Saturday, May 26, 2007

Biological Warfare

Having a passel (three) kids is hard work, especially for my dearest Ellen. We've been especially challenged over the past couple weeks since the kids have been passing the strep throat around. The Typhoid Mary was the two year old. She started it a couple weeks ago. A few days into that episode, the 15 year old started with symptoms. My dearest took them both to the pediatrician for treatment. The Nurse Practitioner and a Student Nurse saw them. Big mistake. The two year old was diagnosed with strep because of a positive 5 minute test. However, the 15 year old's sample did not test positive. We've since figured that the Student Nurse who took the 15 year old's sample didn't do it right. Even so, the fact that the two year old had it and was most likely passing her germs on to the whole family should have been enough to prescribe anti-botics for the whole fam-damily, right? WRONG! "Oh, your older daughter isn't showing that she has strep. It's probably just a cold" claimed the NP, even though my oldest was showing outward symptoms of strep.
Fast forward a couple days to where the oldest was on a softball tournament outing with my dearest Ellen and the 10 year old. Well, the 10 year old comes down with it bad, including some vomiting. The missus manages to keep it together that weekend and bring it all back home. Meanwhile, the oldest is getting sicker. She has a bad cough and has broken out into a rash. Another visit to the doctor. This time, both kids have positive strep tests (yay!). We actually saw a real doctor this time. Since I'm with the kids this time, I point out the cough and the rash. The doctor downplays the cough and the rash as unrelated. I asked if she could get a shot to combat the hives and Z-pack, a powerful antibiotic I've taken in the past. She prescribes some ointment and antibiotics, but not Z-pack.
A day later, the oldest comes home from school saying that she is having trouble catching a full breath and her coughing is disrupting her day. We keep pumping her full of meds, thinking that it's just a matter of time. Overnight things get worse and we decide the next day to call the doctor. In the morning, the oldest faints twice. Immediately, the missus takes the oldest over to the hospital and has her seen. Lo and behold, she has strep induced pneumonia! Lovely. The ER doctors ask all sorts of questions related to the two weeks of symptoms and the related treatment by the pediatricians office. My Ellen was given the impression that the pediatrician's office (two medical practitioners mind you) pretty much botched her case. The ER docs pump her full of fluids (she was somewhat dehydtrated) and recommend she see her pediatrician again. We were already on antibiotics, so it was not necessary to get more. The next day the missus tots typhoid Mary (the two year old who started all of this mess) and the oldest down to the doctor for a follow up. All the ER records were transferred over. New antibiotics and a breathing treatment program (including a machine to do it all) were prescribed INCLUDING a steroid for the rash. Guess what antibiotic this doctor prescribed? You guessed it, Z-pack!!

At this point, everyone is doing much better. The two year old is on the last few doses of her meds. The 10 year old is a close second. The oldest is missing the first day of a big three day softball tournament, but the doctor said she might be able to play on the second day, depending upon how she felt. Given the breathing apparatus, the inhaler, the steroids, and the anti-biotics, she should be able to fight off just about anything.

Sadly, my dearest Ellen and I are exhibiting cold and sore throat sympoms. It might not be over yet!!


Growing roots

New news on the job front!

My bosses and the government management have asked me to stay at NIH permanently. One fellow will transition out and perform some R&D work that he hasn't been able to focus on since he's also been doing consulting work.

Start decorating the cube!!


Politically (In)correct

Your ol’ pal Clark didn’t want to make too many political statements in this blog. Our lives are already cluttered up with so much political “nitwittery” that I felt it a little distasteful to drag it into my little window into my life. However, since this IS my blog, I can pretty much do what I want.
I want to call attention to the current immigration bill pending a vote in Congress. The likelihood that it will pass is pretty slim since there don’t seem to be enough votes to pass it through both Houses. We admittedly have an overflowing border problem. As your garden variety white male, I’m more than a bit worried that our ability to absorb the folks into our infrastructure is slipping (remember, we’ve been giving amnesty periodically since the mid 80s). No one seems to know with any degree of certainty how many illegal immigrants are living within the US. Now before you all jump to a huge conclusion and assume that ol’ Clark is a racist let me clarify myself. Since my own family immigrated to this country from Western and Central Europe many moons ago, I feel that I can be connected (somewhat) to those who are looking for a way to live life to the fullest. There are few countries on this planet where you can be assured that if you work hard and live true, you will achieve greatness. Given that, both sides of the fence have to really meet in the middle:

1. Learn English
2. Bring your culture with you, but don’t expect others different from yourself to bend over and accept your culture over theirs. We’ll end up like Quebec if we keep it up
3. Behave yourself
4. Don’t come over here illegally
5. If you’re here on an H1-B visa, student visa, travel visa or some other temporary document, make sure that you keep it current. If it expires, go home.

1. Make English official language of transactions and government
2. Embrace the diversity of immigrants, but don’t subjugate American culture, integrate it
3. Kick out those who don’t behave themselves (this includes folks without “papers”, immigrants who commit crimes, and “visitors” who overstay their welcome)
4. Prevent folks from coming over here illegally (in any way shape or form that doesn’t violate simple human rights…it is our country after all)
5. Logically interconnect the intel between SSA, DHS, CIA, FBI, and local responders (believe me folks, the stuff is already there and ready to be interconnected, it’s just incompetence that is not getting the job done) so that we can more easily catch the “bad guys” both in and out of country
6. Make it a crime to knowingly hire an illegal immigrant
7. Eliminate the “anchor baby” concept. There’s no need for it anymore.
8. Make the visa application process more efficient. However, that does not mean cut corners. If possible, turn it all over to the military since immigration does affect national defense. If we do turn it over to the military, then the commander in chief is the ultimate decision taker on immigration.
9. Eliminate the ability of immigrants and visitors to get federal, state, or local government “assistance”. However, freely allow private institutions to assist in the migration of the legal immigrant to citizen. Make it mandatory for private citizens and institutions to report any and all illegal immigrants to the local authorities. Only churches can provide sanctuary to those who “need” it.
10. To our elected and appointed government servants: “Grow a set”! We need to ensure that another 9-11 doesn’t happen. In order to do that, we need to take drastic measures that may be unpopular with the influence peddlers (and the media) that make it their business to represent any and all “victims” in the “struggle” to become a US Citizens. Faw! Sovereignty doesn’t go to the group with the biggest PAC or campaign war chest. Protect the US as you would protect your family.
Thanks for your kind indulgence. Now back to our regular blogging.

New Digs

So far, my new job is pretty cool. I’m doing some consulting at the National Institutes of Health for a portion of their IT department. NIH is like a college campus and is quite a distance from Camp Grizzwold (40 miles or so). It takes me about an hour to ninety minutes to get to work. I leave super early in the morning (6-6:30am) so that I get there faster. I determined that to be the norm on the first day when I spent the better part of nearly 90 minutes going 20 miles per hour (or less)! Leaving early allows the ol’ Dodge to get up to highway speeds most of the way.
I don’t know how long I’m going to be here at NIH. The new company wanted to send me to the US Treasury department first, but there is some sort of paperwork holdup there. I hope that it gets resolved soon because there’s a leadership opportunity there vs. being a subject matter expert only here at NIH. It’s been a little hard to get acclimated here because I’m on temporary status. I don’t get an account for the network, so I have to play a lot of “sneaker-net” transactions to get people information. Thank the computer gods for thumb drives.
I’ve got my own cubicle here (but I have to be careful leaning back in my chair as the walls are pretty close together. There’s also a window with a nice view of the loading dock. NIH gave me a laptop, but I can’t use it without an account. Thankfully my new employer saw what was coming and issued me a nice new HP laptop. At least I can get some sort of work done.

So far the Grizzwold mantra has been true to form: Struggle with a variety of obstacles only to end up seemingly landing upright.


The Great Migration

It’s been about a month since I last wrote. Sorry about that. Transitioning from a job can be daunting at times, especially one where things change at the last minute. I think I may have told you all that my previous employer wanted me to pay a princely sum of $950 dollars to cover my insurance for the month of May (prorated of course) to cover my family since my two weeks notice crossed over the end of April to the beginning of May. I’ve had a few jobs in my time from selling lumber to my current job as a consultant and I have never….EVER…been asked to pay an insurance premium after giving notice. That’s a corporate loss, IMHO and can probably be written off on some balance sheet somewhere. Ol’ Clark was trying to do the right thing by his old firm and give them two weeks of my time to transition out of my position. Sadly, that company shot themselves in the foot by wanting me to pony up a HUGE chunk of my paycheck to insure myself. All of the wrangling that I tried ultimately led me to issue the ultimatum that I would be leaving MUCH sooner than two weeks. It was about 6 days all told. Since my old company was large enough to fall into the COBRA statutes, I was able to receive that should I need it. Guess what the difference in COBRA insurance vs. what I would have paid to cover myself for May? FIFTY BUCKS!