Friday, April 18, 2014

Confusing English Words

A friend sent this to me and I just had to pass it along.

Read to the end where you'll find an explanation of what these words are called in English grammar. Yeah, we all learned this back in 5th grade, but who remembers it now?? Anyway, have fun with the following sentences.

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the  desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, please present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.  
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) A buck deer does funny things when does are present.
15)  A sewer of men's clothing fell down into a  sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to  sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind up the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear.
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

From at  comes this explanation:

Homographs, Homophones and Homonyms
It’s easy to confuse homographs with homophones and homonyms, but if you think about each word, they make more sense.
Homo-, as you know, means “same.” But the end of each word tells us what is the same.
·  Homograph - “Graph” has to do with writing or drawing. When you think about a graph, you envision a picture. If you read graphic novels, you know they have pictures. Someone drew them. So “homograph” means “same picture” or “same writing.” Homographs are written (spelled) the same.
·  Homophone - “Phone” has to do with sound. When you talk on the telephone, you hear the other person’s voice. When people in the 1800s used a gramophone, they were listening to music. And phonology is the study of a language’s sounds. So “homophone” means “same sound.” Homophones are pronounced the same.
·  Homonym - “Nym” means “name.” Stevie Nicks and Stevie Wonder have the same first name, but they clearly are different people. It’s the same with homonyms. They’re spelled the same (homographs) and pronounced the same (homophones), but they have different meanings. “Bow,” for example, means both “to bend at the waist” and “the front of a boat.”

And then there are heteronyms, where each of two or more words are spelled identically but have different sounds and meanings, such as tear meaning “rip” and tear meaning “liquid from the eye.” 

Now wasn't that fun?? :)


Saturday, April 12, 2014

What's the Difference Between an EMT and a Paramedic?

Someone recently asked me to explain the difference between an EMT -- Emergency Medical Technician -- and a paramedic. Here in Illinois, the answer is simple; the term "EMT" covers all men and women who have completed state mandated EMT courses and have passed the licensure tests associated with those courses. 

But don't tell that to a Illinois paramedic. They can get a little touchy if called an EMT because they have worked long and hard to rise to the top of their profession. You see, there are three levels of EMT recognition in my state. 

Illinois EMT-Basic (EMT-B)
1.       Cannot intubate
2.       Can assist patient with the following medications: Albuterol (patient assist in using MDI); Epinephrine (Epi Pen) for adults and children for application in treatment of allergic reactions and anaphylaxis; nitroglycerin (patient assist).
Illinois EMT-Intermediate (EMT-I)
1.       Can intubate
2.       Can give the following medications: Aspirin; Epinephrine (1:1000); Adenosine; Epinephrine (1:10,000); Atropine sulfate; Furosemide (Lasix); Bronchodilators (Beta 2 agonists) e.g. Albuteral; Lidocaine Hcl 2%; Morphine sulfate; 50% dextrose; Naloxone (Narcan); Diazepam; Nitroglycerin.
Illinois EMT-Paramedic (EMT-P)
1.       Can intubate and perform needle cricothyrotomy
2.       Can give the following medications: adenosine
    (Adenocard); albuterol(Proventil) (2.5 mg usual first dose); amiodarone (may be mentioned with Lidocaine for Rx of ventricular dysrhythmias); aspirin; atropine; dextrose 50% 50ml IVP (adult dose for hypoglycemia); diazepam(Valium) (peds dose: 0.2/0.5mg IVP/IR); diphenhydramine (Benadryl); dopamine; epinephrine 1:1000 0.3-0.5mg for bronchospasm; epinephrine 1:10,000 1mg IVP/IO for code mgt.; furosemide (Lasix); glucagon; lidocaine; midazolam(Versed); morphine; naloxone (Narcan); nitroglycerin; sodium bicarbonate; vasopressin (may be mentioned with Epi 1:10,000 for Rx of V-fib and asystole); verapamil (offered as an alternative to diltiazem).

EMT-Basic training courses typically range from 120 to 150 hours and concentrate on the basics of pre-hospital care, including airway management, CPR, and control of shock and bleeding and splinting of fractures fracture.
EMT-Intermediate courses cover intubation, administration of some medications, and general ALS principles of care. 
EMT-Paramedic courses range between 1000 and 1200 hours and cover administration of medications, IV therapy, cardiac monitoring and defibrillation, and trauma care. Paramedics provide ALS -- Advanced Life Support -- services.

As you can see, there's quite a difference in the services provided by EMTs at different levels. Paramedics can expand their training by taking other specific courses, such as classes in trauma transport needed for air ambulance service jobs.

If you're writing a story the requires a scene with an EMT character, the above gives you an idea of what he/she can do for your victim. Remember, though, that what I've written here applies to Illinois EMTs. While Illinois recognizes three levels of EMT licensure, other states may recognize more levels or fewer levels. For example, Texas has five levels of certification, the highest being licensed paramedic followed by EMT-P, EMT-I, EMT-B, and ECA (emergency care attendant). To gain the highest level of licensed paramedic, a Texas applicant must hold either a two-year EMS degree or a four-year degree in any field.

State by state EMT levels and requirements can be found by searching the Internet using the above underlined words. It may take you a little time to find the answers you need for your state, but it's worth it if you want your stories to reflect accuracy and credibility.

More next time on EMS regions and differences in care from one region to another.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Knockout Punches and Concussions

The film showing on the right was taken in September, 2012 during a football game between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens. Browns' player Josh Cribbs took the hit and was knocked out. Cribbs regained consciousness, but suffered a concussion and was removed from the game. The initial blow was delivered to the left side of the head in the temple area. The secondary blow occurred when Cribbs' head hit the ground, bounced up, and then hit the ground again. 

The blow that knocked out the boxer in this picture was delivered to the left temple and forehead. As can be seen, the force behind the blow was so great that it created a temporary distortion of all facial features.

The blows shown here occurred rapidly and with great force, and they all caused the brain to slam back and forth within the skull. The greater the speed and force of the blow, the greater the damage done to the brain.

Depending on the size and muscle mass of the person throwing the punch, plus the size of that person's fist, an average swinging punch will exert about 650 to 800 pounds of force on the area of the body hit by the punch. A professional boxer can exert about 900 ponds of force on the target, while a kickboxer's kick can fall in the range of 1000 to 1400 pounds of force. Even the average force of 600 pounds to the head can cause a knockout and do damage to the brain.

When we speak of force in a knockout situation, we're talking about force exerted on the head in one of two ways. The first is called transitional force, and that's the kind of force that causes the head to snap straight forward or backward or directly to the side. The second type of force is called rotational force. It causes the head to rotate on the neck in a turning motion. 

Blows that result in one or both of these types of force being exerted against the head are what cause the slingshot motion of the brain inside the skull that can lead to a traumatic concussion and temporary shutdown of electrical impulses within the brain. That shutdown results in unconsciousness, or what we call a knockout. 

According to most sources, targeting the chin with an uppercut blow, the jaw with a sideswipe punch, or the temple with a direct blow are the easiest ways to cause a knockout.   


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Roadside Memorials

Four years ago this weekend, at 4:13 a.m. on a foggy March morning, a young woman driver died after crashing her car into a light pole ten feet away from the intersection of two streets in my neighborhood. 

By the end of the day, friends of the woman had tied a wide black sash around a tree that stood on the parkway midway between the intersection and the destroyed light pole. They nailed a wreath, a stuffed teddy bear, and pictures of the woman to the tree bark, along with written messages to the deceased. At the foot of the tree they left fresh flowers.

Over the following summer months, weather destroyed most of the objects left at the site. No one removed the withered flowers, the bedraggled-looking stuffed bear, or the crumpled pictures and blurred bits of inked paper. Instead, new objects occasionally appeared at the site: fresh bouquets of flowers, a candle in a tall glass container, more photos.

Fall arrived, then winter, and in early 2011, someone cleared the tree of all the objects placed there. Within days, either friends or relatives of the woman returned and tied a new black sash around the tree. They nailed new plastic flowers and other memorabilia to the bark, all of which stayed -- and was added to -- over the year. 

Then in 2012, someone -- I suspect it was someone who lived near the site and was tired of viewing what now looked like garbage nailed to the tree -- once again removed the objects. Like before, it took less than a week before the black sash was back in place along with more plastic flowers. A pot of live flowers was also left at the base of the tree. Over time, the live flowers died, and the plastic ones faded in the summer sun while also turning black with dirt from wind and rain and winter snow. 

Fast forward to late summer, 2013. It was now over three years since the car crash, and a variety of plastic and paper items still sprouted on the black-sashed tree. I was driving down the main street, preparing to turn toward home at the intersection near the 2010 accident site, when the driver in front of me slammed on his breaks. I watched him crane his neck to get a better view of the memorial tree as I pressed pedal-to-the-metal to avoid rear-ending him. Using my car horn, I let him know what I thought of his stupidity, and he pulled away in a burst of speed. 

I made my turn, drove the few blocks to my house, and on entering, immediately picked up the phone and called my alderman's office. I told my story to the alderman's receptionist (you can never actually reach the alderman, who's only available to the average joe during election time) and she tsk-tsked over the actions of the other driver before agreeing that the memorial tree could be a distraction to drivers on what's a major thoroughfare in our area. She promised to look into the city's laws regarding such makeshift memorials, and I hung up, not totally satisfied, but willing to wait and see what happened next.

And what did happen next was that, two weeks later, everything but the black sash was removed from the tree. The sash stayed in place over the fall and winter, and now it's March, 2014 and one day away from the fourth anniversary of the crash. This past week a wreath was nailed to the sash on the tree. I expect more items will be added before tomorrow. When will they be taken down? It's anyone's guess.

In the past decade, roadside memorial tributes have become commonplace sites across the country. I've seen them on many a highway and byway during my travels, and I understand why some people feel a need to memorialize their loved ones in such a way. But I question their appropriateness in certain places and under certain circumstances. 

124 people died in traffic accidents in Chicago in 2013. That's ten less than the 134 who died here in accidents in 2012. There are over 4000 miles of streets in Chicago. If every one of those 258 people had been memorialized by a roadside tribute, you'd find one tribute site every 15.5 miles in the city. 

Now add up the number of traffic fatalities in Chicago over the past ten years and you'll find that, during that time, over 1500 people died in auto accidents. If, over the span of that decade, you'd placed one roadside memorial for every death on one of the 4000 miles of Chicago roads, today you'd have one roadside tribute site every 2.6 miles in the city.

Does that sound ridiculous? Yes. You'd hardly be able to drive anywhere without seeing a reminder of a deadly auto accident. As I said before, I can understand the desire of some people to make a statement about their loved ones by marking the place of their death, and I certainly wouldn't complain about flowers or other items left at an accident scene for a few days. But the numbers alone convince me that roadside memorials that remain in place for months or years should not be allowed in large cities.

I'm not happy about our local four-year-old roadside memorial. I believe if you truly care about someone who died, you'll take the time to travel to the cemetery where you can place your flowers on your loved one's grave and remember that person in a dignified and private manner. Tacking a wreath to a tree is just too damn easy. 

What do you think of roadside memorials like this one? Do you agree with me, or do you think I'm entirely wrong?


Monday, February 24, 2014

I'm Baaaaack! :)

Well, I was hoping to have this web/blogsite completely revamped and renewed by now, but as the saying goes, the best laid plans of mice and men...'ll see my planned changes little by little as each new page is completed and comes to life here at Cicero's Children.

In the meantime, some of my friends and I will be posting here on whatever strikes our fancy, be it books, writing, family, hobbies, music, movies, or whatever. I'll still be posting editing tips from time to time along with the occasional book review. My Kindle Paperwhite is loaded with books from new-to-me writers, and I hope to share my thoughts on which stories struck me as the best.

This past Saturday I participated in an open mic session at the Sisters in Crime Chicagoland chapter meeting. I read from a story I'm currently working on, and like any writer exposing unfinished work to an audience, I was nervous as to the response I'd receive. Thankfully, my three pages seemed to go over with those in attendance. 

Evidently they didn't mind when I paused to silently correct a mistake in the manuscript, then began reading aloud again, changing the wording on the page to correspond with what I'd actually meant to write. 

Yes, we all make mistakes. Check out the sign to the right. Is Major Rodwork waiting up ahead to talk with us?  Or did someone just forget to put the "A" in "Roadwork"?

What's so nice about belonging to a group like Sisters in Crime is that no one in the group will jump on you over a simple writing error. Will they give you a friendly critique of your work? Sure, if you ask for it. But "friendly" is the keyword here. You can be sure that all suggestions for improvement will be made out of a desire to help, not criticize, the writer.

Which brings me to the point of this blog.

There will always be times when things don't go exactly as you planned. When this happens, surround yourself with positive thinking people. The energy you draw from them will help you rebound from your disappointment or embarrassment and put you back on the path to self-confidence.

Have a great day and a wonderful week! See you again soon. :)


Friday, December 6, 2013

Thanks for visiting Cicero's Children.

This website is currently being updated. 

Please visit again in January when the 
new, improved version is unveiled.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Thanksgiving Turkey for You!

Happy Thanksgiving!
(a little early)
To make you smile Today!
Let me be the FIRST to send you Thanksgiving Greetings.