Op-ed, blogs and columns
By Lyn Lewis, DVM
Wayside Animal Hospital
I have lived in North Georgia since graduating from Veterinary School in 2002 and I constantly hear stories about the “Blizzard of ’93.” I heard stories of how some people were stuck for up to two weeks because of the weather. When I heard those stories I would just shrug and say, “Well that was 1993; with all the improvements to the North Georgia area it would never be that bad now.” That is why last week was so eye opening for me to see how bad it gets up here. Things are just now starting to normalize after over a week. We managed to have a skeleton crew at the office and I helped answer the phone. For the most part, people were calling about pet emergencies and how they could not leave home and wanted advice. So, this week I decided to cover some of the major areas of pet emergencies.
Probably one of the most common emergencies is vomiting and diarrhea. Where people make mistakes is to keep feeding them. I have clients who try other things like boiled eggs, dairy products and various meats. Unfortunately, this is the last thing they need. Dairy products and things with fat in them, for example meats, will cause more vomiting. The best thing to do is withhold food from them for 24 hours. Also withhold water for the first 12 hours when the vomiting begins. The gut needs to rest and, for the most part, reset the system. Anything that they swallow causes the stomach to stretch, even water. When the stomach stretches, nerves tell the brain that something is there and in turn the brain tells the intestines to get to work, generally leading to vomiting. This is why I don’t like to even give fluids at first, let the gut rest. In the case of diarrhea and no vomiting, it is okay to give food and water. Keep the foods very bland like boiled chicken and rice or just plain rice. You can give water or if the diarrhea is lasting a long time gatorade or pedialyte for the electrolytes.
Wounds or any injury is another common emergency. This is very tricky and really varies from case to case. With open wounds that are bleeding, we really need to focus on getting the bleeding under control. The best way to do this is to apply pressure to the wound. Sometimes even this does not work and a great backup is using ice or something frozen over the wound. I personally like frozen peas, the bag really conforms over any surface so you really can cover the area. Always place a cloth or towel between the ice and wound area so it won’t cause any tissue damage. The ice causes blood vessels to shrink and usually stops the bleeding.
Once the bleeding is under control, place a bandage over the wound with some pressure. If the bleeding was mild and easy to get under control, I want you to clean the wound first. You can use betadyne, chlorhexiderm or hydrogen peroxide to clean the area. A word of warning about hydrogen peroxide, the oxidation of the tissues which causes it to bubble actually damages normal tissues just as much as it kills bacteria. Using it once is okay but if you do it multiple times it actually makes the wound worse because more and more normal tissue dies. After cleaning the wound, place triple antibiotic ointment over the area. Now it is time to bandage the wound; if you have non-stick pads it is great to cover the wound with this first. If the wound is on the trunk you can use an old sweater or shirt to cover it. Duct tape over the cloth to apply pressure can also help. Once you get it bandaged, keep your pet very confined, place them in a crate so they cannot move around very much.
If your pet breaks a leg or is limping, always try to immobilize your pet in a carrier or something small. If that is impossible you can try splinting the leg to stabilize the fracture. You can use a magazine or newspaper to encircle the area of the fracture to make it stiff and unmovable. Once again you can use duct tape to keep it from coming off. Make it snug but not too tight. Always leave the toes uncovered because if they swell, your bandage is definitely too tight. For pain control, aspirin is safe if only given for a day or two. If given any longer aspirin can cause stomach or intestinal ulcers and liver problems. NEVER use aspirin if your pet has any bleeding because it will make it worse. Ask your veterinarian about what dose to give based on your pets weight. They can also explain the long term dangers of using aspirin for any length of time.
Each emergency is unique but I hope the above topics help you manage your pet’s emergencies until you can seek professional veterinary help. It is always a good idea to talk to your local veterinarian about getting together a veterinary first aid pack so you have everything you need if a problem arises. Also, there is now a new after-hours emergency hospital in North Georgia called the North Georgia Animal Emergency Hospital. It is open 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. Monday through Friday and open 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday if you need assistance or after hour advice. Their number is 706-632-7879. If you are further south there is also the Cherokee Emergency Hospital in Woodstock and their number is 770-924-3720.
By Nancy Davis
Tea Party publicity
The Pickens County Tea Party wants to know why the United States has dropped to 35th in the world in quality of education? Why are we building SUPER, million dollar complexes and spending a higher amount of money per student without seeing the positive results of a better, smarter young person?
What we need is QUALITY education, not quantity buildings. QUALITY must be the ruler we use to determine learning environment we give our students.
Learning used to be fun. Parents used to get involved. Testing was done but there was not a life or death attitude in getting every child into college.
Maybe we lose some of our kids, not because they don't care or aren't smart enough, but because the emphasis on a college education is not necessarily the best answer for every child. So what we need to do is go back to determining who the individual child is and what their needs are.
Hence, National School Choice Week January 23-29, 2011. Let's take time to look at the educational systems and begin to provide effective educational options for EVERY child. Visit your schools, listen to the teachers, observe classes, observe use of available facilities and see if our children are getting all the options available.
Much money has been spent to provide technical schools in areas. Chattahoochee Technical College here in our community provides excellent opportunities for our kids (and adults) and supports our communities through providing additional options for many students who don't want, or can't, attend college.
Our drop in the educational ladder of the world has put America in a tight to produce that innovative, out of the box mentality that once fueled America to be the leader in the world. Shine a spotlight on education.
Help your school system to help our kids effectively.
In Pickens County, about 2/3rds of our taxes goes to education. Budgets get bigger and maintenance costs get higher. Budgets balloon but are our schools giving our kids what they need?
You have to get involved to make an informed decision.
Wendy Lowe is now our new Pickens County School Board Chairperson.
The time of the monthly board meetings is going to 7 p.m. to try to allow PARENTS to get involved in their children's education. A new, fresh perspective-much needed.
But it is our responsibility to support new ideas if it creates a better environment of learning for our children. Home schools, private schools, public school, Christian based schools-all must come together to give our children the best opportunities to become educated, productive adults.
Are you up to the task? The Pickens County Tea Party thinks we must EDUCATE ourselves to get up to speed and make the best opportunities we can for our kids. After all, they are the future of America.
Do we want to be 35th in the world or 1st?
By Janis Kleinberger, Executive Director of Emerging Healthcare
Do you know what happened in 2010? Now when I ask someone in our community if they know about Emerging Healthcare, almost everyone says “Yes!”
That’s because our affordable education programs and services are touching hundreds of your lives – promoting healthier lifestyles through prevention, easing chronic conditions, and improving health and well-being.
To start this New Year off right I would like to announce that Emerging Healthcare, a registered 501(c)3, will be offering some life-changing programs for 2011 that will help you attain the healthy, fulfilling life you want. Just imagine, this year can really be your year for waking up everyday feeling wonderful!
You and your family can add healthier, happier years to your life and we can put Pickens County on the map as an outstanding model 5-STAR healthy lifestyles community for Georgia.
All of this is possible, and much more this year.
Here are a few exciting programs we at Emerging Healthcare have coming down the pipeline in 2011:
• 5-STAR (Step Toward Amazing Results!) Diabetes Program: In collaboration with the Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center, we are launching our 5 STAR (Step Toward Amazing Results!) Diabetes Program to assist people at risk for and diagnosed with Diabetes. What makes this program unique?
Our team of screened professionals will coordinate programs and services that address the 5 STAR lifestyle: *Mindful Nutrition*Stress Management *Movement & Fitness *Healthy Relationships and *Continuous Support. These are the key elements that can bring lasting results. In addition to our Mountain Mover Walking Groups some of our services include: nutrition consultations by a registered dietician, personal assessments, healthy cooking classes, emotional support, and more.
• Emerging Healthcare is partnering with the Nurturing Family Center of Georgia to offer Nurturing Parenting Programs for parents in Pickens County either expecting children or who have children through pre-school age. Beginning in February, weekly classes will teach parents how to raise a healthy happy baby and build parent-child bonding. This is a wonderful opportunity for young families in Pickens County. Stay tuned for more details.
• Pickens County Head Start Apple Seeds and Jumping Beans Project: Georgia has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the country. Emerging Healthcare was awarded a grant from the American Medical Association (AMA) Healthy Living Program.
This program addresses critical healthy lifestyle issues by providing mini-grants to grassroots organizations who are on the front lines in their communities. Through the imaginative Apple Seeds and Jumping Beans Project Emerging Healthcare is self-empowering 180 Head Start children and their parents with healthy nutrition tools and movement activities to prevent childhood obesity, which is rampant in our community. Parents are attending monthly education programs, and the children are receiving weekly yoga instruction and aerobic exercises in the classroom.
In addition, we are developing a toolkit of activities, resources, and incentives to promote a shift toward healthier habits. Just imagine how good life can be. Take action to give yourself and your loved ones the gift of health in 2011. We’re here to support you, from youth to the golden years. Finally, I would like to extend a big thank you to the ongoing dedication of our screened and trained health practitioners, our advisory committee (Suzanne Bryant, Kathy Glenn, John Hubay, Keith Hunter, Carol Mastroianni, Don Russell, Richard Sims, Larry Toney, and Susan Wright) and all of our incredible volunteers and the Pickens County Progress. The word is out. Call 706.253.2290 to Step Toward YOUR Amazing Results.
Visit www.emerginghealthcare.org for more information.
By Ron Barnes
Associate Broker – Prudential Georgia Realty
A common question being asked by those wanting to sell their home is “what price can we ask to guarantee our home will sell within the next (fill in the time period)?” The truth is there is no magic formula to answer that question. However, there is a way to approach the question. It is called absorption rate pricing.
Space will not allow me to go into great detail to explain this, so check with your real estate professional if you have questions.
The following illustration represents “The Pond” of homes circulating through the market. The “flow” is the top layer representing those homes most aggressively priced that enter the market stream and flow out quickly. The “show” is the group of homes that get shown, but never get offers. The “stagnant mass” is where many homes reside in this market; priced too high, they never even get a showing, much less an offer.
The Absorption Rate is the ability of the real estate market to “absorb” or sell all of the houses for sale in a given amount of time. For example, if 50 homes are sold every month and there are 600 homes for sale, it will take 12 months to sell all of the homes currently on the market. If there are 1,200 homes for sale, the absorption period will be 24 months. This does not take into consideration new listings that come on the market, withdrawn listings, and listings that expire.
If you would like to sell in 12 months, you need to take the absorption rate into account. In the above scenario with 2400 homes for sale, we know that only 1/2 of them will sell in the next 12 months. If you need to sell within the next 12 months you need to price the property in the lower 50% of the price range for similar properties in order for it to sell in the next 12 months. To sell in the next 6 months it would have to be priced in the lower 25% of the competition.
Obviously this article is more theoretical than practical, since the details of your home and local market need to be applied. However, it is no accident that while the average absorption rate for Pickens over the last 15 months is 4.13, the average for homes under $100,000 is nearly three times that rate. Interestingly, homes priced from $250-300K are at about half the rate compared to homes in the $200-250K range, so if your home is worth $240,000 and you’re trying to squeeze it for $260,000, you’re only fooling yourself.
By John Rosemond
Given that this is the first column of a new year, I’m proposing a number of 2011 parenting Resolutions for my readers. The list is by no means comprehensive. It’s just a good beginning on what is probably a much-needed family revolution:
1. We will not throw expensive “event parties” for our children on their birthdays. Instead, we will confine all birthday celebrations to our family, including extended family. We will keep it uncomplicated: a special dinner of the birthday boy or girl’s favorite food, a cake, the obligatory song, and a few simple gifts, mostly clothing or other useful things.
2. We will spend at least as much time helping our children develop good manners as do helping them get good grades in school, which means we will cut back significantly on the time helping with the latter (in consideration of the fact that good manners, which are expressions of respect for others, will take one further in life than will good grades). Each week, we will work on one specific social courtesy, such as saying “excuse me” when you walk in front of someone. Taking two weeks off, that’s fifty courtesies a year!
3. We will show our love for our neighbors by properly disciplining our children, insisting on proper behavior, and reprimanding immediately (even if that means in front of other people) when they behave otherwise, and on those occasions we will also insist they apologize appropriately.
4. If we have not already done so, we will assign a routine of daily chores to each of our children (at least those who have reached their third birthdays) and we will insist that said chores be done, and done properly, before they engage in recreation or relaxation.
5. When our children ask us for cell phones, we will tell them that they may have cell phones when they are able to pay for them as well as the monthly bills.
6. When our children complain that they are the only kids who don’t have cell phones (and do chores), we will tell them that learning how to be different is character-building.
7. Our children will not be able to order customized meals unless we take them to a restaurant. At home, they will eat what we are eating, and they will sit at the table until they are finished. We will do this so that when they are invited to eat at someone else’s home, they will be the best of guests.
8. We will surely bond with our children, but we will not bond with them in the marital bed, nor will we bond with them in their beds.
9. In keeping with number 8, we will put our marriage first and our children second…for their sake as well as ours. They will revolve around us; thus, they will not grow up thinking the world revolves around them.
10. If I am a single parent, I will take good care of myself for my sake as well as my children’s. I will have an active, adult’s only, social life. I will take plenty of personal time to simply relax and do those things I like to do. I will do all of that so that my children will not ever think the world revolves around them.
11. We/I will put our/my children to bed early so that we/I can end each day reconnecting as a couple or relaxing as a single.
12. We will eat as a family around our own table at least six nights a week.
13. We will keep after-school activities to a minimum, and only let them enroll in activities that do not prevent us from delivering on number 11.
14. Instead of buying our children expensive things, we will help them develop hobbies and take them to museums and on trips.
15. We will do all of the above so that when they grow up, they will have wonderful memories of their childhoods and raise our grandchildren in a manner that honors us.
Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parents’ questions on his website at www.rosemond.com.