October 16

In my Environmental Science lab Tuesday afternoon we sampled the outdoor air for pollution.  We did this using about $1000 of new equipment that I found laying around my lab.  While we waited for the pump to draw air through the absorbing solution, we played hacky sack.  One of my students is pretty good already, and the other is learning fast.  I hadn’t played in a couple of years, so it was a lot of fun.  Days later my knee still regretted it.

I have created yet another calendar on CafePress.com, this time with a Monarch Butterfly theme:


In addition, I have added a bunch of new products to my other shops (eagle, cicada killer, carpenter bee) that CafePress has made available.

Wednesday my Ecology class was supposed to sample fish populations at Lowell’s.  It rained all day, so instead we stayed in the lab and identified all our dead grasshoppers.  Some had apparently been infected with horsehair worms, which had crawled out of the ‘hoppers and into the bottom of the container. 

I had book club that night after delicious soup with Lori and Jay.  It was a good discussion.

Stacey got a call from Savannah’s geometry teacher.  Turns out she got a 93 on a test, which is a cause for celebration around here.  She’s also doing well in cheerleading (that teacher is the coach).

Stacey had an interesting lunch Wednesday, and had to go into First Responder mode.  See Stacey’s report below.

Wednesday night I went to let Kane in and found that he was already out of the kennel.  I don’t know how or when he got out, but it was long enough to take a leisurely swim in the neighborhood pond, as his legs were covered with mud.  He was pretty tired and stiff the next morning though.

The photos that I chose in the St. Louis Camera Club competition I judged last week can be seen here:
See if you agree with my choices.

They posted my presentation here:

Friday I went in to work for a meeting.  First I dropped of the recycling.  Got a whole dollar for my aluminum cans.  The meeting was OK, and even fun, being just me and my colleagues in biology.  I ran some errands and went home.  I got a call from Stacey’s secretary, who said that Stacey had severely cut her hand on a broken punch bowl.  They took her to the emergency room to have her finger sown up.  Later she called to say that Stacey could not drive home because of the drugs she was on.   I have never been thankful that Savannah has her drivers permit, but it actually came in handy this time.  We drove down to Hannibal, where we saw Stacey’s workplace for the first time.  Savannah drove Stacey home in her car, and I drove the Lil Egg home.  Stacey now has a large bandage around her right ring finger, which is better than the nasty kitchen towel they first used to stanch the bleeding.  See Stacey’s report below.  Savannah went to spend the night at a friend’s before going down to Columbia with the marching band early Saturday morning.

Stacey and I went to Hannibal for the Folk Life Festival.  We saw a lot of our friends, like Steve, Wanaree and Lori, as well as a bunch of folks Stacey knew from the Hannibal area.  We bought a quart of sorghum and a piece of jewelry (from Wanaree).   We had lunch at the Mark Twain dinette and went home.

I saw a couple of monarchs while we were driving around.  After we got home, sure enough, I saw one on the neighbor’s butterfly bush.  I netted it, tagged and released it.  That was #100, the last of my tags.  I still have a little chrysalis, but I’m not too optimistic about it.  Fall butterflies of other types are popping out.  A buckeye hatched out from my unknown pupa, and I shot a couple of commas in the back yard.

Comma on redbud tree; comma on grass.

The low, dead stump in the front yard, which I think has been there since the tornado of ’03, finally rotted away.  I broke it up with a splitting maul and hauled the fragments to the brush dump.  While there, I picked up some large logs. 

Sunday morning I cut up and stacked my logs.  In the process a large log rolled over and smacked my left patella–on the knee that’s been bothering me.  That precipitated a break in activities for cursing and nursing.  Like I needed that!  Stacey did not go to church to preach, nor to class.  I rebandaged her finger, and I dyed her hair.  Savannah got very little sleep at her friend’s house, so slept most of the day away.

Boots is good for napping, until he wakes you up hawking a hairball.

Savannah had no time for practicing her cheerleading over the weekend, and was understandably nervous about tryouts Monday morning.  We needn’t have worried.  She made the varsity squad.  Of course, she has Stacey’s looks and my skills, a perfect combination. 

Monday night I had to stay late to teach a Galapagos class.  I ran errands and got a haircut beforehand.  Many of the students had other obligations, but we had enough there to make it work.  I talked about the geology of the Islands in a minilecture, then we talked about the nuts and bolts of the trip, which was fun. 

Stacey’s week was sufficiently eventful that she has written her own entry:

The unofficial title of this letter is “why my office mates no longer invite me to lunch.”
First, the staff takes the executive director out to lunch for his birthday and Boss’s Day.  I drove myself because I came from an off site meeting.  The others were to meet me at noon, but did not show up until 12:30 pm.  So we order and eat—simple plentiful food. 

As lunch is winding down, I see our waitress going outside to help another lady help this old woman walking.  This did not ‘look’ right, so I (first aid trained firefighter) go out and ask if everything is ok.  Lady #1 says, “My mom got tired walking and we just need to help her to the bathroom.”  “Mom”  is barely walking and has blue lips.

I get a chair and take it outside and tell them to sit Mom in the chair so I can access her.  The daughter says “It’s ok, she just has to go to the bathroom.”  I finally say, “Look, her lips are blue and you are practically dragging her because her feet are barely moving.  Sit her in this chair and you (meaning the waitress) go call 911.”  Just then the mom starts having a seizure.  It’s kinda weird because I started doing two things at once.  I was getting patient info from the daughter and pointedly instructing my boss and the finance director to carry the woman in so I could get her flat, open an airway, and continue accessing.

Get the lady on the floor and she loses consciousness.  Then she starts breathing in a really bad way (the only other time I have heard people breath like this, they die).  The lady is 88 years old, has diabetes, and a pacemaker.  So she’s breathing—poorly, and has a carotid pulse—really poor.  But if a person is breathing and has a heart beat (no matter how bad,) you do not do CPR.  I jut kept her airway open and then the paramedics came and began to really work her (CPR, intubations, etc).

It was surreal because we all went back to our table.  We could not leave—I had placed the lady on the carpeting next to the cash register.  People on the other side of the restaurant just kept eating like nothing was going on.  Here’s medics working this lady on the floor and people keep eating their salads.

OK so that’s Wednesday.  Things were getting back to normal and on Friday, we were giving a going away party for the CASA director.  I was in charge of the party, but lots of people helped.  Connie, my secretary, and I were cleaning the dishes in the Head Start break room (one of only two sinks in the building with hot water.)  Before we started to wash the dishes, we looked at the only available towel and considered not drying them because it was a definite candidate for “funky towel.”  But we figured that we might risk it.  Everything was washed and I started on the punch bowl.  The punch bowl is made with a 2 inch base that blossoms into the bowl.  I put soap in the punch bowl and turned the spigot of hot water into it.  I reach in with my right hand and run it around the base to make sure all the fruit from the punch is coming out.  Suddenly, I realize that that bowl is broken and slicing through my fingers –deeply.

I yank my hand out of the water and loudly tell Connie that I need a rag for my hand.  You guessed it, she hands me the funky towel.  I’m spewing blood all over the break room floor so I can’t be picky.  I can feel (not look, passing out would not be good) that my right ring finger is cut very deeply.  I also think my middle finger is cut, too.

Thank goodness Connie used to work at the local health department.  She grabbed my towel wrapped hand, applied immense pressure, and raised my arm above my head. Someone called the HR director, who is a lovely woman, but not with a lot of life experience (she locks her car when it sits in her locked garage).  She starts saying, “Oh my, Oh my, should we call an ambulance?”  I told her, “Look, I am awake, I am breathing.  My heart is beating.  Do not call a bus, but I do need the emergency room.” 

 It was a god awful pain.  I mean pain.  It was causing my blood pressure to jump.

So we get to the ER and then there is this long line of people.  Only, I am getting moved to #3 in the line because the hand is still bleeding, badly.  Funky towel is now bright red.

I sit down, right hand still wrapped in kitchen towel and above my head.  Pain is shooting from my fingers to my elbow and the HR director is chatting gaily as a means to keep my mind off the pain.  Connie starts worrying because my face is going from red to white; red to white.  I then realize that I cannot stand without being faint.  HR director goes to triage and tells them that my condition has worsened.  (She said that she learned this from watching ER :0)  I get moved to the front of the line and immediately taken back to a room with no paperwork done. On the way back, we meet up with the ER director who is the lead doctor at the free clinic that is in my office building.  He immediately takes over my care, personally. 

HR director and Connie go out to try and complete the paperwork.  HR director tells clerical staff that she can not remember my husband’s last name, but there is a Home and Garden TV person with the same name (COELHO).  Clerical staff thinks HR director needs a padded room.

Back in the exam room, Dr. Draper takes one look at the funky towel and says “This faithful towel has given its life for the cause and now can be put to rest.”  He takes it off my hand, wraps my fingers in clean, sterile, gauze, and dumped the towel in the hazardous waste bin. 

I jokingly tell the doctor, “I hope you have better luck with your patient than I did with mine.”  Dr. Draper is a very compassionate person.  He says, “I want you to know that only 3% of people who code actually come back and I do not intend to let you code!”  So as he cleans the wound and stitches it up, he keeps up a nice banter.  That’s when I have surreal moment #2.  He numbed my finger (I felt that injection!) then I start watching him inspect the inside of the wound with a tool, watch him trim the ends of the skin, and suture it. All the while, my mind is thinking, “this hurts,” but my hand is saying “not so!” 

As I am getting the instructions and prescipts, doc says, “I’m giving you vicodin because that’s gonna hurt when the meds wear off.  All those sliver cuts might hurt more than the stitches.  I’m giving you a strong antibiotic because that towel did not look clean. (Ya think!).  Stay in bed all weekend.  The antibiotics may mess with your system, in that case staying in be is not advisable.” What a funny guy.

So I missed class this weekend.  I’ve had moments of being nearly normal, but then I get tired so I’ve taken a few more naps.  He was right about the sliver cuts hurting more.

I’m guessing that given this week’s events no one will invite me to lunch again.  I am sure Connie has a new rule that our office can only have plastic punch bowls.

The HR director thinks that the work comp company is going to deny the claim because washing dishes is not part of my job description.  Go figure.

Anyway, this has taken me a few hours to type and my hand is really in pain. 


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