April 29, 2009

Swine Flu Reeks Havoc

All schools in our district are closed until May 11 due to the Swine Flu epidemic. We heard this yesterday while watching AFV (America's Funniest Home Videos). Apparently, there are three suspected cases in our school district alone.

The Swine Flu claimed the first US victim in Texas yesterday, a 23-month old baby. The child traveled with family to Brownsville, TX from Mexico and died in Houston. Read "Toddler in Texas Becomes 1st Swine Flu Death in US." The Swine Flu gripped Mexico first claiming about 159 lives.

The past weeks San Antonio has been celebrating Fiesta, which is a big party that brings masses of people together for a week and a half long celebration. I've heard many relatives of San Antonio residents come in from Mexico for Fiesta events. Additionally, many San Antonio residents travel to Mexico to work, shop, visit family, and vacation. This leads me to believe the Swine Flu will only spread around here.

Up until the Texas death, most of the cases here have been mild.

After reading reports about this, my concern levels have risen. I started looking in to what we can do to prevent the disease from passing our doors. Swine Flu can live on surfaces for an extended time after placement and spreads hand to mouth.
  • Wash your hands frequently with antibacterial, hand sanitizing soap
  • Avoid letting people invade your personal space-keep them further than arm's length away
  • Do not interact socially
So, the kids and I are going to be hermits for the next week and a half. My poor husband has to go to work. I told him to get a face mask, not to touch anything, and avoid all of his co-workers. He told me that's impossible. If he comes home coughing, feverish, or otherwise ill, he will be banished to the garage.

Curious as I am, I wanted to know how this Swine Flu darkened our path. It comes from "intense exposure" to pigs. Pigs can get the flu. (No wonder those creatures always look like they have snotty noses.) However, you can not get Swine Flu by eating pork.

How do we get rid of this?
  • The disease must be prevented in pigs through vaccine-they're working on this strain.
  • Transfer to humans from pigs must be prevented-this has to do with environmental and cleanliness conditions at the pig farms.
  • Passing the flu from human to human must be stopped-wash your hands and avoid sick people.
Now, I was wondering if this ever growing situation could be some sinister plot gone array. I'm thinking germ warfare. There is a lot going on in the world today.
  • The borders of Mexico are exploding with stories of horrible acts by drug-Mafia types.
  • We still have situations overseas here, there, and everywhere.
Well, I'm not going any further with my list. Unless you live under a rock, you know what's happening.

Know this, we are on the verge of a pandemic. All people need to protect themselves and their families from contracting Swine Flu.

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April 24, 2009

My High Blood Pressure Follow-up Appointment

Yesterday afternoon I went for a follow-up appointment for my high blood pressure. The doctor prescribed another medication besides Procardia. He wants me off Procardia. I am glad because Procardia costs about $40 bucks a month, even with our insurance.

He gave me Prinzide. It's an ACE inhibitor combined with a diuretic. The generic form of Prinzide (Lisinopril, Hydrochlorothiazide) is only $5 a month.

I have to get some blood work done tomorrow morning. I will be fasting tonight. No coffee for me in the morning...I do not know how I'll go without it, but you can be sure I will have some when I get home.

The doctor and I were discussing my medical history. It's a long one. I won't bore you with all the details. I will mention about ten years ago I was diagnosed with mild hypothyroidism, which I had gotten under control taking prescribed medications and herbal remedies. I was able to eliminate the prescription after a time. Maybe hypothyroidism never goes away?

Well, as I am, I quit taking the supplements that were keeping me in check. I really need to stop doing that. After I post this, I'm pulling out my supplement bible to figure out what it was I was taking...

He is thinking my thyroid is acting up again and causing my blood pressure to flare. This would be best I think. Of course we will not know anything until I get my blood work done.

I did a little hypothyroid search before writing this post and I don't think my thyroid is the case. I do not have any of the noted symptoms. Okay, maybe I'm a little irritable sometimes...

The doctor will also be checking my Cholesterol, kidney and liver functions, screening for diabetes, plus a few other things that escape my memory. (Darn Vampires!) Wait, memory loss is a symptom of hypothyroidism too!

He told me he wants me to drop a few pounds. I think I look pretty good, but whatever. Hmmm, unexplained weight gain is a symptom too!

Shesh, can a thyroid malfunction cause a person's blood pressure to go that high? I guess we will soon find out.

He gave me the standard spiel of cutting salt, caffeine, and monitoring my diet for good and bad stuff. I don't know if I can handle cutting out my coffee. I quit drinking sodas years ago and coffee is all I enjoy.

I have to monitor my blood pressure at home for the next few weeks. I've been doing that anyway, but now I have to keep a record for him.

As soon as my ankle is healed, I will be returning to my walking regimen and I am going to increase my exercise routine. By the way, he said my ankle looks really good.

I'm not going to let this high blood pressure stand in my way.
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April 20, 2009

If There's a Matchstick, I'll Trip Over It

Yesterday I lost my footing and tripped. I felt my ankle go and I went down to the ground to pull off my shoe. The pain radiated up my leg to my hip. I began to cry. I rarely cry.

First, I was wearing shoes. I think this was a mistake on my part since I usually wear sandals. In fact, I always wear sandals. I just happened to put on my shoes so I could help my husband cut down a dead tree. I will never wear shoes again.

My husband proceeded to help me into the house. He was asking me what happened and I could not really say anything except there may have been a matchstick in the driveway that tripped me.

He wanted to take me to the emergency room. I hate going to the emergency room, especially on the weekend, I refused.

This morning my ankle is three times it's normal size and black. I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I crawled because I could not stand the pain when I walked. This morning I slid down the stairs on my rump because stairs and a hurt ankle don't mix. I wish I could crawl around downstairs but the wood floors hurt my knees.

I broke my ankle marching in the Battle of Flowers Parade when I was a teenager. I think tripped on one of those round yellow bump things in the road. All I can really remember was tripping. I marched the rest of the parade in pain. When I got home my father saw my ankle and rushed me to the emergency room.

My ankle looks pretty much the way it did back then. However, this time I hope it's only a sprain.

I'm waiting here for the clinic to open so I can get an X-ray done...

UPDATE: We went to the clinic. The doctor was more concerned about my blood pressure than my ankle! I do have high blood pressure. She said this was too high: 245/180. I explained to her I was, and have been, in an incredible amount of pain. She said she would give me a point or two for pain but not this much.

They gave me a dose of Clonidine to lower my BP. I was told at this point they would not release me until my BP went down.

Then she looked at my foot. She said, "Ouch, that looks painful!" Then she started pushing on it! I about jumped out of the chair.

She then told me it looks broken but they would take X-rays to be sure. I had to wait for X-ray because there were two ahead of me. It didn't matter much since I could not leave anyway.

I sat and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally the nurse came back to take my BP. 193/130. The doctor made me take another dose of Clonidine.

X-ray came to take pictures of my ankle. I was returned to my cubical to wait. My husband and little girl joined me there. Why should I have to sit there by myself? The little one was not too pleased to be there. In the waiting room there was toys to play with.

My husband was upset about my BP being so high. He wanted to know why I hadn't gone to see the family doctor to refill my BP meds. Well I have a reason, it may not be good for some but I have one, he retired.

The doctor came back with good news about my ankle, it's only a sprain. This was a relief. I could not imagine wearing a cast for weeks on end.

I still had to wait for the second dose of Clonidine to take effect and have my BP checked before I could leave. The nurse came back with a pair of crutches and a splint for my ankle. After he got me fitted and braced I was told I had to wait a bit longer, 20 minutes.

In a small cubical, with an impatient child, and a worried husband, 20 minutes is like an eternity...

The nurse came back and took my BP. 166/113. He left.

The doctor said since there was improvement, I could go. She prescribed Procardia, which I had been taking before my doctor retired. Really, I wanted a new doctor closer to home anyway. She referred me to another doctor up the road. She warned me I could have a stroke or heart attack with BP that high.

I realize my heath is important. I take pretty good care of myself. I take vitamins, exercise, and eat right (for the most part). I don't understand the high BP. I guess it's not for me to understand. I just have to take care of it.

Before I get chastized for not going to the doctor for the BP, I have been feeling pretty good. I monitor it at home and it's been high but not like what it was at the clinic.

Perhaps the sprained ankle was a warning sign. Thanks to it I'll be heading to another doctor for a follow-up...

Here's my poor ankle, this is after three days of ice and elevation. Granted it is a lot better than it was.

Here you can see the difference in size, still three days. I wish it would just go away.

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April 14, 2009

Try Something New

The past weeks I've been talking about change and trying new things. As you know I got a new computer; so I've been on a rampage trying something new on it every day. Vista isn't so bad, I guess. It has a few oddities, but I'm getting used to it.

Recently I've been trying to teach my teenage daughter how to cook. It's not that I have not been trying to do this for years (I have), but this year she's taken a real interest in the art of cooking. In light of this revelation, we've started trying new and different recipes from all the books and card collections I inherited from my Nana.

Once a week we will be cooking up a new (old) dish for family night. In honor of this, we created a new blog: Family Night Dinner Ideas. I know what your thinking, "Didn't you just start a fish blog?" Well, yes, I did. But like My Fish Tank Adventures, the recipe blog will be a family collaboration.

Speaking of family, we had a wonderful Easter celebration. I hope yours was everything you wanted it to be. For the celebration we tried a new recipe from the old collection. I have to talk about it because it was a real winner everyone enjoyed. It was also something new for us.

The dish was Baked Cheese & Tomato Fondue. We served it as an appetizer, but I think it could be a nice side dish too. If you're planning a party, you might like to try it.

Try something new every day, it keeps life interesting.
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April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Who is the Easter bunny? They say he's been around since the 1600's and roots out of Germany. He migrated to America in the 1700's with German settlers. Like Santa Claus, he sure gets a lot done in one night.

Of course Easter is a time to celebrate the Resurrection. It occurs during spring and is connected with a time of rebirth and renewal. Easter is many things to many people, the same yet different.

Easter is a grand time in our home. We will be celebrating this day with family, reflecting on life, hunting Easter eggs, and breaking bread together.

I hope each and every one of you have an enjoyable Easter!

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April 10, 2009

My Old Dictionary

I pulled down my old dictionary and the cover pulled from the spine when I opened it. The sound it made was similar to a favored pair of pants ripping at the seam when they're exhausted (or the caboose has widened too much).

The old dictionary belonged to my mother. It was a gift to her from my grandparents when she got her Masters Degree. Though I have a newer dictionary, I prefer to use this one.

When I open the book the soft thin pages feel like silk between my fingers. The aroma that rises from it's pages is indescribable, not musty or fresh. I can see a faint tinge bordering each page. It darkens in the top corners.

If I were a detective, I could pull out my spyglass, brush, and fingerprint dust to expose the identities that made their discoveries here. I think of the little hands that held this big book and used it to learn. I wonder how many of them made it big or did nothing at all? If I were a detective, I could tell you.

This old dictionary has certainly seen better days. It worked during it's prime in my mother's classrooms. It molded and enhanced many minds in it's day. It retired to my mother's bookshelf and rested there until I filed it next to my dictionary.

I will continue to use this old dictionary because it likes to be used, whether or not it's spine is broken.
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April 1, 2009

You May have Noticed...A New Background?

Noticed? Noticed what? Okay, I've changed the blog once again. I mentioned in the last post I could not stand the spread. I did not even want to visit my own blog. So, I changed things up a bit. I put up this background by following the directions from Blogger Templates and Blog help in the post: How to add a background picture in blogger.

I was thinking about using a pyzam template, as I had in the past, but I could not find one I really liked. Additionally, the pyzam templates are full screen images with a tiny, I think 660px wide, blog area. Knowing this, and hating messing with width adjustments, the background idea came up.

I was working on the fish blog template. Like Inspired, it had some real formatting issues. I understand all computer monitors are different so I want to have my blogs look right per the monitor viewing it. I remembered the new blog I built for SR fit just right in the old monitor and it seemingly adjusts for the new monitor perfectly. However, I found only a few of the static Blogger templates do this.

I grabbed my texture from GRSites and hosted it on Photobucket, then I followed the background image instructions linked above.

This new computer has really got me wanting to do a whole bunch of different things...I wonder if I have time for it all?

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