lane changes and birthdays

You know that funny knobby thing on the left hand side of the steering wheel in your car? Do you know what it is? Do you know what’s very special purpose is? Well, allow me to enlighten you.

IT’S A TURN SIGNAL!!!!

It’s a way to let people know that you are going to turn left or right.

Amazing!

Truly.

Use it!!!

Friday afternoon commuting from the Bay Area to the Central Valley is basically nothing less than a cluster fuck. Basically. Coming home my darling husband was in an accident. I might have to give thanks for the slow crawl down from the Altamont into Mountain House because when a driver to the right of him decided to suddenly move to the left without signaling, he was not moving too fast. But he was traveling fast enough to not be able to get out of the way in time and…his hand, YES, HIS HAND hit the driver’s side mirror of the car. He broke her mirror, minor damage was sustained to his bike and one of his fingers was injured. Information was exchanged. The driver gave first aid with a pressure dressing applied to his hand, which was bleeding quite a bit. Oh, and it was her birthday. Happy birthday to her, right?!

Darling husband, being darling husband,got back on the bike and rode 25 more miles home.

Honey, I need you to look at something for me…spoken oh so casually as he showed me his left hand wrapped in a giant wad of paper towels tied up around his hand with a latex glove.

What in the world??!!…

I cut away the glove and begin to unwind the towels to see active bleeding and a very swollen, black and blue pinky finger.

Do you think I should get it checked out?

Off to the ER we went. For those keeping score, this is the third trip to the ER for this family in 2016. Seriously, 2016 is just all around not working.

X-rays, exam and 5 stitches later, we are home and my darling husband right now is oh so elegant sipping his ice cold beverage.

Pinky up y’all.

It could have been bad, bad, bad, bad. But it wasn’t. My darling husband is well aware of that as he practically apologizes to me reminding me just how careful he is on his bike on the road. For now, I will just be thankful and focus on this moment 24 hours later.

Bill turned 53 this week and today our family circus gathered together and celebrated.

That funny, knobby thingy on the left hand side your car’s steering wheel? Use it!

in the neighborhood and beyond

Doesn’t it seem like just last week we were shocked, sad, mad and talking about another horrible act of foreign or domestic terror? Oh yeah. We were just talking about such an abominable thing.

Yes, all the big heavy sighs now; and again with all the hashtags of #prayforFrance, #prayforNice, #BlueLivesMatter, #BlackLivesMatter, #AllLivesMatter along with our thoughts and prayers. Helpless we feel and for most of us this is all we feel like we can do. Well, except for discussing it all on social media.

Thanks to local farmer, comedian, writer, self-proclaimed 40-year old entitled boob, Chris Teicheira, I signed on to a local neighborhood watch page on Facebook…for keeping Manteca safe…and for the lookie-loo, popcorn snacking entertainment. Uh, thanks, Chris? Actually there is some good that comes from this group on occasion…when there isn’t bitching and moaning about the right to or not to shoot off all the illegal fireworks all the time, or all problems in Manteca are because of the homeless, and the entitled boobery, as Chris so aptly described. Under the guise of social media anonymity, which is not anonymous at all y’all, a lot of neighbors in my Family City are basically looking like entitled boobs.

Another heavy sigh.

In the wake of so much going on in the news, a local resident felt lead to initiate a peaceful call to action; which was well within her right under the First Amendment of our Constitution. She planned all in the right way and it reportedly went off without a hitch. Of course the discussion last night and throughout today on the Family City neighborhood watch page focused much on the Black Lives Matter peaceful march throughout our city. So much ugly discussion y’all. I see you. I see you all.

Perhaps after the deaths of police officers in Baton Rouge yesterday during yet another act of terror at the hand of yet another lone, angry asshole, it might not have been the right time for such a peaceful protest. Then again, when would be the right time, really? From my armchair overnight at work, it seemed that it was a peaceful assembly focused on the BLM movement but also very sensitive to the murders of police officers just doing their job protecting and serving their community. It was a respectful gathering of more than 50 people of all colors and ethnicities making a quiet statement.

I see nothing wrong here.

Well, except for this reality.

Another day…

We all need to do better. We all need to be kinder. We all need to be all of this to all.

We don’t need inflammatory rhetoric. We don’t need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda…Only we can prove, through words and through deeds, that we will not be divided, and we’re going to have to keep on doing it again and again and again. That’s how this country gets united…Around the clock news cycles and social media sometimes amplify these divisions, That is why it is so important that everyone: regardless of race or political party or profession, regardless of what organizations you’re a part of, everyone right now focus on words and actions that can unite this country rather than divide it further.

Barack Obama

Cleveland, Philadelphia, Manteca, America, the World…respect, kindness for all…please.

because we’re like that

I’m thinking of getting a new tattoo.

Of what?

The family coat of arms.

The WHOLE thing?

No. Just the lion with the spear…

With the impaled severed head.

Yeah. I think it will be cool.

A mural crown gules a demo-lion supporting a spear erect, on the point a Saracen’s head, all proper, the head wreathed silver and azure” because Scarboroughs are like that.

Thank you Steve at One Sixteen Tattoo for making my darling husband’s Father’s Day wish come true.

 

adventures in human kindness

Remember that one darling daughter of mine who just fifteen years ago, after her ambulance ride to a trauma center and time in the PICU, followed by reconstructive surgery weeks later promised me that the next time she would find herself in a hospital she would be married and having a baby? And remember when she found herself in an ER just  three years ago after discovering that magical, mystical creatures like herself STILL don’t bounce? Yes, she had to apologize for breaking her promise to me via FaceTime with her doctor laughing a little in the background.

Well…

Here we were earlier last week…

again…

her guardian angel, sitting in the corner, rolling her eyes, shaking her head back and forth and I’m pretty sure I saw her take a hit off of a bottle in a brown paper bag because…

OH MY GOD, Zoë Elizabeth!!!

Long story short, she ‘s okay. She is okay except for the fact that last Tuesday she passed out cold in her kitchen while trying to clean up some puncture wounds on her leg thanks to her asshole cat and when her sister found herself having a hard time reviving her, called 911. The paramedics found her blood pressure and heart rate to be very low so they decided to take her to the local ER known for their Human Kindness. Mom arrives soon after to micromanage and basically be in the way of her caregivers as moms who are nurses often do; and just as mom arrives, an ER nurse approaches her with a pill she directs her to take because the doctor ordered it.

Wait, she was seen by a physician? Because she tells me she hasn’t been examined yet.

Oh, the doctor looked her over when the ambulance arrived.

He examined her?

He looked at her.

Zoë joins in, So that guy in scrubs who talked to me was a doctor? He never told me that.

ER nurse rolls her eyes

Anyway, the doctor wants you to take this.

What is this?

It’s an antibiotic, for the puncture wounds. It’s to prevent infection.

As Zoë swallows the pill, the nurse walks away without a word.

The ER is crowded. It’s a triple digit evening in Stockton. Of course the ER is crowded. Time passes with staff walking back and forth but never stopping to say anything to Zoë or the other patients sitting in chairs around her. After a time a tech comes and takes Zoë, with me tagging a long, to a curtained area where he begins to prep her for a 12 lead EKG.

So the doctor ordered an EKG?

Yes.

EKG complete. Normal sinus rhythm. Heart rate is a little low still. Tech remarks, as he removes the leads, that from the appearance of her skin right now she is a little dehydrated; which might be why she passed out given how hot it has been all day today.

Literally the first time someone talked to her about what brought her to the ER.

Returning to her place in the crowded exam area, a nurse comes and tells me I must wait in chairs in the waiting room because of the overflow of patients. No problem because, yes, this ER is literally overflowing with the humanity of Stockton seeking their special brand of Human Kindness…like the lady sitting next to me in the wait room chairs who receives discharge instructions from her nurse for treatment for allergies and post nasal drip…yes, ALLERGIES and POST NASAL DRIP was her admitting diagnosis!

Ugh!

Looking around, over-hearing conversations, it was clear that there were some in the ER that evening for similar minor complaints but there were people in pain, people desperately ill seeking emergency care with a little bit of Human Kindness.

I waited in chairs anxiously for Zoë while she advocated for herself in a way that would make her nurse mama proud. Registration seemed relieved almost as she confirmed that, yes, Zoë was insured. And then we were on our way…

…to her local pharmacy…a very crowded pharmacy…a pharmacy that took more than 24 hours to even begin to attempt to fill her prescription…because Augmentin is super hard to fill.

In the end, I remind my darling daughter of the fact that she broke her eight year old little girl promise to me…again. I also talk with her about the reality that is healthcare today and how although we healthcare providers do strive to help people live happier, healthier lives, to thrive and to connect on a human level because human connection leads to better health, we healthcare providers, all of us, need to do better. We need to try harder. We need to really treat each and every patient we encounter with the level of care our mission statements declare. Like it or not, we healthcare providers are graded by HCAHPS; which we really shouldn’t stress too much about if we are truly working to strive to help people live happier, healthier lives, to thrive and to connect on a human level because human connection leads to better health.

Zoë is going to be just fine. The puncture wounds will heal. She will do her very best to stay well-hydrated…and not scare her sister, her mother, her guardian angel anymore. Zoë also will be filling out the patient survey that St Joseph’s will soon be sending her way with all the brutal honesty that is needed and deserved because Human Kindness is exactly what all of their patients deserve and must have. As for me, this RN, I am all the more reminded, nudged and inspired to try harder to do exactly just that for my patients and for their mamas who expect just that as well.

music, discovery, unexpected and adulting stuff

Coachella is underway and…

I am enjoying vicariously while running errands and waiting in the school pickup queue…parents and students you are very welcome for the awesome that is Mavis Staples.

The music turned up with the Central Valley April winds whipping up all the dust and sandy soil not held down makes it seem like we have almost been taken there.At least the drinks are cheaper here.

A couple of my girls were supposed to be there right now. Were. Sadly, life, bills, responsibilities got in the way because grown-up life is a lot like that. I’m going to imagine that credit for their making the hard adult decisions like selling one’s Coachella tickets and responsibly adulting is mine…awesome mom that I am.

Work…school…bills…major purchases…

Adulting problems, you know.

Then again…

Missing Kanye’s surprise appearance and the desert winds is, I am certain, disappointing. But sometimes hard work and responsible, adult choices can be fun.