A guest who shares her poetry with us from time to time, Sylvia, is my niece and my friend. I love her work and this is one of her poems that touches me anew each time I read it. Thank you, Syl, for sharing with us.
A single drop of water
In the grand scheme of things, I ask you this…
In a single drop of water, what is the significance
A single drop of water after a rain can hang precariously off the tip of a leaf
And sparkle like a glistening diamond any rich man might bequeath
If it were among the multitude, it would not be as a glistening stone
And it would fall from the weight of the many that could not leave it alone
A single drop of water can be a magical thing when kissed by a ray from the sun
It can become as a prism splitting light into colors, making light beams come undone
If it were part of the many, it could still make a rainbow…a beautiful expanse to be shown
But be nothing more than a part of the whole with no beauty all of its own
A single drop of water in the cold wintry sky can be frozen into a pure flake of snow
And float to the ground in a silent descent to an extended wool mitten below
If it were part of the multitude, one of the crowd, the single snowflake we’d never see
We would never appreciate it’s delicate beauty or it’s scientific intricacy
A single drop of water can slide down a cheek lending evidence to sadness inside
Creating a track, to mark the course, of emotions we sometimes can’t hide
If it were a piece of a torrent of tears that might stream down a disheartened face
It would not be the first tear defining the rest and setting the course for the race
Was it unclear in the grand scheme of things what the value of a water drop might be
If a single drop of water were but a part of the ocean it would simply be lost at sea
Written by: Sylvia L. Mattingly 11/21/11
Photos by Pixabay
If you live in this area (KY, IN, TN) you are probably familiar with Bernheim Forest. https://bernheim.org If not you should be. Bernheim is a wonderful place to be free in nature. There are areas cultivated and manicured but many acres of natural forest as well. It has been a favorite place for our family to explore for many years.
A few days ago we drove to Bernheim to view some new residents. A GIANT family has moved there. Mama, Loumari, and her two children Nis and Elina are truly bigger than life. Here are a few photos of the giants made from all natural materials.
Bernheim Forest is a place where art, nature and humans dovetail perfectly!
Over the past five posts, we have reviewed some ways to achieve longevity. I have had some fun with the topic of “Staying Alive.” It seemed fitting that since I discuss death so frequently I owed you these tips on survival. Some of the content has been tongue-in-cheek, but that doesn’t mean the advice isn’t sound. It should be obvious that there are many other measures we can take to increase our chances of living longer. A few that come to mind immediately are not smoking, regular medical checkups, good nutrition, safe driving habits, and a multitude of others.
If this series has helped you to be a little more mindful of a few ways to live a longer, healthier life, then I am happy. All together now! Hit this link with your sound turned up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNFzfwLM72c
A special thanks to the Bee Gees for helping us to wrap up “Staying Alive!”
Theme graphic by Pixabay
We read books, love our pets and have a female doctor to keep us out of the hospital, so what else do we need to do to stay alive?
Prepare for Disaster!
Noun – a sudden event, such as an accident or a natural catastrophe, that causes great damage or loss of life
A disaster may be caused by a flood, fire, storm, civil unrest, or many, many other things. It may be as simple as having no heat during the extreme cold or as complex as a nuclear explosion. Regardless there are things we can do to increase the chance of “Staying Alive” during a disaster.
A disaster plan can be a few simple steps, but it can and should be much more detailed and a good resource is: https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
This government website should be studied and a customized plan then devised for your home, involving each member of the family. Everyone should know the plan and regular drills should be carried out to ensure it remains the best plan for current circumstances and that each person remembers what actions to take.
This can be a daunting endeavor, but your life can literally depend upon it. The best way to tackle the project is step by step starting with making sure that your home has working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries each spring and fall when the time changes relative to Daylight Saving Time.
“I beg you take courage; the brave soul can mend even disaster.”
Catherine the Great
Theme graphic and photo by Pixabay
Now that you have a puppy on your lap as you read your book and have regular checkups with your female doctor what else can you do to stay alive?
Next: Stay Out of the Hospital!
There was a time when the term “hospital clean” meant sterile and spotless. Today, unfortunately, the meaning could be the opposite. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists nineteen nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections three of which are antibiotic resistant. These can be life-threatening infections and they are transmitted in various ways including, but not limited to, patient to patient. Viruses and bacteria can also be spread by health care workers, contamination of furniture and other articles and through the air.
Hazards other than infection can result from surgery, treatment, immobility, and falls. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) tracks the rate of the following complications resulting from hospitalization: (notes are parentheses are mine)
- Pressure Ulcer (bed sore)
- Pneumothorax (lung collapse)
- Fracture (broken bones from falls)
- Hemorrhage or Hematoma (bleeding)
- Acute Kidney Injury Requiring Dialysis (kidney failure)
- Postoperative Respiratory Failure
- Perioperative Pulmonary Embolism or Deep Vein Thrombosis (blood clot during surgery)
- Postoperative Sepsis (serious, often life-threatening, infection of blood or other tissue)
- Postoperative Wound Dehiscence (incision opening following surgery)
- Unrecognized Abdominopelvic Accidental Puncture/Laceration (accident in surgery of the abdomen or pelvis)
What Can You Do?
There are times when hospitalization cannot be avoided. During those times one has little choice but given the option of outpatient care that is usually the best recourse. Understanding the risk of infection, in particular, should make one hesitant about visitation in hospitals. Situations vary and there are times when a hospitalized patient needs someone with them. If that is not the case protect yourself and them by waiting until they return home for visits.
“A hospital is no place to be sick.” Samuel Goldwyn
Writing this reminds me of many years ago when I was in the hospital for a couple of days. My then eleven year-old daughter gave me a book for a gift when I left home to have surgery. Although I no longer have that book, I clearly remember the title, “Staying Alive!” Thanks for the smiles, Allison!
Theme graphic & photo by Pixabay
Now we all have a puppy and female doctors . . . . .
Obviously, you are reading at the moment, but this blog post is too short to meet the recommendation for “Staying Alive.” Research shows that reading a book for one-half hour each day has a significant survival advantage. Other reading counts such as blogs or magazines but books are best according to a study by professors at Yale University.
Several books have been reviewed here on Crooked Creek and many readers shared their favorite authors and books in an earlier post. So, I know there are readers out there. If you are not one of those it’s time to grab a book off the shelf and start prolonging your life. It’s never too late to start good habits.
“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” Marcus Tullius Cicero
Theme graphic and photo by Pixabay
OK! Now everyone has a puppy, right?
Next: Get a Female Doctor
No kidding, a study of 1.5 million hospital records proves this is a good method of “Staying Alive.” Harvard researchers reviewed and analyzed these Medicare records in 2016 and found that patients cared for by female doctors were, (A.) More likely to survive and (B.) Less likely to be readmitted within thirty days of discharge. Furthermore, “If male physicians achieved the same outcomes as female physicians” 32,000 fewer people would die each year.
I realize these are startling claims and we all know that this is not saying that each female doctor is superior to each male doctor. What the study shows is that overall female doctors as a demographic have better outcomes. This study and others suggest that female doctors are more likely to follow clinical guidelines for care and are overall better at communicating with patients.
Since over 50% of graduates from medical schools are women, there is no scarcity of female doctors from which to choose.
“The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” William Osler
Graphics by Pixabay
Life expectancy is a tricky term. Statistics vary greatly in the way they are gathered and calculated, e.g., whether they include infant mortality and what country is being studied. As the chart below demonstrates women have a longer life expectancy than men, but we will not discuss the possible reasons for that here. Let’s just look at ways of “Staying Alive” for all of us.
Born in 2018
Various sources including USA Today, Statistica and Wikipedia
There is no lack of advice out there for ways to stay healthy and live a long life. Every person who hits 100 years has some type of answer for the secret to their longevity. Some say a glass of wine a day or perhaps a cigar or some other thing they enjoy.
Do you have “secrets” to a long, healthy, and happy life? If so, please share them with us. I can’t say that I do, so I’ll share what some of the experts tell us. We’ll just look at a few over the next several posts.
First: A Four-Legged Friend
Those of you who own a pet will probably attest to the fact that pets reduce anxiety. Research also shows they lower the owner’s blood pressure. For those of you who may doubt this advice let’s see what the American Heart Association says.
In the journal “Circulation” the AHA recommends owning a dog, in particular. As an owner of cats, I’m hurt, but I can see one big advantage to having a dog. Dogs must be walked so the owner is more active. But, the AHA goes even further and states that a person with a dog is more likely to survive a heart attack.
Luke at Thanksgiving
Some of my doggie friends: Luke, Jackson, Hawkeye, Monty and Aslan
“My fashion philosophy is, if you’re not covered in dog hair, your life is empty.” Elayne Boosler
Theme graphic by Pixabay
A Test of Stress
She (we’ll call her “Barb”) dressed in her exercise clothes and walking shoes and set out early for the hospital; so early that the rush hour drivers were still at home flossing and spraying.
As she pulled into the parking lot Barb had her choice of primo spots, but hardly appreciated this because her mind was on the fact that her system was as empty of caffeine as the lot was of cars.
The person at the front desk could have been a bit more friendly, but the sign-in process was simple and Barb was ready for the treadmill which looked less than the expected state-of-the-art equipment.
Reba Raines didn’t seem all that enthusiastic as she pointed and indicated that Barb should move to the machine. “Straddle the belt” she directed in an absent-minded way. Barb complied, at least she thought she did but she heard again with more presence, “Straddle the belt!” so she quickly moved her feet to the treadmill frame and watched as the belt began to go slowly forward. Barb stood awkwardly until given the command to “walk” and assumed that she was not expected to walk where her feet currently were so she carefully stepped onto the belt.
It didn’t take long to reach the target heart rate . . . it will take days before the results are relayed to Barb who left for the nearest cup of coffee.
Graphic by Pixabay
Georgia donned her latex gloves even though she had no idea why they were required and she set out to collect the terrycloth bibs. As she picked up each one and placed it in the big plastic bag she wondered once again at the waste and mess of the food. In spite of the special preparation and attention to preferences, Jimmy would do his best to throw food at anyone near enough to catch an eye-full, Mary would play with the contents of her bowl until the soup river ran over the dam and made a waterfall over the edge the table.
If this was my facility, Georgia thought, I would not put up with it, I’d make them behave. At least I’d try something, timeout or take away a privilege. I think if Jimmy had to take an early nap or couldn’t go outside for an afternoon he’d learn to control his urge to lob mashed potatoes.
Maybe she expected too much, Georgia thought was she stepped over food and continued to pick up the big bibs. It was her job and she took it seriously. . . Maybe Russell couldn’t control his bowels and Timothy didn’t mean to hurt his friends and throwing away enough food each day to feed all those children in China was just the way it would always be here and if she wanted to stay she should not ask questions.
But, she really didn’t want to stay. What Georgia really wanted was to stay home and watch TV, but they were afraid to leave her while they worked. At least she could go home at night. She was proud to be able to ride the bus to and from her job independently. As she sat in her seat each evening, she looked back at the facility knowing that Jimmy and Mary and Russell and the others can’t go home. Instead, they are led down the hall where they sleep, dream, cry and on some level remember or think they do.
Georgia was a real person who I observed several years ago. She had special needs and worked as a “helper” at a nursing home in Louisville where my mother was a resident.
“Compassion isn’t related to religion. It’s a human quality.” Geshe Rapgyal