TODAY FROM AMERICA:
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:
1. A Hayden Tale:
Since Hayden was four years old, almost every night I have been with him, I have told him an ongoing bed-time story regarding a little boy about his age and his pony Acorn (the name of the pony H rode at Naida and Bill’s ranch). The stories concerned Danny and Acorn’s adventures with their friends: the White Knight and his horse, Blackey-whitey; the Black Knight and his horse, Whitey-blackey; the Knight of the Burning Toilet; the Monster that Lived in the Closet; the Wizard that lived in a Castle on the Mountain; and Prince Sammy who lived in a palace in Rivertown with ten princesses whose names were, Brandy, Cindy, Candy, Fannie, Ginnie, Mandy, Sandi, Tammi, Winnie and Abigail Fort and Go Braugh. (I sometimes would forget the names, but Hayden had them memorized and would correct me if I did.)
Danny lived in a small house with a barn for Acorn located next to THE DEEP, THE DARK, FOREST (said in a deep scary voice), in the center of which lived, Grandpa Pookie.
It seems that on the last night before I left two months ago, I had begun an adventure about Zeekie a small green creäture and Three Giants. I did not finish it that night. Instead I promised him I would do so when I returned. Of course by the time I got back, I had forgotten all about it.
On my first night in EDH he took me into the bedroom and asked me to finish the story. After I admitted that I had forgotten what it was about, he nodded sagely, went to a drawer in his headboard and took out a piece of paper. On it he had written out the entire story I had told so far. The words were all phonetically written but understandable.
This surprised me. When I had left only two months ago, I thought he could not yet write. It amazed that he had taken the time and effort to write it down and had the insight to realize that I would probably have forgotten it all.
That night I told him the rest of the story. It wasn’t bad as those stories go and it even had a moral with a twist at the end. The implications of the twist concerned Hayden a lot.
2. Fear and loathing in ICU – Part I
Ever since I arrived in California I had been feeling quite ill; headaches, fatigue and pains in my left leg. The latter, I assumed, was caused by sitting for 10 hours in a center seat during my flight. About five days after my arrival, I had dropped Hayden off for school, had a coffee and bagel at my usual place and returned to the house feeling exceptionally tired. I went back to bed and did not wake up until almost three PM. It was nearly time to pick up Hayden at school and cart him to his Taekwondo lesson. I got up and blacked out. I fell back onto the bed for a moment. When I regained my senses, I discovered I was too fatigued to move further than to the living room sofa. I called Dick at work and told him about my condition, that I couldn’t get to the school and pick up Hayden and that I thought I needed to go to the hospital.
After picking up Hayden, Dick drove us to the local emergency hospital. I staggered into the emergency room and was immediately placed in a wheel chair. While Dick handled the preliminary admission formalities, I fussed over my feelings of helplessness, guilt over the burden I was placing on Dick, and concern about how it all must affect Hayden.
They wheeled me into a room with three people in it where my EKG was taken. A man in green scrubs sitting at a computer asked me questions about my symptoms. When I finished explaining them, he said it sounded to him like I had a pulmonary embolism.
I was then carted off to one of the emergency treatment rooms and put into a bed while a succession of various information scavengers and blood gatherers trooped through.
While I lay there I could see into the main area beyond intake and observe hospital life. It had always found it remarkable that no matter how white bread a neighborhood the hospital is located it, its staff inevitably appears like a branch of the United Nations. It is difficult for me now to identify an ethnic group that did not have a hand in my treatment somewhere along the line. Of course, the highest level of the medical staff, the doctors, is populated primarily by members of the high performing caucasian groups, Ashkenazi Jews, Middle Eastern refugees and Indians.
The other noticeable physical feature of the hospital staff was obesity, and they mostly seemed quite happy and content about it. I was not so sure how I felt about that. It is a hospital after all.
The final information scavenger was a woman with serious determined eyes who collected at least some money against the final medical bill just in case I died so they will have recovered something on account. After she left, the ER doctor, Dr Greenberg, came in, asked a bunch of questions, opined that it sounded as though I had a blood clot on my lung, and announced he was going to have a few more tests run before deciding what to do about me. He left.
Doctors, ask questions, give orders and render opinions. Most of the rest of the hospital medical staff actually do things.
So, I was wheeled through a CAT scan, sonograms and a number of other tests after which I was deposited back in the room to await results.
While waiting, Hayden opined that he thought Dick was rich and Pookie was handsome.
Dr, Greenberg returned and without much in the way of preliminaries, in that deep serious voice doctors often use to announce the death of the patient, said that I had suffered a “very very serious’ pulmonary embolism” that had affected most of my lungs and that I was being admitted into the ICU unit immediately. He, once again, left before I had time to either digest the information or ask any questions, like ‘what did you just say?”
While waiting for the transportation to arrive and trying to understand the information I had just received that I interpreted to mean that I was effectively dead and they were now going to try to resuscitate me, two more doctors entered the room. They were surprisingly cheery and introduced themselves as the co-chief doctors of the ICU unit as though welcoming me into a five-star beach resort. One doctor a Syrian gentleman who maintained a slight smile as he explained to me how sudden death was inevitable in my case without immediate treatment. The Indian woman seemed very happy to visit with me and asked me many of the same questions the information scavengers had asked. I never saw her again.
They transported me to ICU and placed into bed by a number of suspiciously cheery hospital personnel who then vigorously and repeatedly punctured me to extract blood and other bodily fluids and inject me with clear liquids from several bags hung above my head. I was also attached to several monitors and the various blinking lights and beeping one associates with intensive care.
At some point the smiling Syrian appeared at the side of my bed and explained again, how dead I was and what they were planning to do to correct that condition. He left and one of the cheery nurses injected me with morphine, explaining unnecessarily that it would make me feel better. They woke me up about every hour or two to have my blood taken or my body injected with something important. I counted over 30 puncture wounds to my body over the first 24 hours.
I did not sleep much or well that night. In the past, whenever I thought about death, my thoughts were often accompanied by fear – no more accurately terror. Strangely tonight, I felt only sadness; sadness about Jason, Jessica and Hayden and my grandchildren, sadness that I might not be there to see how the next chapters of their life stories played out. (to be continued–perhaps)
Creation myth update #3: Maybe we are not in Mr Rogers’ neighborhood anymore Toto, part III.
Delayed pending reduction of my morphine ration and/or proof that I am still alive.
From Harper’s Index:
• Projected annual revenue Mexican drug cartels stand to lose from pot legalization in Colorado and Washington: $1,400,000,000
• Percentage rate at which Arcata, California, plans to tax excessive electricity use in an effort to punish marijuana growers: 45
• Percentage of children living in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture who have thyroid abnormalities: 40
• Number of hours before power was restored to the majority of Long Island residents affected by the storm: 361
• Estimated cost of maintaining Afghanistan’s national security forces in the year after U.S. troops leave: $4,100,000,000
• Annual budget of the Afghan government: $3,300,000,000
• Last full month in which the average daily temperature did not exceed twentieth-century norms: 2/1985
A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
“Seven studies using experimental and naturalistic methods reveal that upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals. In studies 1 and 2, upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals. In follow-up laboratory studies, upper-class individuals were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies (study 3), take valued goods from others (study 4), lie in a negotiation (study 5), cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize (study 6), and endorse unethical behavior at work (study 7) than were lower-class individuals. Mediator and moderator data demonstrated that upper-class individuals’ unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed.”
Department of Psychology, UCLA, Berkeley, California and Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
I suspect the conclusions in the studies probably will not surprise anyone. Remember these are the same upper-class people who pay other people to tell you that greed is good and that charity and human kindness, if not actually bad, is simply a wrongheaded example of selfishness.
B. Testosterone Chronicles: Gun Control.
I keep hearing from conservatives and gun advocates that race has nothing to do with the gun ownership debate, but that it is about freedom and rights (you know Nazi’s restricted gun ownership and all that.) A few posts ago I argued that race may very well be lurking in the background. Nonsense, say others, it has always been about rights and freedoms.
If so then, how does one explain:
It should also be noted that the second amendment’s inclusion in the Constitution when it was pointed out that proposed Article 1 section 8 permitting the federal government to raise and supervise a militia could also be used to subsume state militias that in the south were often called “slave patrols.”
The fear was that without without the second amendment, the slaves could revolt and the southern states would not have the authority and the personnel to put them down. The individual unregulated right to own guns had nothing to do with it and even those most in favor of the second amendment at that time would have considered that concept ludicrous.
Perhaps the best way to get gun control would be for someone to fund a program to provide free assault rifles for black teenagers so that they can protect themselves.
C. Fun in the labyrinth or giggles in the heart of darkness (Chapter five: At the airport with no place to go – Part 5):
Of course I did not know the elevator did not stop on the second floor until it passed that floor and halted on the first. I took the escalator to the second floor in search of the Immigration Office. The second floor was the arrivals level and lacked the bustle of the 4th floor departure level. There were essentially only the money changing kiosks and two large openings in the far wall from which people arriving in BKK were disgorged. I could not see anything that announced it had anything to do with immigration. Eventually I spotted a door before which stood a woman dressed in a uniform different from most of the others, lighter in color and lacking braid or ribbons. I walked up to her and explained my story and showed her the slip of paper. She smiled and said, “I understand. Follow me.”
She led me into a small room where a man in a similar uniform sat next to a table smaller than a card table. He seemed to have little of no english capabilities, nevertheless I explained everything again showed him the slip of paper and my passport. He leafed through my passport and seemed confused and looked to the woman with what I interpreted as a look of bewilderment.
I said, “Immigration Office. Second Floor. The people on the fourth floor told me to go here. Where is it?” The woman seemed to translate it for him. He fumbled some more through my passports. Eventually I tired of this and asked her “Where is the Immigration office on the second floor?”
She said “in there” and pointed to a door at the back of the room.
“Great” I said. “I will go in there.”
After another brief discussion in Thai with the man, she said, “you can’t”
“What do you mean I cannot. The people on the fourth floor sent me here.” I was clearly getting upset my voice was rising.
They spoke again briefly, then the woman said come with me and took me back into the main hall, vaguely pointed toward the opposite wall and said, “Ask at information counter over there.”
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