empower

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: empower.

J and I did not pick these mushrooms. We only picked two kinds, that we were both sure were edible. We must have seen about 15 species or more… I feel empowered to collect mushrooms and eat those we are sure of, but I am going to be very very cautious about others.

And I have had people say that they would never eat a mushroom that someone collected. I know some of the mushroom collectors that sell to our food coop and I trust them. Do we trust things in stores more than our wilderness now? And yet some things in stores are not safe….

Kudos to Kops

The Kinetic Kops do krowd kontrol for the Kinetic Sculpture Race. Mostly to keep spectators, especially spectators with cameras, from being run over. Some of these machines are large and heavy and may not stop on a dime. Some of them went down to the water fast, gathering momentum, with spectators lining the way. People get distracted by the costumes and glitter and forget that these are built to climb hills, go through mud, go on water, human powered.

So Kudos to Kinetic Kops for protecting us all!

from the mist

For the Daily Prompt: forest.

My town is a forest at sunrise and sunset. The trees take over, dark against the sky. And look,  something is rising from the mist.

Medicine is like that too. Did the epidemic of unintentional overdose deaths catch you by surprise? People, including doctors, thought opioids were safe, if taken correctly. And that we should increase them if the person still had chronic pain. But the information is still changing and taking shape from the fog.

I have worked with the University of Washington Telepain service since 2011. I can’t attend every week, but many weeks I spend Wednesday lunch in front of the computer, logged on to hear a thirty minute lecture from UW and then to hear cases presented from all over the state.

I want to sing the praises of the doctors on Telepain and the Washington State Legislature for having this program. Here is a link to a five minute King5  news program about UW Telepain.

https://www.king5.com/video/news/local/fighting-opioid-epidemic-via-video/281-8115411

Forty two different sites were logged on. There are also UW Telemedicine programs for hepatitis C and for patients with addiction and psychiatric problems. The advantage is that all of we rural doctors learn from one doctor presenting a patient and the panel discussing it and making recommendations. We have Dr. Tauben, head of the pain clinic, a psychiatrist, a physiatrist, a family doctor who treats opioid addiction, a psychologist and a social worker. And often a guest speaker! We have a standard form to fill out, with no names: year of birth and male or female. It is a team that can help us to care for our patients.

New information in healthcare rises out of the mist….

 

guns in the house

During wellness visits I used to ask, “Do you have guns in the house?” in the safety/accident prevention part of the visit. Along with helmets, seat belts, smoke alarms and not driving under the influence.

As a Family Practice Board Certified Physician, I counsel patients. Family Practice is a specialty, just as internal medicine and general surgeon are specialties. A three year residency training after medical school and I retake the Boards every 10 years. I counsel patients in “annual exams” or “medicare wellness” visits.

A patient reported me to the state board because of that question. I then got a letter from the state board saying that I was being investigated but not why. Later I got a letter saying that the patient had complained that I had asked about guns. The state replied that in fact, I am supposed to counsel patients about gun safety.

I changed my counseling. Now I say: “If you have guns in the house, I am to counsel you to keep them locked up with the ammunition locked up separately.”

I get three responses:

1. “My guns are in a gun safe, locked at all times, with the ammunition locked.”

2. “I don’t have any guns!”

3. Silence.

It is the silent ones that worry me.

I did not change my counseling because I was reported to the state and the state did not tell me to change it. I changed it in hope that someone who keeps their guns unlocked and loaded, in the bedside table, under their pillow, up in a closet, or where ever, will think about it. The question “Do you have guns in the house?” is too loaded for those people.

I met a woman with an impressive star shaped radiating scar on her chest. Her boyfriend kept a loaded gun under his pillow. One night she was returning from the bathroom. He shot her in the chest.

They are not together any more.

When my son went to preschool, over 20 years ago, I counseled him. “If another child says they can show you a gun or they have a gun, say that you have to go to the bathroom. Go and tell an adult right away. People can get killed.”

He reported an overheard conversation in preschool between two other boys. One said that he knew where his parents kept a gun. The two boys were planning to leave the school to go look at the gun. I called the preschool. They already knew about it and had talked to both boys’ parents. I don’t know if the parents locked the guns up.

In Portland one of my neighbors chased his upstairs neighbor into the street one day during rush hour, stark naked, trying to hit the upstairs neighber with a 5 iron. Yes, a golf club. I am very glad the downstairs neighbor did not have a gun right then, because he would have used it. Any of us could have been killed. And later the SWAT team was called to deal with him: he did have a gun that time. He threatened to shoot himself in the head. Then he did: well, except he only creased himself. He went to involuntary psychiatry, supposedly for six months. He was back in three months. The neighborhood was very very nervous. The house next door was sold and he disappeared and we were all relieved. He was strong, completely illogical and terrifying. We discussed how to deal with him but mostly we hid.

When he chased the neighbor into the street, I had already called 911 because I heard screaming next door. My voice shook. The dispatcher said, “Yes, we know the address, we’ve had three calls and they are on their way.” The traffic stopped dead at the sight of a nude man chasing another man with a 5 iron. I unbolted my door and stuck my head out. “(C—-)! Up here!” The upstairs neighbor ran up my steps and into my house. I slammed the door and bolted it and crouched by the front window with a baseball bat, ready to hit the downstairs neighbor as hard as I could if he came through my front window.

He didn’t. The police arrived. The whole thing was over the upstairs neighbor “playing music too loud” and “not turning it down enough”. The downstairs neighbor had broken down the upstairs neighbor’s door with the five iron. The upstairs neighbor had tried to defend himself with a butter knife and then ran. The police explained to the downstairs neighbor as he was arrested that if someone breaks your door down, it is not assault to defend yourself with a butter knife.

We discussed which illegal drugs we thought he was on. This was in the 1990s, so we thought it was crack. There was a big article soon after that about a crack house. We said, whew, glad we aren’t those neighbors and then realized that it was within two blocks of our house. Great.

Drugs and alcohol and guns and anger and grief….. it is a toxic mix.

Please, lock your guns.

Safe harbor

For Ronovanwrites haiku challenge #70, prompt words cover and color.

cover, shelter all
colors, would you harbor me
should be a cover

Sweet Honey in the Rock: Would you harbor me? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0XBXJjoXJ4

I thought about cover meaning shelter and meaning the song, and the refugees needing shelter, harbor and cover. We are frightened and seek cover, shelter, harbor. Who do we have to harbor us but each other?

The photo is a synchronized swimmer in 2012.

The Introverted Thinker and the Extroverted Feeler play

I am an introverted thinker by preference on the Meyers Briggs test and my sister was an extroverted feeler. My kids each have one of those preference patterns. This story appeared on everything2 first, on November 3, 2014. I have now linked the stories and the list is here: http://everything2.com/node/category/The+Introverted+Thinker+and+the+Extroverted+Feeler

And now the story:

When my sister Chris and I were very little, we went on long car trips each summer to a lake in Canada. This is a small lake north of Lake Erie and one of hundreds in Ontario, but to us it was “Canada”.

This was before seatbelts. My father was in graduate school, my mother was an artist who was not making money at it and they were “independently wealthy at a poverty level.” Our cars were always used and tended to break down. My father favored old Peugots and once he and a friend put a new engine in the International Travelall right before we left. We were living in Johnson City, New York, so it was either one very long day’s drive or two days to the lake.

Chris and I had the back seat, often piled with camping gear. She was three years younger. When we were very small we played “Red eye, white eye.” I don’t know who made it up, but I remember my father’s voice. The eyes were tigers. “White eyes” meant that there was an oncoming tiger and we had to duck down behind the seat until it passed, so that it wouldn’t get us. “Red eyes” meant a receding tiger or a tiger in front of us going the other way, so we could pop back up. It also meant no tigers.

“White eyes,” said my father, and we hid, scared. Then there was such a feeling of safety and of not being caught when he said, “Red eyes,” and we could return. We knew that he would protect us from the tigers.