Symptoms Of Changing Times

Every once in a while, usually for no particular reason, I find myself thinking about how much things have changed in this world just in the span of my own lifetime. This time it has to do with schools. Now, I am not a hamster nor was I ever one of those “little angel” types that never seemed to get in trouble but I think it’s safe to say that kids today have taken things to an entirely new level.

Back when, kids wrote graffiti just as many do now, the difference was that it’s amazing how much of today’s graffiti is violent in nature. I never really got into the graffiti thing myself, although I did once have one of those custom rubber stamps with which I had about a three week habit of stamping the red inked word BULLSHIT in all kinds of places when nobody was looking. After a while the novelty wore off and I went on to other things. That’s about as far as I went.

Today, some of the thing that you find written, stamped, spray painted, etc. in all of the traditional places is amazingly violent in it’s nature. It’s not just the text either, some of the images I’ve seen that some otherwise very talented people have created are incredibly disturbing. I have to wonder where those images are coming from because I *know* that regardless of what parents teach their kids, images of violent murder aren’t among them.

Or is it?

I wonder how many of those kids had an electronic babysitter in the form of a television that the parents never bothered to monitor or control what the kids watched? Then take those same kids a few years later and allow them access to computers with things like grand theft auto and the time to soak their brains in violent fantasy as a normal thing.

I understand that sometimes parents find themselves with few alternatives but at the very least they can take steps to control what the kids are watching on tv and to keep exposure to it limited in the first place. I honestly believe that my father was right when he called it the “idiot box”. Too much uncontrolled exposure to it will turn your brains to mush.

And then there’s gaming. I enjoy games myself and I’ve spent many an hour playing quake. However when my nieces were young and prone to looking over my shoulder any time I was near a computer, I didn’t start the game up until after they’d gone to bed. They didn’t need to see game characters (human or otherwise doesn’t matter) exploding into a spattered red mess. Perhaps if more people did even a simple thing like that, how many of their kids would have turned out differently.

[tags]images kids see, violent murder, grand theft auto, electronic babysitter, graffiti, bullshit, parents, fantasy, television[/tags]

I Hate Hospitals. Here’s Why.

I was looking around in a collection of files that I’d pre-written to use for blog posts when I ran across one that I’d started writing on Dec 21 and then kept updating until Dec 26, after which I was starting to get sick myself along with being extraordinarily tired and forgot about it.

My original intent was to post the whole thing here as an account of the time that my wife was in the hospital. I know she had started taking down notes from the very beginning. She intended to use those notes for, among other things, blog posts that she was going to write about her hospital stay when she got home.

As I said, When I got sick I forgot all about this file. Later, when she died and all of the (sometimes literal) nightmares that followed, my mind was on anything but this post that I had started writing while we were in the hospital.

I’ve actually spent a lot of time wondering if I should go ahead and post this. I finally came to the conclusion that had things gone differently, I know she was planning to post her account of that hospital stay over several posts. Therefore I’m going ahead and using it.

This one’s for you Lura.

I am not a hamster nor does it take even that smidgen of intellect to realize that hospital stays always suck. Even when it’s for something really cool like a nice, safe, uneventful birth of a healthy baby. It doesn’t take long for everybody involved (with the possible exception of any babys involved.) to decide that it’s already past time to go home and get back to the business of life.

When it’s not such a nice circumstance (usually the case I’m certain), it’s infinitely worse.

Any who have read recent accounts on my wife’s blogs will be familiar with the tale of being bitten last August by a Brown Recluse Spider and the resulting hospital stay. You’ll know about the DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis, blood clot in her leg) that sent her back to the hospital again later that same month.

Fast forward to late November. She’s completely over the spider bite and while she’s been using a cane to help her keep balance, she’s up walking pretty much normally.

She was minding her own business taking her mother on a pre-thanksgiving, ‘get ready for the holiday’ shopping trip when as she walked around the car to help her mother out, the cane slipped on the (dry!) pavement in the store parking lot. You can get the basics of this latest insult to health on recent entries of hers.

Things were going ok and she seemed to be doing better until the blisters started getting worse. Another ambulance ride to an ER, this time resulting in admission to the hospital.

Thus far there have been three surgeries to debride the wound (removing infected tissue) and setting up a vacuum pump drain system to remove infected blood and fluids.

Each of these trips results in her status being changed to NPO which is an acronym for some Latin term that means “nothing by mouth” … argh! why can’t they just say so in English?!?!

Fri 19 Dec.

In the morning when somebody came in with a consent form for that day’s procedure, we decided not to sign until we had a chance to talk to a doctor and maybe even get some answers. Like how many more of these would be needed. We were concerned because of how it was taking her longer and longer to recover from each procedure and of course, we wanted *some* kind of idea how long it would be before we had a chance to see home again.

After waiting most of the day NPO, team from surgery finally shows up to get her … completely ignorant of the consent that had not been signed. Again we asked for Dr to show up.

Some hour or more later Dr. P**** finally shows up. We try to explain to him our concerns and questions but he comes across like some kind of good old boy mechanic talking to a female customer in the backwoods of the south.

His statements come across as a threat. Words to the effect … “If you don’t want the surgery then we’ll have to remove the wound vac and treat the wound by packing it and dealing with it bedside.. which will be a lot more painful and has an increased chance of losing the leg.”

After a bunch of back and forth with him who doesn’t want to let me finish a statement and talking with at least one or two other hosp people, we end up agreeing to the procedure. The one thing we’re holding on to at that point is the fact that it won’t have to be done again until Monday which means there will be at least some time to come out from under the effect of the anesthesia & painkillers.

Sat 20 Dec.

Most of the day spent in varying degrees of sleep and tired (both of us). More tv vegetation. Since late Fri there’s been twice as much blood glucose checks as before.

Late night – Early 4am-5am sun: They wanted blood samples and couldn’t get anything from any of the ports on the central line. An hour or two later they managed to get it clear enough to work.

Sun 21 Dec.

Again we’re both tired. BG tests continued through the early morning, between that and assorted interruptions through most of the night made for little actual rest. I’m having more and more trouble finding a position that I can sleep in. More often than not I find some position that i won’t fall out of and then go to sleep in spite of how much it hurts, knowing how much more I’ll hurt by the time I wake up.

*note*

I’m filling in things from here back as I remember them. Trying for accuracy as much as possible. I’ll revise this information when I can compare to her notes. From here forward I’m going to try to take better notes of what’s happening.

Mon Dec 22

Sometime around 9:30am or so we wake up late. After Lura uses commode and gets back to bed I head down to get breakfast. Sometime after 10am we find out that the surgery isn’t going to happen today after all. Nurse says that she’ll call down for a breakfast tray since there’s no NPO anymore.

Around 10:30am the “breakfast” arrives. It’s nothing more than a bowl of cereal, not a real breakfast at all. I talk to nurse who talks to her supervisor. A few minutes later somebody, presumably from dietary comes by with a load of double talk. Essentially she says “there’s nothing else we can give you, what would you like?”.

At almost 11am somebody informs us about turkey sandwich available in nourishment center for people who’ve missed out on meals for various reasons.

On another note, because of the same mess, her morning meds had not yet arrived. When asked for, it turns out that the painkiller (ms contin 15mg tabs) had expired and had not been renewed yet. Nurse goes to make calls to Dr to get it re-ordered. A bit after 1pm I ask for something because Lura’s hurting quite a bit. Nurse comes in a little while later saying that they’d been re-ordered. By this time, Lura had fallen asleep. I figured to let her sleep and call nurse for meds when she wakes up.

Tues Dec 23

Fire alarms go off at 7am and twice more in early am. I start out day with agonizing jaw pain that grows a migraine to go along with it.

Procedure from previous day scheduled for today @ around 3pm. Lura NPO til then, when I get breakfast, i decide to get an extra order of eggs, gravy and bacon. I get to cafeteria at 9:20am and they’re out of gravy. I end up with biscuits with eggs and sausage. Lura’s ends up bacon and eggs in separate container. That container is marked with room number and put in fridge in “nourishment center” to be retrieved later after her procedure.

Around 3pm surgery team comes to get her. @4pm I get a call from them saying she’s in pre-op and expected to be there until 5pm when procedure will start. Jaw pain and migraine continue.

She gets back to room around 530pm or so,is much wider awake and alert than she has been on previous occasions. I go to retrieve breakfast stored earlier and it’s not there. Asking about it at nurse desk they say dietary has rules and throws away opened stuff they find. A call to dietary has them saying nurses are the one’s throwing stuff out.

Before long there’s several ppl in the room trying to soothe things over. They’re blatting off about some “nation wide state law” (which sounds like utter nonsense to me). They’re also saying there’s a sign on the fridge making clear that opened stuff is not to be stored there and will be thrown away when found.

I do not recall ever seeing such a sign and I maintain to this day that there was no such thing. Even Lura believes that there was probably a sign there but I just never noticed it. [this is part of the thing I have grown to hate where no matter what I remember, most of the time everybody else remembers things differently and my memory is called into question. I’ve reached the point where I feel like it’s an exceptional event when it *doesn’t* Work out like that.]

Meanwhile, the jaw pain continues, migraine continues. It finally gets bad enough that I decide to use one of her painkillers. I eventually start getting some relief from it. I end up sleeping until 330am, when the jaw pain returns. I’m up doing warm water swish until 5am when I’m so tired I end up going back to sleep.

Wed Dec 24

Both of us are very tired all day, I end up sleeping all morning and most of the afternoon. Dietary continues to find new and innovative ways to ruin otherwise good meals. Chef salad had onions and cauliflower in it making it all but inedible for Lura, roast beef is like leather, and vegetables have the taste steamed out of them completely.

7-7:30pm or so

Lura gets up to use bedside commode. As usual, vac unit tubing is disconnected for the brief period she’s up. We both notice that the VAC container is full and we bring this to ppls’ attention along with need for painkiller. They give her painkiller and change out the canister in the VaC unit.

8pm

I take a Maxalt and call family and arrange to go home for a few hours Friday so that I can do some laundry, get money caught up, download email, check for other bills that need taking care of, fix cat potty, grab my other flash drive, buy some Tylenol and a few other things

9;06pm

The changed canister is still leaking. Staff notified and several ppl in here to look at it but as yet, no solution. If I understand them correctly, they’re going to have somebody from recovery have a look at it.

Thing that bugs me about this is the warning that appeared on the unit’s display that if vac is not restored within two hours that an alternate dressing would have to be used, one that Dr. P**** indicated would be a lot more painful to deal with. The two hours has passed since vac was disconnected for that potty trip and there’s still no idea when they’re going to get it fixed so that it connects with proper vacuum.

Then there’s the question of how much pain they’re going to inflict if they end up having to replace the dressing on her leg at bedside. I am *NOT* looking forward to that having to be done but at the same time I can see where it might be possible if they keep screwing around.

10:20pm

Another person in to look at VAC unit and no results. #%@&* thing is still beeping two or three times a minute complaining that therapy is interrupted.

10:37pm

Just checked with them again. They’re now in process of getting another canister from surgery and once they have it, they’ll change it out again. Hopefully with a minimum of pain inflicted. In the meantime, unit is turned off to at least silence the alarms.

I *really* hope that they get this fixed and that her therapy & recovery isn’t adversely affected by this crap. I *still* don’t’ know why it wasn’t changed out yesterday when they did the surgery. That makes zero sense at all.

I remember saying something about it being over half-full when they brought her back from surgery but I guess either nobody heard me or they just didn’t pay any attention. After that, I was down for the count because of jaw pain & painkiller, not getting even reasonably awake until late afternoon after eating supper, long after doc and most nurse visits, which I sorta remember but not quite.

Dec 25 12:17am

The latest report is that they’ve decided that the canister they’re trying to use now is cracked. person at nurse desk says that they’ve looked in the operating room and the ER with no results yet, latest is that somebody has now gone across the street to materials somethingorother to look for one there. Part that bugs me is that this thing has now had the VAC disconnected over 5 hours with no change in sight.

On a personal note, I’m getting **very** tired again and migraine pain is returning. I really don’t want to get into painkillers again, though if it keeps getting bad I’ll have to shut down the computer, take another maxalt and get out the dark shades & close my eyes. Problem with that is that it could easily put me out of action and I can’t feel ok about that until this VAC thing is fixed.

12:35am

S**** (RN) comes in with new VAC container and puts it in place. I said that I wanted to wake Lura before she turned it on because I knew it was going to hurt. Before I have a chance to wake Lura, the VAC unit is turned on and she gets to wake up in the pain of it starting up. It requires another dose of iv painkiller for her to get back to sleep.

Dec 26 10:31pm

Most of Dec 25 is a blur because I was up ’til 1am and due to migraines, jaw pain and being extremely tired. All I can say is that we got through the day. SciFi Channel was running ST-TNG all day and that’s what we left on all day and night.

Friday 26

I was supposed to go home for a while to get some things done but because of fog conditions at home I ended up not going. Lura spent most of the day asleep or really vague. awake in late afternoon & evening expecting latest trip to surgery. For whatever reason, they don’t come for her until 7:15pm.

They have her back in the room by 8pm. After a while she’s awake enough to eat. later stomach is bothering her and they give her Phenegren. By a little after 9pm pain is bothering her enough to need painkiller. Now she’s resting comfortably.

The rest, as they say, is history.

[Tags]hospitals, doctors, nurses, white river hospital, celulitis, blisters, pain, migrane, lack of sleep, morons, thoughtless people, deep vein thrombosis, dvt, brown recluse spider, Lura, december hospital stay, late november, nightmares[/tags]

Today’s P.I.T.A.: The New Racism

Racism.

It’s a subject that many like to stay clear of because of a lot of really nasty things that’s been said and done both because of and about what this or that senseless idiots has done or said. These actions and statements combined with the reactions to them and the retaliations make for a vicious circle where things continue to escalate until some kind of full scale war breaks out.

As a result of all this, a lot of people would rather just turn a blind eye to something instead of dealing with it, others allow things to go on because even if they won’t admit it they think it’s ok or somehow right, then there’s the one’s that just don’t give a rat’s ass. I am not a hamster, I fully understand the reasons why a lot of people would simply rather not deal with a thing. That does not change the fact that something is wrong and very much needs to be dealt with.

I’m sure you’re wondering “What inspired this little rant?” Well, this isn’t a rant, it’s not even close to a rant, I have not yet even begun to rant. This was inspired by a series of blog posts that began with one titled “Whatchu gun-do bout it cracka?“, in which I found the story of kids in a high school that had to deal with groups of black and hispanic kids cutting in the lunch line. When the kids who were already there complained about it, they were asked Whatchu gun-do bout it cracka? and called assorted “reverse racist” names and threatened with various forms of violence from the offenders.

Authority on the scene (translation: lunch monitor) then ends up taking the side of the offenders and punishing the kids who complained about the others cutting in line. This punishment consists of anything from being sent to the back of the line to being denied a hot lunch, getting what’s known as a “sub lunch” instead.

By the way, did you know that it’s actually illegal to deny kids a hot lunch that are on the free or reduced price lunch program? (Not that it shouldn’t be illegal to deny *any* kid a hot lunch)

The “sub lunch” is just that. Sub. As in sub-standard, not fit even for sub-humans or animals. Consisting of apparently whatever nasty thing available in the cafeteria at the time. In the case related in the post I’m talking about it consisted of a *frozen* (as in it was not thawed) turkey sandwich, a rotting apple, and a three day old milk. In my opinion, the person who ordered that to be served and the idiot in training who actually served it should be up on charges. There is flat out zero excuse for this kind of crap.

Kat, The mother of the two boys in the story, contacted the school board and left a detailed message for the person in charge of the high school. Far as I know, she hasn’t gotten a reply yet.

In a followup post the next day titled “Will investgate and call me back“, Kat’s story continues as she contacts the school and leaves a message asking for the principal to call back. When lunchtime arrives and the principal had not called back yet, she called the school again. This time they asked her for details of what the call was about and she gave them enough of the short version to elicit an “audible cringe” from the person taking the message.

Kat’s third post, “I feel violent now.“, brings the update that the principal finally called her back around 3pm.

Basically, the principal said that this was the first time she has heard about this kind of issue, and when I told her that it’s because the students are afraid to speak out about it because they have been threatened with being beaten up, she still insisted that if she doesn’t know about it, she can’t do anything to resolve the issue.

She said if anything like that happens again, that the boys need to go to her office right when it’s happening, and tell her right as it happens. Yeah, being threatened with an ass kicking is really going to motivate students to go tattle tale right then and there huh? That’s like walking around with a big sign that says I just told on you, come kick my ass please.

Ok, it’s obvious to me that this person is at the very least being “willfully ignorant” about the situation because they don’t want to deal with it (or because they somehow think it’s ok.)

As for the frozen turkey sandwich ….

She said she will try to have more supervisors in the cafeteria, but that she cannot guarantee that things will be seen by anyone, and as for the frozen turkey sandwich, she is still investigating that part of the story.

None of the lunch ladies admit to not serving Mark his hot lunch like they were ordered not to, so she will have to go through the computer records for the keypad where the students type in their student number after the lunch lady enters in which type of lunch the student was served.

If he was served a sub lunch, it will be a certain number code, hot lunch is a different number code, the salad bar and $2 a slice pizza bar, is another number code. If he was given the sub lunch and the lunch lady entered that code, then he entered his student number, it will prove what kind of food he was served, but she does not believe that he was given a frozen turkey sandwich. She said the sub lunches are simply pre-packaged cold lunch meat sandwiches for students who choose not to have a hot lunch that day, and she doesn’t think that his sandwich was frozen.

All I can say here is that I have little doubt that if checked, the code will show that he had the hot lunch. It will do so because that particular variety of “sub lunch” is obviously un-official and when a kid is given that, the person entering codes puts in the one for the hot lunch so that the staff’s butts are appropriately covered.

So what the hell do I do now?

If I go to the media, they will want to interview the boys or they won’t report the story, the boys will be on tv, and then they’ll surely get beat up.
I so wish I wasn’t in the shape I am in, I would go to the school every day, take pictures, hang out in the cafeteria, and film what happens myself, post it all up on youtube, label it as the name of the high school and where, just and start being a royal pain in the ass to the principal, force her to do something.

I’ve a few thoughts here Kat. First I think that going to the media is a good idea. Make it clear to them that your boys are not going to appear on camera or be identified by name in the story.

Secondly, getting video of this stuff and posting it on YouTube is a great idea also. I understand that you can’t do this yourself but seems to me that there’s plenty of other parents in the area with the same problem. From the sound of it, odds are pretty good that you know some of those parents. Perhaps one (or more!) of them would be willing to do something like that.

Another thing to think about is that as a blogger, you ARE the media (or at least part of it.). You’ve started by blogging about it, there’s been a bunch of people commenting on your posts and I’m sure that I am not the only one writing about it on my own blog. This needs more bloggers writing about it, making noise, emailing the television station about it, Etc. Etc.

The old saying goes “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”, so make noise, lots of it, until something is done about it. Keep the rest of us updated and I for one will continue to blog about it along with you. Madame Principal obviously doesn’t want the press involved, what she doesn’t know is that in a very real way bloggers are the “New Press”. Word can spread about something quick from blog to blog until it touches so many news feeds that somebody HAS to do something about it.

Somebody (I think it was Ben Franklin) said that “The pen is mightier than the sword” and it’s true.

And a large enough and / or loud enough blog or blogs can beat the living snot out of any pen made.

[Tags]reverse racism, racism, hispanic kids, black kids, lunch program, cutting, cutting in line, sub lunch, substandard lunch, violence, threats, bullying, lunch line, cutting in line, hot lunch[/tags]

Microsoft’s New PC Advisor

I read recently that Microsoft is putting out a new “pc advisor” and the first thing that went through my mind was “I am not a hamster, my PC doesn’t NEED M$’s advice anymore than an Intel board needs Mac memory

Reading further, I see that it was of course, serious instead of being a joke that it sounded like to me. One person commented that there would be useful advantages to something like that. He gave the example of people frequently asking him why their machines were slow.

He said that something that could spot the problem and tell users about it in language they can understand would be helpful. The problem is that’s easily more of a problem than a cure. Take the example he provided where a user’s system would give a message like this:

“Your system is running slowly because Microsoft Outlook and Norton Antivirus are both trying to use your hard drive at the same time. Quitting one of them would speed up your computer.”

There’s entirely too many people out there who just want to use their computers and have them work. They don’t know or care about how it works anymore than most people know about the inner workings of their cars. Entirely too many of these people would decide “I really need Outlook to work better so I’m going to shut off Norton Antivirus”. (and I won’t even touch the part about how they should be using Thunderbird, Claws Mail, or just about anything OTHER than Outlook!)

Go ahead, tell me that wouldn’t happen a thousand times a day.

I dare you to ask tech support experts if I’m right. I think most will agree with me.

[Tags]microsoft, pc advisor, bad advise, pc problems[/tags]

Study Proves Most People Really ARE Idiots

I just saw something on Ars Technica that I can’t help find both funny and sad at the same time. It’s essentially proof of what I think a lot of people have known for a long time and that is that most people’s brains have apparently begun to lose weight in all the wrong ways.

Specifically, some people in the Psychology Department of North Carolina State University made up some fake dialog boxes that are intended to have a varying degree of similarity to real windows messageboxes. They then put together a situation where they could spring them on people who weren’t expecting them.

Essentially they found out that most of the subjects made choices that, had the situation been real, would have given permission for malware to install itself on the system. Why? Mostly because they were so annoyed at having to deal with the popups that they didn’t even bother to look at them. Instead, they just clicked “Ok” to get rid of them.

I am not a hamster, I know that popups are annoying. I hate the things too. but when something appears that looks like a windows dialog box I stop and read it and then look it over. There are times when you can tell that it’s a fake.

For example, if it’s got minimize and maximize buttons on it (even if they’re grayed out), it’s probably some kind of javascript alert pretending to be a windows dialog. Then there’s the text on it, that is sometimes a clue. Look for bad grammar and spelling mistakes. Microsoft may be a greedy corporate giant but for the large part they don’t have a whole lot of those kinds of errors in dialog boxes.

Don’t just click something away. Take at least five seconds to read it first.

[tags]malware, idiots, study, fake popups, windows alert[/tags]