Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Uncanny Resemblance

My cousin Serena's dog is Dumbo's love child.

I have proof.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Weddings and Fun

This past weekend was spent in glorious South Lake Tahoe, attending the most awesome wedding of our good friends AJ and Sherry. Their wedding was wonderful, for the simple reason that they did exactly what they wanted to do, and what suited their personalities and preferences. They decided against the pressure and hassle of planning a huge and formal event; choosing instead to have an intimate gathering in a beautiful vacation town 3.5 hours from home.

The invitations stated "Extreme Casual Attire", with which we were more than happy to comply. They said their vows wearing the clothes that they were most comfortable in, surrounded by people they loved, and followed by the most excellent steak dinner and cake.

The best wedding, whether fancy or casual, is the one in which the bride and groom do what makes them happy first and foremost. Making family happy is important, but not overriding.

The remainder of the weekend was filled with fun activities. We populated the Paigow Poker tables Friday night, with Danny and I alone carting off over $200 in winnings, and AJ and Sherry doing similarly well. And the morning of the wedding, Danny and I took a little adventure in the backcountry desert, courtesy of this very cool ATV Buggy.

Although it may look clunky, this machine was anything but. We sped through the straight-aways, fishtailed the corners and handled the bumpy, hilly desert trail ride with ease. The dust was ridiculous, permeating our masks and goggles with fierce conviction, but this inconvenience was well worth the sheer adrenaline rush we experienced on this zippy machine. It is something I highly recommend, and something we definitely will do again in the future.

We were lucky we left ourselves plenty of time to clean up after the ride and before the wedding. Washing the dust off ourselves (and out of my hair) was no easy feat.

We ended up having to buy eye drops to take the remaining dust particles out of Danny's eyes. All discomfort aside, it was the ride of a lifetime.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

One Word: Batty

Those who have volunteered with me for some time are well aware of the tendency for crazy things to happen all around me for no apparent reason. Not much happens actually to me, but around me. I have an uncanny ability to always be in the vicinity of traffic accidents, people falling down, crazy patients and the like. In firefighter terms, I am considered a Black Cloud. And yesterday, that tendency shone through like the sun's rays piercing an overcast sky.

The day began with me reading, and passing onto my fellow ERT members, a very excellent post by Baby Medic, who spoke of the various methods in which EMS providers handle difficult and combative patients. My good friend Rakesh blogged about this, and my views on the issue are identical to his. I am a helper, an advocate and a provider of care. I show compassion and understanding to my patients, regardless of the situation. I have no desire to use my martial arts training on anyone, much less a patient in need of assistance. However yesterday, I almost had to.

The call came out for a patient who had fallen. Her wrist was bothering her, there was no head trauma, and while she had full range of motion, I was concerned about the swelling. Her face was very pale, her hands were cold, and she was complaining of being dizzy and nauseous. I gave her some oxygen to help with her symptoms.

As the Fire Department was questioning her, they started to notice a pattern of repeated answers. I had noticed this too, and was not certain of the cause. Taking no chances, they did a complete workup on her, including a 12-lead EKG and a conversation with her coworker about her baseline mental status.

The coworker mentioned that she was somewhat flighty, but nothing could have prepared us for her erratic behavior.

She absolutely refused to go to the hospital, going so far as to loudly yell at the paramedic "I NEED MY CAR !!! I won't leave without it !" Finally, they were able to convince her to get on the gurney due to Worker's Compensation rules, but only after she could go to the restroom. I, being the only female responder, followed her.

The restrooms in our buildings are in the middle of the floorplan, and have two doors, one to either side. The patient entered the restroom, asked for help fixing her clothing... then, without warning, bolted out the other door, to the other side of the building.

Perplexed, I followed her, to the cube of a friend of hers. The patient ranted and raved that she absolutely MUST call her 90-year-old mother, and that she was worried about her.

Her mother ? When she was the one that had a possible fractured wrist ? Why would she need to call her mother at this very second, when a gurney was waiting for her ?

When I tried to convince her that she could call her mother on the way to the hospital, she yelled, "I NEED TO CALL MY MOTHER RIGHT NOW !" The look on her face was that of a wild animal, snarling and baring its teeth, ready to attack.


Without a word, I retreated out of the cube, and radioed for help.

As a volunteer, it is not my job to restrain a patient or to force them to do anything. Had she physically attacked me, I could have easily defended myself. But that is the absolute last resort, and something I don't ever wish to do. I volunteer because I want to help, not because I want the satisfaction of restraining someone. The prospect of doing that is frightening to me, and something I wish to avoid at all costs. In my 6 years of volunteering (4 as an EMT), this was the first time any patient had ever made me feel afraid for my safety. It was disturbing, to say the least.

Even after the patient was loaded onto the gurney and meticulously belted in, she attempted to jump off to retrieve her laptop and her purse. We had to convince her that her friend would take her purse off the floor and secure her laptop (which she did). All we could do was be patient, and silently shake our heads when she spouted off about one thing or another.

We deal with all types of people in this business. Even in an office environment.

Monday, November 12, 2007

No Sushi For You

This week's lunch expedition with my friend Jeff took us to a delectable sushi restaurant in the Asian plaza near our place of work. I had been to this establishment a few times before, actually experiencing my first sushi tasting during a business lunch some seven years ago. The quality of the food never disappointed. We were looking forward to the prospect of fresh fish, rice and wasabi on this beautiful California noon hour.

We arrived, and seated ourselves at the sushi boat. Many delicacies floated by on their colorful plates, and we each selected one. As I was enjoying my first unagi nigiri, Jeff suddenly developed a troubled look on his face.

"What's up ?", I asked.

"Well, I don't want to ruin your lunch, but..."

He moved one of the signs on the table, and out scampered a medium-sized cockroach, not two inches from the plate that held my food.


My normal reaction would have been a startled scream, but luckily, Jeff had warned me that my lunch was about to be ruined. Gathering every bit of composure I could muster, I quietly declared, "We're done here." With a quick word to the server, we were gone.

It was all I could do to keep the urge to vomit at bay.

It's sad, really. We both enjoyed this restaurant in the past. I was willing to overlook the fact that the unagi seemed rather dry, and not up to the standards we expected. But, I simply cannot overlook a cockroach, the international symbol of Dirty Disgusting Restaurant, casually walking two inches away from the plate where I was eating my food.

Jeff, being a guy, indicated he might have continued eating if I hadn't been present. I, however, would rather starve.

So much for good, inexpensive sushi.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Peace and Comfort

For the love of God, could someone please tell me, given all the wonderful places in the laundry room for a cat to sleep comfortably, why Mocha would choose the litter box for her daily nap ?

She has a soft house, a cubby in a cat tree, and her spot behind the washer; and yet, she digs herself a hole, flattens it out, curls up and sleeps... in a pile of scented sand and dried-up shit.

I don't get it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Being Scatterbrained Has Its Perks

I lost my cell phone.

Somewhere between taking Mocha to the vet, going with Danny and the kids to Johnny Rockets, and a fun-filled afternoon at Dave & Busters, my phone decided it did not want to be with me anymore.

I was surprised, really. I only dropped the thing about 15 times. I broke the plastic piece holding the stylus and battery on, so I had lost a stylus, on average, every few months. Why ever this phone would want to end our relationship in such a devastating way, I will never know.

By the time I noticed its absence from my belt in the restroom at D&B, it was long gone. After multiple calls to every place I'd visited, I had to grudgingly accept that I would never see my phone again.

I am horrendously disappointed in myself.

It is no secret that I inherited the scatterbrained gene from my father. He can barely remember his coat when he goes out, let alone his keys, cell phone or glasses. One time as a child, I remember being about an hour into a road trip before he realized he didn't have shoes on. We had to turn around. That's my dad.

I am definitely his daughter. As a child, I constantly left my lunch box or gym bag at home, in the lunch room, or on the bus. I once left the school's flute, that I had taken home to practice, at a public transit stop. Luckily, it was returned, but the horror of facing my battleaxe music teacher and her hair-trigger temper has left me scarred for life.

Meticulous attention to detail, combined with a self-enforced "one place for everything" rule has helped me immensely in controlling this tendency. But this time, with this cell phone, it was not meant to be.

So I did what any lost phone owner in the depths of mourning would do.

I bought an iPhone.

Hell yeah.

Sleek, sexy and powerful, this little gadget is the best technology innovation in a years. It checks my email, keeps track of my appointments, lets me browse the web, shows me stocks, weather and directions at one tap, stores and plays my music, and has a wonderful touch-screen that frees me from the constant annoyance of losing a stylus.

This thing is pure testosterone. Just turning it on turns me on.

Sure, it's not perfect. There are no add-on applications for it yet. The web-based apps can be clunky and slow. There is no good solution for instant messaging. And for some unknown reason, the iPhone does not support phone-to-phone picture or video messaging via MMS. I have found a way around this using email, but it is still a pain in the ass.

Disadvantages aside, this is the single coolest thing ever to grace me with its presence.

It was no surprise to me that Time Magazine awarded it the Best Invention of the Year. Now if only I could invent a sticky force-field to ensure I'd never lose it, I'd be a millionare.

For now, I'll settle for the belt clip, and a steadfast vow to keep it in my sight at all times.
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