Tag Archives: healthcare issues

Do You Know What You Are Putting In Your Mouth


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When we go to the grocery store to shop for our food, typically we have over 47,000 products to choose from. Do you have any idea where some of this food comes from, how it’s made, who’s controlling it, who’s making the profits, and who’s overseeing the safety? I’ve been hearing rumblings that were quite disturbing for years, but lately, it’s hard to get away from the “rumors” with so many different ways for people to communicate.

Regarding grocery store produce, since there are no seasons anymore, fruit is usually picked before it’s ripe, ripened later with ethylene gas. And just what is ethylene gas?

After doing some research, I have discovered that the way we eat, meaning the way our food is grown, has changed a lot in the last 50 years, more so than in other time frame of our history.  I have tried to ensure I have done valid research, on this subject in particular, because it affects my family, my grandkids, me, and you and yours.

I am old enough to remember that when I was growing up autism was rare. I knew no one with it. I knew a lot of kids and I was the only one I knew with asthma, which my mother also had from the time she was a little girl. There was no ADD or ADHD, and a good percentage of children were not on prescription medication.  It is no longer that way.

From early on, I wanted to raise a few livestock of my own, and have my own garden, and buy other essentials in their natural state from my neighbors. I almost made that dream happen. See, I was paying attention to what was going on long before I even realized it.

As I began to really pay attention to what I was serving my family, I noticed that in tracing food back to its origins, that most of it was not grown or raised on farms, but produced in factories, factories that from the outside look like farms, but are anything but when you begin to understand how they operate as large assembly lines and/or scientific experiments.

Just as some have said about our communication and media sources becoming too sanitized distributing the same messages via a very small group of owners with specific interests being dangerous (another topic for another day), so too is our food supply.

Much of the food found on the shelves of the average grocery store is made and controlled by a small group of multi-national corporations – from the seed to the end product. Technically, a handful of companies are controlling our food system in the United States – what we eat and how it’s produced.

Big pharma and corporate chemical companies, with their genetically modified experimental commodities, are threaded thick through this food tapestry. And you might be surprised at the number of people who work back and forth between these corporations and government regulatory agencies over the years – I know I was.

Though food is absolutely necessary to our survival, don’t ever kid yourself, IT IS BIG BUSINESS and it is not about sustaining the population and its health, it is about PROFIT, pure and simple.

Stay tuned if your interested, as I have more to say on this subject, just don’t want to make this post too long.

Anyway, just something I’ve been thinking about, for quite some time now . . .

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Made in ‘WHERE?”


photo 1            photo 2

I was so excited today when I found these little plastic containers (like Ziplock storage containers) that have snowmen and Merry Christmas and other holiday stuff on them to use for putting cookies, candy, other baked goods in for the holidays. They weren’t on my shopping list, as I was only going for more apples on sale for the apple butter I am making and selling now.

They were only about $1.69 a package (three in one package, and five in the other), BUT what made me so excited about these cheap plastic products is that they were not only BPA-free but MADE IN AMERICA!!! Not made in China, like just about everything else we come in contact with. (Again, let me say, I have nothing against China, per say, I just think we need to be making our own products and putting Americans to work.)

I was going through my grandkids Halloween candy yesterday, and I had to throw away a bunch of candy bracelets and rings and stuff – all made in China. I will not indulge in any food products made there, or pet products either. Especially not for my grandkids – food stuff, not pet stuff. Quite frankly, I can’t help but wonder if China is trying to poison us and the rest of the world with their inferior products – but that’s a whole blog post on its own!

This led me to start thinking about, and not for the first time, where in the hell all of our drugs – name brand and generic are being made, since that is not information we are typically privy to as consumers – though maybe we should be. I know I would like to know where the drugs I may have to take are coming from, since I take that much care in selecting other consumable goods I buy.

Do any of you know where your medications are made? Do you think this is important?

Okay – off to NaNoWriMo land – need to get in an hour or so tonight. Didn’t get much done last night, had to catch up with a few of your blogs – I was blog-jonesin’ 😉 But I am still at it!!

Just something I was thinking about . . .

nanoPoblano   NaBloPoMo_1114_465x287_NOV

 

Now the Panic Sets In


I am watching the Congressional Hearings on Ebola now. The CDC is looking really bad and in my opinion is not currently up for the task of protecting this country. Dr. Frieden, head of the CDC, was asked if he knew of any hospitals in Ohio that have practiced procedures for handling an Ebola patient. (Ohio is where Vinson flew to.) Dr. Frieden did not know if this has been done. If I was him, that would’ve been one of the first things I did after learning about Ms. Vinson’s travel.

Someone mentioned that Pham’s dog is being quarantined, and that old CDC reports noted that transmission to/from dogs is unknown, but suspect. This congressman then asked if we shouldn’t be imposing travel restrictions on animals – yet still no mention of actually imposing travel restrictions on people. And when I say restrictions – I don’t just mean preventing airplane travel.

School districts in Texas and Ohio have now closed some schools due to the risk of exposure.  I heard that Frontier Airlines has grounded their exposed employees – finally someone with a brain. Hopefully they are going to decontaminate the plane – though that is just one of the places Vinson exposed to the virus.

A nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas stated that she had questioned the protective apparel at the time. She also said if she got sick, she would NOT go to the hospital she works for. Apparently, quite a few people are refraining from visiting that hospital – thank goodness.

And one last thing that keeps going through my mind – what exactly is meant by “monitoring” of the exposed people. (They may have asked that during the hearing, but if so I missed it.) And why are so many being allowed to “self-monitor?”

Just something I was thinking about . . .

She Flew With a Fever


I swear this was not what I had in mind for my next post. I have some other things I am working on, but I just can’t believe healthcare worker Amber Vinson got on a plane knowing she had a fever and knowing she had been exposed to Thomas Duncan, and Nina Pham, the other nurse who has been diagnosed with Ebola. She of all people KNEW BETTER! Vinson has now been diagnosed with Ebola, and flown to Atlanta for treatment.

When asked how this could happen, that one of these exposed healthcare workers could get on a plane and travel during the incubation period when they were supposed to be being monitored for symptoms – the answer the official gave was the one we keep hearing over and over – Well, somebody dropped the ball there.

I heard another official say that the risk of the infection spreading was “very very low,” but we all know that’s bullshit. Why don’t they just tell the truth – though the risk appears to be low, this is a dangerous disease, and everyone must be vigilant, period. AND they haven’t been!! Those that could be exposed need to be trained thoroughly and provided the appropriate protective equipment. AND they haven’t been!! It’s been reported that the nurses who treated Duncan also treated other patients. Those in charge really are not taking this issue seriously. How could they be, with this type of decision-making and resulting behavior?

And I’m sorry, regardless whether anyone kept Vinson from flying or not – SHE should’ve known better, she did know better, she just didn’t care. Shit, I take more precautions to keep from exposing people when I have a cold. I have to admit, I was fucking blown away when I heard she got on a plane knowing she had a fever and her exposure history. I could go on about that, but serves no purpose.

[I have to add a post-script here: A few hours after the initial report that Vinson traveled by plane, it was discovered that she DID contact the CDC and inform them that she had a fever. The CDC, in their infinite wisdom, told her to go ahead and fly, as her fever was still under the threshold they had set. The CDC , in my opinion, have just lost an immense amount of credibility by not erring on the side of caution. I pray that mistake doesn’t come back to haunt them, as well as the rest of us.]

I said in my last blog – I hope everyone that has come in contact with these patients is being quarantined and monitored. I can’t help but worry that someone has been missed, unnoticed, or unidentified. Well, we now have proof that exposed people are out there in the general population coming in contact with others who have no idea.

There are 70+ other healthcare workers who came in contact with Duncan, not counting how many others who have come into contact with Pham and Vinson. So far, none of the original 70+ people are being quarantined, knowingly allowing them to possibly expose others.

AND while all of this is going on, and we have turned our attention to our own inattention to precaution against Ebola and are now scrambling to stop the possible impending crisis, I can’t help but wonder what else might be going on elsewhere – while we aren’t paying attention?

Just something I was thinking about . . .

Catching up with NASA & Ebola


There are a lot of things going on in the world these days. I need to catch up on a couple of things that are on my list of interests I like to keep an eye on. After editing, it dawned on me the title of this post might be a bit misleading – I apologize for that – but the NASA piece was short, and I liked the image. So, I’ll start with the cool stuff, and finish with the scary shit.orion-boarding-pass

NASA’s Human Exploration Space Program: NASA awarded Boeing and SpaceX the contracts to provide crew transportation – beginning with trips to the International Space Station targeted for 2017. I pretty much anticipated that they would get these contracts, as their designs were probably the furthest along. It helps that these companies are full of ex-NASA engineers, flight controllers, program managers, and even a few astronauts, as well as contractors in various positions,  that left NASA to build something in the way a new generation might. I sure hope we can eliminate our dependence on Russia by 2017. Not sure what else is going to shake out for the future . . . only time will tell at this point. But NASA’s Orion crew module – with Mars and other destinations in mind – is scheduled for its first exploration flight test this December. I’ve got my boarding pass 🙂 (Which is ironic, since I don’t fly!)

Ebola:  With the disease continuing to spread and the number of fatalities rising (close to 4500 so far), new cases have have been reported in Spain, and a few cities here. I’m afraid other places will also experience people contracting this virus. The U.S. has experienced its first case of the virus being spread from one person to another. Nina Pham, a nurse who had contact with Thomas Duncan the patient who died in Dallas earlier this month, has been diagnosed. I hope everyone that has come in contact with these patients is being quarantined and monitored. I can’t help but worry that someone has been missed, unnoticed, or unidentified.

Nurses in various cities have held rallies to voice their concern for the lack of preparedness for this infectious disease, though their employers (the hospitals) are saying they are fully prepared to handle these types of diseases. CNN reported nurses from the Texas hospital involved have anonymously complained to their union stating, “guidelines were constantly changing” and “there were no protocols” – the situation described of the handling of Duncan is exactly as I feared.

I read an article a few days back stating several issues that could increase the odds for a pandemic. I can’t remember all the points cited, and I didn’t get to read it all either, but the two that stuck out were if an infected person traveled to India or China, and the possibility for mutation and increased virility. (I have been trying to find that article so I could finish reading it, but haven’t yet.)

Stanford University Dr. David Sanders, who has studied the virus since 2003, commented on a news interview that Ebola can enter the lungs, via the airway side. With continued spreading of the virus, mutations could occur increasing virility, which could result in it becoming airborne.  He added that suppressing the outbreak in Africa is key to preventing it from continuing to spread globally. Well, we already know they have not been exactly successful in this endeavor.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, the CDC and a host of others are trying to figure out how Mr. Duncan’s nurse became infected. They believe it has to do with the removal of protective wear. Last I heard, they have honed in on the possibility that the nurses necks were exposed in some way. Pham is improving, since having a blood transfusion from one of the recent Ebola survivors.

As a side note, I heard the patient in Spain had a dog that was euthanized. Pham’s dog is in quarantine. I wonder if anything might be learned from this.

Some people feel that travel should be suspended from the affected countries where the outbreak began and is concentrated. Though I can certainly agree with that sentiment, I get the impression, in today’s global village mentality, this is not going to happen. After hearing what Dr. Sanders and others have said, I think those in charge need to re-examine how to proceed further for the best interests of the global community.

When I took a training class on Pandemic Preparedness a few years ago (they were mostly targeting influenza) it was noted that a pandemic would cause major impacts on society due to widespread restrictions on travel, as well as other closings and cancellations affecting schools, large gatherings, and businesses. It was stressed a pandemic could have the “potential for severe impact on domestic and world economy.” Hmm . . . (yes, I have to admit, it was not a subtle hmm!)

What do you think about suspending travel? Do you think they are handling this crisis properly, or in a lackadaisical manner? Do you believe a robust Pandemic Plan is in place nationally in your country or globally?

Just some things I was thinking about . . .

It’s here . . .


Ebola could be just a plane ride away . . . From: http://heavy.com/news/2014/07/ebola-virus-outbreak-2014-spreading/
Ebola is just a plane ride away . . .

Ebola has been diagnosed in the United States, brought in from Liberia by a man visiting family in Dallas, Texas. He had been here about a week before becoming ill enough to go to the emergency room. He told ER medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital he was visiting from Liberia, noting the Ebola outbreak there, and true to my biggest fear they dropped the ball – into the fire, per say – and released him after failing to recognize his symptoms. He returned to the ER two days later, by ambulance, and was admitted immediately.

He has since been diagnosed and CDC representatives are going door-to-door in the neighborhood surveying neighbors. The ambulance he rode in is no longer in use until it has been decontaminated. The hospital is taking the necessary precautions now. But originally, protocols were not followed, and this is disconcerting to me, especially in a place like Dallas that has a huge international traveling population.

The man’s family has five school-aged children he has been in contact with, who then went to school. I pray none of those children get sick. That could be absolutely catastrophic. Kids touch and share all kinds of things and are not great at washing their hands. We all know this. Kids get diarrhea, vomit, and have traces of saliva, urine, and feces on their hands. And they are almost always sweaty, especially if they are outdoors. I’m not panicking about this, nor do I think anyone else should, but this is some frightening shit. THAT is why the medical protocols were put in place and that is why I am so upset that the hospital missed this on first visit.

Besides being spread by all bodily fluids, Ebola can also survive outside the body for one to two days. Simply touching an infected person can be fatal. The virus is continuing to spread in West Africa at an alarming rate, making this the deadliest outbreak in history. Many frightened and confused infected people in those countries are hiding from health workers – hiding in their homes infecting their families and others in their villages out of fear and ignorance. Ignorance is often deadly.

Ebola under the microscope.  From: http://ebolaviros.com/images/0.jpg
Ebola under the microscope

I heard on the news last night that so far there have been almost 6600 confirmed cases of Ebola and almost 3100 deaths. I also heard The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation granted the World Health Organization $4 million for help in the Ebola fight, as well as so many others working to help by contributing time, money, knowledge and expertise – especially those on the front lines trying to stop the monster from spreading any further.

Getting back to the U.S. case, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden seems quite confident that there is no danger of this disease spreading out of control. I’m glad he is so sure, because I’m afraid that I’m not. I read somewhere when asked if this newly diagnosed Ebola patient would be sent to one of the four isolation units in the country, Frieden had said this was not needed because “virtually any hospital can provide the proper care and infection control” – seriously … hospitals have high infection rates resulting in “superbugs” over the last decade or so.

I would think the special isolation units have highly-trained staff to provide care – staff who have practiced exposure to these types of infectious diseases. I certainly hope Dallas doesn’t drop the ball again.

After this initial blunder, I hope all medical professionals are following the CDC protocols put into place regarding this disease. They are truly our first line of defense in this battle and they have to be ever vigilant.

Just something I was thinking about . . .

Women’s Libidos – Really?


I have been hearing and reading a lot lately about Mike Huckabee’s comments about women’s libidos and contraception. Apparently he said something to the effect that the Affordable Care Act provided free contraception to women because essentially some people think women can’t control their libidos.

As a journalist my first instinct was to go find the video and see it for myself, in complete context, but I didn’t – and I’ll tell you why. Regardless of what exactly was meant by what was said exactly and the various interpretations of this comment, my question is . . . .

WHY are we talking about women’s libidos and personal health care choices that involve their quality of life? This discourse included married women – like their husbands are going to be onboard 100 percent with their wives “limiting their libidos” to avoid pregnancy. And I have to admit – I believe the old joke 99 percent of the time – what do you call women who you use the rhythm method of contraception? The answer is mothers. Even weathermen and farmers use more than a calendar to make predictions and determine action.

Do we have these discussions about men and their “little blue pills,” or whatever they take, for their erectile dysfunction? It’s also pretty well known there are many men who take these pills who don’t need them, they just want to be able to have more sex or extended  sex – but that’s a libido discussion for another day.

Do we have women in our congress – Senate and House of Representatives, as well as in other key management positions in our government making healthcare decisions for men and their quality of life? The sexual part of their lives and identities in particular?

There is not equal representation out there for women when it comes to government mandated decisions regarding women’s reproductive rights and lives because women make up a  small percentage of those who hold office. This is a problem, and I think we need to start thinking about that in our future voting decisions – as well as the fact there are many young ambitious intelligent thoughtful women who could run for these offices now and in the future.

Notice I have not mentioned party-lines – not interested in that. I am interested in women who understand the ramifications, situations and specific concerns of being  a woman being responsible for, or at least involved in, making decisions or at least having a majority say in legislation passed that affects women.

And one other point . . . this is 2014. Have we not learned that sex is an essential emotional, psychological, physiological and personal part of being a human – whether you are male or female? Again, why would this or any political discussion involve the word libido at all?

Just something I was thing about . . .