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Dear Diary #20

Dear Diary This week has been hectic. Today capped it off. The emergency departments have been consistently overcrowded. We’re running at more than capacity lately. Patients are calling all the different emergency departments in the area to inquire about the shortest wait times. Some patients have even told me that they set their alarms for 3AM to wake up and come to the ED to avoid the wait. Still doesn’t work. The wait may be shorter, but there’s still a wait. And we haven’t even hit flu season yet. I’m worried what things are going to look like when that happens. One of the consultants on staff at our hospital is a jerk. I’m officially fed up with him and his attitude. He treats our secretaries and nurses like crap (which I didn’t know up until recently). I called him about one of his patients in the middle of the night. I’ve been practicing a while – longer than Craftsman the Consultant (see explanation below) – and had never seen a presentation quite like what the patient had. I described what was present on physical exam, labs, and x-ray, then gave him an idea of what I was thinking. He wigs out. “All you’re giving me is symptoms and physical findings. What do you want me to do about it?” “First, I also gave you x-ray and lab finds as well. Second, I’m looking for your help trying to figure this out.” “Well you have to admit you gave me a pretty piss-poor reading of the x-ray” “I’m not admitting anything. You want me to text you a picture of it so you can do a better job?” “No. That’s not the point! You’re supposed to be a doctor and you need to make a decision!” “Fine, I’ve decided that you need to come in and see the patient. Now.” “Who is your boss? Because I’m going to call him RIGHT NOW with this bullshit. You hear me?” “Don’t worry, you can talk to him when you’re explaining your attitude at the next Medical Executive Committee Meeting. I’m writing all of this conversation in the medical record and then forwarding a copy to the chair of your department and the MEC tomorrow morning.” “Whoa. Wait a minute. We’re obviously both a little upset. Now let’s figure this out.” “No, you’re upset and you’re coming in to see the patient so you can figure this out.” “I’m NOT coming in to see the patient. You can have her see me in the office in two days.” “Unacceptable. If you don’t come in to see the patient, then I’m admitting her and noting in the chart that it was because you wouldn’t come in at my request. Then you’ll get consulted on her for the morning.” “You do what you have to do.” “Don’t worry. I will. Have a nice evening.” The thing is, after the phone call, about four people magically appeared from around the corner and started high-fiving me. “That was great! Someone finally put him in his place.” “What a dick. It’s about time someone gave it back to him.” Only then did I hear about how miserable he’s been to other staff. So we decided to name him Craftsman – because he isn’t just a tool, he’s a power tool. Today pissed me off. I had planned to write several posts today, but it didn’t happen. First, Daughter WhiteCoat’s car wouldn’t start. When it did, it made some horrible grinding noise that sounded like the transmission is going bad. This is just after Mrs. WhiteCoat’s car needed $2000 in work (including new ...

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Dear Diary

I can’t believe summer is over. It was supposed to be vacation, but it seemed like anything but. Our vacation to the East Coast was short, but exciting. We ended up having to drive from the Midwest to New York City because some family members do not like to fly. Mrs. WhiteCoat is cartographically challenged, but swears that she’s Sacajawea – at least regarding trips to the East coast. She will not use the GPS system in the truck, preferring to travel by memory alone. So when we got lost after a wrong turn, we drove 20 miles out of our way and then had to turn around and drive 20 miles back. I was trying to show her the route guidance system in the truck, but she wouldn’t listen, instead of stopping at a gas station to speak to a very nice man whose first language was definitely not English. Of course, it is better to trust a random person in a gas station than your own husband, but that’s beside the point. So she drove a little bit further and got lost, then turned around again and stopped at another random gas station. While she was inside, I pulled up the route guidance system. It was telling us to go in exactly the opposite direction that the second man told us to go. When she actually listened to the computer, we were on the right road in 10 minutes. I didn’t say a thing. We took a boat tour of New York City in addition to going to the World Trade Center Memorial. A lot has changed since I lived there many years ago. The kids were busy most of the summer with dance and sports … and acting. They have all had major roles in horror movies which seem to be the specialty of the Midwest. Oldest daughter landed a leading role in a film about ghosts who kill hospital patients. We spent a week filming in the basement of an abandoned hospital. Even some of the cast members were freaked out by random noises. Youngest daughter also got a role in a horror film about a hospital. They filmed in one of the 10 most haunted buildings in the Midwest. During the second night, it was a full moon and they were filming a scene about several children being murdered, so all of the young actors were laying on the ground in makeshift pools of blood. The next afternoon when everyone returned to the set, there were 13 dead rats and mice on the floor. Don’t know if that someone’s idea of a joke, but it sure freaked everyone out that was working on the movie. Have been getting into strategy battles about turning off the television during the day. I kept asking the kids to turn the TV off and read a book or go outside and play. Instead, they had to watch the 75th rerun of Dog With a Blog on Disney. Eventually, I got fed up and unplugged the TV. Then I’d leave to run an errand and someone would plug it back in and they would be watching again when I returned. Then I would unhook the cable connection from the basement. They would watch movies on DVD instead so they didn’t need the cable. Then I unplugged the TV from the back of the television set just enough to disconnect the power without fully removing the plug. They went into our bedroom and watched television, so I pulled the plug on the back of our television. Then they started watching videos ...

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Dear Diary

It has been a long time, diary. I can’t even think of all the things that happened since I last wrote. Last time I left off, it was the squirrels. I’m happy to say that they’re gone. Mwuuuuuuhahahahaha. Actually, I’m a chicken shit. I got two types of traps. When I put peanut butter on to the lever of the live trap, I was able to catch a couple of squirrels. The other ones would simply knock the trap over and then grab at the peanut butter through the holes in the cage. So I got a couple of Ortho rat traps and caught the three remaining squirrels using those. One of them died. Two of them just got their legs caught. I made the mistake of telling my youngest daughter that I was going to go and “finish them off” after I caught them. She had nightmares for two days that daddy was killing the squirrels. In reality, I took them a half-mile away and let them go in the woods. What a sucker I am. But at least they’re gone and not chewing holes in my roof. Cracked a tooth while chewing a peanut. That was an experience. First, it happened on a Friday at work, so I couldn’t get into the dentist. I happened to have a temporary filling in my bag that I had purchased over the counter at a pharmacy. It worked amazingly well, and in fact I was considering just leaving it like that. Unfortunately, after visiting the dentist I needed a root canal. That was fun. Also had to have a superficial cancer burned off of my face. I went into the dermatologists office to have it looked at. Two minutes later, she’s putting on gloves and coming at me with a scalpel. That wasn’t too bad. Then she turns around, pulls some canister out of the closet and starts spraying me some Despicable Me – looking freeze ray mist. I think she called it “liquid nitrogen.” That stuff burns like a mother. Imagine the worst case of brain freeze you’ve ever had and then multiply that by about 10. That’s what this stuff felt like when it hit my skull. I could see this being used as a torture tactic when waterboarding stops working. So I got to make up about 15 or 20 different excuses as to why I had a chunk of skin removed from the side of my face. Dog bite. Squirrel bite. Patient attacked me. Son’s lacrosse coach at me with a stick. Shooting accident. Improvised explosive device prematurely detonated (don’t use that one at the airport). Most importantly though, when my fair-skinned kids argue with me about going outside without using sunscreen, I point to my face and ask them “do you want to look like this?” I don’t know whether their immediate assent to sunscreen use is a testiment to my good parenting skills or a reflection of their fear of growing up to look like me. Whatever. It works. Oldest daughter has now started driving. Dad has now started drinking before he takes her out driving to calm his nerves. Seriously. I just sit here and wonder whether or not I was as bad of a driver when I was starting out. I don’t ever recall running over curbs when turning a corner. I distinctly remember stopping very quickly when a crash is imminent. In our short time driving together, we’ve had several near misses. It is going to be a long time before she drives alone. And fortunately my life insurance is up to ...

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Why I Hate Squirrels

The squirrels aren’t gone … yet. But they will be. I tried to be nice. I bought a live trap. Hav-A-Hart. It doesn’t work. The damn squirrels keep knocking it over. So then I got smart and put a five pound weight on top of the trap so they couldn’t knock it over. That didn’t work. All that happened is that I thought something in the house had fallen when I heard the five pound weight hit the floor. I ran back upstairs and the trap was knocked over and all the bait was gone again. Then I got a 10 pound weight and put that on top of the trap. There is no way that a two pound squirrel is going to knock over 10 pound weight. Little did I know that Arnold Schwarzensquirrel was living in my attic. They still managed to knock the damn trap over. Okay. No more Mr. Nice Guy. So during my next day off when I was woken up at six o’clock by the sound of squirrels gnawing holes in my rafters, I went back to Home Depot. I looked around and asked the salesman what you would use for a squirrel problem. He showed me some nasty smelling animal repellent that he said would do the trick. Active ingredients include “putrescent whole egg solids,” “dried blood” (even though the bottle contained a liquid) and garlic. I sprayed a little bit of it outside. It smelled rancid. That will do the trick. So I went back home, pulled off the piece of sheetrock separating our closet from the attic, and sprayed the repellent around the attic. It stunk like hell. Then I sealed backup the hole in the wall and hoped for the best. When my wife gets home, she walked upstairs and screamed. I ran upstairs. “What is that smell?” Oh no. “Did you kill one of the squirrels? You better not have killed one of the squirrels. It smells like something died.” I went into the closet and the smell from the attic had wafted into our closet. Now our whole closet stunk like a massacre scene at an Italian restaurant. I opened up the hole in the wall and went back into the attic. The smell was overwhelming. Then I noticed something: A beam of light shining against the insulation. The little bastards had chewed a hole in the roof. I went outside and climbed up on the roof using a ladder. The squirrels had bent back a piece of the flashing and had chewed a little hole through one of the shingles. Then they had chewed a hole through the roof and into our attic. So back to Home Depot I go to get more building supplies. I got some chicken wire so they couldn’t chew another hole through the patch I was going to make. I also got some new flashing, new shingle that kind of matched our old shingles, and some “great stuff” to seal up the whole. An end to the problem was in sight. I patched up the hole in the roof with the “great stuff,” put some chicken wire down over the hole so they could not chew another hole there, and replaced the flashing and the shingles. Not perfect, but it worked. And it will keep the damn squirrels out. Finally. But oh no, these are resourceful squirrels. I wake up the next morning planning on finishing up an article for the blog before I went to work. More gnawing on the walls. I threw on a T-shirt and ran outside to look ...

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Dear Diary

So much to rant about today. The girls are doing a dance competition this weekend. I’m trapped in my own little version of Dance Moms. Aaaaauuuuuggghhh. Somebody help me. One daughter complains because she’s in the back of one dance the whole time. Another daughter is upset because people are mad at her because she’s in front during one of her dances. Glitter is all over our fricking kitchen and it doesn’t come up with wet wipes, either. We have to purchase hair extensions with curls for $25 for the girls, and we have to make SURE to purchase the color that most closely matches the girl’s hair. We can’t just curl the girls’ hair because judges can apparently tell the difference between real curled hair and fake curled hair and that makes a difference on how they grade the performance. Sounds like a Joint Commission inspection. I just keep thinking that they couldn’t pay me enough to participate in a reality show based on this crap. Junior WhiteCoat is ramping up lacrosse season. He’s loving it. Playing in a huge tournament at Notre Dame next weekend. Junior was also one of the main characters in a movie that won first place and multiple other awards at an indie film festival last week. He’s now getting requests for auditions with some bigger movies. Hear that, Adam Sandler? Pick him and your movie could grace the pages of WhiteCoat’s Call Room. On the doggie chew list for the past week include a Jenga block, a decorative pillow from the couch, a garbage can in the office, the leg from a “Monster High” doll (since when did it become cool for young girls to go from modeling themselves after Barbies to modeling themselves after zombie high school kids, anyway?), and the middle of her doggie bed. The last one is most interesting. You see, she’s chewed half of the inside out of her own bed and now she no longer wants to sleep on the bed. So when it gets dark out, she runs upstairs to the bedroom and lays on the other dog’s bed before he gets there. That means that the innocent dog is stuck sleeping on a disaster of a dog bed that he had no part in creating. After the first couple of times that happened, I started moving the doggie garbage disposal off the good bed and letting our other dog lay on his bed. By the morning, though, there was more foam filling sitting on the floor, Chewmeister was laying on the good bed, and our other dog was laying on the floor. I’m getting to the point that I’m going to start making little Chewy sleep in a cage … on her own frigged up bed. Then I thought to myself … those beds are a lot like, say California and Texas right about now.

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Dear Diary

My gosh. I actually get angst when I haven’t posted for a few days. Actually, I have angst for other reasons, but not posting just adds to the angst. So what’s been happening lately? First, the poor WhiteCoat children are having trying times in their love lives. Oldest daughter WhiteCoat found out from a member of her track team that her boyfriend of 6 months was cheating on her. Another member of her track team was apparently going around and telling everyone that she had a “secret boyfriend” and was also telling everyone the sordid details of the interactions she was having with her “secret boyfriend.” So daughter WhiteCoat dumped Mr. Two-Timer. Mrs. WhiteCoat called his parents to let them know what was up. Papa Two Time said that he didn’t know what we were so upset about because the other woman “pushed herself” on Daughter WhiteCoat’s ex and that the other woman was a “two bit whore” anyway. I’m kind of thinking that this breakup was a good thing. The next day, Junior WhiteCoat’s girlfriend texts him and says she “wants to be single.” The text gets posted to Instagram. Then about 60 comments later, there are accusations flying back and forth that she’s been dating someone else and that he deserves better. When I was 12 years old, I was climbing up trees with a bag of tomatoes and tossing them at cars. Now my kid is 12 and he’s in need of relationship counseling. Health hasn’t been great lately. Pretty much every person in the family has had vomicking and/or diarrhea in the past week. Zofran is our friend. But it gets a little frustrating when you’re working in the ED and patients who puked once or who have had a couple of loose stools want work notes to be off for the rest of the week. Got kind of a kick out of one patient walking into the emergency department as I was leaving work. He was heading toward his car in the parking lot and I saw him suddenly turn around and head back toward the hospital. He was walking like he had a load in his pants. He gets closer to me and he starts shaking his head. “Ya try to do the right thing and what happens? It bites you in the ass. I’m holding in my gas in the ER and I waited until I get outside to pass it … then I crapped my drawers.” He did have a load in his pants. Although if he passed gas in the ED, it probably would have been just as embarrassing. Grandma and Grandpa WhiteCoat have been having issues. Their health has deteriorated to the point that they were unable to stay independent, so they moved in with my brother. The only problem is that Grandma WhiteCoat has a few cats … like 10 … and that Grandpa WhiteCoat has a book collection … like about 30,000 … all in boxes. He also has a good thousand or so small plastic boxes of pictures that he has taken through the years. All categorized, but none of them ever seen by anyone but the person at the photo lab who initially developed them. And if you want to look at one of them, you can’t take it out of the house because you may copy it and the pictures are copyrighted. Fortunately, he converted to digital pictures about 7-8 years ago, so now it’s just a matter of storage on his computer drive and no additional plastic boxes. But then he sends pictures to ...

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