Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Breakfast and a kid looking for a summer job

I recently learned of a small stream less than two miles from my house. Let's call it.....notellum creek. It has trout, not large, a 12" brown is a bigun. Yesterday afternoon I was gone from the house less than an hour and it yielded breakfast for this morning.

Next, item, I got a picture from the oldest daughter yesterday, and apparently The Adorable One is looking for a summer construction job. I told them she'd have to get a hard hat. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial Day

The boy, he was really a boy after all, looked up from the gurney. "Where am I?" he asked, rasping voice. "Back at Da Nang, marine." the corpsman said, pushing the gurney toward the makeshift ICU. It had served as a holding unit for incoming for the last 12 hours. It was New Year's eve, noon.

He had 4 hours before been in a bunker when the first wave of infiltrators had swept across the first perimeters of Da Nang airbase. He'd been manning a section facing north, towards the gate. A young man his age had tossed into his bunker a satchel charge, landing at his feet, removing most of his legs from the knees down.

The corpsman in a bunker across the street had seen the hat less black clad young man go by, toss a parcel into the narrow space in the sandbags and run on. He tracked him with the open front sights, then put the M-16 down, running across the road to the smoke pouring out of the slots.

Inside,  both legs were shredded above the knee caps, remnants of the patella, fibula in shards. Blood was spurting out from the artery just above the knee. He tied his belt around one leg, the marine's around another, and sat back. The kid's legs above the tourniquets looked larger, the vessels were damaged above the wraps.    A sudden memory came back, a package the station hospital had gotten from  Bethesda shortly before.

In the office of the station hospital a block away was the package. MAST trousers, compression pants that would cut off circulation below the waist.

He got them on the kid, one of the legs buckled at the knee, the kid passed out, but he got them on and inflated them. Slowly the young man regained color. Two IV's were in, ringers lactate and the equivalent of today's packed cells. He regained consciousness.

Karen was there by then, a nurse, a lieutenant in the Navy nurse corps. He'd gotten the marine over to the pre-op, a long canvas tent with sandbags around.

"Hell happened, Mike?"

"Land mine I think, dunno. He's lost a quart or more, got these on him, it stopped it."

Stepping back he watches two surgeons move in, look, shake their heads and leave. He sits down on a folding chair. He'd been up 20 hours since the first blaring alarm had gone off. Most of that time he'd been in an emplacement firing over sandbags a vague shapes, not knowing who he was anymore.

He sees the young marine regain awareness, look around, craning his neck. He asks where he is, how he is. Karen smiles down at him. "You're fine, marine. We've got you." His neck lifts up, he looks down. "My legs are gone?" Karen looks at him, he sees this from across the room. "Yes, they are gone. But you can do this, you can." His head slowly goes back, then comes up again. He sees the MAST trousers. "What are those?" he asks. Karen puts a hand on his shoulder. "Those are stopping the bleeding." she says.

Surgeons come in, look, examine. Words in huddle are exchanged. They move away. He sits there, watching. A year before he'd sat with her in a theater in DC, watching a Bergman film festival. He felt like that, watching.

"I'm getting cold." the marine whispers. Karen goes over to him. "I know." she says, "We'll have to operate soon the doctors say."

The marine looks off, staring up. "It's weird, I've never been a man, you know?" His head turns and looks at the Navy nurse. "I've never been with, um, a woman. I'm not a man, like the other guys in my squad."

His eyes, from the side, 10 feet away, look pleading to him, sitting like there like silent Greek chorus. He's looking up at her. Then she smiles down at him.

Karen, the stocky 30-ish blonde nurse from San Diego looks down, her hand on his head, smoothing his hair back nods. "Yes, yes you are. A man." She leans down and kisses him on the forehead. He smiles. "Wow, can we have dinner?" Karen nods. "Yes."

Two surgeons come in, followed by a tech with a tray of instruments. The anesthesiologist puts a mask on the marines face, they deflate the trousers.

He walks back to his bunker, wondering if that nurse that gave him so much comfort, will remember in years to come, the boy she'd reassured, that she'd put together before he finally came apart.

In later years and decades, the boy watching became the man who took the nurses place. Sometimes he could do more, and that made him happy. He always remembered her though, the person who with nothing real to offer than herself, and the truth, eased someones way.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Yet another in what must seem an endless Sen. Daines posts.

Today I got another mass emailing from the Republican Senator elected by the state of Montana in a fit of insanity. The email was rather vague, but implied we Montanans were all in favor of good business practices. This was odd, because usually it's all right wing, the President is a Muslim one hears, etc. This one was vague, struck me as a lead-in, something to prep your potential voters for.
In all my many emails to the good Senator, some detailed in my blog, I've received only one actual reply (in that one could actually reply to). So I sent her the following:

Ms. Miller
You've the only one who's responded to any email to the good Senator's office, so I'm replying to you rather than going through the laborious process of the Senator's web access.
A question...and I expect at best a nuanced reply, if not an outright denial, so here 'tis: Is the latest mass emailing a segue into why the good Senator is going to support, if not outright endorse, the GOP nominee Donald Trump. 
Man, what a discussion this must be back there. I bet some of you staffers are Trump supporters, some are realpolitik (ala Henry Kissinger)) who say it's the reality, some otherwise.
I'll be curious what the official position will be by Daines....say 'sure, we'd like a outright buffoon racist idiot for Prz, or some more perhaps nuanced approach.
So among you staffers on the hill, how's this time, fun? 
Should be an interesting time for us all, both sides of the fence.

Mike Mulligan 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Update on The Adorable One

Leaving here soon for the slow life that is Butte, but thought I'd put in a recent picture of the kindergartner that is The Adorable One, Fiona.

Hangin' with the fishes. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

One of my oddest gigs ever

In my working life of 54 years I've had several jobs, some would be classified as 'positions', others as whimsical wanderings. Since 1970, they've all moved in one strata, that of clinical or diagnostic medicine. Before that, I was in the military, or in high school or at university. One stands out in my mind as something that was unique.

I think it was early summer of '68, I know it was some months after Tet. My group, like many Marine groups, was sent to a Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni Japan. Southern Honshu, on the Sea of Japan side, for what was called 'TDY', a temporary respite from Viet Nam. A few years later I was to return to the area to work in Hiroshima, some 50 kilometers to the south for the ABCC.

Companies were sent on temporary duty, usually to get them out of the war zone for a three month respite. During the temp duty, most of the members engaged in training of some sort. Those 'specialists', such a corpsman (medics), were assigned to the local medical facility to do with as they needed. I was assigned to the MCAS Station Hospital, a small facility that shipped out it's urgent cases via air to Yokokuska Naval Hospital. There was really nothing for me to do there, I was at that point a E5, the equivalent of Sargent, so they didn't feel they could assign me to being a ward attendant or the like. What they did do, was assign me to the Sanitation Department.

Now, this is not what it sounds like, not what you might imagine. There were no inspections of the base sewage system or the mess hall. We had one primary duty: the investigation of cases of venereal disease (STD's in modern parlance).

Outside the main gate of the MCAS was the town of Iwakuni.....prior to WW2 it had been a small Japanese air force base and fishing community, on the shores of the Sea of Japan, about 50 kilometers north of Hiroshima. During the occupation it was first a British RAF base, then a Marine Air Base.

Predictably, the town sprouted 'places of entertainment' for the military men in their off-duty hours.

Interestingly, the first establishments one would encounter leaving the base were pawn shops, catering to those soldiers who were low on cash but had things like cameras, Hi Fi systems, etc. 
Then came the bars...

And in those bars were......bar girls. Hostesses, if you will. Women who would sit with you and let you buy them drinks (colored water, they needed to watch their liver function), and if the proper arrangements were made, and appropriate yen had changed hands, provide other entertainment after the bar closed. 

Also predictable was the incidence of venereal disease, mostly gonorrhea and NSU (non-specific urethritis).  It was not epidemic by any means, but also not rare. Also, in addition to the women 'available' in the bars, there were also two outright brothels, fronted by two men who wandered the streets near the bars advertising their wares, so to speak. 

Am I offending anyone here? 

Here's how the process of 'investigation' worked:

The Marine or Sailor would discover he had one of the symptoms, most often in the morning during micturition. (just threw that one in for fun, two bonus points if you didn't have to look it up.) He'd head for Sick Call, sent to the lab for microscopic exam of discharge, diagnosed and given antibiotics.  Then, he was sent to me, or the other corpsman doing investigations. 

The goal of the process was to find out from whom he'd contracted, locate them, and get them 'taken out of the game' for a few innings while they were treated with antibiotics.  There were often several impediments to the process. 

First, and the most surprising to me, was the fellow would deny having sexual contact. I remember one or two actually doing the 'I must have got it from the toilet seat' routine. The standard comeback to that was 'so who were you on said seat with?'. I could usually get them past this stage with a real threat I had at my disposal. "Ok, well then we're going to have to quarantine you to base for 6 months, it's such a rare case we have to be careful." 

The next obstacle, alas real, was he was too drunk to remember. This wasn't too often, but it happened, and the poor guy had to undergo extensive grilling before he was believed. 

Often he'd remember the bar, and the name the woman used. In this case, we had this huge file, furnished to us by the Japanese Health Department for the prefecture, with the women working at each bar, complete with alias and a picture. This was updated every few months, so as you can imagine, was often only accurate in the past. 

The the best case scenario, I'd trot out this file and picture, the Marine would nod, "Yep, that's her." More often he'd go through the entire bar file and shake his head, so I'd bring out other bars and the pictures. This could go on for hours. 

Even in the best case, the card did not contain one crucial bit of information: an address. So I had two choices, or rather possibilities since choice wasn't part of the process. The first would be load the Marine, my interpreter, pick up a rep from the prefecture health department, and ask the Marine to retrace his path from the bar to her house they had taken. In no case I can remember was the Marine or Sailor sober at that time, so you can picture the possibilities. Going to the wrong house, being greeted by a housewife with kids clinging to her skirts, or a husband taking offense that we'd ask such a thing. 

Occasionally it was the right house or apt. The woman might answer the door (it was usually mid to late morning), the Marine/Sailor behind me pointing over my shoulder saying "Yep, that's her.", and then being chased down the street by an angry woman swinging a broom or mop. Another scenario might involve the man pointing her out, and then hearing a clearly  American male voice from inside "Hey, what's going on out there?" The situation was rife with possibilities, and they were all interesting. 

The other option was to wait until the bar was open, 8 or 9 at night, take the same entourage and to to the bar. Consider all the possibilities with this option.....maybe she's sitting with some guy who she's trying to wheedle more drinks from, maybe this guy spent last night with her.....it's endless, the possible outcomes. 

Perhaps this is what kept me out of Infectious Diseases and a career at the CDC in Atlanta? 

I've had a fun life, and some of actually interesting. 


Friday, May 6, 2016

Life in Montana

In the vein of one of my favorite blogs, Oddball Observations, here's my attempt at Friday humor.

Life in Montana

Have an interesting weekend. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Grubby Old Party

Remember a few months ago when many of us were saying that Trump would never, ever be the Republican party's pick for a presidential candidate? Notice how we've been conspicuously silent on the subject lately? Well...........

Someone who's never held elected office, who's companies have declared bankruptcy 5 times, who's greatest claim to fame is being a reality TV star is joining the company of Eisenhower, Teddy Roosevelt, Reagan, Gerald Ford and others (I can't bring myself to mention Abe in the same sentence) as though he belongs there. His candidacy is causing respected conservative columnists like David Brooks to have an existential breakdown in his writings.  

Here's a smattering of his quotes over the past few months, direct quotes. 

An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud"
Read more at http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/blogs/550112/donald-trump-quotes.html#pCAkEiHfm8cB2zYp
"You know, it doesn't really matter what [the media] write as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass." regarding what a female reporter wrote

“All of the women on 'The Apprentice' flirted with me — consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected." 

“Ariana Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man. He made a good decision."

“I would never buy Ivana any decent jewels or pictures. Why give her negotiable assets?"

“He’s not a war hero,” said of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

There are nearly countless more, but what's the point. If there is one thing we've learned from this sorry excuse for a man it's that he can simply shrug and either deny he said it, or ignore the question. That truth doesn't matter, and is unnecessary to the political process. What does matter is anger, emotion and resentment. 

In the next few days we're going to see the same Republican's who've denounced Trump swallow whatever remnant of pride and respect remain to them, and line up behind their odious pick for president. Their one hope is doing what a few states have done and make it near impossible for a minority to vote, but they probably don't have time for that. 

If the Democratic party cannot, in the months ahead, mobilize their party to get out and vote, get unregistered Blacks, Hispanics and women to register to vote for their own safety, then we have a very interesting and sad four years ahead. Pundits are currently saying he doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell to be elected. Sound familiar? 
“An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud"
Read more at http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/blogs/550112/donald-trump-quotes.html#pCAkEiHfm8cB2zYp.99

Monday, May 2, 2016

Ancestors, for lack of a better

The medical puzzle continues, some meds work, others not so much.

Despite not posting often, I've been reading many of your blogs. What a varied, different lot you are. Birds, politics, flowers and gardens to inspire envy, visits to the ER, something for everyone. Thanks to all for the entertainment and enlightenment.

So here's mine, of interest to damn near none, except perhaps the youngest who is doing a paper on Lane County pioneer history.

Charnelton Mulligan 1826-1899. My Great-great-grandfather. Came to the Oregon Territory in 1847, partnered with Eugene Skinner to each donate 40 acres for the founding of the city of Eugene Oregon. Eugene sounds better than Charnelton, hence the city name. The main drag through downtown is Charnelton St, and there is a park with his name. 

My eldest through him is a 5th gen Oregonion. 

As I said, of interest to few. 

My grandkid did mention ze is happy zer doesn't have to bring potential boyfriends home to meet him.