Friday, April 30, 2010

On Persistence: Adventures in Transportation Maintenance

Kyped from the internet. Much cleaner then my engine compartment, anyway.

Behold the engine compartment of a 2001 PT Cruiser. Looks a lot like my 2002 except for the extra dip stick (manual transmissions have no dip stick). Circled in yellow is the area of the coolant overflow tank. When you are adding antifreeze/antiboil, this is where you put it, especially if the engine is warm. Just open the cap, insert your funnel, and pour away.

Unless it's blowing a gale out, as it was yesterday. In which case the cap gets blown off into the back of the engine compartment. Right into that space just to the left as you look at the photo, to drop down between the engine and the firewall and rest on one of the radiator hoses.

I could see it from above, but no way could I get it. Did the auto parts store I was at have a grabber that could grab it? They did, and while not particularly willing to assist, one of the clerks tried to grab it with the grabber.

He only succeeded in pushing it out of sight towards the back of the car. The wind was a definite factor. Oh, crap. Can you drive a car without this cap on? The vote was mixed, between customers and store crew. No caps in stock that would fit. Could not even see the little yellow cap now, stuck somewhere in the engine compartment.

Pace, pace, pace. Think. Pray. ("Help!") Pace some more. Pray some more. ("Help!")

How about a different point of view. From the side of the car. First, driver's side. Couldn't see a blessed thing. All views obscured by mechanical parts. Passenger side. Nothing from just behind the tire. Couldn't see anything peering through the holes in the aluminum wheels. Now looking between the front passenger tire and fender.

Hey, look! There it is! Still inaccessible without a lift. That is, to pick up the whole car.

You know, when you start to "get it", it's like time slows down and speeds up at the same time. The brilliant idea makes the frantic feeling ease. It calms the mind. You feel the solution is at hand. However, you can't wait to do it. John Wooden's famous saying comes to mind: Be quick but don't hurry.

If I can see it, that means I can draw a line from here, my vantage point, to it. What's a line but a straight shot? If I had an object that was straight and thin, like a stick, I could poke it, knocking it to the ground, then pin it down, and drag it out to where I could pick it up. A long straight stick or rod...

I are a pack rat. My car has many odd things in it. I had a feather cat toy, feathers on top, long flexible plastic handle. I knew this, because I had to move it to get my funnel out. Grabbed cat toy, executed plan to perfection! Cap replaced, everything all good now. Phew!

This little adventure in automotive maintenance got me to thinking about persistence. There are times when failure is, well, still an option, but a damn poor one. It happens in nursing too--especially in the ER. That urinary catheter has to be placed one way or another, vascular access gained one way or another, the NG tube passed one way or another. Doing without is either not possible, or very undesirable. If I can do it, that's quicker for the patient to get definitive care. If we have to call a urologist, or have surgery place a central IV line, it slows things down, decreases the amount of data available, and removes therapeutic options and slows their delivery.

Yes, I have prayed over IV placements and other procedures in the ER. Please Lord, help my hands. Calm my mind, let me use the "Mad Skillz" I have. Help the patient cooperate. Let this be done--and soon. I know it does help, I can think of several occasions when it did.

There are just times when you have to be with Winston Churchill:
Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.
And with the Apostle Paul:
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5 NIV
Of course, I am always amazed at how things can sometimes become. So. Much. More. Complicated!

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