What grinds my gears

Yes, that’s a Family Guy reference. Yay if you got that.

In an attempt to rid myself of all negative energy so that I can enjoy the upcoming three-day weekend, here is a list of what is grinding my gears today:

Stupid old people in Buicks. After dropping Ian off at work and heading down Glenrose, I was turning left next to some old biddy in a Buick who decided she wanted to be in my lane and, mid-turn, moved over into it, almost hitting me. Then, instead of wondering why she was being honked at and actually stopping—or getting the fuck back in her lane—she proceeded to try to run me off the road. I honked for a good 20 seconds, and then she turned down some side street (Note: If you want a horn that people will respect, don’t buy a Honda Civic). If I wasn’t already running late I would have followed her ass. (Just to get her plates, I am not stupid enough to try to drag some fucktard out of a car window and beat her silly. That’s what cops are for.)

Of course, she was on her cell phone and didn’t even look up.

Bad drivers on cell phones. Was every god damned driver this morning on their cell phone? Jesus fucking Christ. Every asshole I saw driving (badly) was on his or her cell phone. Hi, if people are tailgating you or whipping around you because you are on 440 going 25 mph, maybe you should get off the phone (or how about the interstate) and pay attention to what you are doing, assjacket.

Single riders in the HOV lane. (This is a big one.) Before I started carpooling, I would get mad when people would drive slowly (70 or 75) in the HOV lane even if they had two people in their car. My thought was that people who actually need to get someplace drive much faster than that, and I would get mad when I couldn’t use the HOV lane to pass the other slow assholes in the lane right next to it.

I would like to announce right now that I apologize to all you carpooling people I might have cussed out for exercising your right to use the HOV lane. I would also like to give the big middle finger to people who drive in it with only ONE person in the car and are not using it for passing only.

You see, I understand that there are a lot of retards who drive in the lane right next to the HOV lane and only go 70 mph. I know, it really sucks. And sometimes you, single driver, need to pass those people using my HOV lane. That’s fine, I gotcha. Go ahead.

But you assholes who drive in the HOV lane ALONE, going 70 mph or slower (hell, 75 mph or slower), really, really piss me off. You obviously think that the law doesn’t apply to you, and even though there are tons of people (carpoolers and non-carpoolers) trying to pass you, you are content to clog that lane up all by yourself. Because you are above the law.

See, I am a carpooler. I take time out of my day and my evening so that I can drop Ian off before I go to work and pick him up after I leave. Ian gives up a bit of his independence by being car-less during the week. He works longer hours without getting paid because he has to wait on me to come get him after I leave work. We are both making sacrifices (and maybe helping that thing called the planet), and all that we ask is to be able to use the lane that is actually designated for drivers like us.

But no, single driver in the HOV lane, you have decided, “Fuck the sacrifices made by the carpoolers of Rutherford County! Fuck them in the a-pipe! Even though it’s illegal, and really I could be driving in one of those other three lanes just as easily, I am going to poke along at 65 mph in the HOV lane. Oh, except when I see a state trooper up ahead. Then I’m going to slam on my brakes and almost cause a wreck trying to merge back in to the lane I’m supposed to be riding in.”

So to the cell-phone-talking, slow-or-bad-driving, illegal-HOV-lane-riding motherfuckers of the world, I hope you have a shitty weekend. I hope you burn what you try to grill, get a wicked hangover, and maybe fall down some stairs. I hope a dog bites you, and your cell phone battery dies when you run out of gas on the interstate.

I would wish you a car wreck, but that might involve hurting an innocent driver. Plus, it would probably fuck up traffic for me. And you already do that enough as it is.

I have a new tattoo covering an old one now. It hurt like hell, but I’m glad it’s there.

Also, here’s some advice: If you are 18 and want to get a tattoo, don’t just go into the tattoo shop and pick something from their wall that seems neat at the time. Chances are, six months later everyone and their douchebag brother will have it. But if you do happen to do this, don’t wait 10 years to get it covered up.

You can take the girl out of the pharmacy, but you can’t take the… uh, desire to come back to visit and send tubes all over the hospital… out of the girl?

Last Friday, my two best friends and I went out to eat, where I had a little too much to drink and demanded they take me to the hospital pharmacy where we used to work (one still does) so I could say hi to the folks working third shift. The pharmacist working was one of my favorites, and he let me send a tube through the system. I know, thrilling. Except I have been hearing the tube system—for real, not in my head—ever since I left the hospital.

Where I work now, every once in a while someone will go into the art room and cut paper on one of those big cutting boards with the big blade. Even though I know in the back of my mind where the sound is coming from when I hear the blade chomp down on the paper and scrape the metal of the board, every time it does, my mind immediately goes back to my days at the hospital when these tubes would come barreling down the shoot and into the metal container seen here. Making the exact same sound that I hear from the paper cutter at work now.

For the rest of my life, I will hear the tube system. And I’m OK with that.

Cross-posted at Flickr

A waste on top of waste

Confession time: I’m addicted to The Hills. I know, it sucks, I suck, lame lame lame. Whatever. I don’t do drugs or drink (excessively. ok, but not very often.) or kick puppies. This is my vice. Get off my back.

So tonight is the season premier, and I know half hour shows usually have a lot of commercials. But you would have thought this was the fucking Super Bowl. The first commercial break lasted, I shit you not, 11 minutes. I saw three commercials twice. And then a few more commercials. And then, right before I stabbed myself, another commercial. And then I had time to clean and dress my wound, sanitize the knife, return it to the kitchen drawer, beat my head against the wall for actually wanting to watch the show, and head back upstairs before the commercial break was over.

The second break lasted four minutes (I’m starting it from when that annoying Australian chick started talking to Heidi’s sister–like anyone wants to see that shit anyway!–and including a sneak peak at some movie with that fugly blond chick from Scary Movie). Take away two more minutes for the opening and closing shit, and another minute for the recap crap at the beginning, and you’re left with about 12 minutes of show. Twelve. Minutes.

I know nothing ever happens on The Hills, but this time it was like producers were rubbing it in. “Haha, you tuned in to see a shitty reality show and instead we’re going to show you the same Taco Bell, Comcast and shitty ass movie commercials two or three times in the same break! Fuck you!”

Also, Spencer? World. Class. Douche. But as big of a douche as he is, Lo’s an even bigger bitch.

America, f*ck yeah!

What do “Suck it, Frenchies!” “Stick that in your communist pipe and smoke it, Russia!” and “Fuck off, China, we know your gymnasts are 12!” have in common?

Give up? They are all things I have uttered this week while watching the Olympics.

I know, right? I’m pretty much the least patriotic person I know, but for some reason, this year’s Olympic games have brought out some team spirit in me. (Ok, except for maybe last weekend when I heard some Americans got attacked and my first thought was that they were probably 20-somethings acting drunk and ignorant.)

I don’t know what it is. I guess maybe it’s because while I’m disgusted with Americans in general (to the rest of the world, which takes the lowest common denominator, we’re loud, crass, uneducated, fat, narcissistic and close-minded), I still might have some hope left for our country hidden somewhere in me, and only uneven bars and freestyle swimming can lure it out.

Or maybe it’s because for once, Americans aren’t the assholes cheating to win.

Or it could be because in the Olympics, it doesn’t matter how many nukes or armies or guns or laws or dumb-ass-retarded presidents we have, everyone is on an even playing field and all that matters is pure ability—and we’re still smoking the living shit out of everyone.

And who wouldn’t be proud of that?

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Lessons in kindness

Many moons ago, after I had graduated college but had yet to find that career job that was supposed to magically appear as soon as the diploma hit my hand, I took a job as a pharmacy technician at Middle Tennessee Medical Center. I had worked my way through college as the lead certified pharmacy tech at CVS, but the hospital job would pay more and, honestly, seemed more interesting than the retail side I had seen day in and day out for six long years. It also had a large non-clinical side that I hoped would one day lead me to something more in my field (which, thankfully, it did.)

The open pharmacy position was for second shift, which was perfect because at the time I was also working part-time as a Spanish translator for the Rutherford County Health Department a few mornings a week. When I eventually left the translator job, second shift became more perfect, as it fed my night-owl tendencies until I swore I could turn my head 270 degrees if I tried hard enough.

Working on the clinical side of a hospital was a strange, alternate reality. As a pharmacy tech I had limited patient contact, and the closest I usually got to entering a patient’s room was when I had to bring an extra crash cart to the unit when a code had been called.

The pharmacy was responsible for maintaining the medication on all of the crash carts placed strategically around the hospital. We would make sure the ones on the floor had in-date drugs and supplies, as we did with the extra carts we kept in the pharmacy. When a code blue was called (all of the other emergency situations were called phases, as in “phase gray” for a tornado, but when someone was in respiratory or cardiac arrest, the PBX operator would call “code blue”), one or two pharmacy techs would grab an extra cart and tear ass down the hall to get to the code location as quickly as possible. It was rare, but sometimes the situation would be so intense that the nurses and doctors would run through all of the life-saving medication on the cart they had in their area that they would require another immediately. We would return later to retrieve the used cart and restock it.

Working second shift, I saw a lot of codes called in the ER, but the doors of the room were usually closed so I would just leave the extra cart, knowing I would be back later to pick up the emptied one.

The first time I had to respond to a code called in the ICU by myself, I was not prepared mentally. I didn’t really anticipate having to be. It was probably close to 10 p.m. when the code was called, and the other second shift tech was busy with an IV so I responded alone. When the operator called a code, she would also call the unit and the room number of the patient. I can’t tell you the room number today, but I can tell you that when I burst through the ICU doors with the replacement cart, the room was the second one on the right, right in front of me. The door was open.

Six or seven nurses flanked the bed, shouting orders and yelling back responses. They tossed instruments and medications across the patient to one another in perfectly timed choreography. One of them was pumping the man’s chest in compressions that I felt all the way out in the hallway.

I left the new cart in the hall by the room’s window, turned around slowly and then walked briskly out of the ICU. As I waited for the elevator, I could feel my heart thumping in my head. I put my hand on my chest and counted each beat. When the elevator opened, I sighed in relief at its emptiness. I stumbled in, pushed 3, and leaned against the guardrail for support.

And then I cried like a god damned baby.

I cried for the man in the ICU, completely dependent on the help of strangers. I cried for the staff in there helping him furiously to stay alive, trying so hard not to fail. But mainly I cried at the kindness I had just witnessed.

I have replayed the scene over and over again in my head, taking out of the picture the hospital bed, the crash cart, the room, the unit, the hospital, until all I saw was a group of strangers huddled around someone they met barely hours ago, doing everything they collectively were capable of to save a life they hardly knew existed.

I learned a lot working at MTMC. But what sticks with me most is the amount of courage and kindness I witnessed on an almost daily basis. And even today, nearly five years since that day, I get overwhelmed.

He’s got the diabetiz

He’s got the diabetiz, originally uploaded by Megan_G.

It’s been almost a month since Evil Twin was diagnosed with diabetes (diabeetiss if you’re like Wilfred Brimley), and we aren’t sure that his insulin regime is exactly where it needs to be. The vet warned us that it might take a while before we figured out how much to give him, but we’ve already increased his dose once and probably will have to increase it again this coming week.

We took him to the vet July 11 after weeks of him crying 24/7 for water, sleeping in the sink or on the counter next to it, and peeing like a race horse. This little guy, who never begged for anything or demanded any attention, had suddenly become like an infant. And even though he gets his two units in the morning and two at night, is on a special diet and gets water straight from the faucet whenever he meows for it, he still wakes us up several times a night with his cries for water. (I don’t know why he won’t drink out of his water bowl anymore; the vet thinks the cool water from the sink might make him feel better.)

I just feel so bad for him, and he hates getting his shots. He knows that 30 minutes after he eats he’s going to get stabbed, so he always hides under the bed and we have to drag him out, making him even more nervous and scared. Sometimes he just sits there and takes it, but most of the time he runs.

We’ve thought recently about getting him one of those water fountain things so he’ll have running water all the time (and so hopefully our water bill won’t be a bajillion dollars), but so far I’ve read that the water supply runs out pretty quickly and the motor will run dry, which can cause a fire. I’m also not sure I like the idea of water so close to an electrical cord, especially since BK likes to splash around in her bowl sometimes. Have any of you purchased one of those fountains and had good experiences with them?

Or better yet, has anyone had a diabetic cat that gets better?