Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sudden Impact

You know how in the movies when different law enforcement agencies fight over jurisdiction and the overseeing of a particular crime scene? Well, I’ve finally discovered why this happens.

I was on my way home from work the other day when I witnessed a particularly hair rising incident. I was driving by a elderly cyclist, when she suddenly started wobbling and losing control. I continued to watch her in my rear view mirror, and sure enough, she toppled over, falling on her right side as she made contact with the unrelenting cement. Her body awkwardly absorbed the impact as she collapsed. Her unprotected head, obediently complying with the laws of inertia, collided with the sidewalk with a bone-crushing thud.

Without a moment’s hesitation, I pulled over, flicked on my hazards, and double-timed it to the woman to make sure that she was okay. When I reached her, she was sitting up with her hand lightly palpating the area of her head from which blood was gushing forth. Not necessarily, a Grey’s Anatomy geyser of spewing death, but more like a UFC knee to the forehead gash that would undoubtedly require a few stitches.  I asked her a few questions like whether she needed me to call an ambulance, and if she was okay, as I contemplated running back to the car for my first aid kit. By then, another motorist had approached and handed me a towel, which I was going to put on the wound and apply pressure. Before I could use the towel and ask the other Samaritan, who was holding his cell phone to call 911, an off duty, hot shot, fire-house paramedic couple came barreling in. The guy told us to step back as he snatched the towel, applied it to the lady’s head, while the girl knelt in front of the slightly disoriented woman and began to hurl a barrage of questions at her.

Now, I’m by no means a doctor, nurse, paramedic, or even a flight attendant , but applying first aid and CPR is not outside my scope of practice. In fact, I have to certify in both in order to keep my National Certification and local licensing current, as well as to remain eligible to work for my employer. I’m not inept at applying basic first aid. Thank you fucking power ranger paramedics, because God only knows how I may have let this lady bleed out had you not swooped in and held a towel to her head as you verbally assaulted her with questions in such rapid succession that she barely had time to respond. Questions are supposed to help you assess the degree of head trauma, not induce unconsciousness.

Eventually, the woman’s husband, who was a couple hundred meters in the rear, showed up and answered the paramedic’s questions concerning his wife’s medical history and how she fell. They also asked the owner of the towel to describe what had happened. I, however, the one who was essentially right next to her when she fell, and who saw everything unfold, was completely ignored. Of course, ignore the brown man.
After realizing that I was not needed, I jogged back to my car and joined the highway’s drove of homebound commuters. 

It was not until I began reflecting on the event, going over all of my action’s and thought processes did I realize how upset I was about how the paramedics handled the situation. I understand the importance of immediate medical response, but of equal and sometimes even more significance, is the necessity to gather vital information prior to jumping into action. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they showed up, but they should have immediately identified who they were and assessed the scene prior to playing hero. Unless you’re Derek Shepherd, or Captain James T. Kirk, you need to slow your roll.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mona Lisa's Smile

Why is it that every time I go to buy a new toothbrush, there seems to be a mass shortage? Literally, empty rows of preventative dental care instruments. I want to stave off gingivitis as much as the next person, but I don’t feel the need to by a 5 pack in order to do so? Are people not brushing anymore, is there not a sufficient demand for dental hygiene products that warrants keeping the shelves full? Or is it the exact opposite? Is it possible that people are going on toothbrush buying rampages in order to combat cavities that seem to be more prominent due to the consumption of our exorbitantly sugar-laden food? Are people trashing their toothbrushes every couple of weeks? No comprendo.

It’s not just the same store either. I've tried Wal-mart, Target, Rite-Aid, CVS…..nada. I mean, they have some, but  the pickins are pretty slim. Is there some crisis that I’m unaware of? Even if there were, would stocking up on toothbrushes be necessary? I don’t know what the logic there would be, but if I were going to weather a nuclear holocaust, the furthest thought from my mind would be dreading the idea of having to use the same toothbrush for more than 90 days.

Look, I’m a reasonable guy, and a laid back consumer. I don’t ask for much besides new and innovative, self sustaining, or recyclable products that have practical uses and make my life easier, but it’s not like I need a toothbrush that hovers over my sink and tells me that I’m late for work, or that I’ve missed a spot. I just want a plain old freaking toothbrush in a non- feminine color, without some radical maze of protruding rubber bristles diligently waiting to massage my gums. Simple and easy.  Geesh.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Tipping Point

If you are interested in a quick, but fascinating read, The Tipping Point, by Malcom Gladwell, is the book for you. The author has a fluid and compelling style of writing that is easy to understand as he presents groundbreaking analysis of scientific research on how trends either spark and spread like wildfire, or fizzle out and die. The book is about how small details, or subtle change can have an enormous impact on making ideas, trends, or even communicable diseases reach their "tipping point".

Ever wonder why some ideas/trends catch on and others do not? What makes ideas "sticky"? What kinds of people are involved in making things "tip"? Gladwell ingeniously illustrates the factors at play in all kinds of epidemics with gripping in-depth research that covers multiple fields of study. Combining an uncanny story telling ability with a talent for using analogies, Gladwell takes findings from a plethora of studies and serves them up in deliciously tantalizing morsels. Read it already. You'll be glad you did.

After reading the Tipping Point, I was so impressed with Gladwell's work, that I decided to read another book of his titled Blink. Blink is a book about rapid cognition, the kind of thinking that happens in the "blink" of an eye.

When are snap judgments good and when are they not? What kinds of things can we do to make our powers of rapid cognition better? Is this a skill that can be honed or mastered? Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are incompetent?

Gladwell draws on the most recent research in psychology and neuroscience to make you think about the way you see the world through your own eyes. Again, he masterfully retells compelling stories as he breaks down what happens in the two seconds when we make instant choices, follow our instincts, or make snap judgments. Gladwell also brilliantly describes how our intuition works and the subtleties that influence our decision making process. If you made any snap judgments about this book after having looked at his picture, then you most certainly need to read it! Another brilliant masterpiece!