Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Abarrotes - Mexico's Neighborhood Mom 'n Pop Stores June 2010

 There is one on every street.
Sometimes one on every corner,
but few can measure up to Don Chuy's abarrote.

You can buy 1 aspirin.
Or 1 diaper.
Or 1 razor.
I love that!

He is the eyes and ears of the neighborhood.

Want fresh tortillas?
See Chuy.
Looking for a house to rent in the neighborhood?
See Chuy.
Need someone to mend your jacket?
See Chuy.
Or his wife, or his daughters.

Recently, Chuy's was closed!
That's just wrong!

Grandpa died.

Heeeeeeeerrrrre's Chuy. . .

And he has EVERYTHING. . .

Note the name of his store:  Cold Beer
Chuy didn't just fall off of the pineapple truck!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Rainy Season And Odds And Ends June 2010

Rainy Season Is Upon Us

Yup.  It's here.
Forty days after I heard the first rainbird.
And not soon enough for me.
 If I had my way, it would be rainy season all year.

I've been remiss, in terms of this blog,
suffering from a lack of inspiration and motivation
to write.

Dreaming of changes.
Big ones!
Like moving to farther-away places.
 Cotacachi, Ecuador, to be specific.

I am doing my homework and networking.
A move like that is not to be taken lightly!

In the meantime,
I will relish being caught in downpours,
and soaked to the bone
in liquid sunshine.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Father Was An Ambulance Chaser - Part 4 June 2010


With 25 minutes to go until Off Duty Status,
my partner and I parked under a tree, stuck our boots out the window,
turned up the music, and waited for the minutes to tick away.

The tones went off.

Medic 32?
Stand by for Priority One.
Menlo Park Fire and Medic 32:
Medic 32, respond Priority One
to 385 Middlefield Apt. 6
for weakness.

32 copies, enroute.

32 on scene.
County copies, 32 on scene.

We pushed our way through the small crowd
on the front lawn
and found our patient slumped on the toilet.
He was pale, cool, sweaty — and not responding.

His heart rate was rapid and his blood pressure
was nothing over nothing.

We carried him to the gurney and
I knew our diagnosis would be made
by the bloody stool we found in the toilet.

We rushed him to Stanford and I got
2 wide-bore IV lines running into him enroute.

After that, we were cleared to return our ambulance
and be off-duty.

Next morning at 6 AM
I reported for duty, met up with my partner,
and we were issued the same rig we had
the day before.

First call out of the chute was about a half mile away.

An elderly woman had somehow got out of her car,
caught her coat in the door, and got dragged
as the car moved forward through the old wooden garage,
into the back wall, and half way through it.

We were minutes from the hospital when I stood up
to get the EKG machine.
My partner turned the corner into the hospital,
I lurched to the right, grabbed the pole for balance,
swung around, and bumped against the needle box
mounted on the wall.

My right elbow exploded in pain.
I was horrified to see a dirty angiocath needle
protruding from the back of my arm.
I could feel the point against my bone.

Looking at the stick box,
I noticed there was another used and bloody needle
lying in the lip at the top of the box.
Somehow, I surmised, the 2 used IV needles
from the guy on the toilet the night before
had not dropped down,
but had remained in the lip.

You're out of service, the supervisor said,
let the paperwork begin!

Form after form of incident reports
were laboriously filled out,
making the lawyers happy.
The procedure manual was consulted numerous times,
and my blood was drawn for a baseline AIDS
and Hepatitis C test.
This was 1991.
If I came up positive in the blood tests,
I would be fired and my short career would be over.
If I came up negative there would be 3 more
tests over 3 more months to go
before I could consider myself safe from this exposure.

I was terrified.
The next day we took a patient to Stanford
and I called upstairs to see what was up
with the guy from the toilet — and my possible AIDS donor.

Hi, I'm one of the county paramedics who brought in
Mr. blah blah yesterday, I said, can you tell me how he's doing?
Not very well, the charge nurse said.
Well, I stammered, I got an accidental needle stick from him yesterday,
can you tell me what his HIV status is?
No, she said.  I'm sorry, but the disclosure laws have only been cleared for
doctors and nurses, EMS has not been legalized yet.
I can tell you this though — he's listed as a high risk patient.
My heart sank and I felt sick to my stomach.
I couldn't sleep, eat, or think of anything else for my 3 days off.

Returning to work, I took every patient I could to Stanford.
Determined to get an answer, I called again and again but to no avail.
Finally, I was told, my patient had expired.

I was devastated.
One of the Stanford docs, who had lectured us
in school, came in and put his hand on my shoulder.
He asked why I was crying.
I told him every sordid detail.
He was shocked and empathetic.

A few minutes later, as I was leaving for a call,
I heard him running after me calling for me to wait.
What time did you start that IV on the man?  he asked.
Six in the afternoon on Monday, I said.
When did you get stuck?
Eight the next morning.
You're safe!  You're safe!  He said.
The AIDS virus can't live outside the body for more than
a few minutes!  You're safe, he said.
That blood was outside the body for 14 hours,
no way it could still infect you even if it was positive.

I get to live.

Again, this cartoon is the brilliant work of the funniest paramedic
in the business - Steve Berry

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Isabela And The Old Folks June 2010

Those of you who read my blog
know I help
the nuns and patients at
La Casa de la Segrada Familia
stay fed, diapered,
medicated, safe and clean.
A couple of weekends ago,
I brought some friends over to La Casa
to meet Madre Mireya, Hermana Miriam,
and the lovely patients that live there.
We wanted to share their beautiful
brand new baby daughter
Isabela with them.
Nothing like the wonder of a new life
to lift the spirit and dispel loneliness.

I admit I was a little apprehensive
at first. . .but that didn't last long!

Not only did these ladies get to meet Isabela,
but they laughed, told their stories,
and had a wonderful afternoon.
Thank you Jackie, Mario, and Isabela.
You brought a huge ray of sunshine into
the lives of EVERYONE at La Casa.
It was a great day!

Besides precious Isabela,
Jackie and Mario filled up their car with toilet paper
and other useful donations.
Sheets and towels and other linens were donated by 
Jackie's mom, Marina, who owns the El Chante Spa Hotel.
It was so generous of them.

If you live in the area,
I'd like to encourage you
to stop by for a visit.
You have no idea how much
it will be appreciated.

Bring something with you,
20 pesos, a bag of papayas,
a package of adult medium diapers,
or whatever you like.
There is almost nothing they can't use.
You won't be sorry you did!

I just received $100 US via the paypal
button for La Casa.  How cool.
THANK YOU to the "old fart in Patzcuaro".
(His words, not mine.)

Just received another $100 US from 
a man who prefers to be anonymous.
THANK YOU, anonymous man!

If anyone else would like to donate
to the Casa, just click on the Buy Now (paypal) 
button on the right side of the page.

Refrigerator  donated to La Casa for the
kitchen.  Thank you to the family that 
donated and delivered their fridge.
Very very nice of you.

Today we delivered 2 upholstered rocking 
chairs to the Casa from a very generous 
woman and her family in Ajijic.

Food items were also delivered, otc
pain meds and eyeglasses are on the way,
and other food items have been promised.

To all of you, thank you, you are the best!

Leave a note if you would like to:
Buy a book
Donate to La Casa
Donate to Cruz Roja


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Funny Money June 2010

I have to eat it.  
And it doesn't taste so hot either.

A couple of weeks ago I received this from an ATM machine
along with other bills.
A 200 peso note ($15.38 US)

It's a lousy job, feels like notebook paper.
I didn't notice until I went to the gas station
and it was refused. 

Here's what they're supposed to look like.

Close, but no cigar.
Not even by a long shot.

The following Monday, I went to Banco Santander Serfin.

Not much of a fan of Mexican banks, due to their arrogant 
attitudes and demeaning service,
I was not hopeful.

I started out in line to see a teller.
When I got to him, he smirked and showed it down
the teller line then handed it back saying I had to
see the director at the desk.
The big shot.  The head suit.
The man who can avoid eye contact
as if his very breath depended on it.

I stood alongside his desk while he fiddled with his printer.
I fidgeted.
He looked through me.
He looked at a spot on the wall above my head.
I was 4 feet from him.

Finally, uninvited, I sat in a chair in front of his desk.
He looked at me.

I told him that I received this bill from his ATM machine
and showed him my receipt.
He pointed to another teller and said to wait in her line.
I did.

When I got to her, she yelled across the bank to the director.
Send it to Mexico City, he said.
You have to wait, she said.

I said, give it back, and she did.
I was dumbfounded that they would give it back
to me and put it back in circulation.

A Mexican friend took it back to the bank
for me to see if I was just getting the
gringo shuffle — no deal for him either.

So, I can't morally try to pass it, knowing it
is counterfeit,  the bank won't take it back, 
what else is there to do but eat it!

I'm not happy.
However, when showing it to friends who have
businesses in the area, 
some chuckle then pull out the counterfeit
bills they've received recently.

Theirs have all been 500 peso ($38.46 US) notes!
I got off light.