Friday, December 25, 2009

2009 on the way out....


I think it's definitely en vogue to pull together a end of the year post. Especially since I blog about every other month these days. As I start this post I am working overnight in the ER, Christmas Eve.

Right now we are in a blizzard. Should have 18 inches of snow by the end of the storm, and wind gusts outside 40mph. Visibility is near zero. The patients I have had that had to come in on this unfortunate night from outlying communities have been via ambulance. Each ambulance came with an entourage of a snowplow leading their way and a rescue truck behind them in case one got stuck. One of them did too.

What should I put in a grand end of the year post? So much to share. I want to rant about healthcare. I want to boast about The Hawkeyes. I have had some great music discoveries in 2009 that I would love to share. ER stories? Man, have I got your ER stories. This year in the ER in Sioux City I have had some doozies. Celebrity deaths captured headlines and Sammy Sosa turned white. So much to discuss.
Being 3AM now, I get off in 1 hour. Who has the damn time to blog all that? I will share some memories from 2009, the most important ones with my family. And I will give you my New Year's Resolution at the end...

Christmas 2009...

November, thanksgiving cooking with grandma...

October, Halloween and Olivia's 2nd birthday!....

Late Summer Baptism for Anna... June rings in our new home....
May finds The Brownells with a new family member...
Dad and Anna...
How will I remember 2009?

I will remember 2009 well. We are very fortunate and I am very thankful for all the great things in our life recently. It is now Christmas morning, and I am wondering how I am going to get home in an hour...several nurses who got off earlier had to turn around and come back and sleep at the hospital! No way I'm not getting home to spend Christmas morning with my girls though, even if I get stuck and have to walk!

So I shall say farewell to you for now. My resolution to myself in front of those few of you that read this meager blog: I will crank it up a little in 2010. I know a couple of you check in from time to time and read up on my blathering. I am excited to make my 2009 MUSIC post. I had some great finds this year and will make a "Peltgrande's Top Ten Songs of 2009" post soon.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hawkeyes vs Michigan State from the sidelines...

Last weekend I got a great chance to go to East Lansing and see the Hawkeyes play the MSU Spartans. I have to say, I was more than a little worried heading in there.
We left from Sioux City at 1pm Saturday, stopped by and picked up some people in Iowa City on the way and then flew the rest of the way to Lansing, MI. After landing there, we geared up and went to a pre-game place called The Landshark for some food before the game. Among our entourage was former Hawkeyes John Derby and Jared DeVries. Tailgating with an NFL Defensive End to go root on the Hawkeyes made me feel even more pumped up than I already was.
Around 6pm, we started our way to the stadium. The MSU fans weren't too friendly, but nothing unexpected. We crossed a beautiful campus with trees changing every color as both dusk and gametime neared. Our final approach to the stadium we crossed the famed "Red Cedar River" and entered the grounds of Spartan Stadium.
I had a benefit of a sideline pass, and a great Canon lens borrowed from a friend. My photography skills and then posting the pics on a blog don't do justice to document the game, but I will share what I got. I still ended up with some pretty great pics, and the benefit of watching the whole game literally on the sideline with the players. And now that we all know the outcome, it's one of those games where someday I will reminisce...."I was there"....

The Spartan fans were ready to rock. Not just the jocks, but the Star Wars nerds like myself donned their war gear and showed up to watch The Spartans take on the Undefeated #6 Iowa Hawkeyes.
We started with the ball, (surprise!). The game started like many of our games so far this year, trading punches to the jaw. Holding our ground and weathering the initial rush of emotion from the crowd and home team environment.
To get the crowd pumped up on third downs they play a clip of Leonidas shouting, "SPARTANS! What is your profession?" The crowd responds with an emphatic "Haroo! Haroo! Haroo!" while thrusting their fists in the air as if they were carrying spears like in the movie.
Here's Sparty! Ok, I love Herky, but Sparty is pretty damn cool. He's been in some great commercials and is the first non-athlete to grace the cover of NCAA Football, (Wii edition, 2009). During half time Jon Thorburn and I went upstairs to get some hot chocolate and in a very surreal moment Sparty walked on to the elevator with us. I felt like I was in an ESPN commercial riding up to the Press Box with Sparty.
Adrian Clayborn and the defense showed up to play.
I went to the end zone for some pics for Brandon Wegher returning.

I really like this pic. Brandon Wegher waiting for and wanting the ball while 75,000 Spartan fans cheer against him.

Ummm, sadly this is where I would curl up in the fetal position.

D-Line chomping the bit to feast on some Spartan.
Hunter and Binns

I had to look this guy up. Next man in.
Ferentz and staff watching the D-Line hold MSU to a field goal.

More pics of the offense. I really like the last one just above with CL Rocker in focus. He gave us fits all night, and almost got away with a defensive holding that would have ended the game for The Hawks.

Ballard lays out Cousins just after the throw.

The Defense walking up to the line.....
....while Cousins gets ready to make a play. The stadium was rocking. Chants of "Go Green!...Go White!" back and forth every time a timeout was called or Iowa touched the ball. MSU drives....hook and ladder to Blair White? No! With 1:37 left in the game MSU takes the lead, 13-9 a few plays later with none other than Blair White catching a pass in the end zone.

Stanzi and Vandenburg discussing the play just before the drive down the field.

I grabbed this last pic before I put my camera away so I could just cheer on The Hawks the last few plays of the game. As you know, with goal-to-go, Iowa used every second and down, coverting the 4th down play to Marvin McNutt for the winning touchdown. We went nuts. The crowd went silent. An unbelievable moment. It may not have been the 1985 field goal, or Tate to Holloway, but it was certainly special. An ending every Hawkeye fan will remember for years to come, marking history as The University of Iowa Hawkeyes move to 8-0 for the first time. Ever.
A few more pics below I uploaded to share...with a couple from the end of the game celebration.


A happy Peltgrande after the game. It's great to be a Hawkeye!
Go Hawks!

Friday, October 23, 2009

ER doctor analyzes health reform debate

Not this ER doctor, but another one, Dr. Rey. I read this and want other people to read it too, so I am sharing it. The first couple of paragraphs are key to me, describing the problem. The solution is debatable, but the need for a solution is real.

ER doctor analyzes health reform debate
Dr. Michael T. Rey • October 23, 2009 12:15 AM

This country needs radical reform to fix a health care system that currently encourages poor-quality medical care and costs too much. A universal single-payer system would put the focus back on patient care, where it belongs, and reduce costs.

In my 30 years as an emergency room physician, I have seen the quality of patient care plummet as a result of a lopsided reimbursement system. Family physicians and general internists cannot make a living providing basic health care unless they cram more patients into every hour, spending less time with each. Other doctors can make a very good living if they are “procedural specialists” (doctors who treat a few medical problems, in a limited anatomic area, and do so using a diagnostic or therapeutic tool).

This happens, in part, because billing codes favor “doing” over listening, talking and thinking, even when the “doing” has no proven medical benefit. An example is the “vertebroplasty” procedure that has proliferated recently, in which a physician injects glue into a patient's spine to bond vertebral compression fractures. A Mayo Clinic study published in the New England Journal of Medicine questioned whether vertebroplasty works, yet this lucrative procedure, performed by orthopedic subspecialists, attracts more and more doctors, while the number of general orthopedists, surgeons, internists, and family practitioners declines.

Third-party payers (health insurance companies, preferred provider organizations and HMOs) have tried to improve efficiency and increase profits by controlling the behavior of doctors and nurses, rather than by reducing paperwork and redundant documentation. Thus, under the current system, doctors focus on producing patient records that are designed less to document important clinical events or enhance patient care, and more to maximize revenue and reduce liability. Nurses spend less time at patient bedsides and more time at computer workstations. Medical conferences now allocate large blocks of time to coding and billing strategies.

Each insurance company has its own forms, fee schedules and documentation requirements, resulting in wasteful duplication of effort. Out of every health care dollar, a cut must go to the transcription service, the company that assigns billing codes and makes sure the physician's documentation supports the codes, and collection services. Hospitals hire less clinical staff (nurses and medical technicians) and more clerical staff (billing, coding, and insurance collections experts). Entire floors of hospitals are devoted to appeasing the administrative requirements of hundreds of third-party payers.Forcing doctors and nurses to focus more attention on record-keeping, coding and reimbursement does not promote good patient care, and is not cost-efficient. A single-payer, public plan would eliminate wasteful administrative requirements and ensure that economic factors unrelated to patient care no longer drive health care decisions. Physicians and nurses should do what they do best and continue putting the needs of the patient above shareholder and institutional interests. We can afford quality health care but only if we eliminate the middlemen.

The need for universal care is undisputed — our nation already acknowledges that no one should suffer pain, disability or death as a result of being unable to provide proof of ability to pay. The federal Emergency Medical Treatment And Labor , passed in 1986, requires all hospitals and ambulance services to provide care to anyone needing treatment.

Having acknowledged the principle that everyone is entitled to care, we should now fund that care. Like automobile insurance, health insurance must be required, available and affordable for everyone.

Some opponents of health care reform argue that taxpayers will have to pay too much for a single-payer public plan or see it as a “government takeover.” They forget that most health insurance is already government insurance. Medicare and Medicaid payments provide more than half of the average hospital's revenues. Few of those who heckle the president at town hall meetings will refuse Medicare insurance when they turn 65.Our nation can no longer afford to accept the propaganda of third-party payers, who claim that a free-market model is appropriate for health care. Their free-market model has resulted in a slow but unrelenting decline in the quality of medical care.

Dr. Michael T. Rey lives in Waynesville. He is a board-certified emergency physician and fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians. He has practiced in Western North Carolina for 27 years.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Black River Killer

Here's Blitzen Trapper's official video for Black River Killer. I love this song and was hoping they would make a video for it. I think the song alone paints a creepier picture than the video, but still worth a watch.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tron, Legacy

Can't decide if this looks great or terrible.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

American Stonehenge: Monumental Instructions for the Post-Apocalypse

The strangest monument in America looms over a barren knoll in northeastern Georgia. Five massive slabs of polished granite rise out of the earth in a star pattern. The rocks are each 16 feet tall, with four of them weighing more than 20 tons apiece. Together they support a 25,000-pound capstone. Approaching the edifice, it's hard not to think immediately of England's Stonehenge or possibly the ominous monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Built in 1980, these pale gray rocks are quietly awaiting the end of the world as we know it.

Called the Georgia Guidestones, the monument is a mystery—nobody knows exactly who commissioned it or why. The only clues to its origin are on a nearby plaque on the ground—which gives the dimensions and explains a series of intricate notches and holes that correspond to the movements of the sun and stars—and the "guides" themselves, directives carved into the rocks. These instructions appear in eight languages ranging from English to Swahili and reflect a peculiar New Age ideology. Some are vaguely eugenic (guide reproduction wisely—improving fitness and diversity); others prescribe standard-issue hippie mysticism (prize truth—beauty—love—seeking harmony with the infinite).

What's most widely agreed upon—based on the evidence available—is that the Guidestones are meant to instruct the dazed survivors of some impending apocalypse as they attempt to reconstitute civilization. Not everyone is comfortable with this notion. A few days before I visited, the stones had been splattered with polyurethane and spray-painted with graffiti, including slogans like "Death to the new world order." This defacement was the first serious act of vandalism in the Guidestones' history, but it was hardly the first objection to their existence. In fact, for more than three decades this uncanny structure in the heart of the Bible Belt has been generating responses that range from enchantment to horror. Supporters (notable among them Yoko Ono) have praised the messages as a stirring call to rational thinking, akin to Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason. Opponents have attacked them as the Ten Commandments of the Antichrist.

Whoever the anonymous architects of the Guidestones were, they knew what they were doing: The monument is a highly engineered structure that flawlessly tracks the sun. It also manages to engender endless fascination, thanks to a carefully orchestrated aura of mystery. And the stones have attracted plenty of devotees to defend against folks who would like them destroyed. Clearly, whoever had the monument placed here understood one thing very well: People prize what they don't understand at least as much as what they do.

The story of the Georgia Guidestones began on a Friday afternoon in June 1979, when an elegant gray-haired gentleman showed up in Elbert County, made his way to the offices of Elberton Granite Finishing, and introduced himself as Robert C. Christian. He claimed to represent "a small group of loyal Americans" who had been planning the installation of an unusually large and complex stone monument. Christian had come to Elberton—the county seat and the granite capital of the world—because he believed its quarries produced the finest stone on the planet.

Joe Fendley, Elberton Granite's president, nodded absently, distracted by the rush to complete his weekly payroll. But when Christian began to describe the monument he had in mind, Fendley stopped what he was doing. Not only was the man asking for stones larger than any that had been quarried in the county, he also wanted them cut, finished, and assembled into some kind of enormous astronomical instrument.

What in the world would it be for? Fendley asked. Christian explained that the structure he had in mind would serve as a compass, calendar, and clock. It would also need to be engraved with a set of guides written in eight of the world's major languages. And it had to be capable of withstanding the most catastrophic events, so that the shattered remnants of humanity would be able to use those guides to reestablish a better civilization than the one that was about to destroy itself...

--The rest of the article can be found on the link above to the full article in Wired mag. Really interesting story of how it came to be.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Recent Favorites I wanted to Share...

"Zombie" Ants Controlled, Decapitated by Flies

In South America female phorid flies have developed a bizarre reproductive strategy: They hover over fire ants (pictured in a file photo), then inject their eggs into the ants with a needle-like appendage. The egg grows and the resulting larva generally migrates to the ant's head. The larva lives there for weeks--slurping up the brain and turning the ant into a "zombie," in some cases compelling the ant to march 55 yards (50 meters) away from its colony to avoid attack by other fire ants.Finally the baby fly decapitates its host and hatches, exiting through the ants head.

Fox steals more than 100 shoes
BERLIN (Reuters) - A fox has been unmasked as the mystery thief of more than 100 shoes in the small western German town of Foehren, authorities said Friday.
A forest worker stumbled upon shoes strewn near the fox's den and found a trove of footwear down the hole which had recently been stolen overnight from outside locals' front doors.
"There was everything from ladies' shoes to trainers," said a local police spokesman. "We've found between 110 and 120 so far. It seems a vixen stole them for her cubs to play with."
Although many were missing laces, the shoes were in good condition and their owners were delighted to reclaim them, he said, adding that no reprisals were planned against the culprit.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

From Belly to Baby

Day 1

Anna Claire, you just wouldn't flip the right direction, so you entered this world by Cesarean Section. I had seen plenty before, but never from the dad perspective. So many things were going through my head at this point. I thought this turned out to be a really great picture of the first few moments just before we met you.

Day 2

They plopped a little bow on your head today, just like they did with Olivia.
A peach from the start.

Day 3

This is our 3rd day with you, and while you sure look like Olivia, so far you seem much more content. Maybe you can sense we're more relaxed this time, not scared for dear life what we are going to do with a baby. Either way, a good start for all of us, and in less than a day we head home!