Take a Moment, and Breathe

I’m not here to tell you there is nothing to worry about. If I were, you would, likely, argue with me or think I am delusional. There is plenty to worry about.

The war against ISIL is on going. With the most recent shooting in peaceful Canada it is ISIL terrorism that comes to mind before other explanations or theories. In addition alert levels increase and airport travel becomes more of an ordeal.

Ebola has fears heightened about the world, and even the good news of people getting out of quarantine and recovering has some wanting the boarders shut tight at last. I heard yesterday that parents in countries with Ebola are fearful that life saving vaccinations for measles, mumps, and rubella are responsible for the spread of Ebola, so many parents are no longer getting their children vaccinated, and doctors are understandably frustrated at the idea of children dying from something that is preventable.

In addition the weather here is growing colder and Ebola isn’t our only problem. There is the flu that is sending people to the hospital in fear of exposure to Ebola. There are also respiratory diseases very dangerous to children going around. In the United States, and maybe Canada, these concerns are a little more realistic and immediate, if not as dramatic as Ebola.

Here in the United States our midterm elections are coming up, and I urge everyone to vote, because as both parties are saying, “make no mistake about it, the policies are on the ballot.” This statement lets both republicans and democrats know they need to get out and vote, and those of us who do vote can’t understand the apathy of those willing to just let the wrong side win! Voter or not, it does seem like everyone complains. Just listening to the political attack ads is enough to make you think there isn’t a single well-intentioned, patriotic person in government.

If these worries and concerns are not enough for you take a look at this light-hearted list by Chris Jurewicz It might make you laugh and the nice thing about laughing is that it makes you breath deeply and relaxes you.

The things I’ve listed are all external stresses, but we also have our personal stresses. Personal stresses include things like financial worries, healthy emergencies, family problems that maybe we can’t see a solution to right away. We need time to think. I swear I can sense skepticism from some of you. I know! Relax with all you have to worry about? Here is how.

Take a deep breath and blow it out. Follow with a slow breath in, to a slow count of four. Hold for a beat. Exhale slowly, to a slow count of four. Focus on your breathing. Repeat as needed, until you feel calm and clear of mind.

Reflections on Ebola in the USA

We are primed for a pandemic. Television is happy to entertain us with all the details of previous pandemics from the Plague to the Flue of 1918. We love reading books like Stephen King’s The Stand , Richard Matheson’s I am Legend, Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain, and Daniel Kalla’s Pandemic. Our children play games like Plants versus Zombies. Preppers are stockpiling food and ammo so they can stay holed up until the danger is past. We are ready for the zombie apocalypse. We know how a pandemic can grow, and the danger we are in.

When Ebola infected aid workers Dr. Kent Brantly, 59, and Nancy Writebol, 33, were brought home for treatment, most of their fellow Americans were fearful, not trusting of the scientists and medical people transporting and caring for the sick. Ebola hemorrhagic fever has only a 10 percent survival rate, and is thought to be far to dangerous to be allowed to our shores no matter what precautions are taken. Fears eased, but did not disappear with their recovery. Polls suggested even after recovery, most members of the American public would not want to have any contact with the now healthy Ebola survivors.

But a greater test of the American medical system was just around the corner. Thomas Eric Duncan traveled from Liberia where the Ebola epidemic is raging to Dallas, Texas. While he had no symptoms when he landed, they soon developed. Going to a local hospital unprepared for such an event. Duncan was not held in quarantine, and was not tested. Duncan was sent home, only to be admitted three days later. He is now dead, and his family and others he may have been in contact with are in quarantine. Dallas, and I am sure many in the US wait for the next case of Ebola.

There have been moments that have made me proud. Clay Jenkins, Dallas county judge, helped to find housing for Duncan’s family with the help of the faith-based community. He met with the family, who was symptom free, and drove them to their new home, and has kept the family updated on Duncan’s status. Jenkins has been criticized in social media and questioned by the traditional media about the wisdom of his actions. Jenkins followed sound science, and place his trust in God. That sounds like a winning combination.

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