How Serious is the Corona Virus

My daughter asked me what precautions I was taking for the Corona Virus. During our small group study at church, the conversation turned to the unavailability of face masks. The Corona Virus is the dominant topic on the news, including dominating the front and editorial pages of our small local newspaper. At my doctor appointment we talked about the Virus.

It is true that most people might be temporarily sick, and then recover. The population of New Castle is a little over 22,000. This means that if everyone got the Virus, 400 people would die. While the sickness has its grip on New Castle, PA it would put a strain on the local hospital.

This number does not include the people in the immediate surrounding area. Nor the range that this population travels. Pittsburgh is frequent destination for the local population, as is Ohio, and with the airport near by, we are within reach of the world.

But how bad will it really be?

How bad the virus will hit us will depend upon us, all of us. We know how to prevent viruses from spreading.

  • We know to wash our hands.
  • We know to avoid handles and light switches.
  • We know to cover our cough.
  • We know to stay home when we are sick.

Wait! What?

We know not everyone washes their hands every time we go to the bathroom. Every public bathroom has posted that employees must wash their hands before returning to work. This same rule should be followed by us, because everything we touch can carry a contagion. Most of these we are resistant to, but we have no resistance to the new virus.

Wipes are available at many grocery stores so that customers can wipe buggy or cart handles so you are protected. Anything you need to touch, that also other people touch, are potential points of contracting something new. Avoid touching buttons and knobs where you can, and clean your hands as quickly as possible.

We have all seen other people cough or sneeze without covering their cough. Or, cough or sneeze in their hand and then shake hands with someone. Coughing in your elbow may be a good emergency measure, but a tissue you can discard is best.

These are all good ways to protect ourselves from getting sick. If you would like to get some direction from a real doctor, visit here. To protect others from being sick we need to stay home and stay away from others.

We have all been in the company of someone with a bad cough, sneeze, and need to blow their nose. Instead of one person sick, you and a whole room full of people can be sick.

All of us tend to think we are needed. No, we think we are essential. We take pride in assuming our responsibilities, and being reliable, dependable. We are needed, but it is the very action of meeting that need that allows us to spread disease to others. When we are sick, our greatest responsibility is to protect others and keep to our sick room and take care of ourselves.

Like me, I am sure you will keep track of the Corona Virus, and make plans to take care of yourself, and even be prepared for isolation. My daughter has stock piled three gallons of water. Sorry kids, that means Mom and the pups will be okay for a day or so.

Not My Same Old Blog

This feature, the Drop Cap reminded me of Illuminated manuscripts and sent me scurrying across the internet to see precisely what the difference is. Illuminated uses a Drop Cap, a larger initial letter, with an illustration within the letter. The letter itself is often very elaborate. I guess WordPress still has room for growth. I think I’ll have fun with this flourish.

The block feature is interesting. I’ve been trying to use it, and must say I am not really sure about it. I was comfortable with the old way. I can see the potential. I’m just not sure I will ever use it to advantage, because I basically just plain write. But this feature may entice me to change the look of my blog and my approach to my writing. I’m thinking glossy magazine vs. black and white newsprint.

I may have to upgrade my media, but that should be easy with Pixel, and all the great open-stock materials. I actually gave away my Rebel Camera, and my video camera to my grandchildren. My phone and tablet make it so easy to take photo, and I still have my bin of photographs. For today, enjoy me pictures of Shadow, with a glimpse of Blue eating in the background.

I was worried I’d come back and would have forgotten everything, but no worries, as long as I can think of something to write about.

Where I’ve Been

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Photo by Tomas Ryant on Pexels.com

Surprise dear followers.  Greeting friends and readers.  It’s been awhile.  I’m not the first blogger to burnout and disappear.  My burnout occurred shortly after Hubby’s health issues came to light.  

I’ve received some unexpected encouragement to write from a new friend who read my blog, so let us see if I can still remember how to do this.  

Hubby’s health problems have been a series of ups and downs.  A case of pneumonia was really scary.  When we left for urgent care Hubby felt bad.  We were sent on to the hospital, and by the time we got there, Hubby couldn’t give his name.

Doctors played ping pong with him, pointing to each other to give us answers.  Finally we changed pulmonologists.  A year after the pneumonia, Hubby was healthy enough for a lung biopsy.  The result, Hubby does have Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.  Plus, he still has COPD, specifically Emphysema.  He is now on one of the two very expensive medicines to treat IPF, nintedanib (OFEV).  This is not a cure.

Fortunately for us, our copay for OFEV is covered by a foundation.  Meaning, no co-pay charge for us.  Thank you to all of you who have ever donated to the Lung Association.  There are a number of side effects, but Hubby is tolerating it well so far.  Life has settled into a manageable routine.

It has been a time of coming to term with our new reality, somber conversations, and  putting things in order.  There has been a lot of stress and anxiety.  I didn’t want my blog to be just an IPF blog, (not the worst thing, but a different audience).  Nor a series of rants of all the other things in life that have added to stress and anxiety.

Stress and anxiety are major health issue by themselves.  My immune system has taken a hit.  Suddenly I am dealing with canker sores, colds, rashes, and broken/peeling nails.  Also, I am eating a ton, with the predictable results (I wonder if I can find some of those clothes I donated a year or so ago to Goodwill).  These are small problems in life.

The future isn’t clear, but in the present we are living with these challenges.  Our emphasis is on our life, not the inevitable end that all of us eventually face.  That end will come to us all, but until then, why borrow trouble.

No Place Like

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“I hate that shower,” said Hubby, after his first shower upon getting back into our house after the roof caught fire on December 11, 2017.

It was so disappointing to hear he doesn’t like the new shower!  The shower we had, pre-fire, was huge!  You could get a family of eight in there and still have elbow room.  The new shower doesn’t even get him out of the spray to wash his feet.  What did we do with the part of the shower we lost?  We combined it with a small closet to create a laundry area.  No laundromat, and no stairs on laundry day.

The work isn’t completely done.  There are so many little items to be finished up: second coats of paint, trimming, cleaning, etc.  We even have a temporary sink and kitchen counter.

We have our soft goods: clothing, shoes, bags, pillows, sheets and towels.  I’ve been wearing my exercise gear as summer clothing.  The same dark things over and over. It was winter when the fire drove us out into the cold.  It was a bitter cold winter.  The last few days it was in the 90’s, Fahrenheit.

The first thing I grabbed from my stuff was my red shorts!  They would fit me now.  No, not really.  I had to synch them up with a belt. Back to the Goodwill with them.  Going out for the evening, I dressed in my white with black poke-a-dot dress, both cool and bright.  I am a happy girl.  My skinny clothing is comfortable, and I am freshly motivated to continue with my health and fitness plans.

My reflection doesn’t always reveal the truth to my eyes.  I see myself as fat when I’m not, and skinny never.  But the fit of the clothing I last wore two years ago, is clear objective evidence of success.  Much more motivating than an abstract number on a scale.

When we moved into this house, I swore I would never move again in my lifetime.  Well, that didn’t really work out.  We have moved four times since I said that.  I am afraid to say it again.  It is a work in progress, but we are home.

Until our furniture comes, we are supervising renovations from our travel trailer, in the driveway.  At least it has air conditioning on these hot days.

Body Shaming

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Saw the beautiful Tess Holliday on television this morning, a large size model with her cover on Self Magazine, the first digital issue.  I couldn’t find a picture of her that I was sure of being open source, so I have used one of my pictures for this post.

This picture was taken in 2012, during the last Christmas I spent with my folks.  I was also at my highest weight.  Sure, I knew my weight, but my family is pretty well trained not to say anything about.  The highest complement anyone in my family can give is, “You look so good!  Have you lost weight?”

I realized long ago, that it was the first half of the comment that was real, because gain or lose I knew the second half had nothing to do with factual perception.  If I was happy, I looked good, very consistently. There have been other comments.

At Disney World some ignorant teen girls were giggling at the fat people who had the nerve to get their picture taken at the entrance.  I turned to them and said, “Don’t you worry.  They will even take your picture. You don’t look so bad.”

From the time I got married, my weight has fluctuated up and down over the years.  The trend was always upward.  Even though I knew it was happening, I never felt FAT.  My weight was little more than a number.  I knew there were health issues of being over-weight, but I never felt ugly, or unlovable.  In fact, I thought I was about average.  I accepted myself.  I was comfortable in my own skin.

When my parents died, I was looking at all their old pictures.  I saw in those pictures how I had grown over the years.  Seeing it all at once like that, I wanted to lose weight.  I knew the health benefits included lower cholesterol, less trauma to my knees and feet.  From those pictures I picked a goal.

In that picture, I liked the way I looked, and I remembered how at that weight, how I felt very fat.  Every family member, except my husband, told me how fat I was.  In fact, at that weight a family member told me I was so fat, that my husband can’t possibly love me, because of the way I looked.  If I thought otherwise, she continued, I was fooling myself.

My first attempt at weight loss after the death of my parents involved a drug used to treat seizures.  A drug with lots of cautions, and would create difficulties for a doctor trying to treat just about anything.  Plus, going off it created a rebound effect.

I am now in my second attempt at weight loss, without drugs, with healthy eating and exercise.  After 10 pounds, my knees knew the difference.  I have now lost about 25 pounds.  It has not been a smooth journey, but kind of up and down, with the trend continuing down.

I agree with Self Editor Carolyn Kylstra, who wrote: You don’t know how healthy or unhealthy a person is just by looking at them, you don’t know what their health goals and priorities are, and you don’t know what they’ve already done or are planning to do for their health going forward. And moreover, you should know that concern trolling—using a person’s perceived health to justify making them feel bad about themselves—isn’t just counterproductive, it’s abusive.

 

And Breathe

The doctor started asking questions and my chest began to feel like bands were tightening around it.

Shortness of breath?  When did that start? Upon exertion or at rest?  Swelling in your legs? Any falls? How are you sleeping? How is your memory? With orders for a chest x-ray, and blood work, as well as a referral to cardiology we left the doctor’s office.

We have been to doctors several times over the last few years complaining about tiredness, memory issues, not wanting to do anything.  There where some heart issues.  A pacemaker and a ventricular ablation seemed to provide some improvement, for a while.

We started talking about other reasons for the lack of interest in doing things, and the persistent tiredness.  Depression? Drinking? Marital issues?  I knew something was wrong, and I wanted to fix it.

We got the chest x-ray right away, followed shortly by a call from the doctor with a referral to a lung doctor due to fibrosis.  Wait.  What?  That is when I did the stupidest thing.  I went on the internet.  Now, I was the one that couldn’t breathe.

Fibrosis is bad.  Really bad.  You are going to die bad.  And not die in a long time in the future, but in the foreseeable future.  As in put your affairs in order now, because, you know, you are going to die.  I did not share the news.  I figured if he was curious, he would look it up.

All our plans seemed to be going up in smoke.  Our travel plans, including our 50th Anniversary trip we have begun planning for in three years.  Could we go now instead of then?  Could we go at all.  What would we do over the next few relatively healthy years.  And then, the hard question.  How would we handle the bad years?

A few tests later and the heart is proclaimed good.  Good for now, because fibrosis is hard on the heart as it has to work harder and harder to get the  blood into the lungs for oxygenation.  Did I mention I’d been spending time with the internet.  I followed several lines in inquiry.

The lung doctor got us in quickly.  The doctor said, “Your diagnosis is Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.  Stay off the internet.”  To late, but I didn’t tell him that.  I’ve already seen x-rays of the progression of IPF, and heard a recording of what the doctor hears as he listens to the chest.  I’ve heard all the bad news, I hope.  He ordered tests and then we had to wait.

There is good news.  Three years ago, in 2015, two drugs were approved that are effective in slowing down IPF.  No, it is not a cure, but it buys time.  If I add the years the medication can hopefully add to life expectancy, to the highest number of the expected range of life prior to the medicine, add in a few years for luck, and if we caught the condition early, then life expectancy it isn’t so bad.

The only cure is a lung transplant, if you are healthy enough.

Yesterday the tests were all in, and we were back in the doctor’s office.  The diagnosis was revised.  He doesn’t have IPF, but COPD or Emphysema.  There are a lot more treatment options for COPD.  You can live a good while with COPD.  His lung function is relatively good, but the oxygen saturation in the blood tend toward low.  Oxygen is now his new best friend.

There are still some unanswered questions.  There will be more tests.  But for the first time in weeks, I can breathe.

My Sister and I

My sister and I are very different.  To begin with, I am older, the first-born, while she is 6 years younger.  I was often the one to hold her hand when she was small, to keep her from wondering, or touching things she shouldn’t.  I was also the one put in charge, when Mom and Dad were not there.  (Not their best idea, but everyone survived.)

She watched me as an emotional teen, fight with my parents about such things as the morality of the Vietnam War, and the horrors of discrimination against African-Americans.  (That was before we called them black, as we are white, and now they are just Americans.)  She also saw me argue about everything I wanted to do as I struggled to get permission for everything from shaving to staying out all night for prom.  I was the break-in kid.

My sister learned it was easier to get forgiveness than permission for small things.  She didn’t argue about politics and issues of the day with Mom and Dad.  She saw it didn’t get me anywhere, but upset and crying, so she just kept her own counsel.

We had another sister between us.  Karen got killed by a drunk driver when she was just 21.  I was 24, my sister 18.  I was married, expecting my second child, and I lived out of state.  My birth family, my parents, sister and brother became a unit.  I belonged to a separate unit.  The course of the family changed.  My stay at home parents became outgoing, for my brother and sister, getting involved in sporting activities with them, and traveling the country with their new friends and parents to sporting events.

I had children young, went to college as a returning adult student, lived in several states.  My sister went to college straight out of high school, got married after college, therefore having children at a later age, and lived close to our parents and brother.

I’ve been thinking about these differences the past few days.  We have a political situation that is affecting children.  I am upset and rather than posting blogs, I’ve been posting my concern for these children, and concern about the political situation that has caused this crisis on Facebook.  My sister has been taking care of her grand-babies, who are babies. My grandchildren are from age 1 to 17.

I haven’t just posted on Facebook.  I have written to my Congressman and Senator.  I can’t wrap my brain around what is happening in my own country.  Because politics is so upsetting to me, I had cut back on my news viewing, and even stopped responding to political social media posts.  But now I am upset and following this story every day.  My friends probably know how I feel, but I am keeping it out there.  I shared personal information that should show them why I feel so strongly about the current situation.

My sister’s page is silent.  She is dealing with an infant granddaughter whose breast feeding mother just had to return to work.  She is remaining friends with everyone, and quietly talking in the background, gently, when she thinks she will be heard.  When she posts, it will be pictures of her dogs and the babies.

My sister’s voice may prove to be the most effective.

#UniteImmigrantFamilies

 

Program Your Phone with This Number

Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain are familiar to many of us, and we never would have suspected that they suffered from depression, yet they both lost their battle with their demons.  Success is no protection.

Some facts I find interesting about suicide:  Women experience depression twice as much as men, and attempt suicide three times more than men, yet men die by suicide four times more than women.  It appears guns, the favored method of men, is more effective than the women’s go to method of poisoning.  More than half of all who kill themselves have no known mental health issues.  Suicide is on the rise nation wide.

When you are depressed, you may think you are handling everything just fine, until that time when you aren’t.  If you think you might be depressed, you don’t have to tell your boss, the people you work with, or your family, get help.  If you think about dying once in awhile, get help.  If you think others might get along better without you, get help.

You don’t know where to start?

Call: 1 (800) 273-8255  If you think you are okay now, just put the number where you can easily find it.  I have it programmed on my phone.

 

 

Summertime

Summer is finally here, well effectively here.  Graduations have been happening all around the area.  Quiet neighborhoods are being run by children.

This is the time I remember most fondly from childhood.  These summer days of freedom to just go and have fun in the neighborhood.  Play equipment in every yard was being used. We knew where to find the sensitive plants and blackberries (which we watched for signs of ripeness).  Collecting stones and following bugs were favorite pastimes.  Watching clouds and dreaming in the shade followed bicycle rides and jumping backyard fences.

We would run home for lunch and be called in for dinner.  We felt free.  We felt unsupervised, but all the neighbors kept their eyes on the kids in the neighborhood.  We couldn’t get away with anything.  If you stepped out of line, you got a quick reprimand, and you got it again when you got home.

We had no cell phones in our pockets, yet our parents always knew what was going on and where we were.  It was our job to keep them informed of exactly where we were going.  Outside was playing in the neighborhood, taking our bikes meant riding up and down the street and around the block, the playground was over at the school where a variety of summer activities took place, including baseball.

Now I’m going to sound like a little old lady.  Today’s kids don’t have this sense of complete freedom.  Their parents are working, and don’t want to impose on the neighbors to watch their children.  I don’t know what their memories of childhood will be like.  They play video games.  They visit grandma (which is the best). They are also free from homework every night so I imagine they feel the sense of freedom.

I knew I had entered the adult world when I was still expected to go to work after “the kids” got out of school for the summer.  Work was no longer an option, but a commitment.  If you were one of the lucky ones, you got a week or two of vacation.  There are different reward to adulthood, and if you handle it right, you still feel free.

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