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Friday, December 31, 2010

Today On New Year's Eve ...

Well ... 2010 is coming to a close. My wall calendar says so. My friends arranging their big New Year's Eve bashes say so. And watching "Rudolph's Shiny New Year" with all its clay-mation goodness really hammered the point home.

I have two parties to attend this year which should be great fun. I will drink at neither of them because I like keeping a clear head ... makes it easier to take pics with my cell phone of all the embarrassing stuff my friends do. Great blackmail material, too, for when I need a ride to the airport or someone to check on my cat when I take a vacation!!

Anyway, New Year's Eve is often a time of dicey weather and other people making poor decisions and I want to avoid that "stuff" at all costs.

Whenever I'm getting ready for NYE festivities, I always reminisce about my second cousin Reggie who is a laboratory tech at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. He and I aren't super close, but I find his job incredibly interesting. And when he comes back to Ohio to visit, he has the best stories. And by "best" I mean some of the most wicked cautionary tales imaginable.

Reggie has worked the past three consecutive New Year's Eves. And he has been called down to the ER to collect blood and specimens for a variety of patients. Traffic accidents are by far the most prevalent thing he has mentioned, but there have even been a few incidents where people ... usually intoxicated ... have been walking home from a party or putting some distance between themselves and an argumentative spouse or significant other and stepped out into traffic without even looking.

Then there are "party accidents" ... standard and strange. Food and alcohol poisoning cases are common, as are cuts, scrapes, sprains, and bone breaks from falls and slips. House fires are a big concern because many people have candles and fireplaces going to provide added ambiance. Even outdoor bonfires can be problematic if people are horsing around or if the blaze is too close to a structure or other flammable materials. But Reggie has also retold some crazy-ass stories ... like the guy who set off an entire box of fireworks inside his small attached garage and suffered burns on his arms and face. Or the young lady who rode a kid's Big Wheel down a flight of stairs and straight through a plate glass window. Or the college guys who got wasted and then decided to build a quick plywood ramp to attempt jumping over a car with a dirt bike.

And then there are the sex stories. My God, why does December 31st and alcohol give human genitals the ability to take over the Homo sapien brain and make the body do truly idiotic things? I'll skip the details, but carrots, jet nozzles on hot tubs, latex body paint, oddly-shaped wine bottles, jumper cables, and blow-up dolls are just a few of the discarded "props" my cousin has seen accompanying a New Year's Eve patient. And there are always attending physicians, paramedics, and firefighters standing around barely able to keep a straight face!!

POINT OF RANT: Please people ... be safe!! And let's hope 2011 is the best year ever!

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