DNR?? Hell no, my religious beliefs don’t permit that!!

ETA:  Mr. TF feels I should explain that a DNR means ‘Do Not Resuscitate’.  I should also point out that hospice care includes comfort care, and is probably one of the most life affirming entities I have ever encountered.

Got news for ya baby. If you think that having a DNR for your loved one (or yourself) is interfering with God’s will, then you should think VERY HARD about this: then you should REFUSE ALL HIGH TECH MEDICAL INTERVENTIONS because THAT TOO interferes with God’s will.

You don’t get to have it both ways, sweet pea. Either you accept that your loved one is mortal, and is going to die, and LET THEM GO WITH DIGNITY after heroic interventions have been done without success, other than mere maintenance of a pulse, OR:   you shouldn’t be able to access VERY EXPENSIVE, TIME AND SKILL CONSUMING interventions that will NOT change the outcome of your family member other than to prolong their agony.

I am so VERY sick of seeing patients who are basically brain dead, who are being bounced from care center to hospital, completely unresponsive and on ventilators, who are so incredibly sick that they are guaranteed to spend days, if not weeks, in ICU, with no improvement in their health or quality of life, only to go back to the care center and start the ping pong all over again.  IF they live through it.  These patients almost without exception have no family within five hours who will come to visit them at all.  It makes me so sad, and so angry, that I literally feel sick to my stomach.  How cruel.  How sad.  How wrong.  Why??

Reality check people: everybody dies. Accept it. Quit making yourself feel better while you put your loved one through what you wouldn’t put a pet dog through so you can feel ‘moral’ about the whole thing.

Rant over.

Spinning a little history

I spin my own yarns; I learned to spin in 2002 but didn’t get serious about it until 2005.  I became interested in spinning after I began knitting regularly again; quality yarns aren’t cheap, and the only way I could afford the kinds of yarn I wanted to knit with was to learn to spin my own.  I began my spinning journey with a very modern wheel which as with many things modern, looks pretty cool, seems like it’s a good idea, but just doesn’t hold up to actual use.  In fact, it mostly sat in my living room because I had such a difficult time actually spinning with it.  It required a large brick wedged behind it to keep it from creeping across the floor because it’s so light, and the type of tension mechanism on the bobbin meant that for me as a beginner, once I filled that bobbin I was never going to get the tension the same for the next one.   In 2005  I took my spinning wheel, that PVC Babe, with me every Wednesday for six weeks to a “learn to spin” class in Mesa.  That is how I learned that while a $200 wheel *can* be a good bargain — if it’s the right one — it was not a good bargain for me because I really didn’t like this wheel.  So, once again, that wheel sat in the corner, neglected and unloved, while I finished up school and dreamed of spinning with a ‘real’ wheel.

Now, I do respect the contributions of modern technology.  Antibiotics are literally life savers, and I probably wouldn’t be here today if they weren’t around; a good many of the people I know today would also be either dead or handicapped in some way without antibiotics.  But, as with any technology, it can and has been misused and overused, and the downsides we are beginning to see today.  Spinning wheels today are also the product of modern technology; many makers have devoted a lot of time and effort into producing a wheel that utilizes the best engineering designs one can think of to produce wheels that are light, clean looking, and give spinners features they desire.  Spinolution is one such company.

So, when I decided that the problem was indeed, the wheel and not my inability to spin, I began doing research.  I initially decided I was not interested in an antique wheel, because I didn’t know enough about how wheels worked in general to know how to fix one, and I didn’t yet know there was a HUGE spinning and weaving guild right in my neighborhood.  I also didn’t think I was interested in a traditional style of wheel (like what you think of when you think of a wheel probably) because I wanted something small and light that I could get out and put in the corner when I was done.  I wanted a wheel that would be easy to spin on, without a lot of gadgets or requiring constant fiddling, and I didn’t want to have to change bobbins very often.  When I completed my research, I went to the newly discovered local fiber store, and there was a Mach 1 there as a display, just waiting for me to try out.  I went home with that wheel a week later, convinced I had eluded all possible spinning related problems — it was already finished, so no warping; it had sealed bearings, so no oiling; it had a carry handle and wheels, so easy movement; HUGE bobbins so no frequent changes.

Three years later, I realized that buying a wheel that looks and spins NOTHING like many traditional wheels doesn’t mean I avoided spinning related – rather, technology related – problems.  The unique treadle design whereupon the double treadle is a unit, and the wheel has an offset pittman arm, is warping AWAY from the pittman arm and I have already put spacers in it to try to correct for that.  It is getting worse, and eventually I may not be able to treadle at all.  Those ginormous bobbins I was so happy about?  Well, they’re so heavy that I have frequent breaks in my yarn while plying.  Plus, I can’t fill them more than half way if I’m going to do certain types of plying because the finished yarn doesn’t all fit on the bobbin if I do. To make matters worse, the drive band is rubber and I’ve been through SEVEN  of them in the three years I’ve had the wheel!  Now, for someone concerned about TEOTAWTKI this was a really poor choice for a wheel, which I hadn’t realized when I bought it.   This and other problems sent me on a quest to learn exactly HOW my spinning wheel worked, how it was similar to others and how it was different, and how traditional wheels (and those based on traditional designs) overcome those problems.  In the course of my research, I realized that many of the problems I was experiencing did not exist in traditional wheels, and that they were designed the way they were for very good and sound engineering principles, time tested from the Middle Ages until the present.

Enter the beauty above.  She is an antique.  Her table — the slanty piece of wood — is solid oak, with tiny little fluted designs like a pie crust on each end.  The turnings are maple, I believe; I don’t know for sure but that was a very common type of wood for turnings (the legs, axle arms, etc).  She was probably made in the Midwest and brought out here in the late 1800’s; she was a Chandler based wheel for at least the last 70 years, so I assume she came out with Mormon pioneers from Nebraska or something like that.  She was purchased in the late 40’s or early 50’s by a woman in Chandler who passed down to her daughter, who passed it to her daughter.  The first two generations of women used it for decoration, never to spin, but she was in a climate controlled home, with regular dusting and occasional waxing, for all those years.  I bought it from the 3rd generation woman to have it, who didn’t want it – it didn’t fit with her decor.  I couldn’t believe it when I saw her, but she was in good working order other than some minor issues and I paid a very reasonable price for her.

Her flyer – the part that holds the bobbin, and has a profile like a bird in flight had a large crack on one side, and the hooks that hold the yarn were rusted through.

Luckily, this is only on one side, and I was able to remove and replace the hooks on the other.  Her bobbin was glued to the flyer shaft because of years of dried oil and shellac mixing with dirt, but I was able to free it, clean it, and restore it to working order in a matter of two days of alcohol, Q tips, elbow grease, and a dremel tool with a grinding attachment (to help ream out the dried stuff from the inside of the bobbin hole).  Several coats of Feed N Wax later, and the addition of a drive belt made from crochet cotton, she was ready and willing to spin. She’s not a wheel for a beginner, and I finally know enough and have enough skill to be up to the challenge of a wheel like her.

It was truly an awesome and eery feeling to know that I was the first person in probably 70 years to spin on her.  The wheel probably spun enough yarn and flax to clothe a family for a lifetime, and then sat for a lifetime.  She’ll be well taken care of here, and put to work as she was designed.  The small bobbin problem I was so afraid of is compounded by the fact that she only has one — so I will need to be creative in my solutions for that.  There are solutions, though.   I have learned more about spinning wheel technology and workings in the last month than I learned in the last 10.

Oh, and one more wheel:  Henrietta.  I bought her at an antique store right after I got Miss Saxony (reference to the style of wheel) thinking that I could swap flyers and have an extra bobbin.  Nope.  Nice try though.  So now I have a true flax wheel with a distaff (holds flax for spinning) that can also double as a travel wheel, because she’s so light.

She’s a cute little thing, but she doesn’t capture my heart the way Miss Saxony does.  She’s in good shape minus a few minor problems, and she spins wool not so well, but I can’t wait to try flax on her.  She is a true flax wheel and doesn’t want to spin wool – the flyer doesn’t spin fast enough to put enough twist in the wool to hold it together.  Flax is such a long fiber it doesn’t need very much twist.

So that’s my journey on the technology path of spinning.  I started out completely high tech, and have ended up completely traditional.  I plan to keep my Mach 1, and hopefully I can get her fixed, and she’ll end up being my plying wheel for sure.  Those ginormous bobbins will be good for something!

TEOTAWKI preparations…why?

For those of you not in the know, that stands for The End of the World As We Know It.  This blog was designed originally as a political commentary on topics close to my heart — TEOTAWKI among them.  Now, while the CDC did recently publish a preparedness memo for the Zombie Apocalypse,  I’ m sure it was more than a little tongue in cheek.  HOWEVER.  That does not eliminate the fact that their preparedness memos are designed for EVERY citizen, and it would behoove one to pay more than a passing bit of attention on their list of *must have* items in one’s storage.

Why?  You ask.  And well you might.  I have a good reason, from my own experience.  When I was growing up, we lived for a time in a cabin in the woods of Northern Michigan.  In the winter, we had no running water — the pipes froze from October until June.  We often had no electricity — snowstorms knocked out power lines. We were snowed in, sometimes for weeks at a time — we lived 6 miles from the main road.  We had no central heat — we had a wood stove (that kept the house pretty warm) and a fireplace (that was pretty to look at but mostly just sucked the heat out the chimney).  So:  we had a large store of canned goods, both those that my mom canned and those we purchased at the store.  My dad hunted and we fished from the river for our protein (meat) needs.  We had kerosene lamps, and gallons of kerosene for those nights we didn’t have electricity.  We had cords and cords of wood cut and stacked.  We heated snow on the stove and bathed as well as cooked and cleaned with melted snow.  All in all, other than the time that I broke my little sister’s collarbone by playing the overly rambunctious bucking bronco (she was 2, I was 7), it was a pretty good life.  Oh, and when my rabbit ate the feet off my barbie dolls wasn’t so great either….  But back to preparedness.  Now, this was a long time ago, and it was special circumstances, and maybe you think that would never ever happen to you.

So how about a more recent example or two?  Recently a storm knocked out the transformer that served our corner of the county.  Our community along with four others were without power for a day.  We were without power for most of the time, others were without power for part of it and intermittent for the rest.  For us, that meant we had no water –  the community pumping system has no generator backup.  We had no electricity — so no lights obviously; we also had no oven because our stove is electronic ignition and, while a lighter will start the burners, the oven has a safety backup and will not light if there is no power.  We also had no heat as we use space heaters to heat the rooms we’re in, and a heated mattress pad on the bed, and the central heating doesn’t work without power (not that we have used it in the last five years anyway).  It was wintertime, keep that in mind.  Even in Arizona, temps can get pretty low, especially when it snows where we live.

Or how about the time a friend of ours had a power outage when they lived in Yuma?  Two weeks without power, water, heat, etc.  They had to move into a hotel.

So what did we do without power?  Well, we had stored food — and we had a pressure cooker.  We have a camp oven that could have made bread (or cake) on the top of the stove.  We have kerosene lamps, which provide heat — and light — and we have gallons of kerosene stored.  We did NOT have enough water, even though we have a water filtration system, so we had to go to the store for water (and thankfully we thought far enough in advance that there was water at the local market).  We had rain barrel water storage for bathing (boil first, of course) and toilet flushing.  And we had solar power backup, which meant we could keep the cell phones charged (no land line, no power) and the computer running, as well as the HAM radio.  We also have clothing appropriate for the weather — wool sweaters, long underwear, and are familiar with the idea of layering.  I even wore a hat in the house to keep my head warm.  Our outage only lasted a day, but we would have been comfortable and well fed even if it had lasted for weeks — unlike 99% of our neighbors…who went to stay with friends or family for the duration if they could, or suffered in the cold and the dark if they couldn’t.

Why do I think *you* should do at least a little of the same?  Well, the reason is pretty simple.  The American Society of Civil Engineers (the ones who make sure the highway over passes, water systems, sewage systems, electric grids, etc — all the things that make modern life possible) say that American infrastructure is failing. 

The power outages are going to get more frequent, the water quality from the tap is going to get worse, gasoline is going to become unaffordable (even if prices drop — if you don’t have a job you can’t afford gas) and food INsecurity is becoming an increasing concern of our government regarding our citizens.  Do you want to end up having to impose on friends or family, or do you want to be the one being able to offer shelter (and really good food) for those who *need* shelter?  For me, the answer is simple.  I’m a hedonist, I want to be comfortable no matter what the circumstances — so I prepare.  I’d much rather be hospitable than impose.

I had a conversation with some coworkers this past weekend — they were talking about sources for rubber seals for their pressure canners and cookers.  I informed them that I own an All American Pressure Canner.  And that if the end of the world happened, I would still be happily canning away while they cursed their cookers and canners.

Why this one?  Well first of all, because it was given to me, before I realized the benefits.  Second of all, IT DOES NOT REQUIRE A RUBBER SEAL.  If TEOTAWKI happens, I can still can to preserve food — because my canner doesn’t rely on industry to provide rubber seals.  If seals quit being made tomorrow, I could still can.  And canning our excess is definitely a large part of our preparedness.  It’s cheaper — don’t believe anyone who tells you it isn’t — and the quality is much higher.  I KNOW what is in those cans, I grew it and canned it.

You should store water, at least the amount you drink in 48 hours — and you should rotate it monthly, and you should put either iodine or bleach into the storage container to prevent bacterial and fungal growth.  We have a 2. 5 gallon water jug but that wasn’t nearly enough for our needs for the amount of time we were without water — which is my mistake.  I had foolishly thought we would just use the rain barrel water — but when it came down to it we weren’t brave enough to run the water through the filtration system.  So, we now have several containers that I need to fill and store.  We use between 5 and 8 gallons of water daily, between drinking needs, coffee (this is *not* a luxury in our house) and cooking, as well as for the animals.  In the summer we use more, because it’s Arizona and it’s HOT.

You should store at least a week’s worth of food — peanut butter, rice, dried beans, canned veggies and meats.  Admittedly you can choose food you would NEVER eat if you didn’t have to, but why not choose foods you already eat and buy extra?  Then just rotate it through your normal stores. I believe the CDC recommends two weeks’ worth.   If we couldn’t get to a grocery store for six months, we would still eat like we always do.

You should have a lantern or two — or at least a bunch of candles.  Believe me, light makes the difference between depression and hope.  And candles put off a hella good amount of heat — maybe it won’t be 70, but it will be a little warmer, especially if you keep several in a smallish room.

For our further preparations, we have planned to install a wood stove.  It will allow us to heat without being dependent on electricity at all.  And we also plan to get solar powered lanterns.  Kerosene got *quite* expensive this last year, enough so that it justifies the cost of solar lanterns.  Unlike kerosene, though, we buy them once and they will last for many years (provided I remember to put them in the window to recharge…) – and they give off better light for knitting, reading, etc.  And are cleaner — no nasty smell.

In short, you should actually pay attention to at least some  of the recommendations of your government.  It could possibly save your life, your dignity, or your marriage.

On to the Master’s program

I received a call from a counselor at my alma mater the other day asking me if I would be interested in applying for a master’s degree program through them.  I am, of course, interested in getting my master’s degree and that is definitely on the ‘to do’ list.  Naturally, I thought they were only asking because then they would get more money (cynical much…?) so I didn’t think too much of it – they’re a low second choice on my list of possible schools.  As a teaser, they told me I would have my graduation fee refunded and could possibly have the ‘resource fee’ waived if I was accepted.  (resource fee being the rental for the online books, which I’m not interested in anyway.  I want a BOOK in my hands)

But then I asked around a little bit from people who graduated from the same school, and they weren’t asked if they wanted to apply.  Hmmm…maybe there’s more than simply getting my money involved…?

So.  I have an interview in July with the dean and a panel.

The state of Arizona’s medical problems.

Well, our senate, in its infinite wisdom, did not pass the hospital levy bill.  This is a bill that was basically a tax on hospitals, clinics, and doctors that would give 3% of their take back to the state.  It was a voluntary tax — and would end up being reimbursed as the parties would end up getting it back in the form of medical reimbursement from AHCCCS and Medicare.  Think of it as a circle — these entities pay in advance to start, but get paid back as they continue to pay the 3% for future reimbursement.

250,000 people will lose their AHCCCS benefits in July.  These people aren’t going to simply quit getting sick, and they’re not going to quit coming to the hospital.  Now the hospitals are just going to quit getting reimbursed for services rendered.

Rumor has it some hospitals are already actively laying staff off — respiratory therapists, techs, and nurses in anticipation of these cuts.  Others are simply not hiring for empty positions as people leave; every hospital I know of is running on short staffing.  Not that this is new; it is merely much worse than it used to be.  One hospital I have heard of is giving ICU nurses 3 and 4 patients; telemetry nurses are getting 6 at another.  These are NOT safe nurse to patient ratios.  And I can guarantee, when (not if) the shit hits the fan and a patient has a negative outcome, the facility will blame the nurse rather than take the responsibility for overloading them.   Whichever facility that might be.

I have even heard that patients who are admitted to one hospital are ending up spending their stay in the ER because the hospitalists (the doctors who take care of you while you’re admitted) refuse to accept care if the patients don’t have insurance.  This, friends, is what will end up happening on a grand scale state wide.  I can anticipate that within a few years, some rural hospitals may even close entirely.

All this, while the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid are reducing reimbursement to facilities nationwide based on patient satisfaction surveys.  Which by the way have nothing to do with the physical quality of care, nor the appropriateness of care rendered, but with the patient’s perception of how well their desires were catered to by the staff.

This is the beginning of an absolute nightmare for access to health care in general, and illness care in particular, in this state.

BSN work is done. For better or worse.

I submitted my project today; I read the rubric which I had not seen even though I looked for it. Who would have thought it would be a little tiny highlight box on the bottom of the submission page for the assignment, NOT in the assignments section as described…?

I did not meet all of the objectives; I no longer care how or if I’ve incorporated change theory into my proposal. That would entail rewriting a large portion of the paper which has been five weeks in the writing — which is not going to happen.

I walk tomorrow, but won’t know my grade until at least a week from now. All I’m shooting for is a C….here’s to praying I get one.

Done. Done. Done. It’s ice cold beer time!