Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wednesday's Digressions

  • At 110 MPH Beemer is making about 5500 RPMs. I love the manual shift- holy smokes it pulls out great.

  • Why so fast? My favorite song was on Deftones- Change (In The House Of Flies). Don't even bother- I assure you, you won't like it.

  • Zac can bench press 15 pounds.

  • "I'm calling whine one one for you right now"- last text I received.

  • Ha!

  • I got drunk dialed again last night. This time an old friend who moved out of state. I couldn't hear a word she said so she said (or rather slurred)," Doth worry. I go aside on the balcony. I get great ceptions there." I heard a sliding door open then she said,"Now..." and there was a bang-crash-boom then click and nothing. She didn't call back and wouldn't answer when I tried. About 3 hours later as I was dozing off it hit me- Oh God- please don't tell me she just took a nose dive off her balcony and pile drivered herself into the sidewalk...

  • Oh, speaking of weird calls- I may have mentioned the little baby who would call my phone. She would say,"What you doin?" Driving, what you doin baby? "Nothing- what you doin?" she would reply. Then she'd say,"I love you." and I'd say back, I love you too. Again she'd say,"I love you." and I'd say,"I love you too." This happened 2-3 times a week for a month and I never figured out who it was. Then, one night at work an older child- maybe 8? year old girl left a voice mail from the same number at about midnight," Mama, I want you to come home NOW ! We need you. Come home NOW mama !"

  • Sickening.
  • There's nothing in this world like when Zac tells me he loves me.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday's Dispatch

  • Yesterday Zac looked out the window of the car and said, "Wow, that's a big hand!" After a glance around and nothing big handedish being noted he was asked, "Where?" "Right there!" he said pointing to a big puffy cloud that yes- resembled a hand fairly well.

  • "The panther is like a leopard, Except it hasn't been peppered. Should you behold a panther crouch, Prepare to say Ouch. Better yet, if called by a panther, Don't anther."- Panther: my favorite David Ogden Nash poem.

  • "I always thought you'd be an explorer an adventurer or a mountain climber or something." That was the last thing my mom said to me. She wasn't being cruel or registering disappointment- just stating what she had thought. There's still time for me and oddly enough I've always kind of known if there is a way to make it happen I'd climb Everest.

  • Limp Bizkit Walking Away. A new, simply awesome song by Limp Biz. Yes, I said, "new" "awesome" and "Limp Bizkit" in a sentence.

  • On the road if you get behind one of the new sportier Volvo's they'll always drive fast, but safely.

  • In the movies if they want an automated door to open, close or stop midway they do the same thing- shoot the control panel.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Turn Away If You Don't Want To See My Darkside

Here's my story.

On one of the rare patrols we had that I was not leading the lead truck called back on the radio, "Send Doc and Combatkevin forward we got at least one casualty here- looks bad, an abdominal wound-blood is everywhere." I ordered my driver to collapse onto the scene from the flank security position we'd been holding. As I approached a car full of civilians with Doc we saw a small girl bent over at the waist. She was wearing nice clothes that seemed threadbare and obviously hand me downs and was holding a white prayer cloth against her abdomen. The cloth was about half covered with bright red blood and was partially black from flies. Her clothes absolutely swallowed her and made her seem even more alone small and fragile. I had her princely, smug little brother who was wearing new western style clothes removed from the car. After saying Hello and it's going to be OK in terrible Arabic I said in English with my softest most gentle tone,"Here baby let me see. I can help you. My daughter is about your age..." and had to step back in surprise to widen my field of view when I saw no visible wound to her abdomen and did not feel anything, but sweat on her back. I then saw her thickly clubbed nails and simultaneously realised she was the size yes of a seven year old , but was probably closer to twelve. And then it hit me- that sweet sickly smell of overwhelming tuberculosis infection- she had TB plus probably a genetic heart defect. She had been coughing blood up onto the cloth. We gathered a history from the parents and since she was in danger of losing her life we knew we could request she be allowed to be brought in for treatment. Everything went well until TB was mentioned- no isolation facilities available.

The parents reported they'd already attempted to take her to the hospital in Fallujah after leaving a wedding, but turned around when they saw an insurgent roadblock. "Cool- let's go kill those fools and escort 'em to the Fallujah hospital." someone said.

Again back to the radio and again request denied although this time higher up allowed us to escort them to a nearby village which had a small clinic.

She was deteriorating before our eyes turning a ghastly pale as she struggled just to breath.

We shagged out to the village where a crowd starting forming rapidly while someone went to look for the guy referred to as a physicians assistant. The father let her get out of the car and try try to walk by herself. I snapped my fingers at him and motioned for him to pick her up. He gave me what I thought was the stupidest look I'd ever seen and stood there starely blankly at me as she struggled to breath and walk. "Mark, tell that jackass to pick her up before I buttstroke him and carry her before she dies right here in front of us" I barked at our interpreter. "Gawd almighty. Animals- daughter so sick she can't walk and you have to tell the father to carry her?!" Doc said.

The father half dropped her under a crepe myrtle tree her legs splayed out to her sides, her head hanging over blood and drool flowing from that tiny mouth. She was absolutely gray- worn out from just the effort to breathe and dying in front of us. There were crepe myrtle blossoms all over the ground which had dropped from the heat earlier in the day. The blossoms were being blown around by a cool breeze coming off the lake- just swirling all around her. Those red and pink blossoms mixed with that poor babies blood. She was so alone- utterly alone in her suffering and the crowd of gawkers continued to grow.

"Mark tell these people to get back. Get 'em away from me. I don't want them anywhere near me. Tell them to go home."

"What can I do for her Kev.?" Doc asked when we realised the PA may not come. I named off the three drugs that would give her some relief- one to pull fluids from her body another to dry remaining fluids up and a third to strengthen her heart and to ease her pain. "I got all that. What kinda doses should I use man?" he asked ripping his aid bag open. I rattled off the doses of two meds off quickly and informed him I'd calculate the other if he wanted me to then said,"Man, I'm not going to leave you hanging- you know I won't, but this child is dying. There is nothing we can do to stop the fact she will be dead in two or three hours. Before the sun sets she'll be dead. She'll be dead and I promise you since we gave her the meds her parents will blame us and three weeks from now we'll watch everybody else leave for the states while we wait in Kuwait for an investigation to be completed." "Oh my God. You are right- they'll charge us." "Probably won't charge us, but there will be an investigation." I said.

"F#@K that!" he said zipping his bag back up.

We roared off shortly after this exchange since the PA had returned and started to immediately run some IV fluids on her wide open- the absolute worst thing he could have done especially since he indicated that was all he was going to do for her. He was essentially drowning her.

On the way home we were all quiet- alone with our thoughts. I tried to will the sun to set so I'd know she was dead since I knew by the time it set she'd be gone and her suffering would be over and functionally that was all I did to relieve her agony. I was only vaguely surprised I felt nothing for her that would compensate for me being away from my family for one more minute.

My heart felt cold- literally cold and hard and in that moment I knew where the expression cold hearted came from.

I simply did not care.

In the following days guys came up who were on the periphery of the scene doing security and so did not know everything that transpired- they simply knew we took a sick child off a highway and took her to a clinic. They would come up to me and say,"Good job with that kid- it's good to help people for a change huh?" etc. I would look at them like they were a bug and walk away.

Doc and I are the only only ones carrying that poor, tiny girl's soul around- even senior leadership on the ground don't know the whole story.

Only the two of us- healers each of us known as Doctor Mister in the villages we had visited in the past for our impromptu clinics on the hood of a HUMVEE.

That night I was filled with something that I'll have to call grief for lack of a better term. It's rare I'm at a loss to describe my feelings, but that's the best I can do. After tossing and turning for hours I went out to the smoke pit to see if there was anyone I knew there to talk to get my head together. No one was there just a fire in the burn barrel- it oddly seemed lonely without humans. I walked off into the desert at first not sure why. When I realised I needed to cry I went even further. When I was out of any ambient light I stopped and felt tears start to burn my eyes. I dropped to my knees on the ground and choked up like I was going to bawl like a baby- and then it stopped. That was it- nothing. I looked around surprised and unsure what was going on- maybe that was all I needed or that was all I had to give, I don't know. I went back to the tent and slept- I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

It's been nearly five years since that day. A red crepe myrtle tree that's dropped it's blossoms on the ground can still stop me dead in my tracks.

Stone Sour: Bother
I wish I were too dead to cry
My self affliction fades
Stones to throw at my creator
Masochists to which I cater
I wish I was too dead to care
If indeed I cared at all
I wish I had a reason
My flaws are open season
For this I gave up trying
One good turn deserves my dying.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday's Digressions

Big bubba just didn't know how much help he needed while working the stock show.

  • With one exception every Emily Dickinson poem can be sung to the tune of Teh Yellow Rose Of Texas.

  • Did I make that up? I don't know, I've had that thought stuck in my mind for a while, but I don't know where I read or heard it. And yes- I caught the "teh" foible- I do that every time and have decided to embrace the teh.

  • Recently, I learned something awful about someone I do business with occasionally and he will not get another nickel of mine.

  • Of course the awfulity of drinking OJ after brushing your teeth is legendary, but have you ever tried eating a peach after same? I do no recommend the practice.

  • Bleack.

  • The dance scene from Matrix Reloaded is very sexy to me for some reason.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday's Missives

  • My 16 year old will have an associates degree completed by the time he graduates high school. Maybe youth isn't wasted on young people.

  • Zacs new thing- he asks for,"An orange juice to go please." when leaving a restaurant.

  • At Bridgeport Lake yesterday I was surrounded by my sister's family- outlaws and in laws as we say. A thunderstorm was forming clouds old timers called thunderheads and it was about a billion degrees. If it was sensitive, private, inaccessible and on me- it was coated in sand. I pulled a muscle towing a nephew on a boogie board. Zac said he was going to pee by the car, but when I turned to cover him he dropped his shorts and took a growler forcing me to find a sack and pick it up and throw it away. I also got some doo-doo on my hand helping him wipe his hiney with a Jack In The Box napkin. And I was content- incredibly content, surrounded by people who didn't choose me, but love me in spite of myself.

  • At least two women at the apartments has looked at me, down at Zac, up to my ring hand and back up to me and said,"He's so cuuuuute!" or "Y'all look adorable together."

  • When I see a guy in an Army uniform I feel incredibly jealous.

  • Workouts are coming along great. I'm on target to look pretty sick by Christmas if I don't injure myself. I'm already coming out of shirts which were tight-ish to start with. I've advanced enough if I miss my workout I feel bad, can't sleep and get irritable. I'm not fully sure why that happens- it's somewhat psychological I'm sure, but there is a physiological component as well.

  • Fort Worth Museum Of S and H is great following the remodel and all the new exhibits, but like lunches- there's no free parking.
  • My new favorite song- Neon Trees Animal.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday's Summary

  • Off to Mineral Wells State Park.
  • There is simply nothing better than friends- new or old.
  • I may occasionally say Good morning to my children first, but I try to make the first thing they hear I love you.
  • Zac and I were at the fitness center well before 7:00 AM. He would get more out of the workouts if he would quit flirting with the college girls.
  • We're at friends who have a gorgeous 16 year old daughter- can't tear him away.
  • Bought Dublin Dr. Peppers at Wally World this morning. Life got a little better after that.
  • "You look sharp!" the girl at Kohls said to Zac when he marched out of the dressing room. I'm surprised he didn't say, I know.
  • He was probably thinking it.
  • We're out of here! Fun times.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday's Thoughts

  • I'm unbelievably sleepy- carb. overload from Sweetie Pies I guess and the onions don't help. If I'm already tired they knock me smooth out.
  • Here you go- Cage The Elephant- No Rest For The Wicked. You were right- thanks.

  • 'Does it exist?' she asked in a recent text. I really believe so, so let's hope for the best.

  • Are geckos native to Texas? I didn't think so, but there are areas of the metroplex that are covered with them.

  • You know you're a hospice nurse when you've attempted a repair of a Seal A Meal, walked the patients dog and captured a gecko in the daughters bedroom to release it outside- all in a single shift.
  • I'm responding real well to working out again- can already tell shirts are fitting tighter, I feel good and thankfully haven't re injured myself.
  • If it gets any hotter the air will burst into flames.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday's Dispatch

I don't know where to start.

  • The case I'm working now is unbelievably hard. He has a very- very high acuity level and the case is inherently sad. Also- he has C-difficile infection making him explode in a cloud of brown goo about every 20 minutes.

  • Code Brown.

  • Note to future patients: just because I kept you cracking up, was unnaturally patient with the situation and we learned each others life stories does not mean I want to drive an hour to be destroyed for twelve by coming back. Believe me it was way more fun for you than me.

  • I'll be back. If you know nothing else about me- know I'm a slow learner and a glutton for punishment.

  • Did I mention I flipped a bedpan full of doo-doo all over me and had to wear some ridiculous high water polyester sweats while the patiwents wife washed my stuff?
  • Patiwents? Ha- patients.

  • It was AWESOME!
  • Recently two different women at two different times leaned in and confided in a conspiratorial/attempted humorous tone how they gutted their ex husbands in the divorce. Believe me that's less than attractive.
  • Most recent woman who seems interested in me is maybe 25, is covered in tattoos and has no children.
  • What could possiblie go rong?
  • Zac has caught four fish this year. We go to Denny's every morning before we go fishing. He asks for , "Orange juice and stwawbewees pwease!" every time. He is such an awesome person.
  • Big brother spent a lot of the summer wake boarding behind a Ski Nautique. Man oh man. That colicky baby I drove around in my awesome 1988 Camaro at all hours of the night so at least one of us could get some peace and quiet is 6 ft+ tall dark with perfect teeth and is chasing girls on the lake while wake boarding.
  • Simply unbelievable.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday's Missives

Humans are sooo unbelievably dumb. Pay you to place my child near something that could rip him in half literally faster than you could blink an eye? Sure- why not?

  • I've never eaten any type of kabob or the testicles of any animal.

  • Could see the first statement changing- not the second without some sort of sorcery- or at least treachery.
  • This is my first post since forever although I continue my dumb journals in the notebook I use for work. Still like coming back and seeing the posts I've missed and read each one.
  • Seriously contemplating a return to public health nursing. It has: great hours, surprisingly good retirement and pay and could you feel any better about yourself when you're helping essentially helpless people and improving public health?

  • There is a big deal made over stats from some study every year or two about how men are _____ times more likely to cheat than women in a relationship. You couldn't make me believe there's that big of a difference and due to the fact a dog ugly woman will have ten guys elbowing each other out of the way to have sex with her it wouldn't be surprising if they are less faithful than men.

  • It's odd to me people will wring their hands in holy horror that heroin is considered a legitimate drug in some countries while understanding morphine is a legitimate drug to control severe pain here in the United States when they each essentially convert into the same drug in the human body.

  • I often catch myself now inadvertently using there when it should be their in a sentence I'm writing.

  • So, that's where it starts...

  • You would not believe either the sheer volume or nasty content of spam comments I received when I did a post about a cock fight near my hometown.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday's Late Dispatch- Loneliness A Brief Treatise Involving Intensely Scientific Observations And Generally All The Answers To All The Questions

  • Is there anything worse than loneliness? It's even worse than heartache I'm sure. Heartache as a certain ebb and flow and times even a certain blunt numbness that eases the pain, but loneliness? It wraps itself around you festering- sometimes making it impossible to do the things that may otherwise make you feel better.

  • My heart really goes out to lonely folks.

  • I've never looked at them the same after experiencing it firsthand for the first time. Want to know lonely? Visit with that neighbor you have whose name you may not even know who is 80 something and lost her spouse of 50+ years two years ago.

  • Really, it will be good for both of you.

  • Is it worse for men when it truly happens?

  • Why when I ask that question aloud do I nearly get my head ripped off by angry women?

  • I think on balance though it may be due to better support systems and continuous obligations women must throw themselves into which will ease the pain until time can work its magic. Women almost always have to be tougher- men can wallow when not engaged in their occupation- women seldom have time.

  • When I was young I jetted off out of state and went to college and spent over a year on my own and when even younger went halfway around the world in the military often travelling out by myself from my posts. It was viewed as a strength which was commented on often- "How can you be alone so much and seem so happy? I would die!" At the time, although reasonably cognisant of how devastating loneliness could be and a compassionate person when I saw it, I was at the heart of the issue- clueless and smugly basked in the adulation I received based on my so called strength.

  • Mostly, I was lucky I've since learned. There was a natural resilience due to my youthfulness, a generally outgoing personality and curiosity (all of which helped more than I could have known at the time) and in times of need (yes, even when I didn't know I needed them) people close to me were truly interested in my welfare.
  • I hope to be there for others and be thankful for those interested enough in my welfare to be remembered long after I knew I needed them.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday's Missives

Zac playing with a toy excavator that was mine when I was little. It's been floating around the yard of the house I grew up in for 35-40 years. The string Zac is holding is part of a fairly complex series of cables and pulleys that allowed it to function like a real one. Teaching him how to play with it I was a little boy again for a second- bursting into tears when mom would put me off about restringing it so it would work- "I've got to make lunch!" she'd say "But, Mama Pleeeeeease!" I'd say,"Pretty please with sugar on top!" I'd add in moments of desperation. Worked every time- "Oh, good grief!" she'd say as she grabbed the butter knife she knew she'd need to straighten out the rats nest of string wrapped around the pulleys.

  • Always cool: I took pictures of a couple of my pistolas recently- to show a girl.

  • After she showed me hers.

  • I want to to the college libraries where I've attended and see my picture in the annuals.

  • Huntingtons Chorea- terrible disease. Thankfully, I've only cared for two patients in my career.

  • I don't like any medication that makes me sleep- makes me feel helpless/powerless.

  • Of my mom someone said,"She did the best she could with what she had." Don't guess you could ask for more from a person and now I get that.

  • I didn't feel well the other day and I left my sisters house without saying bye to my brother in law and I still fell feel badly about it. He's a rock for a lot of people I think.

  • Inception looks fantastic and since Dicaprio is in it you know it will be good.

  • Sorry if you know and care about me, but the Beemer is as comfortable at 120 mph as it is at 50 mph.

  • Like I said- if you know me...