A Day in the LIfe of………..

“Stepping into a tornado screams…..This is the dumbest thing you will ever do.” –  Shannon Messenger, Let the Sky Fall

 

So I was minding my own business.

Just doing my job.

Driving a patient to her appointment.

Suddenly……

Rain so hard and dense the truck in front of me disappeared. Wind so strong the van was pushed to weird angles.

What the hell is going on?

Gripped the wheel and slowed to 5 mph. Prayed no one would plow into us.

About 5 minutes later visibility improved and we breathed a sigh of relief. Continued on to the destination.

Arrived. The patient opens the door to the sound of a siren in the distance. A tornado warning, I wonder. Surely not.

Surely yes, as it turned out.

Learned later that at that time and place a tornado had formed and moved away from us to the East.

A day in the life of………….

 

“Sometimes, doing the right thing at the wrong time can be as bad as straight up doing the wrong thing.”

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Make A Way

“You are going to die. There is no question about that. The question is are you going to live?”

 

Been working this medical transport thing for 3 months.

Poor health is a heavy cross.

Poverty exacerbates the misery.

These people live with both daily.

I work with them 8 hours a day.

I am reluctant to share this experience. We all have our share of problems. Right?

However, there is an attribute that many of these people share. A way of coping.

It surprised me and maybe you too will be startled by this mechanism.

In their words – “I’ve given my problems to the Lord. Let him deal with them”

And, quite frankly, I don’t know how to wrap my brain around that.

I mean, how is that a simple act can alleviate the pain and misery these people cope with daily?

Sometimes the body is unfathomable. So too the mind.

 

“Nothing is too wonderful to be true” – An Unquiet Mind by Kay Jamison

Posted in All kinds, America, Behavior, Conversations, death, God, health, human, life, misery, pain, religion, Strange, Texas | Leave a comment

Love on the road

“I thought I was promiscuous, but it turns out I was just thorough.” Russell Brand

While driving for a medical transportation co in the Tulsa area, I use a blue tooth device with my Iphone to monitor the GPS app that is giving me directions.

The ear plug makes it easier to hear over road noise etc. and only I can hear the directions or incoming phone calls.

Yesterday, while picking up a 62 year old lady for transportation to her Doctor appointment, my daughter called. Remember, the lady cannot hear the incoming call.

“Hi Ann, what’s up?”

“Just checking on you Dad. You left before I got up”

“I know. Had an 8 o’clock pick up. Had to leave early”

“Oh. You OK? Everything cool?”

“Everything’s fine. Just now picking the lady up so got to run. See you guys around 5”

“OK. Love you Dad”

“I love you”

Meanwhile, the lady just hears my “I love you”.

She has this startled look and I tell her that was my daughter on the phone.

Wow. For a moment I thought you were talking to me and I was thinking this is some kind of service and even though this is a very fast relationship I’ll take it. I need all I can get at this age.

You had to be there.

“My best birth control now is just to leave the lights on.” – Joan Rivers

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What it means to be human

“Before 70 we are merely respected at best and we have to behave all the time. But after 70 we are respected, esteemed, admired, and revered and don’t have to behave unless we want to” – Mark Twain

 

We humans are a strange species. We have to learn over and over what it means to be human.

I’m learning. Transporting poor people with a wide range of physical and emotional problems is the teacher.

The grandmother raising the 12 year old autistic grandson.

The 42 year old single mother on dialysis.

The many coping with cancer. Pain. Treatments.

Just a few examples.

All living in various degrees of poverty.

For these people, the dominant dynamic is pain. Physical and emotional. 24/7.

This can be an overwhelming environment.

How do these people cope?

What drives them to march on?

It’s been my experience that they all remain optimistic and frame their condition with the right perspective.

They embrace life. Not the suffering.

It could be worse.

I’m on this side of the dirt.

And so on.

Wow.

Maybe that’s what it means to be human.

At least to some.

 

“It seems like there is something out there before you get to it”

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Balance

“It was the word, sad. Sad has an ugly weight” – The Forgotten Man by Robert Crais

 

“I scream my questions at the universe. Most of them never get answered”

But this one did. Well………sort of.

A confession here. I’m kind of a softie when it comes to some things.

Like beautiful music. A great book. A wonderful movie. Happy, and sad, human experiences.

I seem to tear up easily. It can be embarrassing.

“Daddy…what’s wrong? Are you crying?”

No. Of course not. Just allergies.

Anyway, I became concerned. What’s wrong with me? Am I depressed? Am I losing my mind?

So I sought answers.

Turns out my emotional components, in conjunction with my brain, are merely working hard to maintain an emotional equilibrium.

Apparently, when I become too happy…the brain says enough already. You’re getting carried away with this happiness gig.

So it slams me with a solid dose of sadness. Crying is a physical manifestation designed to bring me back to center.

Wait a minute. I really want to O.D. on happiness.

This is so weird.

 

“With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?” – Oscar Wilde

Posted in America, Behavior, Books, escape, health, human, Kindness, life, Music, pain, sex, Strange, Texas | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Dangerous Behavior

“In Seattle, you haven’t had enough coffee until you can thread a sewing machine while it’s running”

 

Been driving for a medical transport co. for several weeks.

The most important thing I’ve learned in that brief time is that I must learn to control my emotions.

If I don’t…..my blood pressure will rise alarmingly and my head will explode.

Why is that you wonder.

Because of the insane number of drivers plundering our highways, every day I confront my own mortality, up close and personal.

Insane: not sane, mentally deranged, and utterly senseless.

These idiots obviously do not understand:

Traffic laws

Laws of physics

Common courtesy

Now if they only harmed themselves by plowing into a bridge at 90 mph that would be a good thing. Clean up the gene pool.

But no……invariably they damage the lives of others. Often irreparably.

Where is the justice?

 

“Fundamental changes of behavior hardly ever happen” – The Thirst by Joe Nesbo

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Life in Perspective

“Patient care should always be the key objective for any healthcare provider. It’s as simple as that” – Florence Nightingale

 

I’ve been driving for this medical transport co for 2 weeks. We transport old and/or indigent people to doctors and other medical services.

I’ve discovered a few things I did not know.

How very necessary this service is.

These people are desperately in need of the service. They cannot transport themselves and they cannot afford to pay for it. Without this service, most of them would either die or live really miserable lives.

There are a few things the government does well and this is one of them. Uncle Sam gets an A+ here.

The patients.

Roughly 50% of our patients are on Dialysis. That number surprised me. Had no idea that number of people are living on Dialysis. Imagine what that is like.

3 days a week – 4 hours each day. And the rest of that day spent recuperating from the procedure. That blows 3 days per week. 43% of their lives.

These people either get a kidney transplant or spend the rest of their lives living on the edge.

Thus far, the age range, in my experience, is 23 to 90.

Puts things in perspective doesn’t it.

 

“I think that there is something beautiful about mortality. It makes our decisions mean more.”  – Brandon Boyd

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Defensive Driving

“Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.”  – Erma Bombeck

Last year we finally quit working and retired. And since that momentous decision I’ve become too familiar with a certain recliner and a TV remote.

At some point it struck me that I was turning into a marshmallow. My mind was stagnating. Giving in to the years. Slowly but surely getting really old.

I needed to get a job. Something to occupy my mind and give meaning to life. Something to make me think.

Long story short, I signed on with a medical transport co. They deliver old and/or indigent patients to doctor appointments and other medical services.

A really important service.

Before they put me behind the wheel, they had to make sure I was not insane, a good driver, and could actually walk, talk, and communicate.

To this end I had to pass a DOT physical, a defensive driving course, and a communication test. Got to be able to walk, talk, and drive.

So I took and aced those tests. Actually I really fooled them on the sanity test but that is another chapter.

Now folks, I’ve been driving for over 50 years. Good driver. No accidents. A few tickets many years ago. I know how to drive defensively.

This is what the defensive driving course taught me. I’m not as good as I thought. I’m as good as anybody and better than most. But still, I’m kind of an accident about to happen.

So, I’ve changed. Now I really focus while driving. And marvel at just how many people don’t.

I think everyone should be required to take a defensive driving refresher course every 10 years or so.

There are just too many dangerous people on the road. You see them. You know what I’m talking about.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

“Driving is a spectacular form of amnesia. Everything is to be discovered, everything to be obliterated.” – Jean Baudrillard

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A Mystery

“You don’t throw a life away just because it’s broken a little” – From Seabiscuit

 

Time alters most relationships. One’s experiences, health, environment, personality, the fickle fates and fortunes of life, all contribute to our view of everything.

I recall the various relationships I had with my Dad as the years slipped by.

As with all things, the tenor changed with the years.

I began to realize that he was merely a flawed human being who did the best he could with the hand life dealt him.

I would like to believe that he felt the same towards me. I think he did.

I was 57 when he died.

He would have been 100 next year. Me 76.

I wonder what our relationship would have been then, had he lived.

Don’t know why I’ve been thinking about that lately, but I most surely have.

Kind of a brain teaser to imagine the possible machinations.

It will forever remain a mystery.

 

“Nature makes boys and girls lovely to look upon so they can be tolerated until they acquire some sense” – Willian Lyon Phelps

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Chatty Runners

“No one is normal”

I’m not a gut wrenching, hard core, in your face exercise fanatic.

At my age and given my current health, I exercise slowly. Take my time. Smell the roses.

Exercise should not be torture.

So………….I stop and rest. Often.

And observe. Listen.

The basic groups of work out enthusiasts on the trail are:

Bikers.

Runners.

Walkers.

The runners suffer as they pound the turf and laboriously slam their tortured mass towards some objective.

Sweat pouring out of every pore – muscles screaming for relief – faces reflecting various stages of agony.

Yet they push on as if some diabolic entity is driving them.

And then there are the CHATTY RUNNERS.

These people are amazing. They run in pairs and engage in conversation while their bodies scream for oxygen.

How do they do that?

As they pass by, I catch snippets.

“My brother told me that his wife likes to …………….”

“Did you hear that Martha is having an affair with…………”

“My professor said that God is……………………”

How can they breathe, torture their bodies, and gossip all at once?

Oblivious to me, they move on.

Hey…………..wait. What about Martha?

Bastards.

“It was as if striving had entered his bloodstream” – The Bat by Jo Nesbo

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