Tuesday, October 20, 2020

What Happened?

Have you ever had something happen that you were unable to find out the outcome? Did you ever find out?

We lived in a very small town in Tennessee. Our street was one block long. At the end lived a very nice woman and her family. Next door lived her daughter and grandson. On the other side lived a woman who was distant and seemed un-approving for some reason. Directly across the street were a man and woman who were quite a bit older.

My husband was an over-the-road truck driver. Usually he was only home on the weekends. I had 4 small children. More often than not my kids, the younger children of the woman down the street, and her grandson from next door were at my house. Lots of happy noise.

I believe the children annoyed the people across the street. Disapproving looks and grumbling from the man were constant.

The woman went on a trip out of town to visit one of their children. She seemed to have been gone for quite a while. The man continued with his routine. Mowing the lawn, sprucing up the house, and puttering around in general.

One afternoon the man knocked on my door. I knew the children were not bothering him because they were all inside. So I answered the door.

He asked me if I could call a doctor. He was holding his arm so I wondered if he was having a heart attack.

Then he held out his arm. He had a blood-soaked towel wrapped around it. He wanted to show me. I did not want to see. He showed me anyway.

He had been working in his back yard with a table saw. Somehow his arm was caught. He had cut completely through the bone. His arm was still attached by skin on one side.

I told him to re-wrap his arm as I grabbed another towel to wrap around that. I gathered my kids and we took him to the hospital.

They took him right in. I settled down in the waiting room with my children. Someone needed to be there for him.

After several hours of hearing nothing, the man's son rushed in. I told him what little I knew. 

We stayed with the son until he was called back to see his father. I took my wonderfully patient children home for a good meal.

A few days later the son came to my door. He said they were able to re-attach his father's arm. The son was taking him home to recuperate.

My family moved back to the big city a few months later. I never heard from anyone in the man's family again. 

I have so often wondered about him. I do hope things went well for him.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Do I Have It?

 COVID=19 is somewhere in the mind of each person. A random cough and you think. "Do I have it?" A little information may ease some minds. Keep in mind that this is only a few facts. To determine conclusively you will need to see a doctor and have a reliable test.

A cough is usually a symptom of a cold, the flu, or the corona virus. I looked at all three to know what to watch for if the need should arise. I am not suffering from any of the three.

A cold. 

It is an upper respiratory infection. It affects the nose, throat sinuses, and windpipe. It is spread by contact with another person with a cold and through droplets in the air from a person with a cold.

The three main causes of the common cold are rhinovirus, coronavirus (not THE coronavirus), and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and parainfluenza. There are other causes but these are the prevalent ones.

The symptoms of a cold are: cough, sore throat, sneezing, and a runny nose.

 Cold symptoms usually start 2 or 3 days after a person has been exposed to the virus. People with colds are most contagious for the first 3 or 4 days after the symptoms begin and can be contagious for up to 3 weeks. Although some colds can linger for as long as 2 weeks, most clear up within a week.

Treatments for a cold include:  drinking lots of fluids to stay hydrated (include water, juice, clear broth, warm water with honey and/or lemon), rest (stay in bed if possible), if your throat is sore soothe it, work to not stiffen up, relieve any pain or soreness,  and moisturize the air. In most cases antibiotics do nothing to alleviate a cold.

Influenza or the flu.  

The flu is caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. These viruses spread when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk, sending droplets with the virus into the air and potentially into the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Stomach flu viruses cause diarrhea and vomiting.

The most common symptoms of flu are: fever, aching muscles, chills and sweats, headache, dry and persistent cough, shortness of breath, tiredness and weakness, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, eye pain, and vomiting or diarrhea, The vomiting and diarrhea are more common in children.

Most of the time flu can be treated at home. If you have the following symptoms call your doctor or go to the hospital: Difficulty breathing, chest pain, ongoing dizziness, any pre-existing conditions that get worse, and severe weakness or muscle pain.

Dangerous symptoms for children requiring medical assistance are: difficulty breathing, blue lips, chest pains, dehydration, seizures, worsening of pre-existing medical conditions.

Some fairly common complications are: pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma flare-ups, heart problems, ear infections, and acute respiratory distress.

The best way to treat the flu is to get your flu shot before you get the flu.


COVID-19 and the flu share symptoms. It makes it hard for a definitive diagnosis. A doctor will recommend a test to be sure. You can even have both at the same time.

There are some differences. They are caused bu different viruses. COVID symptoms appear about one to fourteen days after exposure. Flu symptoms appear one to four days after exposure. COVID sufferers often experience a loss of taste or smell. COVID seems to be more contagious and to spread more quickly than the flu. Severe injury to the lungs is more frequent. The mortality rate is higher for COVID.  

Blood clots are a complication for COVID. In children COVID has caused multisystem inflammatory syndrome. 

The flu an be treated with antiviral drugs.  So far no drugs have been approved for the treatment of COVID. 

To prevent catching any of the three diseases there are things you can do. Wash your hands thoroughly several times a day for at least 20 seconds  using soap and water. Hand sanitizer can be used if soap and water are not available. Cover you mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Disinfect doorknobs, electronics, light switches, and counters and tables daily.

Additional precautions for COVID include avoiding large gatherings, avoid close contact with other people, and wear a face mask when you must be out in public. 

I hope this helps. 

Friday, October 2, 2020

Who Should Do It?

 It seems that the whole West Coast of the United States is on fire. In fact the smoke from the fires has moved across our country and made its way to Europe. 

People have lost homes and livelihoods. Some have lost their lives. Animals are affected too.

I grew up in mostly rural areas. I know that burn-offs are used to clear land. I know that if the farmers do not tend to their land fires will break out as a control. The same thing happens to forests.  And to be clear (as politicians say) I have also lived on the edge of a forest where fires are raging this year.

If left unchecked timberland will tend to itself. Larger trees will block sunlight from smaller trees. Larger trees will suck up a larger amount of moisture from the ground. A lot of the smaller trees languish and do not grow.

At the same time some of the older trees die. They fall over. Natural occurrences like wind and lightning attack them and they fall.

It seems sad for the older trees. Did you know that a lot of animals and other plants live exclusively in snags? That is what the fallen trees are called.

Dead leaves and dead trees rot and return to the soil. Nutrients from the process feed new trees.

It has been suggested that improper forest management is responsible for the fires burning at this moment. Perhaps there is some validity to that. I do not agree.

It has been said that Finland, for instance, has fewer forest fires because they sweep the forest floors. Not true.

Finland lies partially within the Arctic Circle. The environment is cold and damp. There are a lot of lakes and swamps. Weather patterns are different than those of California.

The Finns DO NOT rake the floors of the forests. When they learned that was being said they made amusing pictures and cartoons about it.

Although the fires are in all the states on the West Coast I am singling California for this discussion.

A large portion of California is on fire. We call them forest fires  Some of the burning is occurring because of invasive grasses not native to California. 

What causes the fires? Lightning striking dry trees and shrubs. Carelessness with campfires and cigarettes. Arson. One fire was even caused by a couple who wanted to announce the gender of their expected baby.

California's climate is dry. The fact that it seldom rains makes a desirable environment for many people. 

They build new homes and a great portion of those are close to the wild. That is a danger zone when the fires start.

Who is responsible for caring for the forestland in California?  There are about 33 million acres of forest in California. State and local agencies own about 3%. Approximately 40% is privately owned. 57% is owned by the Federal Government. 

The US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Parks Service are responsible for taking care of 57% of California's forests. Perhaps they need to rake the floors of the forests to prevent fires?