Skip to main content

To Obama

My Advice to Barak Obama

-->
“Evil isn’t driven out; it’s crowded out by the expulsive power of good.”
MLK
I was a coronary care nurse two years before they allowed me to train to take care of open heart patients. Part book learning, but mostly hands on with another nurse – the training itself took another six months before they allowed me to work on my own. The actual work involved getting to know the stages of post-op – the cold patient warming up and all the body’s dislocations that happened in the process. We had to learn the first sixteen hours without killing anyone, or waking the surgeon unnecessarily. But mostly, we had to learn to live with the terror of the transfer.

Anesthesiologists brought the patients back to ICU after surgery. It was the luck of the draw who you got and how well they were organized. The patients themselves made a difference – the sick ones went later in the day after the routine cases had finished. Difficulties in surgery – sewing veins on a fresh heart attack patient was ‘like sewing wet tissue paper together’  took longer; diabetics had fragile, small veins – even finding a good donor vein from the leg took extra time. And bad surgeons took longer – and the longer on bypass – the longer they dug around and pulled and pushed – the more bruised and battered the patients came back.

The anesthesiologist made the difference. A good one would gently roll the patient from the gurney to the bed with all lines labeled and everything neat and orderly. They also tended to stick around a bit and pass on some good info as to what happened – not in the glowish surgical manner of parts fitting – but time, nicks and tears, and problems.

Ah, but the bad could be very, very bad.

Patients return to the ICU  intubated, with arterial lines in either wrist or leg, IV’s in both arms, catheters than run from either the chest or groin to the heart that are used for measurements, chest tubes that need to be hooked up and functioning, NG tubes from their nose to stomach, heart leads that need to be plugged in, pacemaker wires tape to the check that need a machine hook up and calibration, and sometimes, on special days, an intra aortic balloon pump threaded up their left groin that needs immediate attention before it clots up.

Now imagine a patient coming back late in the day, with all the stuff listed above sliding over from the gurney in a hurried thump in two large brown grocery bags of tangles and ooze as the anesthesiologist says, “it’s all yours ladies” as he turns and walks out of the room for his next disaster in the OR.

Welcome aboard Barak, have fun. Here is what I suggest:

1.      Do something, anything, and eventually it all makes a sort of sense. Do what needs to be done first, and then keep doing something.
2.      Trust that your choice of a god will watch over until you figure it out.
3.      Ask for help. (See #4 )
4.      Have fun, make crude jokes and laugh -- you are doomed if you forget to laugh.
5.      Keep in touch.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Wedding and Funeral

Went to a wedding and a funeral this weekend with Mary. Sacramento, Santa Rosa, then home– a whirlwind trip through weekend bay area traffic. The traffic was horrible – life changing horrible, but not unusual.
As with most things, it’s a balance of an the unnamed terror and an easy chair in a padded room that rocks. 
The wedding was delightful, part of an interconnected strong woman’s club that marries off their daughters to provably weaker men. And so, the cycle continues, but the company was nice and I’m too old to wonder at the process anymore.
The funeral was for another interconnected strong woman, who, by hinkey or dinky, was a scary woman that I used to work with as a nurse. She would have been surprised that I outlived her, much as Charles the cat was. Please pay attention out there – this is how life works.
(To be fair, she didn’t put up with shit and I liked to throw handfuls of it around as if I were Christ standing on the back of a broken piñata heaving candy cigarettes to the…

Only once

For clarity, I think I will write this only once.I do not write confessional poetry, and I do not write things down as a form of therapy. I write because I have something unique to say in a unique sort of way, a way that I think is universal in an analogous manner, not as any sort of literal telling of the truth.  I trowel spackle onto pages with a straight edged blade, I don’t paint aging widows with a brush. (My soul has been psychedelicized, but this shit’s not about me.)It comes in this form – that this relates to that, in this way – A form that I think illustrates things that are too true to be looked at straight on – personal truths that are usually discovered through interactions with other people – truths that are often relational, unreliable and subject to the weavings and debris of human beings. Truths that sneak out and become a miraculous surprise of insight – like a Zen master hitting you on the head with a baseball bat at just the right time.I don’t think I’m the only on…

How do I know when I'm done?

I left a message on Facebook for someone I care about that ended with the words, “one won”. I did it just because I thought was funny. That led to a whimsical discovery that I no longer had to place a period at the end of my sentences – in fact to do so would be rude and identify myself as an old person. 
It seems that, for online use anyway, a period has become a loud shout -- a purposeful exclamation point useful only in drawing unnecessary attention, or as a way of making an angry burp of anti-social angst. Sentences no longer end, they gently back out a side door when no one is looking -- they’ve become bars without a jail, or that angry driver just ahead of you who hesitates before moving through an intersection just to make a point of how stupid you are.
Since a period is no longer an end to a thought, its new function has evidentially become nothing but a stuffy ritual of formality that writers can now use to mark up or down generalized feeling of huffiness, or perhaps a way to s…