Thursday, 22 October 2009

The 911 System

A panicking parent called 911. Then the panicking parent began to calm down and hung up on 911, thinking the call hadn't completed. The dispatch officer called back three times, but panicking parents' parent, who doesn't really speak or understand English hung up on the dispatch officer. Ouch.

We arrived and the one-year-old child looked and reacted normally. He was like every one-year-old in the world - only mommy and daddy can touch me. Who're all these strangers in the house? What's this thing on my finger? Why am I up at 2200? We checked him and the panicking parents said they'll just take him to the doc tomorrow. Perfect.

If we go back, which is fine, then they go to the hospital. We allow patients one RMA but if we are called back it indicates a problem, so off to the hospital you go! I'm thinking this is one call we won't have again. One-year-old children barf. A fact of life.

I didn't log a singe call in September. Not one. Not even a half. I had no idea. I was crushed. I put in low calls January through April and then I logged 22 calls in May. June was a little low, July better and then 22 calls in August. And I believe this is my first call for October. Ugh. Part of the problem is that I only ride until midnight. I started out riding full shifts for the first year and a half or two years I have had this job, but it was problematic - I have a lot of trouble functioning without a good night's sleep and I went off at 0600 and then had to be in to work at 1200. It was not working out.

Even putting in a half shift has its effects on me. I have had my manager say more than once that I can't come in looking half-dead. I actually have to laugh at him - his approach - when he said, "What's going on with you?" in that tone. I'm not always the sharpest tool in the shed and when people say vague things, I'm really not picking up on what he's trying to tell me. But I find it funny when he does that. Even so, I can appreciate that looking half-dead is a deterrent to effectively doing my job.

But I can't not ride and I wouldn't ride another night - I love the crew I'm with. We mesh very well. When I have Friday off, I do ride the whole night. I wish I could ride the whole night, but without eight hours of sleep, I'm really dead - all the way.

It's Tea Time!

I got out of drinking tea when I first cut back on sugar. It was so hard to give it up but I knew I had to cut back on it and a lot. I'm not as good about it as I used to be when I originally did this in October 2007. But in many ways I'm so much better with sugar. I have my bad moments, like with Smarties, although I don't normally go nuts with those. And I cannot pass chocolate covered strawberries (sometimes there are some left over from an event and the kitchen staff put them out for us to polish off. It works! The food is excellent there and chocolate covered strawberries - what more can I say?!

But then Splenda came out as a powdered sugar for baking. Shortly after, it came out as granular sugar for coffee or tea. I tried it and hated it. So for a while I didn't touch tea. I used WAY too much sugar in it. Around six months later the Splenda folks came out with something new: sugar and Splenda mixed together. I tried it and found it was okay. I'd started using Splenda-sweetened products for flavouring water and was getting more adjusted to the side effects (it gave me the worst runs at times but I did adjust to it and don't have that problem anymore). I had tea that way for a while and then last February (well, in 2008, not this year), Luis passed a kidney stone. It was quite an experience.

One night I was up watching the telly at 0200. I'd been out of work for about five or six days with an unbelievable version of the flu, one that escaped the protection of the shot. I'd also been up for way too long, as medication for the flu and sleeping medication cancel out the sleeping pills. Luis was playing and kept coming in to the loo, but would stand there uncomfortably with nothing happening. After ten fruitless trips to the loo and my asking if he was okay a few times, he came out and calmly said, "You need to take me to the hospital."

When a guy who never wants to go to the doctor and took 15 years to get a physical and 10 years to finally go to the dentist, hearing this statement was the most galvanising thing - I was up, dressed and driving him to Motown before I got into EMT mode and asked all kinds of questions. I finally said he either has a first class kidney infection or he's passing a stone. Any family history? Not that he knew of - not that he talks to his family enough to know, but not on his father's side. His father would've said something. We got to that hospital and they loaded him up with pain meds. He was loopy and funny. I was there with him until 0500, when he chased me out because I was falling asleep there in the fishbowl.

I went home and he would call when he was released for me to come pick him up. (I feel badly about this...) I took two Ambien and crashed. I did not hear the phone ring AT ALL the 15 times he called. He finally got a cab and crashed with me. I woke up around noon and there he was, sleeping next to me. I was so confused! How'd he get there?

He has never held that against me. I love that man.

Anyway, they confimed that there was a stone about 5mm that was in the tube leading from the kidney to the bladder. He could pass it, or he could have it removed. They referred him to a urologist and while I wasn't allowed to stay for the physical exam (I wanted to but Luis wasn't feeling warm and fuzzy about that), I was there for the meeting and discussion about what causes and prevents stones. It was a great conversation with a lot of information. What stuck was that the items that can promote stones are tannins (found in tea primarily), collared greens and spinach. What can help to cut them down or prevent them is citrus. So my reaction? I stopped drinking tea again.

I found myself missing it and last winter, just a few times, I had hot tea (I have never liked iced tea), using only Splenda and skim milk. I've always taken my tea with skim milk and I must say that it has gotten a lot easier than when I was a teenager to get skim milk - almost every place carries it. But the sugar addiction was so much that I loaded my tea with it. Luis would watch me make tea and said, "Do you want some tea with your sugar?" A few years later he then asked me if I really do like tea, because the sugar level is outrageous. I tried tea without sugar but it is entirely too bitter. I am not a fan of any bitter flavours.

I'll be back - I have a call. A vomiting 2-year-old. Yuck.

Bad Behavior has blocked 1389 access attempts in the last 7 days.

This phrase was at the bottom of the Webpage for Patrick's Place ( Bad Behavior has blocked 1389 access attempts in the last 7 days.

What does this mean? What exactly is bad behaviour? It's a blog - when did free speech become bad behaviour? I'll have to check out the link part... now I'm curious. I need to know what that means. And what 1,389 attempts to be bad was...

Oh, look at this:

Welcome to a whole new way of keeping your blog, forum, guestbook, wiki or content management system free of link spam. Bad Behavior is a PHP-based solution for blocking link spam and the robots which deliver it.

Bad Behavior complements other link spam solutions by acting as a gatekeeper, preventing spammers from ever delivering their junk, and in many cases, from ever reading your site in the first place. This keeps your site’s load down, makes your site logs cleaner, and can help prevent denial of service conditions caused by spammers.
Read More on Features and Benefits of Bad Behavior »

Bad Behavior also transcends other link spam solutions by working in a completely different, unique way. Instead of merely looking at the content of potential spam, Bad Behavior analyzes the delivery method as well as the software the spammer is using. In this way, Bad Behavior can stop spam attacks even when nobody has ever seen the particular spam before.
Read More on How Bad Behavior Works »

Bad Behavior is designed to work alongside existing spam prevention services to increase their effectiveness and efficiency. Whenever possible, you should run it in combination with a more traditional spam prevention service.
Read More on Preventing Spam With Bad Behavior »

Bad Behavior works on, or can be adapted to, virtually any PHP-based Web software package. Bad Behavior is available natively for WordPress, MediaWiki, Drupal, ExpressionEngine, and LifeType, and people have successfully made it work with Movable Type, phpBB, and many other packages.
Read More on The Bad Behavior Connector »

Installing and configuring Bad Behavior on most platforms is simple and takes only a few minutes. In most cases, no configuration at all is needed. Simply turn it on and stop worrying about spam!
Read More on Installing Bad Behavior »

The core of Bad Behavior is free software released under the GNU General Public License. (On some non-free platforms, special license terms exist for Bad Behavior’s platform connector.) If you have created a platform connector for a new platform and want to contribute it to the community, you can do so here. You can also contribute to Bad Behavior’s development, even if you don’t know anything about programming.

Now that is interesting. I had no idea one needs this service, but then again, Patrick's Place is a private site, not a service like my using Blogger. Blogger has settings that filter out the Spam and crap for you - I used to get those kind of responses and after weeding through the various services Blogger allows as options. I no longer get that. Works for me. But when I get up and running again, I may need that site.

I love learning new stuff.

Another Day, Another Leaf!

Today was an odd day. It started poorly and ended (so far) well. I still have a stretch to go... (yes, I know, not as much as the rest of the crew but for me this is a stretch), but it is under 4 hours now. Counting down the time, sort of.

I have my hero, Bill Engvall, on. He's a riot. He keeps the humour clean. He does refer to sex and body functions, but never uses words that I can't play at work. I love this man. I'd invite him to my workplace if I could. He loves the sport. But that's just my wishlist.

Anyway, today... I got a lot of stuff done and went out for a drive. I have been itching to see the roads with the glorious autumn leaves. And they are glorious. Oh, my gods, it is staggering. And so I started out on the higher one and took lots of pictures and then headed around the usual loop to the low road. It's beautiful. It's staggering. It is just delightful.

Today was the perfect day: perfect temperature, perfect light breeze, perfect sunshine with just a bit of mackerel clouds (a sign of poor weather within 24 to 48 hours but I'd sell my soul for days like this so a little rain will be a small price to pay), the perfect trees and the perfect grass. It was perfect all around. The idea is to have fun.

So I was delighted. Close ups, far away shots, whatever. I took 160 images of staggeringly beautiful land. What more can I ask for? People work in office buildings that are huge, square, have cubicleland, and are cold and impersonal and have those gods-awful wall art that come from whaddya-call-it. You know, those stupid things like "There's no I in TEAM" - oh, yes, Successories. Ugh! I hate those things. Not me. I am the luckiest person this way.

So I was very happy. I got home, picked up some hummus and chicken tika, watched some of KungFu Panda, and then went to the squadhouse.

I wanted to cry. My crew was so happy to see me and made it clear without actually saying it directly, I was happy - very happy. I got the same reaction at work, too. Everyone was happy to see me back in and all asked me how vacation was and how was I feeling.

That was part of the depressing stuff - it was so obvious to everyone that something was wrong with me. People were asking me if I was sick and had the flu. I think it is more the depression that is making me look like that. And maybe the sleeping issues - quite a winning combination. It seems that while I'm still feeling the depression - which is not completely abnormal under the circumstances - I'm not letting it show so much. And the trip around the leafy grounds certainly helped.

After we did rig check and had chatted for a longer time than normal, which I loved, Bob and I sat outside and talked more. Talking to Bob is great. He is one of my closest friends. I don't think Bob makes deep friendships with the squadmembers that much. It's different and he cares about the stuff that's going on with me. That's a good feeling. And I'm thinking about what happens if he dies. He's not young, you know. And I'm a little raw from John dying. I just am heartbroken by this. And so now I'm thinking of all the older people in my life that are important to me and thinking about how long they may or may not be with me. I guess that is selfish, but I can't help it.

After Bob left, I went into the squad house and asked our "yute", James, if he'd give me a hand with my shopping. I needed cat litter among other things and the bags weigh a ton - for me. They are 20 or 25lbs, which is nothing for normal person... but it is a Sysophian task for me. James and I had a great time walking around, getting what I needed, talking about books, cereal, sugar, whatever. It was great. I finally came home and here I am, blogging and listening to Bill Engvall.

My day so far. Let's see what happens in the next three hours (it's 20:58).

And What was I Thinking?

I awoke at 0400 (I forgot to reset the alarm clock to 0440) ad then to add to it, I'd fallen asleep on the couch for a while and it was 2000 when I awoke. So I'm an hour off anyway!

My alarm going off... I hit the button to silence it and stlked into the bathroom, came out and reached the conclusion that this is too damn early and I'm going back to bed.

Big mistake. BIG mistake.