Monday, November 30, 2015

Climate Change and government intervention

I hope you made it through "Cyber" weekend.  Yeah, I know, that "Cyber" always used to refer just to the so-named Black"Friday after Thanksgiving; but it now seems to begin at the first of November and continue well into December.  There was a report last week on the NBC Today Show...sorry, I don't have a link...that indicated that the best "deals" are not on that Friday.  That report said that actually you might even be spending more on some items.

I'm not a shopping expert so I can't really say what the truth is on this subject, but it does raise a question in my mind.  If all those items can get such advertised big breaks in prices and the day is billed as the day stores turn from red ink to black, why do we have to pay the large prices the rest of the year?  If profits are so good on Black Friday, and I'm all for profit making, during this "cyber" period, why wouldn't they be just as good the rest of the time? 

I do know I didn't get caught up in the shopping rush over the weekend; and, indeed, I did make a couple purchases "on line."  I was looking for a couple things I really needed and found at least one of them about $100 less than its normal advertised price.  That was a lot more than 50% off so I couldn't pass it up.  I was also able to upgrade one of my software packages for 40% savings. 

I'll be looking for more on-line stuff this year, probably beginning today.

It's not a happy day for us Patriots' fans.  At least Peyton Manning wasn't leading the Broncos.

It was also not a happy weekend for us Gator fans.  Florida, after a fantastic and totally unexpected comeback from four horrendous seasons to finally return to the top of the SEC with ten wins this year, lost to its arch-rival Florida State.  However, after watching the Gators, who won the SEC East Division, get mauled by the Seminoles after watching Alabama maul Auburn for the West Title, I'm predicting a devastating Gator loss this coming weekend for the SEC title.  Any chance for Florida to compete for a national title is gone.  Sugar Bowl, anyone??

Want a little break?  Here's a scene from our Village 2015 Christmas Display:

President Obama is in Paris for a couple of weeks of Climate Change talks.  More than 150 world leaders will attempt to find a solution to the global warming we're told is in effect in an attempt to save Earth as we know it.  After all, according to those experts, we humans are destroying the world.  Every time I read about this, I wonder who really benefits from "climate change."  Seems to me that whenever a solution is tried, the companies trying it gets its funding from you and me, the taxpayers, and company leaders just get richer with little or no investment of their own.  Also, prices go up.
Do we need change?  We probably need something, but let's first hear a real case for the need.
According to many reports lately, the "affordable health care" or "Obamacare" as we've come to call it, is running into the same monetary troubles it was supposed to have fixed.  Rising prices and the failure to enroll people at predicted numbers are making the "improvements" questionable.  There could be a new rush for health care reform affordability after next year's elections.
The problem is echoing the monetary problems of Social Security and Medicare.  The government created those solutions to help retires with dedicated funds paid by workers.  They were working until the government decided it could do better if it controlled the funds.  Now we're told they are going broke. 
So the government wants to accomplish the same goal with the "Affordable Health Act."  Has anything, absolutely anything, ever improved with government intervention?
See you next time,

Thursday, November 26, 2015

It was a great day!

Thanksgiving is now behind our family, and I suspect most of yours, too.  It was a wonderful day in our lives with family members getting together for a superior family feast.  I was pleased that the two cooks in our home were taking good care of the old man.  You see, I'm on a extremely low salt diet imposed by medical conditions and my doctors.  So, my wife and daughter found new ways to season our great meal and it ended up with no added salt in any dish.  Of course, there's no way to stop the salt that is already in foods.

Wednesday night, I had the chance to use the services of our local Rescue Unit once again.  I tripped in our home and went sprawling on the floor.  Since I couldn't get up, my wife called Rescue which came within ten minutes.  The two EMT's, one of which was a paramedic, got me off the floor and gave me a good checkup.  I did have a pretty good lump on the front of my head but we concluded I didn't have to take the ride to the hospital.  The lump is still there.

Now, Black Friday, the traditional day of massive Christmas shopping and the day merchants claim changes their intake from the red ink to the black, began the Christmas Season.  I did not venture out into the mobs fighting for some of those unbelievable bargains.  I think this is a year when I'll be doing a goodly portion of my shopping on line. 

I mentioned a little while ago that our family constructs a Department 56 Victorian Collection village as our seasonal decoration.  We begin on Veterans' Day each year, which is also our wedding anniversary (54th this year) and try to complete and light it on Thanksgiving.  We accomplished our goal this year.  That picture up top here is just a very small part of that display.  Here's another:
I'll have more from time to time.  The full Village is also on my personal web page.
Now it's time to begin thinking about the important items of the day and times and I will offer my thoughts on them in the days to come.

We wish you a


Most Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 23, 2015

Home Health Care

Maine Health, the parent of Maine Medical Center among other medical institutions and doctors, has a great program called Maine Health Home Health Care.  Along with its services, it keeps the patient honest in following the doctors’ directions.

I’m one of its current patients.

It’s my understanding that Home Health Care is designed to attempt to keep released hospital patients from returning to the hospital for more treatment of the original condition.  Hospitals, you know, get penalized if they release a patient too early.

I wear an ICD, an implanted combination pacemaker and defibrillator device to help my heart work.  If it starts ticking too fast, the pacemaker attempts to pace it back to normalcy.  I never know when the device is pacing.  If it doesn’t solve the problem, the defibrillator takes over and sends an electrical shock directly to the heart.  It’s like those paddles you see on medical shows on TV, except my paddles are now built in.  My device was implanted in 2009.

About a month ago, my ICD decided I needed a demonstration on how it works.  As I was getting dressed one morning, it sent a mule into my room and it kicked the devil out of me.  I was told to go immediately to the Emergency Room at the hospital if it ever went off so my wife called the super EMTs at the Scarborough Fire Department.

By the time they arrived in just a very few short minutes, I think I had totally recovered from the shock.  Sure, my chest hurt, but everything else seemed to be back to normal.  Nevertheless, I went to the hospital and was admitted.  Three days and nights of various tests and medicine tweaks confirmed my ICD had fired.

The hospital and my doctor there wanted me to have Home Health Care for a while.  A nurse first came to my home to interview me and take the preliminary vital signs, etc.  She gave me several options for help from a visiting nurse, physical therapist, home care person, dietician, etc.  She then told me about monitoring device now available.  Home Health calls that part of their services "TeleHealth."

I am now using one.  Using a tablet, but I don’t know which one as this is my first use of such a device, my weight, blood pressure, oxygen, and heart beats per minute are recorded on the tablet via blue tooth then transmitted to the Home Health office via telephone.  I think this tablet is using ATT.

The nurses in the monitoring room keep track of my ups and downs.  When they determine a problem might be developing, they call me.  For example, if my weight moves more than three pounds from the base weight established before I was discharged from the hospital.  Also my cardiologist gets a call.  My regular physician may also get one.  My doctors get a wee anxious over weight change.  Especially for big folk with heart disease.

The tablet also asks a few health questions and the answers I give could also get me a call to be sure I’m all right.

One thing, it keeps me honest.  I can’t even lie to myself without getting caught.  And so far, my weight hasn’t hit those three pounds in either direction. 

I have a nurse and a physical therapist stop by my house every week since I no longer drive and am mostly home bound.  The two professionals who visit me are just about the nicest and most professional I’ve ever worked with.  And a dietician who helped me decide on how to meet the diet restrictions my doctors placed on me was in the same category. She learned my likes and dislikes and then simply made suggestions on how I could meet the goals.  No lectures!

I’m not sure how much longer this will last, but until my Medicare allotment of time runs out, I have a whole wonderful team working to help me get to my next birthday.  I love it all.

I surely hope you never need the services of Home Health Care; but if circumstances change for you and the need arises, don’t hesitate one moment to ask for that help.  These great people simply care about you.





Friday, November 20, 2015

Think about donating to fight cancer

I sympathize greatly with folk who develop cancer.  I’m among the many who believe one good thing our government could do for a change is provide more funding cancer cure research.  We give as much as we can each year and with every check goes our wish that amount could be greater.
Unfortunately, not all of our, or your, contribution goes directly to research, including the pay checks for the good scientists who continue to work for a cure.  There are many people, like boards of directors, administrators, etc., who get way too much of a cut.  I don’t criticize anyone earning as much money as one can, but I do object greatly to my money, intended for research, going to the administrators. 

At one time I knew the ratio of persons with cancer to those who don’t have it, but that number escapes me right now.  My family has had its share.

Back in the nineties, my brother stopped by my house and asked me to come outside with him.  We stood by his car for a long time just remembering the good times.  He was only In his early sixties at the time.  After about a half hour, he leaned into me for a big hug.  That whisper that said, “Good bye, Dave.  I love you.” was the last thing he ever said to me.  A couple days later, his wife called to say he was gone.
He had been going for chemotherapy treatment for some time, but had decided enough was enough.  The doctor had told him the chemo could keep him going for another month or two, but stopping would take his life much sooner.  He made his choice.
Six years ago, my wife got the word that a lump In her breast was malignant.  She was one of the lucky ones and had discovered it early.  A mammogram confirmed what she suspected and a super doctor took her right away.  Surgery was almost immediately performed.  Fortunately for her, only the removal of the lump was necessary.  Chemo was not necessary but she did have some medication to take along with frequent doctor visits.  This past week was a milestone for her.  She finished the medication six months ago, and as of last week her mammograms and doctor visits became annual.  She has been told, however, that once cancer rears its ugly head, it can return.

And it was just about a year ago that cancer took our great Golden Retriever from us.

We give as much money as we can each year to help the fight.  What we give isn’t nearly enough, and that’s why I wish more of it went to the folks in the labs taking on the battle head on.
I would hope that in this time of the giving season, you can include something for cancer research in your list of gifts.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 13, 2015

First a little about me.  After all, that's what this is all about, isn't it?

I decided to give blogging another chance.  Since I shut down in 2014, there have been many times when I wished I still had a place to vent my opinions on various items.  I'm not foolish enough to believe anyone but me really gives a peanut about what I think, but I might feel better about those every day things that pop up in our lives.

For you who perhaps dropped by once in a while when I was active here, my pride and treasure, my Golden Retriever Mariah, has left us.  It was just about a year ago that she came to my wife and me and told us with her eyes and manner that she was ready and wanted to go to doggy heaven.
I'm sorry this is so small that you can't see her eyes very well, but if you look carefully you'll see just what she's saying to me.
We took Mariah to the local animal hospital and the doctor there wanted to do a complete exam and an ultrasound test to see what was going on.  I think I spotted the huge mass attached to her liver about the same time the doc did.  He said he could operate, but chances were not good that she'd recover.  With tears puddling on the floor, we made that ultimate decision.  I think it was the hardest one I've ever made, although it was also easy because it was the right one to make for her.
So I won't be showing you the adventures of that wonderful animal this time around.
This was another of our personal memorable weeks.  Those of you who were here before may remember our Christmas Village.  We begin our Christmas Season on Veterans' Day every year as we erect parts of the Department 56 Victorian and Charles Dickens collections throughout our living room.  We try to have it finished by Thanksgiving and turn on its lights either Thanksgiving night or, at the latest, that weekend.
We started on time and it's right on schedule. Like I've done every year, I'll post parts of the Village 2015 here and the complete Village 2015 will be available on my personal web site shortly after it's finished.
Also this week, my bride and I celebrated our 54th wedding anniversary.  I honestly don't know how she has put up with me all these 54 years.  I did see one of those "Forwards" that roam the Internet a few days ago.  An old man and his wife were being interviewed about their half century of marriage.  "Marriages don't often last that long.  What is your secret?" asked the reporter. I easily related to the answer.  "When we were married and things broke, we simply fixed them.  Today, fixing is only by replacement."  How true!
 I was on the losing side of a referendum question earlier this month.  I voted against the "welfare for politicians" question on the ballot which was supposed give Maine politics back to the people.  The measure called for the State to fund politicians' attempts to get elected to the Maine House of Representatives and the Maine Senate.  Major problem with the plan, though, is how to pay for it.  The state legislature will either have to cut programs and people or raise more money.  States raise money through taxes which means you and I would have to pay more money for politicians we don't support.  And that, my friends, is very oversimplifying just one of the problems this new law has created.
We were told that passage would give us more control and take away much of the private funding, political action committees if you will, thus making the politicians more responsible to us, the people.  But then we look at who provided the funding to get the measure passed and guess what, almost all of it was from out of state PACs.  We didn't even have any control over this law.  I haven't read this one yet, but I have to wonder just what is in it that has the potential of screwing us royally.
Seems to me if we want to regain control of our state government, the way to do it is just the opposite. Let the politicians raise their money locally themselves.  If they can't do it, perhaps, just perhaps, that would mean they really don't have the support of the locals they want to represent.
Because of the PACs on the national level, how many Senators and Representative have been elected as just plain regular folk only to leave their offices as millionaires.  Seems to me I can think of a few right here in Maine.  Is this what we want for our state reps as well?  I don't think so.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hi, there.  I just thought I'd drop by my blog and say, 'Hello.'  It's been a while and I'm wondering if anyone still checks in here occasionally.  If so, I'd like to resume my strictly opinionated ideas on various things.  What do you think?  Just respond here and we'll see what, if anything, happens.

Gator in Maine  (Dave Jackson)
Hi, there.  I just thought I'd drop by my blog and say, 'Hello.'  It's been a while and I'm wondering if anyone still checks in here occasionally.  If so, I'd like to resume my strictly opinionated ideas on various things.  What do you think?  Just respond here and we'll see what, if anything, happens.

Gator in Maine  (Dave Jackson)