How a close call with a net ball launcher became 5 hours of fear

first_imgEditor’s Note: John Bogert is on vacation but has selected some of his favorite past columns to run while he’s away. This one originally was published Dec. 5, 2006. It’s a rule, and all parents know this, that a kid can’t be injured except at an impossibly inconvenient moment. Last Wednesday afternoon, I had a column to finish and an interview to do when my son’s physical education coach called. Face it, there is no reason on Earth for a P.E. coach to call unless your kid is a great pro prospect or he just got hurt. “Ah, look, er, ah ?” the coach began. One of the small advantages of being older than almost everyone including nearly all coaches is the ability to use your age and perceived wisdom against younger people. In short, cut the BS, Jack, and tell me what’s going on! “Well, your son was playing with this net ball launcher thing and the ball hit him square in the eye,” he said with great reluctance. I didn’t, of course, know what a net ball launcher thing was and had been, until that moment, rooting for knee abrasions. Still, in the automatic triage that is the parental brain, eye injury stands some small distance removed from head injury while remaining 120 heartbeats above the hoped-for ripped skin. “There has been some bleeding in the eye,” he said. “In the white of his eye?” I asked, still searching for a minimal injury. “No, in the iris.” OK, this was serious – eye, blood, blindness! There is no end to this emotional downward spiral familiar to anyone who has resided in that mystic place that arrives with the birth of a child and never ends. One second you don’t know this baby from Joe at the mattress factory. The next minute, it is in your hands and in your life blood so deep you’d gladly give it your lungs if needed. So I’m thinking, I have two eyes! He can have one or both. What am I using them for anyway? Then, on a far more practical level, I began triangulating on his position in the nurse’s office at his school. Who is closest? Mother, eldest sister, Aunt Kathy the nurse ? sister! Sister is 24 and cool in a crunch, sister is of this Earth, solid, dependable. I sign off with gym teacher and find sister, who is not 4 miles from her brother and immediately on her way. Two hours later, all three of us are in the emergency room. They had taken him in quickly and I’m thinking, good deal. I’m also looking at his left eye. I have never seen one so red. Nor had I ever seen an iris filled halfway to the pupil like a fishbowl with some darker fluid, but he wasn’t in pain. So we waited, then waited longer. If you’ve ever been in an American emergency room, you already know that waiting is what you do in these places for all the usual reasons. Because we do not have a national health system, because 37million of us are uninsured, this is where people come when they get sick. It’s a kind of supernatural place, too. Here a routine $80 office visit for a strep throat magically becomes a $500, five-hour wait that a lot of people can’t or won’t pay for anyway. Billions down some far-off money hole, but we can’t figure out how to get some kid’s ouchy throat looked at in a financially realistic way. Anyway, the wait is parceled out equally. Fours hours later, a guy in a white coat walks in, shines a light in my kid’s eye from 3 feet away and pronounces him fine. When I mentioned the blood, he takes a closer look and, I swear this is true, says, “Good call. Looks like a hyphema.” Think. What I was looking at already had a name. And guess what, the guy in the coat wasn’t a doctor. He was a nurse. The unit we were in didn’t have a doctor, which meant that I had to employ the tool that has become a necessity in grossly understaffed and overworked emergency rooms. I made a lot of noise. Not loud noise, just impressive vocabulary noise, this-guy-might- cause-trouble noise until an eye man was summoned a mere five hours after our arrival. It wasn’t as bad as it appeared. He needed medication, needed to stay home from school and might someday develop glaucoma if the eye’s drainage pipes are damaged. But he’s OK for now. Only I’m not, and haven’t been for many years. I want to hear your comments. Connect with me at john.bogert@dailybreeze.com, call 310-543-6681 or send a letter to Daily Breeze/John Bogert, 5215 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503-4077. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Sam Allardyce expects Dame N’Doye to complete Sunderland move imminently

first_img1 Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce expects striker Dame N’Doye to complete his move to the Stadium of Light shortly and hopes the Senegal international can have an instant impact on the club’s Barclay’s Premier League survival bid.Striker N’Doye, 30, sold by Hull to Turkish club Trabzonspor for £2.2million in August, was at the Academy of Light on Monday afternoon to finalise the move.“Dame N’Doye is going through the process,” Allardyce said. “He’s in the building at the moment.“We hope to pull off a deal until the end of the season with a view to a more permanent move.“He’s experienced the Premier League before with Hull City last season and scored five goals in 12 matches.“I hope he can emulate that for us or maybe do even better.”N’Doye joined Hull from Lokomotiv Moscow in a £3million deal in early 2015 and Allardyce feels the forward’s previous spell in the English top flight will help him settle in quickly as Sunderland bid to beat the drop.“Having had that experience last year, when Hull were struggling, and scoring on a regular basis, it can be very important for him settling in straight away and scoring for us,” said Allardyce, who hopes to further strengthen his squad.“We’ve been linked with 39 players since December and probably 30 of them have been wrong,” he said.Allardyce, whose side were knocked out of the FA Cup following the 3-1 weekend defeat at Arsenal, has quickly turned his attentions to Wednesday’s crucial match at relegation rivals Swansea and next Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off at Tottenham.Victory for the Black Cats, second bottom, would see them close to within a point of the Welsh side, who are one place and two points above the bottom three.Sunderland completed their first transfer window signing last week when they paid a reported fee of around £750,000 for former Bayern Munich defender Jan Kirchhoff and he could be involved at Swansea.“We’ll train him for the next couple of days and I think we’ll probably take him in the squad,” Allardyce added.“We’ll probably make a decision (on Tuesday) whether we go with him as substitute or whether he starts.“He’ll certainly be involved against Tottenham. Hopefully he can hit the ground running. That’s the hard bit for a young man who enters the Premier League for the first time at this time of year.“Can they hit the ground running and can he produce what we know he can produce straight away? That’s the hard bit.“But it’s the risk we had to take at this moment in time – one, with the quality of the player and two, with the position we’re in – because for me we’ve got to do something more to become more resilient defensively.” Dame N’Doye last_img read more

Most reject noose bill

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat Kings I do support Richardson’s making the hanging of nooses a crime because I think it’s an expression of hate. It should be a crime. – VIRGINIA CICORIA Rancho Palos Verdes When they used to hang nooses and (hang) horse thieves and other criminals in the country, they had a (lower) crime rate. More than likely, they’re just trying to bring this up because they can find race in anything. – DUANE CONELY Today we publish answers to our Question of the Week. We’ll ask another question Sunday. This week’s question: “South Bay Rep. Laura Richardson supports making the hanging of nooses a crime under certain conditions. Is this a good way of deterring expressions of hate, or an assault on protected freedoms?” I don’t see her saying anything about all the Mexican flags that are flying all over town. And what about the Halloween hate crime in Long Beach? Richardson, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and now Oprah are in fact creating white racists. How very sad. – TOM BALL Culver City El Segundo Our society has enough laws already. More laws will not improve anything. We need to define what we really stand for and then stand. – ANITA THOMAS Torrance It’s incredible that someone at this level of government would even place something like this on the docket. It will be interesting to meet her, and when I do, I’ll certainly let her know my feelings also. – GUY HOCKER Hawthorne 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Assembly OKs health care bill

first_imgAssembly Republicans voiced strong concerns over the bill, calling it “socialized medicine” and “doomed to failure.” They compared the proposed state insurance agency to “bloated bureaucracies” such as the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Internal Revenue Service. Many Republicans said they supported the idea of universal health care but said a single-payer system is not the way to accomplish it. “This government-run health care scheme will jeopardize the quality care that Californians have come to expect and drive businesses out of our state,” said Assemblyman Greg Aghazarian, R-Stockton. “The reason health care is messed up is the government,” argued Assemblyman Ray Haynes, R-Murrieta. “So why would we want to create even more government?” The bill’s proponents took issue with the Republicans’ claim that it is synonymous with “big government.” “What \ is not is `government-run health care,”‘ Kuehl said during a news conference before Monday’s vote. “All providers remain as they are, private or public, but they would actually get a chance to treat patients as they think best.” The bill passed the Senate by a straight party-line vote of 25-15 in May 2005. Monday’s action in the Assembly returns it to the Senate for a final vote on amendments. The bill is expected to reach Schwarzenegger’s desk by Sept.1. During an appearance in July at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, Schwarzenegger said, “I don’t believe in universal health care. “I don’t believe that government should be getting in there and should start running a health care system that is kind of done and worked on by government,” he said. Under Kuehl’s bill, the state’s health care overhaul would be partially financed by converting existing governmental programs to the new system, while the rest would come from consumers and their employers in place of private insurance. All told, the state would save nearly $8 billion in the first year, according to an analysis by the independent Lewin Group that was commissioned by the bill’s supporters. The report found that consolidating the health care system into a single plan would significantly reduce administrative costs, a finding the bill’s proponents seized upon when arguing in its favor. Under the measure, “the billions of dollars now wasted on insurance middlemen, CEO pay, record corporate profits, overhead and advertising will be used to provide good, affordable care for all who need it,” said Jerry Flanagan of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a consumer advocacy group based in Santa Monica. Although the bill’s fate is uncertain, supporters said the Assembly’s action marked a turning point in the fight for universal health care. “Today’s vote shows momentum and a sense of inevitability that this policy will be the law of California, whether in the next month or after the next ballot,” Flanagan said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – The Assembly narrowly approved a bill Monday that would provide health insurance to all residents, a move that would make California the only state to offer government-operated universal health care. The bill, which passed the 80-member house on a largely party-line vote of 43-30, received strong Democratic backing. But supporters say pressure from the insurance industry and Republican lawmakers is likely to doom the measure when it reaches Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The governor’s office has declined to take a position on the bill, but Schwarzenegger in the past has voiced his opposition to single-payer systems. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesThe bill by Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, must be approved by the state Senate before it heads to the governor’s desk. It would provide every California resident with health insurance through a system controlled by a newly created entity called the California Health Insurance Agency. The agency would be under the control of a health insurance commissioner appointed by the governor. In April, Massachusetts passed a law requiring all residents to buy health insurance or face legal penalties, essentially treating health care the same way it does auto insurance. “The health care system today is teetering on collapse,” said Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu ez, D-Los Angeles. Providing universal health care, he said, “would help California take leadership at a national level.” last_img

Spirit of the season: Consumerism can come at a steep price

first_imgCultural and economic conditions can also compel families who would like to care for their children full time, but don’t think they can afford it, to turn their kids over to someone else. For some parents, no doubt, NannyCam is a desperate attempt to stay involved in their children’s day-to-day lives. Somehow the great promise of feminism – equality for women, with complete access to all the opportunities that men have in the marketplace – has morphed into what often seems like an obligation, not a choice. “Liberation” has in too many cases made wage slaves of moms. Moreover, the promised freedom of the sexual revolution has, over time, only freed men of the need to be responsible husbands and fathers. Legions of single moms have been left to fend for themselves and their kids without the help or support to which they should be entitled. The result is that in a society that grows richer and richer – with bigger, more opulent malls selling fancier and pricier stuff – we increasingly find ourselves too poor or too disinterested to raise our own kids. In a culture that tends to value success, status and possessions above all else, it’s the people who care little for these things – small children – who end up being valued least. The lavishness on display at the mall is a testament to our nation’s incredible material prosperity as well as its dire spiritual poverty. The best present any kid can get isn’t for sale, not even at Westfield Topanga. Chris Weinkopf is the Daily News’ editorial-page editor. Write to him by e-mail at chris.weinkopf@dailynews.com. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: John Jackson greets a Christmas that he wasn’t sure he’d seeThere’s something inherently creepy about NannyCam, beyond its Big Brother quality. And that’s the product’s intended customer – parents who willingly leave their children with people they don’t trust. The existence of NannyCam raises some uncomfortable questions: If you’re so suspicious of your baby sitters that you feel compelled to spy on them, why in the world would you entrust your children to their care? And isn’t the best way to monitor your kids to take care of them yourself? For many parents, of course, especially single ones without relatives nearby, no good child-care options may be available. For these families, a kindly stranger in the home may be a better option than day care, even if it requires video surveillance. And there are also families for whom neither parent can stay at home because two incomes may be a financial necessity. I can relate: For 2 1/2 years after the birth of our first child, my wife worked part-time, although we both would have preferred otherwise. Fortunately, we were blessed to discover that with some moderate belt-tightening, plus the savings that come with having only one parent in the work force – like dropping into a lower tax bracket and reducing our commuting costs – we could make ends meet on a journalist’s income. Still, I’m dubious that a high proportion of the shoppers at Westfield Topanga fall into the group for whom two incomes is a necessity and not a lifestyle. Not at a mall with a full-service concierge and a valet parking area lined with Hummers and Jaguars. Sometimes our wants and expectations have a way of inflating our perceived needs. A simple errand this past week took me to Canoga Park’s Westfield Topanga mall, where, following a recent $500 million upgrade, nothing is simple. Along with hordes of other Christmas shoppers, I navigated my way through an endless maze of stores – 140 new shops featuring high-end boutiques like Furla, Burberry and Coach. Here $500 pairs of shoes sell alongside $2,000 purses; vendors hawk iPods, Blackberries and Bluetooths; a hamburger goes for $15. Everything at this mall is big – even the Target and the merry-go-round have two stories. Miles of Christmas lights descend from the rafters. A 300-foot glass, arched ceiling hangs over an ultra-hip food court, where meals are served with flatware and on china. But lurking within this monument to mammon was a hint of the price of opulence: NannyCam. NannyCam is a tiny, wireless video camera that allows parents to keep tabs on their kids’ baby sitters. The device takes pictures throughout the day, and either stores them on a VCR or sends them via the Internet to Mom and Dad’s desktops at work. At Westfield Topanga, these gizmos are on sale at one of those corridor kiosks that typically carry video games or custom license-plate frames. Apparently they’re the ultimate accessory for the working shopper-parent. last_img read more