Now that I’ve returned to clinical medicine, this article from US News and World Report seemed appropriately well timed. When physicians round in the morning, we often ask our patients how their night went and if they slept okay. Most of the time, they tell us that they had a hard time sleeping – often they wake up due to noise in the hospital or because health care workers are entering their rooms to draw blood or take vitals. We usually joke that “no one comes to the hospital to get a good night’s rest”, “this is a hospital, not a hotel” or “you come to the hospital to get better, but no one lets you sleep!”
Several measures have been introduced to try to make this better, including patient satisfaction metrics including the level of noise patients experience while in the hospital. Increasingly, hospitals are paying attention to the noise levels within their halls. But it seems that waking patients up in the middle of the night to check vitals signs may not only be of minimal value, but may in fact do more harm than intended.
A study recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine reports that nearly half of hospitalized patients who are regularly wakened to have vital signs checked fall into extremely low risk categories. Letting low risk patients sleep may actually be better for their health, and doing so would free up nursing time to be spent on sicker patients or double-checking medications and orders to prevent medical errors.
After completing 10 surgeries that day, candlelight mass was a nice moment of relaxation and thought. The busy operative day left little time to think and process the true magnitude of what we had just accomplished. 10 surgeries in one day. Most well run surgical centers in the United States can’t even complete 10 surgeries in one day. Amazing! And exhausting. I don’t remember Father Rick’s homily that night, but I wasn’t surprised that even this candlelight mass was a funeral mass. Father Rick had been away, which meant that the souls of the deceased before us had been waiting for their funeral mass and their salvation.
As always, the number of “bodies” at the funeral mass never correlates with the number of names that Father Rick reads. Although it looked like one body, there were several children under one of the burial shrouds. Every time the shroud is lifted and more than one child is under there, I catch my breath just a little. As I’ve commented before, death in Haiti is all too real and ever present. Despite seeing patients meet untimely ends in the United States, nothing prepares you for what can be an overwhelming sense of death in Haiti. And for all the work we had done that day, here before us lay several who could not be helped or for whom help came too late. And yet, this wasn’t a sad occasion, for there was a great sense of peace at the funeral mass that night. The hymns sung by Father Rick and Sister Judy hang in the night air as a soft, cool breeze makes its way through the chapel windows.
I stayed after Mass to help a group of volunteers bring the bodies over to the morgue. I’ll honestly admit part of me wished I hadn’t, but part of me will never forget what it’s like to carry the body of a lifeless infant and child from the chapel to the truck. As we arrived back at the main entrance of St Damien’s, a woman carrying a baby came out of the hospital and approached our truck. The baby seemed very sick and almost lifeless in her hands. No crying and very little tone. She had been turned away from St. Damien’s because there were no available beds, and she had no clue where to go. The ER physician (Donnie) sprung into action, taking a look at the baby, assessing the situation, and trying to figure out what to do. Thankfully Father Rick was still with us at this point, and he told us to take the baby over to St. Luke’s.
Once again, a feeling of helplessness washed over me. I’m not a pediatrician, and I don’t routinely deal with sick babies. Not knowing what to do or how to help is an incredibly frustrating feeling for any doctor, but particularly for surgeons who are used to jumping in and getting their hands dirty. We transported mom and baby over to St. Luke’s, and Donnie got an IV started thanks to the pediatric nurse in the cholera clinic, started some antibiotics and checked a finger stick for blood glucose. Throughout all of this, the baby hardly moved or made a sound – not a good sign. After what felt like hours but was probably more like 30 minutes, Donnie got the baby situated for admission. We climbed back into the truck and were getting ready to pull out of the gates of St Luke’s.
I would have taken a picture of what happened next if it would have been appropriate, for it would have been a picture that speaks a thousand words about what life is like in Haiti. As the gate of St Luke’s opened, a young man was being helped off of a motorcycle and into a wheelchair to be brought to the Emergency Department. It was clear that he was in poor condition as he could barely stand up and certainly couldn’t walk. To get a ride to the hospital, he had likely given his last few dollars to the motorcycle driver. Not an ambulance ride, but a ride on the back of a motorcycle, clinging helplessly to the driver in the dark on the terrible streets of Port-au-Prince. He had given what meager money he had in order to come to St. Luke’s, where he knew at the very least his care would be free and a doctor would see him. Had he chosen the General Hospital, he may have died sitting in the hallway, waiting to be seen.
And on the street behind the scene of a semi-conscious man being helped into a wheelchair was a UN truck, sitting idly and watching. Watching and not helping, waiting for the motorcycle to move so that the UN soldiers could drive past. Yes, the picture would have said a thousand words. It would be the perfect picture to describe why the Haitian people dislike the United Nations, and it would speak volumes about the poor, the sick, and the desperate in this country.
I’m not normally one to get into a Twitter war with people, but I am all about defending my views. So when I read this tweet (which a follower retweeted) post DOMA decision, I couldnt help myself.
I’m sorry that your life is ruined because marriage equality is being shoved in your face. I’m sure all the LGBT folks out there who constantly have heteronormative culture shoved in their face love knowing that until yesterday they were considered second class citizens. Which I’m pretty sure is what I tweeted back yesterday.
Naturally it took her a day to respond back, at which point she told me that the Bible says so. We then traded jabs about scripture from the Bible, during which I was told that the Old Testament doesn’t matter and that modern Christians are taught to follow the New Testament because Jesus “came back and fixed it”. So apparently we’re just throwing out the Old Testament entirely, although she then countered with the age old god “would have made Adam and Steve” argument – which correct me if I’m wrong is from the Old Testament…
For the record, just because I support marriage equality, doesn’t mean I need a lesson on what’s written in the Bible. I was raised Catholic – I know what’s written in the “Good Book”.
The Hostess company is emerging from bankruptcy after selling off some of its well known products (Wonder Bread to Flower Foods; Devil Dogs and Yodels to McKee Foods) and a take over by private investment firms Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management.
The takeover by Metropoulos and Apollo meant that the Hostess company would retain its signature products, including Twinkies. The company has announced that Twinkies will be returning to store shelves on July 15th. And they are betting that Twinkies will make a huge comeback considering the run on store shelves when the company filed for bankruptcy.
So America can look forward to Twinkies back on store shelves – and even more of them. The company will be delivering products to warehouses that supply retailers, rather than delivering directly to stores, allowing it to reach dollar stores and nearly all convenience stores in the U.S.
Enjoy your expanded waist lines America.
I can’t for the life of me remember which morning it was, but bright and early at 7am Mass, Father Rick read the gospel according to Matthew. The passage that morning was from Matthew 6, which also includes the words to the Our Father.
And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men.
And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
I can’t imagine that this reading was handpicked by Father Rick while I was in Haiti, but the timing was all too appropriate. For I feel that this passage perfectly describes so many of the religious aid groups that travel to Haiti. When you arrive at the gate for the flight to Port-au-Prince, you can spot them immediately (I’m assuming it’s the same everywhere though I’ve only flown out of Miami to go to PAP). They always have matching brightly colored shirts; the “T” in Haiti is often turned into a cross or there is some reference to God/Jesus or they have vaguely religious sounding names like “Helping Hands”.
I fully realize I’m being judgmental (you already knew that – it says so in the blog headline, and yes I realize it’s wrong), but there’s something that bothers me about those shirts. Now, I’m not a total jerk – I know that a) it’s nice to wear matching T-shirts in order to create group unity, b) to have something tangible to remember the experience by, and c) it’s easier to locate everyone when they are wearing a brightly colored T-shirt. But I often wonder what exactly these groups are doing in Haiti. Are they providing medical care? Are they teaching sustainable farming techniques? Are they building houses or infrastructure for clean water and sanitation? For the groups that claim they are “teaching”… what exactly are they teaching?
Or are they doing what so many before them have done? Are they swooping in, imposing their (Christian) views and values, thinking they are superior to/more intelligent than Haitians, and then leaving when the money runs out? What lasting impact are they making? Is the work they are doing sustainable or will it die out once they leave, leaving Haiti no better than when they started?
I don’t know the answers to those questions, but I highly doubt that every organization is similar to the St Luke’s Foundation and Nos Petit Freres et Soeurs. I doubt that each of these other organizations is making efforts to teach orphaned Haitian teenagers skills that they can market in the future for a job. I doubt that each of these organizations has built a bakery, a restaurant, a brick making factory, a mechanic shop, an auto repair shop, a clothing factory, housing units, three hospitals, multiple clinics, a rehabilitation facility, and multiple schools. I doubt that many of these organizations have created micro-economies within the neighborhoods and towns in which they operate.
I’m probably being harsh, as there are many other groups that go to Haiti that do amazing work. However, sometimes lending a “helping hand” can actually be counter productive; much like the aid that Haiti receives from other countries may be counter productive when Haitians do not control where the aid money flows. But there’s something that bothers me about those matching T-shirts; it’s as if they are like the hypocrites, and the shirts are meant to be flashy in order to broadcast the supposedly good deeds of those wearing them. There is something that bothers me about the “Christian values” being imposed on Haitians, especially since many of those same values often poison the social and political discourse in our own country. For his part, Father Rick does not require Haitians or the volunteers to attend religious services. Non-Christians are equally welcome, and the Catholic values of nurturing the sick and aiding the poor are the only ones that are imposed at St Luke’s.
I can only hope that I’m wrong about those groups. But until proven otherwise, those matching T-shirts are still going to bug me.
So I rarely dance the jig when I hear about a politician deciding not to run for re-election, but this morning’s announcement by Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) was like a gift from baby Jesus.
Although I think this headline is false. Ms Bachmann, I’d like to think you were “done” after your failed attempt to run for President.
This guy may win the award for jerk of the week. Apparently, he thought it would be funny or cute to display a sign reading “Toronto Stronger” at Game 3 of the Bruins-Maple Leafs playoff series. You can imagine that the reaction from Bostonians, Americans elsewhere in the country, and some Canadians was less than pleasant.
Incidentally, the Bruins beat the Maple Leafs in Game 3. So who’s stronger now?
For the record, using the Boston Marathon bombing as a political weapon to argue for or against gun control is completely inappropriate. When Arkansas Representative Nate Bell asked how many Bostonians were cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 the night before the lockdown, social media responded quickly… and Nate Bell found himself apologizing for the “timing” of his unfortunate comments.
Apparently Wayne LaPierre, the Executive Vice President of the NRA, didn’t get the same memo, when he asked today “How many Bostonians wish they had a gun two weeks ago?”
The Boston Marathon bombings are not about gun control or gun ownership or gun freedom. What Bostonians wished for two weeks ago was a swift resolution to a horrifying and terrible event. What Bostonians wished for was peace and safety.
If you want to turn the Newtown tragedy into a gun discussion, that’s fine – although I would argue it’s inappopriate to not include a discussion about mental health in there. But the Marathon bombings were not and are not about guns. They are about terrorism and cowardice. Turning them into a pro or anti-gun weapon is just as cowardly.
Civil unions are scheduled to begin today in Colorado. The Democratic Governors Association was obviously very excited about this historic occasion in the Centennial State when it tweeted the following:
There’s just one problem. Civil unions aren’t equal rights. The very fact that they are separate from marriage means they are not equivalent, otherwise it would be called marriage.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m excited for our brothers and sisters in Colorado who can finally be legally recognized as a couple. And I do think it’s a momentous step in the right direction, especially after Colorado voters banned gay marriage a mere 7 years ago. But the fact remains, as we’ve learned in the past, “separate but equal” is always separate and never equal.
I’m probably going to catch some flak for this but… am I the only person who thinks this is going a bit too far with the Boston Strong theme?
I understand that Yankee Candle is a local company and that proceeds go to the One Fund Boston.
But what exactly is this Boston Strong candle supposed to smell like? Beer? A bathroom at Fenway Park? The Green Line? Dunkin Donuts? The exhaust from the Duck Boats? I mean… seriously…
[steps off soapbox]
Four lessons to be learned here:
- If you share something with anyone on the Web, it’s liable to be shared with everyone on the Web.
- Anything you post will eventually become public.
- Anything you post can and will be used against you.
- If you post something epically stupid, it will go viral
This is an actual email from one of the executive board members of the University of Maryland’s chapter of Delta Gamma. Way to keep it classy.
If you just opened this like I told you to, tie yourself down to whatever chair you’re sitting in, because this email is going to be a rough f*cking ride.
For those of you that have your heads stuck under rocks, which apparently is the majority of this chapter, we have been F*CKING UP in terms of night time events and general social interactions with Sigma Nu. I’ve been getting texts on texts about people LITERALLY being so f*cking AWKWARD and so f*cking BORING. If you’re reading this right now and saying to yourself “But oh em gee Julia, I’ve been having so much fun with my sisters this week!”, then punch yourself in the face right now so that I don’t have to f*cking find you on campus to do it myself.
I do not give a flying f*ck, and Sigma Nu does not give a flying f*ck, about how much you f*cking love to talk to your sisters. You have 361 days out of the f*cking year to talk to sisters, and this week is NOT, I f*cking repeat NOT ONE OF THEM. This week is about fostering relationships in the greek community, and that’s not f*cking possible if you’re going to stand around and talk to each other and not our matchup. Newsflash you stupid cocks: FRATS DON’T LIKE BORING SORORITIES. Oh wait, DOUBLE F*CKING NEWSFLASH: SIGMA NU IS NOT GOING TO WANT TO HANG OUT WITH US IF WE F*CKING SUCK, which by the way in case you’re an idiot and need it spelled out for you, WE F*CKING SUCK SO FAR. This also applies to you little shits that have talked openly about post gaming at a different frat IN FRONT OF SIGMA NU BROTHERS. Are you people f*cking retarded? That’s not a rhetorical question, I LITERALLY want you to email me back telling me if you’re mentally slow so I can make sure you don’t go to anymore night time events. If Sigma Nu openly said “Yeah we’re gonna invite Zeta over”, would you be happy? WOULD YOU? No you wouldn’t, so WHY THE F*CK WOULD YOU DO IT TO THEM?? IN FRONT OF THEM?!! First of all, you SHOULDN’T be post gaming at other frats, I don’t give a F*CK if your boyfriend is in it, if your brother is in it, or if your entire family is in that frat. YOU DON’T GO. YOU. DON’T. GO. And you ESPECIALLY do f*cking NOT convince other girls to leave with you.
“But Julia!”, you say in a whiny little bitch voice to your computer screen as you read this email, “I’ve been cheering on our teams at all the sports, doesn’t that count for something?” NO YOU STUPID F*CKING ASS HATS, IT F*CKING DOESN’T. DO YOU WANNA KNOW F*CKING WHY?!! IT DOESN’T COUNT BECAUSE YOU’VE BEEN F*CKING UP AT SOBER F*CKING EVENTS TOO. I’ve not only gotten texts about people being f*cking WEIRD at sports (for example, being stupid shits and saying stuff like “durr what’s kickball?” is not f*cking funny), but I’ve gotten texts about people actually cheering for the opposing team. The opposing. F*cking. Team. ARE YOU F*CKING STUPID?!! I don’t give a SH*T about sportsmanship, YOU CHEER FOR OUR GODDAMN TEAM AND NOT THE OTHER ONE, HAVE YOU NEVER BEEN TO A SPORTS GAME? ARE YOU F*CKING BLIND? Or are you just so f*cking dense about what it means to make people like you that you think being a good little supporter of the greek community is going to make our matchup happy? Well it’s time someone told you, NO ONE F*CKING LIKES THAT, ESPECIALLY OUR F*CKING MATCHUP. I will f*cking c*nt punt the next person I hear about doing something like that, and I don’t give a f*ck if you SOR me, I WILL F*CKING ASSAULT YOU.
“Ohhh Julia, I’m now crying because your email has made me oh so so sad”. Well good. If this email applies to you in any way, meaning if you are a little asswipe that stands in the corners at night or if you’re a weird sh*t that does weird sh*t during the day, this following message is for you:
DO NOT GO TO TONIGHT’S EVENT.
I’m not f*cking kidding. Don’t go. Seriously, if you have done ANYTHING I’ve mentioned in this email and have some rare disease where you’re unable to NOT do these things, then you are HORRIBLE, I repeat, HORRIBLE PR FOR THIS CHAPTER. I would rather have 40 girls that are fun, talk to boys, and not f*cking awkward than 80 that are f*cking faggots. If you are one of the people that have told me “Oh nooo boo hoo I can’t talk to boys I’m too sober”, then I pity you because I don’t know how you got this far in life, and with that in mind don’t f*cking show up unless you’re going to stop being a goddamn cock block for our chapter. Seriously. I swear to f*cking God if I see anyone being a goddamn boner at tonight’s event, I will tell you to leave even if you’re sober. I’m not even kidding. Try me.
And for those of you who are offended at this email, I would apologize but I really don’t give a f*ck. Go f*ck yourself.
… some of these people definitely need a lesson in how to read a map. Idiots.
“Czechoslovakia” hasn’t existed as a nation since 1993, when it was dissolved into Slovakia and Czech Republic.
I dont think Arkansas State Rep Nate Bell knows Boston very well.
- Bostonians don’t cower.
- All we want is normalcy and peace in our city.
- Making a political statement from this tragedy is despicable.
- You dont need an AR-15 for any of the above.
Feel free to email him Nate.Bell@arkansashouse.org and tell him what you think.
While I’ve been fairly absorbed in the events unfolding in Boston for the last three days, there was one major headline on the Huffington Post that was hard to miss. Yesterday, the US Senate voted on amendments to a gun control bill. One such amendment was the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey amendment to expand background checks for guns sold over the internet and at guns shows. The amendment did not gain the 60 votes necessary to pass, falling short at 54 in favor to 46 against.
Immediately after the vote count, at least two members of the Senate gallery shouted “Shame on you!”. Family members of those killed in the Sandy Hook and Virgina Tech shootings were in attendance.
I’m not sure you can call an amendment “bipartisan” when only 4 members of the minority party vote for the bill. But the fact that the amendment was supported by 90% of Americans according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll and yet failed to pass in the Senate says something striking about our political system.
In case you’re wondering who voted for and against the measure…
*Note: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) supported the legislation, but he voted against it for procedural reasons, in order to preserve the right to bring the measure back up.
Not too long ago, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Rider Oversite Committee issued a survey asking commuters if they would be in favor of extended hours on public transportation services in the city of Boston. For readers from New York or Chicago, I know it may be hard for you to imagine a subway or bus system not running 24 hours a day… but such is the reality of life here in Boston (and I suspect many other cities in the country).
MBTA thought that roughly 500 people would answer the survey. They were blown away when nearly 26,000 people responded with a resounding “YES”. Over half of respondents said they would be willing to pay at least double the regular fare to take a “night owl” bus of subway ride.
I, for one, am all in favor of extended hours on public transportation for multiple reasons. For one, it cuts down on accidents, injuries, and deaths associated with drunk driving, as residents are more likely to take public transportation into the city knowing that it runs later. Public transportation is especially important to young professionals, who coincidentally are most likely to use the late night service. Extended hours would also cut down on automobile traffic, as individuals who work late or overnight shifts might be more willing to take the “T” instead of driving to work. Finally, I truly believe that to succeed as a vibrant, modern city in the United States (and one that wishes to reduce automobile traffic in your city center) you need to offer residents a means other than a cab for accessing the nightlife and cultural attractions that keep a city humming.
To be clear, I’m all for extended hours. And I also commend the MBTA for “feeling the pulse” of the people. Residents continually clamor about the desire for extended hours; without actual evidence like this survey, these stories only amount to anecdotal evidence.
But issuing such a survey at the current time seems almost irresponsible. The MBTA is notoriously cash-strapped and indebted – although to be fair, much of that debt was forced on the agency due to the Big Dig. However, at a time when the MBTA is pleading with state legislators for new funding streams to close budget deficits and is floating the idea of either cutting service or raising fares, even considering the idea of extending public transit hours seems ludicrous. Residents of Boston and the surrounding areas that rely on the MBTA to commute in and out of the city every day constantly complain about the poor and unreliable service of the many buses, subways, and trains. How many times did the commuter rail shut down this winter? And how many days has it been since the Green Line or Red Line last suffered a breakdown? Do we really think that extended service will be any better? Perhaps we should focus on fixing what we have before we consider extending ourselves farther…
No folks, the MBTA shouldn’t even be entertaining the idea of extended hours until the agency can offer frequent, efficient, reliable, and sustainable service to the areas it currently serves – and without a negative operating margin. Without those fixes in place, public transportation service during extended hours will be subject to the same delays, inconsistencies and breakdowns, and will be yet another source of discontent with the MBTA for Bostonians.
I’ve previously mentioned via either Facebook or Twitter my utter disdain for folding the fitted sheet. I hate it. I even know how to fold the damn thing, but I still hate doing it. So naturally, this tweet from Dreaded Rear Admiral (@willrad) caught my eye today.
FOLDING FITTED SHEETS:
- pair up adjacent corner seams
- wad the entire thing up in a big ball
- who cares this is impossible
I’m not going to win any popularity points with this one, but I don’t care.
Brian Lowder wrote an article for Slate that posted yesterday titled “Meet the Gaybros.” The subtitle was “They like sports, hunting, and beer. They make the gay community mad.”
I’ll tell you what makes me mad… articles like this one.
The article starts off with Lowder walking around Boston with a group of men who have dubbed themselves “Gaybros”, gay guys with traditionally manly interests like sports, hunting, and beer. They travel to the city’s “premiere gay sports bar” Fritz, where Lowder comments on the diversity of the crowd. To call Fritz a “premiere” anything is a joke; the fact of the matter is that Fritz serves a clientele who, unlike so many other places in Boston, don’t give a f*ck who you THINK you are. People go to Fritz not because it’s a great place to watch sports but because it’s low key and unpretentious. The “Gaybros” later head off to Club Cafe, a locale I would ironically dub the exact opposite of Fritz… but also not “premiere”. Lowder, on the other hand, makes an exit and heads to a house party at a “handsome” townhouse where he is surrounded by the “Crate and Barrel brand of gayness.”
Here’s why I hate this article. The “us versus them” mentality and the compartmentalization of gay culture in this article (and in real life) is ridiculous and does us a disservice. At a time when the community should be rallying behind each other in support of legal rights for ourselves and the rest of the LGBTQIA community, instead we continue to separate and ridicule one another. We do to each other exactly what the straight (male) community continually does to us. Gay men are, in fact, our own worst enemies.
The whole notion of “masc” versus “fem” is utter ridiculousness. The idea that gay men can only fall into one category or another is ludicrous. These labels, if you will, are not mutually exclusive. What this article highlights is a nasty division within the gay community, one that employs labels taken directly from the very people who oppress the gay community in the first place. The fact of the matter is, there is plenty of room within the gay community for everyone – Gaybros included.
In the words of the person who sent the article my way, “I can love watching the Emmy’s and watching the Pats on the same day. I totally go to Red Sox games because I’m a fan, but I also love to watch my design shows on HGTV. Cut the crap – ALL OF US.”
Gays – it’s time to grow up.