A Doctor Almost Killed My Father

Street Vendor Outside Bronx Lebanon Hospital

My father’s fragile frame paces through my mind, dressed in a flimsy gown, hiding the dignity he tries to keep. With a nurse on each arm, he sloths toward the exit sign, a cruel promise resonating in a distant hall.

Lingering hysteria shadows the tasks I perform to imitate normalcy. Thoughts of my father ride a tangent back to immediacy, while life shines beyond my reach like sunlight breaching a cloud’s periphery.

My father languishes in the step-down ICU. Smiling weakly beneath a tangle of lines, his pallid cheeks belie a still healthy sense of humor; he jokes between blood transfusions and telemetry readings, PICC line and catheter insertions, during a weeklong endurance test amid painful pokes of regret. A decision by an urgent care doctor put him there. He prescribed medication that caused my father’s kidney failure.

A red flag flapped in the ominous wind that swept into the doctor’s office; his actions ill-conceived. The computers were down. No patient history to see or phone call initiated to the office that could access my father’s records. The doctor’s derelict decision caused an emergency medical ripple effect: a 280 blood pressure spike, a carnival-like ambulance ride, and admitting paperwork before my father landed in the step-down ICU, his kidneys compromised by an ethical lapse in the Hippocratic Oath.

My father lounges in bed amid an atmosphere of urgency: nurses scurrying in and out his room with get-well pills and intravenous goody bags. His eyes tell the story that his lips will never speak–the dull look of frustration, degradation, and pain rises and falls from a wave of the scepter of medical neglect.

His smile wanes in the torture of every passing day. The state of his condition tethered to telemetry and Creatinine numbers, once high now trending downward. My father continues adjusting to the discomforts inherent in a hospital stay, while the urgent care doctor continues prescribing meds to other daring patients.

A risk is the last thing my father or anyone expects when stepping into a healthcare provider‘s office seeking a resolution to pain or mystery ailment. My father and all of us are slaves to an imperfect health system based on corporate profits. We are as good as our last doctor and the medical insurance we can afford to pay.

Elderly patients like my 89-year-old father who is on Medicare will be insulated from the changes in our health care system. People 65 and younger will be affected by the legislation Congress passes. As senators dive into the nuances of health care benefits and test the temperature in high-risk pools, the insurance and pharmaceutical companies monitor the activity from above. They are highly paid lifeguards deciding who should live and who should die. Congress is just the maintenance crew. They work for the lobbyists and special interest groups, the 1% with the most money, not the 99% with the least.

Each day I wait for my father to be released. “Not today,” I’m told, though his condition continues to improve. He probably won’t be leaving anytime soon while the urgent care doctor returns home after treating a flock of patients, unaware that his care might lure them to the emergency room.

Finding My Focus In Life And Writing

When you're ADHDI’ve always had trouble finding my way from Point A to Point B and often end up at Point Z.

With thoughts in a constant state of flux, the only way to anchor them is to purge them onto paper. If I didn’t write, my backed-up brain would need an enema.

It’s hard for thoughts to stay in one place when you’re ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). While flitting around inside my head, my thoughts are every place instead of where they should be–at my desk focused on writing.

Most days I curse the ADHD gene (my son has it as do brother 1 & 2). Yet, I do enjoy the creative component of the trippy brain bugaboo, the other Stooge-like stuff, walking into walls, not so much, “N’yuk N’yuk N’yuk.”

When my mother was pregnant with me, she didn’t send a memo to the birth procurement department asking for her daughter to be born with a circus in her head. The circus was part of the bundle my parents received when the nurse dropped me off without instructions.

I didn’t know that I had a circus in my head until the adolescent years when my thoughts traveled to distant places and followed the spotlights sweep across the tent.

Sometimes my thoughts played hooky from the circus and took a trip to the beach, usually Tahiti.

I return from a head-trip with my gaze fixed on the same wall I was staring at when my thoughts went MIA.

I say to Myself, “Myself, where was I?”

Myself finally responds after repeating the question several times.

“Sorry, I didn’t realize you were talking to me,” she says.

Myself and I have a lot in common. She has good intentions but slips up every now and then.

“You were working on a blog post,” she told me. “… You were in hyperfocus mode until you flew to Tahiti.”

Let me explain the ADHD trait known as hyperfocus, which is similar to hyperspace because you’re in the zone, a Get Smart-like dome of silence, but invisible and does not appear on TV.

When I’m in the zone, I can focus for hours, an ironic comorbid ADHD condition in which half my thoughts want to party while the other half want to work. While in hyperfocus mode, I don’t eat, shower or pee. My thoughts fuse to the computer and I write for hours (or cruise the Internet if my thoughts were out late partying the night before.)

Distraction and hyperfocus are the two most vexing attributes of ADHD. Of course, there are others: obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, lack of time-management skills, impulsivity, difficulty transitioning, i.e., etc.

On days I have an open-ended, schedule my thoughts endlessly pinball in my head as I try to catch them. If my thoughts can’t latch onto a point of focus, they disappear in the Bermuda Triangle of tangents where ships and planes are lost and a clock becomes a quaint mechanism of time.

When your body’s constantly catching up to your thoughts, time passes in a parallel dimension. One minute it’s 10 a.m., the next 12 p.m.

And you scream, “Holy Shit! I missed an appointment. That’s why many ADHDers use tools like timers and/or medication (Concerta, etc.) to manage their thoughts.

That’s what it is like to be ADHD, a lifelong condition. The traits don’t suddenly appear one day while you’re shopping for spaghetti. They’ve always been a part of you along with that birthmark on your ass.

Are you ADHD?

What tools do you use to manage the symptoms?

Why Writers Write

Salkin -Full Sunset Through Trees

| Moment Catchers | Word Shapers |

Many of us didn’t choose to become writers. Writing became us. It is an intricate part of who we are that inspires us to become better writers and therefore better people.

Writing is therapy, a self-motivating, actualizing process that helps us understand the world and ourselves, by observing then assessing from a creative perspective. It is a way to get to the truth, to uncover things we don’t want to see, and then report our analysis with words that hold a reader’s attention.

You can’t fail when you write.

You can only learn from your mistakes and mistakes are how we evolve. You can fool yourself into thinking there is nothing more to learn. That you know everything about writing you need to know, but you’d be deluding yourself. When you stop learning, you become the opposite of what a writer is — a passionate observer, an inquisitive seeker with an insatiable lust to learn about the world and ourselves, always searching for ways to perfect our craft and crystallize our perceptions.

Writing is a gift that should be embraced, not dismissed. It allows you to observe the world from the creative platform in your head, and then describe what you see with words. If you try to turn off the creative spigot, you’ll lose an intrinsic part of you. On days you don’t write, your mind will overload to the point of dysfunction. You’ll become cranky and restless. Life will look dull, and you’ll lose your visceral connection with the world.

Fear appears in many forms: failure, insecurity, commitment, criticism.

Don’t give into the impediments of creativity. You were always meant to write, to create something from nothing, to air thoughts that intrigue you, that if you don’t express, will haunt you.

Not everyone will agree with what you say, which should be expected and accepted, but do not write for fear of others criticizing your work or your point of view, would be an injustice to yourself. If you write for acceptance, your words will hit the page with a thud, and you will disappoint yourself and distance your readers.

Whether your goal is to publish your words or purge your thoughts, if you stop writing, that invisible appendage that’s an extension of you will always feel like it’s part of you.

Don’t let the moments slip by that others miss. You were meant to catch them.

In Search of My Blog’s Soul

ElectricityI’ve been searching for my blog’s soul that I lost over time.

-Will I find it with my car keys?

-Do blogs have a soul?

Questions, so many questions…

A nugget of curiosity rattles around in your head.

Do you have the answers? You might ask.

Yes, I might reply. I’ll tell you what I know and stop the rattle in your head, but not in your car.

DOES A BLOG HAVE A SOUL?

Yes, it does. You are the soul of your blog, the heart that connects you to your audience. When you inject your soul into your writing, it triggers an emotional response in your readers. Otherwise, they’ll be staring at meaningless words that fall off a page into the abyss.

My words slipped into oblivion when my thoughts wandered outside and hit a tree. “Temporary memory loss,” the focus doctor said.

“Do I know you?”

That was months ago. Yet, I still couldn’t find my soul.

So, I created this flyer.

Though hitting the metaphorical tree hurt a lot and sent my thoughts to the ER for a while, it put me in a self-analytical coma. During which time, I dreamed of what my blog could be and received a room full of metaphorical flowers.

Thank God, I didn’t pull the plug or incur hospital charges. Our insurance deductible is as high as the Washington Monument, where I stood, hypothetically, while my readers mingled on the plaza below.

DON’T PUT DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR READERS

If you stood with me at the top of the Washington Monument, you’d see that the people on the ground look like ants (and might be ants). But never treat them like ants, unless you’re in the habit of inviting ants to a picnic.

Now ride the elevator down to the plaza and look at the people up close and personal — No ants here. Just faces, smiles and hearts — the people you need to reach by staying emotionally in touch.

It took me months to realize that I was writing from a distant place. Rather than communicating with my readers up close and personal, I reached out to them from atop the Washington Monument, putting distance between us, losing the humanity in my writing — the soul of my blog.

Even though I knew where to find my soul, I still couldn’t ID it in the swath of people on the plaza. It looked like a fuzzy blob in the crowd of tourists snapping photos of my hypothetical situation.

While I squinted to see the details on my fuzzy-blob soul, two emails dropped in my inbox, asking for permission to link to older posts on my blog. Since the sites looked legit, I agreed to their proposals.

In the process of adding the links to my posts, I found the humanity and humility that linked me to my readers.

FINDING YOUR SOUL IN OLDER BLOG POSTS

I read the older blog posts that I wrote in 2013 and saw what I had lost over time — my voice and passion, glimmering like spits of waves on a moonlit night — the soul of my blog sparkled in something old, yet new because it was from the heart of me.

You can find your soul, too.

If you’ve been blogging for a while and feel stuck, go back in time and read older blog posts. It will help you reconnect with the voice that sings when you write.

If you’re just starting out, don’t be afraid to write something, anything, even if you feel it isn’t right. You might need time to find your voice. Don’t be discouraged. And never stop writing because of it.

These are the two posts that helped me find my blog’s soul:

Why Is This Dog Smiling?

Feline Cat Robot with Dog Death Ra

How did you find your blog’s soul?

White House Pulls The Plug On Meals On Wheels

Caution Elderly CrossingConsidered a non-essential item in the White House budget, the Meals on Wheels program will likely be terminated along with grandma — “Whose life expectancy exceeds her value to society,” according to the budget overview.

“Non-essential spending on people who’ve outlasted their expiration date will be shifted to essential budgets like the military, to help pay for wars caused by Trump‘s early morning Twitter rants.”

A White House aide cited the President’s recent tweet on North Korea and China as a reason for the increase in military spending.

Trump Disses China

“We started an office pool in the West Wing on who will attack first,” but then refused to reveal the country on which he placed his bet.

He told reporters that Trump’s poor diplomatic skills also factored into the budget increase “because of POTUS‘s tendency to insult world leaders not amused by him.” The aide emphasized the importance of shutting down non-essential programs to maintain a strong military “by killing off the weaklings that are almost dead anyway.”

During a recent White House briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer justified the White House’s decision on Meals on Wheels. “The President’s goal is to shift government spending from old people programs like Meals on Wheels to the youth-centric Parking Space Restoration Plan that eliminates handicap parking and wheelchair ramps.”

Reporters responded with aggressive handwaving and yelling in an effort to ask follow-up questions, which ended abruptly when Spicer threw a shoe at a reporter who spoke out of turn and got a timeout in the back corner of the room.

The briefing resumed a few moments later despite Spicer’s inability to locate the shoe he threw at the reporter. “It’s unbelievable,” he said. “That I can’t find my shoe… and that money is wasted on failing programs like Meals on Wheels…”

He continued. “Feeding people who have no interest in living or eating is a counter-productive use of public resources and an unnecessary drain on the Federal budget. Look, no one’s thriftier than I am,” then he lifted his shoeless foot and wiggled a toe through a hole in his sock.

“I’m thrifty but at least I can feed myself. Old people need to get with the program or leave the planet,” he screamed. “They need to get their ass out of bed, grab their cane, hobble down to the corner market and buy their own damn food. No one wants to watch them eat anyway,” he said, then made an “ew” face.

“For years, public resources have gone to the deadweights of society, people who no longer contribute to the workforce or their family. No one wants to hear their kids complain about grandma’s wheelchair always getting in the way.”

Maria Gloom, a 90-year-old great-grandmother enrolled in the Meals on Wheels program was invited to watch the briefing from the green room. A career government analyst for over forty years, Maria agreed with Spicer’s assessment. “He’s right,” she said. “I’ve got no family and don’t deserve to eat. Why the government continues to waste money on me I’ll never know.”

“It’s true. She’ll never know,” said a Meals on Wheels spokesperson on hand during the interview. “Maria suffers from dementia. Since there’s no one else to care for her, the government is her family now. And it’s unconscionable that the government to whom she’s devoted her life wants to take away the program that keeps her alive–”

“So, I can feed my cats,” Maria interrupted. “Meals on Wheels pays for my damn cats. How’s that for government waste?”

The Meals on Wheels spokesperson noted that Maria didn’t have any cats.

“I used to,” Maria protested. “Until the pussy grabber took them away.”

Spicer wouldn’t confirm or deny what Maria Gloom said but added, “Look at her. She’s all wrinkled like my Nonna.”

A public outcry against the White House budget prompted Maria to tell reporters. “Just give my money to veterans. They deserve it more than me.”

To which, Spicer responded, “We’re purging funds for veterans, too.” Then, he concluded the questioning, grabbed his shoe from a reporter’s mouth and left the briefing room.

DeVos To Rollout Her Vodka Soda Swap Plan For Schools

Higher education depends on a higher tolerance to alcohol. ~Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos speaks at CPAC 2017

By Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

In Betsy DeVos first action as Secretary of Education, she called for an expansion of Michelle Obama‘s healthy school lunch program, introducing her plan to replace sodas with vodka in school cafeteria vending machines.

A spokesperson for Stolichnaya confirmed reports of airplane-sized bottles being flow into schools across the U.S. “They can mix it with tomato juice,” said Anton Borscht. “Very healthy for the little ones.”

Betsy DeVos agreed. “Rather than serve our children soda that’s high in fructose, we can start them on a smarter healthier path to adulthood.”

When pressed about the possibilities of students falling off their chairs drunk during class and an increase in DWIs, DeVos explained. “The bottles are so tiny a child would have to consume 10 in order to fail a Breathalyzer test. An expansion of the Patriot Act’s school surveillance program will nip that problem in the bud.”

Still, child sober advocates issued a statement condemning the DeVos Vodka Soda Swap Initiative.

Secretary DeVos is sending the wrong message to parents and children nationwide. The unprecedented consumption of vodka by elementary school age students would produce a generation of future alcoholics and undermine the public education system.

DeVos disagreed.

We know about the harmful effects of soda as a primary cause of childhood obesity. Vodka would produce a calmer, healthier generation of kids by eliminating anxiety caused by the pressures of a competitive educational system which often leads to binge eating.

The Vodka Soda Swap Initiative would save millions of taxpayer dollars. President Trump’s deep-seeded relationships with Russian Oligarchs would enable him to negotiate ‘amazing deals’ that would drive the price down on imported vodka and ultimately be far less expensive than soda.

An increase in local police budgets as promised by the President would provide additional boots on the ground in public schools to prevent the abuse of alcohol by students and stop them from leaving the school grounds while intoxicated.

DeVos believes that rebuilding the nation’s public school system can start by ‘making smart choices that save public dollars and get kids drinking healthy again.’

“I had my first vodka and tomato juice when I was in junior high,” DeVos recalled. “It was one of those aha moments when you realize ‘this will change my life for the better.'”

Her family refused to comment on reports that after consuming her first alcoholic drink, DeVos walked into a wall and broke her nose. Though in a rare moment of candor, DeVos admitted, “I didn’t’ feel a thing.”

As far as other plans to improve the public school system, DeVos hinted at major initiatives in the future.

We’re considering eliminating gym and installing virtual athletic video rooms. We can then scale back on hiring teachers and shrink the bloated education budget. I know how to save public ed money. I did it in Michigan as the Republican Party chairwoman. I destroyed the public school system and education in general by funneling public school funds to sketchy charter schools that provided subpar education to our kids.

Kids today are lazy and need to be more proactive in their learning. The Internet has many wonderful free educational videos on YouTube. We should take advantage of these free supplemental aids and incorporate them into the education system. This way a child can be more involved in their educational road maps and design their own individualized program that best suits their needs.

My Vodka Soda Swap Initiative will get kids on the right track by making them more confident and open to trying new things.

DeVos declined to comment on the health problems related to alcohol addiction and impact it would have on the health system in the future.

“Healthcare is a quagmire for Congress to figure out,” she said, and then walked into a wall.

New Trump, Same As The Old Trump

Trump Thank You TourDuring the President’s first address to Congress, television viewers watched the relaunch of President Trump. A New Trump, who looked like the Old Trump but didn’t insult anybody. Before stepping behind the podium, Old Trump pressed an imaginary reset button he thought would erase all the bad things he said over the years.

It was obvious that he had perfected his new personae. No hateful rhetoric from the New Trump who stuck to the script and played a role that he executed as flawlessly as the Hollywood counterparts he had lambasted in the past as “overrated.”

New Trump read words off the TelePrompter really, really, well without going off script *mostly.* He didn’t demean Mexicans, Muslims or the disabled and even used some of them as props. He spoke about the need for a family leave bill, comprehensive immigration reform *giggle* and passing bipartisan legislation *LMAO*. New Trump didn’t demonize the press or intelligence communities but still managed to zing Obama on the “incredible mess” he left behind. Then, blamed the generals for the botched raid in Yemen which somehow was Obama’s fault, too.

This Trump didn’t insult women and even magnanimously introduced Melania as the First Lady, who smiled and waved on cue. The audience clapped while waiting for Trump to announce the Second and Third Lady, too. Disappointment overtook the room when he never did, prompting a negative response from a Frank Lutz Focus Group.

After the applause died and the GOP tired from standing, they fell back into their seats, ready for the TelePrompter to continue spiraling into another episode of the Twilight Zone. Everyone sat with anticipation as New Trump promised to revive a dead coal industry and actor Rod Serling who never popped in from the afterlife to take a bow.

New Trump continued his Academy Award-worthy performance, spewing Ambien words he hoped would calm a jittery electorate, nervous about the Old Trump who constantly loses his shit. New Trump dispelled their concerns as the GOP smiled collectively, pleased by the performance of their reality TV show celebrity, reciting his lines at the podium without a glitch. New Trump enjoyed the attention bestowed on him, emitting a pulsating orange glow.

Clearly, New Trump had convinced a skeptical crowd that he was up to the job of TV President and now had new legions of devoted fans, all of them staring at him with an unwavering focus, never leaving their seats to go to their gender-specific restrooms. His lovely captivated audience wouldn’t dare leave the theater because their ankles had been manacled to their seats.

“No shoe shots,” yelled the director from inside the control room. “Everything needs to look authentic. Like with all fiction projects, it must be grounded in reality.”

Sweden Incident: The Migrant Meatball Crisis

The sneeze heard around the world.

On top of spaghettiThe cause of the Sweden Incident became clearer late Sunday night in newly leaked information from the Trump White House. A kitchen in Stockholm is the focus of the investigation that involves a plate of spaghetti and one migrant meatball that went missing during an early bird special.

Reports from Stockholm indicate that an unidentified elderly female patron in a housecoat shuffled up to a plate of spaghetti “all covered with cheese” and sneezed on it, catapulting the meatball from the plate, which then “rolled off the table onto the floor.”

An arrest still has not been made as authorities struggle to contain the chaotic scene at the restaurant, while they search for the gray-haired perpetrator and breaded meatball. Chef Casper, who plated the dish of spaghetti and meatballs, has barricaded himself inside the kitchen refusing to speak to reporters.

Meatball sightings have been rolling into the 800 number posted at the Culinary Meatball Institute since the Sweden Incident was first reported hours earlier. However, the authenticity of these reports cannot be verified until authorities have sifted through all the calls.

At this hour, the Sweden Incident continues to unnerve a jittery country just days after the infamous Bowling Green Massacre struck fear in the hearts of U.S. citizens.

Updated at 8:45 PM

In late breaking news, officials confirmed information on the meatball’s whereabouts. A waiter at the restaurant had reportedly spotted the meatball as it “rolled out of the door,” according to several bystanders requesting anonymity.

Other eyewitnesses stated that after it rolled out the door, a pedestrian spotted the meatball in front of the restaurant in a state of “obvious distress or possibly sauced,” according to the local authorities. Then, “it rolled in the garden and under a bush.”

Officials immediately descended upon the garden in an attempted search and rescue operation to locate the meatball and return it to the kitchen.

Shortly after commencing the operation the meatball was located, prompting cheers from onlookers that quickly changed into audible gasps. Emergency responders told Stockholm authorities that the meatball was found in poor condition, described by someone on the scene as “nothing but mush.”

EMT workers were still hopeful they could save the meatball, scooped it up with a spatula then medevacked it to a local hospital where it was placed in the ICU.

Later, hospital officials announced that the “meatball had succumbed to its injuries despite efforts to save it.”

A forensic expert was called in to extract a section of meat for testing and ingested it, telling authorities that “The mush was as tasty as tasty could be, ” adding, “I’m confident that early next summer it will grow to a tree with great big meatballs and tomato sauce.”

As the CSI team wrapped up the investigation, local authorities arrested the suspected sneezer identified as Typhoid Mary, included on the WHO terror watch list, as revealed at a press conference in the hospital lobby. A WHO representative could not be reached for comment.

During the press conference, a reporter from the fake news site, Ai yai yai!, interrupted the proceedings with, “WHO could not be reached for comment?”

To which the official responded, “Exactly, WHO?”

The questioning continued for several minutes before another reporter asked, “What?”

This was immediately followed with an adamant, “No, WHO?”

Chef Casper would not respond to reporters’ requests for a statement, as he was inconsolable about the loss of his meatball and instead released a written statement to the Culinary Meatball Institute:

“If you eat spaghetti all covered with cheese, hold on to your meatball and don’t ever sneeze.”

The letter can be viewed in its entirety at a website dedicated to the survivors of terrorist sneeze attacks on minced meat.