Tuesday, September 30, 2008

From A Tired Nurse

Hello Mr. O'Reilly, I am a nurse who has just completed working approximately 120 hoursas the clinic director in a Hurricane Gustav evacuation shelter in Shreveport, Louisiana over the last 7 days. I would love to seesomeone look at the evacuee situation from a new perspective. Local and national news channels have covered the evacuation and "horrible" conditions the evacuees had to endure during Hurricane Gustav.True - some things were not optimal for the evacuation and theshelters need some modification. At any point, does anyone address the responsibility (or irresponsibility) of the evacuees?? Does it seem wrong that one would remember their cell phone,charger, cigarettes and lighter but forget their child's insulin?? Is something amiss when an evacuee gets off the bus, walksimmediately to the medical area, and requests immediate free refills on all medicines for which they cannot provide a prescription or currentbottle (most of which are narcotics)?? Isn't the system flawed when an evacuee says they cannot afforda $3 copay for a refill that will be delivered to them in the shelteryet they can take a city-provided bus to Wal-mart, buy 5 bottles ofVodka, and return to consume them secretly in the shelter?? Is it fair to stop performing luggage checks on incomingevacuees so as not to delay the registration process but endanger thevolunteerstaff and other persons with the very realistic truth of drugs, alcohol and weapons being brought into the shelter?? Am I less than compassionate when it frustrates me to scrubemesis from the floor near a nauseated child while his mother lies nearby,watching me work 26 hours straight, not even raising her head fromthe pillow to comfort her own son?? Why does it incense [sic]me to hear a man say "I ain't goin'home 'til I get my FEMA check" when I would love to just go home and see mydaughters who I have only seen 3 times this week?Is the system flawed when the privately insured patient must finda way to get to the pharmacy, fill his prescription and pay his copaywhile the FEMA declaration allows the uninsured person to acquire free medications under the disaster rules?Does it seem odd that the 20 nursevolunteering at the shelter ispaying for childcare while the evacuee sits on a cot during the day as theshelter provides a "day care"?? Have government entitlements created this mentality and am I facilitating it with my work?? Will I be a bad person, merciless nurse or poor Christian if Ihesitate to work at the next shelter because I have worked for 7days being called every curse word imaginable, felt threatened andfeared for my personal safety in the shelter?Exhausted and battered but hopefully pithy,Sherri Hagerhjelm, RN

Two Beers


When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in aday are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 beers.
A professor stood before hisphilosophy class and had some items in front of him. Whenthe class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large andempty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golfballs. He then asked the students if the jar was full. Theyagreed that it was.
The professor then picked up abox of pebbles and poured them into the jar He shook the jarlightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between thegolf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar wasfull. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up abox of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sandfilled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar wasfull. The students r esponded with an unanimous'yes.'
The professor then produced twobeers from under the table and poured the entire contentsinto the jar effectively filling the empty space between thesand. The students laughed.
'Now,' said theprofessor as thelaughter subsided, 'I want you torecognize that this jar represents your life. The golf ballsare the important things---your family, your children, yourhealth, your friends and your favorite passions---and ifeverything else was lost and only they remained, your lifewould still be full.
The pebbles are the otherthings that matter like your job, your house and your car.
The sand is everythingelse---the small stuff. 'If you put the sand into thejar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for thepebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If youspend all your time and energy on the s mall stuff you willnever have room for the things that are important to you.
'Pay attention to thethings that are critical to your happiness.Spend time withyour children. Spend time with your parents. Visit withgrandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take yourspouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always betime to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care ofthe golf balls first---the things that really matter. Setyour priorities. The rest is just sand.'
One of the students raised herhand and inquired what the beer represented. The professorsmiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.'
The beerjust shows you that nomatter how full your life may seem, there's always roomfor a couple of beers with a friend.'

Poster Shoot