the Fourth’s top four

On the Fourth, my family circus celebrated Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness in our own special way; which I like to imagine is exactly what Thomas Jefferson envisioned when he wrote down those words.

Why should pundits and politicians be the only ones who can know what our Founding Fathers were thinking some 239 years ago?

Am I right?!

Our family circus top four moments on the Fourth are:

Watching Independence Day as we do every year because it makes perfect sense to us to be sitting together and watching this movie. Next year is likely to be different because Independence Day Resurgence…thank you, Roland Emmerich!

Barbecue, swatting flies, trading stories and just generally enjoying the company of family and friends.

Number three is a two=parter because it is.

Prime viewing of our town’s fireworks show. Added bonus not getting stuck in traffic because we are in our neighbors’ backyard.

Lighting our own, although this year The Big Top’s fireworks show was greatly subdued, as was the rest of our neighborhood’s, because everything is brown and dying while we all do our part conserving water during this drought…all of us except that one neighbor on the corner who literally waters his lawn SIX TIMES DAILY!

But, hands down, the top moment of our Independence Day celebration was when this kid swam underwater the width of our neighbor’s pool for the very first time! Absolutely the very best moment!!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ~ Thomas Jefferson

photo dump: triple digits edition

Dear East Coast, I’m sorry you are dealing with all that annoying wet stuff falling from the sky and saturating your neck of the woods. What is it that you call it? Oh, yeah, rain. I think I heard of rain before. I might have even seen it…then again, I don’t know for sure. Perhaps it’s just what I seen on the evening news. Meanwhile we are hot here in the Central Valley and pretty much everywhere on the West Coast. Very hot. Very dry, miserable hot with sticky clouds up above that only offer dry lightning strikes in the mountains because what’s one more raging wild fire right now?

Whatever!

We’re going over to Casa de Scarborough-Jacques because they have a pool and it’s hot…freaking, broiling hot.

Yeah, this will work. This will work out just fine.

At the end of the day the added bonus for Hollie and Ben…

…sleepy water babies.

thinkers and dreamers we are

And just in case I have not been paying attention to what’s in the news in and around the Central Valley over the last couple of weeks, I have acquaintances to remind me…especially if it is news that might indirectly affect me, is indirectly about me or what might be important to me…bonus points if it is perceived to be news in a negative light.

Aren’t some acquaintances and friends good for things like that?

Yeah.

In the news recently here in the Central Valley was a recent article that suggests certain hospitals in the Valley are price gouging. Of course some people I know want to know how do I feel about being a price gouger?

Um…

Because while caring for critically ill babies, I am jacking up the prices of the care and services that I provide?

Here’s the thing, even the authors of this recently released study concede that they are not including discounts offered for care and services to the uninsured and insured patients. Factoring in these these discounts would have had a significant effect on the cost-to-charge ratio reported, and therefore the implications of the study’s results. Which goes to show you that one can not and should not just accept a study, any study as valid and absolute truth based on its conclusions…“Dr.” Wakefield’s study linking autism to vaccinespatients’ perceptions of nurses with tattoos and body piercings immediately come to mind.

For what it’s worth, as a nurse at the bedside, I am not setting the prices for the care I give, the medications I deliver, the equipment I use while doing my job. I’m too busy saving lives, providing healing care, providing education to my patients’ family members of their babies diagnosis, condition along with how the medications I administer and the care I give will help their baby and how to take care of their own baby while in the NICU and after discharge.

My workplace is the only hospital in the community of Modesto and Stanislaus County to provide care for everyone, regardless of ability to pay; that’s millions of dollars of uncompensated and charity care provided rather than charged. My workplace employs over 2,100 people, contributes well over $250 million to the local workforce annually as well as contributes over $3.7 million in local taxes every year. Our hospital and employees this year have provided over 50 educational seminars for local schools and community groups, participated in more than 70 community events and regularly contribute to over 50 local non-profit and charitable organizations.

Thinkers. Dreamers. That’s us.

It is what drives us all to serve our community the way that we do at the bedside directly and in and around the community and out-lying areas. It is being thinkers and dreamers that inspires us every day to do what we do and even do it better.

Our hospital continues to receive top grades in patient safety including our overall performance on safety outcomes, including preventing errors, accidents and infections. The unit I work in has had more than 6 years of ZERO CABSI incidents. It was thinkers and dreamers in our unit who dared to imagine that it was possible to have absolutely no catheter line associated bacterial infections. Such strong work has been recognized nationally and even within our hospital as the staff who cared for my darling husband talked about what we are doing in the NICU and how they are hoping to implement the same. Lucky for them, and other local agencies in the valley, one of my colleagues will be providing education next month on our journey to zero and how it is possible. Fellow employees at my workplace provide the type of trauma, stroke and cardiac care that is literally the Gold standard of care here in this Valley which Silver and Bronze awarded local facilities strive to emulate…something I am proud of and most definitely thankful for, you know, since they saved my darling husband’s life.

Yes, one study might contort and twist and suggest less than favorable things about where I work but, dear acquaintances and friends quick to point that out, I would counter do your homework and check the facts especially when you decide where you want to be when you need to be in the hospital. Me, I’m choosing a place with thinkers and dreamers who are providing the very best of care and often times making the impossible possible.

summer break look

First week of summer break begins but first let’s take care of some business: dentist, pediatrician, summer tutoring assessments, and, most important, a new summer look.

Because the disco party-rave-bedhead-hot mess ‘do is just all kinds of wrong. The first and foremost wrong is that mom kept procrastinating to make the appointment to get a wa-ay overdue haircut. Daniel would like you all to know about that epic mom-fail.

They know now, Daniel.

Happy?

The challenge this past year has been finding someone to cut Daniel’s hair with respect to his sensory issues and NOT USE THE CLIPPERS because when his mom tells you to not use clippers when giving him his requested neat sweep look with a hat tip to David Beckham, Justin Timberlake and Liam Payne because he. just. can. not. handle. that. buzzing. sensation. Hollie COULD do it but then we stir in that whole bossy big sister, uncooperative little brother dynamic and then I have two cranky kids to deal with. Both pretty much told me yeah, no. Then came the one session in a local barber’s chair where after listening carefully to what Daniel wanted and my request to not use clippers and why, the barber nodded her head yes and used the clippers anyway while Daniel did his very best to keep his shit together until the very end as two, big, fat tears rolled down his paled cheeks. After that, Hollie put a call out to her people as to where could Daniel get the look that he wanted without clippers because Hollie assured me that it could be done.

Enter Raquel.

I missed Daniel’s first time in her chair as his sister, Hollie, took him. Daniel was thrilled. And finally, literally three months later, mom made another appointment and here he was, back in Raquel’s chair…happy. Raquel got to work quickly while the two of them caught up like old friends. She was quick with her scissors cutting off so much hair…three months growth all over the floor…and clippers were never picked up. Added bonus, she is absolutely gorgeous.

Yeah, I can see why Daniel likes her!

NOW, we’re ready for summer break!

in the event of unintended acceleration keep calm and try not to panic

Imagine if you will me after dropping my son off at school turning left onto the main drag from a residential neighborhood…and as I turn, the car suddenly accelerates and KEEPS. ON. ACCELERATING….45506070

When I imagine all you all imagining this I can just picture what some…one… might be imagining because cautious, prudent, defensive driving just might be a character flaw…or at least something to mock.

Clean driving record, schmlean driving record…so boring…so underwhelming!

But imagine it if you will anyway because it for real really happened right after I dropped Daniel off to school.

No ,I might not have said ‘fuck!” because I did say “FUCK!” because in spite of initial braking efforts, the car was not responding at all and fast…much too fast…approaching stopped traffic on that two lane road.

Now some of you are saying “fuck!“…or something like that.

But cautious, prudent, defensive driver that I am most of the time, I jammed both feet HARD on the brake as I tried to guide the car to the shoulder of the road right next to the freshly plowed field there while reaching to shift the car into neutral when it slowed very quickly then stopped with the engine idling normally.

After screaming “FUCK!” again, I tried to breathe normally because adrenaline and panic was settling in.

What the hell???!!!

After what seemed like forever, but was perhaps only 90 seconds, I eased back onto the road and drove like my grandma all the way home.

Don’t like my driving 30 mph (or less) in a 45 mph zone for the next three miles?

Whatever!

Pass me.

Flip me off.

I really don’t care.

I am getting home alive and then I am going to try and figure out why the accelerator pedal malfunctioned. Turns out, in this case, the floor mat had wedged under the pedal.

And it turns out that I did exactly what one should do in such an emergency situation.

  • Stay calm and try not to panic.
  • Push the brake firmly with both feet and hold it down. Pumping the brake can interfere with the vehicle’s power brake vacuum assist.
  • Shift the car into neutral. If the car has a manual transmission, remember to depress the clutch to shift gears. If possible, guide the car to the nearest shoulder or safe place.
  • Do not initially turn off the engine unless shifting into neutral is unsuccessful. Turning off the engine will also turn off power assist functions and make it harder to maneuver the car.
  • If your vehicle has a start on/off button, hold the button down for at least 3 seconds to disable the vehicle; do not tap repeatedly.
  • When you have come to a controlled stop out of the way of traffic, turn the engine off (if you have not already done so). If you use a key, keep it in the ignition when you turn off the engine so that the steering wheel doesn’t lock.
  • Call for assistance. Do not drive the vehicle until it has been professionally serviced.

Well, at least the first three steps…especially the staying calm and trying not to panic part because screaming “FUCK!” actually kept me calm and not panicking.

Perhaps I should have turned the engine off and maybe not drove the car home until it had been properly serviced.

Oh well!

Nobody’s perfect.

not driving in this picture…just me parked along the side of the road with the car in park and the engine turned off drumming to my jam, Ed Sheeran on the radio