Thursday, August 21, 2014

America's Own "Ebola" Like Plague 

You are right ! A plague of our own, not as incendiary as Ebola is, in the world's view, ours is stealth like ; but Ebola is open, blatant, quick, and awfully deadly.

Ours is also deadly, in its own way, taking much of a  lifetime to achieve a person's death after depleting the person's livability for a carefree life. Many times it develops early in childhood lasting a shortened life span and for many of those years life is in some degree of discomfort. 

Yes, you are right; I'm talking about "Diabetes" as America's plague. I just came home from five days in the hospital where I saw the fallout of America's plague first hand. During my stay, I had two different roommates who both were hospitalized due to some complications attributed to diabetes, as was mine. 

I know little of Ebola except it is spread by cross contact with bodily fluids. It is deadly and quick. Diabetes, though, seems to be a disease brought on by excesses with contact not being one of them. Unless you count contact with poor food choices. Sugars of all types seem highly suspect and fats and carbohydrates. Couple a poor diet with lack of exercise and diabetes has a firm foothold on a person's health. Age reduces activity and often an increase in food intake, and you know, often an increase in alcohol consumption. 

Gran'Pa Downie always preached moderation even as he struggled during his waining years, then he died. I have now assumed his roll in preaching for moderation.Gran'Pa and my mom and dad all died in their 60's while, with diabetes, I'm turning 80 soon. I don't really know if diabetes can be reversed but it can be moderated to an excepted level if life styles of the afflicted are undertaken. Our plague will continue to fester until each of us accept the challenge to control our excesses ourselves. Are you willing to try ? Learn more about our American Plague from literature already written about it.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fox and the Hen House

Who the hell is watching the hen house ? I read about delays after reading about overruns in construction costs and wonder. Are our leaders also Foxes, who will gain something personal by not finishing elementary school overhauls on time ? Someone is not watching out for my tax monies nor for yours. The fox is watching the hen house !

The tragedy is now more than ever obvious; that is, a Washington Street Elementary Campus should have been built and occupied these many years. The opponents should have been vilified by denouncing their antiquated reasons for retaining scattered school sites. Sure, it is easy for me to say, "I told you so". But I did !

The ability to tax is the freedom to impoverish. Again, the ability to tax is the freedom to impoverish. 

Pottstown is but a shell of its old self. Once it was an engine of industry spitting out tax dollars for whatever the need, then industry left and tax dollars dried up. Along with it, a once robust school system prevailed which has slowly deteriorated into a questionable system that seems unable to govern itself. A school district's ability to shine in the eyes of potential young upwardly mobile families looking to settle by purchasing a home there is the catalyst for regenerative town. Does our district shine ? Less so now than ever, is my answer. Why not ?

Ronald C. Downie, 
Alumni Honor Roll Recipient

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

PMMC, Pottstown Memorial Medical Center

I wish to compliment Pottstown's largest employer, 
( PMMC ) for a very good experience that I was afforded last week when I spent five days there getting medical treatment. Monday morning, never thinking I'd end up in the hospital, I was advised by a medical person to go to the emergency room ( ER ) since my visual signs were needing immediate attention : excessive swelling, inflammation migrating, infection on the move.

The ER was not too busy, even by their own standers, and my few hours there went by quite smoothly. They do move, seemingly multi tasking all the while, especially the lead  nurse, who, I asked if she was ever caught in a hurricane or a tornado ? Startled, she replied, no ! Where by, I told her, she must have been since she still has a whirlwind stuck in her as she whizzes through her duties. With these parting words up to the fifth floor of the hospital I was spirited.

To room 501, bed 2 with bed 1 empty, I arrived here on a gurney at about 1:30 PM. Squared away fairly quickly, I adapted well to my quarters, all except the hospital bed which took getting used to. With my size and weight it's hard to maneuver efficiently on the mattress while keeping all the cords and hoses freely working. 

A hospital is known by its sounds, things you hear but do not see, but you do imagine what or who is making the sound. Like : moaning or crying out in pain, or squeaking wheels on certain carts, or sounds of certain voices, finally, there's the footsteps up and down the hallway at all times of day or night and the infernal beeping when machines malfunction and keep beeping until someone attends to it.

But, it's the human professional care, the medical expertise that I want to compliment. It's all the people on the Fifth Floor I came in contact with who need to be honored for both their efforts and expertise. Many persons who I came in contact with floated between floors. I respected their care; notably, the respiratory crew, especially Heather and Joe, all of them. Same goes to nurses who gather blood samples every hour day and night as ordered.  Even though they interrupt sleep, they are efficient doing it, smoothly. 

The thrust of my compliments I save for the nursing crews which operate 24/7 on the 5th floor. I'm sure their leader is as exceptional as they are. Even though their names are always visible written on a calk board hanging on the wall, I can only name a few by memory. 
There was Special K, a nickname I gave her because of her dogged determination to find a vein suitable to hook up an IV to it. So memorable were nurses and helpers, the housekeeping staff, everyone. 

Over the years our local hospital has taken harsh and unwarranted criticism so today I want to set the record straight. In so many very personal ways caring for people is difficult and intrusive. Knowing this and, by a keep caring attitude, professionals, all in all, are truly a responsible team, whom I applaud.

Ronald C. Downie

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Home At Last

My five day stay at the hospital came to an end today when I was released from PMMC at 12 o'clock noon. In proportion to humanity's vast needs, my little problem seems so minuscule compared to those whom I saw in the hospital setting last week. My thumb infection that caused so much swelling to my hand began migrating infection up my arm and is still in the process of receding as I write this. The main reason for my hospitalization was to enable doctors to treat my infection with fluids designed to kill infections through my blood. The hospital is the sterile setting where professional care givers on staff are experienced in their art of inter vinous applications. My homecoming was allowed because oral pills are now thought able to continue the infection killing job at home away from the hospital. 

Home at last, home at last, thank God Almighty, I'm home at last ! Thank You ! Everyone of you, who thought of me during my latest sojourn.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Wow Experience

Going to and from Douglassville last evening by way of West High Street, I observed tanker car after tanker car sitting hooked up to each other in a train which must have been over a mile long. I've never seen a train this long in all my extended life. The train was not moving but sitting still in the rail yard yard paralleling West High. Most of the cigar shaped tanker cars looked like they were new. I thought, they probably are new since all the horrible news lately is about old tankers blowing up, some in urban areas just like on our tracks running through the heart of Pottstown.

These tanker cars, often referred to as "a pipe line on wheels", if new, are a good sign and if they were built in the states, they would be a tribute to the USA's manufacturing engine. News reports continue to tell of our economy rebounding with new jobs being created. It certainly would be wonderful if my conjecture was reality, wonderful if America became the "the little engine that could" again. I'm keeping my eyes open and hoping you do the same.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Three Legged Stool

The young of our generation need, desperately need, all three legs of life's proverbial stool. They have their physical presence embodied in youthful statures that forms one leg of the stool. That's the easy one, stemming from the union of a male and a female that has happened for millions of years, the striking of the flints of flesh creating the spark that fires a breath of life.

One third of the legs of the three legged stool is set,it's the other two legs that I'd like to think about, I'd like to write about, I'd like you to read about. 

I suggest the other two legs are life factors of each individual's personality that makes them particular to themselves as they maneuver through life. They are aptitude and attitude. 

Aptitude is the inherent ability of an individual to perform at a level commensurate with their physical  makeup. Their ability, their capability, their instinct, their power has an individual's imprint on society that I call another one of the legs of the stool.

Attitude, though, is a mental state. It is the third leg completing the integrity of our stool involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in certain ways. It, too, defines an individual by that person's brain waves. Attitude seems to be, not only the crucial third leg, but also the glue that holds the three legged stool together. 

I contend most of our youth have the physique complete with a goodly amount of aptitude which bolsters them as individuals as they grow into adulthood. They grow along with their ability and power to physically improve at all visuals of their lives. 
This is certainly meaningful but woefully inadequate to enter into a competitive society with all its varied

Attitude becomes paramount to our youth's survival. It is the the educated youngster with an expanding mind who can weigh alternatives to the rigid norms which stagnates our adult society. We find in our youths, as in all advanced generations, the hope inherent in a future worthy to pass on to our descendants. 

These descendants will honor this generation for constructing stools that, not only withstand the riggers of time, but become the standards for future societies.
Body, mind, and spirit is the bulwark of some modern day institutions. I am encouraging that stature, aptitude, and attitude to be our pillars, or if you will, our legs of the proverbial stool. Upright and solid it's the tripod that can hold up a whole universe.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Beggar's Body

Ever since, I have inherited a 
Beggar's body, no longer may
I inherit the wind. Or, can I ?

The sun and wind, sea and stars,
Are but like high hills to be scaled. 
From atop, a huge universe expands.

For me, this sight is but an illusion
Fostered in my mind by desires felt,
But never more, to be fully realized.

Is mine a waste ? Or, is it the inevitable ?
"Beggars can't be choosers" echoes on.
I'm of the former, seeking pleasing breezes.

Ronald C. Downie