Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

It is official, Danny is on crack.

Well the Premier toured the hospital in my hometown today. He was taken to the cramped areas where nurses and doctors work and was shown broken and outdated equipment that the health professionals use to treat (and I use that word lightly) their patients including a temperamental X-Ray machine. When shown the operating suites Danny made a small gaff: "Obviously there are bigger operating rooms than this?" Why no Danny, came the answer, this is our standard operating room. His reply: "You're not serious!"

Is anyone else asking why this is such a suprise to him besides me? Anyone?

Oh yes, we are serious Danny Boy. Serious as a heart attack in the dead of night, when there are two nurses on duty but one is with the teen who just came in with Grand Mal seizure and a head injury; the other nurse is on the phone with the paramedics coming in from a serious motor vehicle accident on the highway, and the rest of her lines are lit up as well. The one doctor on call is in with the kid seizing, and is mentally trying to brace himself for the call coming in from the highway. Meanwhile, a restless dozen or more ER patients sit crammed, side by each in the tiny waiting room. Some have been there for 6 hours or more; some puking; some coughing; all miserable and stewing in their own juices.

This was a night at the ER for me some 15 years ago, when we brought my boyfriend, now husband, into the ER while he was having a Grand Mal. Things have gone further down the crapper since then and Grand Falls is only the tip of the iceberg.

Recently Meeker on Media shared a pretty dark letter he received from one of the nurses who works at the Health Science Center. It tells a sad tale of nurses who cannot be advocates for their patients for fear of job action being taken against them. Of nurses so overworked they can’t tend to patients in their dying hours. Of a lack of response on behalf of health care workers outside of the ER towards ER staff and patients because their work load is too heavy, thus further compounding the problem of overcrowding at wait times in the ER itself. It is burning good people out. It is making a difficult job harder. It is unacceptable.

People are frustrated, people are lashing out, and who gets the brunt of it? The nurses. Nurses have been assaulted in the ER, one nurse reports a wheelchair being thrown at her. When people are treated like animals, they tend to act that way.

Many of my classmates who choose a life in the health care field have left the Rock, many have left Canada, to work in places where they are properly compensated, have the proper working conditions and are given the respect they are due. Those who remain are tired, frustrated, and feel just as abandoned by the system as their patients do. And when doctors and nurses are this tired, over worked and frustrated, and angry, they tend to make mistakes. Mistakes like 42% rate of inaccuracy of hormone receptor tests for breast cancer patients, or flawed work by a radiologists overseeing the care of more than 3500 patients, or a nicked bowel on a patient who simply wanted a cyst removed.

But to hear Danny Boy tell it today "Our health-care system is not in a crisis". Then, the moron continues to elaborate saying that "the Grand Falls-Windsor hospital will be standing in line with deteriorating schools and roads", and one can only assume, 1000 dollar baby bonus checks for families back home.

Well ladies, maybe you should learn how to squat down and deliver those babies on your own because it seems there will be no room at the inn if you need to haul ass to the ER.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A thousand bucks for every baby?

Most politicians simply kiss babies, or take the obligatory picture with one. Smile for the camera! But our Danny takes that old election ploy one step further- he is bribing them before they are even born!

Yes the election promise made by Williams on Tuesday means parents would get $1,000 for every child they have in an effort to combat a sagging birth rate and mass outmigration that has sapped the province.

Hey Danny, come here for a second! Now listen close, I need to explain something to your ass:

Most Newfoundlanders would give their left tit (or nut as the case may be) to live and work on the Rock. They are not leaving because they want to- they have to. They search for work that pays them a fair wage. Work that is stable. Work in a province that can offer their children opportunity, a future. Unless you can offer this to Newfoundlanders, they will continue to leave. They will take that $1000 bucks, and save it for a plane ticket to Alberta, to Ontario, heck, even to Korea.

But they can’t stay in a province that offers them so little in the ways to make a life. No matter how much they want to.

Monday, September 17, 2007

It is Election Time

But I just don’t feel it.

The money is flying, promises are being made, babies kissed, and roads are being paved. The rhetoric is heating up as the political ads air nonstop between ads for Tampax and Nytol. Sad tallies all of promises made, broke, kept, remade and negated.

And honestly, I don’t give a damn.

My Poppy served in World War II, and I have always taken the right to vote very seriously. I always made an effort to get to know the issues, to be politically aware, and to haul my fat ass up off the couch each Election Day and vote. I was one of those annoying coworkers who harassed and berated those who could not be bothered to get politically involved.

And now I am one of them.

I am just so tired of the same old crap. And hey, it is not like we all don’t know how it is going to end. We know who will get elected; we know what will happen after the election. Nothing.

And absolutely nothing will change.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Search For Steve Fosset makes use of Amazon's Mechanical Turk

It’s been ten days since adventurer Steve Fossett disappeared in the Nevada desert. Millionaire Richard Branson was using Google Earth to try to located him and now Amazon is involved. The company has set up a Mechanical Turk project where volunteers can view recent satellite photos and search for the plane. The project is located here. A similar project was created to search for computer scientist Jim Gray when he was lost at sea earlier this year, but Gray was never found.

When I heard about this story I had a slightly jaded response- ah yes, another cocky kabillionaire killed off by his own arrogance. But that dark knee-jerk reaction soon gave way to a sense of awe, I mean, absolutely how cool is this technology? This is beyond Transporter cool, beyond Cylon cool, beyond Transwarp drive cool. This is ubercool.

The next thing that struck me was the results this undertaking have revealed. So far, searchers have found half a dozen previously unknown crash sites, but no sign of Fossett’s plane. Wait a second, how can we have SIX previously unknown crash sites? How does that work exactly? We must assume at least one person was aboard- likely more than one, how is that person was not missed by someone? Homeless men/women don't fly planes, prison escapees (except those off Prison Break it seems) don't have the means to fly either, and these pilots ain't runaways. This is not a person who is off the grid. A person who can fly a plane is a person of some means, likely a person who should be missed, even if we assume these folks failed to file a flight plan. Surely someone somewhere approached authorities and said: "Um, We are missing my dad, and a plane can you look into this for us?"

I find it so odd that half a dozen crashes went unreported and missing until now. And while it is amazing to consider what can be done when people put time and effort into something, it strikes me as profoundly sad that no less than six individuals were left to mummify in the heat of the desert because they didn't have the high profile name and face to warrant the effort.

If I have an accident in the desert nobody but my family would use this technology to look for me. I am not famous, I am not rich, and as such my worth as a person on this planet is limited only to my circle of family and friends. Perhaps the attention generated from this will make it easier in the future for people to conduct searches for ‘average’ people, but I doubt it.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Well I am back at it

Maternity leave is over and I am back at work. Sigh. It has been a rough week. I had to drop the Boy off at Montessori School for his first full day. It was what I had been dreading for weeks. I had envisioned him crying and screaming, clinging on to my legs, wailing like a banshee, and me wailing right along with him. It didn't quite go down that way- the Boy had a much more effective tactic.

When we arrived, he simply tucked his sweet little face into my neck, and wrapped his arms around my shoulders. When they finally pulled him off me, he tucked his little face into the neck of his teacher and stared at me with pleading eyes, and a trembling lower lip. If you listen very carefully just now, you might hear my heart break all over again as I recall that scene. His quiet protest left me feeling like I was the hunter who just killed Bambi's mother. Such was the doe eyed look of misery I received.

My first day back at work was jammed packed with new things I needed to learn, and old things I had to relearn, new names and faces to memorize, and a thousand tasks that all demanded my immediate attention. All of it important. All of it with "right now" status. All of it taking a mental back seat to "I wonder how he is doing?" "Why did I leave him there" "Is he eating?" "Why did I not get a better job?" "I hope they can get him to sleep" "Oh god, I hope he knows I am coming back for him" "Is he crying?" "I am a terrible mother". Oh man there is nothing more powerful, more all consuming, more destructive to the human psyche than guilt.

Of course I had one arse cheek up off the chair, waiting for the end of the working day so I could leap out of there and race to get my son.

I could hear the crying as I walked down the hall to the infants room (he is only 11 months old). But wait, that didn't sound like the Boy. No, that is not him at all! I open the door to see each of the teachers crawling with wailing babies, and where is my boy? Over by the wall, opening and closing the little drawers and dials they have there. He doesn't even look up as I ask his teachers how he did- I even had to raise my voice a little so they could hear me over the caterwauling. He didn't even flinch. Just kept right on working.

It seems my Boy was one of the "happy ones". He had a great day. Their only concern was that he hadn't pooed, nor would he sleep. They put him in his crib, and he cuddled his MooCow, and simply stared at all the sleeping babies. But would not fall asleep himself. I guess he wanted to scope the place out. He is a strange child.

And in the days since then, the pattern established on the first day has continued. When I go to pick him up he hardly knows I am there- and when he does notice my presence he dutifully crawls over and hugs my legs. Then, when we arrive home he poos. Thanks for saving that little joy for Mommy kid. Yes, that is exactly what I needed. Why, oh why, can't you make this deposit at school? Perhaps I have a little anal retentive baby on my hands.

Naaa, I think he just takes after his Dad.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Ten Commandments- Newfoundland Style

1. Jus' one Lard
2. Onor yer Mudder 'n fadder
3. No tellin' jigs 'n yarns
4. Go on ta deh Sundee meetin b'ye.
5. Dere's nuttin befare deh 'oly Lard
6. No foolin 'round wit anudder buddy's missus
7. No killin
8. Mine yer mout
9. Never mine 'bout dat which t'aint yers
10. Never mine 'bout yer buddy's stuf