WWTDD? (What Would The Donald Do?)

2020 has been a year to reckon with so far, and we’re only three and a half months into it. In my opinion, it’s been like unto getting a root canal and a conscious colonoscopy simultaneously. And maybe having a kidney stone, too.

callie-torres-on-the-mend

I need a crash cart, and a catcher’s mitt, STAT!

2020 would have been a hallmark year anyway. It’s a Leap Year. It’s an Olympic Year. And it’s an Election Year in the United States. It already had major significance written all over it.

And then the Coronavirus thing happened, and the whole world seemed to go ape-fuckin’ batshit crazy overnight.

Whether or not we all die to death from the widely and wildly hyped Coronavirus global pandemic, one thing has become painfully obvious. We are all going to be greatly affected by it.

Seeing how almost everything has been ground to a screeching halt as a result of the precautionary measures to prevent its spread, even here in bucolic Mexico, I decided I’d try to examine the evolution of how we ended up here. I’m going to do it by outlining Donald Trump’s responses to it because his lack of action, and actions, are the easiest things to find on The Google®.

If you want a different approach, do your own goddamn research. That said, you might as well read my post. You’re probably not doing anything, or going anywhere right now either…

* * * *

The first thing everyone needs to remember about this crisis is President Trump disbanded the National Security Council directorate team for global health and security and bio-defense in 2018.

When he was asked why he did it, he said, “I don’t know anything about it.” In his defense, he also said this: “This is something that you can never really think is going to happen.”

And he has a point. Never, (The Black Death) in the entire history of our planet, (The Spanish Influenza) has there ever (SARS) been (Ebola) a global (AIDS) pandemic. No one (The Andromeda Strain) has ever predicted (Outbreak) that this (The Walking Dead) was (Jurassic World) something (The Center for Disease Control) that was even (The World Health Organization) remotely possible. 

* * * *

Donald Trump was aware of the Coronavirus way back in January of this year. At that time he said, “We have it totally under control…  It’s going to be just fine.”  White House acting budget director Russell Vought said this: “Coronavirus is not something that is going to have ripple effects.”

* * * *

Does anyone know when people started hoarding toilet paper? Better yet, why? Who was Hoarder Zero, and how did everyone else come to the conclusion that five hundred rolls of toilet paper would keep them safe?

Of all the weird things that have happened so far, this is the most mystifying event to me. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, not a gastrointestinal bug. Even if it were cholera on steroids, I fail to see how stocking up on toilet paper would help much.

I am a psychiatric nurse, so I welcome the input of other medical professionals who understand internal medicine, disease processes, and medical treatments far better than I do. However, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that this reaction was caused, in part, by the fact that a great many people have no idea how medical issues work.

Case in point, there are some people that believe sugar causes diabetes. Additionally, when asked why they were taking medications to manage a medical condition, a great many of my former patients had this response: “My doctor told me to take it.” They couldn’t even tell me the name of the medication.

From my point of view as a mental health professional: If you bought a truckload of toilet paper because of the Coronavirus, your best bet would be to insert an entire roll of toilet paper up inside your ass. Sideways.

While some people might have assholes large enough to easily accommodate this, the vast majority of us do not. I couldn’t get a shampoo bottle up my ass even if I wanted to, and I don’t want to. Back when I was a psych nurse I knew several people that put shampoo bottles up their asses without any problem. But I doubt even they could get an entire roll of toilet paper up their asses.

* * * *

In late February of this year The Donald said this: “[The number of people infected is] going very substantially down, not up.” “The 15 [cases] within a couple of days, is going to be down to zero.” And he said this: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA…  Stock Market starting to look very good to me.”

[Note: Two weeks later on March 11, according to the people that compiled this timeline, there were over 1,000 confirmed cases in the United States.]

More late February: During a campaign rally in South Carolina, President Trump likened the Democrats’ criticism of his administration’s response to the new Coronavirus outbreak to their efforts to impeach him, saying “…this is their new hoax.” During the speech he downplayed the severity of the outbreak, comparing it to the common flu.

Also in late February, The Donald said this: “It’s going to disappear one day, it’s like a miracle.”  The next day his son, Eric, added: “In my opinion, it’s a great time to buy stocks or into your 401k. I would be all in . . . let’s see if I’m right.”

1024px-Stock_market_crash_(2020).svg

From what I can tell, he was wrong.

In late February, the stock market started going into a free fall and probably crashed a couple of times. I could be wrong. I understand the stock market about as well as I understand how cold fusion works. Maybe this is a good time to buy stocks…  It’s probably not a good time to own stocks…  That said, I also welcome the input of financial advisors about this issue.

* * * *

Okay. We have the situation under control. It’s not a big deal. There aren’t that many cases. The stock market is doing well. Anything else?

Well, there was March…  This is where The Donald stepped up to the plate and started to shine.

He appointed his Vice-president, Mike Pence, to head the Coronavirus Task Force. Prior to this, the only thing Pence had been noted for in this administration was his ability to kiss his boss’s ass in just the right spot. I can’t find any documentation that supports this, but Mike Pence’s first statement was allegedly a call for prayer. Which is what the Republicans ask for every time there’s a mass shooting or something.

In early March, The Donald said there would be a vaccine — possibly even a cure — available very soon, like, you know, a couple of months. That is untrue. There isn’t a vaccine, and it would realistically take eighteen months or more before any reliable vaccine would be ready to go on the market.

But wait, there’s more:

“Well, I think the 3.4 percent (The global mortality rate estimated by the World Health Organization for COVID-19), is really a false number. Now, and this is just my hunch, and — but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this. Because a lot people will have this and it’s very mild. They’ll get better very rapidly. They don’t even see a doctor. They don’t even call a doctor.

“You never hear about those people. So you can’t put them down in the category of the overall population in terms of this corona flu and — or virus. So you just can’t do that. So if, you know, we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work but they get better.”

* * * *

Maybe The Donald is right about that, although I have to admit I have a difficult time following his rambling logic. I think a lots of this shit has been blown way out proportion, too. That said, most world leaders don’t tend to rely on their hunches when they’re dealing with a crisis. They rely on their expert advisors because no one person can know everything they need to know about something they probably don’t understand at all.

Oh, wait. Trump fired most of those experts. But he did keep the guy that thinks windmills cause cancer…

* * * *

And then there this statement from The Donald:“I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. . . . Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”

a2126d6ed3bfb39d112d4400eed3c038

Dr. Trump’s Genuine Indian Snake Oil Coronavirus Elixir! Only $25,000 a bottle!

And then he said this: “I didn’t know people died from the flu.” I’m not making this up. He actually said everything I’ve quoted him as saying. And he’s pretty sure the Coronavirus will collapse on itself in April because the temperature gets so fucking hot in April…

“Anybody who wants a test gets a test.” That statement is total bullshit. But another thing to consider is testing for this illness has been woefully inadequate in pretty much every country on this planet, so there’s that.

And then something really weird happened. To combat a hoax of a pandemic that wasn’t a very big deal and was totally under control, The Donald went into shutdown mode. He had previously closed the border to China because this is a foreign virus, then he closed the border to Europe because, “the free flow of people throughout mainland Europe makes the task of managing the spread of the virus difficult.”

d0d5f3ba2654c6b2bb0b9245d2e6ca18

I’ll give him that point

The Donald is also contemplating shutting down the southern border with Mexico, and he’s probably got a few more measures he’s going to institute, but he doesn’t know what they are yet. So stay tuned to your local news channel for updates as they occur. There’s sure to be a few hundred more of them, and you’re not going to have anything better to do.

Today, President Trump had this to say about the Coronavirus situation: “I’ve always known, this is a real — this is a real — this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic. All you had to do was look at other countries…no, I’ve always viewed it as very serious.”

Oh! Another hunch? I have no doubt The Donald believed himself when he said that. So maybe I should start taking this thing more seriously. But I doubt that Trump has any serious regard for the people that have been or may become ill because of the disease. I’m guessing he’s far more concerned with how it has damaged his economy, and how much it will affect his personal ratings.

That would be a very serious thing indeed.

* * * *

Just to put this into perspective: As of this precise moment in time, there have been just under 200,000 Coronavirus cases reported worldwide. Just under 8,000 people have died, worldwide.

As of this moment, almost the entire US has shutdown. Schools have closed, more probably will. Businesses are closed, more will follow. Sporting and entertainment events have been cancelled. And it’s not just in the US. This is happening on a global scale. It’s even happening here in the Lakeside Area.

This isn’t a ripple effect. This is a motherfucking tsunami.

Good thing/bad thing? Beats the hell out of me. But it does seem a little drastic coming from a guy who has repeatedly said he had the whole thing under control and there was nothing to worry about, then denied he ever said that, and then claimed he knew it was a serious pandemic all along.

Well, at least something is finally getting back to normal…

tenor

Keep making America more better greater, Donnie Boy

People in America are essentially sitting at home squeezing their Charmin®, and stocking up on guns and ammunition just in cases the Coronavirus comes knock, knock, knocking on their front door. Yep, gun and ammo sales are way up. You gotta love the way some Americans think.

* * * *

I have no real idea how History will view President Trump, but it’s my guess that it won’t be kindly. He won’t be known as the leader that not only made America great again, he was the great leader who saved the country when it needed saving most.

3bxrlATQ4IJ6Hu1K_51iR9ox0uU4XH_obSkq6aHAp60

The Donald doesn’t seem destined to go down as America’s favorite President, even though he claimed he was in several of his Tweets. He’ll probably be remembered as the man who didn’t act fast enough when disaster struck, or he’ll be the man that totally overreacted when he finally decided to do something.

That’s one of the perks of being President. It’s a thankless job, and you get blamed for everything that happens once your ass sits on that chair behind the big desk in the Oval Office. Ask any former President you happen to see, they’ll tell you.

The world may never know if the Coronavirus was a serious pandemic of apocalyptic proportions, but we definitely know this: there are far more stupid people on this planet than there are smart ones.

Maybe when the next pandemic appears, and there will be another one; maybe we shouldn’t do anything to stop it.

Endgame

¡Hola, amigos y amigas! ¡Buenos dildos! That means, “very good day,” en español. I have to admit, I’m getting pretty damn good at conjugating nouns and stuff in the language of our adopted country of residence.

* * * *

My lovely supermodel wife and I were knocking down wasp nests on the patio a couple of days ago. When we finished in the back, we decided to check out the front of the house. Lo and behold, there was a fucking rat sitting on a ledge in the carport!

Probably Not So Surprising Little Known Fact About Me: I hate rats. I hate rats more than I hate bats. Even more than I detest Donald Trump.

* * * *

I read The Donald’s Tweets every morning. I used to call him out for being the reprehensible slob of humanity that he is. And then a couple of absolutely stupefying things happened, even by Trump’s standards.

I will say one thing about America’s current Commander-in-Chief. He is the most accidentally funny President, ever. Too bad his ego won’t let him list that as one of his many great accomplishments.  He’d actually be telling the truth about something.

First, Trump tried to buy Greenland. When the deal fell through, he said he was joking, but yeah, he actually wanted to buy a country! Denmark essentially laughed at him. They probably checked his credit rating…

Second, Trump tweeted his thanks to one of his supporters who said the people of Israel love The Donald like he was the King of Israel, and they love The Donald like he was the second coming of God.

And without a drop of humility, Trump agreed with him.

Since then, I’ve had a change of heart. Instead of chastising the President, I now wholeheartedly encourage him to double down on every petty insult and slur he can’t stop himself from tweeting, to raise his bet on every inane thing he says. I’m hoping his unfettered madness will make him say something that will make even his most ardent, hardcore, comatose, lemming-like supporters stop, scratch their heads, and think:

download

* * * *

Sorry. Back to the rat story…

I just happened to be holding a broom in my hands at the time, and my dental X-ray combat training took over. I charged the rat and smote it mightily with the broom handle, delivering a death blow to the odious rodent.

The rat, who was apparently not even close to being dead, jumped down from the ledge, then jumped up into the engine compartment of my car, disappearing into the maze of components under the hood of my Buick Encore, which was even worse than having a rat living in the carport.

I had a dilemma. I wasn’t about to let that rat continue living, but I had no way to easily confront my enemy to finish it off.

“Now what do we do?” Lea asked. She doesn’t like rats any more than I do.

“I need a gallon of gasoline.”

“Why?” she asked.

“So I can set the car on fire.”

* * * *

Many years ago, I admitted a young guy that had been a patient on my unit a couple of times. I think he was schizophrenic, and he usually came in because he was drunk and needed to be detoxed. But this time was different. He was sober, but his neighbors had called the fire department because he had set his motorcycle on fire at the end of his driveway.

After they had extinguished the fire, the fire fighters had called the police.

If you don’t mind me asking, why did you set your motorcycle on fire?

Oh, there’s a simple explanation for that. I couldn’t get it started! I had been working on it for the last couple of weeks, and I just kind of snapped today and poured some gas on it and, you know, set it on fire.

Was it an expensive bike?

No, it wasn’t a brand new Harley or anything. It was a piece of junk that had been in my garage for at least five years. I think I paid maybe fifty bucks for it. It wasn’t running when I bought it. I’m a pretty good mechanic. I figured I could get it running and use it to get around town. Cheap transportation, you know.

Was there a rat in it?

What?!? No, there wasn’t a fucking rat in it. It wouldn’t start!

And that’s when you decided to set it on fire…  

Yeah, well, maybe that wasn’t the best thing to do…

Because your neighbors called the cops..

No, the firemen called the cops! Like it was any of their goddamn business. It was my motorcycle!

Imagine this: You’re driving down the street and you see a motorcycle on fire. What’s the first thing you’d do?

Yeah, okay. I see where you’re going with this. (There was a long silence while he thought about everything.) Say, how long do you think I’m going to be stuck in here?

I don’t know. It probably depends on how many more motorcycles you have.

* * * *

In our situation, suffice it to say that cooler heads prevailed. Lea and I eventually came to the conclusion that the rat would probably, hopefully, abandon its’ hiding place in our car once night fell, and it would scurry off into the dark. Hopefully, it would get killed to death by one of the two dozen semi-feral cats that live in the neighborhood.

Our neighbors to the south of Casa Tara feed all of the wild cats in Lower Chula Vista. They have a veritable herd of cats that congregate in their yard. And ours. I always thought our neighbors were a little crazy, but now I think they might be geniuses. The best defense against a rodent infestation is a herd of cats.

* * * *

Little Known Fact About Cats and the Black Death: Sometime around the year 1230, Pope Gregory IX issued a papal bull called Vox in Rama. This piece of papal bullshit declared cats to be the instruments of Satan, especially black cats, who were particularly Luciferian in this infallible Pope’s mind. Thousands of cats were killed to death at the order of the Pope, and the rat population of Europe exploded.

The bacteria that cause plague, Yersinia pestis, tend to live inside of fleas that live on rats. Adult fleas live on blood that they suck from their host animal. The plague is generally transmitted by the bite of an infected flea that has abandoned its’ rat for a new food source. Anywhere from 75 to 200 million people in Medieval Europe died from the plague.

As if that wasn’t enough, Gregory IX also established the Inquisition. He was probably the deadliest Pope that ever lived. He could have been the prototype for Thanos, the brutal supervillain in Endgame who had wiped out half of the population of the universe with a snap of his fingers in the previous movie, Avengers: Infinity War.

The only reason I qualify that statement is this planet has had a lots of historical figures that were immensely good at killing.

* * * *

For those of you that didn’t know, or who could care less, Avengers: Endgame is the latest release in the Marvel Cinematic Universe®. There have been 23 films in the series, and I’ve seen them all.

The Avengers franchise is the highest-grossing movie series of all time, having grossed over $22.5 billion at the global box office. Endgame is the highest-grossing film of all time, having netted almost $3 billion all by itself.

If you think this is going to be a movie review, you’re going to be very disappointed. Okay. I liked the movie; despite its many flaws about how the TimeSpace continuum works in the quantum universe.

The Radiolab guys would have a blast trying to fill in all the holes in the storyline of Endgame, but that’s their problem, if they choose to accept that mission, not mine. And that’s not what this post is going to be about.

Despite all of their box office success and superpowers, the people of my generation know these modern-day Avengers are nothing but a bunch of posers and wannabes.

These, are the real Avengers: They didn’t need any superpowers. They were British.

the-avengers
John Steed and Emma Peel, portrayed by Patrick Macnee & Diana Rigg

The Avengers was a British espionage television series that aired from 1961 to 1969. It initially focused on the duo of Dr. David Keel, aided by John Steed, investigating and solving crimes.

Dr. Keel left after the first series; Steed then became the main character. Over the years, he partnered with a succession of intelligent, stylish, assertive women: Cathy Gale, Emma Peel, and Tara King. Emma was the cream of the crop in my mind. Witty, beautiful, and she could kick some serious ass. I fell in love with her at first sight.

And, there was that dream I had about her when I was fifteen. Diana was very, very…  friendly. She was my first celebrity crush. I wonder if she has a Twitter® account?

Diana Rigg also played Lady Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones. She may no longer be young and beautiful, but her biting wit hasn’t lost any of its sharpness. She was an immediate fan favorite, and her character was responsible for the death of the sadistic King Joffrey Baratheon, an act for which I will feel eternal gratitude.

* * * *

The results of my colonoscopy are in. No polyps! First time ever for that. I think it’s the Mexican diet. Polyps apparently live in fear of jalapeños, which are used in almost all of the local dishes down here.

I had my procedure done at the Hospital San Antonio, a brand new healthcare facility at the bottom of the hill below our house. The hospital was built by Dr. Carlos Garcia del Castillo, our Family Practice physician. He’s kind of the Milo Minderbinder of Medicine around here.

“Brand new” implies “state-of-the-art,” especially when it comes to medicine. But this is Mexico. The new hospital had the only MRI machine in the Lakeside Area — until they plugged it in — and it kind of exploded, turning several people into giant, mutant green-skinned hulqueros.

It was probably made by LG…  At any rate, you’ll have to go to Guadalajara for an MRI, until Dr. Carlos can get his machine repaired or replaced. It’s probably still under warranty.

The procedure room where my colonoscopy was done is right next to the loading dock in the back of the hospital. The massive door to the loading dock was open wide as I was escorted into the room. A curtain was the only thing separating the procedure room from the rest of the hospital. It was also wide open.

As the medical staff — two doctors and three nurses — were getting ready for my procedure, two dogs trotted into the room and laid down on the floor to watch. The janitor wandered in, mop in hand, to see what was going on and say Hello to everyone. Some random guy selling hats wandered in with him.

I asked the anesthesiologist, his name was Hector, if he could just please put me under. Once I was unconscious, I wouldn’t care who else came into the room to check out my rear end. And who wouldn’t want to see that? Lea tells me I have the cutest butt she’s ever seen, so there’s that.

That’s the “end”game this post is going to be about. My ass is about as American as it gets.

giphy (1)

* * * *

Just in cases you were wondering, the total cost of my my procedure was $10,500 pesos. Roughly $525 US. You might want to read that again. Five hundred twenty five dollars. Service dogs included at no extra charge.

That’s about how much it costs for one visit to the Emergency Room in the US. Add a lots more money if any actual procedures are done during that visit. That’s probably how much it cost me, monetarily, the last time I was in the ER.

I went to the ER because of my third kidney stone. I knew I had a kidney stone, but this stone was possibly worse than my previous two renal calculi combined. What I didn’t know was I also had a kidney infection and prostatitis.

I got checked in, turned in a urine sample, then waited however long it took for the doctor to see me. The ER doc was a pleasant, older man named Josef Mengele. Just in cases you don’t know who that is, Dr. Mengele was a German SS officer and physician at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. His nickname was The Angel of Death.

He took my history, typed his notes into the computer, then said the words that every guy in a doctor’s office dreads to hear, “Okay. I’m going to have to do a prostate exam.”

He said he was going to be gentle. He made a fist with his left hand and demonstrated how slowly and carefully he was going to insert his right finger into my rectum. That was actually reassuring.

I dropped my pants and assumed the “Bend Over” position on the exam table while the good doctor donned gloves and lubed up with K-Y Jelly.

“Take a couple of deep breaths and relax. Oh, and you should probably take your glasses off, too.”

I had never had a doctor suggest that before. I almost questioned why, but I did as he asked. And then I knew why he had suggested it.

True to his word, Dr. Mengele was slow and careful with his digital insertion. Until he got to his first knuckle. Then he shoved the rest of his finger into my rectum like it was making the jump to lightspeed.

And I’m almost positive that I heard something like unto this:

tenor

Pain! Pain worse than a dozen goddamn kidney stones filled my being. My face smashed into the exam table. Hard. Like I was having a seizure hard. I vaguely remember thinking, Oh, that’s why he wanted me to take my glasses off! After that, all I wanted to do was cry.

“Oh yeah. You definitely have prostatitis.” Dr. Mengele gloated. It felt like he had put his foot up my ass and he was kicking my prostate. “Your prostate feels like a grapefruit! So, you’re a nurse, huh? What’s your specialty? Where do you work?”

I couldn’t have responded if I had wanted to. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed. But these words formed inside my head:

Get…your…arm…out…of…my…ass…you…motherfucking…Nazi!!! I seriously would have confessed to the Kennedy assassination if that’s what Dr. Mengele had wanted. That was the longest five hours of my life. Five seconds later, it was over.

I’m pretty sure I collapsed to the floor in relief. Dr. Mengele washed his hands, told me he’d write some prescriptions for antibiotics, and cheerfully bid me Auf Wiedersehen.

The nurse thought I had had a heart attack when she entered the room with Dr. Mengele’s prescriptions. Fortunately, I could speak by then. As I was getting dressed I was able to convince her she didn’t need to call a Code Blue.

Besides, I’m DNR/DNI.

* * * *

My first kidney stone and my third kidney stone were large, like, 6 mms each. They had to be broken into little tiny bits by extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy. It’s one of the few medical interventions I’ve experienced that might be worse than the initial condition.

I felt like I had been hit by a bus afterwards, and it took about a week to get to the point where I stopped wishing my kidney stones would have had the decency to just kill me to death and get it over already.

I had my last kidney stone in 2013, I think. Since then, I have conscientiously done everything I can to prevent getting a fourth kidney stone.

It’s not all that difficult. Drink a lots of water. That’s the most effective thing you can do. And eat a lots of jalapeños. I don’t think kidney stones like them either.