Friday, May 29, 2009

Where are the Comic Books?

Fantastic FourImage by Tim.Deering via Flickr

by Insurance Guru

Before I had even learned to tie my own shoes I had stacks of wonderful comic books. They were the result of my poor mom wanting to buy groceries in peace. My brother and I each got to choose a new box of breakfast cereal and a comic book every week. Mom got to shop without the two of us trying to run each other down with the cart since we were too busy arguing the merits of the latest issue of Superman versus The Fantastic Four.

I remember the wonderful spinning wire racks that held rows of comic books. They were in every grocery and convenience store in town. Batman, Spiderman, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, The Fantastic Four, Richie Rich and Archie. What a perfect way to get kids to read for 10 cents! If I didn't know a particular word, I could puzzle it out from the art work and what wonderful art work!

Even after we were old enough to be left alone at home during the weekly grocery run, we still had our allowances. 35 cents got you a couple of comics and a candy bar. By the time I was in the sixth grade, our combined stack of comics was nearly three feet high.

Gone from the Piggly Wiggly

I wish my kids could've had access to comic books on this scale. Really, where can you even buy them now and what do they cost? Doesn't it require a special trip to a special Comic Book Store? Have I detected a certain collector's snobbery to comic books these days? How does that help kids to read more cuz I don't care if they read shampoo bottles, I just want them to read.

Yeah - I've seen the "Graphic Novels" they sell in the book stores. Puhleeze, that's not 25 pages of cartoons on cheap newsprint that you can roll up and smack flies with. You can't get a good Silly Putty picture off of them either. Where's the fun in that?

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Adventures of Olive

Olive went to the vet last weekend for her spay. Here she is, fresh back from hospital and still very sleepy. Not often that I can capture her image without it being a blur.
They took away my lady bits!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Beware the Office Staff

By Insurance Guru

I'm not the only one that has trouble with the office staff at my medical provider.

The Computer Says, "No".

Friday, May 22, 2009

Home Improvement

It's a nice, long holiday weekend and many families are engaged in home improvement projects. Please let Frank Stallone (yes, that Frank Stallone) tell you about the first step to take in order to create your dream computer room.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm Wearin' My Ranty Panties

Lately, a few things have been getting on my last, rectal nerve. So please, indulge me for a bit. I'll get this over with quickly...

The V.I.P.'s

My hospice has had a rash of "VIP's" lately. Are they current or former employees, their family members or beloved friends? No. Actually, they're very wealthy people with a massive sense of entitlement.
  • They call for a bedpan at 2 AM. Although there's a 24 hr drugstore on every corner in this city.
  • They call for a nurse to sit with the patient at 9 PM so they can all go out for dinner and a movie.
  • They don't call for a nurse during a real emergency, but raise holy hell with hospice management because a nurse didn't call them during the crisis. (Yeah, that's one of my favorites)

Apartment Complexes, Trailer Parks, etc. (at night)
  • The "map" at the entrance for the complex has no "You Are Here".
  • Home or building numbers are nonexistent, poorly maintained or unlit.
  • Building numbers are placed so that they cannot be seen from the "road" or are obscured by the roofs of car ports.
I find myself hopping in and out of my car, like a nervous meerkat, trying desperately to find some kind of building number. Very nerve-wracking when one wants to get to an emergency situation as quickly as possible.

My Hospice's Pharmacy
  • Will sometimes mail E-kits and pain medications to our new, suffering patients even though they have a courier to make home and facility deliveries.
  • Believes that STAT equals four hours. (Yes, that's their policy)
  • Will deliver meds to our inpatient unit 6 hours after the patient has arrived.
I have lost count of the times (and hours wasted) that I've driven to our pharmacy to pick up badly needed medications and delivered them to the patient myself. So should we fire this pharmacy? My hospice owns this flippin' pharmacy!

Whew... okay I'm done. All better now. Thank you for "listening".

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Your Moment of Awwwww...

Maru, the Amazing Box Cat

Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat

Revisiting a Classic (this is for you, I.G.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The CincoFone

Cinco, purveyors of quality, has released their answer to the iPhone. Let Ed Begley, Jr. show you the myriad benefits of owning the CincoFone.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Saved By Cesar

0720 hrs. -- I've been here before and I didn't like it. At least, now, the poor woman has died and is free from the filth and emotional wasteland that was her home. Such is often the case when your caregivers are addicts...

All the adult members of the family are out on the porch, drinking cheap vodka straight from the plastic, gallon bottle.
Walking up the long, winding ramp to the trailer's front door, I'm met by the family dog. The anxious and aggressive pit bull is barking ferociously. Someone, out on the deck, yells at the animal from twenty feet away, but the dog pays no attention and stands its ground. Clearly, no one is going to get up to handle the dog for me.

Okay, deep breath. It's time to draw upon the power of The Dog Whisperer. I quickly remember his mantra... "exercise, discipline and affection". Shit! Wrong mantra. I don't think I have the time for exercise, discipline and affection. Okay, got it. It's "no touch, no talk, no eye contact".

Head up, shoulders back, I walk past the territorial pit bull and just hope that it doesn't bite me in the ass. I briefly greet the members of the "cocktail party" and enter the mobile home. Safe at last. All alone with poor, dead Sally in the midst of almost, unbelievable squalor.

Twenty minutes pass...

I'm done with my reports and computer work and am now just waiting for the funeral home to arrive. Outside, the pit bull is acting up again and the party goers, resenting the interruption to their witty repartee, open the door to the trailer and kick the dog inside. With me. Alone.

I recall the "mantra" that served me so well before and at a time like this, it can't hurt to pray either... "Hail Cesar, full of calm assertiveness. Blessed are you among frustrated humans with bad doggies..."

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Yard Sale - You Meet the Best People!

by Insurance Guru

The Guru had a Yard Sale Last week, not for economic necessity, thank goodness, but to get rid of some stuff that was a little too big to haul to Goodwill and I've been feeling pretty cheeky this past month so it sounded like some fun.

My plan was to start at 7 am but as soon as the garage door rolled up, the hard core negotiators pulled up. These folks are serious! I mean they go yard "sailing", towing trailers and tie-downs at the ready.

By the end of the day, my garage full of another man's treasures was reduced to two cardboard boxes on their way to Goodwill. I met and chatted with so many neighbors... the very ones who before were just a wave and a nod as they drove by. Kids left with giant smiles holding books, toys or a gift for Mom after parting with a quarter. I was able to make an elderly woman's day with a bargain priced stove she desperately needed and we included delivery and set up.

The extra cash this project generated was appreciated but the day-long enjoyment was priceless!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Palliative Care Grand Rounds

PCGR is now up at Thaddeus Pope's Medical Futility Blog. Get on over there right now and read the wonderful offerings from this month's contributors. I also wholeheartedly recommend that you subscribe to Palliative Care Grand Rounds so you don't miss a thing! Okay, go now... shoo!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cavorting With Cadavers

I recently saw a review in Slate for Dissection:Photographs of a Rite of Passage in American Medicine. In this book, authors Warner and Edmonson have compiled photos of med students posing with their anatomy class cadavers through the years 1880 through 1930.

While these photos may not be suitable for the squeamish, I can't help but see within them considerable charm, ingenuity and the black humor that is pervasive to this day among those of us on the front lines in the medical field. Certainly, photos such as these would be very difficult to manage (and rightly so) in these, more politically correct times.

Click here for a small slide show presentation featuring a few more photos of med students proudly posing with their cadavers.

I'd also like to add that in this day of small digital cameras and cell phone cameras, this "art form" may still survive in some small way today. Please feel free to comment anonymously and let us know if this is, indeed, true!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Credit Card is What?

by Insurance Guru

Basic creditcard / debitcard / smartcard graph...Image via Wikipedia

I've been a credit card holder for longer than some of you, Gentle Readers, have been alive. While sadly, I have more than my share of credit card debt, I am fortunate in that I am able to pay more than the minimum. So why are the evil Credit Card Empires cutting my credit limits and increasing my interest rates?
On the big, corporate, balance sheet you would think that I look like the golden goose... I'm never late, pay a bit more than the minimum required and have been a customer for years. OFF WITH 'ER HEAD! Oops, I mean, credit limit.

Yesterday's mail brought me the latest from a company to remain nameless... Okay, initials only... BoA. Glossy brochures trumpeting my privacy policies and what-not on cheap paper. It's the "what-not" that they hope you toss. Interest rate increases, penalty increases, poke your eye out with a spoon rate increases. Now I can decline all of that and here, the instructions get a little fuzzy. I think it involves a GPS scavenger hunt, plasma donation and sperm count?

Never fear Gentle Readers, I shall foil their evil machinations and return my interest rates to the now arbitrary rate I signed up for. I can't help feeling a little cranky about all of this, though. Following the rules I signed up for just isn't good enough any more. So what should the honest folks do now?
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