Saturday, June 19, 2010

Minutes of meeting re mom, at mom's room at Providence/Pacific TCU (6th floor) 3-4pm 6/19/2010.
    Sharon, Caillie, Sue; seated: Mom, Caillie's client)
  • Family: Mom (at first, but see notes), Sharon, Randy, Sue, Dave; Caillie and the boy she's babysitting were also around but not in the meeting;
  • Emeritus: Pat;
  • Providence: Robin (social worker), Patty (discharge planner), Chris (physical therapist); I may have the precise professional titles wrong.
  • Positive encouraging nonstressful attitude toward mom is most important. Make no promises that cannot be kept. Assign no blame for what cannot be controlled.
  • Mom has worked hard on developing the skills she would need to return to Emeritus. She has succeeded at all or nearly all of the skills, e.g. transfer from bed to chair. Some adaptive technology is needed; David & Ellen will get the data they need to make such purchases as needed.
  • However, Mom's blood sugar stabilization is a big problem. It crashed during the meeting itself (down to 26), prompting us to move the meeting while she was cared for by certified staff. This happened in an environment where her diet is carefully controlled, so it's not necessarily a problem of mom fudging on the diet. It is a barrier to her returning to Emeritus.

  • Strong preference to return to Emeritus ("home")
  • Understanding that blood sugar problem prevents this for now.
  • Willing to go elsewhere as needed, prefers it be temporary.
  • Would like arrangements for calls to or from friends at Emeritus in the meantime.
  • Everyone keep in mind that if mom's blood sugar cannot be stabilized in Providence's very controlled environment, it's not her fault and it's important not to make her feel she has failed (or anyone else).
  • A blood sugar crash at night would be a problem, because Emeritus (A) does not monitor residents frequently (B) have night staff certified to give tests or insulin. With mom's door closed, no-one would notice the crash and even if they did, all they could do is call 911.
  • Emeritus would be happy to have mom back but only if she can be safe, and it does not seem safe at this time.
  • It has happened before that a resident went to a more intensive facilitiy, stabilized, and then returned to Emeritus.
  • Providence won't discharge mom to the parking lot (don't laugh, it happens some places).
  • Mom's ready to leave the TCU to a less restrictive place. Any of us can help look for one!
  • Providence staff, Patty, Sharon and Susan are all looking around for a placement (...possibly others ho weren't there).
  • Bethany (at Providence, but 4th floor instead of the 6th Floor TCU mom is currently at) is a possible short-term placement, subject to space availability.
  • Emeritus is keeping mom's current home available but there is a fee; David and Ellen (as the money managers) have figured out how long the fee will be paid.
  • David is the Single Point of Contact, that is, if you have any information, make sure it gets to him in addition to anyone else you tell. That way it'll get passed on to everyone.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pack Parachute Charity: What You Should Know

My bloggy friend Susan Avila-Smith's Pack Parachute Charity is well worth supporting:
"Pack Parachute Charity is located in stunning and occasionally sunny Seattle, and is a Washington State-based, 501(c)3 tax-exempt charity. We are the only charity that offers direct financial support to former members of the military with Military Sexual Trauma (MST) who reside in Washington State.
MST combines the sexual trauma some United States armed service members experience on active duty, as well either the persecution the victims often suffer when they report, or the fear of persecution which effectively prevents them from reporting.
Because of this, it’s sometimes hard or even impossible for former members of the military with MST to ask for help from the usual areas of veteran support. In many cases, they are too frightened to even walk in the doors of a VA hospital, as this was the institution that already once let them down. As a direct consequence, the PTSD that appears in over 60% of the cases of MST1 becomes overwhelming, and people with MST need a friendly place to ask for financial help when they exhaust their own financial resources. So . . . enter Pack Parachute Charity!
Pack Parachute Charity seeks to give low income MST veterans limited financial assistance and also help them access other benefits and services they need, the goal being the veteran's financial and emotional stability. If making sure a survivor's rent is paid for a month or that his kids have waterproof shoes helps facilitate his recovery, we want to give what we are able. For instance, one woman known to us simply needed a new carburetor for her car so she could get to work.
Our goals obviously must be limited by our resources, and donations primarily come from both individuals like you, and other veterans with MST who “pay it forward” once they are financially stable again. (We’re all kind of wonderful like that.) We also accept donations from corporations, trusts and estates."
My thoughts:
MST is just as much a wound as is being shot by "friendly fire". We civilians have a  responsibility for those who went into harm's way on our orders. That we did not want them to be injured (and indeed may not have agreed with our civilian leadership that gave the orders) does not free us from the responsibility.
Besides, it's not a complicated moral choice; it's just the right thing to do.

Learn more:

1. Source: “DSM-IV Diagnosed Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans With and Without Military Sexual Trauma.” Society of General Internal Medicine. Mar. 2006.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Car Trunk Contents

  • Jumper cables. An absolute necessity, these enable you to help other people and, occasionally, get help yourself. Just remember to check in advance which terminal on your battery is positive; it's not well marked on my new battery. "Positive to positive, negative to ground!"
  • Fire extinguisher. I've never needed it and, as long as I keep it properly charged, I hope it'll stay this way.
  • Bags. At least 2 large shopping bags, either cloth reusable or paper from the last time we forgot cloth. Also several of the little plastic bags for veggies. They're very reusable! And not only does their reuse save resources, some stores give a bag credit on them!
  • Small folding shovel. This was a big deal when I lived in New England, as digging out of snow happened a lot. Here in Washington State, I suppose I should let this one go.
  • Cartoon. Contains all the above in a neat package.
  • Empty space. This may be the most important element of all. Nothing weighs nothing and thus costs me nothing in milage.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Address to the Nation on Energy we need a 2nd Time

Imagine where we'd be as a Nation and as a Planet if this vision had not been blocked:


Address to the Nation on Energy (April 18, 1977)
Jimmy Carter

"Good evening.

Tonight I want to have an unpleasant talk with you about a problem that is unprecedented in our history. With the exception of preventing war, this is the greatest challenge that our country will face during our lifetime.

The energy crisis has not yet overwhelmed us, but it will if we do not act quickly. It's a problem that we will not be able to solve in the next few years, and it's likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century.

We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and our grandchildren. We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources. By acting now we can control our future instead of letting the future control us.

Two days from now, I will present to the Congress my energy proposals.. Its Members will be my partners, and they have already given me a great deal of valuable advice.

Many of these proposals will be unpopular. Some will cause you to put up with inconveniences and to make sacrifices. The most important thing about these proposals is that the alternative may be a national catastrophe. Further delay can affect our strength and our power as a nation.

Our decision about energy will test the character of the American people and the ability of the President and the Congress to govern this Nation. This difficult effort will be the "moral equivalent of war," except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not to destroy.

Now, I know that some of you may doubt that we face real energy shortages. The 1973 gas lines are gone, and with this springtime weather, our homes are warm again. But our energy problem is worse tonight than it was in 1973 or a few weeks ago in the dead of winter. It's worse because more waste has occurred and more time has passed by without our planning for the future. And it will get worse every day until we act.

The oil and natural gas that we rely on for 75 percent of our energy are simply running out. In spite of increased effort, domestic production has been dropping steadily at about 6 percent a year. Imports have doubled in the last 5 years. Our Nation's economic and political independence is becoming increasingly vulnerable. Unless profound changes are made to lower oil consumption, we now believe that early in the 1980's the world will be demanding more oil than it can produce.

The world now uses about 60 million barrels of oil a day, and demand increases each year about 5 percent. This means that just to stay even we need the production of a new Texas every year, an Alaskan North Slope every 9 months, or a new Saudi Arabia every 3 years. Obviously, this cannot continue.

We must look back into history to understand our energy problem. Twice in the last several hundred years, there has been a transition in the way people use energy.

The first was about 200 years ago, when we changed away from wood--which had provided about 90 percent of all fuel—to coal, which was much more efficient. This change became the basis of the Industrial Revolution.

The second change took. place in this century, with the growing use of oil and natural gas. They were more convenient and cheaper than coal, and the supply seemed to be almost without limit. They made possible the age of automobile and airplane travel. Nearly everyone who is alive today grew up during this period, and we have never known anything different.

Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change—to strict conservation and to the renewed use of coal and to permanent renewable energy sources like solar power.

The world has not prepared for the future. During the 1950's, people used twice as much oil as during the 1940's. During the 1960's, we used twice as much as during the 1950's. And in each of those decades, more oil was consumed than in all of man's previous history combined.

World consumption of oil is still going up. If it were possible to keep it rising during the 1970's and 1980's by 5 percent a year, as it has in the past, we could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade.

I know that many of you have suspected that some supplies of oil and gas are being withheld from the market. You may be right, but suspicions about the oil companies cannot change the fact that we are running out of petroleum.

All of us have heard about the large oil fields on Alaska's North Slope. In a few years, when the North Slope is producing fully, its total output will be just about equal to 2 years' increase in our own Nation's energy demand.

Each new inventory of world oil reserves has been more disturbing than the last. World oil production can probably keep going up for another 6 or 8 years. But sometime in the 1980's, it can't go up any more. Demand will overtake production. We have no choice about that.

But we do have a choice about how we will spend the next few years. Each American uses the energy equivalent of 60 barrels of oil per person each year. Ours is the most wasteful nation on Earth. We waste more energy than we import. With about the same standard of living, we use twice as much energy per person as do other countries like Germany, Japan, and Sweden.

One choice, of course, is to continue doing what we've been doing before. We can drift along for a few more years.

Our consumption of oil would keep going up every year. Our cars would continue to be too large and inefficient. Three-quarters of them would carry only one person—the driver—while our public transportation system continues to decline. We can delay insulating our homes, and they will continue to lose about 50 percent of their heat in waste. We can continue using scarce oil and natural gas to generate electricity and continue wasting two-thirds of their fuel value in the process.

If we do not act, then by 1985 we will be using 33 percent more energy than we use today.

We can't substantially increase our domestic production, so we would need to import twice as much oil as we do now. Supplies will be uncertain. The cost will keep going up. Six years ago, we paid $3.7 billion for imported oil. Last year we spent $36 billion for imported oil—nearly 10 times as much. And this year we may spend $45 billion.

Unless we act, we will spend more than $550 billion for imported oil by 1985—more than $2,500 for every man, woman, and child in America. Along with that money that we transport overseas, we will continue losing American jobs and become increasingly vulnerable to supply interruptions.

Now we have a choice. But if we wait, we will constantly live in fear of embargoes. We could endanger our freedom as a sovereign nation to act in foreign affairs. Within 10 years, we would not be able to import enough oil from any country, at any acceptable price.

If we wait and do not act, then our factories will not be able to keep our people on the job with reduced supplies of fuel.

Too few of our utility companies will have switched to coal, which is our most abundant energy source. We will not be ready to keep our transportation system running with smaller and more efficient cars and a better network of buses, trains, and public transportation.

We will feel mounting pressure to plunder the environment. We will have to have a crash program to build more nuclear plants, strip mine and bum more coal, and drill more offshore wells than if we begin to conserve right now.

Inflation will soar; production will go down; people will lose their jobs. Intense competition for oil will build up among nations and also among the different regions within our own country. This has already started.

If we fail to act soon, we will face an economic, social, and political crisis that will threaten our free institutions. But we still have another choice. We can begin to prepare right now. We can decide to act while there is still time. That is the concept of the energy policy that we will present on Wednesday.

Our national energy plan is based on 10 fundamental principles. The first principle is that we can have an effective and comprehensive energy policy only if the Government takes responsibility for it and if the people understand the seriousness of the challenge and are willing to make sacrifices.

The second principle is that healthy economic growth must continue. Only by saving energy can we maintain our standard of living and keep our people at work. An effective conservation program will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

The third principle is that we must protect the environment. Our energy problems have the same cause as our environmental problems—wasteful use of resources. Conservation helps us solve both problems at once.

The fourth principle is that we must reduce our vulnerability to potentially devastating embargoes. We can protect ourselves from uncertain supplies by reducing our demand for oil, by making the most of our abundant resources such as coal, and by developing a strategic petroleum reserve.

The fifth principle is that we must be fair. Our solutions must ask equal sacrifices from every region, every class of people, and every interest group. Industry will have to do its part to conserve just as consumers will. The energy. producers deserve fair treatment, but we will not let the oil companies profiteer.

The sixth principle, and the cornerstone of our policy, is to reduce demand through conservation. Our emphasis on conservation is a clear difference between this plan and others which merely encouraged crash production efforts. Conservation is the quickest, cheapest, most practical source of energy. Conservation is the only way that we can buy a barrel of oil for about $2. It costs about $13 to waste it.

The seventh principle is that prices should generally reflect the true replacement cost of energy. We are only Cheating ourselves if we make energy artificially cheap and use more than we can really afford.

The eighth principle is that Government policies must be predictable and certain. Both consumers and producers need policies they can count on so they can plan ahead. This is one reason that I'm working with the Congress to create a new Department of Energy to replace more than 50 different agencies that now have some control over energy.

The ninth principle is that we must conserve the fuels that are scarcest and make the most of those that are plentiful. We can't continue to use oil and gas for 75 percent of our consumption, as we do now, when they only make up 7 percent of our domestic reserves. We need to shift to plentiful coal, while taking care to protect the environment, and to apply stricter safety standards to nuclear energy.

The tenth and last principle is that we must start now to develop the new, unconventional sources of energy that we will rely on in the next century.

Now, these 10 principles have guided the development of the policy that I will describe to you and the Congress on Wednesday night.

Our energy plan will also include a number of specific goals to measure our progress toward a stable energy system. These are the goals that we set for 1985:

—to reduce the annual growth rate in our energy demand to less than 2 percent;

—to reduce gasoline consumption by 10 percent below its. current level;

—to cut in half the portion of U.S. oil which is imported—from a potential level of 16 million barrels to 6 million barrels a day;

—to establish a strategic petroleum reserve of one billion barrels, more than a 6-months supply;

—to increase our coal production by about two-thirds to more than one billion tons a year;

—to insulate 90 percent of American homes and all new buildings;

—to use solar energy in more than 2 1/2 million houses.

We will monitor our progress toward these goals year by year. Our plan will call for strict conservation measures if we fall behind. I can't tell you that these measures will be easy, nor will they be popular. But I think most of you realize that a policy which does not ask for changes or sacrifices would not be an effective policy at this late date.

This plan is essential to protect our jobs, our environment, our standard of living, and our future. Whether this plan truly makes a difference will not be decided now here in Washington but in every town and every factory, in every home and on every highway and every farm.

I believe that this can be a positive challenge. There is something especially American in the kinds of changes that we have to make. We've always been proud, through our history, of being efficient people. We've always been proud of our ingenuity, our skill at answering questions. Now we need efficiency and ingenuity more than ever.

We've always been proud of our leadership in the world. And now we have a chance again to give the world a positive example.

We've always been proud of our vision of the future. We've always wanted to give our children and our grandchildren a world richer in possibilities than we have had ourselves. They are the ones that we must provide for now. They are the ones who will suffer most if we don't act.

I've given you some of the principles of the plan. I'm sure that each of you will find something you don't like about the specifics of our proposal. It will demand that we make sacrifices and changes in every life. To some degree, the sacrifices will be painful—but so is any meaningful sacrifice. It will lead to some higher costs and to some greater inconvenience for everyone. But the sacrifices can be gradual, realistic, and they are necessary. Above all, they will be fair. No one will gain an unfair advantage through this plan. No one will be asked to bear an unfair burden.

We will monitor the accuracy of data from the oil and natural gas companies for the first time, so that we will always know their true production, supplies, reserves, and profits. Those citizens who insist on driving large, unnecessarily powerful cars must expect to pay more for that luxury.

We can be sure that all the special interest groups in the country will attack the part of this plan that affects them directly. They will say that sacrifice is fine as long as other people do it, but that their sacrifice is unreasonable or unfair or harmful to the country. If they succeed with this approach, then the burden on the ordinary citizen, who is not organized into an interest group, would be crushing.

There should be only one test for this program—whether it will help our country. Other generations of Americans have faced and mastered great challenges. I have faith that meeting this challenge will make our own lives even richer. If you will join me so that we can work together with patriotism and courage, we will again prove that our great Nation can lead the world into an age of peace, independence, and freedom.

Thank you very much, and good night."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Flat Tire Good News

Our right front tire blew out today on I-5 between Mt. Vernon and Marysville. We were  listening to Steve Miller while driving home from a meeting with Mark Shea, after having visited my mom in the hospital.
after the tire blowoutLuckily it held together long enough for us to notice "Hey, there's a really strange noise and vibration going on" and pull over. Also luckily, we were in the right lane very near an exit with nice shoulders, and the weather was pretty decent. We didn't have trouble putting the spare on although it was annoying to have a "wacky wheel" instead of a full-sized spare; I'd thought the last time we bought tires we told them to save the best as a spare but OTOH that might've required buying a spare wheel, so perhaps I'm thinking 2 cars back.

We crawled off the exit but didn't want to go far; that tiny replacement tire may be safe but it looked like heck! We called AAA, which was ready to tow us anywhere within 5 miles, and only $3.50 a mile after that; since it was Sunday night, most tire stores were closed and we were more than 60 miles from home (and maybe 20 miles from our nearest relative), things looked a little sideways. But I perked up thinking of all the times that an unreasonably positive attitude had worked out for me and with a nearly audible shift of mental gears, smiled (to fool my brain into thinking I was happy) and started working out options, feeling certain that it would all work out just like the guy said in A Complaint-Free World.
After all, the weather was nice and no-one was shooting at us, so we were better off than a lot of people right there!
I called several family members but it's Sunday afternoon and everyone's out.

A young guy in a pickup truck stopped and offered us his spare, if it'd fit. That was generous! Unfortunatley, when he checked, his spare was missing. It was a kind offer though! and I hope he reaps the benefit of having made the offer by getting an actual spare.

An older man stopped and offered us gas. "I have a can in the trunk." Again, a generous offer but not what we needed.

Lots of people taking the exit looked at us, saw we were on our cellphones, and gave us the nod, "Looks like you're o.k." which we were, pretty much, but we were hoping for a way out of towing.

Then a guy taking his son home from a baseball game offered to let us park at his house and work things out, "We're only a mile away." This seemed like a kind offer, so we followed him, going slow and with the flashers on; I didn't trust that wacky wheel at all. We pull up to a very nicely kept house and he brought out the yellow pages. The tire stores were closed but one had a 24-hour commercial service; I took a chance and called, and the operator was happy to set us up with a service guy. For a short time it looked like we were home free (well, not quite free) but when the service guy called back, he was mystified; they didn't have stuff for a Saturn SL1 at all; I think they were mostly for commercial vehicle. But he wished us luck.

And luck we had. Our good Samaritan drove us to the Mt. Vernon Costco where we got a tire put on. Ironically, his wife was shopping there at that moment! We had a nice coversation while waiting and on the way back about his profession and interests. I am reluctant to say anything more since I don't want to  violate his privacy, but if I'm ever in the market for surgical instruments I know who to call!

The wheel went on swiftly and we were on our way. We have no way to repay this guy for his generosity, except to swear that we will "pay it forward!" I also hope that he, his wife and kids realize what his help meant to us!

It was very encouraging to see so many people willing to help. I cannot say I am HAPPY to have had the blowout, but I *am* happy to have had the best thoughts about human beings confirmed!