in any area to enjoy and benefit from intellectual pursuit. What you must be is curious, mentally adventurous and self-confident enough to realize that what you discover can only increase your awareness, enjoyment and informed appreciation.
It's been easy for you and me. We not only like to read; we need to read. We've been reading since we've been old enough to hold a book. I'd like to describe my taste in books as catholic, but I think the better word would be 'indiscriminate'. I've read crap and I've read classics. And when I've been stuck in the bathroom without a book, I've read the ingredients on the toothpaste tube. If you read that much, you can't help learning something!
If I ruled the world, I would take all those people who are capable of reading (and don't), put them in a locked and sound-proofed room with a comfortable chair, good-lighting (toilet ensuite) and a copy of 'Candide' or 'Huckleberry Finn', or 'A Short History of Nearly Everything.'. And when they'd finished those I'd toss in copies of 'Mind Swap', 'My Family and Other Animals' and 'Onions in the Stew'. Then they'd have to read 'Life on Earth, 'The Dancing Wu Li Masters' and Bronowski's "Ascent of Man'. They'd be better people when they came out of that room. Hungrier, smellier and grumpier, but better!
People don't want to become informed because it's hard work for most of them. They also might find out something that would shake their image of the world. If Joe Blow learns about the difference between the specific gravity of saltwater and freshwater, he might begin to understand the consequences of all that cold, freshwater that's running off of our shrinking glaciers. If he learns that the country's infrastructure is being neglected in favor of tax rebates and the costs of war, he might think twice before driving over that big old bridge.
I'm yawning and my eyes are tired. Blog on!
I like the way you associate megalomaniacs with coconuts. They have something in common. Do you know how many people are killed by falling coconuts every year? One hundred and fifty, according to several internet sites, although The Straight Dope points out that's merely an extrapolation from limited data. Anyway, regarding death, the differences between megalomaniacs and coconuts are quantity and intent.
It's silly, but I'd rather be killed by a falling coconut. Even though it's a less dignified death (there's that word again) and would eliminate my eligibility for martyrdom, I assume the coconut would gain no satisfaction from killing me. I could be wrong about that. There could be more to coconuts than I think. Everything has an agenda.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Life in BioCup goes on. As far as I can see, no one has died except the mosquito and gnat larva. At the very top of the cup, above the waterline, is my segmented worm. Click the picture and you'll see him better. Below him are Large Marge and MaryLou Retton. (At the bottom left is my finger, attempting to hold my reading glasses in front of the camera lens. Duko ate a pair of my glasses. I should find what's left and remove one of the lenses just for this purpose.) Big Ethel has misbehaved. She snips off all the milfoil from where I've anchored it under stones, so it floats to the top and looks all messy. Every time I fix it back up, she does it again. So I'm leaving it.
You'll notice that, right above the Seattle's Best logo, is a streak of pale, translucent stuff which I can only assume is snail snot. It's usually gone by morning, appearing again throughout the day. I turn the grow lights off at night. Could this be significant?
I opened the lid a bit today and took a sniff. It smelled very faintly of fresh asparagus, which I suppose is a trace of methyl mercaptan or SO2 from the thin layer of decomposing bits at the bottom of the cup. It wasn't a strong or upleasant smell. It just smells like a pond, I guess.
We're coming up on two weeks in the cup. It amazes me that everyone is doing so well in what must be a very poorly oxygenated environment.
I need to give my worm a name. I was thinking of naming him 'Augie'. It's a good name for a worm, don't you think?
and I want to know why globalization is a bad thing. Hasn't it already happened?
If it hasn't, isn't it inevitable?
Does it have to be Halliburton and their ilk that does the job?
Can't it be we the people of every nation that do it??
How would we do it? Are we doing it?
People will get hurt.
I love that line in '1776' when John Adams yells: 'this is a revolution, we have to offend somebody!'
I don't mean to be naive but the fact is that I haven't given this any thought or research up until now. I'll do some research but, Hermana, tell me what you think.
And in reference to my previous post: Am I daring to be daring simply because I have nothing to lose?
Or am I just overthinking the latest issue that I've stumbled over?
Monday, May 19, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Speaking as a nurse who appreciates professional behavior, I have never trusted any nurse (or doc or aide) who says that they "love" their patients. They either don't mean it (which would make them liars), or.........they DO mean it, which is so far beyond creepy that I'm giving myself the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it. I've been fortunate enough to have never been hospitalized, but should that occasion arise, any nurse who says she loves her patients is barred from my room. (They're the ones who would be carrying syringes of pancuronium in their pockets; "The better to have to resuscitate you, my dear.") Medical staff shouldn't be getting their emotional jollies from the patients. It's non-therapeutic, thus counter-productive.
I often enjoy chatting with my patients about subjects unrelated to the status of their health. We talk about news, and movies and how cute their grandchildren are, and there's no harm done. It puts patient and nurse at ease. And I've had times when I truly sympathized with a patient or their family over a bad outcome. Fresh out of nursing school and barely into my orientation at that hospital where I worked, I was assigned to watch a patient die. It was late in the dayshift and there were admissions and discharges whizzing in and out. The nurses were short-staffed and there was no one else available. It wasn't a physically onerous task, nor a complicated one. The man was suffering from end-stage liver failure and was hemorrhaging from....everywhere, but especially his esophagus. He was conscious and aware and resigned. There were no family members present. We were total strangers to each other. I pulled up a chair and sat with him, rising only to empty his emesis basin when it had filled with blood or to replace soiled linens. We were calm as he lay dying, and the atmosphere was of a deep and resounding finality. It wasn't good and it wasn't bad. But he was leaving all he'd ever known and he knew I was there with him. It was a communion of sorts.
And that's all I have to say on the matter. (I've got plenty more to say, but if I said it all, my fingers would fall off.) Oh no, there is one more thing. Remember my charge nurse on 2nd shift? (You worked with her in another situation.) When her mother was admitted with advanced cancer, my charge nurse assigned me to be with her. She did it because she knew she could trust me to do right by her mom. That was an honor. I'll always feel honored by that trust.
Can a nurse do for a patient but reserve indications of sympathy/empathy/approval?
That is: do the work but in a reserved manner short of radiating disapproval.
I think so.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
(Click pictures for larger images.)
Okay, I'm not messing with it anymore, except to add more plants if the snails start getting skinny. And, just as a point of interest, I took the second picture using a macro lens that I made by shooting through one of the lenses of my reading glasses. I'm a clever monkey.
Jose is off to the Ethnic Club for a membership meeting, so I'm going to treat myself to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a home-made Orange Julius for dinner. There's nothing good on TV tonight so I'll read a mystery or watch a DVD. 'Blackadder', I think. The one where Lord Melchett comes to the beer-drinking party wearing those outrageous fake boobs.
Smell ya later! - Nelson Muntz (Ha ha!)
Anyway, the Romans stole everything from the Greeks and the Etruscans. They didn't even have enough imagination to make up their own Gods. They just gave new names to Greek ones. It was their lack of imagination made them such marvelous bureaucrats.
Don't you just hate this picture? (see above) It makes me want to slap Zeus right in his big, smug, hairy face. (And it makes me want to tell Thetis that she should wise up and get herself an MBA and a 401K plan.)
89 DEGREES??? Holy shit, that's HOT! It's nice here; a little cloudy but very pleasant otherwise. I should have put the rest of my tomato plants in today (Beefsteaks and Sweet One Hundreds) but I said "nah". I'll do it tomorrow.
Tonight I'll post the new pictures of BioCup. You'll be able to see Big Ethel. Duko likes Big Ethel (especially when Ethel's in 'zeppelin' mode) and wants her to come out of the cup to play. I'll have to put the fence back up again. I took it down when I put my orchids outside but I can't have Duko ruining my experiment. Damn cat.
I'll think tonite at work and have a big part of my mind ready for your perusal tomorrow or sometime next week.
It's 89 degrees out. It's been like living in a cool damp sponge for the past 8 months and now this!
It was worth waiting for.
Tell us the story of Mary Lou Retton.
JAMES O'DONNELLClassicist; Cultural Historian; Provost, Georgetown University; Author, Augustine: A New Biography
I stopped cheering for the Romans
Sometimes the later Roman empire seems very long ago and far away, but at other times, when we explore Edward Gibbon's famous claim to have described the triumph of "barbarism and religion", it can seem as fresh as next week. And we always know that we're supposed root for the Romans. When I began my career as historian thirty years ago, I was all in favor of those who were fighting to preserve the old order. "I'd rather be Belisarius than Stilicho," I said to my classes often enough that they heard it as a mantra of my attitude — preferring the empire-restoring Roman general of the sixth-century to the barbarian general who served Rome and sought compromise and adjustment with neighbors in the fourth.
But a career as a historian means growth, development, and change. I did what the historian — as much a scientist as any biochemist, as the German use of the word Wissenschaft for what both practice — should do: I studied the primary evidence, I listened to and participated in the debates of the scholars. I had moments when a new book blew me away, and others when I read the incisive critique of the book that had blown me away and thought through the issues again. I've been back and forth over a range of about four centuries of late Roman history many times now, looking at events, people, ideas, and evidence in different lights and moods.What I have found is that the closer historical examination comes to the lived moment of the past, the harder it is to take sides with anybody. And it is a real fact that the ancient past (I'm talking now about the period from 300-700 CE) draws closer and closer to us all the time. There is a surprisingly large body of material that survives and really only a handful of hardy scholars sorting through it. Much remains to be done: The sophist Libanius of Antioch in the late fourth century, partisan for the renegade 'pagan' emperor Julian, left behind a ton of personal letters and essays that few have read, only a handful have been translated, and so only a few scholars have really worked through his career and thought — but I'd love to read, and even more dearly love to write, a good book about him someday. In addition to the books, there is a growing body of archaeological evidence as diggers fan out across the Mediterranean, Near East, and Europe, and we are beginning to see new kinds of quantitative evidence as well — climate change measured from tree-ring dating, even genetic analysis that suggests that my O'Donnell ancestors came from one of the most seriously inbred populations (Ireland) on the planet — and right now the argument is going on about the genetic evidence for the size of the Anglo-Saxon migrations to Britain. We know more than we ever did, and we are learning more all the time, and with each decade, we get closer and closer to even the remote past.
When you do that, you find that the past is more a tissue of choices and chances than we had imagined, that fifty or a hundred years of bad times can happen — and can end and be replaced by the united work of people with heads and hearts that makes society peaceful and prosperous again; or the opportunity can be kicked away.
And we should remember that when we root for the Romans, there are contradictory impulses at work. Rome brought the ancient world a secure environment (Pompey cleaning up the pirates in the Mediterranean was a real service), a standard currency, and a huge free trade zone. Its taxes were heavy, but the wealth it taxed so immense that it could support a huge bureaucracy for a long time without damaging local prosperity. Fine: but it was an empire by conquest, ruled as a military dictatorship, fundamentally dependent on a slave economy, and with no clue whatever about the realities of economic development and management. A prosperous emperor was one who managed by conquest or taxation to bring a flood of wealth into the capital city and squander it as ostentatiously as possible. Rome "fell", if that's the right word for it, partly because it ran out of ideas for new peoples to plunder, and fell into a funk of outrage at the thought that some of the neighboring peoples preferred to move inside the empire's borders, settle down, buy fixer-upper houses, send their kids to the local schools, and generally enjoy the benefits of civilization. (The real barbarians stayed outside.) Much of the worst damage to Rome was done by Roman emperors and armies thrashing about, thinking they were preserving what they were in fact destroying.
So now I have a new mantra for my students: "two hundred years is a long time." When we talk about Shakespeare's time or the Crusades or the Roman Empire or the ancient Israelites, it's all too easy to talk about centuries as objects, a habit we bring even closer to our own time, but real human beings live in the short window of a generation, and with ancient lifespans shorter than our own, that window was brief. We need to understand and respect just how much possibility was there and how much accomplishment was achieved if we are to understand as well the opportunities that were squandered. Learning to do that, learning to sift the finest grains of evidence with care, learning to learn from and debate with others — that's how history gets done. The excitement begins when you discover that the past is constantly changing.