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Posts Tagged ‘CDC’

Reddit bans guns sales. YouTube kicks gun fanatics off its site. Florida legislators have raised the age to 21 for buying your first gun, and on and on. Why is this different in our country’s national debate over common sense gun reform? It’s the messengers.

Teenagers have reframed the question; it’s not some esoteric debate about Second Amendment rights, they are simply asking not to be shot in their 5th period Chem class. And if you remember what it felt like to be 16, they actually think they can change the world!

I was 15 when JFK was shot. I was playing field hockey on a grassy high school lot when the milk man stopped to tell our gym teacher what happened; it’s forever embedded in my memory, even though there’s a Walgreens on that site today. We were all in shock, our parents and teachers were grieving. We didn’t see his brother Bobby and MLK’s assassinations in our future.

We didn’t know our generation was about to change the entire American culture with the Civil Rights and Women’s Liberation Movements. We didn’t even know about Vietnam, yet.

We walked out of high school over a dress code.

Today teens are digital natives. And Parkland students are leading the charge on Twitter, Facebook, SnapChat and Instagram to point out hypocrisy in all its many nuanced layers. The latest Associated Press poll tells us 7 out of 10 Americans want stricter gun controls. And look what happened just a few days ago, right after the Bride and her colleagues wrote a certain letter to the editor! http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/379563-republicans-agree-to-clarify-that-cdc-can-research-gun-violence

Republicans agree to clarify that CDC can research gun violence

And so it begins, your grand daddy’s rifle is NOT the same as an AR-15. #ENOUGH is enough and after tomorrow’s March For Our Lives in DC, I believe the momentum will continue. Country music fans and elementary students didn’t stand a chance. But high school students around the country are weaponizing social media, for the good of us all. If Facebook fueled the Arab Spring, imagine what this will do.

Maybe we should put these kids in charge of the Russian hacking problem? I have no doubt they would tell Putin a thing or two!   image

 

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Hallelujah! Star Wars the Last Jedi has finally opened on this side of the pond; Bob and I started our Friday morning by buying tickets online for the megaplex outside of town. Out of 21 theaters in the art deco masterpiece, 12 were featuring Star Wars! We opted to go after lunch, thinking other times might be sold out, plus first we had a date with the Little Pumpkin!

The Festival of Lights is in full swing and the Temple Preschool invited parents and grands to a Hanukkah Shabbat service. The sanctuary was shimmering in sunlight as the Rabbi strolled in wearing a dreidel on her head! Children played, the Cantor sang and we all laughed and watched an amazing juggler. Pop Bob even had a few latkes, with apple sauce. I remembered why I liked this religion so much.

As our tiny red head sat on the Bride’s lap, clapping and singing, time was suspended for a moment of pure joy.

Now I don’t want to ruin the new Star Wars movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, but we all know it’s about an epic fight between good and evil – the Light Last Jedi side vs the Dark Conflicted Kylo Ren side. Returning to its existential roots, the latest film in the series does not disappoint, and seeing General Leia (always the princess to me) was bittersweet to the point of tears. I only wish the latest villain, General Hux, wasn’t a red head…

Returning to “reality-based” villains, maybe Alabama turning Blue was the last straw for Mr T? Because I awoke today to this little tidbit of news from the esteemed Washington Post on my phone:

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden words are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”  

The analysts were naturally skeptical, they thought maybe this was a joke? I thought it must be an Onion satire when I first read about our government banning words from official documents. After all, HHS has already archived information on LGBT rights; isn’t it better NOT to relay critical methods used to stop HIV infections in certain communities? It would seem we are slipping into the Dark Ages, where climate change is challenged, evolution can be debunked, creationism taught, and women senators humiliated via Twitter at the puny hands of our Groper-in-Chief.

After a thrilling Friday, my morning is sunny and bleak. We gave our Little Pumpkin a Star Wars super duper light saber kit for Hanukkah. His sister had painted his nails black and we sat outside looking for “mean guys.” We must do better with this next generation, and teach them to put the earth and science above myth and money. It’s time for every American to choose the Light or the Dark side.

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While we were in California, we bumped into lots of new and exciting experiences. Feeding giraffes by the ocean, listening to the Rocker score a new Rogue One trailer, and of course dining at some of the most innovative, delicious restaurants. But picking up the bill was even more  astonishing, because all along the Gold Coast the people voted to give themselves a “Living Wage,” so the bill could be shocking until you realize there is basically no tipping allowed.

Well, at some places tips were included in the bill, but the basic premise is that by 2020 the minimum wage will be $15 an hour, and supposedly one could live on that salary in LA County. Just look at this calculator, it shows two adults working would pull in $62,400 a year, however – “Note: Although the living wage model is a step above poverty, it doesn’t take into consideration extras such as entertainment, eating at restaurants, or being able to save and invest.”  http://www.latimes.com/visuals/graphics/la-me-g-california-new-minimum-wage-20160328-htmlstory.html

Never mind a family with kids who had to pay for childcare. Still it’s a start. Until now.

Mr T has appointed a fast food billionaire as the next Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants. This California golden boy runs Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s and thinks the Living Wage thing is hogwash, in fact he’d like to see robots making his food! Oh but wait, he also wants to see bikini clad women eating his burgers, because well, who wouldn’t? What’s more American than that I ask you?

  • He has been critical of the Labor Department ruling to extend overtime pay to more than 4M workers
  • He accuses the Affordable Care Act of creating a “restaurant recession” since it has deprived citizens of their extra money for dining out…not making $7 an hour
  • His “record of fighting for workers” means he believes a higher minimum wage will kill the job market…

I guess having a robot put mayo and avocado on your burger doesn’t kill the market? I cannot wait to see what Elizabeth Warren has to say about Andy; oh wait, here ya go:

Throughout his entire career, Andrew Puzder has looked down on working people. At Hardees and Carl’s Jr., he got rich squeezing front-line workers on wages, overtime, and benefits, all while plotting to replace them with machines that are so much better than workers because they are “always polite” and “never take a vacation.” Appointing Puzder to run the federal agency responsible for protecting workers is a slap in the face for every hard working American family.

Wasn’t it Sandra Bullock who said, “Once a waitress, always a waitress?” Well I’ve been a waitress and it’s one of the hardest jobs on the planet. The Bride worked a snack stand at the beach as a teenager. The Rocker was a barista in high school. I’d wager a bet that most of you dear readers have worked for awhile in the service industry. That is, those of you who didn’t get a few Million handed to you on your 21st birthday. And I bet most of you think a Living Wage is self-explanatory.

After all, its opposite would be a Dying Wage. The kind of wage that shortens your life span, where food choices and health providers are limited to your station in life. The kind of life where obesity leads to chronic diseases, the kind that taxes our hearts, and any young person feeling suicidal in their low wage job could easily purchase a gun at the Walmart. You see where I’m going…

We now live in a country where our life expectancy has declined for the first time in 20 years. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38247385

We know about diabetes and heart disease factors, but what is causing the rise in infant deaths under the age of one? Parents are warned about suffocation concerns with babies sleeping in a family bed, but I’m afraid I agree with a doctor who states “…the rise (is due) to “social stressors”, such as financial pressures and addiction.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the country is “in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic”, with a record 28,000 people killed in 2014. No figures are yet available for 2015, though the 6.7% rise in deaths caused by “unintentional injuries” may be partly related.” How could you possibly care for a baby while addicted to pain killers?

Our ecosystem is so fragile, so intricately related: to billionaires running/ruining our government; to our life span shrinking; and to the beautiful giraffe grazing freely in Kenya. Like the canary in a coal mine, giraffes are now listed as “vulnerable” to extinction. Perhaps Mr T will invent a robot giraffe for our great grandchildren to feed at the zoo?

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“That’s it!” I said to Bob this morning while watching the Breaking News Conference out of Dallas on CNN. This could be your real retirement plan, become a disease detective!

We turned up the sound as Dr. David Lakey confirmed that the first case of Ebola contracted inside the US tested positive in their Austin lab, and that they didn’t want to give his/her name at this time. As reporters questioned Lakey, we learned it was a health care worker who took infectious disease precautions, and not someone who treated their patient from Liberia, Thomas Eric Duncan, at his first fateful trip to the ER – when he was sent home with antibiotics. Duncan has since died.

So now we have our first case here in the US, like Spain, a provider is sick with Ebola. And it wasn’t the janitor who cleaned up the ER room when they first thought Duncan had a cold; when the travel history the triage nurse obtained never made it back to the doctor.

Cue the Mystery Detective music. Our family and friends have always thought Bob was the medical oracle. When signs and symptoms just didn’t make sense, when people were getting the run around from doctors, they would tell Bob their story and the sky would clear. He could somehow always make sense out of a complicated medical scenario. He is our very own Dr House!

But of course I’d rather he do some medical school teaching, or even golfing, rather than run around the world trying to solve real-time medical mysteries. Even though the CDC is probably hiring right now. Here are the facts, and only the facts about Ebola: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/

In my dystopian view of the crisis, I can see the GOP blaming this outbreak on Obamacare. I can see the National Guard putting up a fence around Dallas, and I can see some crazy militia taking up arms. As soon as the TX Health Resources guy told people of Dallas not to panic, while ambulances are currently being diverted from that Presbyterian Hospital, I just knew people were going to panic. But let’s get real.

“The Ebola epidemic has killed 3,431 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia; it has killed one in the United States.” http://mic.com/articles/100618/one-powerful-illustration-shows-exactly-what-s-wrong-with-media-coverage-of-ebola

So if we can keep some sense of perspective about this whole business, we’ll be alright. If we remember that yet another child in Michigan has died from enterovirus D68, that this upper respiratory infection is something we really need to wash our hands about, we may not panic about Ebola. “Enterovirus is very common, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating 10 million to 15 million infections each year in the United States.” http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/11/health/michigan-enterovirus-68-death/

“…D68 is a particularly virulent strain of this respiratory virus. So far there have been 691 cases of enterovirus D68 in 46 states and the District of Columbia;” six patients who died had the virus strain. It mostly affects children with asthma, or compromised immune systems. And like Polio, there can we some paralysis associated with its symptoms. Enterovirus-D68--EV-D68-jpg-1

Oh, and remember to get your flu shot!

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This is my 500th post as MountainMornings. I did start out in 2010 under a different pseudonym, trying to make sense of the wedding industry and how it would apply to my family. I wanted to stay in touch with friends I’d left behind when we moved South. There was a snarky edge to my writing.

And then I took a different course, and here we are. More than weddings, and more than 500 subscribers later, I’m not famous for food or mommy blogging; I lost my camera and take pictures with my phone; in fact I’m not famous period. I haven’t monetized myself or even considered branding, in fact, I’m pretty sure any babyboomer/emptynester/grandmother brand would fall far short of anyone’s ideal business plan.

Bob tells me whenever people ask what I write about, he says, “Anything that’s on her mind.”  And like most writers, it just feels good to sit down and type away. I can’t wait for inspiration, I learned that lesson writing for a newspaper (remember those?) with a deadline. But lucky me a little perspiration always pays off. Very rarely will I sit and look at a blank screen, and that never lasts long. The world is always throwing zingers my way, and my mind is always trying to connect the dots…connect my family and friends… and now you, my “followers.”

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

This is what’s bothering me today – the news out of the CDC and Doctor’s Without Borders that the Ebola virus is not being contained – did anybody else hear this news or are we all worried about nudie pictures in the Cloud? Here is the headline that is one day old already:

“Global Bio-Disaster Response Urgently Needed in Ebola Fight” http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news-stories/press-release/global-bio-disaster-response-urgently-needed-ebola-fight

Yesterday I watched a PBS short of a man with Ebola dressed in a red shirt escaping his clinic, running around a town while men in Ebola protected spacesuits were trying to capture him. It seems the clinic had no food or water for its patients so he made a run for it.

Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it,” said Dr. Liu. “Leaders are failing to come to grips with this transnational threat. The WHO announcement on August 8 that epidemic constituted a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ has not led to decisive action, and states have essentially joined a global coalition of inaction http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news-stories/press-release/global-bio-disaster-response-urgently-needed-ebola-fight

We are a part of the coalition of inaction. We are leaving this crisis to the NGOs with church affiliations to trust in the Lord and pray that everything will turn out for the best. Well maybe praying will help, but it was that special serum and a ride back to Atlanta that saved Dr Kent Brantly and his colleague. And now another missionary doctor has the disease in Liberia. Are we going to wait for another “miracle?”

Both Bob and the Bride have received instructions on identifying the Ebola virus, containing it and reporting it should the virus show up in the US, in their hospital, and yes the new ER has 4 of those infectious disease rooms that can be sealed off with the air only going one way.

I used to worry about the threat of HIV/AIDS from needle sticks when Bob and I were first married. Often he would be called in to draw blood or start a line on these emaciated patients in the 80s because techs were either afraid or couldn’t stick a vein. It seems so naive now.

Here is another wedding picture of the Bride and Groom, with Grandpa Hudson, their officiant. He was once a medical missionary in Ghana.  J&M  0622

 

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A twelve year old boy was killed on Saturday in our neighboring county. He liked playing roller hockey, video games and being outside in the woods in the fort he and his friends had built, His father was working, and his son was supposed to have been with a relative. Instead he was in the fort with a friend and a gun. http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/year-old-boy-dies-in-apparent-accidental-shooting-in-madison/article_f1e95c7c-3f63-11e3-aaf6-0019bb30f31a.html

The American Academy of Pediatrics writes in its policy statement on guns, “The safest home for a child or adolescent is one without firearms.”  I think this bears repeating:

“The safest home for a child or adolescent is one without firearms.” 

In a country where at least six states have put forward legislation that would actually prevent a doctor from asking his/her patient, or the patient’s parents, if there are guns in the home, this is the kind of local news that flies under our national media radar.

We childproof our homes when a baby is born. We buy gates, and locks for drawers and electrical outlet covers. We strap them into padded car seats. And yet, what the gun lobby does not want us to know, is that nearly 800 children under 14 were killed in gun “accidents” from 1999 to 2010 – and any research on recent gun violence, thanks to lobbying efforts by the NRA, is almost impossible to find.

We hear about mass shootings in schools, and we mourn as a nation. But what we don’t always hear about are the incremental, single, child by inquisitive child deaths that are happening every day in this country. Millions of children live in homes with guns, yet half of their parents or guardians do not keep them locked and unloaded.

According to the CDC, the rate of firearm deaths among children under age 15 is almost 12 times higher in the United States than in 25 other industrialized countries combined. American children are 16 times more likely to be murdered with a gun, 11 times more likely to commit suicide with a gun, and nine times more likely to die in a firearm accident than children in these other countries.

Of, course these statistics include suicides, homicides, and “accidental” deaths. But it turns out that children living in the South, in rural areas have a much higher incidence of unintentional gun injuries. And surprise surprise, boys are more likely to be the victim. Proponents of guns would like us to believe that gun safety is the panacea, that if they teach their children to respect guns, nothing will happen.

Bob said the latest study on gun violence shows “..that if there is a gun in the home, the chances of that gun killing or injuring a member of the household is 25 times the likelihood that it will protect a household member.”   

My heart goes out to that family in Madison County. And to the young boy who accidentally shot his friend, and his family, I cannot imagine their pain. Grief counselors have been on duty at their middle school.  Children will be children, and they are not bulletproof.

Wetsel school pic

 

 

 

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I am more likely to fill Bob’s inbox with news he just can’t refuse or use, but recently he sent me this: http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/04/health/west-nile-virus/index.html?hpt=hp_t2 Here is the hook-catching first sentence – “The United States is experiencing its biggest spike in West Nile virus since 2004, with 241 cases of the disease reported nationwide this year so far, including four deaths, health officials said.”

It was August in 2004 when I woke up thinking my head was going to explode. It was the worst headache of my life, or maybe the second worst after experiencing the Hong Kong flu back in the 60s. I don’t get migraines and rarely complain. Besides, I know that so long as I’m not in fear of imminent death, my personal ER doc was off limits. He always made a point of not treating relatives for ethical reasons. He’s seen it all and heard it all, and I know he doesn’t want to hear from me…unless I’m dying. I didn’t know I actually was.

I had stopped writing for the paper and was busy getting my son ready and packed for college. Our house had been sold, so I was also packing for our move South. Of course, it wasn’t a very good time to get sick, but then again, when is? I would get up, drink coffee, maybe shower, take Tylenol (making my temp go from 103 to 101) and go back to bed. On the second or third day, I went to an Urgent Care. The doctor told me I had a gastroenteritis, even though my stomach was fine. It was my head. I dragged myself through a mall to purchase last minute college stuff. One day I went to an orchid greenhouse with Bob, thinking the flowers would cheer me up. In the hothouse, I truly felt my head would split open.

Then, still a news junkie and finding myself in front of a muted TV, I could not read the news crawl on the bottom of CNN. The headache, the fever, fine, but not reading the news was the last straw. I had great eyesight, but I looked in the mirror and it looked as if 2 giant red stop signs were peering back at me. I decided even though things were blurry, I needed to get to an eye doctor right away. It was just a couple of miles up River Road. First clue, we lived in the priciest swamp around, Rumson, NJ. Between 2 rivers and home to abundant wildlife and waterfowl. In fact, people had been finding dead black birds all around town…that was the second clue.

The ophthalmologist’s Red Bank office was empty. His staff insisted on my paying one hundred dollars up-front, since they didn’t participate with my insurance. I’m not sure how I even drove there, I was too sick to argue, I hadn’t been eating, it actually hurt to eat. Later I thought, this is the best diet plan ever – I lost 15 pounds in one week. This “doctor” didn’t even do a visual acuity check, he told me to go home and “wash your hands.” His diagnosis – conjunctivitis! Finally, almost a week to the day from that first headache, the next day Bob was off and I stood in front of him and gave him the whole story. He took one look at my eyes and brought me to another Ophthalmologist with a capital “O” my saviour, Dr MacDonald of Shrewsbury, NJ.

I was one of the first in a string of people infected with this virus, via a mosquito, that produces encephalitis in a lucky few, 1 out of 150. I was that mom moving her son into his College of NJ dorm while simultaneously putting steroid drops in my eyes every hour. I was lucky I only lost a part of my peripheral vision. I’m writing this to let you know that even with a doctor in the family, I wasn’t treated well by the health community. It’s your health and you need to own it. I spent a week suffering, and that was my mistake, So here is the CDC fact sheet on this mosquito-born illness, West Nile,
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/wnv_factsheet.htm which ends with:

“If you find a dead bird.” And if you live in Texas, Mississippi or Oklahoma, or near a river anywhere where mosquitoes like to bite at dusk and dawn, take precautions please!

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