Category Archives: Uncategorized

Things You Don’t Really Want To Know

Someone close to me called yesterday with a concern. They had read a symptom-cause anecdote on the Internet. Worried if the report was as bad as they feared, their question to me was, “Should I stop looking things up on the Internet?”  

Do you really want to know how turkey ham is made? What happens to the frozen fries dropped on the restaurant’s kitchen floor? How is the turkey you ate a couple of days ago killed, cleaned, and packaged? It might be information that neither makes you healthier nor feel better. Some things, I think, might make you feel worse for learning. When should you defer from looking up the answer to that meaningless query?

I said, “Yes!”

Here I go with something I read on the Internet. We found this week a critical report about one kind of coffee machine. As it turns out, the scathing article may have some truths, and some not-so-solid information. We found this linked report from Snopes.

The whole truth seems to indict most equipment with cool water reservoirs or with residual moisture (which pretty well includes all typical coffee makers). Okay, let’s check the two coffee machines in mom’s house.

I checked and found mold on the inside walls of the cool water reservoir. Yeah, makes sense that something that stays wet and between 45 and 100 degrees can grow mold. I cleaned the parts I could reach and researched how to clean the hard-to-reach parts. Here’s a link to an article on cleaning the coffee makers. Y’all probably already do all this. It was new to us. We’re going to pick up white vinegar to run through both of the coffeemakers.

If someone offers me a cup of coffee, I’ll probably accept. I won’t ask about the machine or cool water reservoirs. Not only shouldn’t I ask, it’s something I’d just rather not know.

It’s 75 After All

Look what we found yesterday.  75 degrees!  Just right. And all from passive solar gain on a very beautiful sunny day in NC’s mountains. Kind of makes everything good again. We were ready for it.

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Sunday rained all day. We both already felt terrible, fighting head colds (probably exacerbated by the Wx changes). We never stepped foot outside the camper, not once.  I thought of our readers whom I’ve told, “The camper is large enough because Debbie lets me know when I should find something to do outside. ”

We stayed in all day. And we got along famously.  Granted, we neither one felt well enough to start any horseplay. Still, plenty of room for each to do what they wanted.  We stayed dry, consumed pots of green tea, caught up on reading, planned work days, and rested.

We still find the 25′ camper plenty big enough for both of us, even when one of us can’t get outta here. Luckily, it’s a rare day we’re confined to indoors. It wasn’t 75 degrees outside, but felt good enough to stay outside all day yesterday.

Jim and Debbie
dreamstreamr odyssey™, Chasing 75 (again)
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Great Point of the Day

Sunset has been my favorite time of day since decades ago. I remember the day I 1st realized it. Do you remember the big vinyl covered bean bag chairs? I had one in front of a west-facing window in my house in Fall 1975. Like todsy, the sky was colorful. While the sun was dipping below the horizon, everything just seemed alright for a few minutes.

Today we almost finished clearing the right-of-way for the trench for our u.g. electrical power primary cable. We’ve removed more than a dozen trees and a few mountain laurels. Eleven of the trees are oak, locust or maple, the other one was white pine. Cutting with only a bow saw is a great work-out, and moving all the trunks, tops and brush adds to the job.

Sunset from Woodland Ridge

We’re properly worn out from today’s adventure. The sunset was a perfect reward!

Jim and Debbie
dreamstreamr odyssey™, Chasing “45” (for a little while)
©2007-2014 Dreamstreamr

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Chasing 45 Degrees

These are two of my best friends, these last few days. Warmest things I have

Know where we are? Know just how cold it is here? If you follow us then you may know we claim to “chase 75 degrees” and you might have clicked on our location icon (links to findu.com or aprs.fi to show Google map of N5RTG location).

Well heck, I was talking yesterday to Wag W9WAG, a friend who wishes he had already left Kenosha WI. His current outdoor temp was 8, well colder than our much more comfortable 28 and low of 18. Brr.

What are Debbie and Jim doing in these cold, for them, places? Why haven’t they already fled to warmer climes? We mentioned the wooded acreage we purchased earlier this year. If it was in a much warmer place, then we wouldn’t be running both the furnace and the catalytic just to keep the trailer interior at barely warm enough.

Ashe County is very heavily populated with Christmas trees, and not so much with people. The population swells in the summer, and so might be heading for a sudden drop after the past week’s chilling weather. We stayed through the recent snow. Made nice pictures, a snow person, but didn’t really get very cold.

Our friend Carolyn recommended we spend as much time as we can watching the seasonal changes on our land before we commit to building anything. I hope she remembers to tell us when we can leave. My pile-lined slippers and toque are warm but tend to fall off in bed.

Memorial Day

Here is a wonderful series of posts about our country’s armed forces in Pacific War era. Thanks, gpcox!

Pacific Paratrooper

never-forget

FOR ALL THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED…. FOR ALL YOUR SACRIFICES…. FOR YOUR COURAGE…. I CAN ONLY ATTEMPT TO EXPRESS MY UNENDING GRATITUDE….

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world-war-ii-memorial

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………………………………………………….. THANK YOU……………………………

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Click on photos to enlarge.

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Farewell Salute – Frederick Vreuls, 87, passed away in Delray Beach, FL. Served in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Bunker Hill where he earned a Purple Heart for injuries sustained from a kamikaze attack on May 11, 1945.

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Rationing health care in America

Joe Klein wrote in the June 11 2012 issue of Time Magazine about the different kind of advice he received from his parents’ care team. Klein said Geisinger Health System’s medical staff did not recommend expensive end-of-life procedures for his elderly parents in rapidly declining health. Instead, the care team helped Klein through the difficult decisions in helping his parents die peacefully.

I attended a most memorable health care seminar in 1982, soon after joining my hospital’s management team. The speaker, an ethicist/physician, warned us severely, “If you are dying, do NOT go to the hospital. They cannot let you die in peace. In fact, they will violate you, stick you, pound you, shock you to try and keep you alive. They aren’t trying to let you die — they are trying to keep you alive. Die anywhere, but don’t go to the hospital if you are dying.” More tests, more procedures, more billing, better living?

This is an emotional topic for most people. A lot of folks are worried about someone pulling the plug “too early”. You can read comments which raise concern about losing control over deciding for ourselves. And, as Joe Klein so elegantly wrote, he was grateful for health professionals helping him make the toughest decisions in his lifetime about his parents.

Our country’s health care delivery problem is partly about rationing health care, to ensure affordability and access for everyone. And it is about controlling the rate of cost increase. Health care reform cannot succeed just by extending access to care to everyone. In fact, our nation cannot afford to provide as much as possible for as long as possible to as many as possible without also controlling the costs of care delivery.

We dined recently at a neighbor’s house. He is older, from the States, and says he is beleaguered by numerous health problems. The other guests were young escapees from careers as health care providers Canada. We were comparing delivery systems of health care between Canada and the States, and our Old Friend complained he is just worried about “death panels” (I hate to even use the term, but he did.) Old Friend asserted death panels are legislated and might rule out further spending for his continuing health care. He even “knew” the page number but didn’t remember it last night.

So I hit the search engine to get what I could on this wrongful legacy from Sarah Palin. Bottom line, I did find a well-argued dismissal (factcheck.org) of the notion of a death panel determining whether Old Friend could, or not, receive a procedure. Then I followed the link to the Affordable Care Act’s relevant pages on the Independent Medicare Advisory Panel and reread them.

Yes, the “Act” intends to “reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending” (SEC. 3403. (a) (1) SEC. 1899A. (a) (b) page 489) even as it extends coverage to all Americans. We, all having been raised to prudently spend and to conserve, wouldn’t think of ignoring the relationship of cost and outcome with our own dollars. Efficacy of care delivery vis-à-vis outcomes makes really good sense. Our auto or home insurers dictate the cost level to which an adverse event is reimbursable — if they didn’t then we could none of us afford said insurance. Why should health care costs be so different?

We are a country full of the smartest, best-looking, nicest people in the world, we have the best medical care money can buy, and we deserve it all. We paid for it, didn’t we? Listen to what Thomas A Shannon, PhD, member of Geisinger’s Bioethics Review and Advisory Committee, writes about this notion:

“The discussion of rationing must occur within a cultural context and I wish to identify several issues I think important in current American health care debates. Generally speaking, we tend to think that if something is good, more is better and as much as possible must be best. We also typically assume that no barrel has a bottom — all resources are infinitely renewable. We are quite certain that our medical system is the best in the world. And because our system is the best in the world, we then assume that our medical system ought to be able to cure anything. And because we can cure anything and because we have already prepaid for health care through insurance, we naturally assume that we are entitled to as much as possible for as long as possible. And since I have prepaid, very definitely any sort of queuing up for services is totally un-American.”
[from July 2007 Geisinger Bioethics Notes, http://www.geisinger.org/professionals/services/bioethics/b_notes/july2007.pdf%5D

They can’t ration an infinitely renewable resource to which I have every right, can they? Sure they can! Dr Shannon and others very sensibly explain how care is and always has been rationed in some ways. Dr Shannon labels some of this as “indirect rationing”, as in scheduling, location, costs of services, or required paperwork to obtain services. Many of us have experienced direct rationing, according to Dr. Shannon, through HMO or other reimbursement capitation models whereby we are told what drugs or procedures or therapies our insurance will and will not, allow.

There is seemingly no end to the rapacious appetites for profits of big pharma, medical imaging, home health, and medical tort. A friend’s surgeon recently commented, “I’m paying $200,000 per year in malpractice insurance even though I’ve NEVER had a claim against me.” How much of the increase in health care cost is attributable to our country’s medical tort system? The rate of increase in health care costs is, according to some policy centers, driven 40 to 50 percent by new or increased use of medical equipment. Do you suppose those cost increases are increasing our citizens’ health as much as increasing profits? Could fee-for-service reimbursement plans drive increased utilization of services?

Smart policy dictates our government sustain a system for provision of health care through efforts to “reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending”. Smarter spending, better health information systems, rewarding more the successful care providers, not paying for faulty work, and discouraging performance of ineffective tests and procedures can all help reduce rampant cost increases. Somebody or some body must take on the tough job of making the right decisions. The “Act” charges the Independent Medical Advisory Panel with this responsibility.

Jim’s Red Shoes did What?

Do you remember “Love Those Red Shoes” a few months back? Jim had tried on, and loved the fit of, a pair of Babolat tennis shoes. What colors did the pro shop have for this shoe? Only red in Jim’s size. This has been Jim’s first pair of red shoes since, say, four or five years old.

Red shoes can generate a lot of attention. Service station attendants talking over the intercom, tennis partners, our opponents, and folks in the bleachers all cheer for the red shoes. Gosh, sometimes it seems Jim’s opponents might even be watching the shoes instead of the ball. Quite a legal distraction, the shoes could be a real help if this were only true. And Jim could have generated more comments if only he had worn the courts anywhere other than just on the courts.

But these are expensive court shoes and Jim donned them only for hitting the tennis courts. He has an old pair of Nikes he reserves for painting or knocking around, a pair of Merrells for hiking or walking, and his Birkies for bopping around the block and for dancing. The red Babolat tennis shoes are specialists.

The red Babolat Propulse3 shoes were everything they were billed as and more. These shoes provided Jim with unexcelled quickness and the most comfortable and snug fit in a tennis court shoe yet with room for his toes. He played a little wearing these shoes before we arrived in Mesa AZ. And Jim has played or hit 3-5 times weekly since we arrived here.

How have these shoes worked out? Well yeah, that’s why we’re writing again. After around 100 hours of screaming around the courts, the shoes started leaving bits of sole behind. Jim spotted a couple of pieces of rubbed-off red rubber on the court today and thought to check his sole. This is what he found, to his great surprise and dismay:

Well-worn and suddenly retired

Jim ended his hitting session and walked home to share his surprise with Debbie. The biggest surprise is probably because Jim hasn’t previously worn through the soles on any pair of tennis shoes. What happened? One of two things: Jim’s footwork has increased dramatically (a distinct possibility given the amount and type of instruction he’s gained this year); or these tennis shoes aren’t as substantial as previous pairs.

Don’t call Michelin yet, we don’t want to distract the Michelin Man while he’s throwing tires at the big octopus-armed gas pumps or whatever those things are in the t.v. commercials. Jim’s contacting the folks who sold him these shoes. Word is, Babolat tennis shoes have a six-month wear guarantee. We sure hope so.

We’re expecting Babolat’s U.S. distributors will come through for us on this. They have an opportunity to show us this was just a slightly thin sole on one of these shoes and the next pair will probably wear longer. Twelve hours a week for just nine weeks doesn’t seem like an awful lot of time in a pair of $110 tennis shoes. And until we resolve this Jim will have to play in his Birkenstocks or hiking shoes or, like he sometimes did when he was in junior high school, barefoot.

These have been, hands-down, the best-fitting and most comfortable pair of tennis shoes Jim has played in. And hopefully we will find out they are shoes he can afford to wear on the tennis courts, comfortable or not.

Jim and Debbie

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