Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Here comes the Judge, here comes the Judge...

In the ER, we try VERY hard not to let our personal feelings get in the way of what we have to do for patients and their families.
It's not that we don't HAVE feelings and opinions - as evidenced here - but they can't be the basis for how we act!

you MIGHT want to think twice about coming in off the street and demanding that the Social Worker give you free formula for your baby 'cause it's been a long month and you ran out of food stamp vouchers - while at the same time waving around an expensive cell phone,

a French tip maniand extensions past your shoulders!

I was a single mom too, Chiclet, and there are choices to be made!

How 'bout makin' feedin' your kids a priority instead of stylin' and textin' your posse?

Just sayin'.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Decoration Day

It is the VETERAN, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the VETERAN, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the VETERAN, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the VETERAN, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.

Let us remember all those men and women who have served our country in the military this Memorial Day.
May God bless them all!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Two weeks 'til Rosebud!

“Back in the day", I was a Senior High Leader at church.

Planning for, and then guiding the kids on, Mission trips was a huge part of that role and, as daunting as it was (and, I’m sure, still IS) having responsibility for 25 extra teenagers, I LOVED it.

For someone who dreamed of being a Peace Corps volunteer, going to remote places, working under adverse conditions and discovering the universality of human feelings and experience while being within vastly different cultures, is a dream come true for me.

Truth be told, it’s why, when I stopped being a leader for the high school group, I instituted a Mission Group for Adults!

One of the places I traveled to, with both the senior high AND the Adult groups, was Caretta, West Virginia - a coal mine community deep in the ‘hollers’ of McDowell County, one of the poorest counties in the United States.

During one of the trips, another leader and I, both avid gardeners, noted huge banks of wild roses blooming along the road side.

We excitedly reckoned if they could bloom, untended, in the rocky, shale ground of southern West VA under blistering conditions, with only mountain ‘runoff’ from sporadic summer rain, MAYBE transplants would survive in the dry clay soil, under the Missouri sun in August – in other words, in the outer ring of Dante’s hell.

Using spoons, gloves and reclaimed glass jars, we dug up cuttings to bring home.

I made the mistake of planting the ‘start’ in amended soil, enriched with all kinds of additives and nutrients - and, not surprisingly, my ‘Caretta’ rose promptly died.
As disappointed as I was, I accepted failure, mowed over the poor, dead single stick that remained and forgot about it.

But three years later, I noticed there was a new start of rose coming up in the exact same spot.
I had no idea why, after lying dormant for years, a deep root should start growing again.

Not wanting to repeat my earlier mistake, however, I dug it up and placed in it the crummiest dirt I had – the ‘garden’ in the front, created when a new retaining wall was filled in with dirt from construction sites, with only an inch or two of decent topsoil.

A decade later, this plant specimen has not only grown, but flourished, and has almost completely taken over the area.

It has exquisite clumps of blooms and, best of all, the same plant, the same ‘root’, puts out flowers of different colors!
Deep and pale pinks and every variation in between.

Honestly, I've never seen anything like it - and judging from the comments of people who pass by, neither has anyone else!

The Caretta rose blooms right before each Adult Mission trip now and I love the reminder.

Even if we’re all ‘rooted’ in Christ, we're different.
We don’t look, act or perform in the same way.
Our gifts are not the same.
We don’t bloom at the same time; some of us are in full flower and others are still buds, waiting for the right conditions before bursting forth.

We don't need special additives; we've been given all we need to thrive, we just need the right circumstances - and some of us are our most beautiful under adverse conditions.

And, for some late bloomers, those who might not even know what gifts they have to offer, sometimes a move to a new location is exactly what they need before they can spread out and come into their own beauty.

The Caretta rose always serves as a vivid reminder of important truths before heading to Rosebud Reservation and it's a wonderful way of tying together two places I hold deep in my heart.

For me, the plant is a powerful sign of Gods own perfect timing which, not surprisingly, isn't the same as ours.

Unlike Moses, I don’t need a burning bush to tell me that all the ground I walk upon is sacred…I just need a brambling one that blooms!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dear Child Abusers...

We hate to admit it but we're disappointed.

You have brought us SO many fine moments of creative improv...but here you were handed a unique opportunity and you were all asleep at the wheel.

What gives?

You've come up with "a ghost must have done it", "spontaneous combustion bruises" and "Mexicans crawled through the tile in the bathroom ceiling and beat her up" - to name just three of our Top Ten excuses for how your babies got injured.

And we didn't mention it beforehand because we didn't want to give any of you ideas but...
yesterday, you could have brought your baby in with skull fractures, bleeds in his head and numerous bruises - and said God had started to 'take him up in the Rapture'...and then changed his mind and dropped him back to earth!

We even had a diagnosis for it ready - Ruptured Rapture.

And not ONE of you told us that!

You let us down...
and that doesn't happen often.

But it's Monday; get your game on...

the ER

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Did anyone else hear or read this?

The Los Angeles County coroner's office has positively identified "mummified" human remains that were found in a dilapidated Beverly Hills home as those of Yvette Vickers.

The coroner's office determined that "the cause of death was Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease -- heart disease," said Craig Harvey, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner.

Harvey said positive identification of 82-year-old Vickers was made using dental x-rays.

Susan Savage, a neighbor of Vickers, made the gruesome discovery on April 27. Savage told the Los Angeles Times she became concerned when she noticed her neighbors mailbox was overflowing and the front door to her Benedict Canyon home was covered in cobwebs. Savage said she had not seen the reclusive actress since the summer and decided to investigate.

Remains were reportedly on the floor next to a running electric heater.

"The skin is still intact but the body is like dried skin, leathery," a coroner's office spokesman told News earlier this month.

According to the Internet Movie Database, Vickers was the daughter of jazz musicians Charles and Lola Vedder.
The Missouri native was married and divorced twice.
She was most famous for her roles in the 1958 science fiction film "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" and the 1959 horror flick "Attack of the Giant Leeches."

I totally understand the possibility of dying at home alone and not being discovered for days.

I have lived alone for a very long time.
My sons, as loving as they are, do NOT call me every day or even every week... nor do I expect them too.
I'm semi-reclusive after work and, if I didn't show up for a few days, my boss would assume I'd gone nuts and decided to take some time off.

OK, so the subpoenas for court appearances might garner some concern if I didn't show up; but I could see circumstances in which I could go missing and not be missed for awhile.

I'm thinkin' Yvette's agent wasn't knocking down her door with new offers.
Further guessing that her house was completely paid for but she didn't have much saved- so repairs and upkeep weren't do-able; besides, she's from Missouri - have you seen some of the shacks in the Ozarks?I'm sure nothing in Benedict Canyon even comes close!

Here's what I don't understand...
a running electric heater implies ongoing use of electricity...which implies unpaid electric bills for nearly a year??!
Give me a break!!

Ameren UE would have cut service to her sorry ass off after 2 months and then harassed her for payment until they raised the dead!!I'm moving to CA.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Brrrrring brrrrrrring

I should never have answered the damn phone...that was my first mistake!

There should only be so much reality a girl needs to deal with on any given day!

As I went 'slack-jawed' in disgust, shock and incredulity, I knew it was only in part from the information I was hearing; it was more the iceberg it represented.

The call was forcing me to look closely at the system in which I work - which, as far as I'm concerned - is always a BIG mistake!

The average 'life expectancy' for a job in medicine as a Critical Care Pediatric Social worker (PICU and ER) is roughly 18 months.
I'm a veteran of 31 years.

My advice for survival: Own the piece you own; give it 110% of who you are at any given moment but, at some point, you have to trust that other people are giving it all they've got too. You have to trust that others, in other disciplines, will pick up the pieces you hand them and either pass it off -in more complete shape- to the next responsible person in the chain or bring it home.

No one person can do everything!

Keep your head down and, if you want to survive, don't EVER look up or you may see that other folks are dropping the ball that's been handed to them.
To recognize that will drive you crazy - and out the door!

As far as I'm concerned my 'formula' works.

His words made me look up~~~~

In a world in which 4,000 people can be convinced to sign a petition to make 'Pole dancing' an Olympic sport, the States Atty was telling me he didn't believe he could get a jury of 12 rural voters to convict a young, married, mother of two, middle class, church-going babysitter, for the physical abuse and permanent brain damage of a 7 month old infant left in her care.

While it might surprise some, I appreciate that the vast majority of felonies do not lead to arrests and the vast majority of arrests do not lead to prosecutions - but, COME ON, you have to start somewhere!

Maybe you could try showing them a tape of the damn confession!
You know, the one in which she admits being so pissed off by his crying, she picked him up from the high chair and slammed him, head-first, into the side of the playpen with such force that it splintered and collapsed, causing him to then hit his head on the elliptical machine positioned in the corner!
Yeah, that one!

Maybe you could show them a tape of the baby on life support, seizing his brains out in the PICU.... you know, the same image his parents and I had to witness earlier today!

Maybe people wouldn't be so shocked to hear about abuse like this if they were aware of how frequently it happens.
Maybe if there were more prosecutions, your constituents wouldn't think there were just a few random salacious cases reserved for Nancy Grace...
maybe if you did your job more often or, dare I say it, better and charged some people, they'd start to get the drift!!

"Face it, Donna, people don't want to live in a world where shit like this is possible".

I understand that - I do...
but the world I want to live in even less is the one in which no one gets held accountable.

Second mistake?
I should have kept my head down....

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Not anonymous

I hadn't thought of it in years, although I remember the case.

As he spoke, his eyes were shadowed by images and memories that have haunted him for years; the kind that raise questions that stay with you 'til death and for which you pray for answers in the next life.

It was over 25 years ago that the headless, naked body of a young girl was found in the basement of an abandoned house on the South-side.

No amount of searching or forensic investigation (still in it's infancy back then) yielded any clues.
No follow up on missing child reports, no DNA testing; nothing provided this child with a name or a face.

The police involved in the discovery and investigation were profoundly affected; several left the force; those that stayed always were on the look out for the clue, the story, that might finally point them in the right direction.

All of them chipped in their own money to bury her.

But they were bothered by her being alone and unnamed.

Two decades later, a local Prosecutor started the Garden of Innocence, a site in a local cemetery in which children who are killed, abandoned or unclaimed are buried with dignity.

The Detective wanted HIS girl to be with other children who had traveled a similar journey.
He wanted her not to be alone anymore.

So he received permission from the courts to have her dis-interred and re-buried.

The only thing was, he said, when they went to the site where she had been buried, there was no body and no casket to be found.
He, and colleagues, have watched the original tape of the funeral, paced off the distance and recalculated markers and space; all to no avail.
She is missing.

When I said that maybe she can't rest until she finds her head - after giving me a crooked smile which said that only someone with too many years of dealing with this kind of thing could make this kind of joke and be understood - he replied that it made as much sense to him as any other explanation that's been offered.
My faith, and his, teaches us that we are ALL named, known and loved by our Creator.
No matter how this life maims and dismembers us, He will re-member and reclaim us as His own.

I pray that, in the only sense that truly matters, she has already been found and is safe at Home.