My mother in law is home from hospital and I had to figure out some inconsistencies in her discharge orders.

So, I call the hospital on the telephone and give them her name and date of birth, “November 9, 37”. The person at the hospital, “Is that 1937 or 2037?”

I very much hope that the person at the hospital was just momentarily distracted. 🙂


My mother in law had been trying to ignore a “bad tooth” and, as expected, it finally was “bad” enough that she decided to go to an emergency dentist. The dentist immediately referred her to the nearby hospital emergency department for treatment of septicemia. The doctors are expecting her to remain in hospital for several more days.


It is happening again. This time, my mother-in-law.

My mother-in-law called to tell my wife that she was having severe back pain and then asked we take her to the emergency department at the nearby hospital.

The doctors have determined the cause of her pain to be multiple compression fractures in her lower spine and she has been admitted to hospital for treatment.


I’m Home.

I got home Friday evening around 6pm and fell asleep until the next morning.  Moving from day shift to night shift and back to day shift in the course of several days is hard on the body. 🙂

My uniforms are washed and my gear bag and day pack are re-packed and again ready to go.

The hospital where we set up the tents was the closest open hospital to the disaster zone and was designated to receive sick and injured persons from the disaster zone.  It was also expected that people in need would drive in their own cars until they encountered the hospital and “just show up”.

What the team did is called “ED decompression”.  In other words, help the hospital handle a current or expected overload of patients.

It was pretty busy.  We felt we did a good job and more importantly, the patients and their families felt we did a good job.

What I did was

  • Help set up the tents and stock them with medical supplies
  • Set up the 2-way radio equipment, the satellite telephones and help set up the computerized medical records systems.

And after that, repeat the following each day

  • Wake up
  • Shower, etc.
  • Dress
  • Eat
  • Do a quick shift change briefing with my shift replacement.
  • Monitor the electronics stuff to make sure it’s all working.
  • Change the 2-way radio batteries at the middle and end of the 12 hour shift.
  • Do a quick shift change briefing with my shift replacement.
  • Eat.
  • Sleep.

What isn’t mentioned is “drink coffee” as that was an ongoing process.   The only times I wasn’t drinking coffee was when I was showering and sleeping…and I’m not sure about not drinking coffee when I was asleep. 🙂

This routine is similar for all of my deployments and changes only if something breaks or some new requirement is suddenly made.  Then the two of us tech guys get really busy.

The job is fulfilling, rewarding, valuable and very necessary, but it is not often exciting and that’s how it should be.  If it’s exciting too often, then we are not doing our jobs correctly.


One Year

Well, I just realized it’s been a year since my first post.

Today, I’m in Maryland.

Currently, my job consists of having a forklift operator to bring a pallet of equipment to my work area so I can check to ensure the equipment is working properly.  If something is not working, I replace or fix it.  Once I’m satisfied everything is OK, I sign the paperwork and have the forklift operator return the pallet to it’s proper place in the warehouse.

it’s not very “sexy”, but it’s important and all of us there are highly motivated to do the job right.

Everyone there doing this work has, during a disaster response, felt the frustration of dealing with improperly maintained equipment.  When this frustration was brought up with management, they decided to have the users come in to maintain the equipment.  It’s a good idea.  Some dark night, while I’m helping set up a portable hospital’s computer networks and communications systems, I don’t want to ask, “Who is the idiot who last maintained this crap?” and find my name at the bottom of the maintenance log. 🙂