Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cartagena, Colombia, South America: Prt 1

A few months back, I spoke to my friend Alan, whom I went to school with many years ago, and he said that he was headed to Cartagena, Colombia to visit his extended family. He married a girl from Colombia, and they had a little boy who is now 1.5 years old. They wanted to take him down there to visit with the family and introduce him to them. He asked if I wanted to go, and it would give us time to catch up, have some fun, and I could explore a bit of Colombia for my eventual trip from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego in a few years. Yes, I still plan on riding a Harley from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (northern most accessible location in Alaska) down to Tierra del Fuego, South America (Southern most accessible location in the Americas)

Anyway, back to it. I flew out to Miami first, and then met up with Alan and Emily on Friday and we flew to Cartagena. I do enjoy foreign countries so much as it's always an adventure and such a difference in what can and can't be done, compared to the USA. For instance, on the flight from Miami to Cartagena on Avianca Airlines which by the way is a really good airline. Brand new jet liner, state of the art, personal entertainment center on each chair, and the flight only half full. Being near the front, I was able to watch as two 1st class passengers talked their way into the pilots cabin. The male passenger had been chatting with the pilots before we took off, and then took his wife and they were in with the pilots for the last hour of flight, as well as the landing. A bit unnerving, mostly cause we're brainwashed here to think that anyone that goes to the cabin and tries to get in with the pilot is some kind of terrorist. Oh well, I figured it was mostly harmless, even though they were trying to hide that fact, when they pulled the curtain. haha

On arrival, and on the way to the hotel, there were all these scooter taxi guys running around. Nobody ties their helmet on, they just plop it over their head. and they haul ass, snaking in between cars everywhere.
From our hotel, we were less than half a block from the waterfront. So we bought a 12 pack of beer that night and went down to the beach to drink and catch up.
A long shutter exposure. It was nice and warm here, the Carribean breeze made it cold for many of the locals.
Went out later that night to the old city, or better known as "la ciudad amurallada". This was the original city, and was completely enclosed by the city wall to defend against invaders, pirates and such.

We came around a corner, and I saw this old lady sitting in the middle of the walkway. So I set my camera down, turned off the flash, and then put it on timer. this is the photo I got. I tipped her a few pesos for my effort.
Colombia, and much better, Cartagena are known for their music, and the Accordion is a huge part of that music and history/culture. which started in Valledupar (which is where Alan's wife is from) I gave one of the local musician dudes some pesos, and he let me pose with his accordion next to the statues. :D An annual musical festival is held in Valledupar where thousands of people from around the world converge for a huge festival. I think Bill Clinton was at the last one...we know how he likes the curvy women. haha

Emily's brother and I. Alan and Emily had been up since 2 am to make their flights so they were too tired to go out for some drinks. So we went out and checked out some bars and night scene. His girlfriend was taking the pics.

This was the first night. Cartagena is definitely a tourist city, as well as being one of the most important port cities in Colombia and the Carribean. Founded in the 1500's by the Spanish, the history and culture (and many countries which subsequently invaded, conquered and ruled) this part of Colombia, added so much to the flavor.
The naval museum would explain so much more. Off to work tonight, so I'll post more photos tomorrow.

it's your job! DO IT!!!

After my trip to Colombia, I came home on a Wednesday and went straight to work on Thursday. I figured best thing to do was to keep busy till I could sort all things out.

The issue of superstition in the medical field is long and well documented. While some may scoff at the idea of anything "out of the ordinary" happening, I can say from personal experience that, "full moon" nights in the E.R. were hellaciously bad and insane. Nurses also don't like to say "We're not busy" for fear that in the next few minutes all hell will break loose and the pouring in of patients will occur...but it happens. So with that, it seemed that Friday the 13th would be just another day of superstition and nothing more. Wrong.

Thursday the 12th started out pretty normal, but at 0100 on the 13th, our first kid coded. It was a long and drawn out process, very serious, along with having to do CPR on this girl after she went into V-Tach and we lost blood pressures. Somewhere in the process of doing CPR, something "let go" inside and must have released the build up of blood in the peri-cardial sac because the chest tube containers filled up with blood as fast as we could replace it in her body. We replaced 3 containers that hold near to 1 liter each. Needless to say, we were working our asses off. She had cardiac tamponade, which was determined after the CXRY was reviewed.

Surgery showed up, and decided she needed to go to the O.R., but how to tranfer her in this severely unstable condition? While they were discussing it, one of the doctors began to state what he needed and wanted as far as nursing personnel to go with him to take the patient to the O.R. I found it odd, and infuriating when one of the RN's stated to me, that she didn't want to have to walk all the way to the O.R. room (in essence not wanting to help out, cause she would have to walk over to the O.R.) WHAT. THE. FUCK!?!?!?! are you serious?

I must have given her a very dirty look, but when I spoke to her, I was very calm and simply said, you know what "she's dying, and seriously might not make it out of the O.R., and yet, you will get to go home in the morning as if nothing has happened. Why don't you just suck it up, do your job, and do the best that you can while here" I think it made me mad mostly because I had the passing of my grandfather so fresh in my head. More than that though, it's her fucking job....suck it up, if you don't like it, go do something else. She shut up most expeditiously and went and did it without complaint.

I think sometimes people forget that they are dealing with other peoples lives and lose that sense of respect and dedication they should have to doing the best job they can. It's professionalism...and moreso it's the right thing to do. So your vagina hurts...big fucking deal...suck it up, in a few hours, you'll be home in bed, resting comfortably, while this person might be dead. Grow the fuck up.

okay, that's my rant.

My Grandfather, the greatest man I'll ever know.

Arturo Gonzalez Barrera
August 4th, 1921 - March 7th, 2009

Probably the greatest man I have ever known and will ever know. My grandfather passed away on the 7th of March. He had lived a long and fruitful life with many ups and downs. He taught me a lot in his many years as a surrogate father to myself and my siblings. I appreciate every day that I was able to spend with him, and every conversation that I had with him. I will always hold him close to my heart. I'll take the subtle jokes and stern advice handed down to me over the years, and try to never forget them. The many anecdotes and life stories that he passed on, were the outpouring of a mans hard life, to go from a barefoot kid shining shoes in the town square, to the provider and well to do man that he was in the end. A brave, powerful and stoic man who stood on his feet, head high in the presence of any and all trials and tribulations.

He worked very hard throughout his life, and was not given the easy deal from his family many many decades ago. What did he do? He struck out and made his own fortune, providing and raising his own family and instilling that sense of independence that I love and use to this day. In the end, my grandfather succumbed to his illness and old age, but as he would have none of the sorrow felt for him, he stuck it out like a high brow aristocrat thumbing his nose at death and fighting as long as he could.

I spoke with him 2 days before he died, and I am very happy to have had that opportunity and am at peace with having been able to tell him how much I loved him and how grateful I was to him for all of his help throughout the years. I will miss him greatly. For now, it's time to visit my family and do whatever I need to do, to help them along.