Saturday, December 30, 2006

Oakland Sky


Photo by Patrick Mills Highland Hospital (artist, co-worker and friend) Posted by Picasa

Another Year

Door closed, curtain pulled, light off. When I finally got through to the bed it looked more like a shroud than a patient. A crisp white sheet stretched from the patient’s head to toes. The only noise and movement in the room came from the IV pump, the alarm sounded and the LCD flashed “occlusion” on the panel. Actually, the bag of IV fluids had finished running. I made as much noise as possible pushing back the curtain and I turned on the light and then stood at the bedside letting the alarm sound. I stood a full minute before the sheet spoke, “are you going to turn that damn thing off?” “I’m sorry, I’m not a nurse; I’m a physical therapist are you going to walk with me?”

Reality is that which we can’t make go away. It’s like the bumper sticker said “Froto lost, and Bush has the ring” many of us have a strong urge to leave our current state of affairs. And we do try: drugs, wine, curtains, luxury vehicles, cruises, casinos, blankets, TV, escaping has become such a big part of our lives that many have forgotten what we are running from. A year of violence and failure for Oakland, our children our dying, what could be worse.

This year hundreds of parents, grandparents, girlfriends, boyfriends and siblings spent their days at Highland at the bedside, pulling back the sheet, bringing in food, helping the patient get washed up and to the bathroom and home. Caregiving is a “no glamour no glory,” type of a job; it is also what holds a community together and makes Oakland a wonderful place to live. Politicians hate hospitals they don’t understand illness, adversity or how strong or brave people are. Families and parents don’t have the luxury of wallowing in their losses, Highland’s families spent the year fighting to keep us here, to keep us well and to keep us together.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Oakland Night


Photo by Patrick Mills Highland Hospital (photographer, artist and friend.)
 Posted by Picasa

Dirt List- Your Tax Dollars at Work

1,448,905 - Population Alameda County (2005 census estimate)

48,219 - Oakland Coliseum Seating Capacity

4,000 - Inmate beds at Santa Rita Prison

360 - Juvenile Hall Beds

236 - County Hospital Beds (Highland)

250,000 - Conservative estimated number of uninsured in Alameda County
That’s 1 hospital bed for every 1,000 uninsured people in Alameda County.

Based on these numbers the sick and dying should seriously consider going to a Raider’s game and kissing their ass good-bye or getting arrested and trying to get the dialysis or chemotherapy from the robustly funded county prison system.

Wacktivists Wule!

As you may or may not know and as you undoubtly could care less; I have embarked on a journey of self-discovery. Do you want to hear what I learned about myself? That’s a rhetorical question, you don’t really have a choice. Actually, I find almost anything more interesting than self-discovery and last evening as I scrupulously avoided self-examination in bed with a candy bar and a New Yorker magazine, I inadvertently discovered myself, printed in black and white. I’m a wacktivist, Nick Paumgarten wrote a piece called “Dirty Wikitricks,” there I was in black and white.

Why wactivism you wonder. Well, wacktivism works. I started my career as a worker wonk. Pass out the flyers spread the message from the committee, don’t offend, follow Wobert’s Wules of Worder and walk in step. I have trouble with authority, wules and worder. See wacktivism is all waction, gives the politicians the willies. When you refuse to play by their wules you create a clear and present danger, which is the next best thing to a big fat campaign contribution.

Politicians know, I’ve heard them say, “That Ann Nomura, she’s a wacko.” Wong bucko, I’m a wackivist and I’m your worst nightmare.