COVID-19 – does age really matter?

Like so many of us, I have been following the news of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. We have our hard news sources, and people will debate as to which are valid and which are not – but one common thread has been the supposed effect on people over a certain age as being more serious than for younger people. I think that promoting this idea was a big mistake as it has caused fear among people who are over the publicised age – and has allowed younger people to assume that nothing would happen to them. Both are dangerous in their own way – for older people to be in fear of their lives is stressful – and STRESS on its own, at worst can kill, and at best make the fearful person totally miserable!

In the news we learned about the deaths of a number of residents in a care home in Washington State and today I read of the same happening somewhere else, and I remembered something written by Dr Deepak Chopra*. He wrote of being a young resident in a veterans’ hospital in Boston, and in one day he would run physicals on dozens of patients with all the degenerative diseases assumed to be found in the aging. Then one day he had a moment of insight – he was not seeing OLD people – he was seeing SICK people! He realised that all over America, doctors were making the same mistake.

According to the Census Bureau between 4% and 5% of seniors 65+ are in care homes or assisted living facilities – and people in those facilities will already have health issues of some kind. We have to acknowledge that the residents of care homes are already SICK people and not healthy “old” people. Data on the current pandemic has in fact shown that those who died did in fact have had 1 – 3 different diseases before being infected with COVID-19.

So, whatever your age – your individual health profile is far more important than a number calculated from the year you were born. There will be 80 year olds that breeze through this pandemic and younger people from each decade who become seriously ill. Take precautions, stay home, but do not shut yourself away like a hermit if you need to go shopping, and if you feel worried discuss your own individual health issues, if you have any, with your Doctor. If you are healthy, age is just a number.

As to any younger people reading this – you are NOT bullet proof, many of you are becoming infected, and could become seriously ill. Is one more party worth the risk? You have the internet, use it!

© Stephanie Hunt-Crowley April 1, 2020

*Dr Deepak Chopra, Ageless Body Timeless Mind, 1993, page 63

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COVID-19, a non-political view.

This morning I observed yet another Facebook dialogue on the growing severity of the COVID-19 statistics, and had to write something in response. The point that needs to be considered is NOT the current death rate but the speed of transmission and containing it to manageable levels so that the hospitals are not overwhelmed.  If not, people that should not have died will be added to the total. Containment is necessary until a vaccine can be produced. Think back to the 1950s and polio, over half a million people per year died, and many more were maimed for life. There was no government intervention of “social distancing” but I know many PARENTS observed those rules of their own volition. We were FORBIDDEN to go to public swimming pools and I am not sure what else, but we never went anywhere without parental approval. I remember a young man, or he could have been an older teen, came into the village with his parents, he had survived, but was crippled. He was in their car, parked near the Pub that was right by our house and I toddled up to say hello to him. My Mother was FURIOUS.

It is not how many died today or how many had mild symptoms and went about their day infecting other people that really matter – it is how FAST does it spread, how many are sick enough to end up in ICU and need 24 hour care by overworked and stressed nursing personnel who are putting themselves at risk of infection, and what can we, must we, do about it? It may be too late for the horse to be stopped from running out of the barn, but we still have to catch him and the other horses and put them back before they run amok in the neighbourhood leaving horse dung in every front yard.

(c) Stephanie Hunt-Crowley, March 29, 2020.

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Flummoxed and Flabbergasted!

That Woman is totally flummoxed – or as her brother would have said – gobsmacked! This IS the 21st century, folks, and the Neilsen Television ratings – which measure audience viewership figures – go back to the middle of the LAST century! 1950 to be precise. The Neilsen ratings began with radio and then moved over to Television in 1950. This is now the primary source of audience measurement in the United States. So how does it work?

No, this is not China, and there is NO national watchdog monitoring every word, every TV show, every newscast – or Uncle Fred’s favorite porn channel. There are no sneaky people peering through your windows to see if your TV has been switched on – or checking to see if you are watching on your phone.

Back when it started, Nielsen provided paper “viewer diaries” in selected cities and neighbourhoods. These were completed and analysed to discover viewership preferences and trends. These were given to households which had been recruited for the purpose – and only a PERCENTAGE of the population in each group were included. The results were then extrapolated as a percentage of the population – NOT actual viewer numbers.

Results are now tabulated electronically. The first set top meters were attached to a TV set and transmitted the data directly to Neilsen via a telephone line. Now they have what are known as PPMs – Personal People Meters which are worn like a pager – and yes, it detects audio and can track your phone too 😉 !

So, the next time you think of turning off your TV because your pet hate football team is playing, or politician talking, and you do not want them to get any ratings – fear not! Nobody is watching you, unless you have been recruited! You can safely go into your kitchen and grab all the rotten tomatoes you can find, and hurl them at the TV screen. Just make sure you clean it off afterwards!

© Stephanie Hunt-Crowley, February 5, 2020.

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It may not be what your Mother told you

But it was what I told mine!  I was on the internet this morning, on Facebook in fact, and someone was posting in a group that she had been taking some medications and was suffering some unpleasant symptoms, asking if it could be the drugs or was it her disease? I replied – and decided it would be worth posting here too!

     It scares the heck out of me when I see people posting and asking about possible drug reactions.  If you are taking ANY medication, antibiotic, anti-viral, anti-fungal in combination, and start suffering unpleasant or debilitating symptoms – PLEASE go and ask to speak to THE pharmacist at your local pharmacy. If taking a single item as a standalone medication, you can look it up on the internet, but for combinations you need professional advice.
     We all have to be aware at all times. I was given a prescription for toe fungus, but did not want to take it whilst also taking an antibiotic. I asked my Doctor was there anything I should not eat or drink, and she said No! I checked anyway – double check, failsafe, using drugs dot com. She was wrong! NO coffee, tea or any form of caffeine! I would have to be taking the taking the tablets for 6 months, she said. If I had taken them – which would I have blamed – the anti-biotic or the anti-fungal for any untoward reactions?
     So, please, if this could have been you – ask your pharmacist – he or she will know best!
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It’s all about Harry

The internet has been dominated by politics on both sides of the Atlantic in the past few months and more, but this week the social media chat has zoomed in on the announcement by Prince Harry that he will be stepping down from Royal duties. He and his wife are planning to move to Canada – and OH, and how the keyboard warriors have been loving it! I have been observing threads on Facebook, with acid comments from some women about his wife Meghan that made me think of a TV sitcom with a group of old biddies sitting around the kitchen table tearing the new occupants of the house down the road into small pieces – especially “that woman” who was the chief object of their angst.  This morning I woke up and made coffee, turned my laptop on – and faced with more of the same!  I wrote this:

Damned if he does, damned if doesn’t! If he had chosen to live his life as a 20th century Royal all the anti-royal Brits would be yammering on about anything he did and why the royal family should not exist (the critics do that already). He chooses to step back and live his life on his own terms – he is criticised for that! Yes, he has had a privileged upbringing,  but instead of resenting it (go ahead, deny it!) let him  be judged by what he does with it in the future. There have been enormously wealthy people that have become the world’s philanthropists and others have become marauding robber barons.  There have been small shopkeepers that do good works and those that give short weight on their meat and sell rotten vegetables. It is no different. It all depends on what a person chooses to do with what they have.

(c) Stephanie Hunt-Crowley

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Have you ever wondered ….?

I am sitting here this morning pondering the world, sitting on my kitchen chair that I purchased in the USA , which was made in Thailand, like my kitchen table. I poured a mug of Brazilian coffee and sat down in from of this antique American table that I am using as a desk in front of my laptop, purchased in France, and my external keyboard, purchased in the USA, both of which were made in China. I turned on my computer which connects me to a server in Paris, which connects me to news outlets in California and London and my friends in Australia.
I need to go shopping today so will soon log into the site which provides my weather information – they of course, are located in the USA – but if I wanted the weather in Afghanistan they can give me than too. I need fresh vegetables, and the tomatoes will come from Morocco, and the avocados from either Mexico or Peru. I could buy local potatoes, but I rarely eat them. I need more coffee and will probably buy Colombian today, but the bread will be fresh baked. The shortbread will come from Scotland, and the Cheddar cheese comes from there too. I might also pick up some north Atlantic smoked salmon in time for Christmas, and buy a bottle of maple syrup from Canada.
I just decided that I will also post this to my blog, so that it can be read by people all over the world as well as my friends everywhere, right here on Facebook, from Finland to Peru, from Ireland to Borneo and from Scotland to South Africa and countries in between – and perhaps someone can explain why I should express my opinions on nothing that happens outside of my own community?
(Also posted to Facebook (c) Stephanie Hunt-Crowley 18 December 2019)
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Where have all the writers gone?

I have been writing for a long time and I embraced the internet as soon as I was able. Before that I dealt with people at a distance by telephone and by post, and people that I could meet in person. All that has changed. Unless one lives in a major city where personal contacts still apply, the rest of us have to rely on the internet. At first, I thought what a good thing this would be – I could work from home, submit my work and not have to fight any commuter traffic. I could make my own hours and complete assignments on my own schedule, even if I worked overnight or on weekends. Well, that worked – for a while.

The first thing I noticed was that getting new clients was getting harder, and what people would pay was becoming lower. Then I had an AHA! moment …to begin with I was competing with people like me, who had the same expectations – and cost of living. As the internet improved, from dial up to DSL and from DSL to cable, more and more people were becoming remote contractors. The only problem was that many of them lived in places where the cost of living was much lower, and they could afford to charge less. Their clients were happy. I looked up the average rates for free-lance writers and the pay scale had not just stayed the same – it had gone down post internet! However, there was still work to be had.

Some jobs went by the wayside – I had a business broker that happily paid me to write business plans for his clients and I made good money, until anyone could buy a template and fill in the blanks. Craigslist, auto trading and real estate weeklies took away from classified ads, which did not affect me – until the newspapers and magazines which they had replaced were no longer published. It did not take long for the move to the internet to make it the dominant medium, and merchants and businesses still needed to advertise. The only difference today is that whereas in the days of print media, writers would given an assignment with a required number of words on a specified topic. This would appear in a prominent spot on the page with ads on one side or the other. Quality writing was required, features were the selling tool, and words mattered.

Today the requirement is for “content” – which is the polite way of saying words written at speed to fill the spaces between headlines created for clicks. Writers are told what words to include in the text so that they can be found by search engines. The text is also required to include embedded links, or they can added in house by the client. The links will of course divert the reader to where they can buy or order a product or service. Third world service bureaux now supply much of this as the cost is low – with on-line marketers sourcing them out, with ads on the remote working job boards at pennies on the dollar.

The future is now looking at us in the eye – there are IT companies advertising on Facebook offering systems that combine artificial intelligence or augmented intelligence with a human overseer to produce even more “content” in less time and at lower cost. Where will this lead? I wish I knew

© Stephanie Hunt-Crowley   November 28, 2019.



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