Tuesday, December 30, 2014

christmas music rules and regulations

Happy sixth day of Christmas, everyone!

Now that it's actually Christmastide, we can finally listen to Christmas music... and we have been! Faith is currently singing on repeat, "Gloo-oo-ooo-ooo-ooria, in a chili cereal." Which doesn't actually sound that different from "in excelsis deo" when you sing it.

But I'm a little picky about my Christmas music. In order for me to enjoy it, it generally has to follow a few rules:

1- No electronica. For the sake of all that is good and holy, no one wants synthesized Christmas music. Or at least, I don't.

2- Don't jazz it up too much... unless you are actually singing a jazz version. Then it's okay. Carry on, Ella Fitzgerald. Harry Connick Jr, Diana Krall, I'll allow your improvisations. Mariah Carey, stop it.

3- Guess what? Christmas carols pretty much all have more than one verse! How annoying is it when the singer only sings the first verse?... or even worse, when they sing the first verse repeatedly?

4- Don't just change words for no reason. Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer has a lovely voice, but her version of Angels We Have Heard On High starts like this:

Angels we have heard on high,
Singing sweetly through the night,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their brave delight.

Why, why would you do that?!

So I thought I'd share my Spotify Christmas playlist with you. It has basically all the Christmas songs I could think of... and it's a bit eclectic, ranging from the big-band crooners to jazz numbers (complete with one episode of scat singing) to folksy acoustic versions, but I like it. And it generally follows the rules-- it's possible there might be an exception or two that I still like for sentimental reasons, but hey, it's my playlist. Maybe you'll like it too!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

TV medicine pet peeves

All right, so you know... TV, while fun and entertaining, is not always the most accurate. For me, this is most obvious in medical scenarios. So without further ado, for your enjoyment, my top 5 TV medicine pet peeves...

5- "Stay awake! Stay with me!" "Don't close your eyes!" "Stay awake!"

This is only necessary if you're, like, in the wilderness and the sick/injured person has to stay awake so they can keep walking to safety. Otherwise, falling unconscious can actually be a protective mechanism (your brain requires less oxygen, your heart rate slows, etc.). It's often a sign of badness, yes, and you want to fix the underlying problem, but falling unconscious doesn't do anything bad to you in and of itself.

Important to stay awake in this scenario. Otherwise, if you're injured, pass out if you want.

4- Have you ever had to get blood drawn? Did the phlebotomist ever have trouble finding your vein? Then you should realize that you can't just stick a needle randomly into someone's arm or neck, depress the syringe, and expect the contents to go into a vein. First you have to actually, y'know, find the vein.

Sorry, Sam. Doesn't work this way. You're just infiltrating that purified blood.

3- "Mental hospital" or "psych ward" is code for "prison without trial for anyone who shows the least sign of being crazy," right?

Clark Kent would agree.
Actually (surprise surprise) WRONG.

First, inpatient psychiatric facilities are not creepy prisons where the walls are all padded, everyone wears white, and the staff leers menacingly at you. They're actually pretty nice, as hospitals go. They typically have soothing decor, comfy couches, and everyone wears regular clothes. Psychiatrists are generally extremely nice people.

A room in a real-life psychiatric hospital.
Restraints are NEVER used unless someone is actively trying to physically harm themselves or someone else, and there is NO other effective option. And patients are never just left in them for extended periods of time. (That's illegal, actually. There are extremely strict guidelines as to when and how physical restraints are used.)

Second, the ONLY time you can be admitted to an inpatient psychiatric unit without your consent-- unless you committed a crime related to your mental illness and it's either the "psych ward" or jail-- is if you're a danger to yourself or someone else... that is, actively suicidal or homicidal (or an undeniable danger by your actions, even if you're not strictly intending harm).

So, let's review-- can the following people be admitted (not committed, guys, what century is this?) to an inpatient psych unit without their consent?
- Depressed man who is considering suicide but does not have a specific plan to kill himself? NOPE.
- Actively psychotic woman who hears voices that tell her she's on a mission from alien beings? NOPE.
- Bipolar man in a manic state who's spending himself to the poorhouse betting on horse races? NOPE.
- Schizophrenic woman who believes that food is poison and so is slowly starving to death? MAYBE. But they will have to try outpatient treatment FIRST.
- Delusional man who is planning to shoot his coworker tomorrow because he thinks he is a terrorist? YES.
- Depressed woman who tried to overdose on prescription painkillers in a suicide attempt? YES.

Also, on a related note, electroshock therapy is NOT painful (patients are sedated beforehand, as well as given a muscle relaxant so there are no terrifying convulsions), NEVER done against a patient's will, and is actually SUPER AMAZINGLY EFFECTIVE for treating severe, intractable depression.

2- "Give him some space, he's in shock." "Please, officer, can this wait a minute? She's in shock!"

What shock means in medicine:

Dangerously low blood pressure leading to organ damage, either due to infection, blood loss, dehydration, anaphylaxis, severe heart disease, or central nervous system damage.

What shock does not mean in medicine:

Someone is confused/stunned after experiencing something psychologically traumatizing.

Moral of the story: if she's "in shock," somebody better be placing two large-bore IVs and running some fluid boluses stat.

Nope. Sherlock, you really should know better.

And my Number One TV Medicine Pet Peeve....

1- Picture this scene (you know you've seen it many a time):

A terrible accident has occurred, and now a character you've come to know and love is lying in a hospital bed, barely clinging to life (and, I might add, looking remarkably attractive and well-groomed for someone so Critically Ill... usually without even a nasal cannula, much less an endotracheal tube, to spoil the effect).

Suddenly the rhythmic beeping in the background gives way to an ominous hum, and you know the terrible truth. The heart monitor swings into view to show you the all-too-recognizable flatline.

Instantly, doctors and nurses rush in. What's the first thing they do? Check the Airway, Breathing, Circulation? Start chest compressions? No way, baby, because in medical drama there is nothing more glamorous than the all-powerful defibrillator. One of the (also remarkably attractive) doctors grabs those paddles, slams them on the patient's bare chest, yells "CLEAR!" and the patient jerks violently.

(Note: Even if they do attempt CPR, they do terrible compressions-- too slow, too shallow-- and on a soft surface. If you're doing compressions on a bed without a board behind the patient, you're not compressing their heart, you're just compressing the mattress.)

Lather, rinse, repeat. This goes on for a grand total of about 30 seconds (despite the fact that real codes can last more like 30 minutes at times... and do, in fact, typically involve chest compressions) before the Doctor In Charge wipes his/her brow, fights back tears, and says, forcing stoicism, "Call it."

So what is the pet peeve here? The unlikely attractiveness of... well, everyone? The fast-forwarded code blue? The lack of oxygen therapy (or any kind of medical device) on a patient who is evidently Hovering Near Death? Actually, no.

People. Asystole is NOT a freakin' SHOCKABLE RHYTHM!

Friday, December 5, 2014

seven quick takes - ed. 26

1. You guys! YOU GUYS! I know it's been, um... awhile... ok, 3 months ...since I last posted, but I'm not dead! I just felt like life was getting a little out of control, and I needed to take a bit of a break to get things back in hand.

Awkward introverts unite!
(I mean in spirit. Not in person. That would be, well, awkward.)
2. In fact, not only am I not dead, but mathematically speaking, I'm kind of the OPPOSITE of dead. I mean, if regular = 1 life, and dead = 0 lives... well...

Two lives = extra-alive? Anyway, Miss or Mister Extra Life will be arriving late April 2015. :o)

("Two lives" meaning mine and baby's. Not twins, thank goodness. I don't have anything against twins, but I'd be shipped off Guam for medical reasons if there were twins. Like, by myself, without my family, to waste away in a hospital in Japan from 24 weeks until delivery. Which would, to put it mildly, be really crappy.)

Possibly this was part of the reason things felt like they were getting so out of hand. First Trimester Terribleness-- you know what I'm talkin' 'bout. But now we're 19 weeks so everything is happy.

3. We had fun hosting Thanksgiving for a bunch of friends this year. No family nearby means Friendsgiving, which is exactly what we did. Sixteen people total, counting babies. (There were rather a lot of babies.) And I kind of... forgot to take pictures. But I was busy with turkey and mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes and rolls and salad and gravy and all kinds of goodness, so I think that's fairly excusable, right? Also, PREGNANT. ULTIMATE EXCUSE FOR EVERYTHING.

4. How's your Advent going? We're trying to be mindful that It's Not Christmas Yet, while still being festive and fun, because being completely un-Christmasy all month makes us a little depressed. So here's what we've got going on:
- Our Christmas tree is up, but only has lights (and a star) on it. We'll add the garlands on Gaudete Sunday, but won't put the ornaments up until Christmas Eve. Last year we tried waiting until later to set up our tree, but Guam only gets a couple of shipments of live Christmas trees, and they tend to get them bizarrely early (bizarre especially considering they're not super-fresh when they get here).
- We're lighting the candles on our Advent wreath every night at dinner, and Faith adds an ornament to the Jesse Tree.

- We're listening, at least mostly, to Advent music rather than Christmas music (but we're not totally against a few carols now and then).
- We've got a purple-and-pink garland hanging in our dining room... which we'll replace on Christmas Eve with a holly-leaf garland and mistletoe.

5. Faith is 3-1/2 this year, so it's the first year she's actually excited and anticipating things. However, she also has a hilarious 3-year-old perspective on everything. I told her that St. Nicholas was coming to leave her a present tonight, and showed her the St. Nicholas prayer card, and she got SUPER weirded out. "Why he coming to my house?! I no want him! He's not my best friend!!" (That's her current way of saying, "I'm not a fan of you/him/her right now." As in, "Mommy, I don't want to clean up! You're not my best friend!!" However, when I specified what St. Nicholas would bring (a book and chocolate), and clarified that she wouldn't actually have to see him (she's quite shy), she was mollified. Somewhat.

6. She's also been paying unexpectedly close attention to the lyrics in the Advent music, and asking for rather difficult definitions. "Mommy, what means 'rejoice'?" "What means 'gloria'?" "What means 'forever'?" Hmm. Parenting is hard.

7. You may have seen this already, but I laughed.

Head over to Conversion Diary This Ain't the Lyceum for more Quick Takes! And Happy Advent!