Cuz Nanner Luvs U!

April 22, 2005 at 2:57 pm (Uncategorized)

I’ve been a paralegal for 8 long years. In that time, I’ve dealt with quite a number of death cases. Whether they be misdiagnosed or undiagnosed cancers, slip and falls of delirious elderly people who have been given the wrong dosage of medication (or just the wrong medication for that matter) resulting in broken hips, accidental overdoses, and, of course, car accidents.

Then there are the ones who haven’t died. The ones with life-threatening lupus, toxic shock syndrome, broken bodies put back together by wires and plates and screws. The severely mentally incapacitated young man who was allowed to swallow a glove (yeah, a glove, a yellow plastic Playtex© glove). The list goes on.

Because of this experience, I have researched different types of diseases and their symptoms, read, quite possibly, over 50,000 pages of medical records, medical journals, and expert reports, that I should at least qualify to be a physician’s assistant by now. I have researched front impacts, side impacts, air-bag deployment, seat belt failure, and blood alcohol extrapolation (understanding how and at what rate alcohol leaves the blood stream). I have other bits and pieces of information stuck in my head from other random cases and things I’ve picked up along the way.

That’s what I would like to share with you today. These bits and pieces, some of which may appear to be common sense, others which are not, starting with:

HIGHWAY SAFETY:

* Seatbelts do save lives. Only a small percentage of deaths are caused by wearing a seatbelt. I’ve never had a client die from wearing one, but I’ve seen them die from not wearing one.

* Wear your seatbelt correctly. The lap portion should be as low around the hips as possible, the torso belt should rest snugly against the chest and shoulder. If you’re taller, shorter, skinnier, fatter than a test dummy, they make all sorts of contraptions so it does fit. If the lap belt is across your stomach it can cause injury during an impact. Do not place the torso belt under your arm or behind your back. If its under your shoulder it can cause severe impact injuries to the rib cage resulting in internal injuries and one or more punctured lungs. (I’ve seen it happen.) It’s also useless at preventing the head from hitting the air-bag, steering wheel, or dashboard. You will be ugly for a long time, dead, or a vegetable.

* 18 wheelers will win. Learn where their blind spots are. If you can’t see them, they can’t see you. Speed up, slow down, do whatever is necessary, but do NOT travel in their blind spot. If they want your spot on the road, give it to them. I know, they can be really rude, but sometimes, they just want over so as not to interfere with the flow of traffic. If they hit you, you will have a very, very bad day. They will win. Let me say that ONE MORE TIME… THEY. WILL. WIN.

* Watch tractor-trailers especially in tricky curves. Their loads can shift causing them to tip. Again, you will not win. Back off and give these big trucks some space. If one of them squashes you, you won’t survive to make it where you’re going anyway.

* If you’re in a situation where one of these big guys is across the road in front of you, or any other big truck which sits off the ground… pay attention children… steer for the tires!! STEER. FOR. THE. TIRES. If you don’t, your vehicle will be carried underneath the frame rendering practically every single safety feature on your vehicle useless. If you hit the tires chances are better that your crumple zones will crumple, your air-bag will deploy, and you’ll survive.

I learned that from a volunteer fireman who was involved in this type of accident. He survived, barely. A young woman in the same situation was carried under the truck and was killed.

* Along those same lines, when you brake sharply the front end of your car goes down. If you hit anything taller than the front end of your car, the air-bag sensors will not go off! This happens especially with car/truck head on collisions. When the front end of the car goes down, the truck can override the hood area. This is bad. What to do? I don’t have a good answer for this. It’s the same reason good people instead of drunks end up dead or with broken bones. We’re coherent and brace ourselves. The drunks don’t. My best advice… be a sober drunk.

* Sit as far away from the steering wheel as possible. Two reasons: 1.) Air-bag. Most air-bags are deployed by “rapidly oxidizing solid rocket fuel” in 1/30th of a second. You don’t want to be sitting too close to this phenomena. 2.) The closer you sit to the steering wheel/dashboard increases your chance of impact injuries, especially that nasty “blunt force chest trauma.”

Regardless, I’m sorry to report, there are some impacts which will cause death regardless. Remember, your body, internal organs, and brain are still traveling at whatever speed the car was traveling and the rapid deceleration will cause all of your organs to be crushed against your skeletal system. I know… ugly thought. Slow the fuck down.

* Side impacts are more likely to cause severe brain damage, even at low speeds. An extra second at a stop light can save your brain. There is an intersection near my home where people continue to make a left turn across a busy two lane highway without being able to see oncoming traffic for a variety of reasons. The speed limit there is 50 mph. Typical speed is 60 mph. Imagine… again, ugly thought.

* Motorcycles can stop A LOT FASTER than a car. If ya wanna tailgate… tailgate a big rig, not a motorcycle.

* Do not attempt to jump from a moving vehicle at any time. This is only for stunt people in movies. If you still insist upon doing so, do so on the open road and not in the woods where you can then become trapped between said moving vehicle and a tree. Yes, I’ve seen it.

* Don’t drink and drive. I guarantee your blood alcohol level is higher than you think it is.

MEDICAL TREATMENT:

* Always have an advocate to be a royal pain in the ass for you. Make this someone who is not afraid to confront shitty nursing care with an “in your face” style. I’m sorry Jamie. The nurses around here really, really suck!

* If both of your parents die from colon cancer in their late 50’s/early 60’s and it’s the kind that is in the UPPER part of the colon, which causes practically NO SYMPTOMS until its too late… have a colonoscopy immediately!! Yes, one of our clients had both of his parents die within two years of each other from the same type of colon cancer and NEVER HAD A COLONOSCOPY!!! Until… it was too late. Research shows this type of cancer begins with polyps in the patient’s 20’s. EDUCATE YOURSELF!!!

* Auto-immune disorders (lupus, hypothyroidism, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis) in your family history cause other auto-immune disorders. Example: My grandfather had lupus. My mom and aunts have hypothyroidism, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Their children do too.

* Yearly check-ups, period. Monthly breasts exams, period. Monthly scrotal exams, period. Yeah guys, I’m talking to you. Come on! Feel yourself up, I know you want to!! Here’s how I see it. It may be embarrassing and uncomfortable for some doctor to stick his finger up your rectum, it may be embarrassing and uncomfortable to have a cold, slimy “metal snatch spreader” (thanks Brighton for those LOVELY words) shoved up your twat, and as you get older it only gets worse, but how embarrassing and uncomfortable is it to have your testicles removed? Or your uterus? Or any other body part? Cancer happens. We can do some things to prevent it, but a lot of the time, we just need to catch it!

Case in point: A friend of my family thought since she wasn’t having any more children that she didn’t really need to have that yearly pap smear. She thought that for seven years until the back pain she was experiencing became so intense she finally had to go to the doctor. She had spinal cancer which had spread from her uterus. Her goal was to live long enough to see both of her daughters graduate from high school. She only made it for one.

Case in point: Lex’s father had a sore come out on his shoulder that wouldn’t heal. He kept thinking it would get better. By the time he did go to the doctor he had advanced malignant melanoma which had already metasticized. I believe he died within a year, maybe two. Lex now wears long sleeves year round and basically lives like a bat because he is terrified of it.

However, I also aware there are peeps like a man from my community who went to give blood, they found leukemia in his screening, and he was dead within six months. Or my Grandpa, who hated doctors, never had PSA screening, or a colonoscopy or any other type of health screening and still lived to be a healthy, ornery, 85 years old.

But hey, let’s catch what we can.

* Know your body. Whip out that mirror and take a gander at your nether regions and your back. If you get the feeling something is not right, how are you supposed to know what looks ‘normal’ if you don’t see it when its normal?? Guys, I’m talking to you too.

* If you have the “feeling” something is “not right,” trust yourself. Trust yourself and advocate for yourself.

PERSONAL SAFETY:

Cosmopolitan magazine has an article this month about rape. We all know to watch ourselves on the streets, parking garages, lock our car doors, etc. They point out how unsafe we are at home. I can’t tell you how many times I get out of my car, walk to my front door, less than five yards away, and never look around me. Even at night. Why? Because, I’M FIVE YARDS FROM MY FRONT DOOR!!! I have neighbors on either side of within five yards. I’m totally safe… right?

What do you think? I didn’t get to read the entire article but the tagline was enough for me.

*****

That’s all for today. I hope you guys and gals have a safe weekend… and don’t forget to feel yourself up!! (For some reason “preview” and “spell check” are not coming up… enjoy my mistakes.)

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