Christus St. Vincent gave me great care

Seeing news stories about accusations that Christus St. Vincent hospital patient care is inadequate, I decided to do my own investigation. OK, it wasn’t really my decision. A life-threatening medical emergency a few weeks ago put me in the hospital for six days and nights. During that time I experienced the emergency room, ICU, three different hospital rooms in two different wards, and I interacted with a couple of dozen or more hospital staff.

Almost without exception, everyone I encountered was cheerful and attentive, from doctors and nurses to the people who cleaned my room, pushed my wheelchair and brought my meals. When I pushed the call button, someone appeared within a minute or two. When I made a mess, I was assured it was not a problem to clean it up. Rather than neglected, I felt cared for. A few stories illustrate my experience.

One morning I was about to be moved to a different room. The petite young night nurse who had cared for me for two nights squeezed my hand, told me she had enjoyed caring for me and wished me a speedy recovery.

Another night I was lying in bed sleepless, needles stuck in both arms, a line in my neck, sensors glued to my body. Wrapped in IV tubes and telemetry cables, I felt like Gulliver tied down by the Lilliputians. In the middle of the night the nurse came in to check on me and asked how I was feeling. I told her I was miserable. In a motherly voice she said, “Would a cup of tea help, dear?” I said I thought it might. A few minutes later I had a cup of hot tea and graham crackers. And it did help. I was soon asleep.

When I was again able to eat solid food I was presented with a menu with a wide variety of dishes to choose from. CSV won’t be featured in Gourmet magazine, but the food was delivered promptly and was tasty, not the hospital food one hears jokes about.

The evening after I was discharged I was swollen like the Michelin tire man, and it seemed to be getting worse. My family insisted I return to the emergency room. Maybe it was a slow night, but to my amazement, 15 minutes after I walked in the door I was seen by a doctor. It was decided I didn’t need to be readmitted; I could go home and return the next day for tests. But imagine my surprise when, two days later, the emergency room doctor called me at home to ask how I was doing and what the tests had found.

So, no more “St. Victim” jokes from me. Santa Fe is fortunate to have Christus St. Vincent hospital and, especially, the caring, dedicated people who work there. I certainly am; they were there for me when I was in need, and I am grateful for the care I received.

Prefer a world-class hospital? Do what oil-rich Arab sheiks do, charter a plane and fly to Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins. But if, like me, you’re not rich, and treatment delay could be fatal, be glad that Christus St. Vincent and its dedicated people are here when we need them.


Los Alamos

Solar panels reflect traditional wisdom

When growing up I was taught a lesson that I believe many young New Mexicans learn. When faced with a new problem, it is often best to look to the past for guidance. Nationally, we are faced with a growing list of problems. These problems span across environment, economy and employment. Locally we are facing the same problems. In New Mexico, one out of four high school students suffer from asthma; our job crisis has gained national attention; our economic development is marred by ever-increasing prices on energy; and, perhaps most importantly, our current energy sources are continuing to emit carbon, contributing to the heat wave and raging wildfires that now threaten life and land all across New México.

Just as our nation must work to find solutions, it is time for our state to begin working toward solutions as well. These solutions do not have to be as large or as complex as the national solutions. Some are quite simple, remarkably achievable, and, most importantly, immediately effective. As a native New Mexican I believe that these solutions are already present in our history. New Mexico has a rich history of perseverance and collective triumph due largely to our honor of and collaboration with our land to allow our communities to thrive. This is perhaps best reflected in our tradition of and value in land stewardship. If we acknowledge this rich part of our history, and make it a basis for decisive plans of action, it will yield incredible results. One of these easy and effective solutions is a move towards clean renewable energy.

New Energy Economy, a local nonprofit dedicated to creating more clean energy in New Mexico, and County Commissioners Danny Mayfield and Robert Anaya, are leading by example to create opportunities for economic and environmental development by honoring one of our most celebrated resources: the sun. By a unanimous decision of the county commission, they have resolved to install solar panels on the Tesuque Fire Station.

… Science and technology have finally caught up to the principles that we in New Mexico have been taught from birth: that if we display deep respect, dedication and gratitude when it comes to the assets that we are gifted with from birth, we can utilize these gifts to provide the solutions to any problem. Join us for the solar celebration at the Tesuque Fire Station and support the valiant firefighters who are on the front lines of climate change on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Free barbecue, and bring a side dish or salad to share.



Santa Fe

Don’t shortchange conservation fund

Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy sent the original Land and Water Conservation Fund bill to Congress, to provide funds for the purchase and protection of natural areas, water resources and our cultural heritage, and to provide recreational opportunities on public lands.

During my career as an archeologist for 28 years with the Taos Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management, I gained first-hand knowledge of the benefits of LWCF to our state and country, for the benefit of all Americans.

The primary source of income to the fund comes from fees paid by companies drilling offshore for oil and gas. The idea was that a portion of the revenues paid for the depletion of a public resource should go to conserving another important resource – our land and water.

However, Congress habitually diverts most of the revenues from offshore drilling authorized for LWCF to other unrelated purposes. It’s been a constant battle to retain funding for LWCF.

Thus, I was pleased to see both Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich proposing bipartisan legislation that would fully realize that program’s promise to conserve parks, open spaces, and wildlife habitat. Fully and permanently funding LWCF would foster conservation investments that boost tourism, protect important cultural and archeological heritage sites, and improve our quality of life.

LWCF funds enabled BLM to protect 20 acres in northern New Mexico that contained a prehistoric melted adobe pueblo of more than one thousand rooms. This great village sits on a terrace above the Rio Ojo Caliente a few miles north of the small town of Ojo Caliente. This village was inhabited by Tewa Puebloan people during the 13th-16th centuries CE. These people were the ancestors of our existing Tewa Pueblos now located in the Española and Santa Fe area.

This parcel had been subdivided into building lots years ago, which put the site in great danger of being commercially developed. The Archaeological Conservancy worked with the landowner and eventually purchased the parcel from the willing seller. This gave the BLM the needed time to secure LWCF funding for the project and protect the cultural site for the public to access and enjoy.

We also had success with LWCF acquisitions within the La Cienega Area of Critical Environmental Concern along the Santa Fe River southwest of Santa Fe. This is an eleven-acre parcel containing the massive mounded adobe pueblo of La Cieneguilla, also known as Tziguma Pueblo. A segment of the Camino Real, the road that linked Spanish Mexico to the New Mexican Colony, came right by La Cieneguilla Pueblo and then through Agua Fria into the second colonial capital of Santa Fe.

LWCF funding also protected land within and adjacent to the Santa Fe River Canyon between La Cieneguilla and La Cienega. This parcel contains wonderful prehistoric resources including hundreds of petroglyphs, small habitation sites and agricultural features. This will be a perfect place to educate the public about our past. This is a beautiful portion of the scenic Santa Fe River Canyon, with the riparian zone along the river, and all the associated plants and animals.

On Tuesday, there will be a Senate hearing about revenue from offshore energy development before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and how those funds should be allocated amongst the states that make up our nation.

I hope that any new revenue-sharing legislation fulfills the existing congressional commitment to LWCF. Congress should first provide the funds already promised to America’s communities and to address critical conservation needs at some of America’s most iconic and popular places, especially in New Mexico, where millions of Americans recreate and enjoy our cultural heritage.



Now we’re armed with license to kill

News flash America: Killing has been declared legal if you play your cards correctly! The word on the street is that although murder is still illegal, “going Zimmerman” is a viable and legal strategy.

Here is how it works. You pick out your mark. You follow him until he steps into a fairly unpopulated area where witnesses will not be within close proximity. You close on him quickly, muttering vicious insults that question his right to even exist in your world. Get close and into his personal space while continuing to agitate, aggravate and denigrate but be careful to not make physical contact. Threaten quietly until the mark turns and makes even the slightest move towards you. Remember that even though his making physical contact with you would be a plus, it is not necessary! At this point, you may pull your gun and shoot him dead. Be very sure he is dead, as this play only works if there is just one witness left standing.

When the authorities arrive, you must be very careful to repeat early and often that he was threatening you, advancing on you and you were in fear of your life. You might even want to whine a little about how fierce his demeanor was. A little blood would be great stagecraft. Repeat your story to the press.

The plan works! It has been tried and approved by the courts. I would caution that its use is most effective when used on someone of a lower social, racial or sexual class than your own. Stick to your guns and play on, America!



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