The concept of an Intensive Care Unit – ICU – is not actually that old in the history of hospitals. In 1950, an anesthesiologist named Peter Safer came up with the idea of keeping patients who were on ventilators and under sedation in a specialized part of the hospital where they could be given specialized care. A few years later, in 1953, an ICU unit was set up in Copenhagen, Denmark during the polio epidemic. Two years later, the United States got its first ICU unit. These special units were expanded to include care for patients with any severe condition such as heart attacks or other life-threatening illnesses that required intensive monitoring.
Dr. Dave Walker was an anesthesiologist in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa at the beginning of the use of ICU units. Back then, an anesthesiologist didn’t just stay with the patient during surgery, then turn them over to another doctor in the hospital. No, the anesthesiologist continued to care for the patient during their time in ICU, checking on them every day and writing orders for their care. Only when the patient was improved enough to transfer to a regular hospital room did the anesthesiologist hand off the daily monitoring of the person to another doctor in the hospital.
Bookstores and public libraries in our state have been closed for two months now due to the pandemic. I have been re-reading some of the books around the house, and this book was an excellent one to pull out again.
“The Devil In Pew Number Seven” is the true story of the terror that the author’s family experienced when she was a young child. Rebecca’s father was a minister who got on the wrong side of a man in his church in North Carolina. Actually, the man wasn’t even officially a member of the church. He just attended there, always sat in pew number 7, and exerted a tremendous amount of control over the congregation. Most people were intimidated enough by the guy to just do whatever he suggested, but Rebecca’s father refused to be bullied.
Karl and Debbie were a young married couple who were working in a hospital in Eritrea, a province of Ethiopia. Control over Eritrea had changed many times. For awhile the Italian colonial army was in charge, then the British took over, then the United Nations paired it up with Ethiopia, which annexed it. Many Eritreans were not happy about losing their national sovereignty, and organized the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF). This was the revolutionary group that kidnapped Debbie Dortzbach.
Not everyone has the time or the interest in reading long books. If you prefer just reading news articles and blogposts online, consider checking out websites like History.com. Along the top of their homepage is the link to “This Day In History”. It gives the reader a look back over hundreds of years, picking a variety of events that stand out.
It’s springtime, and we’re stuck at home. With so much time at home, we’re noticing the winged critters just outside our home more. The variety of birds that fly about the yard is amazing. I dusted off my bird book and tried to figure out what sort of birds I was seeing. It’s a fun thing to help us pass the time. Although this is an older book, it hasn’t really outdated because, well, birds are still birds!
In the second half of Johnny Cash’s autobiography, he writes of his great fight to overcome drug addiction. As happens with so many others, he relapsed at times. But he didn’t give up, and was able to get back on track again. Mr. Cash was able to continue writing songs, recording, and performing live concerts.
I am more than half-way through Johnny Cash’s autobiography now. Part 1, “Cinnamon Hill” was great, with him describing his childhood and the purchase of a home in Jamaica that was built in 1734. The house is built like a fortress, and has withstood all manner of tropical storms.
In the late 1800s, Johnstown was a prospering coal and steel town in Pennsylvania, on the banks of the Conemaugh River. Rain and snowfall from the Allegheny Mountains above the town fed the river as it twisted and snaked past tiny villages on its way to Johnstown. High up in the mountains was an exclusive summer resort with an old dirt dam. Over the years, various people had examined the dam wall and expressed the opinion that it was not in good condition and needed work, to which the resort paid no attention.
How far would you be willing to go to help a member of your family achieve their dream? Bill and Sara Connell were a young couple who just wanted to have a baby. They had assumed it would be easy to start a family. But when they decided it was time to pursue parenthood, and Sara stopped taking birth control pills, nothing happened. So they turned to fertility doctors for help. Through IVF (in vitro fertilization), they were finally able to get pregnant, only to have it end five months later with stillborn twins. The next in vitro pregnancy ended in miscarriage. Bill and Sara were totally devastated, and nearly out of money to pursue their dream of parenthood. On the verge of giving up, Sara’s mom Kristine made a shocking suggestion: Let me be your surrogate.
The autobiography of Edward Snowden was among the best non-fiction I have read in the last few years. It’s the story of a man who began life in the pre-computer life, then fell in love with computers as they became a part of the average American’s home. Those were the glory days of technology, when kids and adults alike were amazed by the ability to instant-message a friend on the other side of the country, pull up news articles on the internet, and play online video games. No one had an inkling that the new technology would be used to spy on millions of innocent people.
Ed was born into a family that worked for the government – the Coast Guard, the FBI, U.S. District Court, and the Federal Judicial Center. So it just seemed natural that he would also work in a government job. He missed nine months of class time in high school due to mono, but studied at home and took the GED test as an alternative to repeating the school year. He started college before the rest of his classmates, and went on to study at the University of Liverpool in England.