Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Said Height and Weight

It amazes me how eighty percent of the time when I ask for height and weight I get weight and height.  This is not a huge deal, it's just interesting that almost everybody, even when asked for ht and wt (in that order) feel compelled to give me their weight first.  What's up with that?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Getting Into the Thanksgiving Spirit

I try my best to live a life of gratitude every day, but I do appreciate having at least one day that is set aside to really ponder what I am grateful for.  I've been thinking about this for a couple weeks and planning what to write in my head, but a killer cold of lung-coughing-outness and sleepless nights of babyal awakeness have left me a wide-eyed zombie, so I have kept putting off this post until now.  But hey, what a way to start out a gratitude post with things that I'm not thankful for...  let's get onto the big show:

I love my wife.  She is rocking cool of friggin coolness and I love her coolness of awesomation.  She is a trooper when it comes to taking care of the baby, especially on the nights before I have to work.  She is a great Mom to both of our daughters, and she stands by me even when I sometimes let my winter blues keep me from actually doing anything helpful.  K, I love you forever and even if you look like a 16 year old, you carry your teenage presence with grace.  Or something.

I love my kids.  My older daughter is the light of my life and it is so satisfying to see her growing and learning every day.  She is the smartest kid I've ever seen for her age and I know that she is going to do great things.  My younger daughter can be trying at times, what with the grunting all day and night, but she is growing more and more beautiful, and I can already see that she is going to be just as smart.  She is amazingly alert for a one month old and has a neck made of steel, and now she is gaining weight like a champ!

My parents and siblings are awesome.  Even though we don't see each other as often as I'd like, I still enjoy living within reasonable driving distance to all of them, and it is one of the biggest reservations I have about the idea of moving somewhere else.  My parents will drop everything to help others and give literaly dozens of hours every week in volunteer service, and my brothers are all great people and happy husbands and fathers with wonderful, supportive wives and smart children.  I am really grateful to have a brother that works in the ER just down the road.  It's nice to be able to comiserate over a lively game of ping pong.

I love my job.  I really like going to work knowing that I'm going to make a difference in some lives.  Sometimes it gets stressful and a little overwhelming, but it is so worth it for those moments when the patient tells me "thank you, you have been so kind."  That is why I got into nursing in the first place, and it means a lot to me to have a job where I can bring some kindness and joy into the lives of others while at the same time being challenged every day.

I am grateful for those who work with me.  My fellow nurses in the ER are always willing to stop and help me when I have a question (which is all too often), my ER Techs, for the most part, are very helpful and will anticipate what needs to be done and get it taken care of without me even having to ask, and the group of Docs and PAs that work at my ER are all great.  With just one or two exceptions, they all carry themselves as coworkers and friends rather than holier-than-thou bosses, and I feel that I can come up to them with questions or concerns and they are receptive and act as part of the team trying to help each patient feel better.  The medics that come to our ER are incredibly smart and capable, and the two that I rode along with for a day 8 months ago still greet me by name when they see me.  I feel confident with the information that I get from them (except for the medication lists, but that is a story for another day), and I generally find that what information they are able to gather in the back of a speeding ambulance is acurate and largely complete.  It takes a huge load off of my shoulders when I can put such confidence in what I get from the EMTs.

I love my patients.  Yeah, there are the bad apples, and those are often the ones who make it onto this and other blogs, but for the most part, I deal with patients who are coming to get help because they really feel that they need it, and I find them to be kind and gracious on the whole.  I try to show respect for them, and I usually get back a good experience as well as we work together to try to ease concerns and heal wounds.  It is very satisfying.

I am grateful for this blog.  It has given me the chance to vent frustrations, share interests, rant about politics, and gain great insight.  I've never met epijunky, but I feel like I have a friend, and that's pretty cool.  when I started the blog, I wondered if I would be able to get more than the couple hundred visitors a month that our old family blog got.  Now I get several hundred visitors a day, not to mention the hundresds that subscribe through various feed readers.  It is humbling and satisfying, and the majority of comments I have heard back from readers have been positive and supportive.  Thank you so much for coming out to my corner of the web!

Oh goodness, I always get to this point and realize that I have listed tons of stuff but still have tons more to say, so I'll just go into zippidy doo dah mode and list off some other things that keep me sane and happy:

Church - yeah, I'm religious and I love it.
Football - I've always liked a game here and there, but this year I've been following it closely and have enjoyed it tremendously.  Here's to hoping that USC can get into the BCS championship and that Detroit can maybe win a game somewhere.
The mall - wandering aimlessly around the mall is the best date for me and my daughter, and she loves loves loves the slide in the play area.
Wendy's Chili - yummy.
Mario Kart - words cannot describe...
Thanksgiving Dinner - the best meal of the year.
Provigil - miracle drug.
Classical Music - I love me some James Taylor and Garth Brooks, but nothing is quite like a Rachmaninov Piano Concerto or a Beethoven Symphony.
My Pocket PC - Telephone, calculator, drug guide, game repository, calendar, mp3 player, camera... it is rarely not right at my side.
Good Authors - Michael Crichton, Dean Koontz, Orson Scott Card, Brad Meltzer, Piers Anthony, Michael Connelly, John Grisham, Vince Flynn, Timothy Zahn, Dave Barry.  Others.
DVR - Now that I can pause and rewind TV and fast-forward through the comercials, I never watch live television anymore.  If I really want to watch it live, I just record it and start 20 minutes late so that by the time the show is done I've caught up to it and I still don't have to watch the commercials.  Oh blessed day!
Webcams - We just spent 30 minutes talking to family members from all over the country thanks to Skype and my webcam.  My parents got to see my youngest daughter and I didn't even have to take her out of the swing or even wake her up.
Wii - Wheeeeeee!
Humor in all it's forms - I cannot live my life without humor.  It is always present around me.  No, seriously.  I've tried sprays and creams and pills and nothing seems to be able to get rid of it... maybe that's not humor after all...
Great Examples - The other day I went down to visit my parents on a Sunday and when I took my daughter to the nursery, one of the nursery workers was a man who just months before was the leader of a whole region and 2500 church members (in our church we have no paid clergy, so members serve in varying capacities for a short time and then move on to different jobs).  Most people would scoff at going from top dog to a lowly nursery worker, but he delighted in the chance to serve his fellow man however he could.  Truly one of the best examples I have ever known.  And while I'm getting sappy, his daughter was a huge example for me many years ago when I was a teenager and she was the epitome of what a friend should be.  Hi M!
Other stuff - I'm forgetting a lot of stuff, but you've probably stopped reading by now anyway.  I love all y'all and keep it real, yo.  Peace out!

Bat Thumb

A comment I was leaving on another blog reminded me of a scene from Bat Thumb.

Warning: if you do not like crazy stupid humor, then you will probably not like any of the Thumb movies, so just skip it and move on.  There is nothing to see here, people.

Otherwise, enjoy this clip of some of the funny moments from the Bat Thumb movie (really it's only a 30 minute movie, so this clip is nearly a third of the whole thing, but it really is that funny... if you are weird and nerdy like me)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Calling All Travel Nurses

Right now I have a good job at a good hospital and I'm pretty happy with it.  I'm getting great experience and I enjoy living near (but not too near) my parents and three married siblings.  That said, I have a few problems:
  • I want to do some travel nursing before the kids are in school.
  • My wife hates the weather here (like she can talk... she's from Ohio)(okay okay, I don't like it either)(my wife made me put that)(okay, so she didn't force me to, but she strongly encouraged it)(if you can call a butcher's knife encouragement)(no, I don't need to speak to your social worker about domestic violence concerns.  I have a butcher's knife, too)(my wife's is sharper, though).
  • I want to go back to school and get at least my BSN and more likely my MSN (I have an AA right now - all 12 steps of it!), and I don't like the options around where I am living now.
  • Both meself and me misses get wanderlust and the idea of going someplace else attracts us.
  • I hate the politics of my blue, blue state.
I've already chatted with one kind fellow blogger who helped me with some information about one possible location that we are considering that solves all of our problems (except the weather one), but I would like to see if there are any other intrepid souls out there that would like to extoll the virtues and warn of the pitfalls of Travel Nursing.  What are the best agencies?  What are the traps to avoid?  How do we know we are getting a good deal?  How easy is it to come and go from an agency? 

And even more, I would like to see if any of the 509 Arizonians that have stopped by my blog would like to help me with some information about living in the Phoenix area and what hospitals are good and which ones to avoid at all costs.  We have done some research over the past few days and have found a couple that really interest us and a few that grab our attention.

Other places that we have considered include Colorado Springs, San Antonio, San Diego and Santa Cruz (as you can tell, we are most interested in the Southwest).  All of these places violate one or more criteria that we are looking for, but I think that if you want to live in the perfect place you need to live a life of service and gratitude and mostly a life of avoiding killing men in Vegas just to watch them die.  But I digress.  Anyone from these areas have any input?  You can leave a comment, or even better, send me an e-mail to

You're Number 25,000 (and 6)! I'm at it, I just checked my Google Analytics report and as of midnight, I have now had 25,006 visitors.  I can hardly believe that this many people are really interested in reading my drivel, but please, read on!

Incidentally, despite two individual posts about the state, Wyoming has still only sent 4 people to see me.  4.  What did I do wrong?  I wear deodorant, I promise!

Even more incidentally, and while I'm at my nerdy best, California and Texas are my most common visitors, but in a somewhat surprising turn, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Michigan are also visiting me at alarming rates.  What kind of goodness have I offered these states to merit such wonderful rates of visitation?  The world may never know.

Somewhat less incidentally, the reason that I am looking up these stats is for a post that I will write as soon as I finish this one.  Stay tuned.  (or more likely you will have already read the next post since my site puts the most recent entries on the top...)

I'm number 1!

I just looked myself up on Alexa, and it turns out that I'm number (six hundred and seventy one thousand, nine hundred and fifty...)


That's right!  You just read my page rank for all US traffic.  Jealous much?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Baby

I try not to post too many photos of my children - internet stalkers and all - but sometimes they are just so gosh darn cute that I can't help myself.

Here is El Grunto* in full Chinese Action Movie mode:

My wife suggested I go into photoshop and take out the blanket and paste her** on a forest background.  The problem is that we got a new computer several months ago and I don't know where the photoshop CD is, so I've never installed it;*** so you'll just have to use your imagination.  I've included a picture from the movie**** to aid you.

* For those of you that do not speak Spanish, that means "The Grunteous One"
** The baby, not the blanket... a blanket pasted over a picture of a forest would just be dumb.

*** And even if I had, I'm lazy.
**** What movie, you ask?  If you really need to ask, then you probably didn't read the title of this blog post.  Go read it now.  I'll wait.  Are you back?  Do you still need to ask?  Please address your inquiries to 1-900-555-I'mmovieousllychallenged.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Poor Nurse Ratched

Over the months that I've been around, Nurse Ratched's blog has been my 7th leading referrer (and fourth among blogs), sending nearly 1000 people my way.
Nurse Ratched
I just found out that I'm not exactly returning the favor.  I was editing Epijunky's link to direct to her new blog site and realized that nobody has yet mentioned my referring to Mother Jones as a "psycho nurse" (I can justify this because my Dad is a psycho doctor - the PhD kind, that is - and so I know all about psychoology).

Anyway, to make a medium length story short, I clicked the link just for fun and realized that it goes to the old Nurse Ratched's place which has been out of comission for 3 months.  Oops.  Sorry Mother Jones.  Problem solved now, so expect thousands and thousands* to come flooding to your site, eager to sit at the feet of the psychoiatric master as I do every day.

*or maybe ones and twos.

How to Win Friends...

We got an e-mail the other day reminding us to have patients stop by the checkout desk.

...PLEASE notify the reg staff that the patient is about to be discharged and we will come to them since it is such a burden for them to escort the patient to the discharge desk.

Well if it wasn't a burden before, maybe now I'll make it one so that this self-fulfilling prophecy can become reality.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I'm considering signing up for feedburner to increase my ability to be a stat nerd, but I've heard from some people that when you sign up for feedburner, it makes you commited to use the service because people then have to sign up for the RSS feed through their service and not through your native page anymore, but the reports seem to be conflicting.

Does anybody out there in Blog heaven have any experience and advice?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Going, Going, Gone

In my last post, I talked about a transfer I had yesterday.  Interestingly, this was the third patient in a row for me that needed to be transferred, making for quite a busy afternoon.  I guess there is no better way to see the limitations of our smallish community hospital than to get a retinal detachment that can't be seen there (no opthamologist on call) followed by an SI* that wanted to go to inpatient psych (no mental health at this hospital) followed by the mandibular fracture (no maxillofacial surgeons).

Other cases that we have to transfer out: any seemingly imminent pregnancy (no L&D), bladders that can't be cathed (no Urologist), STEMIs (no cath lab), Renal Failures (no dialysis), high-level traumas (We are level 4), head bleeds (no neurosurgeon).  Probably others.

We certainly aren't huge (I recently toured an 80 bed ER that just kept going and going and going), but at the same time, it isn't that we are some podunk ER.  In fact, our department is fairly moderately sized (25 beds) and stays pretty busy with a good inflow of patients.  I think it is more that fact that the hospital that we are attached to has less than 100 beds (one ortho unit, one med/surg unit, one PCU/stepdown unit, and a 12 bed CCU).  This kind of hospital, with no surgical specialty unit, no pediatric unit, no renal unit, no oncology unit, no neuro unit, no mother-baby, and a cafeteria that only serves hot food for a couple hours at a time three times a day is not likely to attract the best and brightest specialists around.

The upshoot, I suppose is that I get really good at this end of the ambulance transfer system, and the EMTs get really good at standing around watching me frantically finish up last minute details so that I can get the patient out the door.

* by SI I mean suicidal ideation, and not, as you may assume, Sports Illustrated. I think our hospital would do just fine in taking care of Sports Illustrated, thank you very much.

Spinal? Really?

We had a patient come in yesterday on full spinal precautions after falling down some stairs.  The doctor came in the room pretty quickly and did his assessment and determined that she could come off of the backboard and c-collar.  We did so.

20 minutes later he wanted her "road tested" so we got her up and walked around the ER and everything was going ok.  She had escaped, it seemed, with some facial lacs and a couple of loose teeth.

Then the CT results came back: mandibular fracture.  This means a transfer up to a higher level ER with the proper medical staff for this fracture.  Okay.  That makes sense.

Except the part about having to send her out in full spinal immobilization.  After we have cleared her and proved that she can walk and has no neck or back pain?  Are we trying to give her back pain?  And she has a fractured mandible.  Is it really the best idea to then put a c-collar on her.  Protect the neck, sure, but have you ever noticed where the collar pushes against?  I'll give you three guesses.

So this woman who has been getting beaucoup dilaudid, which is just now barely catching up to her pain is going to be forced to be on a hard backboard with a cervical collar pushing against her broken face for a 45 minute ambulance ride?  I know that protocol is protocol, but come on, peeps!

Perhaps somebody out there in cyberland can help me understand why this is a good idea, because I just don't get it.

In the end, all I can say is thank goodness for medics who are more proficient with this task than I will ever hope to be.  I went to give the paperwork to the unit secretary and by the time I came back, she was all set to go.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Castle Aaaugh

Public Service Announcement:

For all you high-minded intellectuals out there, you should be aware that the scholarly group known as "Monty Python" has launched their own YouTube Channel, thereby deftly thwarting the would-be imposters and their crappy videos by offering higher-quality videos of their own.

Capitalism at it's finest.

Hat Tip: Lowering the Bar

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordpress Pet Peeve

One feature that I love about blogger is that when I leave a comment on a blog entry, I can check the "e-mail follow-up comments" box and forget about it, and then when someone else comes along and adds thier own comment, I will get an e-mail message.  This is great for the times when I make a comment and want to know if anybody else responded to my comment.  I bloviate all over the blogosphere and can never keep track of what nonsense I'm spouting on who's blog, so this feature is really nice.

Wordpress seems to be a great blog engine except for the lack of this feature.  There are several blogs I subscribe to that use Wordpress and I either have to keep a tab open with the original post and check it from time to time or bookmark it and try to remember to come back to it.  I suppose there are worse evils in the world, but it is still an annoyance, especially when I know that the technology is out there to allow me to know of responses without any effort on my or the blog admin's part.

So to all you Wordpressers out there: defend yourself.  Is this feature not available, or are you just not availing yourself of it?

This I-just-got-done-with-a-late-night-baby-feeding-and-I'm-tired-and-frustrated-and-will-probably-think-this-looks-foolish-in-the-morning rant brought to you by Walmart brand baby formula:  It's Enfamil, really.  No, really - compare the two and you will understand. 1/3 the cost; same product.

Infant Tylenol and the Mystery Dose

ERP has a little rant up about parents waiting to give Tylenol or Motrin for their children.  It is a frustration that I think all ER workers can understand, especially when a child is very febrile.  Go read his post.  Here is my response (also left as a comment on the original post):

To play a little bit of devil's advocate: When we had our first baby and we realized that she needed Tylenol, we pulled out the bottle and looked at the instructions: "for children under 2, ask a doctor"

This, of course, is ironic, because they are "infant" drops, designed, presumably, for "infants" (by definition, I believe, under 2 years old - confirmed by the fact that "children's" Tylenol starts at age 2).  Nonetheless the fact remains that for laypeople or those who do not often deal with infant dosing - or just people who don't fully understand medications and are understandably a little scared when the packaging wont even give them instructions on how to dispense the product - it can be a little scary to try to properly dose the child.

Add to that the confusion about what 10-15 mg/kg means when you are a layperson and may not know your child's weight in kilograms (or for that matter you may not even have an acurate weight in pounds), and even if you do, it can be confusing about when you give 10 and when you give 15.

Also, those droppers have lines for 0.8 ml but they are incredibly hard to get precise measurements on.

Now all that said, I'm big on personal responsibility and as a parent I took it upon myself to learn all I could about these meds and how and when to use them.  It was easier for me, being a nurse to get the information and to understand it, but it is out there and should be an important thing for all parents to know.  I just have a little sympathy for the parents who are confused and a little frustration at the drug company who is willing to put a product out there at outrageous cost (compare the per-mg cost of infant Tylenol with adult Tylenol) and not even provide instructions for the target age-range beyond "ask a doctor".  No wonder they show up at my ER with the bottle in hand not knowing what to do.

UPDATE: Link to original post added. Oops.


If it is good enough for Epi and Keepbreathing, it is good enough for me: says I'm a Cool Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

I'm actually kind of amazed that I scored that high.

Where's the Motivation?

Friday, November 14, 2008

One Step Closer to Supporting National Healthcare

I just got off the phone from a very long and emotional phone call to my insurance company.  The literature that I used to base my insurance selection from led me to believe that the baby costs were 100 percent covered.

They aren't.

It turns out that we owe thousands of dollars, and the insurance company was unwilling to budge.  So it looks as though my insurance will cost me many many thousands of dollars this year when copays, deductibles, and bimonthly payments are taken into account.  And this is supposed to be a good plan.

And to make the sting worse, my brother (who works for a software company) was telling me today about his health insurance - no copays, no deductibles, no monthly payments.  I should have been a computer programmer.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What Disease Department?

My Father recently took a trip to China and sent me some pictures when he got back.  This one he took during a visit to a hospital.  Tell me how much discomfort you would need to be in to actually show up to a place with this name:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Public Service Announcement

It has come to my attention that the world is in need of an important announcement, since people just don't seem to understand the following important fact:

30 Rock is not funny.

You're Welcome.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Daddy-Daughter Date

I was planning on taking most of yesterday to really get some things done.  I have bills that are collecting and insurance companies to yell at (deliveries 100% covered my royal booty) and kitchens to clean up and... yeah, all kinds of stuff.

But mostly I have a toddler that needs some attention, so we went out for a little date.  She had her first Happy Meal and we walked around the mall.  And around the mall.  And around the mall.  I think we walked more yesterday than my wife and I did a few weeks ago when we were trying to induce labor.

And J is so cute that everybody always stops and mentions how cute she is (the glasses don't hurt, either - what baby doesn't look cute with glasses?).  Today one of the workers at Hallmark gave her a couple of balloons that I tied around her wrist and she walked along bobbing her arm to make the balloons float all around her.  This just made her cuter and got her even more attention.

Then we went to a baby superstore and looked around for some needed items.  We paused in the toy aisle and I gave her a few toys to look at to gage her interest vis-a-vis Christmas gifts.  One of them was silly little toy that sings the alphabet when you press a button.  I didn't expect her to show any interest because she has had several alphabet-y toys in the past, but when I gave it to her, she pressed the button over and over and over and over and over and over for about 20 minutes.

Daddy-daughter time?  Check.  Christmas Shopping? Check.  Bills and boring stuff?  Well, in the words of Ruth Hulburt Hamilton:

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,

for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.

So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.

I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Don't Get Messed Up

Epijunky put up a picture from post secret in her last entry that says, "I would rather be a messed up person, fixed, than to be a regretless person wondering how "messed up" would feel."

I commented, "The problem is, sometimes you get so messed up that there is no "fixing" that can bring you back.

I think we see some of these people frequently in our profession."

And as I've thought further about it I want to add that the more I think about that idea, the more I think it is a dangerous view to have.  It sounds very much like a declaration of somebody who is trying to justify why they are now serving 10-15 for drug possession or someone who is now serving McDonald's food to make rent because they now can't find a job that pays more than minimum.

The fact of the matter is that through a lot of love and grace and work, it is possible to come back from messed up, and if you go into it with the right attitude, then that journey from messed up can teach you big lessons and in some ways make you stronger.  Repentance is a miracle.  But I think that never messed up is almost always a stronger position for you and for those around you than the pain, suffering, and possibility of going too far into messed up.

So don't rely on the fixing. Instead just do the right thing to begin with.

Sorry about the post-nap Sunday philosophy.  I now return you to your regularly scheduled silliness.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Playing Around With Google Stats

Google Reader has recently updated the "details" provided for each blog when you click the "show details" link in the upper right part of the screen.  It used to tell you how many posts per week and how many subscribers there are to the blog, but now they have added graphs.


To a statistics-loving nerd like me, that is like putting up a free beer sign outside an ER on Saturday morning.

So beyond seeing that I have way more regular readers than I ever expected (and certainly more than I deserve), I see some interesting patterns in the way that I post, and because it is my blog, you now have to read about it (or you could just move on to the next blog on your list...)

1.  I seem to post in clusters.  Over the past month or so, I have had 9 posts that had a day all to themselves, but 25 more posts that were posted en masse, with one day in particular seeing 5 posts.  Now I subscribe to the Happy Hospitalist, where less than 8 posts is a slow day, so I know that I'm small fries when it comes to clusters of posts.  I just find it interesting, since most of the blogs I read tend to be pretty consistently one per day, or in Nurse K's case, two at a time.  The only med blog that I could find that was similar to mine is epijunky's, which probably shouldn't surprise me, since she is the one who introduced me to the concept of ADOBSO.

2.  I'm not sure what time zone Google uses for their "time of day" feature, but it would appear that I blog mostly at noon and from 9pm to midnight.  I will take this at face value as here I am at 12:53 am writing this post (though I will probably not publish it until after the election is over.  Update: now it is three days after the election and I'm just posting it now because Michael Crichton takes precedence over stupid statistics.).  It is interesting to me that I have not published a post in the 7 am hour or the 2, 4, or 7 pm hours.  But that is getting so nit-picky that even I don't care, so let's move on and look at some other blogs:  Girlvet seems to be completely allergic to posting in the morning.  Over whatever period this records, she has posted a couple times at 11 am but never before then.  Scalpel, on the other hand, doesn't like the afternoon.  His posts are clusterd mostly between 7 and 11 am and then 7 and 11 pm.  So that means that his blog is mostly about 7-11 and am/pm.  Now he just needs to find a way to work Chevron in there and he could solicit a pretty lucrative advertising package.  Whitecoat seems to post mainly in the early morning from 3-6 am.  Night shift doc?

3.  I don't seem to post on Friday or Wednesday, but Thursday is my day.  I don't know why.  Mother Jones hasn't posted on Thursday or Saturday throughout the entire time (probably a month) that Google has been watching.  Wanderer posts on Monday, Nurse K posts .  NewGradNurse posts a lot on Friday and also some on Tuesday, but leave her alone on the weekend - only one post total between Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  Keep Breathing likes Monday and Wednesday but not much else.

Are you still reading this?  Congratulations, you are now a member of the Braden's Gold Star Devoted Reader Club.  Contact me for your bumper sticker.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Tribute to Michael Crichton

When I was a teenager and was just coming into my own as far as reading long and complex novels, Jurassic Park came out.

I fell in love.  I read the book.  Seven times.  Once in French.  I watched the movie thirty some times.  In fact, I skipped out of school to ride my bike to the movie store where I had pre-ordered the VHS tape and raced back home to watch it (why did my parents allow that?).  I loved Jurassic Park so much that as a 14 year old I started my own sequel, complete with a map of a new island, and borrowing many of the same characters.  It ended up being almost 30 pages long by the time I felt like I had a good start to it.  I mailed it to Michael Crichton to show him that there was a great opportunity to put a sequel together.  Unfortunately his production company mailed it back with a letter to the effect that he could not accept unsolicited works or something like that, and I never worked any more on it.

Michael CrichtonBut my love for all things Michael Crichton could not be satiated.  I devoured each of his novels - many of them more than once - and watched all of the movies based on the novels.  I waited with great anticipation each time for the next book to come out so that I could relish the masterful way that he mixes fascinating and strong characterizations with gripping story lines and compelling scientific thought.  With enthousiasm, I read Airframe, The Great Train Robery, Prey, State of Fear, Timeline, Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, Five Patients, A Case of Need, Sphere, The Terminal Man, Congo, Disclosure, The Lost World, and Rising Sun.  I still have most of these novels sitting on my bookshelf at home, with well-worn corners and tattered covers from the many perusals.  The only book I have not read was his last, and it is on my list of must-reads.

It seemed as though everything he touched turned to gold.  Westworld remains one of my earliest memories when I think of movies.  ER (the early seasons) will always be among my favorite shows.  In fact my wife and I own the first six seasons on DVD.  I have seen Youtube videos of Michael Crichton speaking on a variety of subjects ranging from scientific to literary, and he always comes across as poised, intelligent and well-read.

It was with great distress, then, and a large amount of sadness that I read of his death yesterday at the age of 66.  Apparently he has been battling cancer for some time and has kept it a quiet and personal matter.  Class and honor, even in death.

A truly great American, and one of my personal heroes, Michael Crichton will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Congratulations to Our New President regular reader of my blog is aware of my support for John McCain for president and my fears of an Obama administration.  It was obviously with some disappointment, therefore, that I watched the election results come in this evening.  And now the moment that I have been fearing but expecting has arrived.

Senator Obama is now officially President-elect Obama.

The battle is over now.  The mud can stop slinging, the wounds can start healing.  I have heard many people declare that "Obama will not be my president."

I can't speak for anybody else, but for myself, I can declare that fears and differences aside, Barack Obama will be my President.

I did not feel from the beginning that Senator McCain was the best candidate that the Republican party could have fielded, but I have always felt him to be a man of honor, and his classy and gracious concession speech tonight was perhaps his finest moment.  May we all make his pledge our pledge also:

These are difficult times for our country, and I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.  I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next President our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together, to find the necessary compromises, to bridge our differences, and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.  Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans.

Election Day Plea

Today is election day here in the United States and the course of our country for the next several years will be charted as people go to the ballots all over the nation.  I have made no mistake of my support for Senator McCain for President, and as we go into the final hours, it looks like there is a path to victory for him, but it looks even more likely that we will soon be swearing in Senator Obama as our 44th President.

To all 15 of you who read my blog: go out tomorrow and exercise what is without a doubt your most sacred duty as citizens of this country.  No matter who you support, please go vote.

Every four years we get into long, drawn out election cycles.  Opinions are shared - sometimes forcefully - emotions run deep, and occasionally angers flare up.  People come up with lists of reasons why they do not like the opposing candidate and warn of doom and gloom should that person be elected.  On November 4th, we go to the polling place and cast our ballot for the individual who we feel best represents us and what direction we are looking for in our country.  And then we wait for the results.

For half of the country, those results will be exciting news.  For the other half, those results will be disappointing.  Elections are very good at dividing us along partisan lines, and in some respects that is a healthy part of the electing contest, but come November 5th and for the next several years we are going to have to do our best to put away those divisions and come together to work with whomever was chosen as our leader so that our country can progress.  Blame who you will, the fact stands that the last several years have been marked by increasing and deepening ideological chasms that have been to the detriment of our culture and our society.

In mid-January, we are going to swear in a new President, and that man will need our support if we are to move forward as a country.

My plea, then, is to prepare yourself for accepting the winner of this election with grace and class.  It may be hard to think of supporting the opponent (I have real fears about an Obama administration; girlvet has real fears about a McCain administration), but it is necessary - not to become robots or rubber stampers, but to agree to sustain the man chosen as our leader and do what we can to see that our country keeps moving.

I have spent years in Europe and the South Pacific and I have traveled to several other countries, and every single time I am excited to come home.  I love this country.  I love our people.  I love our culture.  I love our diversity.  I love our freedom.  I love that no matter who is elected, we will be breaking down senseless barriers.  And I love that even in my deep blue state, my voice will still be heard tomorrow, and that no matter what, I will always have the unique opportunities that come from being a citizen of this great land.

God bless our country, and God bless us to do our best to keep it a land worthy of blessing.

Monday, November 3, 2008

EKG What?

Our ER is trying out new disposable monitor leads.  Great idea if you ask me.  But what's up with the name: