Tuesday, August 23

Two women and the MRSA infection, Post 2

Last week I put up a post (below) about two women and a life-threatening MRSA infection. I told the second woman, who had scheduled elective hip replacement surgery, about the first contracting the MRSA infection following necessary hip replacement surgery; this brought back her own experience some years earlier. She cancelled the elective surgery.

The post generated several comments from women and men I believe are worth sharing. None of the following is medical advice and readers must make their own decisions.

###“I think it is clear to say God used you in this.”

###“Thank you for reminding all of us that medical procedure involves danger that must be very seriously considered.”

###“Thanks for the warning. It is something I didn’t think about when I had elective surgery 1 1/2 years ago, I will definitely keep this in mind should I be so foolish to ever consider elective surgery again.”

###“This is very sad indeed. With all our advances in science and technology why can't we deal with these infections before they begin!!! I  have a dear friend who went through this twice and was on antibiotics for more than a year. It took her a full two years to recover and she still can't walk.”

###“I am so sorry for these two ladies. I just had a hip replacement in May and thankfully I did not have those experiences. I did delay my surgery so that I could have it done at New England Baptist Hospital, they are an orthopedic hospital only. They also have the lowest rate for MRSA infection. They test you for the infection 2 weeks before your surgery and if you have it in your system they treat you before you enter the hospital. You also use a special soap for a few days before the surgery to cut down on skin infections. I am so glad I picked them.”

###”Medical mistakes are the third leading cause of deaths in the US, only cancer and heart attacks kill more. Medical errors cause an estimated 250,000 deaths per year. I've had eleven surgeries, some minor, some very major so I've beaten the odds.... so far. With some exceptions it pays to live in New England with access to Boston.”

###“Interesting and frightening story.  But we know that technology has advanced significantly since, and yes, I’m aware of MRSA, but I have to say that I have had two (2) hips, two (2)  knees, and a (1) shoulder, totally replaced and they all work beautifully, thanks to the good Orthopedists down here in SW Florida. So to the ‘M” sisters, come down to SW Florida to have your procedures done, They probably do more replacements here, than in most other places in America, due to the demographics of the area.”

Comment to: arch@archibald99.com 

Saturday, August 20

Two women and a frightening tale

This is a story about two women, both born before the outbreak of World War II, who are connected only through me but who shared a medical event that is downright scary, and can be life threatening,

The first woman I will call BM grew up on the East coast, became a professional woman and moved to California. Decades later she has returned to New England to live among family. 

The second woman is a very private person who lives in New York City, and whom I will call JM. She had a fine career in the medical field, and is active in public life. She recently confided to me she had scheduled elective surgery to have a hip replaced later this year.

BM had an absolutely necessary hip replacement in California several weeks ago. The procedure, including a week in physical rehab went well. She was extremely pleased. 

Shortly after BM got out of the hospital she developed an MRSA infection and was re-admitted to hospital. The Mayo Clinic website says, “Most MRSA infections occur in people who've been in hospitals or other health care settings, such as nursing homes and dialysis centers…MRSA infections typically are associated with invasive procedures or devices, such as surgeries, intravenous tubing or artificial joints.” 

In the hospital ICU, BM was given three injections of powerful  drugs every day for seven days to fight the disease. 

After discussing this with BM, I emailed JM and urged her to include MRSA infections in discussions with her doctor and his staff to be on the safe side. This is a summary of her reply:

“Your MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) caution brought me back to reality - and earth. I had so wanted to believe that this one procedure would make me perfect again that I chose to forget the horrible (surgical) past and my vow 'never, ever, to go for elective surgery for anything....unless blood is issuing from every bodily cavity!’ "

Well, dear Arch, JM continued, here is what I repressed to myself. I contracted “a very serious, life-threatening case of MRSA from a first hip surgery 3 years ago and I was in intensive care for 17 days while they shot me full of mega drugs, and after months of daily continued drug injections at home, I (obviously) survived - but was told that I would be 'forever immune' to the life-saving properties of those same mega drugs”

JM concluded in sadness: “God works in mysterious ways and so, minutes ago, I received a call notifying me of the funeral of (name deleted), an old friend, and former co-worker,” who died Wednesday from MRSA after having hip replacement surgery.

JM was going to the funeral. 

Thursday, August 4

I don't believe it

I don’t believe the news that Donald Trump’s campaign raised $82 million in “small donations” from his supporters in July. No one raises that kind of money in a month. 

The names of donors who give less than $200 need not be disclosed to the Federal Election Commission in otherwise public filings by the presidential candidates. They can claim any number that comes to their head and say it came from hundreds or thousands of supporter. Would the Trump campaign do this?

In my opinion, in a heartbeat. Trump could pump his own money into the campaign and label it “small donations” to give his campaign an aura of  authenticity. He has refused to make his taxes public and has a record of overstating his personal wealth in business dealings. 

The more important story about money, however, is the debt Donald Trump will carry into the White House should he (God help us) somehow be elected. The man is in debt more than $100 million to banks (e.g. Deutsche Bank of Germany and its subsidiaries) that clash with U.S. bank regulators like clockwork. No other presidential candidate in the history of America has carried such a potential conflict of interest burden into the Oval Office. 

The news about the alleged $82 million naturally struck fear into the beating hearts of the Hillary Clinton campaign. The Trump claim raised Hillary’s fund raising effort to a new pitch. It is like morning following the night. One candidate makes a claim and the other capitalizes on it. I got an email today from Hillary’s campaign manager asking for a $75 donation to help compete with the (alleged - my word) Trump success in July. 

I’ve already sent my contribution to Hillary for August. If I believed Trump’s claims I would do more but I don’t believe it…

Comment to: arch@archibald99.com  

Saturday, July 30

9/11 Memorial Museum - An Inspiration

9/11 Memorial Museum - An inspiration

The events of 9/11 were and are a tragedy, but the new World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial Museum is a testimony to the courage, resourcefulness and determination of the American spirit.

I visited the World Trade Center in January and rode 101 floors to the top in 47 seconds. It was an exhilarating experience. On this week’s trip to New York I visited the 9/11 Museum (opened in September) and was awed by it all.

The museum bears solemn witness to the nearly three thousand victims of the two attacks (February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001) and all those who risked their lives to save others.

From the entrance hall through the concourse and and down the ramp to the Educational Center located on the original foundation level of the twin towers, is an experience to remember for a lifetime.

There is so much to see and appreciate. This is truly a spectacular response to the terrible events which bring it about, but it is also a determined response to the terrorists who caused it that America remains strong and we will not be defeated.

I hope everyone who sees this post will click on the link to the  9/11 Memorial Museum and spend some time visiting the museum. I believe you will be glad you did.

Wednesday, July 20

On advertising

Some thoughts on advertising

I was not consulted when individual advertisers worked up their copy for inclusion in The New York Times Style Magazine (July 17, 2016), and certainly was not consulted when the issue went to press. This is high fashion in spades: clothing, jewelry, makeup, household furnishings, etc. Top of the line, first rate stuff, bar none.

My status as a paid reader, however, gives me the right to comment, to  criticize or praise, as I see fit.

Three pages were devoted to trench coats. The opening copy read: “In the Trenches, The classic silhouette is back, as big and boxy as ever.” The pages were each filled with a model wearing Burberry and Paul Stuart trench coats. 

What would expect in an ad for a trench coat? This is a manly garment invented a hundred years ago for wear by military officers and men of action. Think Bogart. 

The advertisers obviously did not. The model in the three-page spread is a thin teen-ager of small build, who probably still shaves only once a week, and who is absolutely swamped by the coats he is modeling. He has the pouting look on his face that models, female and male, adopt for some strange reason. Like a show of emotion would shatter their psyche. 

I’ve worn trench coats over the years. They give you feeling of strength and savor faire. These three pages of ads would not sell me a trench coat. 

Send comment to: arch@archibald99.com 

Saturday, July 16

We must carry on

I do not remember any period in my 84 plus years when so many innocent people in America and elsewhere who were simply out and about enjoying themselves were deliberately killed. We are living in an age of terrorism for which there seems no ready solution compatible with decency, civil liberties and, in the United States especially, constitutional freedoms. 

The enemy seems almost invisible. The killers are themselves being killed during their rampages. After the fact investigations reveal the perpetrators  with at least psychological ties or sympathies with ISIS. 

To us in the West, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is a terrorist group trying to re-create a political state (the Caliphate) to exert control over the Islamic world. They want to turn the pages back to the seventh century time of Muhammad and ignore fourteen centuries of growth and progress.  

Wether the leaders of this movement and the perpetrators of the recent carnage done in the name of ISIS are actually connected is practically impossible to establish. The link to ISIS can be psychological only, and what sets the perpetrator off on his killing rampage is unknown. This doesn’t stop ISIS from honoring the perpetrators as “soldiers of the caliphate.”

ISIS basks in the terror and inspires wanton acts of violence and carnage. ISIS recently reminded the world that vehicles could be a weapon. Result,  the tractor trailer truck being driven through crowds of people in Nice, France, killing at least 84 people. 

We will learn more about the driver of this truck in the days ahead. That is always the way.

Where the next terrorist act will occur is unknown. Vigilance is required. Nevertheless, we must go about our lives in the hope and promise of better days to come.