Update from the trenches

Filed under: @ 9:16 am

Everyone celebrate! The 2010 Fungi Perfecti catalogue is DONE, in the hands of the printers, and, by virtue of the fact that they only called Andrew yesterday to let him know that the press check was this Sunday, Andrew is not required to travel to GFE Illinois this year to be physically present for the press check.

Actually, you can celebrate or not as you choose. The fact that I don’t have to hold down the fort on my own for 3-5 days while Andrew is stuck in the middle of a corn field is reason enough for ME to celebrate. I HATE coming home to an empty house.
Although the fact that I won’t have to spend a weekend sans-husband does cut into my plans for top to bottom fall house cleaning to keep myself occupied. I guess I won’t be scrubbing down the ceiling, the kitchen cabinets, or the windows in the family room…. At least not any time real soon. Damn shame that. 🙄

And as of tomorrow I switch back from swing (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) shift to day (7 a.m. to 3 p.m.) shift. Another reason to celebrate! Yeah, getting up at dark a.m. (okay 4:45 a.m. so I can have time to ride the bicycle for half an hour before I go to work) is a pain particularly when it’s, well, BUTT DARK at 5 a.m., but I enjoy far more getting my day started early and OVER early so I can come home and still have some daylight left. Provided it’s not pouring down rain for the majority of October I have a LOT of garden work to get done. I’m planning on digging out the godforsaken Gerbera daisies that have taken over my garden border, I’ve still got some major pruning to do on my big lilac bush, there’s one rhododendron that needs a whack job, ungodly numbers of weeds, and if I don’t shear my lavenders they’re going to freeze and rot which will make a hideous amount of work next spring.
Working until late in the evening really puts a hitch in the fall gardening. I would, however, like to proudly announce that I HAVE HARVESTED ALL THE GRAPES! I love having the vines covering the porch, I think it’s a serious giggle to be able to eat grapes straight from the vine, especially in the hot tub first thing in the morning, but DAMN those grapes can be messy.
Since we’re still up to our eyeballs in grape jelly from last year, I am not making any grape jelly this year. We currently have five quarts of grape juice in the freezer that will be consumed as grape juice. Forget that sickly sweet purple crap that you got out of a juice box in elementary school, my grape juice has TEETH. I’d forgotten that grape juice can be good to drink.

Hm, what else?

I astonished the crap out of one of my assistants the other day by commenting (I can’t remember why, but the conversation made the comment relevant) that I was currently in the middle of five different books. Only three if you don’t count The Prehistory of The Far Side and the Foxtrot book Take Us To Your Mall which I’ve been reading while eating breakfast (NOT a time for great literature, you have to admit), but seven if you count the fact that I’m listening to David Rackoff’s Half Empty on my way to work and the fact that I’ve read the jacket blurb for David Sedaris’ Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk and mean to get into the rest of it when I’ve finished one of the others.
My assistant was completely gobsmacked, couldn’t understand how I could read so much. This from a woman who admits that she hasn’t read a book from cover to cover since she graduated high school almost 10 years ago.
Which leaves me completely gobsmacked. How can you NOT read?

The next time I’ll tell you about the amazing offer my hospital has received from the son of the previous ruler of Liberia.
But now I need to play Scrabble.


People Never Fail to Astonish Me

Filed under: @ 9:30 am

So pretend you have had medical training. Rather extensive medical training.

Your young dog is itchy and instead of taking him back to the veterinarian that you’ve been working with you figure that it’ll just save everyone time if you continue to medicate him on your own.

So for two years you write prescriptions for your dog for prednisone. A LOT of prednisone. And for two years you give your dog a lot of prednisone.
When said veterinarian finds out about it and hits high freak out mode, you figure it’s no big deal since the dose of prednisone was something that you’d “worked out with another veterinarian two years ago”. And you keep writing those prescriptions.

NOW pretend that you’re the medical establishment in charge of monitoring professional ethics in your county.
When you hear about a physician who has been endangering the health of a species of animal for whom they are not licensed to treat do you offer to investigate and chasten, or do you ignore the issue? 😯

I’m more than a little jaded about the medical community right now.

And if anyone is in the position of needing to find an OB/GYN I can make some recommendations as to who you SHOULDN’T see.


If it’s humane, how can it be cruel and unusual?

Filed under: @ 9:42 am

The state of Washington executed a convicted murderer last week.
I am, perhaps, an unusual liberal in that I am a firm believer in execution. There are some people who, by their actions, have simply given up their right to live in a civilized society. And regardless of the circumstances that exist in some U.S. prisons, even prisons represent civilized society…. or at least an outgrowth thereof.

Doesn’t matter. I’m not here to debate prison conditions or even executions. Executions happen, they’re gonna happen, and they’re constitutionally mandated to not be “cruel and unusual”.

And that’s the question. See, Washington state executed our killer with a new single drug lethal injection, this being the replacement for a three drug cocktail that has recently come under fire as possibly causing suffering in the condemned. The three drug protocol called first for an injection of sodium thiopental. Pentothal is an anesthetic drug, still in use in some veterinary hospitals, even teaching hospitals. I don’t know if it’s still in common use in human anesthesia, but regardless…. An anesthetic injection to cause unconsciousness in the condemned who is then injected with pancuronium, a respiratory paralytic agent, then potassium chloride to stop the heart. Provided that the pentothal does its job, the condemned shouldn’t even notice the respiratory paralysis, let alone the cardiac arrest.
The single drug protocol is a massive overdose of thiopental. Anesthesia, then respiratory, then cardiac arrest. This too has come under scrutiny as having the potential to cause suffering in the condemned.

The American Veterinary Medical Association recognizes several different methods of humane slaughter and euthanasia.
Cattle and other large animals are stunned with a captive bolt to the head –they’re not shot, they’re knocked cold– then the throat is cut and the animal exsanguinates without regaining consciousness.
Chickens and turkeys are electrically stunned before their throats are cut.
Pets are injected with an overdose of sodium pentobarbital. Pentobarbital is used to control severe seizures and for euthanasia.
Horses are often shot in the head, but more often these days they are euthanized with pentobarbital.
Lab animals are usually euthanized in carbon dioxide chambers, or decapitated, or undergo “cervical dislocation” — their necks are broken.

All methods tested, debated, and found to be “humane” (debate as you will, I think carbon dioxide chambers are fairly gruesome myself).
But pentobarbital?
Thousands. Hundreds of thousands of pet animals are euthanized every single year with pentobarbital. I probably do more than a hundred per year myself. There have been days when I’ve euthanized more than ten patients in a twelve hour shift. You place an IV catheter, you give your patient a hefty dose of sedative, you inject the pentobarbital and most of them are dead before the injection is finished. It’s quiet, it’s peaceful, it’s quick, and, I hesitate to say it, it’s easy. Granted I’ve had some patients who require more drug than I’d expected or planned fore. Granted I’ve had some patients who haven’t had good veins AT ALL and who have required injections into the peritoneal cavity. It’s not a more painful way to go, it just takes a little bit longer.

I’m not recommending that the US justice system return to executing condemned prisoners by, say, tying them to a stake and leaving them to drown. I’m not even saying that they should be knocked on the head and their throats slit (although if it’s humane slaughter for cattle, why shouldn’t it be humane execution for people?), but for heaven’s sake, if the justice system wants a model for suffering free execution I can think of a few (hundred) thousand examples.
The reason pentobarbital can’t be used for human executions? It’s not labeled for use in humans. Technically the product we use isn’t even labeled for use in species other than dogs and horses, but that’s beyond the point. The FDA can’t license pentobarbital for use in human executions because it can’t be tested for human executions and found to be not “cruel and unusual” because the test subjects, well, would DIE.

Isn’t that weird? A product that we humans use, that we tout as humane euthanasia for thousands upon thousands of animals every year, can’t be used in executing humans because we can’t prove that it’s not inhumane.

Maybe I’m naive, maybe I can’t see the slippery slope that this would uncover. Maybe the lawyers, and the legal system, and the civil liberties folks (note that I am a supporter of the ACLU) can see something that I cannot, but if there’s question about whether or not an execution protocol is cruel and unusual, why can’t we look to what we find acceptable for animals and apply that to people? Under the circumstances I think applying a different standard, i.e. using a drug that the FDA hasn’t licensed for use in humans but that has been proven to provide a quick and painless death for animals, to condemned prisoners might not be the worst thing in the world.


It’s not antisocial, it’s grammatically correct.

Filed under: @ 9:13 am

I’ll talk later about my hopeless addiction to my computer Scrabble game, but this just came up and I couldn’t resist it.

The official Scrabble dictionary defines the word “EVITE” as “to avoid”.

So when we ignore any evites that come our way, we’re just obeying the dictates of the English language. 😀



Filed under: @ 8:47 am

Ain’t summer grand?

Lavender Grosso.
The bush stands 3 1/2 feet high and in full bloom spreads about 4 1/2 feet wide. Every single time I walk past there are *at least* 20 bees bumbling about in that bush.
You can smell lavender from 20 or so feet away. And it’s been in full bloom since mid-July.

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