30 June 2008

Flight lessons, and OFF...

Over the weekend, Sabado learned to fly... today, I regained my balcony.  Well, not entirely, but as much as I could, for the moment.  

You see, the little family will still come here; they still call this "home."  But, enough is enough.  Call me mean, self-serving, whatever, but when I saw Mommy nesting again (!?!?), I knew something had to be done.  And no, it doesn't make sense that she will lay more eggs this season.  For all I know, the nest is simply a comfy place in which to rest her little feathered butt. 

You see, I am a New Yorker, after all.  My balcony is all that I have.  If I had a house, with some other stretch of land to, well, stretch on, then it would be a different story.  But, I have gone enough beautiful evenings and days without the benefit of my wonderful balcony.  I have sacrificed dutifully.  And now that the little winged one can flitter at will, it is time.   

So, off I went and purchased my heavy-duty broom, and went out this evening in my mismatched tank top and running shorts (yay--they're again in use!), flip flops and gloves, and swept up what I could of the nest, poop, and feathers.  Don't worry, there is still much to do--I still need to Clorox (yes, a verb in this case) the place, but it's a start.  In the meantime, if I come down with bird flu, we all will know why, and will one of you then kindly contact R, as he does not read my blog.  ;)

By the way, as for Sabado, he is too damn cute for words.  He still is very discernible by his little left over yellow feathers on his head and the tips of his wings, and of course, he is still smaller than his parents.  He is also LAZY.  Whenever he sees his parents, he still runs after them, demanding to be fed.  I think the idea is that once they can fly, the little ones start to feed on their own.  The parents scamper off away from him every chance they get.  Oh, but then this weekend, I was starting to wonder if Sabado is a *girl,* because she is soooo clingy to her Daddy.  OK, OK, I know, I am projecting human emotions onto a bird.  But it's fun!

26 June 2008

wait... WHAT?!

So, how is this voluntary, if it is mandatory?  Am I missing something here?  

Apparently, in the next three years, every adult in the Bronx, will be required to take an HIV test... voluntarily.  

Let me tell you a couple of things.  More than fifty (yes, 50) per cent of the Bronx is Hispanic (with the largest Dominican and Puerto Rican population in the United States).  In fact, there are many areas in the Bronx where not a lick of English is spoken.  People are not going to be interested in getting HIV tests.  They wait too long to get treatment for HIV for the same reason that they wait too long to get treatment for breast cancer, or any other such disease.  Trust me, I did my fellowship in the Bronx.  These people are not stupid, nor illiterate; they are simply IN DENIAL.  

These are the kind of people where instant gratification is in its exact meaning.  Mobile phones, bling, labels on clothes are much more valuable than the spots on their skin or their rotting teeth or that lump on the breast that now is eroding through their skin.  They do NOTHING until it hurts.  And, well, let's face it--HIV does not hurt, not until it is too late, same with breast carcinoma, or any other carcinoma.  

Now, let me tell you a more personal story:  When I was in my fourth year of surgical residency, there was a certain (ehem) gentleman in our SICU s/p trauma.  The trauma consisted of a 3 AM "But I was just on my way to church, and was jumped by some dudes" sort.  Now you are getting the picture.  So, now, this dude is vented in my SICU and I need to place a line and, sure enough... I stick myself.  We know NOTHING about his HIV status.  

I call my attending.  "No big deal (!), just talk to the wife (he had one), draw the test, and we'll get a result by the morning."  "Got it."  The wife was overly willing to help--very sweet.  I go to the bedside to draw blood, and my right arm is seized by a nurse.  "What are you doing?"  She growled at me.  I explained the situation to her.  I had a great rapport with all of the nurses, so I couldn't figure out what the problem was.  

Well, apparently, the New York City laws are such that ONLY the patient can say OK to an HIV test.  And this kind RN is just trying to protect the patient.  It doesn't matter that he is on a vent and on a drip--SEDATED--so that he doesn't rip all of his lines, etc out.  She is "just looking out for the patient's rights" she says to me with a sweet smile on her face.  

This actually went to the hospital's ethics committee, and they could do nothing.  The only consolation that I had was that we could draw a hep B titer, which came back fine.  And, in theory, if that is negative, well then, he shouldn't have HIV.  But, can you really deal with shouldn't when you have your WHOLE LIFE to live, your entire career ahead of you--in SURGERY, of all things?!  I ended up taking a full course of HIV meds, and being sick for 3 months.  When the "dude" finally came to, he took the test and (thank God, but also, of course) tested negative.  

24 June 2008

New Territory

Sabado has discovered the neighbors' balcony.  Of course it was only a matter of time.  Our balconies are not completely separated--the divider does not go all the way to the "ground" or to the outer balustrade.  

So, off he went, around and over--walking, running, of course.  Still not flying.  :)  His wings are SO big, now... almost adult-size.  You would think that at any moment, during one of his little fits where he is squawking and running around fanning his wings, he would take flight, but... nope.  Not once, not yet.  Daddy still feeds him.  I am proud to say, also, that my balcony is definitely 'home' for him.  

And the felines love the show.  There are days, though, that I think they (the cats) really get it into their little heads that "Today is the day we get to go outside... to see the birdies up close."  Their little tails do the happy dance, and they won't stop mewing and meowing.  Alas, it is always a let-down.  It never turns out to be the day...

15 June 2008

OK, OK, a little premature

my earlier post was.  

Mommy came back last evening.  Hip hip hooray!!  I admit that I was really worried for the little feathered family.

She was sopping wet (she made her reunion in the middle of a thunderstorm), but there she was.  She was so wet, in fact, that I almost did not recognize her, as she was a darker (wetter) shade of gray than usual.  

Last night, Saturday was freaked out with the thunderstorm.  He hid behind a table leg, as close to the building as possible.  

And today?  Well, Sabado has been in his nest all day.  It has been mostly a grey, overcast day.  I wonder if he is grounded?  I have not seen him sit in the nest in more than a week during the day.  He's usually out and about.  hmmm...

14 June 2008

Sad to report...

but it looks as though Mommy has (possibly) fallen prey to the hawk.  Well, that is a supposition on my part.  

Here's what I know:  Daddy slept by himself last night in the corner of the balcony.  And today, I haven't seen Mommy at all.  It seems as though little Sabado (Saturday) and Daddy are on the lookout for Mommy.  They are sitting on the edge of the balcony looking out to the outside all morning.  She has not been here.  

And the super of my building told me earlier in the week that the hawk (which I saw a few weeks ago) was feasting on a pigeon just a week ago on the fourth floor balustrade.  Well, that was not Mommy, as she has only been missing since yesterday, but maybe it was time for another meal for Mr Hawk?  

I'll keep you updated, but things are looking pretty grim.  :(

09 June 2008

Yikes-- Salmonella strikes again

News flash!  There has been a tomato recall.  

Considering that tomatoes are heavily consumed in the spring and summer months, this is a big deal.  Considering that this has (ehem) affected yours truly, this is an even bigger deal.  

I went to my friendly neighborhood grocery/ specialty store this morning and bought a bunch of stuff including, said, tomatoes.  I went about my day, having a tomato with lunch.  About two hours ago, it started... that uncomfortable feeling in the gut, dry mouth, running for the toilet.  ("What the h...?") 

And then, I checked my email, and found my U. S. FDA email.  I ran to the 'fridge, and checked my tomatoes against the list.  ALAS, mine were from Mexico---aaargh.  That explains it.  

So, I called that aforementioned neighborhood grocery/ specialty store to alert them.   "Yes, thank you, we have pulled all of our tomatoes already."  I told her that I bought some this morning, and they were from Mexico.  Her answer?  "You can bring them back for a full refund."  Well, what could she say?  She was not aware of my discomfort, and the fact that I had to stop my pilates (twice) to run to the bathroom.  

But, now you are aware, and maybe you have not yet eaten the tomatoes that you purchased this morning.  PLEASE check them against the list.  If you are not sure where your toms are from (as in, they are not clearly marked), call your store to find out.  Do not take a chance.  If you are young and healthy, it will likely be a nuisance; however, if you are immunocompromised in any way (elderly, ill, or very young), it could be very serious.  

04 June 2008


I haven't had a chance to write while things happen, but that little squab is GROWING!! 

Last Friday, he was squawking so much, that I finally looked out of the window.  There he was, just outside of the nest, trying out his tiny little wings... Except, he does not really have feathers, yet.  Just a whole lotta fluff, so this resulted in him running around in a circle--clockwise, counter-clockwise, clockwise, coun... well, you get the idea.  I can only imagine that this was very frustrating, as he was making TONS of noise--squeaking and squawking the whole time.  It was darned cute to watch, though.  :)  I guess Mommy and Daddy thought so, too, as they were both there, watching the whole fiasco from two feet away.

That night, Saturday slept by himself.  Mommy and Daddy were on the balcony, huddled together in a corner about 10 feet away, but he was by himself in the nest.  

We went away for the weekend, but when we came back... he just really seems to have grown.  Yesterday, he was a few feet away from the nest.  But today?  Today, Saturday is all over the balcony!  And I got to watch him getting fed by Daddy.  THAT was amazing... and, I can only imagine, a little painful for Daddy.  I mean the little guy is digging into the mouth of Daddy with his beak to get all of the milk.  There was so much excitement during the feeding, that they were dancing together all over the balcony.  Once Saturday was done, he was chirping away, getting all fluffy, with Daddy patrolling.  And when he moved?  A nice big poop, after which he snuggled into the nest for a nap.  :)