My husband says that there are only two types of snakes.
Those that slither away from him and choose life…
and those that dare to approach and choose death.
According to a snake removal service, it can be difficult to tell a venomous snake from a non-venomous snake. The characteristics that I’ve heard before: triangular head, distinct pattern, and even the rattle, can be confusing. (up to 99% of snakes have triangular heads) Elliptical eyes can be a sign of a poisonous snake but who wants to get that close?
Maybe my husband’s approach is the best after all...
I don’t find snakes very appealing but I’ve met people that do. I was at a fair recently and found several men who draped their pets around their necks like fashion accessories.
Snake charming is the practice of appearing to hypnotize a snake. It likely started in India but it’s a dying custom. (animal rights activists) Years ago I saw a charmer while visiting Jaipur. An old man sat cross-legged in front of his basket playing music from a flute-like instrument. The snake didn’t respond until he thumped the container with his foot. Snakes don’t hear so when they rise up, they are not hypnotized but adopting a defensive posture to what they perceive as a threat.
In the past, snake charmers would remove the dangerous reptiles from private homes and were known as healers for snake bites. It was only later that they became known as a tourist attraction.
Did you know that snake charming is even in the Bible?
Psalm 58:3–5: "The wicked turn aside from birth; liars go astray as soon as they are born. Their venom is like that of a snake, like a deaf serpent that does not hear, that does not respond to the magicians, or to a skilled snake-charmer.”
It turns out the job is not always as dangerous as it looks. Charmers often remove the poisonous glands and fangs from the snakes they work with. Some will actually stitch the mouth closed, allowing only room for the tongue to wiggle out. Those snakes are doomed to die of starvation.
There are all types of ideas of how to treat snake bites. Here’s a story of a policeman in India who relied on a “snake stone”. Other traditional measures have included incising the site, sucking out the venom, applying a tourniquet, and applying ice. One therapy that I’d never heard of was using electricity. I’m a little vague on that one but I wouldn’t like to experiment with it.
The correct treatment of a snake bite:
Seriously, I'm beaming with joy! Writing a conclusion to a series is hard work! So many ends to ties up. Secrets to reveal, battles to fight and magic to discover.
Reading this review (I swear she's not related to me) has positively made me giddy....
The final book in “The Oath” series is a wild adventure and a wonderful ride!
Lorica, a young female unicorn, witnessed the senseless murders of her herd decades ago. Now the sole surviving female, and pursued by attackers determined to kill her, Lorica flees, chased through the ages by the three assailants.
Centaurs, vicious, cunning, and cruel, have entered the human world, focused on destroying the remaining unicorns. Our heroines and heroes from the previous books - Maddy, Ashton, Mirabella, TJ, and Gideon - work together as they attempt to find a way to contain the threat posed by these dangerous immortal creatures. However, as the friends continue on their quest to stop the supernatural evil that is haunting their world, each is beset with individual fears and troubles: Maddy struggles with strange and shadowy nightmares. Mirabella, vulnerable without a unicorn protector, seeks to uncover the mystery of her birth mother after learning she was adopted. Ashton grapples with fears that she has a dark side and adjusting to her new powers. Gideon feels helpless, unable to protect his friends against such potent and seemingly indestructible foes intent on harming them. It’s their turn to protect their defenders, to save the unicorns from compete annihilation, and stop the kidnapping of girls - but how do you best an enemy with no discernible weaknesses?
The Oath: The Death of Magic is the final heart-pounding ride in The Oath series and is, in my opinion, the crown jewel of the series. The story threads from the previous three books weave together into a dramatic tapestry of friendship and war as the adventure comes to a close. Although - judging by the epilogue - the door is slightly ajar for potential sequels!
We tend to believe that our generation is the first to make important observations about ourselves. For instance, I’ve been intrigued as I read articles that refer to a “Nature-Deficient Disorder”.
Richard Louv introduced the term in his book, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.” It discusses the outcome when our children are not exposed to nature enough. Obesity and mental health disorders. This is what he says on his website:
“The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”
He wasn’t the first to notice that being in nature has a profound effect on us.
Let me introduce to you John Muir. He lived from 1838 to 1914 and he was also affectionately called “John of the Mountains”. Born in Scotland, his family came to the United States when he was still a young boy. He was irregular in his class attendance with the exception of classes on botany and geology.
On one of his first jobs he suffered an eye injury—serious enough to make him concerned that he’d never see again. Fortunately, after months of staying in the dark, his vision was restored. The experience had a profound effect on him, he left his job as a supervisor making wagon wheels and went for a walk.
A thousand mile walk.
He rambled in unmarked trails from Kentucky to Florida, eventually succumbing to a malaria infection that almost killed him. But that didn’t stop him from continuing to explore America’s wilderness.
His work history was as “irregular” as his education. He worked in a saw milll, as an officer in the US Coastal Survey, managing orchards and taking care of sheep. Mostly, he was unemployed. So what makes this John Muir such a significant part of our history?
He wrote essays that explored the majesty of nature and man’s relationship with it. His writing came to the attention of someone important. Theodore Roosevelt. Maybe it was this quote by Muir:
"Living artificially in towns, we are sickly, and never come to know ourselves."
That might have struck a nerve with President Roosevelt. He had been a delicate child who often suffered asthma attacks from the air pollution in Manhattan. Doctors had warned Roosevelt that he had a weak heart and he should stick to sedate activities. But, as my grandmother would say, Roosevelt was hard-headed, and instead of staying in bed as he was told, he started exercising and spending more time outdoors. He developed a love for natural sciences.
After reading about their mutual interests, Roosevelt wrote to Muir and asked if they could get together. Muir agreed and then took Teddy Roosevelt to his favorite place in the world—the Yosemite wilderness.
“The mighty Sierra, miles in height, and so gloriously colored and so radiant, it seemed not clothed with light, but wholly composed of it, like the wall of some celestial city.”
The night was clear, they set up camp under a tree thought to be 2,500 years old, ate fried chicken and drank black coffee by the fire. They talked for hours. In the following days, Roosevelt ditched the 40 blankets that were supplied by his aides and learned to rough it like Muir. Together they weathered snow storms and each other (they found each other annoying at times).
In the end, Roosevelt came back to Washington enthusiastic about conserving America’s forests and wilderness. According to Wikipedia, Theodore Roosevelt signed “into existence five national parks, 18 national monuments, 55 national bird sanctuaries and wildlife refuges and 150 national forests.”
He described the importance of the conservationist movement in a speech:
“We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources and we have just reason to be proud of our growth. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil and the gas are exhausted…”
“…It is time for us now as a nation to exercise the same reasonable foresight in dealing with our great natural resources that would be shown by any prudent man in conserving and widely using the property which contains the assurance of well-being for himself and his children.”
His words are still true today.
John Muir, a man who couldn’t quite find a job to fit him, helped save our national parks because he recognized…
"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."
We have a lot of work to do, we have to change the way we're living. Decrease our waste. Decrease our emissions. Use more renewable resources. And….protect our wilderness. We can do it.
"Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life."
Click here for more quotes by John Muir.
Image of John Muir from Dec 1906. Public Domain
The Pacific Crest Trail stretches from Mexico to Canada and encompasses 2,650 miles. The average time to complete the hike is five months but the failure rate is high and injuries are common. Cell phone reception is not always available. Those that finish the trail are called thru-hikers. Hikers carry their tents, sleeping bags, water sanitation kits and bear canisters (hard food lockers that hold in the scent of food). In advance of their trip, hikers will go to towns on the trail and pay for storage of other containers of dehydrated food so they may pick them up along the way. Foraging is not a reliable method of ensuring enough food.
Those are the general facts about the PCT, but what makes someone want to hike it?
While visiting my sister recently, I met one of the hikers. She had short curly hair that framed her face and probably looked perfect after a quick finger-comb. Her glasses were striking and her jewelry was simple. She explained the details of the trail in between bites of salsa-dipped chips. “Baby wipe showers”, she said, were preferred over bathing in the lakes due to the swarms of mosquitoes. She looked forward to her mac and cheese after a long day on the trail.
She took a sip of water when I asked why she had decided to do the hike. It had been the twentieth anniversary of her son’s death, she said, and she wanted to handle the year differently. Each preceding year, as that date approached, she’d become depressed. Stayed at home a lot. I sensed she wanted something extreme to knock herself out of a pattern. “It was life-changing,” she said. Hikers often claim that the trek is good for the body and soul.
Last year, my sister lost her daughter. She’s younger than me and she’s on a trail that I’m unfamiliar with so I can’t lead her or give her any advice. It’s more difficult than the PCT and, according to every other parent whose lost a child…there’s no end to this route. I’ve been worried about her. Frightened that she’d get lost or even worse, that she’d give up.
When I went to see her on the anniversary of her daughter’s death, we did some hiking of our own. The terrain was rocky with gradual inclines that weren’t too taxing for a novice hiker like me. My sister would point out plants or flowers along the way. “That,” she pointed to a small tree that looked like someone poured molten bronze metal over the trunk, “is a Manzanita tree. The wood is used in bird cages for perches and looks like driftwood.” Another plant with tube shaped deep red blooms. “Penstemon,” she called over her shoulder. “We’re seeing a lot of color with all the rains. Have you heard of the desert bloom?” San Diego has received more rain than usual and the weather was cooler too.
“We’re having a Super Bloom. It brings all the Flatlanders up.” She explained how the visitors to the region don’t always treat the natural areas with respect. “We also call them City-ots (a combination of the word city and idiot)” she said with a grin. A large swatch of daisy looking flowers in the middle of a meadow: “Chamomile.”
We spoke of Jeeps, my grandfather’s patience and my grandmother’s difficult nature, finding food when you’re a vegetarian, and what is proper hiking apparel. Stories from our childhood and aspirations for the coming years. Tales about Rachel were sprinkled over our conversations like hot sauce. Bringing a tear to your eye but also intensifying the flavor. Because Rachel lived life to the extreme.
My sister walks the trail with assurance and carries herself with a strength that I’ve not seen in her before. She still feels fragile inside and I know that the hardest thing she has done over the past year is just exist. I know that she’s pretended that Rachel is still alive, somewhere. I know that every year on the anniversary of Rachel’s death, she will feel a sense of doom that would take your breath away.
But she’s coping. Her grief may last forever but so does the love we share for each other. She’s smiling when she sees a picture of her daughter. Crying when she needs to. Getting out of bed and taking one step at a time.
Because she’s a thru-hiker.
My clock’s battery stopped working so I took it off the wall in order to replace it. It’s an oversized clock but it runs on two little AA batteries. I used a screwdriver to pry the back off the case and a few minutes later, I thought I was back in business.
But when I hung it back up, it was obvious I had a problem.
In turning the clock over, I damaged the mechanism. While the longer hand still counted the minutes, the smaller hand was not working. In fact, no matter where I’d place the hour hand, gravity would pull it to 6 o’clock.
It’s frustrating when you have a certain expectation and it doesn’t get fulfilled. I figured I would have to throw the whole thing away. But then I noticed something…
As the minute hand rotated around, it would hook the edge of the hour hand and, with incremental ticks, carry it to the top of the clock. At just a few minutes past the hour, the minute hand would drop its hold. Like a pendulum, the hour hand swung to and fro like some crazy time piece from Alice in Wonderland.
It was hypnotizing.
I kept it on the wall and found myself waiting for each hour to pass so I could see the arm make its wild swings and then come to a rest again. It was unexpected, this event, and it made me think of a poem I’d received from a mom of a special needs child years ago.
Both are reminders to enjoy the life you’re living, even if it’s not what you expected.
Welcome to Holland
BY EMILY PERL KINGSLEY
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this…
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.” “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you never would have met. It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…and you begin to notice Holland has windmills…and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy…and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away…because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss.
But…if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things…about Holland.
©1987 BY EMILY PERL KINGSLEY.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
I grew up in Philadelphia where The Constitution was said with the same reverence as the Bible. We took school trips to the city, went on guided tours of historic buildings and memorized details for the test that would follow.
The Declaration of Independence was written in 1776 and was designed to justify our separation from British rule.
The Constitution was written in 1787 and was designed to be the law of our new country.
But, these facts held no importance to me, I was more interested in cell structure and mitosis. And I was working on the premise that these men had done a good job and created a timeless document that would serve us for all eternity.
But then I learned about Heidi Schreck and her Broadway performance of What the Constitution Means to Me. During her teenage years, Heidi toured the country speaking about the Constitution. In fact, she made enough money doing this that she was able to pay for her own college education. She’s been studying this document for a long time so I have to believe she knows what she’s talking about.
She points out that the Constitution has positive and negative rights. Negative rights protect us from our own government becoming too powerful. Positive rights, like the right to an education, help our citizens to succeed. Sounds pretty good, so what’s the big deal?
She explores the document and how it relates to her family, especially the women. She argues that women weren't always protected as well as they should have been.
The Equal Right Amendment was a proposed amendment that was supposed to give equal legal rights to all citizens regardless of sex. But it never passed. Alice Paul, a suffragist, initial wrote a version that said “Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.” Despite being in every Congressional session for the next 20 years, it never passed.
In 1943, the words were changed to: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” The ERA amendment was gaining traction when Phyllis Schlafy (1924-2016) stepped in the ring.
Schlafly was vigorous in her objection to the potential amendment and she was effective at bringing it to a halt. She claimed that if equal rights were granted women would be forced to go to war, they would lose their rights to child support and alimony and our society would collapse.
But not to worry. Surely there are protections for women in other places? The Fourteenth Amendment is supposed to allow equal protection under the law for all citizens.
An article from the Atlantic said:
In an interview with California Lawyer magazine, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia seemed to suggest that the Constitution does not protect women from gender-based discrimination. "Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't. Nobody ever thought that that's what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that," said the famously conservative justice, adding, "If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws.
So should we be pursuing equal rights now?
Abigail Adams, in a letter to husband John Adams, warned “Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could.”
And what about RBG (Ruth Bader Ginsberg). What does she say?
You can hear for yourself here. RBG is famous for her support of equal rights...for everyone.
Years ago I decided that I wanted a pet, specifically a dog. But I also needed a pet that didn’t require a lot of care. So I opted to get a cat that was rumored to act somewhat like a dog.
Bengal cats are the result of the successful pairing of a wild cat (Asian Leopard) and domestic cat. They have broad heads, high cheekbones and the tips of their ears are rounded. The best part is the spotted or swirled marble patterns on their fur, reminders of their wild ancestry. Available information on this cat said they were supposed to go on walks, fetch toys, give a high-five and even swim in the pool with their owners. Practically a dog.
Tass is short for Catastrophe. Soon after she arrived, she climbed up the drapes and couldn’t get down. Next she disappeared into the fireplace and then ran around the house scattered soot all over the furniture and rugs. My husband started calling her Tass-hole.
I’ve not been successful in any training or dog-like activities. When I put a leash on her, she rolled on the ground like she was demon possessed. When I throw something to fetch, she pounces on it, covers it with her body, and then casually licks her paws and looks bored.
I’m not doubting that Bengals are smart, however. Tass learned to flush the toilet by herself. The first time she did this, it was nighttime and my husband was traveling. I can’t tell you how unnerving that was. I’m alone, there’s a stranger in the house…and he’s using the potty.
Tass has spent considerable time training us in her routines. In the mornings, she likes to be fed, receive a back rub, and then let outside to our small backyard. She walks the perimeter of the patio surveying her kingdom and monitoring the birds. Monday was a bit different. Seconds after she went outside I heard her screeching.
I flew out the door and was shocked to see two foxes attacking her. (To be honest, she probably instigated it, she’s pretty territorial and she’s been watching a lot of nature tv shows lately)
Tass was displaying some ninja-like moves that were faster than my eyes could follow but I could certainly hear her. Being a professional and trained to deal with emergencies, I did as you’d expect. Ran outside in my bathrobe, screaming loud enough to wake the neighbors while waving my hands up in the air to look intimidating. It worked. The foxes disappeared and I carried Tass inside.
She had blood on her paws but not a single scratch. Ninja Cat.
Now Tass is on quarantine for rabies.
Rabies is some pretty serious business. Raccoons, skunks, bats and you guessed it...foxes are carriers and it’s universally fatal. Symptoms start with fever, headache and confusion. As the victim worsens, they experience hallucinations, paralysis, hypersalivation (over producing saliva) and hydrophobia (fear of water).
Tass has to get a series of shots and she’s on house arrest. She’s bitter about her incarceration and spends a lot of time meowing her frustration. It’s gonna be a long quarantine. Meanwhile, the city put out a cage to catch the culprits but we caught this guy instead.
Look at the teeth on that handsome guy!
I went to the Tulsa Ballet last weekend and saw Tchaikovsky: The Man behind the Music.
You remember him, right?
He’s the Russian composer who created the music for The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.
Before the actual show, they had an informal question and answer period where the choreographer, Ma Cong, described how this particular ballet came to be. It was fascinating.
Pyotr LLyich Tchaikovsky’s life was complicated, just a quick glimpse on Wikipedia confirms that. And the history written about him is not always accurate. In some accounts, his mother was cold and uncaring while in others, she was devoted to him. What a majority of biographies agreed upon was that Tchaikovsky was a homosexual. This was so unacceptable in 19th century Russia that the Soviets erased or changed a lot of the references of same-sex attraction in their literature. (and you thought the censorship in George Orwell’s 1984 dystopian book was far-fetched)
A team was formed and was responsible for bringing the story to life. A composer, Oliver Peter Graber, chose music from what was mostly Tchaikovsky’s own works, with the goal of matching the theme of each act. Tracy Grant Lord designed peacock-hued shimmering dresses and buttoned jackets with rows of shiny buttons—all reminiscent of the time period. A Russian historian acted as a consultant and the artistic director, Marcello Angelini, developed the concept and brought it to life.
The lead was a male and I realized that I’m used to seeing ballerinas being in the limelight. I learned that we don’t even have a term for a ‘star’ male ballet performer. In Italy, A ballerino is a term used for a male lead but as far as I know, we don’t have a similar title to recognize a male with exceptional talent. This guy deserved a title—he was brilliant.
Have females always dominated ballet? Nope.
In Renaissance times, only men danced. This is not surprising because only men performed as actors too. When women did show up on stage, heavy full skirts impeded their ability to perform some of the dance moves. Men, in their breeches, had more freedom. Jean Balon, a ballet virtuoso, was known for his ability to ascend without effort and land gracefully. The word balloon, meaning springiness, was derived from his name.
It wasn’t until the 1800’s that female dancers started to become more popular. (Coincidentally, that was about the same time that their skirts were shortened.) Women were considered to be more ethereal and ballets such as Giselle and La Sylphide highlighted their dancing styles.
Female dancers have continued to be the focus of a host of popular ballets like Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty. But maybe that’s going to change and we will see more male dominated ballets that allow more demonstrations of technical prowess and strength. Times are changing…
So what happens next to this new ballet?
Videos of the production were sent around the world. Representatives from different troupes will watch the same show I did. And then they will decide whether to bring the show to their own troupe. Ma Cong, the choreographer, would go to each city and help cast from their own dancers for each role.
And that’s how a new ballet is born!
image from Tulsaballet.org.
We have it wrong.
We bide our time waiting for that special moment...
The job promotion.
Life events that we believe will lead to idyllic happiness. And somehow, magically, we expect that feeling will freeze and stay with us forever.
I learned about the notion of Mono no Aware when I went to see the Japanese Garden in Fort Worth. I’ve consulted many sources on the internet trying to understand the concept and here is what I’ve come to understand:
It’s an awareness, a sadness or deep emotion, felt when we recognize the transient nature of people and things around us.
Japanese gardens are known for the serenity they create in us. They are simple and deliberate in their design, featuring maples, magnolias, bamboo and bridges over koi ponds. Instead of merely observing these gardens, they’re meant to be experienced and they’re known for instilling a tranquil mood in the visitor.
Various shades of green leaves soothe and rippling water pacifies. Flowers, with their bold bright colors, are not welcome here. Cherry blossoms are an exception. In the spring, for two weeks only, these pale pink flowers bloom in abundance. And when people describe what Mono no Aware means, they point to this flower and its short season.
Our lives change constantly and most of us live in denial, believing that we can reach a state of happiness once some event occurs or some person enters our lives. Mono no Aware is a acknowledgement that suffering occurs because we fail to recognize that things and people that we love will leave us.
It’s a declaration that fragility and brevity are fundamental to our appreciation. It’s a bittersweet feeling, a recognition that our time with our friends, family, is short.
What if you knew, and accepted, that every relationship, every job, every object had a ‘expiration date’.
Your favorite car will eventually fall apart.
Your college friends will lose touch with you.
The blossoms from your beloved cherry tree will fall to the ground and drift away
Your loved one will die.
Everything comes to an end.
So shouldn’t we love more extravagantly?
Wildly appreciate our friends?
Derive the greatest joy from our treasured possessions?
It’s a lesson and the cherry tree blooms every year to remind us.
In medical school, professors rolled their eyes as they explained historical cures that were once used to treat patients. Blood-letting, leeches, maggots, even packing a woman’s birth canal with dirt and leaves after childbirth.
It sounded horrifying. Luckily, we’ve abandoned those medieval remedies, right?
There’s the condition called polycythemia vera…
It’s when your body produces too many red cells. The blood gets too thick and can cause a ‘traffic jam’ in your blood vessels which can lead to a stroke. The primary method of treating this condition is phlebotomy.
Otherwise known as blood-letting.
And you’ve probably heard that doctors are using leeches and maggots again.
Leeches act as an artificial vein, removing old or excess blood that would interfere with a delicate surgery like a finger implantation after an amputation.
And maggots? They clean wounds, removing decaying tissue and sparing the healthy, better than any surgeon can.
But dirt? Surely, there’s no need for that in modern medicine?
Let me tell you about some special dirt. It’s found in the Boho Highlands of Fermanagh in Northern Island and it’s been known to cure some infections.
Let me give you some background.
Streptomyces is a bacteria. (Even though it looks quite a bit like a fungus)
It turns out to be quite old, evolving over 450 million years ago.
It’s also quite special. Streptomyces is the source of many antibiotics. This bacteria secretes antibiotics to protect itself from a bacterial invasion during its growth cycle. Fascinating, right?
Antibiotics that we use today, like chloramphicol, rifampicin, vancomycin, daunomycin and clavulanic acid, come from streptomycetes and their close relatives.
We all know the importance of antibiotics in fighting infections. And most people realize that we’re facing more drug-resistant bacteria. We’re waiting for some company to create new antibiotics to fight those superbugs. But we might have a long wait.
It’s related to the finances of developing a new drug. (It’s always about money)
It takes about ten years to develop a drug and then do rigorous testing of that new medicine. That’s a lot of money tied in research. Now imagine that your new drug, a splendid shiny new antibiotic, is released to the world.
Infectious disease experts are impressed and excited about this new cure. What do they do? They immediately shout out: “Don’t use this antibiotic!”
Here’s why. They want to save this impressive new cure for the worst of the infections. If everyone takes this new antibiotic for their sore toe or red throat, the bacteria will become resistant to it, too. It will no longer be as effective as it once was.
But what company would invest in a medicine where the experts advise the primary care doctors not to use it? It make far more financial sense to develop a medical solution for high blood pressure or acid reflux. A drug they can make lots and lots of money on.
So, we're running out of antibiotics. And that’s a big deal.
And we may have to go back to how we treated serious infections centuries ago.
Surgery--A surgeon cuts out the infection.
“A chance to cut is a chance to cure,” I learned in medical school.
Oddly, A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure is also a music album. It features sounds from surgeries—liposuctions and bone saws—mixed in with electric guitars and synthesizers. It actually received good reviews…
Here’s an example of their music.
Here's another one...but it's only for the brave (and not squeamish)
Back to the subject at hand. I’m hoping we don’t have to revert to ‘cutting’ out infections.
In Ireland, the land of leprechauns and four-leafed clovers, they’ve found something in the soil that may be helpful against our fight against the super bugs. A new species of Streptomyces, one that stops the growth of 4 of 6 of the ESKAPE bacteria (the first letter of their name=ESKAPE)
These bacteria: Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and species belonging to the Enterobacter genus are known for being highly resistant to our current antibiotics and are the leading cause for hospital acquired infections around the world.
I’m not sure who thought to look in the dirt for a solution to our dire need to fight resistant bacteria but I found a quote that helps put it in perspective….
I'm Irish. We think sideways. Spike Milligan