terror today

Today it happened again.

Again,

The 352nd mass shooting in the US this year. The situation at this time remains fluid with no real answers but most definitely a lot of speculation.

There are so many feelings about this here under The Big Top because our family has benefitted from two Regional Centers here in California just like the Inland Regional Center.  During Daniel’s first three years we were thankful for the services our family received by amazing, talented, loving teachers and therapists who gave their very best to help our child realize his very best potential. The people at these regional centers, like Inland ,care for the most innocent and vulnerable population of children and adults. Their clients and they did not deserve this. At dinner tonight, Bill and I talked about this recalling some of Daniel’s caregivers and the times we would spend at these facilities…so much time. It chills us to imagine today’s horror. No one at Inland deserved this. Not at all.

Then again no one who might go to school or to work or to church or to a shopping mall or to a movie theater or board a plane or just go about their daily lives deserves this. No not ever…anywhere.

News agencies all over speculate if this is an act of terrorism. Law enforcement agencies answer back that they do not know yet if this is an act of terrorism…foreign or domestic.

This is the 352nd mass shooting in the US on the 336th day of this year. We live in a country where we keep a list of people who are presumed to be so evil, so violent and volatile and untrustworthy that they cannot fly on an airplane. Even after going through a metal detector and a body scan and probably being patted down, we won’t even let them board an airplane, and yet, we let those same people buy guns. They can’t fly, unarmed, on an airplane, but they can walk into an elementary school with a gun they obtained legally. We live in a country where people who go to school, to work, to church, to a mall, to a movie theater and now to a center that serves developmentally disabled children, adults and their families are gunned down. This is a real thing. This the reality that we live in…that my children live in, that my grandchildren live in.

Officials aren’t certain yet if this is a terrorist incident?

If we live in a place where people can legitimately fear that they will be shot…like today when three people dressed in tactical gear bearing weapons walked into the Inland Regional Center…it is absolutely a terrorist incident. Victims were absolutely, positively subjected to acts of violence and threats to intimidate, coerce and exact bodily harm or death. In time, investigations might bring today’s tragedy into better focus but regardless who or why today was an act of terrorism. Make no mistake about that.

the privileged

In the header above this post it says, “living this circus life what else would I be doing but juggling”. I say that all the time about this life of mine. Of course I am not the only one out there trying to juggle with work, life and family. We all do. Even Paul Ryan struggles with work/life balance.

Yes.

Yes he does.

When tapped for consideration to take on the job that no one seems to want, The Speaker of the House, Mr. Ryan presented a list of conditions. Given that it has become such a thankless job monitoring a legislative body that can’t seem to get anything done that doesn’t involve yet another investigation on Benghazi or Planned Parenthood who could blame the guy? Among other things, as the father of three young children who flies back to Wisconsin from Washington D.C. almost every weekend to be with his family, he made it very clear that he is not willing to accept the expectation of the extra time that he must devote to travel and campaigning for other Republican Party members.

I cannot and I will not give up my family. I may not be on the road as often as previous speakers, but I pledge to make up for it with more time communicating our vision, our message.

Of course he received praise for making such a bold statement as a man in a position of national power because that’s not how it is usually done. Sheryl Sandberg praised him on her Facebook page:

The Lean In Award of the day goes to Paul Ryan, for saying he worries how becoming House Speaker would affect his children, “who are in the formative, foundational years of their lives” – and that he won’t do the job unless he can still make them a top priority.

We need work to work for parents – and having leaders who weigh responsibilities as fathers as much as their responsibilities to their jobs shows all of us what is possible. ‪#‎LeanIn‬

What a guy! Family first.

Except for the facts that are Paul Ryan’s politics. In 2009, Ryan voted against a bill that would have given federal employees four weeks of paid paternity leave. Ryan has also proposed cuts to child care subsidies for poor parents. At the same time, however, he’s often said that more poor people need to be in the workforce and combat what he sees as a “culture problem” where they don’t value work. Ryan’s GOP caucus blocked President Obama’s attempt to mandate paid parental leave in both the public and private sectors here in the US. We’re one of only three countries in the world that doesn’t guarantee new parents paid time off from work to care for their offspring.

What a guy indeed!

If Ryan is tapped for the Speaker’s job, I am sure that he will be able to enjoy the privilege of maintaining a work/life balance that many Americans can not even try to imagine. While he is attending his kids’ school functions or enjoying sporting events with them, many parents will be at work while they balance focus on their job with the guilt that they are missing their kids’ soccer game or not being at home caring for their sick child or anything else that working American parents must juggle while trying to maintain a sense of work/life balance that is nothing like Mr. Ryan’s, Ms Sandberg’s or anyone else in their circles who can make such a bold statement to their employer before they head home early to hang out with the kids.

Sorry Mr. Ryan, you just might be a really awesome husband and father but I can not applaud you; not when millions of working Americans are denied the very privilege you enjoy because of your politics and voting record.

wait, let me take a selfie

With all that is currently going on in and around the world right now we have so much to be worried about because it is truly the end of the world as we know it…and according to Arizona Diamondbacks announcers Bob Brenly and Steve Berthiaume it starts here.

Right here, right now.

Of course the irony of it all was as they continued on with their nearly three minute tirade about parenting failure (with college aged people likely not living at home with their parents) and mocking these college coeds taking a break from their classes, studies, work and other projects to take in a practically pointless end of season game between the Diamondbacks and the Rockies, on the screen was the invite for fans to take and post their selfies while enjoying the game.

Nice! Way to be in touch with your fan base guys!

True, selfies are not necessarily your father’s thing…or my darling husband’s thing…likely not my father’s thing but it is a millennial kind of thing and, apparently, millennials like Major League Baseball and, more often than not, will take selfies and share them…everywhere. The fact of the matter is that no one leaves home without their smart phones these days, and those phones are used to create memories with their camera at sporting events, concerts, and around the every day life that we live.

Get over it! 

Really.

Some cluck their tongues and shake their heads as they think this somehow detracts from the natural enjoyment of life and they literally take every opportunity to criticize this practice in a get off my lawn kind of fashion…because they never did anything perceived to be a waste of time or stupid by the generations before them. It’s a generational divide that comes off as bitter and superior. Add to that the usual stereotyping of young ladies who are obviously at the game to be seen on Instagram and Snapchat, or because their boyfriends obviously dragged them against their will and are clearly not hanging on to every single pitch like a good fan and you have the perfect setup for what became a mean-spirited rant against fans in the stands…people the announcers and everyone else watching the video (that is so easily Googled) don’t even know….people just passing the time in-between the fourth inning of a game taking selfies.

Hey, some people dance, some take a bathroom break, some grab another beer or hot dog and some take a selfie. What’s the problem, really? They bought a ticket. They apparently planned for a fun evening together, all decked out in their Diamondbacks merch. Seriously, what is wrong with this?

Meanwhile, to their credit, the young women of the Alph Chi Omega Sorority at ASU took all of this in stride showing much kindness and grace through it all after the Diamondbacks and broadcasting partner reached out to them.

Well done, ladies!

Welcome to 2015, every one else! People take selfies sometimes. There is nothing inherently wrong with the world today because of it.It just makes us human beings in the 21st century.

We sometimes take a selfie; especially when we get new eye glasses just because.

standing down the bullies

I stand with Planned Parenthood.

There, I said it.

Do I care what anyone really thinks about me making that statement?

No.

No I do not.

A long, long time ago in a land far, far away, I was a young married twenty-something. And I had no health insurance. I could not afford it. My husband and I could not afford it, nor could we qualify for Medi-Cal because we were employed and made too much money.

Ah, the good old pre-Obamacare days! Good times those were! Here’s where I remind my young adult children how fortunate they are to continue to enjoy your parents’ healthcare coverage. Don’t believe me? Ask your sister Hollie about that.

But I digress…

As a young woman, in the land of San Jose, I enjoyed some of the services that my local Planned Parenthood clinic provided…annual Pap smears and pelvic exams, access to birth control (for when I absolutely did not want to get pregnant), a prescription for antibiotics for an infected ingrown toenail and prenatal care…yes. prenatal care. So that I could be pregnant and stay pregnant for approximately 9 months and deliver a healthy, wonderful, perfect baby.

Thank you, Planned Parenthood. Because of you I had access to affordable, excellent prenatal care, education and support that was provided to me twenty nine years ago when I needed it the most. I looked forward to my regular prenatal visits. I loved listening to my baby’s heartbeat…such a magical sound that was! I appreciated the clinicians’ patience with what I believed to be stupid questions about my changing body and what was going on with the baby growing inside of me. The numbers on the scale and the lectures about my love for Oreos? Not so much. I also did not care much for the Pro-Life protesters calling out to me…no, yelling and screaming at me. I would cover my growing belly protectively as they would call me a murderer when I entered your clinic every month for my regular prenatal visits. I would recognize the same familiar, angry faces. Did they not recognize me…the young lady who obviously was KEEPING her baby?! Did they honestly believe that calling me a murderer as they shook their graphic, bloody posters at me from the moment I got out of my car and walked across the parking lot to the office and back again was going to compell me to join their side and stand with them?

Did they?

Did they really?

Yeah, no.

Then there are those videos…those videos that have been thoroughly discredited and continue to be.

Honestly, I would sooner believe that bogus Facebook privacy policy ready to steal ALL of my posts and pictures and that there is really such a thing as a law (UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute) that will punish Facebook and protect me.

Seriously!

Congressional Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) flashed a chart on the screens showing that since 2010, the number of abortions at Planned Parenthood has surpassed the number of its “cancer screenings and prevention services.” But no such shift occurred. The fine print on the chart showed that the number of abortions (327,000 in 2013) never came close to reaching the number of cancer screenings (935,573 in 2013) at any point. Yes, but the bogus graph didn’t seem to matter to Chaffetz, who drew Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards attention to the crossing lines showing abortions overtaking screenings.

Richards said the chart “absolutely does not reflect what’s happening.”

“I pulled those numbers directly out of your corporate reports,” the chairman said.

In fact, the chart said the source was the antiabortion group Americans United for Life — which Richards pointed out to Chaffetz.

:::mic drop:::

“Then we will get to the bottom of the truth of that,” the chairman said.

You do that, sir.

The truth? Planned Parenthood gets money for women’s birth control, STD screenings and the like, not abortions — which Richards calmly reminded her inquisitors. As today’s hearing continued it was clear that the committee’s contention wasn’t against Planned Parenthood and how they spent their money but rather about allowing women in this country . . . to make other decisions about their pregnancies.

To Mr. Chaffetz, and the rest of your ilk, I would ask if those more than 300,000 abortions were stopped and resulted in 300,000 new babies born would you then be willing to support and fund those babies and their mothers, you know, through Medicaid and welfare?

Would you?

Could you?

I stand with Planned Parenthood because I believe that ALL women deserve access to quality women’s healthcare and most certainly without shame, without fear, without intimidation…regardless of what health care they seek.

so about that apology

There is this old saying that goes apologizing doesn’t always mean that you’re wrong and the other person is right. It means you value your relationship more than your egoIn my heart of hearts, I believe that to be true. I also try to live that. If I insult someone or hurt their feelings or even take offense to something stupid and offensive they might say, do or post online and they are hurt enough to call me out on it, I will, more often than not, choose to apologize…if I value that friendship or relationship.

Try being the key word here.

I learned a long time ago that the best apology is to simply say I’m sorry, I apologize, forgive me. No buts needed…or defensive arguments…or lectures about needing to listen. Anything else just falls flat and isn’t really an apology. The irony over who actually taught this to me is never lost on me. But that’s another story.

Today there was this.

So…

I for one, one out of over 3 million practitioners, say okay, fine. Thank you. But that’s just me. Then again, I know that I am not alone. Last night I had the opportunity to take part in a very long conversation with some very smart Registered Nurses and one physician about what we jokingly refer to as the stethoscope incident. For us, we were at the point in this story to acknowledge that nurses united and showing our stethoscopes has made our voices heard in a big way. Johnson & Johnson, one of The View’s major advertiser had paused their ads on that show which meant revenue lost. Eggland’s Best, another advertiser also had pulled their ads…in support of the nursing profession. That’s powerful and we could not help but take note of that. Our conversation last night was what can we do with this loud voice of ours to educate the public, and knock down such stereotypes as the idea that nurses are wannabe doctors, doctors’ helpers, overpaid waitresses, maids and babysitters. Perhaps we can make known that while we are the most trusted, respected profession, we are often maligned just as much as other service related professions. Think of anytime something goes wrong or is less than one’s expectations when you or a loved one is hospitalized. Whomever is most at the bedside is more often than not blamed. We could use this opportunity to address patient safety as in nurse to patients ratios, short staffing and work hours. It would be a good time to discuss the ongoing nursing shortage and the low salaries of qualified nursing educators to educate and train nursing students. It’s also an opportunity to address the violence in the workplace nurses must deal with. My very first patient, when I was a nursing student punched me in the face…literally. I have twice in my career been threatened with bodily harm by an angry, distraught parent. My colleagues in the ER, adult floors and psych units are sometimes kicked, punched and physically threatened by those whom they are trying to care for. All of this was considered last night in our conversation about what shall we now do as 3+ million strong do with our voice.

So when the nearly six minute apology segment aired on The View today, I decided to accept it.

Of course they were pandering to the advertisers. Anyone could see that. But they did say I’m sorry, we apologize. They also gave an opportunity for our voice to be heard with what it is we do, the education and training we must have along with the skill, heart and physical and emotional endurance to do what we do. I’ll take it.

Now can I stop watching segments of The View because I am not a fan and have not really watched since Lisa Ling left the show…2002 in case anyone didn’t know. I sure hope so.

I understand for some nurses this apology is not enough. The nurses who appeared on the show are regarded as traitors. I imagine for some nothing will be enough. It’s hard to put down those torches and pitchforks once they are picked up I guess. But what, if anything, will right this wrong for them? The blood of the ladies of The View? Is that who we are as nurses? As educated, skilled, respected healthcare professionals?

I like to believe that we can move on. Joy, Michelle, Whoopi, Paula, and even Raven with her eye-rolling and I-can’t-believe-we-have-to-do-this-segment body language never should worry that they and their loved ones won’t receive the very best of care the next time they need a nurse because they will. It’s what we do. It’s part of the oath we have taken. As a nurse, over the last 25+ years, I have cared for the babies of Olympic athletes, professional athletes, musicians, politicians, television personalities, farm workers, prostitutes, the homeless, child molesters, clergy, doctors, drug dealers, convicts, gang members, illegal immigrants and just hard-working-everyday kind of people. At the bedside no one patient and their family was more important than another because ultimately my responsibility has been to provide the very best nursing care. I have been compelled to. It’s what I do. It’s what we all, as nurses, do.

Future RN? I don’t know. A Mima can dream. – Hazel Faye 2010

I, for one, believe that it is time that we nurses don our stethoscopes proudly, stand tall together and move on. But we should not be quiet. What has happened in the social media landscape shows just how powerful our voice is. People ARE listening. Who knows? Perhaps some of them will finally come to understand that we did not choose nursing because we were’t smart enough or too lazy to become doctors. Perhaps they finally will understand we do so much more than pass out medications and food trays. Maybe, just maybe they will begin to recognize that we are indeed one of the most vital part of the healthcare that they receive whether it is at the beginning, the middle or the end of their lives.

Oh and because my Dad asked, Kelley Johnson, RN, aka Miss Colorado was second runner up in the Miss America pageant so no, she did not win. But today she is the one contestant from the pageant whom we all are still talking about.