Friday, October 5, 2007

With My Spear and Magic Helmet...

I am, for lack of a better word, squeamish. I don't particularly like the sight of blood, and I especially don't like being in hospitals. I find this personal revulsion intellectually fascinating, because medicine and surgery are among the things that interest me the most. I have a handful of books on the subject, and have no problem watching either Discovery Health (aka the Surgery Channel) or other televised surgical procedures. If (heaven forbid) The Kid does end up needing surgery, the curious guy in me wants to watch, or at least see it on video. You can stick me with as many needles and draw as much blood as you want, but don't you dare show it to me beforehand. If I see the needle go in, you'd better get a pillow. Because I'm going to take a quick nap.

As my wife's due date neared, we had discussions about who would be in the room, and how involved I was going to be when the big moment came. This talk had to include a frank assessment of my ability to stay conscious in the presence of not only blood, but sharp and scary looking medical instruments. I said that I would do whatever was needed to be there with my wife. All of my friends with kids explained that I would be so excited and caught up in the moment that I wouldn't have time to pass out. Clearly, these friends have never seen me in a hospital. My biggest fear was passing out, bonking me head, and being sent to the emergency room. I'd miss everything. :-(

My wife's aunt and uncle had (of course) heard of my near-legendary ability to pass out, and decided to act.

About a month before my wife was due, a package from them arrived on our doorstep. It was addressed to me. Hmmm. Whatever could it be?

It was my very own, patent-pending, fainting cap. Actually, it was a rock climbing helmet with the following sticker on it:

Newby Dad High-Impact Fainting Cap
Proven to reduce severity of cranial injury due to high velocity
impact with floors, walls, or heavy objects wielded by mothers
in a state of high agitation

A pair of geniuses, they are. It went straight into the readybag next to the door.

When the big day came, it ended up being (for me) a worst case scenario. Emergency c-section. That meant an operating room. LOTS of positively medieval extraction and retraction devices in plain view. Blood. Incisions. In short, all the wrong things.

Did I wear it?

Yer dern tootin' I did. While I may not look very macho, I'd look decidedly less macho sprawled out on the floor.

Did I need it? Nope.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

We're Still Proud

A few years ago, I would guess late 2003 or so, I was leaving the local Metro station on my way home when I spotted a young Army private standing in front of one of the farecard machines. He was wearing his Class A uniform, with a fully stuffed pack on his shoulders. He looked like he was straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

It was clear that he was trying to make sense of the farecard system we use here in DC, and not having much success.

Just as I was walking past the young private, the station manager emerged from his kiosk and walked toward the soldier.

"Hey, G.I.!" he shouted. "You're money's no good here."

The private turned and walked to the manager. A few brief words were exchanged, and I saw the manager hand him something. The manager then escorted the soldier through a small gate next that Metro employees use to bypass the turnstiles.

The soldier was on his way to wherever he was going.

I watched all this, and as the soldier was heading down the escalator, I walked over to the manager and thanked him.

That was 4 years ago, and you'd think that sort of thing wasn't happeneing anymore.

You'd be wrong.

Good News

Looks like the kid won't need surgery after all. The opthl...



eye doctor we saw thinks the problem will most likely resolve itself over time, and as long as she's not in any discomfort, there isn't a good reason to have the operation.