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8 Years! November 30, 2007

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements.
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Today my Sweetie and I celebrated our 8th year wedding anniversary. It was a blast, except I had to work. ūüė¶

I requested for this day off to spend more quality time with the love of my life, however, management did the unthinkable and scheduled me in anyway. I tried to switch schedules with¬†some of my¬†coworkers but nobody¬†wanted to return a favor, and calling in sick isn’t an option (I really got sick last week),¬†so I’m stuck¬†without a¬†choice. Lesson learned… take care of numero uno! Sorry, but no more favors from me from now on. Anyway, all is not lost. We still got to celebrate… at least with dinner before going to work. The highlight of the day… our bonsai came.

I decided that instead of buying expensive flowers (which would die in a week), that I’d give my Sweetie something that would last through the years… a pet tree, our little bonsai.

I’ve always been fascinated by bonsais. A common misconception is that they are “baby” trees. Suprisingly, our bonsai is 10 years old and about 12 inches tall. It’s interesting to note that you need to “train” your tree. How does one do this? I have no clue. Unfortunately for our bonsai, my wife and I do not have green thumbs. Fortunately for us, our bonsai isn’t high maintenance. At least you don’t have to walk with it and pick up after itself ūüôā , nevertheless, you still need to care for it. Regardless, I’m excited about the possibility of seeing it “grow” through the years, just like our marriage has grown through the years.

It’s been 8 years since our “I do’s” and we’re looking to grow old together. I always tell my Sweetie, “I’ll chew your food when you get old”. She comes back and says, “No, we’ll just share dentures”. Ew!

Bitter sweet November 26, 2007

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements.
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My son and I were going through toys in the toy section of the local Walmart while doing the groceries,¬†when we came across are “really cool toy”. It was really cool. I can tell he wanted it bad. “Daddy, I want that for Christmas” he said, and like any good father would do I took a mental note of it. Of course, just like any good father would do, I checked out the most important thing… No, not the safety alert (of course this is always important), I’m talking about that small square box with the dollar sign on it. ūüôā

Eighty¬†(80)¬†dollars? Yep… this was a really cool toy for a 6 year old. $80… that’s a half week’s worth of groceries (well, 2 days worth for a family of 6 like mine). Inasmuch as I’d like to give him that opportunity of owning a “really cool toy”, I have 4 other people to consider (my 3 girls, and my wife). “Ok, we’ll see”, I said with a smile, hoping he’d forget about it come Christmas (which I doubt).

As we headed home my mind wandered to when I was about his age. I remember that one day, around the same time of the year my family went to the local fair where there was a whole line of street vendors in little tents with all sorts of toys and Christmas goodies. I remember going down the street with my dad, looking at the “really cool toys”. Then I saw it, what I’ve been dreaming of… a remote controlled airplane! Wow… this was a “really cool toy”. I told my dad, “I want that for Christmas ok?”. “We’ll see” he said with a smile.

Christmas came and I was expecting my little remote controlled airplane. I got a plane… but not a remote controlled one. Although disappointed, I was glad I got a plane. Then I told myself, “when I become a dad, I’ll get my kids the ‘really cool toys’ for Christmas.” Sad, because history is repeating itself. I’m sure my parent would like to get us those things, you know, the “really cool toys”. But as kids we didn’t realize that they had some financial¬†struggles too. We we’re born rich.¬†We wore shoes until¬†they had holes, not like some of my classmates who changed shoes almost every month.¬†I’m sure we could have gotten what we wanted if my parents had the money. I didn’t want to disappoint my boy… he’s going to be six only once. I guess we can’t always get what we want… maybe someday he’d understand. Just like I understand my parents today.

Although disappointed, I’m glad I did not always get what I wanted, or else I would have ended up a spoiled little brat. I’m sure as parents, we want to give our kids all the best… all the “really cool toys”. Despite that, we can’t always get what we want, and in the same token, we can’t always give them what they want.

This reminds me of my Heavenly Father. I’m sure we’ve ask God for things in our life that we want… a new house, a new car, that long deserved promotion, thinking it will make us happier and be more comfortable. The truth is, He knows what’s best for us, and He knows when we’re ready for it.

Maybe we haven’t showed Him that we are ready to handle a bigger house (can hardly keep it clean). Maybe with the way we drive, He sees that we’re not ready for that fancy car (road rage).¬†Maybe we’d use that promotion to get back at a pesky co-worker (power trip).¬†¬†Or just maybe, ¬†if we got what we wanted, we’d forget about Him and make matters worse for us.

I know I’d like to get my son that “really cool toy”. But the question is, “does he need it?” and “Is he ready for it?”. I guess the only answer to that is, “we’ll see!” ūüôā

Attitude of gratitude November 21, 2007

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements.
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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I’m having my Thanksgiving a day early. My wife just woke me up from a pleasant sleep to notify me that the turkey is bakin’, the gravy is shakin’, and the kids are playing the Wii! Well, fortunate for me I have to work on Thanksgiving day, that’s why we’re celebrating a day early at our house. Actually, that’s not the truth… everyday is thanksgiving day at our house!

No, we don’t bake a turkey everyday (except for the occasional turkey bacon in the morning), and no we don’t dress up like pilgrims either (although sometimes it would seem like it ūüôā ). I’m talking about being thankful for life in general. It’s so easy to look around and see what we don’t have. Too often we forget to see what we do have. Like the lines to a popular song says, “have what you want, and want what you have”, I believe this should be our attitude everyday.

Working in the ICU has opened my eyes and helped me see that life, and now, is a gift from God, that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Despite all the negative things that are going on around us, for as long as we have life, let’s be thankful to God for what we have and enjoy.

So to you all of you¬†my friends this Thanksgiving holiday I say… “HAPPY THANKSGIVING!” from my family to yours!

(Hmmm… I wonder if we’ll be getting a juicy turkey leg at work this year…. can’t wait to sink my teeth into it! ūüôā )

You SICKO! November 17, 2007

Posted by 5 Wester in Observation Station.
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Imagine a world where everything is free. Free gas, free food, free clothes, free healthcare. This is the premise of Micheal Moore’s recent movie SICKO…well at least with healthcare. It came out on DVD a few weeks ago.

After watching the movie I’m stunned. My wife tells me, “that’s it, we’re moving to Canada!” I wonder if that’s because of the free healthcare or due to the fact that Micheal Buble is Canadian, or both (that’s another story. ūüôā )¬†But seriously, this movie was an eye opener. At least for me. Makes me wonder why America, with all it’s glory and wealth, is not able to care for their sick they way the other countries featured in this movie could… not even like Cuba! What do they have the we don’t? Could we adopt something similar or even better?

Of course, there’s always two sides to the story. At least in Micheal Moore’s film, everything seem to go on without a hitch, as in, too good to be true. However, I’ve spoken with a few of my coworkers who happen to come from those countries, i.e., Canada, and the UK, and they would state that although healthcare is available for all, it is only¬†those in dire need that gets priority. If you had a chronic knee problem and needed knee replacement surgery, you’d have to wait for months to get it. Even so, at least you’d still get the surgery you needed…. after your knee has gotten worse!¬† Maybe this is a lot better than not being able to get anything at all because your heath¬†insurance company denied your request based on their need, and not yours.

Unfortunate for us, the bottom line, is still¬†the bottom line, and everything is controlled by it. Could you imagine paying into a system that promises to take care of you, giving you this false sense of security, only to find out that your “health condition” is not covered. It’s like having $5,000 in the bank but being denied withdrawal of funds because you needed to have $10,000¬†balance¬†first to make a withdrawal. “Hey… that’s my money!” you say, but they say, “no… it’s our policy!”

There’s no denying that our healthcare system is flawed. Those who have health insurance can hardly afford it, and those who don’t, get “free” healthcare or at least some emergency services. Yet, there are those who do not have¬†anything at all, which may or may not be their choice.¬†We all know it is an epidemic, but what can we do about it?

Until we figure out how to fix our healthcare system, we can do our part by taking care of our health and living a healthier life. As we all know, “an ouch of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.¬†¬†I think we can all do it if we put our hearts and minds to it.¬†I think our leaders should put this at the top of their todo list. I think we should start the “revolution” by voting for the candidates who truly care about the health and wellbeing of our people.¬† Maybe we should watch SICKO and come up with something better for everyone. I think, we need to study the healthcare delivery system before making any drastic moves. I think doctors and nurses should be on the forefront of the healthcare reform movement.

What do you think?

Strike! You’re out! November 6, 2007

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements.
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After 20 years they did it again! I’m sure you know what I’m talking about… the Hollywood writers’ strike.

If I understand this right, they wanted more $$$ for their work, specifically for shows aired on the Internet, and on DVDs. What I gather is that they want residual income from their work, some sort of royalty whenever their work is aired because acccording to one writer, “the way we watch TV has changed” referring to the Internet, DVDs and viewing shows via iPod. Unfortunate for them, producers did not agree, and thus the protest on the streets. You can read the story at MSNBC, just click on the link.

According to predictions by the experts, late night talk shows are the first to get hit hard. Then¬†daytime drama, and eventually film.¬†Ironically Jay Leno came to the Burbank studios to support the strikers. They will be airing reruns of The Late Night Show. It was stated that during the last writers guild strike 20 years ago, it cost the entertainment industry more than $500 million. Through all this, it makes me wonder if their contribution to society justifies their actions. After all, we’ve all heard this saying before, “There’s nothing good on¬†TV.”

Please don’t get me wrong. They need to make a living too. Just like you and me, they¬†are people with families to support. Unfortunately, unlike them¬†I don’t make my living fabricating lies, or writing about what our government should or should not do, or come up with a corny punchline for a sitcom (I just blog, unpaid and unappreciated, boo… hoo… hooo ūüôā ). I actually have to use my mental faculties to¬†gather data, analyse them, formulate a¬†nursing diagnosis, perform interventions, and evaluate the outcome.¬†I know, it’s cruel, but we are tickled by the stories they write, particularly if it captures our imagination. After all, watching TV is the great American pastime, second only to watching TV. I don’t know about you, but, I don’t think this strike will ever have a great impact on the entertainment industry. In the end, it is us, the viewers, that decide where the industry is going, what they will do, and what’s going to be hot on TV. Hey, there’s always reality TV… who needs writers for that?

I guess the bottom line is, still, the bottom line… $$$. It’s a vicious cycle. We want to be entertained so we tune in to our favorite TV network for that entertainment. We watch and listen to what they have to say through their creative writers. Their ratings go up and therefore more $$$ for advertising spots. They sell more, we buy more. The network gets richer, we get poorer. They turn us into couched potatoes, their writers turn into the goose that lays the golden egg. Now the goose doesn’t want to lay eggs, and it’s supposed to hurt the industry. I guess it’s time to find other sources of entertainment, like talking with your kids for example, or sharing how your day was like with your spouse over dinner…. get real! We’d rather vegge out in front of the TV. Ahhh TV, we’re so dependent on TV.

If I sound apathetic, its probably because I am. Personally I don’t watch that much TV. I’ve decided long ago that I could spend that same amount of time doing something more productive than sit in front of the tube for hours just to get the latest scoop on who’s doing who and what. Of course on occasion I’d tune to the Discovery Health channel and watch episodes of Trauma: Life in the ER, or Mistery Diagnosis, or Untold Stories of the ER, you know, the “medical” stuff. At least their writers tell the truth, and I can relate.

Going on a tangent here, I wonder if you remember that thing going around the Internet the last few weeks about how one of the characters in Desperate Housewives made a statement about checking her doctor’s diploma to make sure it was not from some med school in the Philippines. You can see the clip on this blog by clicking on the link. Heck, I’m from there… my mother happens to be a doctor… I graduated from nursing school there… we make up 90% of the hospital staff I work at… Gosh darn it, I’m not even mad about that comment. ūüôā People, you have got to lighten up! I wouldn’t even consider that a racial slur. I just happen to be Filipino! They could have said Russia or China for that matter and the effect would have been the same. In fact, I find it funny…. One day, the writer of that show will get sick…. he/she will end up in the hospital, and maybe be under a Filipino doctor, and definitely under the care of a Filipino nurse, who will need to take his/her rectal temperature with a thermometer made of bamboo (the 3 1/2 inch diameter one) made in the Philippines…. NOW THAT’S COMEDY! ūüėČ

Anyways, I’m sure not all writers are this bad. The world needs writers… great ones, but not the ones that write for “prime time”. What we need are writers that would write about the good in us, you know, characters that portray integrity, honesty and good morals. Those writers I’d support. If they want royalties from what they write because it strengthens our society, then so be it.

One final thought… what if nurses go on strike and refuse to administer medications to a patient unless the pharmaceutical companies pay us “royalties” for each pill we pop or push that they manufacture. After all, doctors get an incentive from the pharmaceutical company for medications they prescribe to their patients. Let’s call this “professional administration fee”. We can charge the drug makers for every pill, IV, injection, or patch we administer. Hey, they make the big bucks, shouldn’t we get a cut from that? ūüėõ