Monday, September 26, 2005

Ok. Talked to my sister yesterday and today. Apparently my mom had another seizure on Saturday night. So they were keeping her sedated and seizure free with the breathing tube in while they ran more tests. A chest x-ray showed that she had some pneumonia in one of her lungs. So they ran a spinal tap. You medical folks probably see where this is going. Turns out she has bacterial meningitis. The pneumonia in her lungs spread to the lining of her brain which causes all the symptoms that she had. They are now setting her up on damn near lethal amounts of antibiotics, which she will have to take intraveinously for the next 28 days. They think she will be good enough to take out the breathing tube this afternoon. She has been semi-coherent over the last 24 hours or so. She is still in the ICU, so not totally out of the woods, but the doctors are very optimistic that she will make a full recovery.

So that's a relief.

Don't have tons of time so I will relate only one other little observation unrelated to my mother. I have learned the hard way that you should never, ever say nice things about your kids. Case in point: Things sleeping-wise have been wonderful, both kids in the same room (though Emma goes to sleep in our bed and gets transferred later because Sara won't ever be able to go to sleep with the excitement of Emma laying almost withing arms reach) and sleeping until 7 or so. UNTIL...I say how nice they have been sleeping lately. I said this Thursday. Since then, not one night of good sleep. Either they are both up in the middle of the night, or Sara one day was up at ten after six. Or last night Sara was up and then Emma was up, both at around 4am and then Sara was all excited and laughing at Emma so I got the sofa and Emma shared our bed with my wife so Sara would shut up and go to sleep. This kind of thing happens every time you say something nice. "Gosh, they haven't had a cold forever!" BLAM, both will get the flu. "Wow, they are playing together so nicely, they never fight!" BLAM a day of complete chaos where they are after each others throats. It never fails. So, compliment them when they do good things, but for god sakes don't ever talk to anyone about how great your kids are.

More to come...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I've been meaning to get back to writing but work got in the way. I started at the hospital again and can pretty much work as much as I want. What with that and getting two kids to and from daycare and trying to keep up with the TV shows we watch and the start of football season (I still get the Monday night game every week) I have had little to no time to write anything, let alone read stuff.

Eventually the schedule will smooth out and I can carve out some time to write stuff (right now I am writing this at 9:30 in the morning with the wife asleep and the kids (not) watching a video and playing around me). It also gets kind of daunting, what with me not having written anything substantial since before we went on vacation in June (and feeling like I should write something about that trip). I'll get to it eventually.

Right now the only significant news is that I got a phone call last night from my dad telling me that my mom is in the hospital (they are divorced). Apparently a stroke (she is 58), though they are running tests. She was disoriented the night before and had a seizure when they got her to the hospital yesterday. She is on a ventilator and they are running CAT scans and such to see what is going on. Supposed to know more today. This isn't totally unexpected, in an abstract sense. She is not really a healthy person, she smokes way to much and is basically a functional alcoholic (meaning, she spends her days at work sober and then drinks beer all evening, pretty much every evening). So I was kind of expecting something to happen eventually. Anyway, when I know more you will be the, well, tenth to know (pulled that number out of my ass). I will let you all know though.

Anyway, I have to pee and the natives are getting restless so I'll stop here. My wife watches a show tonight that I don't watch (some reality show about fat people from Norway, Sweden and Denmark). Maybe I'll write more then.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

More on this

I totally missed something in that post I had from yesterday.  Something so big that I can't believe I missed it.  There is more on the differences between the preparations done for the hurricanes last year in Florida and that done for Katrina here.  The thing I failed to mention, or even think of, was that last year, when each of the four hurricanes to strike Florida were meticulously prepared for, was an election year.  And Florida was a swing state. 

I'll reiterate that I believe that the governor and mayor have a lot to answer for.  Mistakes were definitely made, by everyone involved.  The question I think you guys over in the States (I'm an American living in Norway if you are reading me for the first time) need to ask yourselves is: How comfortable am I with thought of the governments' reactions (thats all government, local, state and federal) to a major inicident and what happens if it is a major terrorist attack with no warning?

More of a personal nature to come soon.  I'm starting to get that writing bug again.
I'll write some more about this soon (yeah, right!).  Let me just preface this cut and paste job by saying that I think the Mayor and Governor have a lot to answer for themselves.  But Bush's choice for the head of FEMA is a joke.  He didn't know that there were people in the Convention Center on Thursday.  He said that he thought New Orleans would "drain quickly", contrary to, well, anyone who knows anything.

But what I wanted to show was the following press release from 2004.  These are the preparations done for Hurricane Frances by FEMA.  The questions that need to be asked are: Since it seems that very little of this was done for Katrina, why?  Perhaps it has something to do with who the Governor of Florida is?   Or maybe it has something to do with the kind of economic class that happen to live in Florida compared to Louisiana and Mississippi?  I don't know, but they sure seemed to really go all out for Frances.

In preparation for Hurricane Frances, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is coordinating a massive response and recovery operation and strengthening the national capability to provide immediate assistance to any community in need after the hurricane makes landfall.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is currently coordinating federal response operations and readiness activities with state and local agencies through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and has pre-positioned emergency management personnel and supplies to ensure a rapid and effective response when Hurricane Frances makes landfall.


The following activities are being conducted to prepare for Hurricane Frances:

*Homeland Security officials are fully coordinating preparations and holding daily video conference calls with our federal partners, governors, and other state and local officials in possible affected states.

*FEMA’s Hurricane Liaison Team is activated at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, to assist with advisories, information coordination and emergency evacuation activities.

*FEMA has deployed an Advanced Emergency Response Team to the Florida and Georgia State Emergency Operation Centers to facilitate state requests for assistance. Rapid Needs Assessment Teams have also been deployed to these states to provide support as necessary.

*FEMA has deployed emergency response teams and pre-staged critical commodities such as ice, water, meals and tarps in various strategic locations for immediate delivery to residents in affected areas.

*The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at FEMA’s request, is coordinating the staging of 100 truckloads of water and 100 truckloads of ice.

*A first shipment of 30,000 tarps is en route to Atlanta, Georgia to be pre-staged for delivery to areas affected by Hurricane Frances once the storm has cleared.

*Four Urban Search and Rescue Teams have been deployed to Florida and Georgia for immediate deployment if needed and Mobile Emergency Response Service communication units are available to provide telephone, radio and video links in support of response and recovery efforts.

*Five Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMAT) and one Veterinary Medical Assistance Team have been activated or deployed to sites in Florida and Georgia to support medical facilities and hospitals that are not fully operational following the storm. An additional seven teams have been placed on alert, assembling teams and loading equipment in case they are needed. The DMATs comprise doctors, nurses and medical technicians trained to handle trauma, pediatrics, surgery and mental health concerns. DMATs also bring truckloads of medical equipment and supplies with them.

*Five pharmaceutical caches containing emergency medical supplies are being pre-positioned in Atlanta, Georgia, and Tampa, Florida.

*Preparations are being made for Disaster Field Offices and Disaster Recovery Centers to be established in the hardest hit areas within 72 hours after a federal declaration. This will allow impacted residents to receive disaster assistance as soon as possible.

*The U.S. Coast Guard has pre-positioned helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft to support response activities. Several cutters and boats have been relocated to safe harbors throughout the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic coast and inland waterways to await the passing of the storm. The U.S. Coast Guard is also broadcasting hurricane advisories and warnings to mariners along the hurricane’s projected path and coordinating area harbor safety committees to prepare ports and minimize potential damage. Following the storm, the Coast Guard will assist with post-hurricane response and recovery operations to aid navigation assessment and repair, marine pollution response, search and rescue operations, and support to other agencies and humanitarian aid.

*Aircraft from Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement will help transport FEMA officials to and from sites and will fly over the storm’s path following landfall to collect high-resolution images for damage assessment. The remotely sensed data will allow FEMA to better target areas needing immediate disaster damage assessment.

*The Department’s Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection unit is assessing the vulnerabilities and potential impact to critical infrastructure located in the storm’s projected path. Based upon these assessments, Homeland Security will be prepared to work with private sector partners and state and local government officials during the recovery phase.

*Homeland Security is working with the American Red Cross and other volunteer agencies to ensure sheltering and critical needs are met immediately. More than 350 shelter sites have been identified by the American Red Cross for those displaced by Hurricane Frances.

*FEMA is working with the General Services Administration to analyze vacancy rates of various safe housing options (including apartments, homes, RVs, time shares, mobile homes, hotels and motels) as part of a pre-planning temporary housing strategy for those whose homes are severely damaged or destroyed.

*FEMA is working to provide 10 trailers full of generators at the request of Florida that will be used to provide power to critical facilities affected by the hurricane.

FEMA contract inspectors are ready for activation, with surge capability providing for up to 15,000 inspections per day within 14 days of activation.

*All the National Processing Service Centers (NPSCs) are fully staffed and ready to register and process disaster assistance applications immediately. The Internal Revenue Service has provided additional operators to support tele-registration operations.

*Homeland Security is encouraging citizens living in the areas of projected impact to take precautions immediately by reviewing emergency communications plans, stocking water and non-perishable food, storing additional ice in the freezer, and checking batteries in a battery-powered radio so that instructions provided by local emergency management officials may be heard and followed. Most importantly, if ordered to evacuate, residents should do so immediately. Additional information about emergency preparedness can be found at or