Loma Prieta

me, anime
I spent yesterday evening at the Academy of Sciences, during one of their Nightlife cocktails-date-night late-night shindigs. But I wasn't drinking; I was demonstrating. NERT was there, with one or two helmets and a lot of people in moulage, outside the Shake House in the earthquake exhibit. Dep't of Emergency Management were also there, and some nice folks with labeled eyedropper bottles for bleach to do water purification. Sadly they did not put bleach in any cocktails that I know of, despite being set up close to a bar.

We had an EMT there from the fire department who did first aid demos on our moulaged victims, so most of our team was either bloody or ridiculously bandaged up for the whole time. Watching the lady with the fake head wound drink beer was kinda hilarious. And they did a few rounds of preparedness trivia amongst ourselves when things were slow, which was funny. Our boss stopped by for a while, frazzled by all the events plus drill, and she hobnobbed with the DEM people and the museum execs who came by. Erika also told me she had a spare wheelchair, so I'll have two for the demo despite not being able to get the damn wheelchair van for the event. Coyotegoth is generously assisting me to drag wheelchairs to the park, and will then go off to be a screaming bloody victim for the day. I was hoping to have a handout ready, but the total lack of graphics software on my machine and my lack of time and brain function means it isn't gonna happen.

There was a nice Irishman working the bar who said he'd arrived here just a year after 1989, and I told him about how I'd been in London at the time and we'd been trying to call and call to find out if our family was okay, including my uncle the firefighter. I keep hoping to spot him in one of the photos, but no luck. Also, Loma Prieta is pretty much why NERT exists, and the whole CERT program is based on NERT, so it's important to us. The Marina folks who'd come out to hump hoses and move rubble and direct traffic went down to the fireboat house and said "Hey, SFFD, we want to know what to do for next time," and thus we achieved a scrappy little local program which became a major national preparedness program.

The Giants went to the World Series that night also, so the museum crowd was a little thinner than usual, they said. I was checking scores on my phone between NERTing.

It being the 25th anniversary of Loma Pietra, there's been a ton of stuff in the news as well as a ton of NERT stuff. I watched a TV special the other night, as well as a big chunk of actual footage from when it happened. Interested to note that one of the things the TV anchors kept saying was "Check your phone book, there's a page in the front that tells you how to turn off your gas". I didn't know that. And nobody has phone books today, so that avenue of information is gone.

I mostly caught people coming out of the Shake House and/or looking at a wall of big photos from 1906 and 1989. Having just watched the TV special I had extra tidbits about the big scenes. I also hung around a little in the exhibit, which is quite good; shows people what to put in their kit, how to turn off their gas, and so on. The gas exhibit ran out of mercaptan, unfortunately, so it no longer smelled by the end of the night.

Today: collapse and rest. Getting home was hard; I missed both buses, and that meant a 20 minute wait at a minimum, so I rolled partly home just to get out of the cold dark park. I had to use my phone as a flashlight to see the path a few times. I am so not outdoorsy. Made it to St Ignatius and saw that a bus might actually be coming, and was able to get out of the fog a bit that way. Very cold and tired by the time I made it home.

Tomorrow is the semiannual drill, at Fort Mason this time, and I am doing a Maker Fair booth thing demonstration of how to use a manual wheelchair. I'm a little bit sad at missing the rest of the drill, but since I just re-certified, I've done a lot of the stuff already. I might learn to do moulage for next time, too. Can't be that hard and I have previous makeup experience, I've just never latex-spirit-gummed a large fake wound to someone's forehead. I will see if I can buy a few during the after-Halloween sales and practice.

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me, anime
*blows dust off the input form*

Sorry, folks. And sorry, future me who may be trying to reference her diaryblog. Random daily complaints have mostly ended up on the Google thing because it's phone-able.
I'm gonna post some backdated/cutpasted/butchered entries soon.

This entry was originally posted at http://feyandstrange.dreamwidth.org/1200306.html. LJ-only users may comment there using OpenID.


awareness day: CFIDS

lazy, chronic fatigue
“A CFS patient feels the same or worse than congestive heart failure. The same or worse than late stage AIDS. If I had to choose between the two illnesses I would rather have H.I.V.”
- Dr Nancy Klimas, ME/CFS and AIDS expert

Today is the awareness day for CFIDS/ME, the illness which has crippled me. Chronic fatigue isn't a joke, and it isn't a very good name. Constant, chronic exhaustion of body and mind and immune system. It's been compared to undergoing intense chemotherapy. And we know next to nothing about why it occurs or how to mitigate it, let alone prevent or cure. If a patient is lucky enough to get properly diagnosed, all that can be done is to treat the symptoms and occasionally experiment with things like long-term high-dose antibiotics.

Sadly, I'm too tired today for a media blitz. We're having a heat wave and smog alert here, and that knocks me over pretty hard. And we don't have a huge media presence and tons of social media folks setting up easy-to-use click-here stuff with pretty graphics. I don't know if there's anything to write to our politicians about right now.

We need attention, research funds, and people to do the research. (Last I checked, patient advocates had finally bullied the Feds into actually assigning the research money we'd been promised years ago, but they didn't have a lot of applicants for the grants, either.)

http://solvecfs.org/ is all I've got.

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LJ only

me, anime
Dear Livejournal people: I have been having a heck of a time getting this stupid site to work for me worth a darn. As a result, I'm missing a lot of your posts, and LJ is being so grubby that it does not encourage me to come back. I miss you though! I'd love it if some more of you would echo post to Dreamwidth (which I haven't had any trouble with at all), but I know it's a bit of trouble. Anyway, I am trying to keep up with you all and still care, but LJ is being a pain in the heck (typo left because it's funny).

I really need a NERT icon.

moving, box

The annual NERT drill was last weekend. It was pretty amazing.

First amazing part: Coyotegoth and my dear digitalsidhe both agreed to be victims - covered in fake blood and screaming for help during practice triage or rescue, that is. This also meant they had to get up early like I did, but meant I had company.

Coyotegoth crashed here the night before, we went by DNA for breakfast sandwiches, and we strolled to the location - a school in the Castro. Unlike last year, I knew people and felt even more confident in my skills, and people knew me, too. I sent the lads off to be bloody-fied, and got in line to register and so on. Several familiar faces, registered just fine, and oh look new helmets!

I understand that we do need to get into line with the federal CERT program. (Which is based on us, not the other way around, but still.) So the new helmets are kelly green. The new logo is CERT standard buildings-in-background (albeit very SF buildings, including Coit and Sutro and a bridge). The new vests will be "lime" aka hi-vis yellow. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. We will no longer be mistaken for construction workers or street cleaners, which is nice. But the new helmets are not as visible. (Gonna stick some reflective tape on mine.) And I will always miss the old NERT logo with the city's phoenix on it, because damnit, phoenix is EXACTLY what NERT is about. I'm gonna ask if I can us it for T-shirts or something. On the good side, knowing the new colors means I can now shop for a vest. Issue vests tend to be cheap ones, and I am in serious need of some pockets.

I found where my neighborhood were assembling (along with several others), and found my coordinator. I said hi to various instructors and other familiar people from classes as I went, and lots of people recognized me. (Wheelchair = recognizable. Awkward when I don't remember them!) I gave directions to some newbies and read over the day's schedule and gossipped a bit with the SoMa coordinator, to the point where I missed part of the opening speeches. Well, speeches, meh. I have a lot of respect for the Chief, and I am glad that some of the city supervisors come out, but not enough that I feel the need to listen to them say the same things they say every time. (Also, there is a fireman-instructor who looks astonishingly like the mayor, to the point where several people mistook him for the mayor, or wondered why the mayor was wearing a chief's hat.) And there were apparently several other dignitaries present getting escorted by the super-coordinator. (And our program head later said that they were very, very impressed, whoever they were - so that's good, especially if it means we get more funding.)

We took the enormous group photo - Kai sneaked out and got some shots as well - every year it gets bigger. And then it was time, and we started setting up our staging areas.

I didn't see FEMA present, but they might have been among the 'dignitaries' (I know someone from CA FEMA was there last year). PG&E were supposed to be there with their disaster team, but failed to make it for some reason. Salvation Army were there with sandwiches and support, the ACS communications guys were too, and our Twitter guy was testing out Twitter comms. He asked me to find someone in my team who could handle Twitter, and I couldn't find anyone besides me who felt confident, so I did Twitter as well as a few other things during the first half of the day. He later reported that they'd learned a lot from the Twitter testing, and thanked me for my help.

At our staging area, our command staff were pre-assigned, and the rest of us started getting set up. I promptly assigned myself to be Safety Fox by shouting when somebody got their hand pinched in the command tent. ("Whoa! You okay? Everybody pause! Get your gloves on first, then we'll hoist this tent together, okay?") Our team leader agreed to my assignment, and said she also wanted me to be her "shouty person". Apparently I project well, or maybe most people don't actually know how to yell. Weird. I could never project enough in choir or theater, and I'm asthmatic! But neither of those are command-a-crowd shouting. Dunno. For the first half of the day I did that plus subbed in at a few seats in logistics. I like logistics.

Our SoMa team actually included FIVE PEOPLE. This is a historic high. Me, the coordinator, a radio guy we usually claim as ours because the Civic Center department is in even worse shape and he lives right on the line anyway, but we got two newbies too! Gave me extra incentive to throw some events.

After we'd sent out a few teams, our team leader started asking if people wanted to swap out to do some of the 'out' things (fire extinguisher practice, rescue, triage etc.) I said I'd like to do a triage run. Next run, I went out with a team to what I later learned was the Hazard Room. When we arrived at the classroom in question, another team was still inside. I was one of the more experienced people there, so I led a fast Q-and-A rundown of how to do triage to make sure our team was clued in. I also warned people to be safe and check for hazards, as the firemen love to set traps for us; the fireman in the room at the time was known for a fondness for electrocuting his trainees, so watch for wires.

For the actual triage, I staggered up out of my chair to use my cane; there's no room for the chair in there and I wanted to actually triage some people.

We got into the room and it was on 'fire'; somebody had discovered those fake Halloween torches that have a fan that blows fire-colored fabric up. Our extinguisher team (issued an air-only can) put that out, and we found a trapped victim. I called myself medical officer, although much medical wasn't going to be needed as it was a rescue dummy. (The fireman-instructor yelled at me for trying to keep his neck straight. "Do we teach that?" We do not. The EMTs have the same problem in triage, I was told later. But when you're about to drag a victim somewhere, it makes SENSE to hold his head, right? Argh.) Meanwhile, someone found 'poison gas' in another corner. We announced that we were GTFO, and the fireman agreed that we were not trained or equipped to handle that, which is why we GTFO if we find any. He then said to go on as if there wasn't gas, so we did. Found no other victims.

I sat by the victim's head, checking for pulse and breathing on the 'unconscious' victim, and trying to move its hands out of the way of the ongoing cribbing and removal of the rubble pile on its torso. Since its hands don't bend that way, I gave up after the first try and pretended his rubber hands weren't in the danger zone. Since I was concentrating on the patient, I wasn't much help on cribbing itself, and the situation was a tricky one.

And then a loud noise happened, and the firemen yelled "Aftershock, aftershock! What are you doing?" I was stiff from sitting on the floor, but managed to get my head and upper torso under a table and grab a leg while sort of protecting the patient's head with the rest of me (Which was convenient, but not what I am actually supposed to do, which is save myself first. I just couldn't crawl any faster.) Also, there'd been a previous loud noise (a generator starting up) which they'd told us to ignore, so it was hard to be primed for more shocks. I like to think that if I'd felt things shake I'd have been under that table on a surge of adrenaline. After we were berated for our general failure to get to safety fast enough, it was back to cribbing and dragging the patient out, where my team failed pretty badly at blanket roll but eventually got the dummy out.

That room was awesome.

We went back to our staging area and discovered it was lunchtime; the awesome folks from the fire department union had brought their antique engine with a built-in barbecue smoker on the back (really) and were cooking for all of us. People were going for food in shifts. I gladly went for food, then realized I'd lost a very important team member; my bottle of Gatorade. I'd set it down to go into the hazard room. I asked one of my team to look for it on her way to the loo (The women's bathroom was practically an expedition in itself) and went for food. But in the food line, I found my other team; Coyotegoth and Digitalsidhe, blood-smeared and in good spirits, and having made new friends. (They had also learned triage by the end of the day, having had so many people do it to them; sneaky way of teaching, yay!) I caught up the day with them, smooched my sweetie, grabbed some food, and munched a bit while catching up before heading back to my team. (I know I ate a whole beef dog and at least half a hamburger, which I tried to hold on to for later, but it got so windy later that the hamburger blew off my plate and to the ground. Darn.) I ran into Twitter guy, who said they'd learned a ton and would shut down for the day so folks could do other stuff. I promised to keep him posted if we ever got a real contact at Twitter.

I caught up with my team, and our assigned instructor told us we were going to switch to sending teams out more ad-hoc, partly because of lunch, partly to make sure people got to do things they hadn't yet. I put myself down to do a triage room, because the hazard room wasn't actually triage, and subbed in for a bit in logistics. Later I went to a triage room full of victims, some sneaky, some combative, some with tricky medical conditions. Despite the cane, I staggered through a room full of overturned chairs and tables with my partner following, triaged a handful of teenagers, and met up with the rest of the team coming back. (I briefly forgot capillary refill on the last one, causing a delay as my partner wasn't very clued in, but we got it eventually.) One victim sneaked back in after we'd checked everyone! Sneaky victim! But we caught her and tagged her, and we managed to tag everybody correctly for once. Go team.

We did away with green victims this year mostly, so as to let people do 'real triage' instead, which made a lot of sense. But later when I compared stories with my dear victims, they told me they'd had a green (that is, a basically OK) who insisted on being 'helpful', and another one who refused to leave their friend, in their room. (Which I never got to.) Several teams failed to tag those greens correctly as a result.

From the triage room, my SoMa team leader wanted to go do the hazard room; I said I'd tell our staging area where they were, since I'd already gone to the hazard room, and they should go fast fast because it was awesome, but it was close to shutdown time. I went back and reported my team's whereabouts, and we started taking apart the staging area.

As we were shutting down, I ran into the supercoordinator, and asked him how things had gone; he said it had gone well, and that he'd heard I was team leader and doing very well, and that he'd replied that of course I was doing well at it, he expected nothing less. I stammered and said thanks, but I hadn't even worn a vest all day (that is, the vests that team and department leaders wear at the staging area to distinguish them). I was very flattered, anyway, because he really knows his stuff and he's seen me in a lot of classes.

I stuck around for shutdown; the less-bloodied-now coyotes wanted to go see Mission Dolores. I asked for pictures of great-grandma's gravestone. (The Mission isn't very wheel-accessible) and we'd text to see if we could meet up later. I watched our team's pile of belongings until that last team came back for their stuff, then helped break down cardboards and so on. Towards the end, the FD realized that the concrete lumps with poles in them dotting the parking lot were in fact ours, not the school's. Firefighters started picking up the heavy lumps of concrete to carry them. I rolled one, but the second one wouldn't roll, so I heaved it onto my footboard and hauled it that way, faster than firemen. hee. Got the last things loaded up, lent my swiss army knife to our program chief to cut down some banners, checked in with a few other people about whether that thing over there was ours and should we pack it or what. Tried texting the boys, had trouble seeing phone in bright sunlight, gave up and called them to coordinate a meeting place, was briefly interrupted by the program chief returning my knife which I'd forgotten all about (you know, the one on my keychain, with my house keys? Derp), and managed to coordinate meeting anyway. We tried to go for ice cream, but the Bi-Rite line was super long despite the park being under reconstruction, so we went back to our place and ordered pizza. (From DNA, where we'd had breakfast, thus bookending the day with tasty DNA bacon cheese goodness.) I think I passed out pretty fast after that.

It was a great day. Things went very well and I felt good about my skill levels. Yay!

I made the paper. A reporter waylaid me after the hazard room, and I cheerfully agreed to talk to her since I figured we were allowed (ordinarily it's supposed to be our official spokesman only, but if she was inside the school I figured she'd asked, and her questions were safe too; my personal impressions etc. rather than program type questions.)
I quote the article, for posterity:

"Anne Lastname, 40, said she signed up two years ago, both for safety and for tradition. She comes from a family of firefighters, but Lastname is disabled and gets around by wheelchair and cane. That disqualifies her from fighting fires, but not from helping in a disaster, she said.

"I wanted to make sure I could do everything possible," Lastname said. "I wanted to be able to help myself and keep my family safe. And I want to be able to help my neighbors."

Plus, she said, it's a fun way to get involved in her community. And it's a lot more productive a hobby than some other things she could do.

"It's not like I'm going to knit myself out of a burning building," she said. "

No offense, knitters, but have you *seen* me try to knit? Maybe you skilled and talented types can whip some Kevlar yarn into a handy rope ladder, but not me.

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February fait accompli

me, anime
February, you're still a jerk.


NERT: One outreach event, quarterly meeting, two long classes. Feeling pretty good about my skills and learning. Need to do more work.

Mom: arrived mid-month, I helped her get settled in as much as possible what with her being in a hotel still. She's learning her way around, house-hunting and so on.

Social stuff: Got to see Knights of Badassdom which made me very happy, and ran into some friends there. Had dinner with a very old friend and caught up. Helped host the visit of some out-of-towners, including their toddler. Had tea with another old friend visiting town despite tea and scheduling mishaps. Had to flake on one or two lesser events. Had a couple of nice dinners with sweetie. Late on invites to the snake-wrangling.

Science: Participated in a survey of queer disabled ladies about microaggressions. Enlightening and supportive.

House: I swear I cleaned up some but it grows back.

Am behind on minor bills and such like. Got some banking things sorted out. Need to get on some medical appointments and things.

February: still a "hey, we made it through this bastard" kind of month.

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Symbols we throw rocks at

locals, san francisco
Maybe growing up as a symbol of a nation has taught me something about separating how people feel about a symbol instead of how they feel about just me. Yes, it sucks to be attacked for my employer/country of origin/other privileged status, and it doesn't make those attacks right, but I can see that this isn't really about me. I try, anyway. Techies, shuttle riders, it's not about you. It's about your privilege, and it's about other people who are hurt and angry and getting seriously screwed over looking for a high-profile target. People threw rocks at me because I was an American. It wasn't about me, it was about US foreign policy. It didn't mean that everyone who criticized US foreign policy was wrong, or that everyone who did so was advocating throwing rocks at kids. And my saying that the rock-throwing wasn't personal doesn't mean I didn't want to scream and throw rocks back. But I try not to base my foreign policy arguments on it.

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Huge weight off my chest there

me, anime
So my mother's earthly goods were packed up back in October or so and sent to storage and moved to - somewhere. At that point the entire moving company literally went under and the containers my mom's stuff were packed in were kinda repo'ed and her stuff put in storage - um, somewhere.

And then we never got a bill. I have been worried that everything she owned and loved had been sold at auction ages ago. Closest thing to a real anxiety attack I've had in ages, yay meds. (But that's the kind of thing that might make anybody hyperventilate, I think.)

I managed to track down the storage company that had inherited Mom's stuff. I've been waiting this week to hear from them - I was gonna give up and phone on Sun or MOn, and my terror of phones means I was pretty worried to do that.

I got an email today saying yes, they have her stuff secure, and where should they send the bill. WHEW.

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December summation

me, anime
Lots of social things.

I made it to a bunch of social things, and I may have saved Christmas, by throwing Baconmas and a Christmas Eve dinner party when all the otehr plans fell apart. But I also had a lot of fibro attacks and sleepfail and so missed some of the parties I didn't throw. I shall blame the cold for the fibro, but I dunno what's up.

Got the house cleaned up, with a lot of help from friends, so we could throw those parties. Am going to try to keep it cleaner, and am hoping to resolve a few storage issues soon if the storage gods are kind.

I am now officially the co-coordinator of SoMa NERT. Will be stepping up more with that in January and/or when not constantly in a ton of pain. My co-coordinator is totally cool with this. We all do what we can. I have a to-do list and ideas, and my ideas and things to try were approved of, so I feel pretty good about that.

I appear to have forgotten to do a November monthly summary at all, and haven't been blogging or writing here much. Not in a very wordy mood, I guess, but I should keep a better diary for myself at least.

Did pretty well on the present front; folks liked their gifties, even picky darling. I am sad that the belated wedding party thank-you gifts are slightly delayed again, but I will get this done, budget be darned.

Mom's present is Internet access via her cellphone, which is a great gift when you don't have any. I am glad to report that she is now staying with a nice sane friend instead of crazy lady, and that she hopes to have the house on the market mid-month.

Re November:
Made stuff for Thanksgiving and made it to Thanksgiving and it went okay and I didn't end up in a ton of pain or overdoing it, despite somehow ending up cooking stuff even though I swore I was not cooking this year.

When I look at the budget and wince, I should remember that a fair chunk of the reason I appear to have overspent is because we bought Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner/brunch/food for a lot of people, many of them who wouldn't have had such a nice time if we hadn't bought the food or thrown the party. While I'm sure there were a few other cuts that could have been made in my spending, I shouldn't worry about it too much; feeding the extended community when nobody else could is exactly what our money is for.

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Holiday things: been kinda crazy.

me, anime
I've been falling over a bit more often than we prefer around here. Fibro pain, migraines, yeah whatever, the stuff Krampus sticks in my stocking can go away now.

I'm not quite sure how I ended up with such a busy Christmas - dinner for eight orphans on the Eve, followed by Baconmas - but I'm glad we can do it. Christmas alone sucks, and parties are fun. (Glad we are going out for NYE though; one more party after all that would probably flatten me.)

I'm really glad we're in a position to pull emergency parties out of our hats and feed our friends and share the love. And we needed to clean the house anyway. We *want* to be the people who can make emergency parties happen and entertain and feed our friends. Ideally in a cleanish house, but heck, that's a detail. This is what the living room is *for*.

I have all the groceries, minus a few trivia items we can live without. I have all the presents - wrapping some is next after this rest break. Some of 'em are a bit last minute (Hahaha, arrived in today's UPS, thanks Amazon Prime) but they're here. Tree is up - and to think I almost talked myself into not putting it up this year! It's all good.

Back to wrapping and cooking and making ready for guests. Yay!

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