Lately I have been busy caring for my elderly mother. She fell and broke her arm. That would be bad enough but she is also 92 years old, has advanced cancer (untreated, metastasized for 5 years), has trouble walking, she’s mostly blind and also deaf. I had gone on a vacation- my first real vacation ever, to Palm Springs for a week. The night I got back she had fallen and was in the hospital. She needed 24 hour care (up until now she’s lived by herself). Within a couple days the hospital was going to discharge her to the first Intermediate Care Facility on their list.
I’ve been off work for a month and a half but mostly housebound. Not going stir crazy but getting more than a little irritable.
having or showing a tendency to be easily annoyed or made angry.
Well, spring is here in the Northern hemisphere. Time for birth and reproduction in the natural world. Mostly just a few early bloomers in my part of the word so far. I’ve heard some frogs croaking. The weather is mostly wet, not too cold. Regular western Oregon climate.
Speaking of birth…
Larvae from a parasitic wasp are being born from a caterpillar which will be their first meal.
seahorse having babies (!)\
Cockroaches are mommas too
Just starfish and eels having a party- maybe it’s someones birthday
What else is new? Hell if I know. I’m out of the loop.
Pictures from my vacation (click for full size):
My fiance, Candace
Courtyard view from our motel room
It was so fantastic to be somewhere with the daily temperature in the 80s, no rain, palm trees everywhere. A stark contrast to what was happening back home.
Candace by some rocks at Joshua Tree National Park
Me, Joshua Tree in background. Notice how blue the sky!
I received this link from Jacek, my favorite pschologist. It is not as good a recommendation as it really should be; there aren’t many psychologists I’m too fond of, but Jacek is a good people. And, when I did my radio program for years in the middle of the night on KBOO, he was the only “professional” who ever showed up. Not that many people would show up for a program held in the middle of the night on the Friday before the full moon.
Also, on a lighter note? This is from Dr. Jacek as well. Who knew that you could get treated to a good meal at Hooters just by being a shrink?
Late, post-Caturday posting. I just saw a wonderful blog here: Cancer Killing Recipe. You know, I have so much more respect for anyone who knows what a real problem is and who chooses life anyway. God bless you, oneanna65.
These are animated- if they don’t work automatically, click them to nudge them along:
How I spent last weekend or….
The waiting room at Urgent Care
I was actually on my way to Best Buy to ask why the headset didn’t work, got there, noticed that my left foot was numb.
I knew my ankle was sprained, at least, and nobody seemed to think it to be a big deal. Especially given the bigger deal of the rip-roaring pain throughout my left leg that was caused by the ruptured disk that was squishing the nerve- But the ankle did look kind of dramatic. Although swelling had gone down over the past week (it was a week ago Saturday that I slipped on it), the bruising was spectacular. I personally have never seen anything like it. It has been blue-black from my ankle to the bottoms of my feet including my toes. So, given that the bruising was still awesome and the numbness was new, I thought it would be prudent to go to Urgent Care at Kaiser (in the Sunnyside complex).
The Urgent Care nurse who checked me in asked to see it, I showed it to her (sounds like a porn intro). She immediately had me go get X-rays and blood-work and I was shuffled through those places and put in the Urgent Care waiting room.
It would seem that the short phrases “waiting room” and “Urgent Care” were paired together for maximum contrast in the use and mis-use of the English language. You could probably do a whole – never mind, I digress…
I noticed that the group around me stayed pretty consistent. New people arrived here and there. A couple times someone’s name was called and they were taken back to what I decided was the “Exam Area” (I made up that phrase- I am easily entertained). I never saw anyone come back out of this Exam Area. After being in the waiting area for about 45 minutes a nice young lady came out of the hidden areas where people were sometimes taken (the ones who were never seen again, as far as I know) and she announced that there was currently about a 2 hour wait for getting in to see a doctor at “Urgent Care”.
She apologized, smiled and went back behind the closed doors.
I began to speculate about the true nature of this hidden dimension I had so innocently and glibly labeled as the Exam Area- maybe it was actually a place where the “disappeared” were being dissected and barbecued! (Had I eaten anything yet today? Were my thoughts being perverted by hunger?) I remember thinking there was some grease on the scrub-top worn by the announcer lady.
I closed my eyes to try and explore the smells around me- was there a faint odor of BBQ?
I was shaken from this macabre vision by something that at first seemed almost as unsettling. Sitting across from me and seeming to notice me only as I noticed him was Jess from the hospital- our volunteer coordinator. I hadn’t seen him arrive, it was as though he had materialized from thin air. He said that he had a cactus thorn embedded in his finger. There was no mark that I could see but he explained that it was buried deeply in the flesh of the finger, had no egress from it’s lodging and was causing him pain and distress. I have no reason to disbelieve him except that his story was so outlandish. What is he doing handling cacti?
Time passed. I kept myself entertained with a variety of “Twilight Zone”esque stories that could take place in the Urgent Care waiting room.
I eventually got to see the doctor. He very quickly ascertained that I would need to go back to X-ray because when I had come in they had not taken pictures of my ankle. They did have good shots of my toes but he was uninterested in those.
Hours later I was sent away with a big apparatus they referred to as a “boot”. The numbness was caused by the inflammation and blood from a slightly torn ligament and something else that he tried to draw a picture of. The nurse told him his drawing was poor and unrecognizable.
I have been greeted in the evenings and early mornings by the songs of frogs. The need to breed is driving them all together to the marshy areas, wetlands, storm sewers and other places there is water. Most of the time they will return to the spawning grounds they hopped out of, announcing their presence to possible mates with their music. I have been helping them do so safely and productively for almost 20 years.
Pacific Tree Frog, typical of the ones I see near my home. They are quite small when they first appear (about the size of my thumbnail) and grow to be about the size of my thumb if they live long enough.
Near my home are many marginal and well established wetlands. These include the aforementioned storm drains, ditches (marginal), seasonal ponds (marginal), well established ponds and marsh wetlands (especially in the area around Johnson Creek and the adjacent areas). The frogs I hear and see are mostly tree frogs (family: Hylidae) including Pacific Tree Frogs (Hyla Regilla) and Western Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris Triseriata). Sometimes there are bullfrogs but these are invasive, non-indigenous and tend to eat their smaller cousins.
Coming into the end of April, amphibians have plenty of water. It hasn’t been the wettest of winters in NW Oregon but there is plenty of healthy habitat for now. Some egg laying was observed in early April (some in March as well but there was a couple killing frosts, even snow, in March).
Lots of peeping, croaking all around the town- wherever there is a seasonal or year-round wetland. Froggies lookin’ for love.
It’s still too early to tell how the marginal habitats will fare. More frogs will be coming.
Frogs have been singing sweet songs of romance all spring. Toads, newts and the like have been looking for love in all the wet places. Now is the time to inspect the spawning grounds and see how they are doing.
You may know that globally amphibian populations have been in decline for many years. There are two main causes identified so far: habitat loss and fungal infections (such as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis or Bd). Recently a study in central America has found a peculiar statistic: habitats that are disturbed but functional are less likely to have populations affected by infection. This makes habitat near cities and marginal wetlands all the more important.
So, annually, I check for habitat functionality near where I live, in southeast Portland, Oregon. In the inner part of town the wetlands, springs and creeks are underground but out where I live there are many places where frogs and their cousins have been (along with some fish) making babies.
Many years the summer heats up fast and if there hasn’t been enough spring rain I find the marginal habitats along the edges of these spaces dry up before tadpoles can mature. Not that it does much good, but when I see this happening I’ll scoop a few hundred polliwogs out of the muck and stick them in an outdoor aquarium. I feed them flake fish food until they can get out of the tank on their own and eat insects.
The back legs pop out first- almost literally. It’s like one day they are little spermish critters and the next they have legs. The tails shrink, the mouths grow wide and soon the front legs appear. Often within a couple days time the whole lot will just up and climb out to the world. I have chronicled this process here before many times.
This year, as last, I am happy to report healthy habitats, very wet wetlands and a thriving population of tadpoles with plenty of water to keep them until they are ready to hop along into the green spaces. Maybe one will come to your garden.
I walked through Beggar’s Tick today- it looks really good, very wet, seasonal ponds are full. Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to check along the northeastern edge of Sauvie Island where, with the Columbia River 15 feet above flood stage, the wetlands are very healthy. I surmise that all along the nearby rivers the sloughs, estuaries and ponds are happy, healthy and wet.
Excellent year for frogs and their fellow-travelers!