Thursday, November 30, 2006

Traumatized Seattle Digs Out of Whopping 2-inch Snowfall

This week, Seattle was plunged into chaos when a monster snowstorm of Biblical proportions dropped a fantastic two inches of snow on the Metropolitan region.

Seattleites, who are horrible drivers in the best of weather, immediately set out to show the world how uncommonly stupid they are in a mind-bogglingly short span of time.

Before the first inch of snow had accumulated, Seattleites threw all semblance of reason out the window. (This is not much of a stretch, considering the demographics in these parts.) Suddenly, eco-conscious metrosexual urbanites in their blob-like Toyota Priuses found themselves occupying ditches without so much as an environmental impact statement. Snazzy Range Rovers, Porsche Cayennes, and BMW X-5s also fell prey to the savage onslaught of the howling winter tempest that left the city paralyzed under two inches of frozen hell and soccer moms scratching their heads in bewilderment.

I confess I had it easy. I learned to drive in West Virginia in the winter. I knew how to go up and down hills. Furthermore, knowing full well the importance of torque and traction in winter conditions, I ignored the shrill urgings of Al Gore and bought my wife a big, bad, heavy, 4-wheel-drive Chevy Suburban. Thus, getting up down hills was a piece of cake. Nevertheless, navigating the 8 miles to my ER for work was a sheer nightmare. Not merely because of the snow or ice; but also because of the incredible number of cars abandoned in the middle of the frigging road by their amazingly stupid owners.

My wife informed me that some expert stated that two inches of snow in Seattle is equal to 14 inches of snow in New York City simply because of the hills in our area.

I disagree. If the city, county and state transportations departments had any shred of common sense, they would be prepared for this kind of thing that happens every year. But instead, the Seattle mayor is more interested in sinking billions of dollars into a tunnel, and the county is more interested in buying stretches of commercially-viable railroad and turning them into dog walks. Seattle may be bogged down in snow, and Seattle natives may be pathetic drivers, but Mayor Greg Nickels and King County Executive Ron Sims are simply frozen solid in criminal stupidity.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!

Here's to you and your loved ones today. What do you have to be thankful for? I'd love for you to share with me.

My wish for you all can be summed up in an old Scottish toast:

"May the best you've ever seen be the worst you'll ever see,
and may you all be just as happy as I wish you now to be."

God bless you all. Thanks for making this humble blog an enjoyable and educational experience.

Please take care today. Be safe. Slow down. Turn away that lst drink before you go. I am working tonight, and I would really hate to meet you in person.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Republican Remedy for Defeat: Promote Defeatists.

Let us consider the events of the first week since the day before the Republicans got their arses handed to them. Three major things leap immediately to mind.

1: After the departure of Ken Mehlman from the chairmanship of the GOP, everyday Republicans (that is, those who actually have to work for a living) were hopeful that the Party leadership had understood our supreme dissatisfaction with their abysmal performance and their abandonment of the principles for which they ascended to majority status. (For a more detailed analysis, see my 11/8 postmortem of the election). Much to our dismay, a promising conservative candidate for the chairmanship was stiffarmed in favor of Mel Martinez (R- Mexico City), a pro-amnesty limpwrist liberal who also favors our dependence on foreign oil.

2. In their search for leadership after the thinning of their herd, surviving Republicans searched far and wide for a strong Minority Leaderwho could steer the Party out of shoal water and found... Trent Lott. The same Trent Lott who defended earmarks and backroom party hack who faithfully carried the banner for the Old Boy Network and enabled the minority to take the initiative.

3. Party leadership immediately set out to widen the gap between themselves and the conservative Citizens who actually are Republicans. This is not isolated to the national level. In my state, even the Precinct Committee Officers are blaming conservative Republicans for the loss.

This is simply pathetic. The people who have usurped control of the party from the citizens at all levels have learned nothing, and thus have proven their unworthiness for leadership. The time has come for every conservative Republican to gird up, link up, and get active.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Brief Postmortem of the Republican Loss

Now that the handwringing over the election of over and Sean Hannity and Mark Levin have started the official Boo-Hoo Fest, I would like to take this opportunity to point out that the GOP leadership was well and truly warned by all the hardworking grassroots Republicans that this day would surely come.

Remember us Mr. Mehlman? The Americans whom the Party leaders have treated like a floozy on the morning after since 2005? I bet you do now.

As I am one of those abused grassroots Republicans, I can say with no small sense of vindication that after what the Republican Party leadership did to divorce itself from- and to overtly demonize- its conservative majority base, the GOP in situ deserved to be dope-slapped, and so it has come to pass with ridiculous ease of predictability. (What was that word again? Oh, yes: hubris.) The GOP began sewing the seeds for their 2006 defeat way back in January 2005 under the limpwristed, obsequious, and obstinate leadership of Ken Mehlman, Bill Frist, Dennis Hastert, John McCain, Arlen Specter, and yes, even moderate wunderkind George W. Bush.

As far back as the Summer of 2005, I warned that unless the Party leadership pulled their heads out of their colons and started doing what they told the people who elected them that they would do, November 2006 was going to be a very cold month indeed for them.

I repeated the warning last summer (scroll down to Aug. 15), in the midst of the GOP leadership's arrogant attempt to circumvent the will of the American people by granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. I was roundly accused by the "electability" wing and the RINOs of being everything from a hyperconservative lunatic to a Democrat mole. I held my ground. I declared that because of the moral failure and political cowardice of the elected leadership of the Republican Party, November was going to be a cold month indeed.

I was right.

The reasons why the Republicans lost are connected with one overarching theme: the abandonment by the GOP leadership of the founding principles and values of the Republican Party. Yet the "electability" wing of the Party thought those principles were old-fashioned and unimportant- the rallying cry of the extreme right wing whackos. What was needed, they reasoned, were candidates whose views were not do "extreme." My response to that is this: your "electability" lost the election.

Holding our Party's leadership accountable for their betrayal of the people who fought hard for them in 2004 is necessary, and it is correct. Accountability must be swift, and it must be decisive. It is absolutely necessary if the rennaissance of the true-to-values Republican Party is to take place. Every man and woman who calls himself or herself a true Republican must take responsibility for the reformation that is required if our party is to ever be fit to lead again. The Republicans who fought so hard in 2004 and were burned by the party need to take the lead on this. What exactly has the "electability" wing done to the Republican Party? Read the following indictment.

Capitulation to liberalism by our Party leaders is exactly what cost the GOP this election. It is also the worst possible direction our Party could have taken. Yet this was the direction that was stupidly taken by the "electability" crowd that comprises the current leadership in the GOP on the federal and state levels.

We everyday people (myself included) who endured the hate- and violence-filled onslaught that Democrats and anarchist liberals poured upon us during the 2004 elections feel more than a simple sense of betrayal by the Party leadership and key elected leaders. No sooner did the 2005 Congressional session begin than these same grassroots torch-bearers for the 2004 victory were escorted off the dance floor. All that the elected leaders promised was immediately discarded, and the American people perceived a distinct lack of moral courage among the pantheon of Republicans in the House and Senate. These recipients of our hard-won political capital promptly abandoned every key issue for which they were elected to champion, as they promised they would. They turned yellow faster than a traffic light in a speed trap.

Examples of the "Great GOP Sellout" are:

  • The capitulation to the Democrat minority vis a vis the McCain-led "Gang of 14";
  • The First Lady and GOP leaders calling conservatives "sexist" and "narrow-minded" for opposing the SCOTUS nomination of the spectacularly-unqualified Harriet Miers;
  • Dennis Hastert's expression of arrogant indignation about being accountable to the People of the United States and his defense of William Jefferson;
  • Willful intent among Republican Senators to violate the will of the people through granting amnesty to illegal aliens; out-of-control pork spending;
  • President Bush's perceived failure to prosecute the war in Iraq in a decisive manner and his perceived refusal to modify the plan when the existing one failed to achieve results, etc.

The rationale among Americans for voting the GOP out of leadership was that since they were acting like Democrats anyway, why not just vote for Democrats (which I, for one, did not)?

I think that the another thing that angered Americans enough to cause us to withdraw our support was the fact that our Republican leadership stiffarmed us and called us "crybabies," "extremists," "nutjobs," and "lunatics" when we rightly expressed our dismay regarding their abandonment of the principals upon which they ran, and upon which we elected them. It further angered us to watch as the Party leadership either ignored, refused to support, or outright smeared Republican candidates who were running on a more conservative platform.

There may be some Republicans who simply give up on the party after this. This is a bad idea. If anything, the defeat in this election underscores the absolute requirement for core-values Republicans to take responsibility for their Party and start cleaning house. I am not advocating a "great purge" of all moderates from the party; that is damned nonsense. But I am definitely advocating a purge of all of the RINOs who went against their party's core values, and of any among the GOP leadership who persist in undermining the party's core values through propping up RINO candidates and stiffarming core-values Republicans. These people are poisonous to this Party. The fact that RINO-led Republican leadership was shown the door two nights ago is enough data to underscore the truth in what I say.

Let us not continue to fall under the delusion that Mehlman and company have foisted upon us. If Republicans ever want to hold the majority again, the RINOs have to go. Now. Without fanfare. And with a complementary road map to the DNC. The Party then can be left to return to the values that reflect the base as demonstrated in the "Contract with America," and that made our Party great from the day of its inception.

What I strongly urge every man and woman who calls himself or herself a Republican (myself included) to do is to read the founding values of our Republican Party carefully and with sober reflection. Then let's get busy, because we have a lot of work to do to square this party- and our country- away.

The GOP has lost their majority in the House and the Senate. The American people can now look forward to 24 months of gridlock. Our federal government will spend the next 2 years bogged down in "investigative hearings" and "litmus tests." Our borders will be thrown open. Our troops will be glad to hear that John Murtha, the man who called our troops "butchers," will head the House Armed Services Comittee. Oh, yeah- that'll draw people into the recruiting offices, won't it? And now the people who "voted before the war before they voted against it" are in a position to waffle this nation right into oblivion.

And we have the current "electable" leadership of the Republican Party to blame for that. It's time to clean house.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Reflections of an ER Nurse, Part One.

Want to know what is really, truly sad? Stop for a moment and consider the extreme lengths to which people will go just to temporarily alter their perception of reality- even if for only a few minutes. Consider all of the human wreckage that results from this vain pursuit. That's a real frigging waste of such a priceless creation.

How can one look at the utter devastation that people wreak upon themselves just for a temporary escape from reality and not be affected? Dude, I love my craft. I love the interaction. I love the victories. I love being part of the successful effort to snatch a human being from the jaws of death and all of that altruistic stuff. But I hate seeing people who used to be moms, dads, mailmen, truck drivers, teachers, wives, husbands, scholars, and even nurses, come though the doors of my ER pale and drawn, toothless, scabbed over, crusted with filth, crawling with lice, fleas and ticks, smelling of stale urine and feces, pockmarked with old infections and rat bites, and stripped of any intrinsic beauty they may have had.

And with a few extremely rare exceptions, they don't come looking for answers or deliverance by the time it gets that bad. They just come looking for whatever they can get to just keep them going. All because they saw no other means to rise above some critical point in their worlds. Or sometimes because it all seemed like a lark at first. Whatever the reason, nobody ever decides willingly to throw away a healthy body, a brilliant career, or a marriage so they can go sleep in filth and die utterly alone.

Sometimes I want to shake them, shout at them, whatever- try to get them to see. But they have the right to autonomy, even if it destroys them. Sometimes I want to hug them but I can't, because I'll get infested and I have to protect my other patients. Man, I hate that. It makes me furious sometimes. It makes me cry sometimes. And it affects me always.

Sometimes I think I should try to protect myself from being affected, but how can I demonstrate compassion and yet not care? It is impossible, and so it is impossible to not be affected. But by the grace of God I don't drink it off, I don't toke it off, I don't shoot it off, I don't freebase it off, I don't get ulcers over it. I let myself feel whatever I feel about it and I talk about it with my Savior, with my wife, with my peers, and with myself.

And because of the faith that sustains me and the love that supports me, I can still go in as idealistic, eager and excited about being a nurse as the day I got my license. In that regard, I am the most blessed man in the entire world.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Little Miss Adventure

Last night a "GDFD" (get drunk, fall down) was brought into the Emergency Department by aid car. She arrived, as most drunks do, bellowing obscenities and calling the staff vile names. And this young lady was also a spitter. Nice.

The law allows us to restrain a patient who poses a threat to himself or to staff, and our MD, a particularly excellent one, wasted no time in decreeing that it be made so. Security is always down there, so we summoned them to help us put the leathers and a spit sock on the young lady. We then shifted her over to our bed and unceremoniously strapped her down.

While all this was going on I was getting report from the very beleaguered-looking aid car crew. It seems that the patient was with her friends at a bachelorette party and the patient had a little more than her share of the alcoholic beverages, and when the staff decided that enough was enough about four shots of Jagermeister ago, they cut her off. Little Miss Adventure got up to voice her dismay and wound up on her backside, having struck her head on the way down.

It is interesting to note that although the young woman was maybe only 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighed perhaps a buck-five soaking wet, she fought like a wildcat in a burlap sack with a snake in it. Some people hold their liquor; with others, their liquor holds them. This lady was simply awash in the Nyquil-like stench of Jager.

The staff got Little Miss Adventure settled in (read: strapped down), and I obtained IV access (in this case with a big ol' 18-gauge in her antecubital fossa- that's the inner elbow for you laypersons) and drew blood for lab assays.

Oh, yeah. Little Miss Adventure was also a "biter."

Now, we needed to get a urine toxicology screen as well. Since I am male, obviously I was not the one to go in and do it. But I did inform her that yes, Nurse so-and-so was about to put a catheter down there.

"The f--- she is!" she declared.

So after the catheter was in place and the urine sample was obtained, I sat down do do my charting, a voice from behind me says, "230."

Then I hear, "Naw. She's tiny. 180."

Suddenly, numbers are being called out as if this was the set of The Price is Right.

Now, a brief explanation is called for here. Any time we get a GDFD into the Emergency Department, an informal bet about the blood alcohol content (BAC) immediately forms. It usually starts by someone saying, "249" (or 0.249). So without fail, within thirty seconds the entire front staff of the ED has a number except for me. After some prodding and some quiet consideration, I call out, "310."

"Get out!" says Nurse So-and-So. "She's maybe a hundred pounds soaking wet."

"No," says I, "I will bet you a pizza it's at least 300."

"Okay, Boy Wonder. What makes you so sure?"

"I think she's got a tolerance, that's what. Anyway, 310 is my number and I'm sticking with it."

"Have it your way," says Nurse So-and-So with a dismissive wave.

So all the while, Little Miss Adventure is screaming, kicking, spitting, and offering her pointed and graphic opinions about the lineage and sexual orientation of every staff member she can see, even the poor little housekeeper who came in to change the linen bag in her treatment room. (It's a good thing she doesn't habla the Ingles, or at least much. Still, the darling woman came out of the room shaking her head and muttered, "stupid drunk b----."

About a half hour later, the labs came back. Yes, I was wrong. But we were all shocked. Her BAC was 0.418. What that means is that this little firecracker had herself a helluva tolerance for booze. I've seen worse, but not in a little chicka boom-boom as small as her. Her tox screen also showed THC. That's the groovy stuff found in marijuana.

Also around this time, a couple of the patient's girlfriends filtered sheepishly into the ED. They all seemed genuinely concerned, a little anxious, and shockingly underdressed for the weather. At last, one of them pipes up in a nasal, whiny tone that would have been stereotypically applied to a stripper, "Can we see so-and-so?"

"And you are...?" I asked, looking over my computer screen.

"We're her friends. And we work with her. She was at my bachelorette party," says she.

"I'll tell her you're here. What's your name?"

"It's Nikki. With an I." she says, spelling her name and holding out her hand.

"Charmed," I answer, shaking her hand and stiflng the urge to guffaw. I went into Miss Adventure's room and told her she had some friends here, and asked if she would like to have them in- one at a time.

"Oh, pleeeeeeeeze?" She whined.

"Sure." I exit, motion to Nikki-with-an-I, and tell her to go in alone, and to speak quietly, and that she has only five minutes.

Well, of course, the moment Nikki-with-an-I enters the room, the Boo-Hoo fest begins. Miss Adventure escalates, and we remove Nikki-with-an-I. Miss Adventure calls me more names. Nikki-with-an-I looks a little shaken.

"Wow, she's really plowed, huh?" says Nikki-with-an-I.

"Like Farmer Brown's back forty," says Nurse So-and-So from behind me.

"How long will she be like this?"

"I dunno. Depends on her. It'll be awhile. Can't really tell you much more than that."

Well, do you think she will be able to work Monday?"

"Well, I don't know. What does she do?"

"Oh, we're both kindergarten teachers."

I have never heard the entire staff of my Emergency Department fall completely silent before. It was as if the breath had been sucked out of our lungs. But Nurse So-and-So, bless her, recovered first:

"Thank God I homeschooled."