Tag: hospital

My Fifteen Minutes

My Fifteen Minutes

Everyone seems to get his or her 15 minutes.

I made the front page of a small East Texas Newspaper twenty-four years ago, in a most austere way.

Driving home this evening I passed more than one person who was weaving in their lane.  Usually it is because they are texting or trying to see who called and of course, they are much better at this than every other driver is, so they can do it safely.  Sometimes the weaving is simply because they are drunk, or high.

In the year 1992, my life changed forever.

After a head on collision at freeway speeds involving an intoxicated 80 year old, I was forced to re-invent myself.  Managing to live through being treated in a small country hospital that doubled as an emergency vet… (Joking…, I think…) I was destined to do other things.

The broken bones and lacerations healed, but the scars remain, hidden just under the surface, pain is a constant reminder of that fateful day 24 years ago.  I have legs today because I happen to enjoy coffee.  Moments before the impact, I had stopped to purchase Gas and coffee. Filling one of those stainless steel thermoses, I had the thermos upright in the seat beside me.  Topping the hill to find a Cadillac, in my lane coming at me, my two options were to dive into the other lane or hit the brakes.  A red Truck was in the lane beside me so, in the split second that I had to utter the explicative “Oh Shit!” It was all over.  Literally, the accident was that fast.  I had locked up anti-locks breaks, and bent the brake pedal…He never attempted to hit his breaks.

The combined collision speed was 115 miles an hour.  How they got all that I have no idea however, my speedometer was stuck at 45…frozen in time.

The memory of that split second in time, indelibly etched into my brain is a constant reminder of what happens when idiots drink and drive.  Every detail lives with me in excruciating detail.  Time fascinates me today because of this, as I think time is not linear but relative. During the Nano second of the impact, the event turned into one of those films you see that was taken by a high-speed camera.  Bits of glass tumbled frame by frame, horizontally from my left to right.  The dash came up to meet me as the steering wheel crushed my face and chest.  The thermos full of coffee tumbled from beside me, launching itself to the floor, lodging between the firewall and the frame of my seat.  The hydraulic effect of the thermos filled with liquid, stopped the dash from severing my legs and most probably kept the shaft of the steering column from piercing my heart.

The driver of the other car was under his dash. He was hauled away first in the first ambulance arriving on the scene.  He had one small cut on his forehead and released from the hospital that day. He was not even wearing a seatbelt.   I never heard what happened with the driver after that. Since both of us had the same insurance company. I was lucky to be compensated for my losses.  I remember the claims person as being nasty to me on the phone…  They did not even replace my truck as it was now 6 months old.  I was upside down on the loan and they did not care…. It was a smaller truck, not one of the full size trucks like I drive today.  I understand that claims adjusters work for the benefit of the insurance company but I was surely not in “good hands.” Insurance is in fact unavoidable, if you are lucky; you are pissing your money away paying for something that you will never need. They do whatever they can do to keep from paying out.

The trip to the hospital started as I said, after they removed and transported the person who was responsible for the accident.

My vision was fading, as the pain in my chest was intense.  I made my peace with God as I knew that I was going to die and strangely enough, I did not seem to mind.  There was a strange peace about it as if the answer was at hand; this is how it will happen. God however had other plans… While waiting for the final sting… I tried to relieve the pain, I managed to remove my seat belt, but the pain was still there.

With what was left of my vision, I was able to watch as they pulled the other driver from under his dash and put him onto the stretcher.  A man came to my window talking with me as I told him about the pain and the vision issues.  It hurt to talk and my statements were short as breath was scarce.  My face had met up with the steering wheel, Or the steering wheel with my face, so talking “clearly, plainly” was not really an option; nor was it possible as blood was now leaving my body through every orifice that I had visible and some places that were not visible.

The engine and tires of my truck were underneath my seat.  Using the jaws of life I heard the popping sounds of the metal as they cut my door away from around me.  Finally, they got to me after removing my door and cutting what was left of the restraining device that was still wrapped around me.  By now, my vision was all but gone, but I could still hear the noises of the equipment, and the voices of the first responders.  You have heard people mention the white light.  My vision had faded from white sparkles to a blank white screen. One of the responders said, “It is a miracle that he is alive.” Placing that plastic collar on me, they then pulled me out of my truck.  Once they laid me down, my vision returned.  I could see the emergency vehicles, and the wrecker driver picking up my belongings as they were now strewn over much of the freeway. Steam was coming out from somewhere under my seat which was now where the engine was. The bed of the truck was warped; the force of the wreck torqued and twisted the metal.

Once in the ambulance the man told me that he was going to put some sugar water into me, the 18 gauge needle was going to hurt. Compared to the rest of the pain that I was in, that was a mosquito bite.

Arriving at the hospital, they were already working on the other person that hit me.  A curtain separated us, but I could hear him.  He was old, drunk and on medications.  His wife had just bought him another car as he totaled the last one.  He had badgered her about driving so she bought him this old big Cadillac so if he were in an accident; he would be protected. He bragged about how he guessed she was right because he was still there.

Laying there on the other side of the curtain, listening to him tell the story of his classic Cadillac, what was left of my blood boiled! It was not bad enough that they took the old person first, but I had to be in the same room with him!

It was now my turn to be treated like meat.

Cutting my clothing off me there was no shortage of witnesses to watch the story unfold.  Doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants (young attractive female with long curly brown hair) and a burly old cop who clearly had never missed a meal, were a few that made the cadre of spectators.

The report of the accident was read aloud to all that were present including the fact that my seatbelt was not buckled.

I tried to tell them that I took it off but, the cop was making notes, not interested in my wellbeing but who was at fault and if there was a ticket to write.  He looked down at me as if to say, yea sure…we have heard that one before…  I was pissed!  Arrogant son of a bitch!  If he could not see from the evidence what happened, he was a moron!

As they cut my shirt off, a large purple stripe across my chest and my belly that the belt left, told the tail, and at that; the cop put his ticket book away!  I was more concerned about living through this and he was looking to write a ticket.  I do not mean to sound churlish. I know many police who I call friends.  Thinking about this, I am still pissed at that asshole!

The doctor was wearing a black silky sports jacket with a yellow logo on it as he was at some sporting event and was on call.  He was not happy to be there and his bedside manner left much to be desired.  There were two hospitals in this town, one for poor folks, and one for people with means.  I had insurance and means and they brought me to the other hospital that was in need of so many things.

After examining my naked body in front of many people, the “doctor” flipped me over to stuff a finger up my butt as the final insult…  Now I had broken bones, crushed chest, face and legs and without x-rays or anything else, he treats me like a slab of meat to finish his exam so he can write up some orders for the nurses and get back to what he was doing before the rude interruption.  After he was satisfied with his initial exam, he left. They did a sonogram of my heart to find that it had been bruised.  Then they took me down to x-ray.  X-ray was close to the morgue, I could smell dead people, or was it me.

The ceiling tiles, stained from years of leaks and neglect told the tail of the financial history of this place.  The X-Ray machine would not stay in place.  After she would set it, get some distance to trigger it, the head would slide down, as its joints were old and loose.  We had to take several “pictures” before she was finished. No telling how much extra radiation that I was exposed to because of this antiquated relic that belonged in a museum.

Back in the emergency room, the man’s wife arrived.  He told her… “They said I was in the wrong lane.”

Laying there listening to him getting his three stitches on his forehead, it was not long before he was released to go home.  Before they left, his wife came over to me.  From what I could tell, I was covered in my own blood from head to toe. My beard was caked in blood.  She rubbed my forehead as she apologized… ”I knew better to get him another car.” She said…then she told me “I am not supposed to tell you this, we have good insurance…”

Even in my state of mind, I was too nice to tell her what she could do with her good insurance… I had to live through this day, this night and then another day before I could even think about getting things taken care of.

After hours spent in the emergency room; I was moved to ICU.  If you have never been in the hospital before “and I had not” this was not an experience that I would welcome or recommend.

Since I had a bruised heart, it was decided that I could not have pain medication.  A dentist came in and checked my teeth that had gone through my face.  Stitching up my face from the inside out, no pain medication was used.

The next fun thing was the doctor that set my broken nose.  This person reminded me of the professor on back to the future.  Pushing on my nose with his thumb, he could not get it exactly straight so again, without any pain management, he put these huge forceps up my nose and … got it straight.   The pain was unbelievable as the final crunching sounds of the bones ceased.

The machine that monitored my pulse echoed the throbbing of the pains in my body.

Listening to the beeping of the machine, I knew as long as it was beeping, I was alive.

The PA came in and tried multiple times to get me to tell her what I was taking.  “C’mon, we know you are taking something, what it is…we need to know…”  “Really…my word meant nothing… I don’t do stuff like that, never have!”  Several times she tried to get me to tell her what I was on…the answer was always the same. I maybe the only person on this damned planet who has never done it but…I don’t…

“We don’t know what you are on so we can’t give you pain medicine.” She said… What was I supposed to do, lie so they could manage my pain?

The next day, after the worst night in my life the toxicology report came back…my potassium was low…”What are you doing to cause your potassium to be low?” the doctor with bad bedside manners asked.  “Ummm, I don’t salt my food…” Never did get as much as an aspirin.

The days and nights blurred together as I could not sleep.  My nose was packed with cotton, and it throbbed for days. I could barely breathe as my ribs and chests were broken, breathing hurt!

Every few hours someone came in and jabbed me several times with a needle to get blood.  The phlebotomist, if that is who they were, sucked at it! I was still getting saline from an IV so peeing was the only activity that I could muster.  Lifting the sheets was near impossible and on several occasions, I had to get help…talk about humbling…

After the third day, glass from the accident was still imbedded in my hands left arm and face.  My beard was one solid chunk of caked blood and not so much as one person offered to get the glass out of me or clean me up.

For entertainment, I found that I could control the beats of my heart.  Using some biofeedback technique, I could slow them down to an eerie slow level or speed them up. I was hooked up with a remote telemetry gadget so someone somewhere could look at a screen and see my heart rhythm.  There was also a camera on the ceiling watching me.  At some point in time, I wanted a nurse and could not get one.  I pulled the telemetry leads off my chest.  The monitor went to a silent tone and … nothing.  Nobody came for close to 15 minutes! If this was ICU, I shuddered to think what care was like in a regular room.

The next day the hospital administrator came to my bed as I had asked to be transferred to Houston.  I personally knew Dr. Debakey and he knew me.  He even told me once if I needed his services to let him know.  If there was anything going on with my heart, I would much rather he and his team take care of me than this bunch of people.

The next day they moved me to a private room in the “best part” of the hospital.  Some wing of the hospital had been made via donations from someone.  It was there, with help from family that I managed to get myself into the shower, and stay there until I managed to get all the dried blood off me, out of my hair, and what have you.  I then dug into my luggage and used my own damned tweezers to get the glass out of me.

The doctor with the crappy attitude before releasing me was much nicer on his final examination.  I guess he was finally satisfied that I was not on anything…the wreck was in no way my fault or…he got lucky the night before…. Either way, I was happy to leave that hospital.  Holding a pillow next to my chest my friend of many years drove me home where I lost months of employment and finally had to leave the job I loved, as I was no longer able to do it.

One of the people that I missed was Dr. DeBakey and his team.  I had spent years taking care of the doctors in the Texas Medical Center and ended up in a small East Texas hospital that was a joke by any standards.

Loosing months of pay I got a call one day from MADD…mothers against drunk driving.  While I could ill afford it, I sent them some money anyway.

Today 24 years later I am often teased about my driving.  I am very defensive, leave lots of room in front of me and preach to those that will listen. I tell them to pay attention to what is going on at least 15 cars in front of you and leave enough room so you can see them.  I am often told, I drive like a grandpa…slow.  Slow translates to the speed limit or a mile or two above or below it, depending on the average terrain.

Driving a full size truck with many airbags is only a small part of my strategy.  When I see these people with their damned phones driving and messing with the phone, part of me really wants to scream at them.  Then the cops have radios, phones and a laptop computers and a host of other distractions while they drive through school zones…Folks, they are no different from you… Watch them; you will see them drift all over the road as they mess with their toys. I have seen them, and I cringe.

Keep your distance from them, big trucks and cheerleader types who think a selfie while driving through a school zone is smart.  They do it!  They are all over Facebook… Just the other day a young woman picked up her child from school and took off from the school, passing everyone doing 40 or better in a 20.  She was on her phone at the time…texting as she passed me.  “Where is a cop when you need one I said…”  With that, a cop pulled up on her bumper on his motorcycle.  She drove a long way without noticing him behind her, as she was texting on her phone.  That ticket had to be pricey!

Who do you think you are that you can endanger others with your BS?

I wish I could say that this is a story and “blah blah blah” but the truth is, that this is the truth.

This happened, and I am certain that by now, some of the memories have faded but I must tell you, most are still there including the pain.  Twenty-four years now, I have lived in unmitigated pain.  I take nothing for it.  I live with it, working out as best I can to help manage it…but there are no meds that would leave me mentally acute.

I do not know what happened with the man that hit me.  I know that if you have the same insurance carrier, you lose. By now I am certain he is gone, but there are plenty others to take his place.  There were no smart phones back then…Now everyone has one. Weed is legal in some states and I fear that those people will drive impaired as well. Even in states where it is illegal, I am certain that one of three folks is under some sort of influence.

Defensive driving if taught correctly, would be money well spent.

-Best

© All rights Reserved 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ebola / Virus

After the death of the first Ebola patient in American today, one really has to look at this with an objective, forensic attitude. We need to take a  pragmatic approach when dealing with this.

Ebola came to this country via a man who became infected.  This man allegedly lied to get onto a plane and into this country to get medical help.  Further, when he knew that he was sick; he went to the hospital for help.  Not tipping his hand that he knew that he had contact with someone who had the disease, he told the people treating him that he had been in that area of the world, but did not offer up the fact that he indeed had contact with people who were victims of this outbreak.

The triage team missed his semi-obscure clue, misdiagnosed him, and sent him home with antibiotics, where he languished for a few days in an small apartment with other people.  The disease progressed to the point where this man had to go back to the hospital once again; this time by ambulance.

Had he been forthcoming on his first hospital visit, his outcome might have been better. The experimental drugs were showing signs of working.

Family members were exposed, paramedics were exposed, nurses and doctors were exposed.  People in the emergency room were exposed.  Anyone who came close to this person was exposed.

The clock is ticking, who next will show signs?  Was he contagious on the airplane? How about at any of the airports?

We now know that the virus can be viable for 6 (six) days on a surface. Any sneeze, blood, sweat, vomit or other bodily fluid from an infected person can contain this virus.

Today a man in Frisco Texas not feeling well went into a health clinic reporting symptoms of Ebola.  Are his symptoms psychosomatic? Did he just expose everyone in that clinic to his ailment? He is a deputy sheriff that was in the mans apartment.

This is how outbreaks start.  This is stage one.

The CDC really needs to amend their protocol in dealing with this for now.

Anyone who thinks that they have these symptoms “imagined or not,” should call 911 or some other special number where a CDC doctor will come to you, or they send a special ambulance to come get you.  Containment of this disease is paramount before it gets to stage two, or three. I would call on the CDC to change their protocol and make this happen before it is too late.

The simple facts are, we don’t fully know how virulent this virus is.  What we don’t know about this virus eclipses what we do know, and making mistakes now could cause the next pandemic.  People walking into clinics, doctors offices and alike who are infected, endanger the collective.

So what is a Virus?

It is interesting to note that a virus is neither dead, nor alive.  It does not eat, reproduce by itself nor defecate.  It is a parasite of sorts.  It contains genetic material that it “infects” a host cell with.  The host cell then is forced to do its dirty work.  The cell’s normal genetic instructions shut off, and it now creates proteins of a different sort, viral proteins, which make new viral particles.

The interesting thing about viruses is when they infect, they can obtain some of the host DNA in the process.  When the new virus’s proliferate into yet more cells, they may in fact bring with them some of the host original DNA.

MS and Hemophilia are two diseases which researchers believe are the result of this ‘transduction.”

Make no mistake; viruses are the original “replicators” (excuse the reference to Stargate).  These guys’ sole purpose is to reproduce or “replicate.”

Virus’s are either made up of DNA or RNA and are encased in something called a “capsid” which is made of protein and some also have an envelope which is made up of lipids.  One note of interest is that RNA viruses which make up 70% of all viruses mutate much more readily than DNA type Virus’s, due to the error rate of enzymes that are actually involved in the replication process.

“Look out Daniel Jackson!”  This must be where the writers of Stargate got their idea for the replicators… I digress…

Ebola is a member of the Filoviridae family of the RNA viruses.  Ebola can have a 90% mortality rate however; it should be noted that this number is derived from areas of the world with remote, substandard medical care / facilities.  This area of the world is filled with people who believe that this is a work of the devil; and frequently seek out their local witch doctor for assistance.  I am not being ugly, those are the facts.

We have a government that is downplaying this, and we have news agencies that are scaring the hell out of people, for ratings. Somewhere in this minutia, is the truth.

If this virus mutates to airborne, which it may already be; allowing unfettered access of people from that part of the world here in this country could be a huge mistake with dire consequences. All peoples from that part of the world should be quarantined until we get a handle on this outbreak in Africa. Their excuse might be, “who knew?”

The simple facts are we need to “Assume” that this disease is very catchy.  We need to assume that it can be spread by air, water, touch etc.  We need to assume that it can be spread by mosquitoes. Until there is hard scientific evidence that it cannot be, we need to assume that it can.  We need to assume that other animals including family pets can become carriers of this disease.  Assume the worst, and make your plans around it!

Update 10-14-14

Now with one of the care givers of Mr. Duncan testing positive for the Ebola virus, we have even more questions than answers.

How?

Immediately a breach of protocol was assumed.

It would be very interesting to examine the air handlers in that facility to see if there are any Ebola virus on any of the filtration systems or associated duct work, fans etc.

It was of particular interest to me that the ashes of the bedding and other things that were in Mr. Duncan s apartment are treated as hazardous waste, and being transported to a special facility for such, in Louisiana. Think about this for just a second.  Our government is telling us that one must come in direct contact with some bodily fluid of not only an infected individual but someone who is in the later stages of the disease; and yet we are not even comfortable with dumping the ashes in a regular landfill.

My guess is that there was no breach of protocol for the infected Nurse.  Again, there is more that we don’t know; than what we do about this disease.

Our heartfelt prayers are offered up to the caregiver who is affected.

This would be one prime use of robotics; we could remotely do what needs to be done via a robot, much like the robot assisted surgery that we have today. Our technology is probably not quite there yet but, I would call for some company that is already in such a field to get some “seed money” to make this happen faster, rather than at its usual pace.

Instead of sending humans into harms way; in this case highly infectious areas of the world, much less our own hospitals, we could send in a robot that was managed by a nurse.

If we can send a robot to Mars and have it do all sorts of scientific test, we should be able to come up with one that can do what needs to be done with extreme infectious patients.

Update 10/15/14

Another health care worker from Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has tested positive for the virus.

This health care worker traveled by commercial air with at least 139 other souls, not to mention the crew of the airplane.

What did they do and where did they go?  Who were they in contact with?

What about the taxi that she took to the airport, how about the ticket agents, what about anyone who she may have had contact with in the airport(s), bathroom(s) eating establishments? Did she stay in a hotel? What about the maid who cleaned their room or the person(s) who handled the sheets / towels from the room? You folks who enjoy playing with fire are woefully unprepared for what you are doing.

If we are treating the ashes of Mr. Duncan s sheets and so forth as toxic waste, which Louisiana has now stated they will not allow it to come there for burial; should we not be all over this?

It seems to me that anyone who is a health care worker, working with Ebola patients, should be quarantined as well; until such a time that it can be proven that they are not a risk to the general population.   We cannot afford mistakes, unless of course you are looking to witness another pandemic here in this country.

We need to error on the side of caution and not hubris.  You clearly don’t know what you are doing.

Update 10/17/14

The two Ebola infected Nurses have made their way out of Texas to two hospitals that are better equipped to deal with the situation.  The Dallas Hospital has a lack of nurses now because so many of them are on “Ebola watch.”

The nurse, Amber Vinson, who flew to Cleveland on the 10th may have made some very bad decisions in taking public transportation. Flying commercial with a fever, knowing that you had been taking care of an Ebola patient who died of the disease is not very smart.   At least she had sense enough to call the CDC and ask if she should fly and they gave her the green light.  This is really common sense and she should not have even had to call and ask.  If the CDC indeed gave her the green light as reported, than we have bigger problems than a nurse lacking common sense.

Besides all of the people on the plan for that one plane ride from Ohio to Dallas, we have to consider that the plane went on to fly several different places that day, each time with 139 souls on board.

Keep in mind that a Virus is neither alive nor dead.  This talk about it being alive for X amount of hours is really not telling the truth.  They are depending upon your ignorance of the facts so you don’t ask the real questions.  Is the virus viable?  How long is the virus viable on a surface or in fluids?

I am thrilled that Nina Pham is doing better and getting good care.  My heart goes out to the nurses and doctors who are on the front lines, taking care of people.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to both of the nurses Nina and Amber Vinson.

It looks like Frontier Airline is going above and beyond to ensure the safety of their customers.  Miss Vinson’s decision to fly home was ill advised, and has already cost millions.  We have no idea what the future holds for all of the other people who could have been exposed to her illness. Anyone from ticket agents to baggage handlers to people in public restrooms to janitors to the folks that work the restaurants and anyone who sat in close proximately at the airports.  The next two weeks should have the CDC and most hospitals on pins and needles.

The CDC is flailing around with this and they truly need to get a grip.  Anyone treating Ebola patients should not be allowed to be in public transportation until they have passed a date that they could not be a carrier of the disease.  Compensate them for what they are doing but they have a greater responsibility to sequester themselves until they are deemed clear of the disease.

Flight bans from countries with this outbreak should be observed now.  While I am always perplexed by this administrations aversion to the truth or lack of common sense, their number one priority it so protect the American People.  We currently are not doing that.  Travel bans to and from these countries are just common sense.

Our southern border needs to be closed now!  If this disease gets into South America those folks will come here by hook or crook for medical care and I don’t blame them.  The issue is that they will come in such a way that we will not be able to trace them, evaluate them and quarantine them.  By the time they make it to some ER room, or clinic for help, we will have no clue how many others that will have become infected.

Look at the chaos we have for just one person who came here under false pretense!

This wont stop at our southern border, Canada will be in line for this too.

Rapid response teams should be created now to be able to assist those south of our border should the need arise.  Looking into the future, this is not that hard to foretell. If they don’t need the help, great; but if they do I would much rather take the battle there than have people crossing our border under the cover of night hoping to get some sort of medical care.

If you are a praying person; keep these two nurses in your thoughts and prayers.

Update 10/30/14

Both infected nurses recovered from the disease.  While we are grateful for their recovery the CDC was totally not prepared for this.  The total cost of this is of course unknown, and I am certain that the taxpayers are paying for this too.

We have a nurse who just came home from that area of the world who currently is not exhibiting any symptoms and also is not quarantining herself either.  Even though she is a nurse she is not taking any precautions and is out and about as she sees fit.  This is course is making the news nightly and I hope for her sake that she remains symptom free as she is playing fast and loose with more lives than her own.  She is in violation of the orders she has been given, to self quarantine and test her temperature twice daily, but it appears that thwarting the rules is her current plan.  As a nurse she should know better.

Recently leaked information from the White House documents the planning and logistics bringing non-citizen Ebola patients to this country for treatment.

I am not sure (A,) how something like this gets leaked and (B,) why anyone thinks this is a good idea!

If you truly want to get the patient together with our technology; how about sending a hospital ship over there?  If things get too far out of hand you only loose the ship and the “volunteers” that are manning it.  If things get loose over here well, who knows how far it will go.  Do you really want to risk a pandemic to the entire North American Continent? Since we are a very mobile people you very well might be risking a world wide pandemic!  Someone needs to pull their collective heads out!

The CDC has continuously displayed incompetence dealing with this.  Their Ebola CZAR is nowhere to be seen and knows nothing of this in the first place so, “from me to you,” why not mitigate the risk?

As far as this nurse in Main is concerned, I would lock her butt up until she passes the quarantine period.   She has crossed the line!  When you do that you get your freedom taken away.  When you endanger the public you get stopped.  That is the way it works!

I am in hopes that I can stop updating this thread as there is nothing to report.  Lets pray that is the case.

-Best

c All rights reserved 2014

Drivers Beware …

I am unsure if the stars are out of kilter, the moon is lined up incorrectly or if people are just out of sorts however; yesterday was a bad day for drivers in general.

Here in Texas; yesterday was a normal spring day by all accounts.  The weather was nice, mid 60’s and sunny, open window weather for most of us.

There were accidents where I usually don’t see them, which was odd.

While going to clients yesterday I just about had the opportunity to test the air bags as some young blond women in a red Mercedes, “nice car,” ran the light right in front of me!  She had a phone stuck to her ear and never saw me.  Even as I came to a screeching halt she never looked.  I shook my head and was thankful that my breaks worked so well.

My truck would have made a mess of her paint and might have scratched my bumper had a hit her.  Actually 7000 pounds at 30mph in the side of her car would have made a mess.  I wonder if she would have looked up then.

The Day was not over for idiotic drivers.  I had dinner plans which took me to an out of the way restaurant. While parking some guy started backing out of his spot and came close to backing in to me.  When I tooted my horn to alert him I could see him screaming at me “I guess” through his window.  He then waved the traditional one finger salute and sped off.

My only guess is that he is not a Texan, as we really are a little friendlier than that.  It was all his doing and I did not honk to be mean, just simply alert him that he was about to hit me.  “That is what they made the horn for.”  We are not talking a long horn blast either we are talking a “tap.”

 

They serve alcohol where I was going so I can only surmise that he had been drinking and his better judgment was impaired, or he is a jerk.

That is the reason for this “blog”..

As we guide our thousands of pounds of steel down the highways and roads we really need to be mindful that they are really “loaded guns.”  In a split second of indecision or distraction, we can take a life, if not our own, someone else’s.

While the girl in the Mercedes was not texting, she was clearly distracted.  If someone other than I was in that intersection that also was either not on their game or driving too fast or texting or otherwise distracted, thousands of dollars of damage would have ensued.  Damage to her personally could have happened and possibly me, as it would have been an abrupt stop.  I don’t know how solid a Mercedes passenger door is but, it might have triggered my air bags which would have sucked, because I heard that they hurt!

The guy that cussed me in the parking lot is another story.  People in Texas carry loaded guns.  An armed society is a polite society “don’t you know.”   You really don’t want to bring your “northern attitude” down to Texas and pick a fight.  WE DON’T SCREW AROUND HERE IN TEXAS!  Drive friendly or else!  If you decide to drink and drive and then come at a Texan with an Attitude, YOU WILL LOOSE! Our Prisons are full of your kind.  Be responsible if you come to Texas.  We will welcome you with open arms, if you are a jerk; you will not like it here.

About 25 years ago one day in November I was met head on with a guy driving a vintage Cadillac. His wife had just bought it for him as he whined about wanting another car because he had wrecked his previous car. “I learned this later on from her directly.”

 

We were on the freeway, I topped a hill and there he was, barreling down the road at over 60mph, on the wrong side of the freeway!

 

Friends, when you see something like this and you have exactly enough time to say “oh $hit!” followed by a large bang, your day gets ruined quickly!

 

In the few milliseconds between seeing him, and the subsequent crash, several things happened.

 

I quickly noticed a red truck beside me in the right lane, slammed on the breaks “locked up anti-lock breaks and actually bent the brake pedal, and then the crash.

 

Funny thing about a crash; time seemed to fragment. It was almost as if one were watching a movie in slow motion as the film went by, frame by frame.

 

My personal theory is time is like a frequency.  It has to do with gravity and motion and space and what have you but, the crash had somehow caused a ripple or harmonic.  Don’t know enough math to prove that; and I am certain that Michio Kaku could not come up with the equation either.  This is far past p=mv or F=ma.

I have heard that adrenaline causes this “effect.”  If adrenaline can cause “time distortions, ” than we have discovered how to slow down time.  While I am certain that there was a “shot of adrenaline we are talking about less than a second from seeing him there and the crash!

As we hit head on, the window beside me imploded.  Tiny pieces of glass tumbled horizontally in front of me to my right.  I remember vividly watching the glass tumble as past from left to right, I felt each piece bury itself in my face, arm and hands.  The steering wheel came in and crushed into my face and chest breaking my nose and most of  ribs and sternum. “That bone between the ribs up front.”

 

The dash came in, crushed into me knees and legs.  I distinctly remember the pain as my left leg was punched up under me, torquing my hips in such a way that the sacrum is twisted to this day.  This is how it happened and the order in which it happened, all in a split second.

There is a Star Trek Movie where Picard is with some gal who teaches him to “live in the moment.”  Friends, I think they got the idea for that from someone who has experienced this very phenomena, as that is exactly what it was like however; “and I stress this,” it was not pleasant!

I had just stopped at a service station before this and filled up not only my gas, but my stainless steel thermos full of coffee.  The thermos was sitting beside me.  As the truck went from 55mph to zero in about .025 seconds or less, the thermos tumbled down to the floor.  Little did I know at the time, the thermos had wedged itself between the firewall of the truck; and the frame of my seat!  I in fact have legs today because of that thermos and the fact that it was full of coffee.  Has something to do with hydraulics, if you are scratching you head.

As the truck came to a rest in the middle of the median, steam and Freon and what have you escaped from what used to be my engine which was now sitting underneath my seat.

The pain in my chest was unbelievable, and very soon after that, blood started coming out from everywhere, nose, mouth ears and of course where lots of glass was now buried up under my skin.

Very soon after that I began to loose my vision and figured well, this is it.  “Jesus, if this is your plan, I’m ready.”

I struggled with the seat belt, while I was still conscious thinking if I could get it off, the pain would subside and maybe, just maybe I could breath, no such luck.

There was no time for anger, or fear.  I was consigned to the fact that this was most likely it and I was waiting for the final “sting.”

Before too long, someone came to my door asking me if I was OK.  I turned my head to look at him, he had a camera and was evidently a free lance photographer.  As I spoke I remember blood escaping my mouth spurting, punctuated by my words, “no, I don’t think so.”

I must have looked a sight as the picture that made the front page of the local paper was of them taking me out of my truck..  For that I am thankful.

I remember watching as they took the old man out of his car and put him on a stretcher.  Not too long after that I heard loud sounds as they were cutting my door off of my truck and extracting me out of what was left of it.  As they laid me horizontally on that “board” my vision returned.  Hmm I thought, maybe he has another plan.

The man in the ambulance told me that he was going to stick me in the arm and it would hurt as it was an 18 gauge needle. The needle paled in comparison and quite frankly I was OK with it as if I felt it, I was still alive.  He told me they were putting “sugar water” in me… “Ok…..Fill er up…”I said as best I could!  He smiled as I said that, I knew that things were going to be ok…

The trip to the hospital was uneventful and before long I was being wheeled to some ER room.

The ER visit was terrible.  The doctor was summoned in from his day off.  He was wearing sports attire and clearly distressed that he was missing the game or what have you.  His bedside manners were terrible and quite frankly he sucked!

You know what they call the guy who graduates with the lowest grades from medical school, “Doctor.”

While there, a curtain divided me from the man who hit me.  He was drunk and later I learned he was on several medications that he should not have had alcohol with.  Oh yes, he was in his 80’s!

We had the perfect storm for a disaster and it struck.  He was not wearing a seat belt and because of his inebriated state only ended up with a small cut on his forehead which required a few stitches.

My care was abysmal.  After they took care of the old man they came “by they I mean an entourage of police, some “want to be doctor women” and the rude guy with the sports attire.” They ripped, cut my clothing off.  The paramedic was also there and the cop was telling the doctor that I did not have my seat belt on.  I told him that I had taken it off and he said “sure.”

I think that they somehow wanted this to be my fault, some how some way.

As my shirt was removed there was a huge purple stripe where the seat belt had cut into my skin through my clothes and across my belly.  The trooper was visibly upset as I think he wanted to write a ticket. I want to preface this next remark by saying that I have huge respect for law enforcement folks.  I know several and am friends with several.  I listen to the scanner, a lot, as I like to know what is going on that the press does not think is newsworthy.  Having said that, some cops are simply assholes!  The guy that caused this was on the other side of the curtain and he “the cop” was giving me shit…  I am laying there in pain, bleeding from everywhere, and this guy is looking for something to write me a ticket about or blame me in some way.

The “doctor” treated me like a cadaver flipping me over, was rather brutal and really did not take into account that most of my ribs were broken.  His final “test” was to stick a finger up my rear.  I really don’t know where he went to school but I can tell you that is probably the one place that it did not hurt.  Of course everyone watched the entire process.

You know my part in this; I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  God knew where I was so, I have to guess that all of this happened for a reason.

The old man had lived in this town his entire life and was most likely known; I was an outsider and relatively young so guess what “it just had to be my fault.”

Other than the sugar water they did nothing for me.  Other than leaving me naked on the table for all of the gawkers, nothing.  I was waiting for the doctor to start filling out a toe tag, as they were doing nothing!  I was in pain, probably scared although that the time I was more pissed than scared.  I worked in the Texas Medical Center for fifteen years.  I know what professional care is and I know what a real doctor does in a trauma situation.  This wasn’t it!

He finally ordered x-rays and a sonogram of my chest.  Finally, some orderly came along and gave me a wool blanket.  Someone had some compassion but not the people that should have.

It is cold in ICU and it was winter, and oh yes, they were pumping me full of something cold. “Sugar water.”  I guess it is “hummingbird therapy.”  Isn’t that what they eat, sugar water? Oh, and did I mention I was naked!  Beat all to hell, naked and shivering is a terrible combination.  I would imagine there was also a “shock factor” involved as well.

This was clearly the hospital without funding as the equipment was a joke; it would not stay in place and kept moving after the tech would place it.

Wheeling one around on a gurney, “which way are you looking?”  You look straight up, at the ceiling.  The ceiling had several brown stains from leaks and what have you.  How much mold do you suppose is loose in that hospital?  Folks, if you run a hospital, look at the damned ceiling once in a while.  This was the basement where the morgue and radiology was.  If the ceiling in the basement is stained with dark brown stains from leakage, what leaked?

The old man was released that day and I got to stay in ICU for about a week before I was moved to a room.  I did not sleep for 72 hours.  I entertained myself by using biofeedback techniques to alter my heart beat.  I once got it so slow I scared myself.  One of the leads came off and the monitor went to that “solid beep.”  Twenty two minutes later someone showed up running to my bed to check on the reason.  I had a solid beep for twenty two minutes before they noticed!  Now you know why I was afraid to sleep!

Some doctor (dentist I think) came and stitched up my lip where my teeth had come through, another came and tried to straighten my nose without any kind of pain management.  Huge forceps up the nose with this guy twisting on it, without so much as an aspirin.

They did not do anything for my pain as they were worried that it would adversely affect my heart which had been “bruised”.  I had to take little breaths as it hurt to breathe.  I could not turn my head because of vertigo.  I could not lift the sheets to pee as I could not lift my arms.  When they pump you full of saline solution you have to pee a lot.  I had to have help each and every time; you would have thought that they would have installed a catheter.

On the third day in ICU I asked to be cleaned up because even with the broken nose I could smell myself.  The busted glass was still in my hide, my body was still covered in blood and my beard / mustache was caked in blood.  The nurse said she would have to shave my face as there was no way to get blood out of my beard… REALLY?  I told her, whatever just please get me cleaned up; I was going to live and if I did not for some reason I damned sure did not want my next of kin to identify a blood covered corpse.

She never did anything.

Would you believe that it was not until I got into a room, days later and was able to take a shower was I able to get “cleaned up.”  I dug into my luggage, found my tweezers and dug the glass out of my arm and hands and face myself, after the shower!  A male nurse came in as I was finishing up to check on me.  There was enough blood from my digging out the glass he got concerned.  I told him to get me some bandages but he sent on the doctor anyway.  I had not seen the guy since the first day as there were other Erudite s to take his place.  He seemed visibly upset that I had taken the glass out of myself.  I am unsure if he was upset with me or the fact that it was still there.

The entire time I was there they kept asking me “what I was on.”  I guess they thought that I was on some sort of recreational chemistry and kept confronting me.  “No, don’t drink.  No, don’t do drugs…”  They had taken my blood several times a day for a week and yet they kept asking.  Had I been able, I would have walked the hell out of there, it was that bad!

By the end of my stay the doctor was treating me somewhat better as I guess he was finally sure that I was indeed “clean.”  They had collected blood and urine for several days, I guess he was satisfied. Maybe it took that long for the tox screen to come back!   If you are young it would seem that you are guilty of whatever they decide you might be guilty of..  Small Texas towns… Be wary… BTW, most small Texas towns are speed traps so don’t speed.  They depend upon giving tickets for revenue.  Now if you are from the north and have attitude, forget what I said and speed all you like.  You too can meet some “nice trooper who will address you as “boy or son ” and will have absolutely no use for wise ass remarks from Yankees! Heaven help you if you give them attitude!

The old man and I had the same insurance company so I was lucky to get my bills covered and get what was left of my truck payments covered.  She (claims person) argued about the cost of my cooler and camping supplies which were ruined.  Looking back, I think that was a distraction from the bigger picture.  Pain and suffering was not covered here.  Embarrassment and harassment from the locals was certainly not remunerated.

Oh and pain today as a result of this was and is not taken care of either…  Insurance is not for your benefit.  They sell it as if it is, but trust me, have a claim and you will learn.

When this type of thing happens; nothing good comes of it. I don’t know whatever happened with the guy that hit me, that was 23 years ago so I am in hopes that if he is still alive, that he is not driving.

Insurance claims and such have a life of 2 years.  Statute of limitations…

Guess what, after an accident like that, things happen much later in life as a result, like bone spurs and such, which cause pain.  You are never normal again after an event like that.

I drive a larger truck today and have little to do with small vehicles.  Screw the mileage; if I get had again I want the larger vehicle. I support MADD, and encourage everyone else to as well.  I don’t care if you drink, just don’t drive!

If you don’t have a “hands free device” get one, or simply call back, nothing is that important.  Oh yes, that bell alerting you that you have a text, ignore it if you are driving.  It can wait.  Too many times I see people texting and driving.  I know that they are doing something because they are weaving or their speed is erratic.  Upon closer inspection they are screwing around with the phone.  “I drive a truck, I can see.”

This inconsiderate old man changed my life forever.  I live in constant pain, and had to quite my job and re-invent myself because I could no longer do my job.  “Not compensated for that either BTW.”

Over 30% of all drivers on the road are impaired by either alcohol or prescriptions drugs or “recreational chemistry.”  Add to this statistic now we have distractions of people who think that they can drive and text, or what have you.

There is nothing smart about a smart car!  I would drive a tank if I could get one.

 

Actions have consequences… Be safe and courteous and if you are in Texas, don’t speed, drive and text and don’t drink and drive!

 

Best to you and those that you care about…