An Abundance of Caution

  1. In headline news, COVID-19 has mostly been impersonal. There are always anecdotal stories. Some of those are about non-believers who turned out to be carriers or were involved in a superspreader event. They now regret calling the novel coronavirus a hoax and not taking action, as family members and friends actually sickened and died, just as they were warned, or, they experienced serious health problems themselves. That’s what it sometimes takes to open people’s eyes.
  2. Herd immunity was given another boost via the Barrington Project. Interesting idea but when you look at the numbers involved and the impact, it’s a scary idea. Pursue herd immunity and you’ll endure higher hospitalizations, packed ICUs, and higher death rates. In theory, your economy will be better and life will be more ‘normal’.
  3. Want to talk about Sweden? Go ahead. I’ve already checked them out. Their mortality rate is fifth highest in the world, behind Spain, the US, UK, and Italy.
  4. States, of course, are interested in herd immunity, especially those states where COVID-19 is already surging. This includes Idaho and South Dakota. South Dakota was home to several superspreader events and took little to no actions. Now COVID-19 is raging across the state.
  5. Florida, naturally, is also interested in herd immunity. They’re embracing that science after defying all other science.
  6. Meanwhile, we’ve had a few big names contract COVID-19 and die. Now more people in the rich, powerful, and famous circles are testing positive. We’ve already had Donald Trump, his wife, son Barron, and twenty-five other people (or more – I quit counting) associated with a WH event. This doesn’t include the Secret Service agents protecting the POTUS and family; they don’t tell how many of them get sick. But today brings news that Kamala Harris is canceling some events because an aide and another associated with her campaign tested positive. So did Alabama coach Nick Saban, along with Atlanta Falcons staff.
  7. Several U.S. Senators and a few mayors have tested positive. The senators usually make news because they’re Republican and refuse to either notify others, quarantine, or wear a mask. I guess a few of them require their loved ones and family to contract the illness and suffer before they’ll be more serious about it.
  8. The Atlanta Falcons news comes on top of other NFL COVID-19 news. Cam Newton, Patriots QB, has ended his COVID-19 quarantine. The Tenn. Titans won their first game back after being off for sixteen days due to dozens testing positive in the Titans org.
  9. “An abundance of caution” is the NFL’s new tagline this year. Whenever something COVID-19 related is announced, the the press release usually has the phrase “an abundance of caution” in it. That includes two stories today. One that the Falcons have closed their facility after at least one, but maybe four, have tested positive. Two, Odell Beckham, Jr, a Cleveland Browns wide receiver, was sent home with an unspecified illness “out of an abundance of caution”.
  10. COVID-19 is havoc on the NFL’s schedule, of course. After creating and promoting Thursday Night Football, there’s no Thursday Night Football this week. That game was moved to Sunday. Meanwhile, we did have the standard Monday Night Football, along with Tuesday Night Football this week. They’re also talking about adding an eighteenth week to the regular season.
  11. One of the big headlines today is that Europe’s surge of daily new cases are now higher than the United States. The UK and EU are talking lockdown again. Some are speculating this is the second wave. Out of an abundance of caution, we’re stocking up on food and supplies, continuing to wear our masks, and social-distance. Of course, we have that privilege. Too sadly, there are many in society who don’t.

Friday Fragments

  1. People tell me how skinny I’ve become. Interesting, because I weigh just seven pounds less than two years ago. What I’ve pieced together, based on history and what doctors told me, is that my prostrate gland had become severely enlarged. It blocked my bladder, eventually causing a medical emergency because I couldn’t void myself. My little old one- hundred ml bladder had eleven hundred ml of piss in it, according to the staff when I arrived that morning in the ER. According to my doc when he recounted it later, I was grossly distended. So, no, it wasn’t weight; I was full of piss. Once that was all relieved, and my prostate has shrunk some, my organs are no longer displaced, and no longer have an abdomen that sticks out like a car bumper.
  2. You can read about my 2019 troubles in Peckerville here.
  3. My prostate/bladder experience reaffirmed the need to not look at everyone through the same lenses. They may look overweight, but it could be something else completely.
  4. I’m also looking at my food differently. I used to consider sugars, fat, and content whenever I made a food selection. We’ve moved sharply toward organic and natural food in the past fifteen years. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension) last year. I’m on meds for it. I now check sodium content in food and keep it down. I’m staggered by how much sodium is used in modern processed food. It’s eye opening, and not in a good way. The Trader Joe’s foods that I used to enjoy are completely unacceptable.
  5. Speaking of looking at things differently, the neighbor’s cat was almost done in by a car the other day, right before my eyes. Mimi, a gorgeous little grey and white kitty, was sitting on the curb across the street. A pedestrian was chatting with her. He later said, though, another cat was distracting Mimi. A car came rushing up the street. Mimi decided then to cross.
  6. Cats don’t view the world as we do. They have a harder time discerning a car forty feet away, traveling at a speed of thirty miles per hour, coming at them.
  7. The car brakes to a halt with a sharp screech of tires. Mimi appears safe. She streaks home. All are concerned. I knock on the neighbor’s door and tell her what happened and where Mimi went. I haven’t seen Mimi or neighbor since. It worries me, but I think if something bad happened, my neighbor would come and tell me. That’s how she is.
  8. We were out shopping Tuesday. Had to renew the car registration in Medford, so we thought we’d shop and gas up the car at the same time. All went well but I realized, I don’t really miss people during this pandemic/stay-at-home era. I miss my routines. Yes, I miss having beers with friends or going dancing, and traveling, but it’s not about missing the people as much as doing things other than what I’m doing. I’ve always known I’m not a social person. I don’t know how much of this to assign to what, personality wise. In other words, how much is due to my genetic makeup, and how much of it is a socialization thingy?
  9. We’re seriously processing moving out of state, probably heading east. Well, come on, we live in Oregon; we can’t go south to California. Going north to Washington has been addressed, but it doesn’t seem feasible.
  10. Looking at house photos online to fill in an idea of what housing would be like, I’m fascinated by the difference in home d├ęcor between the Pacific northwest, and Ohio/Pennsylvania, where we’re looking. We’ve always been aware of the differences in clothing fashion between different parts of the country. There are also usually differences attributable to age and economic straits. And, visiting family, yes, I’ve also noticed it when I visit their homes. So much viewing, I suppose, has driven the disparity more deeply into me.
  11. The other thing is about how housing styles have changed through the decades. Back in the forties, fifties, and sixties, (I don’t know about other decades, because I don’t see houses from other times), homes seemed to mostly form follow function. Small box houses. Little character is evidenced outside. The yards are large, the rooms are small, especially bathrooms.
  12. Later, though, the houses grow more and more about exterior style. While the boxes were efficient but less attractive, the newer houses become more inefficient in their interiors, with lots of wasted space or strange spaces. Yards are smaller, though all of the yards on the listings I check are larger than the yards out here. I have several friends who are retired or practicing architects. I’d love to talk to them about evolving house designs. One was on the forefront of tiny houses and sustainable living, so I really want to get her take.
  13. We have three firm rules for our new place, wherever we settle. One, no mortgages. Paying in cash limits our choices (we don’t want to sink all of our cash into a house, right?), but we don’t want a mortgage. Two, no HOAs. They’ve burned us twice; never again. I think they’re one of the more ridiculous modern contrivances. Three, we need a little space. We just don’t like living on top of other people. When we first move back, we will be renting, of course. We’ve done this before. Although we haven’t moved in fourteen years, I was in the military for twenty years, as was my father before me. I’ve moved a lot during my lifetime.
  14. I’m pretty convinced we need to move. Not looking forward to it, but… But years of smoky summers and droughts, water restrictions, and wildfires have worn us down. Sad, because Ashland, Oregon, and the region are beautiful and wonderful in multiple ways. The negatives, though, have just added up. Given the trends of the previous ten years and the forecasts and models, we only see it getting worse.

Have a good day. Wear your masks, please. Be safe. Cheers

Monday Muddlings

  1. It’s day six since the Almeda Fire started. We last left the house on errands (other than stepping out to look at the sky and yard) last Thursday.
  2. One cat was sitting on the floor. Another one came around the corner, encountering the first. Both released a startled, “Meow!” We thought that was so funny. I think maybe we’ve been locked up in the house too long.
  3. Looking back to March. COVID-19 struck. Stay in the house, we’re warned. Then, wear a mask. Businesses shut down. Eventually, we made progress about what should and shouldn’t be done. Businesses opened and set up to accommodate new guidelines to help flatten the curve. Summer arrives. We’re warned to curtail outdoor activities due to extreme temperatures. Wildfires spread up and down along the west coast. We’re warned to stay inside because of unhealthy air. The Almeda Fire starts in our town and rips north and west, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses within twelve hours. We’re warned to stay inside because of hazardous air.
  4. Meanwhile, we monitor hurricanes and cyclones, melting ice caps, rain and flooding in other places.
  5. It’s been a tense and stressful six months.
  6. With all that’s happened in the world, and the things we’ve survived, we’re still among the more fortunate.
  7. Took the trash out last night. The smoke’s smell seemed less offensive and irritating. Am I developing a tolerance to the stench, or is it finally starting to leave our valley? Naturally I check purpleair.com. Eureka! One monitor reports we’re down to two hundred in one part of town and below four hundred. If we can lop off two hundred more, the air will be just ‘unhealthy’.
  8. My broken arm and hand’s swelling has finally significantly decreased. I can make a fist with little pain and tightness. Hurrah for progress!
  9. Writing isn’t going well. I’m an info junkie, hunting a fix, and vetting what I learn. I keep letting myself off the hook. Where the hell is my discipline? Going to go get some coffee, and you know…try to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Morning Confessions

Okay, I blew my nose this morning, one of the first things I did after peeing. Then I looked at what I’d blown out.

Not the sort of thing to think about, isn’t it?

Some people don’t like to. Bodies may be temple, but whatever is in it should stay hidden.

That’s not what I believe.

I started thinking about this because a rant on Facebook was about how horrified someone was by another blowing their nose and then looking at it. I thought, why not? This is a discharge from my body and its processes. Of course I’m going to look at it. I want to know what the hell is coming out of me. Especially if I’m feeling a little under the weather, more stopped up than usual, or I’m recovering from something, or coping with a health issue, or, like today, dealing with unhealthy air. Doctors and nurses will ask you about its color and consistency; you should know it.

Likewise, I check out my urine and feces. I want to know the results of my bowel movements. Again, it’s part of my body and evidence about what’s going on in there. If I could check my blood regularly and get test results, I would. One thing learned as I’ve aged is that symptoms of underlying conditions don’t usually reveal until they combine into something serious that starts taking me down.

I’m tired of people being dainty about these things. Hiding it, not looking at it, not discussing it unless they’re being closed doors. Ridiculous. Knowledge and information can help us understand and grow. Hiding your knowledge about your body from yourself and others just spreads ignorance.

So don’t turn away. Look at what comes out of you. Talk about it with others. How the hell are you supposed to learn otherwise?

I’m weary of all the silos we’ve built in the name of conventions, norms, and polite societies. I don’t think these manufactured artifices serve us.

So come on. Stop crying, “TMI,” and join the information revolution.

Start telling your friends about your crap.

The September Arm Update

I broke my left arm on July 7, 2020. Both the ulna and radius (distal ends) were broken by the wrist. The ulna had mild displacement but the radius was all the way across my arm, with the tip threatening to break out of my skin on the outside of the ulna. Looking back, my hand and fingers had also been crushed under my weight as I fell. I couldn’t bend or straighten my fingers or thumb for the first several days. Now I’m working to get it all back.

I wore a splint for six weeks. Film showed healing and no movement so I was given a removable splint. I wore it for most of the first two days. Swelling was heavy, as was inflammation. I try to avoid drugs but ended up using Ibuprofen, per my ortho’s recommendation.

I haven’t seen him since my first two appointments. I’ve been turned over to a young PA. I’m not concerned; I think it’s better that my condition is good enough that I don’t need the top person’s attention, thanks. But his wife, our friend, says I should insist on seeing her husband. Her approach makes me smile.

Progress is evident, with victory celebrated by little things. I can now type with both hands. My left hand is again effective for scratching an itchy spot on my right side. I can hold a glass or mug full of water or coffee and drink from it using my left hand, and I can open the microwave, oven, and refrigerator doors with it. House door handles remain a challenge. I can’t rotate my wrist enough.

I’m seeing progress with rotation, with less pain and stiffness everyday. Bending the wrist forward and back is a problem. I’m working on it.

I began working out with two pound weights a few day ago. My elbow and shoulder movement and strength are improving by the day. Last night, I used five pound weights. Eight curls, although not to full extension or contraction, were achieved. Eight pound weights were tried, with some success but a great deal of tremors, pain, and discomfort.

It’s all coming together, though. I consider myself fortunate. I had good medical care and insurance, and could pay for whatever I needed, and my genes seem pretty good in this regard. Many in this world aren’t as lucky.

Thanks for reading. Cheers

Cosmic Construction

I don’t know what woke me. The wind was imitating a full-throttled gas leaf blower outside the window, hammering the house walls with whatever it could find to fling (yeah, that’s how it sounded). One cat was on the bed, and the wife was restless.

I think, though, it was pain. I’d somehow rolled around while I slept, ending up with my mending arm and hand bent underneath my weight. The hand was crying, and was too stiff to straighten at all.

I massaged it and listened to the wind beating the world, wondering what it was doing to our garden, trash can, roof, and everything else. After a bit of that, I adjusted my hand in a safe space elevated on a pillow and settled back into sleeping mode.

The dream slyly crept in. Someone said, “Yes, we have the body before us. We can see the injuries and damages and know how to repair them. We are sending thousands of cosmic construction teams to the area.”

My wife tapped me awake. “It’s really scary outside. The wind is blowing hard and steady.”

“I know. I hear it.”

My Fitbit said, 5:25. I was miffed to be awakened and eager to return to sleep. The dream still had my thoughts entangled. I pictured the cosmic construction teams and their work. I imagined them with nano-sized machines up beside my bones, muscles, and joints. Hard hats on, they’re looking around and chatting, tapping their feet, arms crossed, assessing damages, deciding on a plan. Then the word is given and they go to work.

It was an amusing, yet wonderful and reassuring thought, that somewhere in me, cosmic construction teams are going to work.

Broken Memories

Having this broken arm stirred memories and prompted realizations.

  1. My broken wrist, broken neck, and this broken arm, my only three breaks, involved the summer months. I wore the halo from June through August (yeah, in the Okinawa humidity — we lived off base and didn’t have A/C) and had the wrist pins and cast July and August (central Germany).
  2. Worst thing about the halo was that I dislodged it. I’d talked everyone into letting me return to work. Yes, I was clever, charming, and quick back then, a deadly combo. Barely at work for an hour, I sat down in a chair, leaned back, and flipped over. The halo held my head immobile with four screws. I’d managed to knock my head out of them. Blood everywhere. This was about eleven at night, the mid shift. Commander, paramedics, ambulance all arrive. My CC and the paramedics enter an argument; my CC wants to ride with me. They wouldn’t let him.
  3. After that night, wife, friends, boss, doc. were all of the opinion that I should just stay home.
  4. When my halo was removed, my head felt weirdly light. (Guess I was light headed…) My wife and friends said my head would start bobbing during the first few days. They worked hard not to laugh. I never noticed it.
  5. My CC then, Col. Mike Kerr, was one of my favorite commanders, but I was fortunate to have several good ones. He’d had twenty-four staples in his skull. This all happened in the Vietnam era. He was a forward ground controller, but had additional duties on base. There’d been a mortar attack. His job was to go out, find unexploded ordinance, mark it, and call it in. The enemy knew this routine, so they put snipers in trees just outside the base. One was shooting at Kerr, so Kerr hunted him down. Hand to hand combat ensued. Kerr received his injuries.
  6. My splint is off. My arm has shrunk. Dry skin and wrinkles abound. I’m wearing a removable wrist brace. Elbow movement is very good but hand, wrist, and fingers need work. The healing continues.

I believe I posted most of this stuff before.

Hope you’re all surviving and thriving, wherever you are. Wear your damn mask, please.

Monday Meringue

  1. Busy dream night. Left me feeling energized. I was flying in one dream. An incredible, vivid dream, I woke up confused at finding myself in a bed, in a room, and on the ground. Other than flying, feeling and hearing the wind while looking down on the world, there wasn’t much else to it. But I did think while looking down at mountains, forests, and seas, the world is a fine place. Such a different impression I experience while reading the news each day.
  2. I have noted a trend. Lots of dreams translates to high writing energy. It doesn’t work out as well as it might sound. I can’t keep up with my brain’s layered intensity to the story being followed. The ability to do that might separate critically and commercially successful writers from the rest of us pluggers. I’m working on it. Just like other acquired forms (athletics, music, art, math, reading, etc.), discipline and repetition can improve the process and outcome.
  3. Other than a foray to 104 degrees F Friday, we’ve been spared the triple-digit forecast. Sat. was supposed to be 105, Sunday, 108, but we hit ‘just’ 99 and 98. Today will only be 98. Lots of cloud cover so no need for the AC. The clouds block that sun, good for keeping cool, not so much for the solar panels. I’m happy with the trade.
  4. I can always tell when we’re not producing much solar energy. The inverter is in the garage. When the panels are cranking, it sounds like a large hive of angry murder bees. As of now, it’s putting out 900 watts and is quiet as a sleeping cat.
  5. Did a little typing with my left hand today. Progress. Return to doc a week from today. Fingers crossed…on my right hand.
  6. Yeah, got the coffee. Actually already drank it. Already wrote for two hours this morning. It was write, read, post, play a game, write, repeat. So time to continue writing like crazy one…more…time.

So, the Arm

Returned to the doc today but I’m in the same splint. Sayeth the doc, “You were so close to requiring surgery. If your injury moved, you were just that close. It’s healing well, and the film looks good, but we don’t want to risk anything moving if we can avoid that risk.”

So, okay. Go back in two weeks. I feel it healing and improving daily. I know I’m doing well because I’m antsy to get on with rehab.

Onward.

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