Monday, September 26, 2011

Fire Season in Southern California

Fire which started only a few miles from my home in 2009
This one was thanks to our firefighters, was extinguished within a few hours.
Today's Plinky prompt asked what we are looking forward to this fall.  Well, while I look forward to hopefully slightly cooler weather, I have lived in southern California for fifty-six years, thereby I am familiar with fire seasons here, both from a distance, when I lived in Orange County, and for the past twenty-seven years from living right in an area which gives me a much closer vantage point of many wildfires.

I think I will list what will likely be happening this fall where I live instead of some things I may be looking forward to. Where I live, we usually have lots of fires during hot, dry weather. For some reason, in the area in which I live, we did not have nearly as many fires as usual for the summer. However, just last evening on the news, it was announced that we are likely to have many wildfires this fall. You see, just because it's the fall of the year, unlike in many parts of the country, we seldom get rain in sufficient amounts to really soak the land enough to forestall fires, whether natural or manmade. There are mountains all over the area, and many are ripe for another burn-off. Now that so many homes have been constructed, infringing more and more into the otherwise natural scenery, they are also more likely to be surrounded by any "wildfires" which may start. The would of inland southern California is rather arid, for the most part, and are also places where many off-road enthusiasts are riding their off road vehicles, including off-road motorcycles, ATVs and what not. Campers and sometimes squatters who may actually be living or camping in such areas will at times, accidentally or otherwise start a fire. Then, if it happened to be accidental, they find they are unable to control or douse the fire, and flee the area. Sometimes. they themselves are killed in the fire, while otherwise, such as arson fires, they attempt to escape the fire they set.

Several years ago, a wildfire that started more than one hundred miles south of this area, actually did hundreds of acres of destruction in my local area, coming to within about a quarter of a mile of my sister's home.  She was out relocating livestock of others already affected just a few miles away.  My brother-in-law and I were moving things from their home into their vehicles, and preparing to remove their horses and dogs.  It was the worst fire I have seen in this area.  
Glow of a distant fire at night as seen from my driveway
Note: If you look closely, you can even see a few
stars shining through the glow of the fire..

There have been several local firefighters who have been killed some twenty-five to thirty years ago from this area, when they were caught in a firestorm and were unable to escape.  Our local firefighters have learned a lot about doing right and wrong things is such cases, and the loss of life since that time has been very greatly reduced,  and they have also learned a lot about how to more quickly extinguish fires before they get to be uncontrollable.

A fire in the local area no longer has to be very large before they call in air support, as with several lakes in our area, they water dropping choppers can refill and dump more loads much faster, while they await the planes which will be bringing in fire retardant materials to also drop on the fires.  With the area being surrounded by mountains which are covered in heavy brush and many oak trees, when fires get out of control, they can become horribly out of control.  In the afternoon, we get winds coming in from the sea, and while they may have more humidity, they also whip of the fires, and the moisture quickly dissipates and with the fire whipped up, it could quickly head directly into the lower elevation of the inland valley in which I live.  My niece and her family, and my youngest daughter and her family live right at the base of one of those mountains, and have had to evacuate more than once when fire threatened their homes.  They have evacuation plans in effect, and many things are packed and ready to go should they have to leave home in case of fires again.  

In any case, these fires can be devastating to the area, and more-so in the case where hundreds or even thousands of home are destroyed, often with loss of human life as well. In cases where people have many pets, whether as livestock, or pets, there is not always time or a way to transport their animals away from the fire affected area. So, that can also contribute to many lives being lost. The laws in these areas now require that homes have tile roofs, and that brush around homes be cleared, and that trees are not so close to homes, that they could actually be the cause of a home burning. Even vents under the eaves are to be covered with fire resistant materials, with air openings, small enough to prevent burning embers from entering the attic of the home, giving people more safety, with their home much less likely to ignite. Some homes are constructed nowadays from fire retardant materials, from floor to roof, so they will be more likely to remain unburned should a fire develop in the area. From recent reports, these homes are surviving fires which have occurred in the areas in which they were constructed of modified to such standards.

There have actually been fires in southern California when fires that started a few miles inland from the ocean and burned clear to the very edge of the ocean, destroying hundreds of homes, and businesses alike.

In any case, while no one here is looking forward to fires this fall, they certainly are preparing for such events. I do look forward to hopefully somewhat cooler weather, though that may not necessarily be the case in inland southern California. We tend to have more fires later in the year, possible due to already dry brush being practically brittle from lack of water by this time of the year. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Which Would You Choose - International Travel for Life or One Free Trip into Space?

If I had a choice of one free trip into space, or free international travel here on earth for life, I would choose to travel internationally for the rest of my life, staying as long as I chose in any country to take in the sights, and sounds, as well as getting to know the people there. Man was made for the earth, and earth was made for man to live on, so it's out natural habitat. Our bodies are made of the minerals of the earth, as is our food, shelter and everything connected to our life. 

Most people have not even traveled very far from the place they were born, so a chance to see other places on this beautiful planet would be wonderful. Man knows more about space than he does the things in the sea. Just think about what wonders lie beneath the ocean's surface that man has only recently discovered. Now, consider what more is down there, just waiting to be discovered. Why just yesterday, in Huntington Beach, CA, USA, there were thousands of Humboldt squid invading the shoreline, and a person only had to drop his line into the water to catch several squid. I have lived in Southern California for more than fifty-six years, and this is the first time there has been such an event. Humboldt squid are larger than the smaller ones usually seen, or served in restaurants. The Humboldt squid can get as large as six feet long including it's tentacles.

There are so many things to see and do here on earth, and it's mans natural environment. We even have lovely jewels, such as diamonds and rubies, garnets, sapphires, emeralds, and even gold, which are not as difficult to find as some would have you believe, even in places in the United States. From the sea, we have lovely natural pearls. Even fresh water pearls are also a gift from planet earth, thanks to our Creator. 

Plants and animals in abundant varieties also abound on earth. People of many colors and lifestyles are scattered throughout the earth, with interesting styles of clothing, jewelry, and types of food, that may seem strange to us, but which is perfectly natural in many places right here on earth. So why would a person take what would be considered a trip of a lifetime, when there is so much to experience right here on our home planet? 

Think of all the animals you have seen in the zoo, that now you could possible see in their natural habitat.  Just imagine your heart skipping a beat while watching elephants and hippos and maybe rhinos in their natural settings.
Just think of all the wonderful variety of food and animals you have never tasted or even seen in person right here on this wonderfully designed planet.  Well, maybe you have seen some of the animals in a zoo, but not in their native habitat.  Foods available in our country may be somewhat like those eaten in other countries, but just imagine that you could actually go to those countries whenever you desire.  Imagine what it would be like to eat what the native residents of those countries eat while shopping or even what they must hunt for on a daily basis in many cases.  Have you ever eaten toasted grasshoppers, or dung beetles.  Most of earth's population eats much differently than we do.  Have you ever drunk the milk of a yak, or even a burro or sheep?  Most people in the country in which I live have not even tasted goat milk.  Well, I have and it's wonderful.  Did you even know that raw milk is much better for your health than pasteurized milk?  Well it is, because pasteurizing destroys essential enzymes which is needed for digestion.  Goat milk also has smaller curds than does cows milk, which makes it easier to digest, too. Even raw honey is better for us than is pasteurized honey, as well.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What Do You Think About Modern Technology?

What would you consider your favorite piece of technology today?

DNA segmenting is part of today's technology
What stated out as a good thing, may become a nightmare.
Today's Plinky prompt is rather open-ended, don't you think? It asks what I consider my favorite technology in today's world.  Personally, I believe most people will jump to the conclusion that technology is automatically concerning the electronic media, such as the internet, and what one can do online. While this is certainly part of today's technology, it certainly is not everything about today's technological advances. 

Over the last century, there have been an untold number of inventions that fall into the category of technological advances. Consider the way wars are fought, that certainly has been the precursor to many if not most of the modern conveniences we enjoy and which most of us use on a daily basis. Consider the microwave oven, digital thermostats most modern homes now have and use to keep their home in a comfortable state, whether it be for the air conditioner or heater. You simply set the desired temperature, as well as the time of day that you wish that temperature to be set, and voila, your home is cooler at night, and somewhat warmer in the day, whether or not you are sleeping, or awake. These temperatures can be reset, for when you may be gone to work, and in preparation for your return home, as well. 

Refrigerators are now made so they defrost themselves, and even recognize when the humidity is high or low, and operate accordingly, helping to prevent excessive ice buildup in the freezer, also helping save electricity, and making the appliance more efficient, thereby using less electricity, hopefully lowering your utility bill.

Today, you might be hard-pressed to find a pay phone, which was not too many years ago, was located at many local gas stations, and many shopping centers, and even smaller convenience stores.  They were often broken into for the loose change, and were costly to maintain as well.  Now, when you can find a pay phone, it is most often owned an operated by someone other than the local telephone company, and they are getting rather  costly to use, as well.  Most people nowadays have cellular phones.  In many homes, they are the only phones used, with wired phones, quickly becoming all but obsolete.  One must wonder how people plan to communicate if those satellites high above the earth are put out of operation, either by someone with evil intent, or maybe even by solar storms, or solar flares, which at times are directed toward the earth.  In the past, such solar flares have affected the electrical grids in many large sections of the United States, as well as in other countries, as well.  Did you know that if you do still have a home telephone, it is recommended to also have at least one hard wired phone in your home?  Your cordless phone will not work in case of a power outage, as it works almost entirely by radio signal.  It needs the electric power in order to function, and send radio signals to your headset.  The base unit which is connected to the wall outlet, only receives the incoming call and without electricity through the transformer which is plugged into the wall, it is useless.  I have my home phone, as well as a cell phone, and I make sure that I have at least one simple hardwired phone to use in case of power failure, or in the event the satellites are nonfunctional for some reason.

ATM Machine
ATM machines are also part of today's modern technology, making money easier to collect whether the bank is open or not. You can now even make ATM deposits without the need of filling out a deposit slip, and even cash, as well as any checks you deposit into the ATM machine is scanned, as proof of your transaction. Any money you deposit is also scanned for verification that the money is indeed real, or counterfeit. 

Space view of a hurricane at sea
You can see from the photo at the left, that modern technology has contributed to advance warning of major storms, such as hurricanes, which is a good thing.  However, now there is also concern over whether weather manipulation may be being used against nations in order to control them, or even to destroy their crops or their means of income, thereby leaving them vulnerable to the whims of other, more powerful nations.

Fill-up Time
You can also buy your fuel and pay at most any gas pump by simply inserting your credit or debit card, entering your PIN (pass code) and you are in and out in record time, eliminating the necessity to even see the person acting as cashier in most cases. 

Due to all of the above, I would really be hard pressed to choose a favorite version of today's technology as a real favorite. While I certainly take advantage of many things in today's technology, such as my iMAC computer, my HP all in one printer/scanner/fax machine, and accessing news and weather in my area or in the world, I also enjoy my electric rice cooker, slow cooker, electric fry pan, and my Scion car, I also recognize that each one of these things are directly affecting the planet's environment in one way or another. 

Let's not forget those little
conveniences we all bought
just a few years ago, many of
which are now obsolete.
I really enjoy using my digital camera, and saving lots of money I would otherwise be spending on film that I would otherwise have to buy. I also like the ability to enlarge my photos enough to see the pixels, so I can repair minor blips that may show up otherwise in my pictures. I love the photography programs that one can use to edit their photos, eliminating things in the photo that may distract from it's intended view. It's interesting how a person can take photos in nearly complete darkness of night, and increase the lighting, allowing you to appreciate what then shows up in your photos. I love taking morning shots, just before or while the sun is rising, and adjusting the light just enough to all so many wonderful hues to become visible which one may not see with the unaided eye. 

Still, while the planet becomes more polluted, man continues to dispose of toxins and waste products from searching for the minerals which he uses to produce these modern conveniences, into the land, sea and the atmosphere, killing off many life-forms and sea-life, now putting life of all creation in jeopardy. 

Industrial Pollution
Maybe it's leaving the US, but
it is growing worldwide, which
still affects everyone on earth,
in one way or another.
Before I was born, and since then, as well, when we did not have all these things to make life easier, did we miss them? Of course not, and most people were certainly closer as families, friends, and neighbors, as well. While modern medicine has provided many helpful advances, it has also provided more toxic products under the name of medication, which has also killed more people, in some cases than it has helped. While antibiotics have saved many lives, (mine included) nowadays, more and more bacteria is resistant to these same antibiotics. Have you not heard of colloidal silver? It is one of nature's own natural antibiotics, and so is simply keeping your body in an alkaline state. Even Cancer cannot live in an alkaline body. Your health will definitely improve if you stop eating sugar, as well as so-called foods which are produced through breaking them down and processing all of the natural nutrients out of them. Even pasteurized milk is not nearly as safe as you have been led to believe. Unpasteurized dairy products and raw fruits and vegetables have enzymes which are essential for your health and your body to function as it was intended. 

So, you choose... Which of today's technologies is your favorite? Personally, though I might miss many of the modern conveniences, I am positive that we all would be a lot better off without most of them. If we grew our own foodstuffs, and canned them for off season use, our lives would be more peaceful and we would be more connected to our neighbors and our families, as well as to the earth and the one who created everything on it, as well.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Life Changing Injury

I've certainly had my share of injuries, many of which were serious, but by far the worst and most serious injury I've had was in 1991, when I hit my head on an iron pipe that ran along a step on a staircase which went through a storage closet in the medical office where I worked. 

Part of my duties consisted of billing workers comp cases. It was a Monday morning, and since it was an Urgent Care facility, patients were lined up from the check-in desk all the way to the front entry door.  I was hurrying to get back to work, and needed some forms from the storage closet. I squatted down to get the forms I needed from the box where they were stored. When I stood up, I hit the right-front of my head against the two inch pipe, knocking myself to the floor. I don't think I was actually knocked out, but I certainly sustained a concussion. I managed to get up, and make my way back to the door. When I opened the door, every one looked to be about an inch tall. I was not really able to walk across the waiting room, so I waited a bit, until I could get my wits about me, and carefully walked through the line of patients, and went to the break room. 

Everyone was so busy, that no one noticed me, and that I was obviously not myself, or they would have taken me in to see Dr. Smith, immediately. I did not realize at the time how seriously I was injured. I sat in the break room for maybe fifteen minutes, and had a cup of coffee. 

It took about two weeks for the full impact of the injury to raise it's ugly head. Again, on a Monday morning, when I awoke, I was wracked with pain from head to foot, and really felt like going back to bed, but being a Monday, I dare not stay home, as the office would be packed again as was normal for Mondays. 

I managed to make it through about half the day at work, and finally just broke down, crying and doubled over in pain. I was taken to the back to see Dr. Smith, but by then, I really had pretty much forgotten about hitting my head in the storage closet, so I could only think it was from excessive use of the telephone, supporting the receiver with my shoulder, and tilting my head to talk with patients while doing paperwork, etc. 

Dr. Smith took me off work for two weeks, and had me go to Physical Therapy daily, as he also knew I already had three herniated L-spine discs, from being rear-ended in 1979, which still was of concern. 

P.T. seemed to be helping, until they started me on little devices known as the finger ladder, and the shoulder wheel. I was to use my fingers to walk up and down this little ladder, and to slowly crank the shoulder wheel. I never made it to the shoulder wheel, and when I used the finger ladder, my whole body fell apart, and pain shot through my body, from my neck to my lower back. 

The Physical Therapist I had was really well qualified, and immediately called Dr. Smith, who wanted me in his office immediately. He wanted to schedule a MRI, but so far, they office administrator was handling my problem as something that my HMO would pay for, and they had not yet turned my case over to the Worker's Compensation carrier. So, the HMO required a second opinion, which was performed by another doctor in my group. This was Dr. Dada, who was a real male chauvinist, and who most women hated. I have to say though, that Dr. Dada was fair to me, as he realized I was really injured, so approved my MRI. It took about a month or so to get the appointment and it was about forty miles from my home. I had a ride there, as I was already falling down from time to time, and having neurological symptoms even into my abdominal muscles. Still, I kept working, until I could no longer stand it. One day, while I was doing lighter work in the office, just getting along as best as I could, I was called into see Dr. Smith, and the Office Administrator, each separately. Dr. Smith told me I was in serious trouble and needed neck surgery, like yesterday. The Administrator wanted me to agree to let them cover my medical costs through my HMO, and tried to get me to say that I had injured my neck while riding my horse, which certainly was not the case at all. 

I had a friend and co-worker whose husband had recently had back surgery, and suggested that he was very good, and that I should see him for my problem. I was not able to get a fast appointment with him, but when I finally did, I was a real mess. I not only passed out from pain riding lying down in the rear seat of my friend's car, but was not even able to sit up in the waiting room at the doctor's office. 

When I was finally seen, he referred me to his associate, Dr. John Seely, who was a Neurosurgeon in San Diego, CA. Dr. Seely was a great doctor, and performed the surgery as soon as he could schedule it, at Scripps Hospital in San Diego. 

We were all concerned when, while I was somewhat better afterward, but not nearly as much as was hoped for. Dr. Seely said that if I had not had the surgery, I would have either died, or been in a wheel chair for the rest of my life, and that my neck injury was like that of many football players, who either died or were paralyzed for the rest of their life.

I slowly began recovering from the surgery, but within about a year, I began getting worse, and then much worse. I had a myelogram, and was told that I needed immediate surgery, again. Dr. Seely did not go into detail this time, but since it was now a worker's comp case, I needed to see the AME, and EME (Agreed Medical Examiner, and Expert Medical Examiner) before approval would be given for the second surgery. The AME I saw was a Doctor Ronald Kent in Moreno Valley, CA. What that man did to be was not only reprehensible, but also illegal. I have since discovered many of his patients who were also lied about, and maltreated in his office. My own son-in-law was also one of his victims, as was another man who has been bedridden ever since Dr. kent lied about his diagnosis, and one other man who lives not very far from me, whom I have come to know well. All of us were lied about, and misdiagnosed to say the very least. 

Dr. Kent said I was permanent and stationary, and needed to return to work, which Dr. Smith, as well as Dr. Seely both said was impossible. My two doctors even wrote letters to the Medical Board of California on my behalf, when I filed a complaint against Dr. Kent. They said Dr. Kent's license should be revoked at the very least. 

Once Dr. Kent became aware that he was in real trouble, he denied even seeing my myelogram films. When he tested me for neurological response, he turned the machine up to the point, and I passed out, from the pain. My Neurologist had already tested me, and said that my tests were absolutely were far from normal, and agreed with my neurosurgeon that I needed immediate neck surgery again. 

Eventually, when Dr. Kent claimed he had never seen my myelograms, the hospital where they were performed, send him a second copy. Then, and only then, did he say that I did indeed need the second surgery. It took more than a year to get the permission after my doctors diagnosed the problem, as a bone spur that had developed from my neck being in such spasms, that I no longer had a natural curve to me C-Spine, 

When I finally had the second surgery, it took more than twice as long as it normally would have, as Dr. Seely had to remove one tendon from my neck, as the bone had destroyed it, and the bone had grown all the way through my spinal cord, as well. 

It's been twenty years now, and though I have been through more than I would ever want to relive, I am finally doing better than I have been for all those years. I can still walk, and am no longer on medications, such as Duragesic or Morphine, which I was on for many years. I also had to be on hydrocodone, for breakthrough pain. When the medications stopped helping, and Oxycontin never did help, I asked my doctor to take me off of everything. He said that there was no way he could take me off the medications, and I was in such a mess as it was. I had also been seeing a pain control specialist, Dr. Kay Erdman, in Murrieta, CA. In 1997 he implanted a spinal cord stimulator in hopes of controlling the pain, at least somewhat. That's a whole other story, as the Keflex he gave me post op nearly killed me, too. 

So, I deciding that that junk was slowly killing me, since it had to be affecting my liver, and my general health, I decided to stop the medications myself. 

Slowly, I reduced my medications, and finally was off of all of them. It's now been since mid 2009, that I have not taken any medications, other than my Asthma Inhaler occasionally. I have not even seen my primary care physician since mid 2009, either. I will be making an appointment to see him, and let him know about what I did, and to get some allergy tests run.

Sure, I still have pain, but you know what? It's not nearly as bad as it was when I was taking all that junk, and my general health has improved as well. I am careful about what I eat, avoiding anything such as GMO foods, and processed prepackaged products, as well. 

That's my story, and it's more than most people know about me and my health issues.