Archive for the ‘Random Idiocy’ Category

The Yankees’ good guy

November 6, 2009

Watching the Yankees win the World Series was about as appealing to me as watching a millionaire win the lottery. Man, I hope the NFL stays a salary-capped league. (It’s not just about the free agents the wealthier teams could acquire, it’s also about the fact that these teams don’t LOSE players to other teams because they can carry a much larger overall payroll.) Anyway, I wanted to post something on this story about Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Apparently, at 2:25am Wednesday night, after celebrating the World Series win, manager Joe Girardi assisted a motorist who had lost control of her car because she and the car remained precariously within a lane of traffic. I know Tony Romo did this last year too. I think this sort of thing is great. Of all people of all times, Joe Girardi didn’t need to do this but he did. Very cool.


Open house at the fire station

November 3, 2009

The other night, a local fire station held an open house for kids/parents in the area. With a 2.5 year old son, not attending was not an option. When we arrived, we noticed that most of the activity was right inside the open garage doors of the fire station. So we headed in there. On the floor next to the ambulance were the boots, jackets and helmets that the firefighters wear. There was a woman there talking about them and letting kids try them on. She appeared to either be a firefighter herself, or at least someone who worked at the fire station. So, we went about putting the clothes/boots/ helmet on my son who loved it. The woman watching over the area was laughing as my son was hamming it up some. But then…out of nowhere, came this guy whom I took for an EMT. He offered zero introduction, he just started right in, and when he spoke, he spoke like one of those people who is desperately hoping you’ll say “wow” to whatever they say:

“C2, C3. Vertebrae. Not developed until age 13. Get that helmet off of him. I’m serious, get that helmet off of him right now. There was a 9 year old boy, son of a Fire Chief in Ohio. He was sitting on a riding lawnmower wearing his dad’s fire helmet, turned his head suddenly and ended up falling off the lawnmower. Died. That’s right, died. Why did he die? The weight of the helmet. His C2 and C3 vertebrae weren’t strong enough. Snapped his neck.”

Then, as suddenly as he approached us, he left us to take the other helmets away from other kids in the try-on area – the guy seemed to enjoy being the direct reason kids were suddenly having less fun. My wife and I just looked at each other struggling to believe what we’d just seen. Who just walks up to someone he doesn’t know and tells a horrific story apparently to illustrate a point that could be made by simply saying “that helmet may be a bit heavy for your boy’s neck”? And why was all of this equipment clearly out for kids to try on if it was so, ummm, lethal?

Some moments in life are really odd, and this was one of them.

Tami’s flu

October 30, 2009

So, I’ve been dealing with the flu, or swine flu, for some reason they don’t know which because it would cost $500 apparently to determine which it is. How can we truly know if swine flu is the pandemic everyone says it is unless we know for sure if people even have it? Don’t get this. Also, if the cost of this test is really $500, sounds like price gouging to me by the test maker.

I learned this all when I went to the doctor yesterday. At that time, I was starting to feel better, fever had gone, chills were gone, body aches gone, some of the congestion gone. The one positive, I remember telling the doctor, was the fact that I hadn’t experienced any nausea at all. Well, due to being in the higher risk category (asthma) I was still prescribed Tamiflu to hopefully make the symptoms go away quicker.

Tamiflu. Very odd name…but I have a theory. Tamiflu is simply a  particularly nasty flu virus that some woman named Tami had once – in pill form. Within 25 minutes of taking this medication yesterday, the chills came back, the fever came back, the body aches said hello again, and worst of all, I started to feel nauseous – the one symptom I hadn’t experienced before and the one symptom I didn’t want to experience. Nice medication.

UPDATE: I did learn from the doctor’s office yesterday the reason they aren’t needing to test specifically for H1N1 right now.What they do (and what I did) is take a general test for Influenza and that if the test is positive, it is safe to assume the person has H1N1 because 99% of positive Influenza A virus tests right now are H1N1.

Jim Gray defines awkward

October 13, 2009

I’m absolutely positive that I’m not the only one who has wondered how “sportscaster” Jim Gray ever got a job. Remember those incredibly uncomfortable interviews he’d conduct with the losing head coach of some NBA team after some important game? Remember those awkwardly asked questions at halftime of NFL or college football games? Remember that guy who would land relatively high profile, national TV spots consistently despite being a squish? That’s Jim Gray.

Well, I was driving around in the car last night listening to the radio and I heard Jim Gray on Westwood One’s coverage of the Monday night football game. He “does” the halftime show. As I tuned in I heard an interview with some coach, not even sure who. The second I heard shaky, unsure words fumbling out of some guy’s mouth, I knew it had to be Jim Gray. He was just awful and it was evident that the interviewee wasn’t too excited about having to sit there and answer questions that seemed to come from a junior high school kid doing an interviewing project for English class.

I don’t rip heavily on sportscasters often because frankly, I respect many of them and the fact that they can talk at least somewhat intelligently about something and make relatively few verbal errors. (Of course there are exceptions and I reserve the right to rip in the future when needed – in fact, I have a Wayne Larivee rip coming soon.) But what frustrates me about Jim Gray is that he’s never even been close to being good. Not even close. Whenever he is on the air, whether it’s TV or radio, the viewer/listener immediately feels an overwhelming sense of discomfort…almost an “I feel awkward because this guy made a poor career choice” feeling. Some say that he is either just put in uncomfortable situations or that he just asks tough questions and that’s what leads to the awkwardness – those two things may be true to some extent but other sportscasters can handle those situations far smoother than the bumbling Jim Gray. What’s of course most shocking is that he has landed 11 Emmys and won National Sports Reports of the Year 2 times. If you ask me, Jim Gray belongs behind a desk wearing one of those accountant hats tabulating numbers or in a lab working solo – anywhere where he and his incredibly awkward brand of communication can be far away from others.

They talk about people having a “face for radio”. Well, after listening to him last night on the radio, I’d say Jim Gray has a “voice for newspaper”.

How does one throw away a garbage can?

October 8, 2009

A punter’s temptation?

October 1, 2009

Do you ever watch a football game and wonder if the punter may be fighting off internal temptations to take matters into his own hands, get the snap and just take off running for the first down? I am pretty sure that it was this constant thought (which still occurs to me almost every time a punter steps on the field) that steered me away from getting involved in kicking or punting for my high school or college teams (despite my soccer background and my general interest in kicking). There is no way I would have been able to resist the temptation to take off. No way. In fact, I would argue that a good number of us may experience this sort of secret urge when we watch punts, and this may help explain our unbridled joy when a successful fake is pulled off. I read an account of Buffalo’s punter Brian Moorman apparently doing this last week and as I was reading I realized that I was way too into just reading about it – if I’d seen it live I might have fainted.

The only analogy I can think of, and this may be a very bad one, is when I’m sitting in church, and it’s mostly silent, and I feel that strong temptation to yell something out – anything. I think if someone actually did that someday, I would feel the same kind of exhilaration that I feel when  watching a successful fake punt.

I hate bees

September 29, 2009

On Saturday, I was in my father-in-law’s backyard with my father-in-law and my 2 year old son. My boy was busy pulling small slate-like pieces of rock off of a landscaped wall one by one, dewalling it, if you will. So, I set about putting the pieces back in place while telling my father-in-law about how the value of a bachelor’s degree nowadays doesn’t come close to matching the price charged for it by private colleges. Just then a bee came out of the wall and stung the %#&# out of me. (I would later learn that I essentially stuck my hand into a beehive…adding more evidence for my argument that a private college education isn’t all that). Man it hurt and man was I angry.

You see, I’m allergic to bees – and I absolutely hate them. I’ve been stung three times before, once on my lip (face swelled up like Martin Short in the movie Pure Luck), once on my chest and another time on the hand. Each time I had allergic reactions. Whenever a bee is near, I’m that guy who stands still nervously until the bee gets too close (within 5-10 feet typically) and then I’m that guy running away wildly swatting at the air and yelling incoherently. And it wouldn’t matter if I were in the middle of a profoundly important moment (like Brother Steve’s wedding years ago for example). If it’s too close, I will assume the role of massive, flailing coward instantly.

For me, whenever I get stung, a whole process is set in motion. First, I panic. I am good at panicking. On Saturday, I yelped when the actual sting happened and then immediately turned my focus to “awfulizing” and “worst-case-scenarioing” as much as possible. “What if I start having breathing problems?”; “what should I tell my father-in-law now about how long I’d want to remain in a coma etc?”; “what if Aaron Rodgers gets hurt tomorrow?”. I went into the house to get some ice and follow my father-in-law’s suggestion to sit and try to relax. Then, I started thinking about where I put my epi-pen which I’d been told to take with me pretty much everywhere. Then I started thinking about how I’d rather not use the epi-pen considering the needle is huge and I’d have to inject myself. Only after worrying about having to self-inject did I realize that I didn’t have my epi-pen.

So, I decided to panic some more figuring that perhaps if I panicked more, my natural adrenaline flow would increase and function like the adrenaline (epinephrine) in the epi-pen, relieving all symptoms. I tried this for a while but it didn’t seem to be working as I started to notice the next phase of the process was kicking in – hives. Sure enough, my right forearm was swelling like Popeye with 2 hives and I also watched a hive develop on my chest giving me an asymmetrical and frightful triple man-boob look. Not pretty. One thing I’d like to know is how hives themselves settle on where to locate. Seems very random. Fortunately, I did not experience any difficulty breathing despite being so conscious and panicked about the whole thing and so aware that breathing difficulty was likely the next symptom – in fact, in a weird way it almost seemed like I was trying to have trouble breathing.

I knew the symptoms were getting more serious when I also noticed that I was beginning to develop a redness on my face and neck. So I figured it was time to go to Urgent Care. My father-in-law took me there right away along with my 2 year old son (whose facial expressions throughout told of a new level of curiosity – and this for a child I thought may have already maxed out on curiosity). When we got there, the nurses were being very casual and I was not being very casual. Eventually, a nurse actually looked up (nurses at front desks spend so much time looking down it’s strange) and saw my face and made the sensible decision to postpone the petty paperwork process.

I’m pretty sure that it was the first day for the nurse who came and got me. The first thing she did was weigh me – because that’s apparently a critical piece of info when treating a bee sting with rapidly progressing and obvious symptoms. (Look, there may have been a medical reason for weighing me at some point, but I think that it could have been done after getting a shot – I had more pressing concerns at that time than confirming that my lack of exercise and poor diet weren’t paying off.)

Once in the consult room, the nurse was clearly focused on the “talk slowly and overly-deliberately with patients who are anxious” part of her recent training. Or, she may have just been related to Paul Harvey or Elaine from Airplane!. I told her about having been prescribed an epi-pen for years, the growing outbreak of hives and the fact that with every other bee sting, I was given a shot of epinephrine, which has always worked well. She wasn’t sure this was needed because you see, I didn’t have hives, I had just been stung in multiple places. She was thinking just some ice and maybe, just maybe benadryl would work. I disagreed strongly because I knew that I’d been stung just one time and that my allergic reaction was progressing. And, I’d experienced this before. So I asked her to get the doctor, neglecting the impact this almost immediate “let me talk to your boss” plea might have on her budding nursing career. Of course, the doctor came in and recommended an epinephrine shot immediately. (In hindsight, I guess I wouldn’t be surprised if upon interviewing this nurse now, she revealed that she was reluctant to give me the epinephrine right away simply because I presented like a crazed drug addict desperate for a fix – especially considering my over-the-top push for the shot). Anyway, things didn’t end there.

Once the adrenaline from the shot kicked in, I sat there shaking considerably while waiting for the symptoms to subside. Meanwhile my son, again, was just so curious about the whole thing: watching the doctor look at daddy, seeing daddy’s strangely massive hand, and of course watching daddy unable to sit still, just like him. The symptoms did start to very gradually subside and we were all relieved (including the nurse). Upon being discharged, I was told to sign and fill out a bunch of paperwork. Asking a patient to sign and fill out forms after having a shot of adrenaline is ridiculous – not one word/signature was legible and the forms had to be re-written by the nurse after I gave the answers verbally. It was odd, standing there, involuntarily fidgeting and unable to keep my head still no matter my effort, I felt like a bird (ever notice, by the way, that all birds have ADD).

So finally, I had to go to Walgreens to pick up another epi-pen and some benadryl. As I was standing in line at the pharmacy behind people who seemed to be there for mostly unimportant things, I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror and had a quiet chuckle to myself. Here I was, shaking uncontrollably, still flush in the face from lingering panic with weird red bumps on my arm, chuckling audibly for no apparent reason and perhaps most frighteningly, holding out a hand so swollen that that it looked like one of those inflated clown-balloon hands. Let’s just say skipping ahead to the front of the line has never been so easy.

Tooth helps restore eyesight? Authors ran out of time?

September 18, 2009

Read here. With this title: Tooth helps restore desperate woman’s sight , I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me as a reader to expect at least some kind of explanation here. Instead, we get this:

To start the procedure, surgeons remove a healthy tooth and part of the patient’s jawbone. Perez said Thornton was given a jawbone implant, but she developed a sinus infection, so they removed it. They will try again later. The tooth and bone were then shaved and sculpted, and a hole was drilled into them to hold the prosthetic lens. Then the whole unit was implanted into Thornton’s chest and left for several months, allowing the tooth and lens to bond. This was then implanted into her eye. Asked why doctors don’t use a piece of plastic instead of a tooth, Perez said that works well when the eye is “wet and healthy.” But Thornton’s eye was too dry. When he first saw her, he said, “her eyes were covered with skin.”

Maybe I’m just medically naive, but this article seems to create far more questions than it answers. I would be very interested to know who came up with this procedure and why in the world this person ever thought to put a tooth in a person’s eye to help that person see better. I have to admit, I do have medically-fleeting-thoughts not unlike this (i.e. “if I put toothpaste on my lower back will it instantly cure my severe lower back pain?…it doesn’t), but this just seems so disjointed. It leaves me asking at least the following questions:

  • Why a tooth? Who was the first MD (or non medical lunatic?) who said: it has to be a tooth – only a tooth will work in this procedure – and in fact, only an eye tooth (which, by the way, was just being cocky)? What the authors should have done here is lay the foundation for this whole thing answering the basic: why would anyone in their right mind have considered putting part of a person’s tooth in their eye to fix it. That’s missing.
  • Ok, the tooth is strange enough, but why part of the jawbone too? The authors gloss over this sort of like we ought to know that it couldn’t just be a tooth that would go in there – obviously part of the jawbone would need to be involved. Obviously.
  • This is the big one for me though: why did the authors give such a limited explanation for for why the tooth/bone/lens thing was then implanted into this woman’s chest and “left to heal for several months”. WHAT!!!??? Why? The answer, according to the authors, is that it would allow “the tooth and lens to bond”. Sorry, does the ‘bonding’ having to take place in this woman’s chest? Why can’t it take place elsewhere? I wonder if the MD who performed this particular procedure just had some strange kind of fetish. Why not in the leg? Better yet, how about letting the bonding happen somewhere outside the body – like in a lab. Already, this poor woman has to try to understand why doctors need to extract her tooth and disfigure her face to remove part of her jawbone – throwing in the “and then we need to implant all of this into your chest for a few months” HAD to make her wonder.

As much as I rip here – I must admit, it’s pretty cool that she can see again!

Backpack injuries? Really?

August 31, 2009

Fox 6 News in Milwaukee just had a story, yet another back to school story, on the hazards of wearing the wrong backpack. Seriously. Fox interviewed some orthopaedic (why is this word spelled like this, why) surgeon who talked about the injuries that can occur. In the end, thankfully, we were told about what to look for when shopping for a backpack to buy our kids and how to wear one – key information that could very well help our kids avoid such devastating injuries as “occasional lower back discomfort”.

Did actress Lara Flynn Boyle simply wither away?

August 30, 2009