Sunday, September 30, 2007

That Pesky Mormon Background

Newsweek has a very good article about Mitt Romney and his Mormon Background. It speaks very well about how his handlers are adept at skirting all the tough issues concerning things that the church does and believes. How they have him using vernacular that is not typical to the average Mormon, to make his religion seem more main stream to average folks. As a "recovering Mormon" I can tell you that if it bothers you to have people letting God lead this country, then Mitt Romney is most definitely not the guy anyone wants for president.

He has used phrases like "judeo-Christian" when asked to describe his religious beliefs, but he uses it as a generic term because people would flinch, the average Sunday church goer, if they actually knew how the Mormon style services were run. The bible may be there, but almost ALL of their scripture and speech material comes from their Book of Mormon. They like to say that they believe the bible, but that it has not been translated correctly. Heck, when I was there, about 6-7 years, I hardly remember a time when a bible was used and when it was they took such small and distinct phrases from it just to prove one of their points.

Once you learn anything about the Masons you find out how much of their symbolism the originators of the Mormon church adopted for their temple religious signs and symbols. That they wear clothing and make movements quite like the Masons do. Their leader Joseph Smith was a Mason as were many men back in that time period.

The typical Mormon prays about EVERYTHING and every decision they make and they believe that the answers they get come directly from God. In their churches they promote by prayer. So, I for one do not think that I want a president that would make decisions based upon this reasoning. He might take in all the advise from his staff, but ultimately he is going to pray about it and go with the Lord. They are HUGE believers and practice this religiously. No pun intended!

I do not mind if my leaders have a passing mention of some kind of religious affiliation, but it is when it is THE integral part of their life, the guiding force , that it makes me very wary.

It is good to have a moral basis in your life, to know good from bad and all that, but I am just uncomfortable when someone with such background as Mr. Romney's wants to lead this country. He has had many positions of power within the church and people expect him to keep it up at home as well. He could never back off from his Mormon roots as the higher up leaders would not allow it and would have a talk with him about this. I know first hand as I toiled for years in positions that they gave me and as they piled on more and more they expected more from me and my behavior was always watched.

He may very well be a good person and a nice man....just not one that I would like as president of a country with such diverse religious views and his being the one that is most questionable as to origin and beginning.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Tragedy Really Averted?

This woman is still alive after being trapped in her car for 8 days, but the really tragic part of this story is that she has no health insurance. Like millions of the rest of the population of the U.S., myself included, she had to take a job to acquire the health insurance that they offer. Not only does her family have to worry about her long recovery, but they also have to worry about how these bills will get paid. The same scenario that continues to get played over and over in this country. Many are just one tragedy away from financial ruin. Myself, I get tired of having to work 6 days a week just to keep my health benefits. When will all of our leaders finally wise up and do something that will benefit us all?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday, Chilly Sunday

It sure felt like fall this weekend. The sky was full of fluffy, fat clouds and the air was cool and crisp. For the first time, in many months, I had on jeans and a long sleeved tee shirt. Even had on shoes!! Well, it is September and fall is just lurking around the corner. Against my warnings the teenage son wore flip-flops to a football game on Friday night and came home with very cold toes.

The hubby was home for a very brief visit this weekend and is leaving Monday for a several week jaunt to Chicago. I have family there and am giving some thought to maybe driving up there at some point for a long weekend. Although it has been brief we did have a busy weekend, not much substantial was accomplished, but sometimes you just have to have an all fun-filled time and leave the pressing stuff for a later time. That is exactly what we did.

Friday he flew in and after a few hours at the office he came home and we spent a few hours munching and gabbing at a BW 3's. He has been on a wing kick for many months and has been on a search for the best hot sauce that still has flavor. I am very picky about wings and do not often eat them out. As a matter of fact I am going to be making some during today's football game for our at home enjoyment. I found a wing sauce made by Budweiser and plan to try it out.

Saturday morning I had to sell some coffee and pastries, so he got to hang out at the house with the kid and the dogs all the while with his lap top and piles of receipts spread all about the downstairs while he tried to get his expense reports caught up. I, as usual, came home with a list of evening activities to occupy our Saturday night.

Our younger neighbors were having a party to celebrate his 22nd birthday and invited us over for food, cookout, and beverages. I took a bottle of red wine, sense it was fall like weather, and we went over. Nice kids and had some really colorful friends. We were probably closer in age to his parents, but as usual I am always more funky then most women closer to my age. They had veggies and dips and we made acceptable small talk for a couple of hours and then headed out to another party near our neighborhood.

The guy who does my hair is now in a really cool shop just 2 blocks from our house, so we were able to walk, and not worry about drinking and driving. He had invited us to a party at the shop. It is a really, cool and punk shop called "Skullz". Everyone that works there has hair colored like the rainbow and piercings that are too numerous to count, not to mention an array of tattoos.

We walked down to the shop having been told that nothing was required. What a cool party!! There was tons of food and an equally full bar. A finger food bonanza. Several varieties of hot and spicy Mexican dips and meatballs. Fruit pizza, which I love when someone else goes to all the trouble to get all the fruit and peel and slice, especially kiwi and fresh raspberries. Veggies and cheese trays....just a ton of food. There was a drag queen getting make-up done to head off to a drag show and another young guy getting his bushy, caterpillar eyebrows waxed and shaped for the first time. There was un-top 40 music and little kids cavorting around on those wheelie shoes. We called the son to come down and partake of all the finger goodies too! Not being a beer drinker I opted for the vodka and orange juice. Well, after we had eaten and had our limit of alcohol we walked home and slept in late on Sunday.

Which brings me to today. What a glorious end to the weekend! We both threw on some casual stuff and headed off to one of our local eateries. This place has been a staple here for 20 years and has a huge menu with food potions enough to feed an army. It is always hopping on Sunday mornings, especially with folks that are needing breakfast and still wearing last nights faces. That would be me. With eyeshadow still smeared on from Sat. night and plaid pj pants, college sweatshirt and black Chuck Taylors I looked like someone nursing a hangover, but lucky for me I was not. At this point in life I think I know how to avoid that misery!

We both had huge plates of food that included eggs in different styles. Then we headed home for an hour or so nap. Decadence! I then got up and headed out for some vanilla white mocha's and a New York Times. I sat on our porch in the cool afternoon, while hubby was indoors with the game on, and enjoyed my way through the movie reviews, magazine section and political articles. Lingered on the fashion pages and op-ed sections. Ate a few yogurt covered pretzels with my mocha, threw a few balls for the Golden Retriever and finally dragged myself in to get the laundry going so the hubby can pack later and get ready to leave again.

A weekend to treasure. Nothing important accomplished....ahhhhhh, wonderful nothing, sweet nothing.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Adrenaline Rush

Yesterday I had an experience like nothing I have experienced before. I have anxiously been waiting for it to happen. The multi-vehicle accident with substantial injuries. The panacea for EMT's and Paramedics. All of our primary and back-up crews were called out on this particular call. The medic in charge passed out the yellow traffic vests and he and I sat in the back while the driver and training medic sat in the front.

As we approached I got up to look out the front window, it was a scene that immediately sent my adrenaline rushing and heart pounding. I was prickly with excitement and anticipation. The time to put the real training to the test. They yelled at me to grab certain pieces of equipment and we all began to jump out into the street and in to action. As I made my way to the vehicle I was first taken with all of the damage. There was extensive damage to the car and there were many pieces of it in the roadway along with a ton of oil. I did not realize how much oil a car held, but I did notice exactly how slippery it is as you walk through it. I leaned the backboard against the car and quickly climbed into the backseat to takeover holding C-spine. The holding of the victims head still so a cervical collar may be applied. I got into the backseat of the car so fast that I did not even have time to look for any glass or blood etc. I do know that the drivers seat was bent into the back and I had to squeeze past it to get to the guys head. There was a great deal of blood and I remember, as I was applying the collar, looking at it on the pale tan color of my latex gloves. It was the first time that I have had someone else's blood on my hands.

He was screaming. He had not been wearing a seat belt and instead of being behind the drivers seat he was now in the passenger seat. We had thought he was the passenger at first. You do not learn anything that prepares you for screaming patient while you are trying to talk to them and / or each other. So, we got the collar on him and then we had to get him out of the vehicle and on to the backboard. It can be a very scary experience and even claustrophobic to have a c-collar on your neck and them to have yourself strapped down and have your head tapped to the board securely. It is very hard to get them to listen and calm down.

He was coughing and choking on his own blood from a head and nose wound. We still needed to get oxygen on him and into the back of the squad to cut his shirt off.

During all of this I hardly noticed the victim in the big truck while our other squad worked on him.

Once in the back of the ambulance we all moved very quickly, but after it was all said and done the entire ordeal took a little over 2 hours! It seemed like minutes. I was amazed. I was so excited that I was momentarily paralyzed with the thought that I did not know how to do anything! Then as I began to open tubing and bags of saline I started to get into my groove. It is one of those situations that if you do not do it very often that you do not always have a steady hand.

We got him to the hospital, all the while talking to him to keep breathing and not hold his breath and to try and calm himself down. He was screaming and crying a great deal. Then he would get so quiet that I had to check to see if he was still conscious. He was rushed in to a trauma room with many nurses and doctors waiting for him. Then, our job is finished and it's time to reclaim the used stock and clean the cot and get clean sheets. That quickly. As quick as that it is done. You go so high and then it is just a dead stop. You have to switch gears and move on.

That is hard! I went to the bathroom at the hospital and looked at myself in the mirror and my cheeks were flushed. I was flushed with the rush/. When we got back to the station I was still flushed. I was SO jazzed. I started to call family and friend s as soon a s I got in my car to head home. I had to drink 2 glasses of wine just to start to get myself down. I took the dogs on a really good walk. It took awhile, but I finally was ready to sleep. It was a good learning experience. Built up my confidence for the next one.

I know now that I will be ready to begin paramedic school next year. I have made the right choice. It is the right fit for me. I like the unexpected and the not knowing when things are going to happen.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Yes, Virginia There is a Limit

.......And I reached it yesterday! I am in the middle of what is going to be a 13 day work week and yesterday, at the coffee mega giant, I was beginning to feel REALLY, REALLY tired. I have been there at 5:00 AM for all my shifts this week. So, as I was getting ready for work that morning I was already thinking about my nap that afternoon. I am working on Sunday, which I never do as it is usually my only day off, at a local mall shop so I can make sure that I have enough work hours to make the quota I need to keep my health insurance.

When you are that tired and caffeine is your drug of choice then the only thing you can do is DRINK SHOTS! We have a thing that we all do when we get tired, we will pour 1 or 2 shots of espresso and put a tish of some flavor and a smidge of heavy whipping cream and then shoot like you would a shot of tequila. Usually after a few of those you will get the kick you need and be able to finish your shift appropriately.

Yesterday everyone that worked seemed to be tired, so we did shots several times AND I had also had 4-8 shots of espresso in a few lattes when I got there. It got me through and then when I came home I was still able to nap for an hour. Although when I got up I was so groggy that I had 2 cups of a french roast and hit me. My head actually began to buzz internally. I felt so funky and weird that after I washed my hair I could barley stand up let alone bend over and dry it. I was feeling odd. So I took my blood pressure and it was high. High for me, I am usually in the 110/70 to 120/80 range, but it was 150/80. I could feel the effects acutely. First time I have ever overdosed myself on caffeine. I did not like the way I felt at all! So the rest of the day I laid around in sweats and watched TiVo'd television and drank lots of water. When John got home from his office I had him order chicken and wings and after eating I went to bed.

Finally this morning I am back to normal, having a cup of coffee, but I am laying off the shots for some time. There is a limit.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Travel Lighter

Today was my day to be "back-up". That means that I hang around the station until the "primary" crew gets a call and then the back-up crew is ready to roll in the event of another call. So, when this happens I usually try to write in my journal and read. Today I was reading some of the articles that I have recently printed from the Living Life Fully web site. A really great line came out of one of these articles, "If I had it to do over, I would travel lighter." Don Herold 1953.

I re-wrote the words "travel lighter" on the margin of the paper with an exclamation point. What great advice. What a release it would be to stop purposely carrying around all this baggage and burdens! Granted, there are things that you can not put down due to their importance, but what about all the unnecessary crap that we tote around every day.

I would, and have, stopped worrying about where I fit in in the community, church...wherever! I wish that I would have done it sooner in my life. It is such a liberating feeling. To be yourself and not have to fit into a mold that is created by society that says that based upon these criteria you must behave and dress etc. in a certain fashion.

I would have had friends earlier that saw me and appreciated me for who I was. Not people that just called our relationship "friend" and then proceeded to only be their own version of what a friend should be and making it all about them. I would have chosen my friends more carefully and looked at their deeper qualities. I would have worried less about if they were appropriate. I would have cared more about their sincerity. Not who they were connected to and not "what can they do for me."

I would have worried less about trying to be so many things to too many people. I would have worked more on just "being" and hope that it was good enough. I would have carried around much less guilt. Less guilt about EVERYTHING! I would have cared less about everything that society says should make you feel guilty. I am trying more to this one now. I don't let myself get caught up in the trap of guilt. It is something that can really control you, if you let it, and I do not let it happen very often any more. At jobs I would get all freaked out when it was review time, but now I realize that I can only do the job at the level I do it, unless I am just totally lazy and don't care, but aside from that....I can work to the best of my ability and that just has to be good enough. They can always ask for more, but that doesn't mean that I am capable.

The second excellent line, from the same article was, " I would pay less attention to people who teach tension." I am in the end stages of an old friendship right now with someone that THRIVED on tension. All this girl does is live in the tension lane of stressville highway. I got off. I don't want to live like that anymore. John just pointed out to me recently that there are people out there who just can not function unless their lives are in turmoil. I am not one of them. She likes it when she has tension and she can get someone to come to her aid or rescue. It is such a cry for attention. These people also like to create tension (teach ) it in other relationships. They like to see you fall out with others. They do not share well. It is a good thing to get out of these types of relationships and away from these types of people.-

I am allowing myself to make mistakes and errors without being overly critical of myself. Shit happens. I am trying to be much less serious. I am not taking myself or my place in the world / cosmos too seriously. I am here for whatever reasons that I am here. I come in contact with many people in a day and can only hope that all my contacts are good and positive.

If they are not today... there is always tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Uninsured, the Poor and Struggling Middle Class.

It seems as if this topic just keeps coming in to my life. Having gone through the pain and suffering my self, of going for several years without health insurance, to having a recent experience as an EMT with an uninsured patient it just keeps on coming up. Has the nation become numb to the crisis? Do people just not care any more?

An article in today's Washington Post, by columnist E.J. Dionne, raises the question, are we just more interested in sensational articles about Michael Vick and Leona Helmsley than the number of uninsured children in this country. Well, based upon the amount of news air time that these topics receive it seems as if, as Dionne points out,".... the poor - and for that matter, the struggling middle class too - disappear in the media, barricaded behind our fixation on celebrity, our titillation over personal sin and public shame, our fascination with every detail of every divorce and affair of every movie star, rock idol and sports phenom."

He points out the sensational media coverage of the entire Michael Vick debacle. Yet there was hardly any attention on a recent Census Bureau finding that the number of Americans without health insurance has risen by 2.2 million, to a total of 47 million. The number of Americans under 18 without health insurance rose to 8.7 million.

The only reason that I currently labor at the coffee mega giant is due to the health program that they offer, otherwise we could not even afford my husbands crappy insurance. You have to pay the first 2300.00 out of pocket before anything is covered!! Who can afford that? They actually pay us a 300.00 stipend monthly to NOT use their insurance!!

A few weeks ago we responded to a call of bee stings with an allergic reaction. The man was a landscaper. About 15 times he had been stung. They came up out of the ground and chased him in to another yard. His reaction was swift. He had vomited right away, got light headed and had a very large and immediate rash. His breathing had become somewhat labored. He was 44 years old and also a diabetic. It was just he and his son doing this work and as soon as he heard that the hospital wanted us to transport him he refused and got very freaked out because he told us that he had no health insurance. I could see and feel the mans reluctance. I recognized the reactions. They were some of the same feeling I had had when we were also uninsured and my son had chipped his tooth and we had to figure out how to get it fixed, by a dentist and how to pay for it. He was very adamant about not going to the hospital and so we had no choice but to give him directions for his own care and release him. He felt awkward as did I. It is terrible how you must have to admit to other folks that you do not even have the basics of health care in an emergency. I am sure that people have had to deal with far more deadly situations because they do not have health care. It is one of the saddest statements about this country. Especially when it comes to children.