Daily Reads

Friday, May 24, 2013

Have we really put the "Demise of Democracy" off for another generation?

This morning on the way into work I was listening to our local talk radio station.  One of the local op-ed folks was on and talked about attending the Coast Guard Academy graduation on Wednesday.

The thrust of what he had to say was that with the various military academies turning out students like this, and that we still had such competition for the few places in those academies every year, he didn't think that we had to worry about losing our democracy, at least not in this generation. Of course he was also seriously misquoting Reagan, since it wasn't the demise of Democracy, but rather the demise of Freedom that is never more than a generation away.

I'm not sure that I agree with him.  Perhaps on his premise about the demise of Democracy, but then we all know that democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what's for lunch.  We have a lot of wolves out there eyeing the lambs hungrily.

But for the survival of Freedom?  Yes, we have a large number of young people who agree that is indeed the greatest nation on earth, and that we are the last shining beacon on the hill.  But are they really a large enough segment of the population, enough armed lambs,  to keep the socialist, "gimme", hordes of wolves at bay?  Given the massive number of scandals that have come to light in just the last few weeks, it's a pretty sure bet that the last election was, if not stolen, at least severely compromised, and I don't hear anyone worrying about that.  That that compromise was coming from career civil servants is something that should worry everyone, because administrations come and go, as do members of Congress, but the civil service lives forever.  Think "Yes Minister" from England.  The Minister may think he runs the place, but he doesn't.  And if we can't prevent an entrenched priviledged class of civil "servants" from becoming our masters, it doesn't matter who we elect, we won't be able to turn this juggernaut around.  As with the Red October, our ship of state steers like a pig, and it isn't unreasonable to fear that we may already be too late to stop her heading for the rocks.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hmmmm.... Should I be contacting a malpractice lawyer about now?

I think I've described some of my family's "Fun at the ER" from the other week - 3 trips in fivedays, and the first one was pointless.  That it is the ER at the hospital where I work just added insult to injury.

All told that visit was bad enough that the following Monday I contacted our "Patient Advocate" and gave her the whole story and was assured that she would be looking into it.  I hadn't heard back by this past Friday (10 days later) so I left her another message.

Monday I got a call from the nursing manager for the ER, and she'd really like to talk to me about my daughter's experience.  So she stopped by after lunch and we talked for about half an hour.  Basically, there are protocols for dealing with headache patients, and they involve placing them in quiet rooms.  Room 8A, a sort of anteroom to a double resus bay, is NOT a quiet room by definition.  So I've been assured that staff will be reminded that patient complaint is an important consideration when deciding which room to place them in.  I also got a lot of explanation of why the Dr in question might not have wanted to give Phenergan, nor start out with a head CT.  I agreed, but said my concern was that after three doses of the same medicine which just exacerbated her symptoms, perhaps changing medicine or starting some testing might have been reasonable, rather than just discharging us.

I got to talk to the chief ER physician yesterday.  Again, said I understood the concern with head CTs, and why they wouldn't have started out with one, given that there was a chance this headache was a reaction to a  new medication, and that there is a need to keep radiation exposure to a minimum especially with growing children.  Apparently the treating physician had thought we wanted to leave quickly.  I said well, given that we had been there six hours, and the only plan had been to keep repeating doses of medication which made things worse, leaving seemed a viable option.  What I really wanted was either some actual testing or a change in medication, and yes, Phenergan can have some unpleasant temporary side-effects (which is why it is given with Benedryl), but those side effects which only last a few minutes are preferable to a blinding headache which has lasted hours and looks to continue that way.  Also, seeing that neither Dilaudid nor Percocet had had any effect, I didn't understand why the only script we were given was for Vicodin.  Which unsurprisingly didn't help either.

So to recap, I've had two fairly high level managers spend half an hour each apologizing to me for how my daughter wasn't treated during an ER visit and promising further investigation.  Which to my suspicious little mind means that they are concerned that I could sue.  Given that there was no attempt to find out why the headache didn't respond to the medicine, and that there is a family history of brain aneurysms, if I didn't need to keep my job, I'd be tempted to find a lawyer and find out.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Computer Weirdness.

My computer has decided that one site, and one site only can not be read in Chrome on the Windows 8 side of the box.  Using IE on the Win 7 side is just fine.

I suspect you can see the problem.  For some reason every letter except for links is off by one from what it should be, and there are all these added exclamation marks.

I have no idea why Chrome should hate me today, and only this site (so far).

ETA: Crap.  It hates Coursera too.   
ETA: And now, after rebooting, everything seems to be back to normal. I wonder if it had something to do with loading a new set of printer drivers....

Friday, May 10, 2013

Silliness. Because the rest of the world is just too depressing right now.

As a cat owner(ownee?), this is just too true.

And this is just amusing.  I want a hedgehog.

On an amusing, but annoyed note, the local squirrel has decided that this year, as last, the flower boxes on the porch railings are there specifically for him to dig in.
I reset all the petunias and coxcombs, and then found the organic pest repellent I used last year with some success on the garden (it has to be resprayed every time it rains, and I forgot - the groundhog took full advantage, damn him), and poured some into each box.  It's an interesting mixture of garlic oil and dried animal blood, and we'll see if it scares squirrels off.  As it was, yesterday morning as I was about to open the door, there he was sitting at the top of the stairs eating a stale muffin and staring at me, bold as brass.  He only left when I opened the door.  I'd invest in a pellet gun for both him and the goundhog, neither being an endangered species, but we have neighbors quite close, and directly in the line of fire from the door to the deck.


Thursday, May 02, 2013

Repeat yesterday.

Except that this time we're in the other hospital's stand-alone ER/Urgent Care, and it's evening not morning. And it's a lot quieter back here than it was yesterday.  They don't have us in a tiny storage area in a room full of cardiac monitors going off full volume every few minutes.

The nurse seemed slightly surprised that they hadn't done a spinal tap at the other hospital since offspring's neck is sore and a little stiff along with the unrelenting headache.


I suppose that if it is meningitis at least they'll have a diagnosis and maybe figure out what they can give her for the headache.  Right now the best guess has been a reaction to the Wellbutrin she started on on Tuesday.  But you'd think that some form of narcotic would have helped.

Update:  It's been about two hours since that post, and we've been sent over to the main hospital.  They do think it's just a bad migraine, perhaps a cluster, and have given her some different meds, benedryl and reglan, and it seems to have stopped the headache within minutes.  Apparently dilaudid is not known as a good pain med for headaches.  I will have to politely complain to the first ED about that, since what we've been given here seems to be the norm at most other hospitals.

I would recommend not looking at this right before bed.

That thing on the bottom.....

I've seen critters in horror movies who were less scary and less living dead.  And those were truly scary movies with real special effects budgets.

And I can't stop looking at it.

If I wasn't coming out of a 3 ½ hour budget session after a 6 hour ER visit (where they sent us home with a child with a worse headache then when we arrived), I don't know if I'd be able to sleep tonight.  

I'm not sure I'll ever look at my little stuffed kangaroo-skin koala the same way ever again....

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Dealing with the hospital system. Sigh

Instead of spending an exciting morning at work scanning articles for ILL and searching databases for non-existent studies, I'm sitting in the ER with my younger daughter who has had a bad headache for 24 hours, not touched by NSAIDs, sumatriptan, or even much by narcotics.

For some reason the Convenient Care section for the folks who don't have heart attacks or missing limbs doesn't open until 11am now (it used to 9), and they've put a child with a bad migraine, made worse by noise, in what is essentially a storage corner of a two bed resus room.

At least the monitors have finally been turned off.

She was given some steroids and a shot of Dilaudid over half an hour ago, and she says it actually has gotten worse.  The nurse said that IM Dilaudid can make things worse for a few minutes, but by 20 minutes or so she should be feeling much better.

She's not.

At least she has a gurney to lie on.  I'm sitting on a chair scrounged up from someplace, using the foot of the gurney for the laptop, and trying very hard to be really, really, small so I don't get hit by gurneys coming in and out.

I'm not impressed, and starting to wonder if we wouldn't have been better off at the ER in the next town over.  On the other hand, at least once she's discharged, my husband can pick her up and I can clock in to work if there is enough time left.  In another 90 minutes there won't be much point.

Hopefully the nurse will be in soon with the discharge paperwork so we can tell her that the meds aren't working.