Emergency in the E.R.
I just read Luke Thompson’s article [“Pain,
Add Nauseam,” July 8–14], and it really does hit home. I’m an emergency-room
doctor at California Hospital Medical Center, and I believe every single word
of his article. I don’t think he’s exaggerating a bit, which is horrible. I
hate that this happens to so many people, I hate that patients have to wait
for everything, including the 10–20 minutes I spend with them. I hate that so
many of us who work in the hospital are past the point of frustration and it
now appears to simply be a lack of concern, and I hate that the decision makers
generally are located so far away from the screaming, bleeding and other bodily
fluids that they can not sense or comprehend the gravity of the situation, except
when regulatory and accrediting agencies have their scheduled visits — which
is another story.
What I don’t hate is that articles like Thompson’s are exposing experiences
people have and may lead to more accountability and change. We, like many of
the patients who have terrible experiences, leave the hospital without the energy
or drive to demand changes and improvements. When we do try, it is met with
resistance, empty promises and, often, the implication that being outspoken
may jeopardize one’s career.
In the L.A. Weekly article about birds being killed by wind turbines
July 1–7], mention is made of “new machines being different” and how older,
horizontal lattice-mounted turbines caused the bird kills in the past. The article
states, “A lot has been done in the last two decades to design bird-friendly
turbines.” In your article, Dale Strickland, a consultant to the wind industry,
related that turbines mounted on tubular towers were now “bird-friendly,” implying
that the bird-kill issue was therefore greatly reduced (solved?). Nothing could
be further from the truth. We recently completed a five-year study funded by
the California Energy Commission and National Renewable Energy Laboratory on
birds being killed by wind turbines in the Altamont Pass region. Strickland’s
claim that the wind industry converted to tubular towers as a solution to the
bird- (and bat-) kill issue is untrue and a gross oversimplification. Our results
showed, among other things, that turbines mounted on tubular towers are associated
with more bird kills than are associated with turbines mounted on lattice towers.
Also, industry is requesting up to 13 years to phase in replacing older turbines
with newer ones, and it is unknown if this “repowering” will reduce bird kills.
These issues are being sorted out in a contentious appeals process involving
renewing conditional-use permits from Alameda County and are likely to wind
up in court. Unfortunately, there is no end in sight to the continued killing
of birds by wind turbines in the Altamont Pass region.
—Carl G. Thelander
Oh dear. You had to publish that article about gay men and crystal meth, and
now I’m so depressed I’ve missed something fabulous I want to, well, take crystal
meth. I’m referring to “The
Crystal Conundrum” [June 10–16] and I’m still a crystal virgin. So meth
is the “drug of the moment for gay men who thought they’d die young.” Huh? I’m
54. I’m HIV-positive and was probably supposed to die when I was about 36. This
article falls squarely within a genre of articles written by gay men that I
would call the Drug Drama genre, in which the writer inevitably recounts horror
after horror caused by drug use, but usually ends up concluding drugs are really,
actually, the Bomb.
I have no doubt the writer of this article is well-intended, and wants to “keep
it real.” Unfortunately, the effect is actually to add to the allure. Ever since
I first came out gay in my 20s, it seems to me drugs, and alcohol, for that
matter, have been romanticized. The men I have been with on this drug simply
appear dazed, sweaty, and can’t get it up very good. That’s cool?
It’s all crystal clear to me: Tina’s a stinker.
Don’t Hate the Player
Thank you for including Mark “The Cobrasnake” Hunter’s photo in this week’s
edition. Now I can envision the person responsible for wasting space in your
paper with poorly composed photos of his vacuous, pompous hipster cronies. I’ve
always wanted to complain about this worthless public disservice the Weekly
performed, but until I saw his ironic Bjorn Borg headband, I didn’t care enough
to take the five minutes.
In last week’s Considerable Town story “Ole! Allah!” [July 1-7] the subject
of the photo on page 24 was misidentified as Saleem. Her name is Manoush. We
regret the error.