Jay Beatty, 1988-2007

While we were on the road to take our daughter back to college last week, we got a phone call telling us that our dear friends out in Arizona had lost their 18 year old son Jay to a drunk driver. He was a stellar young man--everything anyone could ask for in a son, a brother, a friend, and "an example of the believers." It's taken me this long to be able to put into words what I feel about it.

1) One of the things that I respected so much about Jay's parents was that they clearly and obviously loved their two boys. It wasn't about the words, it was the actions. They were a close family, and a real example of what a Christian home should look like.

2) Drunk drivers should face stiffer penalties. For all the talk about cracking down, there are still far too many of them on the road. On a related note, can anybody tell me the justification for a gas stations selling COLD beer? Is that not an engraved invitation to pop it open and start drinking before you get home? Why is this allowed?

3) Hug your kids...even the big ones.

4) Take full advantage of the time you have. Jay was going to start college this week. None of his friends or family expected his life to be over so quickly. But he lived while he was here. No one who knew Jay ever doubted that he was enjoying every minute--whether it was playing football, riding a four-wheeler, teasing his brother, or going to school.

5) Trusting God is easy when things go well. Over the past week, I've seen people trust Him in the darkest place of their lives. Faith works then too.

6) I'm glad there's a Heaven to look forward to.

7) Jay, you're missed. But not for long. And when we do catch up with you again, I know the sadness will be forgotten.


Emergency? You'd Better Hope Not

Due to a long and complicated string of circumstances, we ended up at the emergency room of St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa last night. It was a nightmarish, horryifying, but very eye-opening experience. I have a piece of wise counsel for you--don't get sick at night in a major US city. The emergency room of the leading hospital in our city is no place to go if you need help.

We spent NINE AND HALF HOURS waiting. First we waited two hours in triage where they drew blood and took X-rays...and then did nothing. For over an hour, no one checked on us (my wife's blood pressure at check in was 185/96) to see if we were okay or needed anything. No one told us what was happening. No one told us what to expect. The staff had plenty of time to discuss their plans for the upcoming PGA tournament, to eat, and to sit and flirt, but precious little to help their patients. The hospital restrooms made a truckstop bathroom look like Adrian Monk's house. Filthy doesn't even begin to describe it. It's also quite heartening to hear a nurse describe you as a "big faker" when you're lying there trying to catch your breath--from what turned out to be a collapsed lung serious enough to require hospitalization!

The one bright spot of the evening showed up when we finally got into the actual emergency ward (though as you'll see, it went out rather quickly!) when one competent nurse and one caring doctor actually took the time to explain the situation, provide basic care (when you've already had one operation in a day, being back in the hospital and not allowed to take anything is something of a problem) and generally treat us like we were human beings. After looking at the X-rays, the doctor ordered a CAT scan, and finally concluded--nearly five hours after we arrived--that Brenda's lung was collapsed. That's when the nightmare resumed.

Shift change hit hard. The caring nurse was replaced by the worst one I've ever seen, and the good doctor was replaced by the invisible man. At 11:30 (more than six hours after arrival) we were told they had a room ready, and were just "waiting on orders." At 2:45 we were finally taken upstairs!

And the sad part is we had it a lot better than many of the people who were there. There were people crying in pain, lying on beds in the hallway for three hours and more because they didn't have rooms! (Maybe if it didn't take more than 3 hours to move people after the rooms are ready...) The waiting room was jammed until well after midnight.

I don't know all the answers to our health care problems, but I do know this. If it ever becomes necessary for us to visit the emergency room again, it won't be at St. Francis.


Junk Bonds

Sometime soon, the abnormally round-headed cheater Barry Bonds will officially be credited with passing Hank Aaron's career home run total. He will never hold the record for people who care about baseball. He may have hit more balls over the (much closer than in the old days) fences of various parks, but he is not worthy of any title except convicted felon...which may eventually come his way. (Probably not, but one can hope.)

If baseball had any integrity (ha) Bonds would have been removed from the game, along with others who have admitted or been caught cheating. But of course "chicks dig the long ball" so that didn't happen. Shame on Bud Selig and baseball for turning a blind eye to the steroid problem while raking in the profits. Selig and Bonds deserve each other. We deserve better.