27 February 2007

Obsessed?


Do you know Karen Carpenter's story?
I saw the movie, so that makes me an expert, right?
Karen starved herself to death. Like so many people we see during war or famine, her body was deprived of what it needed. Karen's dieting stopped her heart.
Some wonderful music stopped too.

Years ago we based our EMS helicopter at a hospital.
Initially the hospital found space for us on the same floor where they were treating anorexic teenage girls. It was an uncomfortable situation for all concerned...

We couldn't even pop popcorn in our room, because it rightfully alarmed the program supervisors. We were soon moved to different quarters.
But it was horrifying to see the shape some of those little girls were in, and hear stories of what they would do to try to keep from eating. It's a mental disease.

Then you have the other side of the coin... the morbidly obese.
It's also a mental disease... an addiction, every bit as powerful as most recreational drugs.
It damages the heart in a different way, and leads to lots of other problems.

I love to eat.
I've fought being overweight all my life.
If I don't pay close attention to my diet, I settle at a weight about 20 pounds above what I consider ideal. (I'm a little over 5' 9" tall, and on 1 January, I weighed 206 pounds.)

Last fall, I had the displeasure of using a bathroom that had a mirrored shower stall.
While conducting my business there, I took a close look at myself in the mirror.
(I know... it's an ugly visual, isn't it?)

And that's exactly my point. But it's not just my appearance...
I have to pass an annual flight physical. My overall health is vital to my livelihood.
Heart, kidneys, eyes, knees and other joints...
almost everything about your body is adversely affected when you are overweight.


So I decided it was time to quit thinkin'/talkin' about it, and get serious.
I made the New Year's resolution I've made in past years...
but this time I shared my resolution with friends, and made a promise-
I'm gonna lose a pound a week until I reach 188 pounds... a loss of 18 pounds.

Sara Jean doesn't like it when I lose weight.
The first place you notice my weight loss is in my face. I get hollow cheeks, like Abraham Lincoln. The loss of fat in my face also makes me look tired.
She also dislikes hugging me when I lose weight... she likes meat on my bones.

But turning 60 was a milestone for me in many ways. I want to establish habits that will make it easier to better control my health. I'd like to be healthy when I reach 85.
So, it's "Eat less, and exercise."
And here's the plan:
For the rest of my life, I'm gonna have a weekly weigh-in on Saturday.
I'm gonna reach my target weight, then maintain it. If I find I've gained a pound or two, I'll lose it immediately by closing my pie-hole and exercising more.


I'm in the 9th week of my diet, and I've lost 8 pounds. I'm a pound behind schedule.
Moving Big Bubba to Arizona, then coming home to a big Valentine's Day dinner was a speed-bump to my plan. But it proves my point...
I know where I am, I know where I want to be, and I know how to get there.


It's tough.
So am I.
I'll keep ya posted.

26 February 2007

Vapid

Did you watch?

No, I didn't either.
And apparently few others did...
They're now saying it was the 3rd least watched Oscar
broadcast ever.
Think they'll get the message now?

Nah!

So Al gets his Oscar...
Too bad "The Dixie Chicks" didn't have a dog in the fight...
They'd have been a shoo-in too!

The Sun Rises



Another of the things I like about working nights-
I see a lot of sunrises.
Sometimes I'm finishing up a flight, returning to my base of operations as the sun peaks it's head above the horizon. A pretty sunrise viewed from the cockpit is a gift from God.
They're a reminder that no matter what happens, the world turns, and life goes on.


My job, by definition, exposes me to a lot of turmoil and tragedy.
I frequently have to remind myself the patient and family I'm dealing with may be having the worst day of their lives. There is an odd satisfaction in being a part of the solution to their problem... one of the first, (and critical), links toward healing. And the neat thing is, more and more, there is medical help for our patient, a probable successful outcome, no matter what their problem.


I woke this morning, checked my email, and was guided to this post at Andrea's Blog, where I read news that concerns me.
ThirdWaveDave is another of the many people I know only via computer... I read his blog regularly, and have had a few contacts via email. He's a guy I had looked forward to being able to tell lies to over a beer (or three) one day.

Links in Andrea's post provide the "sunrise" I had hoped for-

"Until recently, the only successful treatment of CML was to destroy the patient's bone marrow and then restore blood-cell production by infusing stem cells from the bone marrow of a healthy donor."
And then... "But now treatment with the drug imatinib mesylate (Gleevec® also known STI571) appears to be able to cure the disease. "

The link goes on in detail with how the medication binds with cells in order to control the problem... my eyes glazed over trying to sort it out. I already had the news I wanted...
90% of those treated have good outcomes.

I'm sure Dave is glad to know that. I'm glad to know that too, so I can continue looking forward to sharing that beer. But I'm also aware that side effects from these medications can make life uncomfortable for those taking them, so the road Dave has to take may be covered in potholes for a while. And... 90% ain't 100%, no matter how much we'd like it to be. Prayer and good wishes can help to insure our friend TWD is part of the 90% that responds favorably to the treatment.

So please, my friends, join me in wishing TWD well. He stops by here regularly to read, so you can either comment here, or at the link to his site above.

And Dave, keep us updated on your progress.
The first, second, and THIRD rounds are on me!

23 February 2007

Throw the Bums Out!

"Ask not, what your country can do for you...
Ask, what you can do for your country!"
Can you imagine a Democrat making that statement today?
Nor can I.

I'm exasperated.
The country seems to have lost its rudder.
Our major news sources aid and abet the enemy, and a large section of the population blames our ills on our government and the folks that are risking their lives to protect us.
(And amazingly, the folks that have the most to lose should our enemy be successful...
women, homosexuals, etc....
are frequently the most anti-war and anti- present government! Ludicrous.)
We are rapidly approaching the time when we can no longer meet the payment requirement of our entitlement programs.... medicare, medicaid, and Social Security.

So as I say, I'm exasperated. I know the feeling of being dissatisfied.
We have a government of Socialists, and near-Socialists,
and I know who's to blame!

I want change.
I want people to take responsibility for their own lives, their own messes.
I want people to say "I'm sorry" and mean it.
I want to get back to a place where my candidate is willing to do hard things, because it is what must be done.

I'm tired of the bureaucratic waste and corruption that comes with big government.
I think government has to provide a minimal safety net,
then rehabilitation/education for those that fall from a successful life, but I know those services must be limited, or waste, fraud, and corruption eat them up.

I'm tired of voting against the other candidate, rather than for my candidate.

Have you ever taken a look at the Libertarian party?
I like almost everything about their platform, except I get the impression they'd be near-isolationists so far as National Defense is concerned.
In the last election, I voted for Libertarian candidates where they were running, with the exception of the office of President.

"If ya wanta keep gettin' what you're gettin', keep doin' what you're doin'."
That's a mantra I have repeated on many occasions to Big Bubba.
But it readily applies here too, doesn't it?
I refuse to vote for someone that doesn't know what the definition of the word "is" is,
but voting for a near-Socialist has made me hold my nose as I pull the lever.

-Lookin' at the man in the mirror, I have identified who needs to initiate the change.
I'm ready for it...
I hope you are too.
I don't know how long it will take for our dissatisfaction to register, but the sooner we all express our rage about the present situation, the sooner change can happen.

Therefore, I'd like you to take a look at this candidate,
a "Pitchpull" reader who has shared his thoughts with us.
I like much of what he says.
I think it would be wonderful if he got enough votes to appear on the National radar screen.
Ready for a change?
Bloggers in general- here's our chance to shake the system and have a little fun-
Christian bloggers... here's a chance to make an important point, and maybe we can elect someone that can remember where the billing records are.

If you agree with me, and you find Cary's ideas similar to yours,
why not consider writing him in?
And in local/State elections, you could do worse than voting for a Libertarian!
Let's express our rage. Let's start makin' the change.
Let's quit doin' what we've been doin'!

21 February 2007

I Control Your Mind!

Yes, I can, and will, unless you resist the temptation to click here.

(But you won't be able to resist, and I'll have successfully implanted an evil that will occupy your mind for days!)

20 February 2007

Fundamentalists

I've noticed something lately about our news media that concerns me.

When the Taliban first came on my radar screen, just about the time they destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas, I thought to myself, "these folks are crazy, and are exhibiting behavior that is not gonna win them a bunch of friends!"
The passage of time has made my memory of the chain of events a little fuzzy, but shortly thereafter we heard/saw how Afghani women who "offended Islamic principles" in public were beaten with sticks until they got off the street.
About that same time, this story made headlines:

"The rules of behaviour and dress are draconian and enforced with barbaric cruelty. Last March in Mecca, a girls' school caught fire. Some of the students escaped. But they were without veils. Muttawa zealots herded the panicked girls back into the blazing building. Fourteen teenagers died and dozens more suffered horrific burns. The muttawa later said they hadn't realised the severity of the fire."
That news comes from this article.

I can only say I was horrified and confused.
I knew little about Islam. I was aware of Muslims mostly by encountering the women in the marketplace, wearing their traditional dress. These women were always quiet and unassuming. I had never felt threatened by them. But being aware of the above incidents, it was obvious there were things going on in the Islamic faith that didn't jibe with what I was seein' in the grocery store.

What spooks me a little is this:
The incidents I mention above were all openly reported by our media as things that happened because of fundamentalist Islamic beliefs.
Then came Denmark and the Mohammad cartoons. and it seems to me there has been a change in the way our news is being reported.

These guys,
and this guy,
and the 18 year old that committed this act of terror all have something in common, (and the MSNBC article is the only one that alludes to it...
they're all Muslims.)

A simple question for you-
If all these acts had been committed by fundamentalist Christians, would the fact that fundamentalist Christians were committing these crimes have been a SCREAMING HEADLINE?
Being a Christian, I'm not an objective judge,
but looking at the way news about James Dobson, Pat Robinson, and Jerry Falwell are handled, I think our media would have people all over the world fearful of "these crazy Christians".

I suspect there are many acts of Jihad happening
in the U.S. and the world that our media are not reporting
as acts of Islamic fundamentalist terror.
That troubles me a lot.
That's information I'd like to know.

But all this has served as a caution to me,
and should also cause my Christian brethren to pause and reflect:
If we want others to admire and emulate us, we must love and try to understand our fellow man, and be careful not to fall into "the Taliban" sect of Christianity.

17 February 2007

Free Installation!


The battery in our 1999 vintage automobile came with the car when it was new.
I intended to replace it this fall, prior to the really cold weather setting in. I forgot.
So when this latest cold spell, (single-digit temperatures), blanketed the area, I figured we'd go out one morning to find the car wouldn't start.
But it's been reliable and hasn't let us down.

Knowing I had pushed my luck pretty far, I went to Wally World to buy a new battery yesterday. There was a method to my madness-
Buy your battery at WW and they will install it free!
On this particular model car, the battery is completely out of sight. There are battery posts readily marked up front, under the hood, but the battery is tucked down under the engine somewhere. I've never seen it, so I had no idea how difficult it would be to replace it.
Why worry? Wally World will do it free!

Taking a look at the batteries on display, it appeared I had two choices-
A "good" battery... 650 Cold Cranking amps, was gonna cost me just under $50.
A "Maxx" battery... 900 Cold Cranking amps, would cost an extra $15. To me, it seemed a no-brainer... I was looking for a battery that would spin the cold engine and make it easier to start. I decided I'd spend the money on the "Maxx".

The helpful clerk behind the counter was named Brett. I told Brett I needed a new battery, and Brett asked what make/model car I owned, stuck his nose in his reference manual, and said "you need a 34N".
He walks over to the display and grabs one of the "good" batteries.
"No, no Brett... I want the larger battery with more power."
(Tim Allen grunts here, please.)

"We can't do that. The spec calls for the 34N."

"What? What spec is that?"

"Our reference book specifies what battery we can install, and the 34N is the battery that goes in your car."

"What kind of craziness is that? The two batteries are the same size!"

"No, they're not."

I grab both batteries and set them on the floor. They appear to be EXACTLY the same size!

"You mean to tell me those batteries are not the same size?"

"Yep."
(Now, my friend Brett has begun to turn on me. He is showing me a little attitude. I don't like clerks that show me attitude.)

"Got a tape measure, Brett?"

"Uhh, well, I don't THINK they're the same size."

"Well Brett, are they or aren't they? They look to be exactly the same outer dimensions. Give me a tape measure Brett!"

"Well even if they are, I can't put that battery in your car because our book specifies the 34N."

I measure the batteries. They are exactly the same size.

"Here Brett, take this piece of paper and pen, and write your store manager's phone number on it, please."

I leave Wally World, having failed my mission, and go to work a full 90 minutes early... the time I figured it might take to install the battery. From work I call the nice Wally World manager and explain how Brett was really not the most helpful of clerks, and ask what
is this crap about not being able to sell/install the 900 Cold Cranking amp battery in my car?

My new friend the Wally World manager is very apologetic. He says his clerk is mistaken... that there have been lawsuits (damn lawyers again), and young clerks like Brett sometimes are overly cautious. If I will return to the store, he'll be more than happy to insure I am satisfied.

"No, I really don't think I want Brett and his crew touching my car tonight. How 'bout I come by first thing in the morning?"

"That'll be fine".

So, bright and early in the morning after I am relieved, I return to Wally World to meet my next new friend, Don the installer.

I warn Don that the battery is one of those you cannot see from above.
Don's an expert... "Yeah, we'll have to go through the fender to get to it."

I watch from 20 feet away behind the safety fence as they put the car on the lift and remove the right front tire. They then unscrew four screws in a panel inside the fender, and set the panel aside. Then my new friend Don gets a funny look on his face. He calls another guy over, points at something I cannot see, and they have a little discussion.
He walks across the shop floor and gets another tool kit, and begins to assemble a long line of extensions to his ratchet/socket set.

To make a long story short, much head scratching, lifting/lowering of the car, attacking the battery from above and below followed. In this shop, where experts do this sort of thing all the time, it took them 75 minutes to install my new battery!

When the dust had settled and the car was back on the ground, Don came over and confided,
"I'll never do another one of those!"

So now comes my obvious question-
"Free Installation" if you buy the battery at Wally World...
If this battery turns out to be a dud, can they refuse to install a replacement?

15 February 2007

Birdman

I had seen still photos, but this video is wonderful.

Where do I sign up?
(Thanks Jim!)

13 February 2007

The Mystery Patient

"Your patient is a 21 year old male. He has severe trauma to his right hand, including fractures, lacerations, torn tendons, and glass and metal contamination."

We arrive to find a red-headed kid that looks like "Butch" from "Our Gang's Little Rascals" waiting for us.
Dad, (also red-headed), is sitting, concerned, in the room with him. Right now "Butch" is frightened with the prospect of losing his hand. But he looks like the kind of kid that would otherwise seek a fight, or, if necessary, start one himself just for the entertainment.


My paramedic asks, "How'd this happen, partner?"
- Looks at his Dad... "I ain't sayin'."
Uh-oh.

As usual, alcohol is involved. He's not falling down drunk, but he's gonna feel more pain in a couple hours... maybe a little headache too.

His injury is serious. Several bones are broken, two tendons are completely severed. His hand looks like roadkill, and is peppered with shards of glass, rocks, and small metal bits. He needs a specialist, and quick.

We load him aboard the aircraft and get started toward the help he needs. Over the intercom I ask my crew the first question that comes to mind:
"Did he and Dad steal a car and wreck it?"
During the 25 minute trip, he offers no clue.

I land at the receiving hospital, unload crew and patient, and head to our main base to refuel.
When I return to pick them up, my crew is smiling- away from Dad, sobering up a little, Butch had spilled the beans:
"You guessed it, Greybeard! He and Dad stole a car and wrecked it. He had his hand out the window, and the car rolled over and crushed it."

Oh well.
Even the "Butches" of the world deserve and get good medical care.

12 February 2007

Olbermann/Stanford-Binet


Hey, all you Olbermann fans, (and heaven knows he has tens of 'em!)
Chris Muir devoted his strip to him today.
Enjoy!

11 February 2007

09 February 2007

Waking The Beast


Make one minor change, and the car in the photograph looks exactly like the dust covered car sitting in my garage. The exception is that my car has insignia indicating there is a 454 Cubic Inch/390 horsepower engine under it's hood, while the pictured car has a wimpy 350 C.I. engine.

I wrote earlier about the car and why I was no longer driving it here.
Now that Big Bubba is enjoying 80 degree afternoons in a Phoenix suburb, it's time to brush off the dust, drop in a new battery, and let the 7.4 liter powerplant contribute to global warming.
At 13 miles per gallon, my new Army pension is gonna come in handy.

07 February 2007

Our Nest Is Empty

On the morning of 1 November, 1968, I woke up in the bedroom I had slept in for 18 years, looked at the ceiling, and thought to myself, "when I wake up in my next 'home', some of my neighbors will be shooting at me." I would leave that day for Viet Nam.

My bags were packed.
I had decided I didn't want to lose control and cry at the airport,
so I had a friend come to our house to drive me there...

Goodbyes would be said at our home.

I picked up my bags to carry them to the car. My intent was to put the bags in the trunk, then return for hugs and kisses before driving away.

Dad mistakenly thought I was going out the door for good.
From behind me I heard him call my name in such a strange way, it was like an animal's cry...

When I turned to look at him, he was crying.
Dad wasn't the crying type.
Dad was a macho guy.
He always had trouble expressing his love, but there were enough times like these that I knew he loved me deeply.

That was a hard time, but the past week has been the most stressful of my life.
We've thought about it for years... planned it for weeks.
Our son, our only child, no longer lives in our home.

It's all happened so quickly-
He graduated, interviewed for this job, was offered the position and accepted it, all within a month.
He's never been away from home for more than a week at a time.
Now he's in his own home more than two day's drive away, and going into his empty bedroom hurts so badly, we can't stand the thought of cleaning it right now.
It can wait 'til later.

I've not had 8 hours sleep (in a night) in over a week.
I stole hours I should have been sleeping to rent the moving Van.
We packed it and drove 14 hours each of two days, then 3 hours the final day to get to Mesa, Arizona. We then unpacked the Van and began the job of unpacking boxes and constructing "easy to assemble" furniture my son had purchased for his new home.
More sleep deprivation... I "easily assembled" furniture from 8 in the morning until almost 2 A.M. for the next two days.
Yesterday we returned the Van, then flew back to this house that feels mighty empty right now.
I can't help thinking of Mom and Dad, and how strong they had to be to stand and watch their son drive off on his way to fly helicopters in a war where the news was reporting helicopters being shot down on a daily basis.

My son is safely in Mesa, Arizona, yet my heart aches.
How do parents stand sending their children off to war?

God Bless them all!