Friday, March 28, 2008

Mistaken Identity

The Today Show interviewed the authors of a newly released book, "Mistaken Identity", this week. Dateline has a two hour show about their story tonight. I remember hearing of this true life incident but was mesmerized hearing their account. I will put that book on my "To Read" list.

Two years ago there was a crash involving a van carrying a group of college kids. Five died. One who survived had traumatic brain injuries and was in a coma. For five months her family maintained a vigil by her bedside. This family sat by the bedside of a girl they thought was their daughter but had been wrongly identified. Their daughter had died in the accident. The girls were both blond, blue-eyed and bore a striking resemblance to each other. One family had buried a girl they thought was their daughter later to find out their daughter had been lying in a hospital for five months attended to by the family of the girl they had held a funeral for. Amazing story. More amazing, the way both families handled this tragedy. All were Christians who are not bitter and have developed a relationship and co-authored this book.

When the accident happened someone told the first family that their daughter was critically injured and might not look like herself. I worked in ED and know you must prepare families for the bruised and battered appearance of their loved ones after accidents. I am not sure how they decided who this girl was. We carry our identity in purses which arn't in our laps after a mishap.

Will we ever know why she was misidentified? Perhaps not. But they must have been confident after the first family arrived and identified her as their daughter.

I have a very personal experience that makes me empathetic with the hospital staff. One Sunday morning several years ago I was working in ED. Staffing was me and an LPN. (They changed our staffing patterns shortly after this incident.) He was a very competant guy, trained as a pre-hospital EMT. The morning had been quiet and then all hell broke loose. An ambulance brought in a woman with chest pain who promptly arrested. We called the Code team. Someone called her family to tell them to come to the hospital quickly while we were working to save her. We were not successful and the patient died. No sooner had she been pronounced dead when we got another critical patient as a walk in. He fibrillated and we shocked him. About this time the desk notified us that "Mrs. A....'s family had arrived." I had the another RN from ICU who had come for the code take over with the new patient. I went to the lobby and asked for "Mrs. A...'s family." I escorted them to our quiet room and told them what had happened. I had the supervisor call the chaplain to be with them and offered them the phone to call the rest of their family. The plan was to wait for the rest of the family and then view the body of the deceased. Then the man said something that made my heart sink. He said he had just picked up a message about his mom being at the hospital that had been left last evening. I realized that the dead woman was not his mom. They had the same last name. After checking with the supervisor, I discovered his mom was in critical condition upstairs in our ICU. Both were critical on arrival. I was giving him better news, but I wanted to fall through a hole in the ground. Stress. Stress may have made me not as careful as I should have been. They had been identified to me as our dead lady's family. Without the second arrest happening on the heels of the first one I believe I would have been more careful. This was not my favorite day working as a nurse. I haven't been able to talk about this for the last five years. I guess it is time to forgive myself. You can see how I can be forgiving of that hospital who misidentified the girl.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

St. Francis High School, Graduating Class 1963

I have learned to be wary of medical bulletins, but heard one on the Today Show this morning that caught my attention. If you have "a toxic waste" by age 40 you are 89% more likely to develop dementia in later years. Oh, boy. A little later I found this picture of my graduating high school class. There was not list of names. I looked at the faces and found I could only identify seven of the girls! Qualifying that, this was a school that had about half of the students as boarders and drew from all the little surrounding towns. I did not go to school all my life with these people. I did know them after four years and was chagrined I could name so few. I have never been to a HS reunion and my parents moved from this town a few years after I graduated HS so... Still, I am amazed I can name so few. A couple years ago they held an all school reunion. I didn't go. I thought being mixed with people who graduated over decades would mean I probably would meet new people but not many of my classmates. It turns out they would have all been new to me. What every happened to regaining memory of your youth when you get old? Maybe I had better hit the next reunion and wear a sign around my neck saying, "I am Jane, class of '63 and see if I get any hits.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

What Are You Hiding Heidi?

There is a picture of me looking innocent in my yearbook with the caption: "A face of innocence hides a lot of mischief". That would fit under this picture of Heidi, my in-laws wire haired daschshund. Husband Jon was recently in California to visit them. He emailed one day that they (Jon, his brother and wife) had visited his nephew. They took the two daschshunds to play with his son's dogs--three English bulldogs and a pit bull. The dogs got in a good fight. My response, 'What were they thinking? Taking those sweet dogs to play with pit bulls?' Jon's reply; the daschshunds did the attacking. All the adults ended up with scratches from trying to separate the dogs. Heidi, pictured above, has an innocent face but is full of mischief.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Test Yourself on This Puzzle

Try putting the puzzle together by dragging the pieces with the mouse. There are no missing pieces. Good luck.

Happy Easter

Years ago I had a Memory Box that hung on our wall. It has been gathering dust on the top shelf of my closet for a decade or two. I recently cleaned and painted my closet and took the box down. There were two DeGuerre tin-type photos of old relativesI wanted to scan.
While the glass was off the memory box, husband Jon picked up the 40 yr. old Ukranian Easter Egg I bought the first Easter we were married. It shattered in his hand.
Jon is tactile and has a history of touching everything and sometimes breaking things. Some examples: We stayed at a resort with the kids in the early 80's. The lounge had a trophy muskie mounted on a plaque over the fireplace. He reached to touch it and it came off the mounting. I left quickly. Another time we were shopping at Fleet Farm store and Jon picked up a can of oil-based furniture stain and shook it. The top was not on tight and shellac went everywhere. Again, I left quickly. We weren't even shopping for stain. I learned to make quick exits from going to museums with this guy. We frequently hear the museum guide announce, "No touching the exhibits, please". You would never know I was there with him. I keep my own pace and ignore him. He is just tactile. Last summer when our Chinese exchange student was here she did the same thing. Jon was excited and announced to me, "She is just like me. Tactile!". Whatever. I think more along the lines of naughty boy. I can still hear his mom telling him as an adult not to touch.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tribute to Jon Hassler

Yesterday my son emailed me news of Jon Hassler's death. Hassler is a Minnesota author who wrote one of my favorite books, "Staggerford". I read it in 1977 when it was released and reread it several times since. Having grown up in a central Minnesota small town, I identified with his depiction of small town life. His beloved Agnes McGee lived on in several following novels. I have read five of his books. "Staggerford" remains my favorite. If you love tails of Lake Wobegon, you will be a fan. Hassler was a graduate of St. John's University (where son Andy attends) and taught there almost two decades until his retirement. RIP John Hassler with Miles and Mrs. McGee.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Slushie Day

It's just a couple days away from the first day of spring. We awoke this morning to about 4 inches of wet, heavy snow clinging to the trees. Everything looked fresh and beautifully white, but..... Enough already. Jon is in California and while I know how to use the snowthrower, I decided to shovel instead. It is the kind of wet snow that clogs up snowblowers. If I had merely waited it would have melted but I wanted to at least clear a path on the sidewalk. I ended up doing driveway and sidewalks then clearing a path for runoff water in the gutter down to the corner. Years ago, our kids would spend hours building dams to catch melted snow. I felt like a kid again playing outside. It would be a great snowman building day if you didn't mind getting soaked. The temperature is in the high 30s. Spring will come. Soon will will go through the 'tween stage of soggy yards and mud. I will be keeping an eye open for my daffodils and tulips and crocus to emerge. Hope springs eternal in the spring.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Not the Best and the Brightest

This is becoming my favorite topic--strange politics.
I heard today that Dr. Kevorkian is running for congress. At last, someone to put them out of their misery on capitol hill.
Do you think he has a lot of satisfied patients? Are there any left who can vote for him? Should he have thought of that before? I doubt he will use this mugshot on campaign posters.
New York's governor resigned in disgrace today. I can't imagine it taking a day or two to make that decision. What I don't understand is why his wife stood by him at the podium. What's the point? Show solidarity? Save his political career? What political future? Oh well, maybe Clinton and Ted Kennedy have given some wayward guys hope. I wouldn't have been standing there. Let him sweat. Let him squirm. I would be home working on my attitude. Forgiveness is important but not something you must do in public.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Small Town Life

Garrison Keillor starts out his monologue on "The Prairie Home Companion" by saying, 'It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon'. Well, it has not been a quiet week in my small town. Lots of excitement here.
Yesterday, there was an explosion of coal dust and resulting fire at the local power plant on the river. The plant is closed down for now. Thank God, there were no injuries.
This morning the online local news was about a truck that was too big getting stuck trying to cross our antiquated bridge. A.M. traffic was backed up two -three miles. This wouldn't be big news in LA, but it is in a town of 15,000.
Another local story in the past week related a police call to the local high school. It seems school officials found a student with a cigarette lighter in his pocket. Apparently this is contraband. They probably have security issues regarding fire or sneak smoking in mind, but this seemed pretty harsh. Our youngest thought high school rules were repressive. The school is built in a horseshoe shape. Students were not allowed to leave the building or cut across the courtyard to cross to the other wing. Hard to not go outdoors on those nice fall or spring days. He probably won't be surprised to hear they called the local police when they found a Bic lighter. I think I sound a little rebellious, but I did grow up in the 60's and dislike a heavy handed authority.
Well, it is life in a small town , right? The women's ministry at our church just started a ladies night out at Starbucks. Come for coffee. Bring a friend for a cup and a little teaching. When they publicized this, someone asked, "Which Starbucks?" We have four Starbucks in town now. I thought there were only two. Do you think this world is oversaturated with Starbucks?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Finding Lost Treasure

Anticipating a family reunion in August, the cousins have been searching old albums for pictures to share. One of my cousins set up a website. This week he posted this photo my cousin Norma contributed. My mom is on the left, my Aunt Marcella on the right. I have never seen the picture before and was delighted to have it. Two young beauties with talent to boot.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Star and Stripes

Well it didn't get settled in Texas or Ohio. The quest for the Democrat party endorsement lives on. This morning I turned on the news to hear the results of yesterday's primary/ caucuses. The commentator remarked that this could go on possibly until June and might be settled when they voted in Puerto Rico! Who knew? Puerto Rico votes? I must confess ignorance. I knew the dollars from the US flowed that direction but I didn't realize they voted.
The 2000 election was settled by 537 votes in Florida. How do you think the voters would react if it came down to who they chose to run in Puerto Rico? They could be deciding who the Democrat candidate is. Wonder if they have paper ballots with the possibility of hanging chads..... One thing, this election has it's entertaining side. Wonder if the two top contenders are brushing up on their Spanish. After stumping in snowy, cold, Ohio campaigning in Puerto Rico might be appealing.

Bakin' the Bacon

I can feel my arteries clogging just looking at this. Bacon baskets alias bacontainer, probably dreamed up by someone who was cutting carbs. It is funny how food trends come and go. A few years ago eggs were verboten. I like bacon but just a little and cook it crisp and blot the grease. I have my husband trained to do the same. All I do is remind him his mom loved bacon, saved the grease to reuse and had a stroke at age 67.
Medical bulletins and research often gives conflicting answers. This week I read I have an increased risk of dying from heart disease BECAUSE of my large wt. loss. I am counting on better news with the next release of results from a study. Maybe someone will endorse bacon as healthy food.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Terry Redlin

It is called "The Lights of Home" and I bought the framed signed, limited edition print for Jon for his birthday years back. I didn't much like it, but he did. There are times I wanted to sneak it in the Goodwill pile. Terry Redlin prints are very common. Today I was browsing on eBay Express and found the unframed print for sale for $695. The Goodwill will have to wait. Better tell the kids not to toss it when we perish.

Mary Had a Little Lamb

My baby girl in her costume as "Clarisse" from the movie, "Silence of the Lambs". She attended a big themed party celebrating the Academy Awards. Attendees came as a character from a movie. Her husband was Hannibal Lector. Not my favorite movie. Note the lamb has duct tape over the mouth.

Romancing the Plane

Do you remember the plane Indiana Jones flew on in the movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark"? It was a Pan Am Clipper. I often wish we still had that plane in service when I fly coach with no leg room ( and no meals). They had couches, beds, full meals and room to roam on those huge planes. Today I booked an April flight to Boston to stay with my old roommate. I used frequent flyer miles and was delighted to get aisle seats. I thought NWA was putting a surcharge on aisle row seats.

The old clippers seemed like a romantic way to travel until I recently read my husband's uncle's memoirs. He was in Naval Intelligence in WW2 and spent time in Africa. He mentioned being stuck for two weeks waiting for the swell of the sea to level off at 6 feet so the Pan Am Clipper could take off. I guess there was a downside. Wouldn't that make a mess of scheduled air in the US today if some of the planes were backed up that far? One weather delay in the east goofs up the whole country and people miss connections, lose luggage etc.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Those Darn Cats

Have you ever seen the TV ads for "Fancy Feast" cat food? A silky white Persian green-eyed cat lives the life of luxury eating cat food from a crystal dish. It occured to me I am not a high upkeep cat. Named (plain) Jane, did my name dictate my destiny? Would life be different if I was Tiffany? Who knows. I have to admit I don't like wearing jeweley much, I lack good taste and do not have a discriminating palate for the finer things. A few days later the black and white picture of the "Barn Cat" was in the newspaper. The caption: With a direct pipeline to the source of supply behind him, the barnyard cat awaits his daily ration of milk, reclining regally on a straw bale on the Dave Larson farm..." Realization? It is okay to be a barn cat. I am well provided for and content and have entered into His rest. I am at rest with a direct link to the (divine) source of supply.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Name That Train

The metro council is looking for an acronym or catchy name for the proposed new light rail that will connect the downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul. It will run past the U of M and down University avenue, past the capitol and into downtown St. Paul. The working name has been the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit. Some thought we could do better naming it. Consider the BART, the Metro, the Tube. Catchy names. We have one light rail line in place in Minneapolis referred to as the Hiawatha line. Another coming from the north will be the Northstar. One alert reader wrote to the St. Paul paper suggesting selling naming rights. It could be called the St. Paul and Minneapolis. (Acronym: SPAM) Since Spam is produced in Minnesota that seems a good choice. It sounds better than my suggestion, U-Go.


These guys were on the Tonight Show Friday. I like their sound. They remind me of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Listen for yourselves if you like bluegrass.