Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tuberculosis and Scarlet Fever???

I suddenly feel like I've been thrust into a "Little House on the Prairie" book.

Two children that attend our day care were diagnosed a couple of weeks ago with scarlet fever. SCARLET FEVER!!???!!!

And then, last Friday, Grant came home from school and said that Darrol, one of his good friends and a fellow basketball player, is very sick with something highly contagious that Grant couldn't remember the name of. But the school had told them that they needed to tell their parents to expect a letter to arrive in the mail on Saturday, and that all the kids in the fifth grade would be tested for it. Turns out, Darrol has active tuberculosis. TUBERCULOSIS!!???!!!

I'm feeling a little awed by all of this. Fortunately, none of our children have any immunodeficiency issues that could make these illnesses a high potential for being life-threatening. IF our family should contract one of these illnesses, it will require prompt medical treatment, but we are not at high risk for serious complications. (Thank goodness!!) Not that I'm trying to ignore the seriousness of the problem, but I'm also trying to be realistic and not panic needlessly.

But still...........SCARLET FEVER AND TUBERCULOSIS??!!!??? This is 2007, right? It is both fascinating and frightening to me to see these illnesses making a comeback. WHY is this happening? HOW do we prevent other illnesses that we thought were a "thing of the past" from recurring? Are we going to see a return of the Bubonic Plague and Smallpox??

WOW! I remember thinking that you were really sick if you had strep throat......

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The ties that bind...

A few weeks ago, I read something about how common memories and experiences provide a bond for people of similar backgrounds and give them a "connection". I have to admit that I instantly related and understood what the writer had been trying to say. It doesn't seem to matter exactly what the connection is--its just a fact that if you put a group of human beings in one place together for very long, they develop memories, inside jokes, topics which are avoided, etc.

In my family, I grew up the youngest of three girls. As adults, my sisters and I are each very different (which definitely keeps things from being boring when we're together). As is so typical with families, we probably would never be friends if we weren't related--not because we wouldn't like each other, but because we probably just would never cross paths!!

In any case, sisters we are. When I think of the things we share, the things below are what come to my mind. I'm POSITIVE that they will, in every instance, know exactly what I'm talking about.

1) W-26
2) The 10-minute tree
3) The song we are supposed to sing at Mom's future funeral (Hopefully very DISTANT future funeral.)
4) Why masking tape is involved in making chocolate chip cookies
5) Pulling daisies (Not picking...)
6) Hand-dipped chocolates
7) The real reason for singing "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning," from the musical, Oklahoma.
8) Spider checks
9) Nose mittens from Rose
10) How to cook toast on an open fire (Something I thought everyone did, by the way.)
11) Buck, the cow
12)And while I'm on the topic of cows, why we had to name them what we named them
14)"There's blue sky in the west........."
15) How it rains in Washington D.C.

I'm sure I'm going to think of MANY more as soon as I sign off of here, so I will have to add them later. Dinner awaits...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Dumb dog........

Last Saturday afternoon, our dogs managed to knock open the gate on their yard. One of them stayed home (because he is afraid of the world "outside") and the other one took a walk. We came home approximately 90 minutes after the jailbreak, and Parker was missing. I hate to admit it now, but we FREAKED.

Within minutes, we were walking the neighborhood calling him and within a half hour, we were looking for him by car. No sign of him. Vanished.

We continued to look for him until LATE that night, posted signs that same night on every stop sign in a three-mile radius, posted him on the internet, and went to bed very worried. I was actually awake at 2 a.m. staring at the ceiling, worrying about the dog. Did he get hit by a car and was lying in a ditch in pain somewhere? Had someone found him wandering along the side of the road and picked him up with no intent of finding his rightful owner? Was he lost and alone in the woods closeby and unable to find his way home? The HORRORS......

In my defense........this dog has been with us since he was 13 weeks old. He is a very high-quality Shetland Sheepdog that was actually sold as a show prospect as a puppy, and then had to be re-sold as a "pet" because he only dropped one testicle. (To the non-dog-showing-folks-out-there, he is unable to be shown AKC due to his "one nut" status, and therefore, needed to be neutered and have a career change to a performance event, which is based on a particular chosen skill rather than a physical rating of the merits of his body. Does this seem stupid to you? Too bad!!! Dog showing is a multi-million dollar business.......) So we bought him and actually had him flown home to Washington to live with us. He is/was Dane's obedience dog and was THE 2003 Washington State 4-H Pre-Novice Obedience CHAMPION. Applause is appreciated here.....blah blah blah.

We got up bright and early Sunday morning, and again went Parker-hunting in the car. Two more hours of driving around. We covered a bigger area this time, as he had now had all night to make it a farther distance. Still no sign of his hairy little body.

About 11 a.m. on Sunday morning, the phone rang. The Sheriff's Office had received an email from one of our internet-surfing friends, and had made the connection with a phone call they had received earlier that morning. Parker was found!!

As it turns out, our hairy friend had walked only a quarter mile or so. He had spent Saturday evening/night and Sunday morning being happily spoiled by the residents of the nursing home up the road. From the sounds of it, he was quite the celebrity. He visited all the residents in their rooms at bedtime, went to mealtime in the dining hall......the whole works. We went down and picked him up and he has been home ever since.

As the final insult of all our needless worry, I dropped by a local business in the middle of the week, and someone casually mentioned something about Parker and the newspaper. I gave them a completely blank look and said, "What??" They proceeded to open our local newspaper and show me that, indeed, there was Parker's photo, smiling happily back at me, with a nice note about how Parker had been found and was now home with his family. I have no idea who put it in the newspaper. The photo was the one we had posted on the internet, and is included above.

So..........I guess the moral to the story is that the dog came out ahead on this whole deal. He got treated like a celebrity at the nursing home.........and again got treated like a celebrity by us when he returned safe and sound. We spent endless hours driving around looking for him, posting notices, and staring at the ceiling worrying. He was happily curled up in a nice, warm bed being admired by old people. And in the end.........he got his flippin' picture in the newspaper.

Dumb dog!!!!