The hot new trend on this blog is to scritch up a piece of yesteryear and drag it back into the light of day. Today’s bit of regurgitated kibble comes courtesy of the Abyss “way back” archives. In fact, this was the seventh post I ever wrote. It comes back to the empty nest all the way from September 2009, also known as Abyss Launch Month.
Back then I documented my efforts (in vain) to get away from crappy e-commerce job #2. I was out schlepping around and subjecting myself to the ultimate in extreme humiliation: Going into a place of business and asking for an application form like Oliver groveling for a little extra gruel. And then filling out their endless invasive and offensive forms until your hand shrivels up into a hook hand. A hook hand!!!
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Behind The Tweets is a new ongoing feature here at the Abyss. In this series of posts I’ll select a tweet (most likely one of my very little nuggets of delight) and provide the exciting back story that 140 characters just didn’t allow.
Finally, the rest of the story will be told.
This is just too much fun. Let’s get started!
It was a normal day at work. It happened to be New Year’s Eve. My wife had the day off but my place of employment was open. Wide open. In fact, it was the only place open on the entire block. I’m just lucky that way.
I was at my workstation which, as I’ve discussed before, is only a few feet from the toilet. I’m just lucky that way.
It all started when the boss went into the restroom. In a matter of seconds, there was an explosion of noise that could only be described as a “whoopie cushion on steroids.” I still can’t believe I have to listen to this shit. (Pun intended.) It happens every day, and not to put too fine a point on it, the dude holds nothing back.
OK. I can grok that. In the end (heh) we all have to deal with forces of nature beyond our control. It might be somewhat unpalatable, but what can I do?
Then, I heard the toilet flush. I happened to be walking by on my way to the back.
A mere second later the door flung open and the boss leaped out.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!
There had been no sound of running water. Oh geez, help me hang on, he didn’t wash his hands!!!
What happened next could only happen in a Stephen King novel or my life. (Take your pick.) I shit you not.
He jumped into my personal space (that’s another story), held up his hand, and said, “High five!”
Oh God, no. Hell no. I could only stand there like a deer in the highlights, my analytical brain doing its best to process information more quickly than normal. Nothing in life had prepared me for this moment.
My thoughts drifted back to Home Economics in the 7th grade. Yeah, good times. I was the only boy in the class, hanging out with the girls, eating chocolate chip cookies, while my peers were in Wood Shop making lamps out of blocks of wood. Yeah, I knew what I was doing even back then!
I remembered the day when my Home Economics teacher drew a figure of a girl on the blackboard with lines emanating outwards from her that indicated stink. The message of that day has not been forgotten. Hygiene is important.
But even that class and nothing later in life had done anything at all to prepare me for this particular social situation. How does one handle something like this?
I had to do something. My boss was standing there with his hand still up and waiting for me to respond. It was awkward as hell. Finally I found my voice.
“I can’t,” I managed to choke out. “I just can’t.”
In retrospect, with the luxury of time to consider possible responses, I should have just given him the high five, then gone to the bathroom to sterilize. I still have my anti-bacterial hand soap and squirt bottle of hand sterilizer in my cubbyhole at work. It wouldn’t have killed me.
But I just couldn’t.
And now you know the rest of the story. You have been behind the tweet. Good day!
As one of the foremost “poop correspondents” on the internet it falls on me (no pun intended) to bring you this explosive story. Here’s my report filed from the trenches…
Recently, Brea thoughtfully tipped me off regarding some interesting news in the medical world. News that was right up my alley (so to speak).
To put this succinctly, poop transplants are now being performed as “last-ditch treatments” in the fight against an illness known as clostridium difficile or more commonly as “CDF/cdf” or “c. diff.”
According to Wikipedia, c. diff “is a species of Gram-positive bacteria of the genus Clostridium that causes diarrhea and other intestinal disease when competing bacteria are wiped out by antibiotics.”
The disease can be remarkably hard to treat and can be fatal. According to a story in the Associated Press, C. diff is “a germ that so ravages some people’s intestines that repeated tries of the strongest, most expensive antibiotic can’t conquer their disabling diarrhea.”
In dire cases, a new treatment consisting of a “transplant” of fecal matter from a healthy person is performed. A doctor in the story claims, “[fecal matter] is the ultimate probiotic.” (Probiotics are live microorganisms thought to be healthy for the host organism.)
I can only imagine how that doctor/patient consultation goes down. “Your problem, as you well know, is diarrhea. Our plan is to take poop from someone healthy and put it inside you. Poop will be the solution to your diarrhea.”
Sounds ass backwards to me.
It’s a little more complicated than that. The transplant procedure involves relocation of an “entire bacterial neighborhood” from the healthy donor.
Here’s the fun part. C. diff is thought to commonly be a “nosocomial infection.” That’s just a fancy way of saying the C. diff infection is often the “result of treatment in a hospital or a healthcare service unit.”
You go in for health care and come away with a little unplanned bonus. Interesting how that works, eh?
According to Wikipedia, a stay in the hospital up to two weeks represents a 13% chance to pick up the C. diff infection. A stay of four-weeks or more and that rate jumps to a whopping 50 percent!
I wish I was making this stuff up. All I can say is, “I’m not shitting you!”
As a poop correspondent, I’ve often sat around spending my free time daydreaming about things like hand washing rates. (Hand washing represents a substantial chunk of my “Poop Manifesto” I’m hoping to release someday.) We’ve all heard the stories about public handrails with more than 500 different sources of fecal matter on them. Or how people in public restrooms tend to wash their hands more often when they are being watched.
As a civilization we are apparently not big on the whole concept of hand washing and cleanliness. Even though science has told us about the dangers for a long time now.
Imagine a place where you think hand washing would reign supreme. Imagine people who you think would be best at it. It isn’t too hard to surmise that a place like an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) within a hospital might be such a place, right? And that people like doctors might be experts at washing hands, right? We’ve all seen the surgeons at Mash 4077 like Hawkeye, Trapper John and B.J. Hunnicutt “scrub” before working on patients. For them it was a big deal.
As it often turns out, it’s no big surprise (at least to me) when reality turns out to be just a wee bit different.
When doing my research, one thing I noticed was that the ICU industry (for lack of a better term) seemed to be bragging about hand washing rates of 97%. My reaction: How the hell is that something to brag about in a frickin’ hospital???
But it’s worse than that. Much worse. Studies have found that hand washing rates in ICUs are appalling low. Even after “awaresness campaigns,” specialized training, and even when employees are told that their hand washing will be monitored. And these are the people that take care of the sick?
One study found that within an ICU setting, there was a hand washing rate of 72.8%. Nurses were best with a rate of 97.5%. Technicians came in second with a rate of 47.7%. Are you ready to guess who came in last place? Yep, doctors, with a rate of 37.6%.
37.6%? Holy shit!
The study also found that an “educational program” about hand washing improved the hand washing rate among nurses and technicians, but not doctors. Said the study, “No statistically significant changes in the handwashing behaviour among doctors was observed during the study period.” Is this the “God complex” at work? Apparently doctors don’t like to be told what to do, about anything, from anyone. Oh, put your hands on me, doctor! And some people actually want to date doctors?
Side story: My wife worked in a doctor’s office. It was a small office where people sat a few feet away from the restroom. When someone did their business you could hear every “plop,” if you know what I mean. More importantly, however, you could hear if running water was turned on. Running water that would imply that hand washing was taking place. And guess who used the restroom and didn’t turn on the water before coming back out? Yep! The doctor! One of my favorite expressions used to be, “The doctor will fee you now.” But I think that’s old and busted. From now on, I’m updating my phrase to “The doctor will pee you now.” It think that’s a lot more apropos.
So, it seems to me, we just might have identified at least one culprit when it comes to nosocomial infections, eh? Do a serious internet search regarding the problem of simply getting health care workers to wash their hands and you begin to get an idea about the magnitude of the problem we’re facing.
The good news is that, since getting it’s humble start in hospitals and such, C. diff now seems to be making headway in the “outpatient setting,” also known as the general community outside of hospitals. You know, where people like you and me live our daily lives.
Humans! Is there anything they can’t do?
Thanks, Brea, for getting me started! 🙂
Last Saturday night Sarah Palin delivered a speech to a “tea party convention,” whatever that is. The tea party movement, as we all know, is a bunch of Obama-hating right wing conservatives. It was reported that they were even registering people as Republicans right on the floor of this “convention.”
All the talk about the tea party movement being non-partisan and having no leadership and not being tied to any one party is just a smokescreen. When you talk about the tea party movement you are talking about the conservative right-wing and you are talking about Republicans. Just dump all that plausible deniability crap about being “non-partisan,” okay? It doesn’t suit you.
Palin, in her speech, asked the crowd a version of the question I’ve been hearing from rightie wingnuts for the last six months:
As you can see she spruced up the the standard talking point question with her own unique personalized stylings and flair.
“Hopey changey stuff.” Does anyone really talk that way? I mean, really?!?!?
Even someone on the national stage using crib notes sloppily written on her own hand? Really?
That irony was delicious. While she stood there addressing the tea party crowd and criticizing Obama for his usage of teleprompters she had handwritten notes on her hand. ON HER HAND!
Personally I could care less if she had something written on her hand. I wouldn’t cross the street to criticize her for that. But the hypocrisy of criticizing Obama for his teleprompter usage at the same time is simply unbelievably stunning. The phrase “unmitigated gall” comes to mind.
But don’t you dare criticize her for it. Oh no, then of course you’d be one of those people that seem to unfairly nitpick her every move. The kind of person that makes her ask, “Golly gee. Don’t they have anything better to do?” Never mind that she was in the act of nitpicking Obama. That’s different. Nitpick them = good. Nitpick me = bad.
The thing about writing crib notes on your hand is that it seems to me it’s either your habit or it’s not. Personally I’ve never written notes to myself on my own body. Ever. Not even a phone number for a hot woman in a bar. I’d rather go without. 🙂
It seems to me, though, that if you are a famous woman in her mid-40’s writing crib notes on your own hand then chances are pretty good it’s something you’ve probably been doing your entire life. It’s probably a lifelong habit. It’s probably something you learned early and used often, like in elementary school, junior high, high school, in a beauty contest, college, while governor of a state and maybe even while running for vice president of the United States.
And what’s the all-time number one reason for using crib notes in the first place?
Now that is something that wouldn’t surprise me one little bit.