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Loose Thoughts on a December Saturday: I’m not a Nurse, the Great Cain Wreck, the End at Camp Victory, LSU went to Georgia and Padre Steve Discovers Twitter….

Sitting on Saddam Hussein’s throne at Al Faw Palace Camp Victory Iraq 2007

Well it has been a week hasn’t it?  I mean really so much has happened and things just keep happening whether we want them to happen or not as the old adage goes “shit happens….”

For me it has been a hard week although in terms of hardness it has been Judy that has to endure more than me. Judy had surgery this week to remove a bone spur that had grown into her Achilles tendon. Remove of said bone spur a partial resection of the Achilles and she has not had a fun week. Especially with the nursing care available to her…me.

I admire and respect nurses beyond belief and now more than ever.  I don’t have a nursing temperament. When the TV show House MD began I was watching it with Judy and remarked that House was “me without Jesus” to which she responded “honey House is you with Jesus.”  I am a Myers-Briggs INTJ  which basically means that I am not the most warm and cuddly person in the world and I lack the qualities that make for a good and compassionate nurse.

Now I am very competent at doing things to help people including medical things, but that does not mean that I am good at the hands on work that nurses do with great skill and care. Unfortunately for Judy I am her nurse.  A few years back she had a surgical procedure and I did so bad that she said that I had went to the “Leave Them on the Ice Flow to Die School of Nursing.”  Now because of Global Warming there are no ice flows in our area so I have worked hard to help Judy. Having endured a broken leg last summer I have more patience and even empathy than I would have before.  However it has been hard on her and trying on me.  This week has made me more appreciative of nurses than I was before because I would last about a half a shift if I was a real nurse. Personally I am much more like House in that I like to be alone, come up with answers save the day and not get too attached to anything.  How Judy has dealt with me for all of these years is beyond me God bless her and for her sake I hope that her recovery goes really well.

But even as I have done my pitiful best to help and comfort Judy other things are going on in the world without considering that I have been too busy to write about them.  It is not right, the world should stop letting important things happen when I don’t have the time or am too tired to write about them.

I guess the biggest domestic news was that the “Herman Cain Train” became the new Great Cain Wreck as in yet another surreal news conference Cain suspended his campaign.  I don’t know if any of what Cain’s accusers stories have any validity.   However Cain’s responses to each accusation caused me to question his credibility.  I think that having a criminal lawyer introduce him at a press conference after the first accuser went public was part of this but not all. It took more than that. Likewise Cain’s plethora of inept interviews and answers to questions that serious Presidential candidates need to have answers have made me doubt his credibility as a candidate. This was echoed in the polls in which Cain had taken the lead and then saw it melt away as Newt, the new “Bob Dole” Gingrich has vaulted over his competition in many key states, no doubt helped by the Great Cain Wreck. I have no idea who will win the GOP nomination but if they want to defeat the most vulnerable Presidential incumbent that I have ever seen they need to do better.  My scientific polling at the Gordon Biersch bar is that most people are not thrilled with another four years of President Obama, and that many really don’t like him, but almost all view the current GOP field as “unexciting” “uninspiring” and “unprepared” and “un-presidential” bunch that they have ever seen. Jimmy Carter would have been so lucky to have had this bunch to run against rather than Ronald Reagan.  One of them may beat this very beatable President but none of them are Ronald Reagan, heck they make Bob Dole look inspired by comparison.

Across the ocean in the Land of Ur the U.S. Military handed over the massive base complex at Cap Victory over the the Iraqi government.  Camp Victory and the U.S. Air Base connected to it at the Baghdad International Airport was the great gateway in and out of Iraq for many US and coalition soldiers.  It was at one time a complex of palaces built by Saddam and from it U.S. commanders prosecuted the war in Iraq.  I went through it on the way in and out of Iraq. At the time it was a virtual city.  You went to bed with the sounds of combat and rockets and mortar rounds would land in the base even as U.S. and Iraqi forces battled insurgents not far from the perimeter of the base.  Despite this the base had the largest PX facility in country as well as many amenities that seemed like a different world when I went out to Al Anbar province and travelled among our advisors with Iraqi forces.  It had a myriad of fast food outlets, coffee houses and things that you might find on a base in the United States.  While there I did get the obligatory tour of the Al Faw Palace which served as the main headquarters building for Multi-National Corps Iraq and and sat in the throne presented to Saddam by Yasser Afafat.  At the end of my tour I travelled back through and was amazed at the amenities on the base.  Since it was only a stop over I never had any attachment positive or negative to it but just the same it is strange to imagine that this base which some imagined would be the hub of U.S. operations in the Middle East for decades is back in Iraqi hands. I sincerely hope and pray for the best for Iraq and all of its people.

Finally today back in Georgia where Herman Cain surprised no one by suspending his campaign the LSU Tigers surprised no one by whipping up on the Georgia Bulldogs in the Georgia Bowl.  The Tigers fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter but scored 42 unanswered points to remain undefeated and to play for the BCS National Championship.  As Bobby “Waterboy” Boucher would say the Tigers “put a can of whip-ass” on the Bulldogs.

Finally I have discovered the joy of Twitter.  Yes though I haven’t had time to put long coherent thoughts together this week I have discovered that I can put rich and pithy comments into 144 character tweets.  I said that I would never do this and I won’t demean anyone that subscribes to my Twitter account @padresteve by calling them “peeps” as I believe that no one besides little marshmallow chicks that proliferate at Easter should be called.

So with all of that said and more serious things to write about I bid you goodnight.


Padre Steve+

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Padre Steve Gets Adolf the Kidney Stone Removed: Musings on Laser Lithotripsy

Adolf Von Grosse Schmertzen will see his last sunrise in the morning, or whatever he can view from where he is at in the ureter.  Whatever, since he has stayed in his bunker and made my life miserable for the past two weeks he will not get to stay intact as a reward for leaving.  Instead he is going to get blasted to pieces by the latest and greatest in Kidney Stone breaker-upper technology, the Laser Lithotripsy using a holmium laser mounted in a endoscope.

This procedure is replacing the older method of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy as the standard of care in treating bastards like Adolf.  The older method was less invasive and used shock waves generated outside the body to break up the stone. The new method which according to the literature is “minimally invasive” involves passing the endoscope up the pee-pee thru the bladder and into the tunnel, the ureter, between the bladder and kidney where Adolf is dug into, sort of like his namesake who did the same in a Berlin Bunker back in 1945.  When the endoscope reaches Adolf the Urologist will direct a “laser” beam into Adolf “vaporizing the stone.”

Evidently there is no stone that has been able to withstand this high tech assault and the remnants of Adolf will be flushed into to sewer of history.  The success rate for this procedure is in the 90-95 percent rate according to the literature which means that for me there is a 50-50 chance of success though only a ten percent chance of that.  My assumption as to why this has replaced extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is that for the Urologist it is much more like imitating Luke Skywalker when he blasts the Death Star or playing the video game Asteroids.

Now I will go in tomorrow and be prepped for the procedure, I report at 815 and am told that it will be an hour or two until the procedure will begin.  Usually the preparation involves placing an IV, placing monitor equipment and asking lots of questions.  The one question I hope they ask if I have any special religious needs.  If they do I will ask if the have a live chicken, a sharp knife and an altar with candles and a shot of rum.  I am told that I will go under “General Anesthesia” which I imagine as being forced to watch a very boring Army General giving a briefing on power point to his subordinates.  Since I have slept through a few of those I image that this will be the case again.

Today I got a call from the Ambulatory Procedure Unit where I will be prepared for battle and then taken to the Operating Room, or the O.R. as medical professionals call it.  My Urologist says that the procedure could take up to three hours but that he expects that it will be done sooner than that. I do hope so because I need to wake up fast after the briefing of the boring General so that I can get home and then top off the day at Stein Club appreciation night at Gordon Biersch…yes, I know I’ve heard that you are not supposed to have alcohol after being under anesthesia but it won’t be like I will be having a beer in post-op, they don’t have any good beer there but I digress.

Today Adolf obviously sensing that his time is short has been giving me a lot of pain even with the Vicodin on board.  I cannot eat or drink anything after midnight so I’d better finish this so I can eat something to go with my last dose of Vicodin.  Providing nothing goes wrong I expect to be writing of my experiences tomorrow night, inshallah.

Of course my mind drifts to great medical films like Robin Cook’s Coma and certain episodes of House, M*A*S*H, Scrubs, the X-Files and the “Junior Mint” episode of Seinfeld which I find very comforting when facing surgery.

Pray for me a sinner,


Padre Steve+

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