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2009 October 04 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Fires Still Burning

FireI tend to focus on fires that threaten people and homes because there is more information available and, in many cases, I know people in the area or once lived there. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of other large fires burning.

Alaska has had almost a million acres burned this year, but they tended to be in remote areas and caused by lightning, i.e. natural fires, and you couldn’t really fight them if you wanted to without the real danger of someone dying in the effort.

The Sheep Fire in the San Bernardino National Forest, California started yesterday afternoon, and they have to jump on it because it has already burned three homes and is headed for more.

The Twin Fire in the Kaibab National Forest, Arizona started as a controlled burn that went awry when the wind shifted 180° from the forecast and became gusty. The fire threatens the town of Williams near I-40.

The Lily Lake Fire in the Beaverhead/Dearlodge National Forest, Montana has been burning since August, but rain and snow have arrived to put it out.

Rain and snow are also what’s needed for the Tumblebug Complex in the Williamette National Forest, Oregon, actually 25 fires, and the Boze and Rainbow Creek Fires in the Umpqua National Forest, Oregon. They have been under constant watch, but as long as private property isn’t involved, the decision was made to let nature take its course.

When resources are limited, and they definitely are, you do what you can where you can with what you have. When money is tight, you can’t always do what you would like to do, or what you think would be best.

October 4, 2009   2 Comments

H1N1 [Swine Flu]

Last weekend was a bit busy and I am still catching up, as my Mother was ill. She had a flu shot on Wednesday and then fell ill on Friday and was miserable in the entire weekend.

According to the Centers for Disease Control this is what you should look for in H1N1 –

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Mother had all but the last item and is fine now.

She has a great health insurance combination, Medicare and Tricare for Life. In general she pays nothing for health care, unless she wants a prescription filled that isn’t carried by the local Air Force pharmacy, or that she wants immediately. Even then it is $3 for generics and $9 for a named medication. It’s great coverage, that was won from the Federal government after a law suit that dragged on for a decade.

The problem is that this is insurance, not health care. If she needed health care, she would have been forced to go to a hospital emergency room. She needed a prescription for an anti-viral, but the only way she could have gotten it between 4PM Friday and 9AM Monday was by going to the emergency room and exposing dozens of people to the flu. This is stupid. This is not how you stop a pandemic. This is not a functional system.

I can get a cat seen by a vet with a phone call, but the emergency room is the only answer for people. Does this make sense?

October 4, 2009   3 Comments