Category Archives: Health

A Woman And A Racoon Walk Into A Bar. . .

Yesterday the Fargo Forum reported that bar patrons in Maddock, ND, who were in the Maddock Bar the night of September 6 needed to be aware that they may have been exposed to rabies. It seems a rather intoxicated woman came into the bar holding a racoon she had rescued days earlier from the side of the road. She was asked to leave the bar, but not before she walked all around the bar showing people her racoon. The racoon was reportedly injured when she found it, and she had nursed it back to health and was keeping it as a pet. It is illegal to keep racoons or skunks as pets here due to the threat of rabies. They are still looking for the woman and her racoon. The bar employees say they are going to dress up as racoons for Halloween,

When I was about 6 years old, I tried lifting a friend’s rather fat beagle into my father’s fishing boat that was stored along side the garage. The beagle was not amused, and bit me on my face. It was just a nip, but my mother was panicked about it. The beagle’s owners refused to lock the dog up the required number of days to see if it was rabid, so I had to have a series of rabies shots. I got the shots under my shoulder blades. It was painful. I wouldn’t want to go through that again. The beagle wasn’t rabid, by the way, and he and I remained friends.

Know any good bar jokes? What animals would you like to see in bars? What are your experiences with rabies or rabies shots?

An Apple a Day?

My dad was a big baby about getting sick.  Luckily he didn’t get sick often – mostly when my mom would just be recovering from something.  Right about the time she was feeling a bit better, he would come down with whatever bug had afflicted her.  My sister and I had always joked about it but then it got really funny the summer before my junior year when he caught my mom’s “persistent stomach flu” and it turned out she was actually pregnant. 

That old trope about women marrying men like their fathers hit a little too close to home with my second was-band.  He was pathetic and unbelievably whiny when he was ill – to the point that I was usually out of patience within the first 24 hours.  Me!

With these shining examples, I’ve pretty much always kept my sicknesses to myself.  Since my doctors figured out my adult-onset allergies, I’ve actually been quite healthy for the last 20 years, including managing to get through pandemic so far without contracting any of the variants.  Then last week I came down with a cold (yep, just a cold; I’ve tested twice).  It’s the first time I’ve had a cold in at least 10 years. 

Being retired, I didn’t need to call in sick so except for an occasional “stuck with a summer cold” text, I was pretty much just laying low.  As the weekend approached, I realized I might have a couple of conflicts that didn’t jive well with having a bad cold.  First was my other book club that was scheduled at my house on Saturday morning.  One of the members is a little fragile; didn’t want to her to catch the cold and honestly I wasn’t up to cooking and getting the place picked up.  On Friday morning I contacted everybody and re-scheduled.  Was still hoping to attend Steve’s celebration in person – tripled masked and standing in the back of the room.  Saturday morning I was still too symptomatic so switched to the virtual celebration.

It made me feel a little silly, bowing out of commitments I had made, just because of a cold, and I worried a bit that I was blowing my cold out of proportion, acting like my dad or my was-band.  But if pandemic has done anything good, it’s made me realize that I really shouldn’t drag my contagious germs around and expose innocent folks, even if it’s “just a cold”.  And I did put on a dressy shirt and earrings for the virtual!

Guess I have a couple more days of laying low and looking up silly sick memes.

How do you take care of yourself when you’re sick?

Not For Human Consumption

Our puppy is an avid chewer, and we get him faux rawhide treats to satisfy his cravings. Rawhide is hard to digest, and the fake stuff is described in one site as made from “Human grade food ingredients that are nutritious, highly digestible and completely healthy for your dog”.

As I perused a new bag of chews, I noticed in rather large letters these words: Not for human consumption. These were flat and thin chews about 4 X 6 inches in size. There is certainly nothing about them that made me want to start chewing on them. Are there people who would actually think it was ok to chew on these things? Are people that ignorant? Have parents given them to their teething infants? What would make a company put something like that on their products? I just don’t know what to think!

What are some perplexing and unnecessary warnings you have seen on products? What foods do you think are not for human consumption?


I have lumbar scoliosis, along with years of cruddy posture. I even slump when I drive. I had physical therapy several years ago, which really helped my lower back pain. Like many, I stopped doing my exercises after the pain went away.

A few months ago I started to have chronic sciatica in both legs, and got a referral for more physical therapy. My new therapist assessed the situation and told me that she was surprised I could even walk, since all the muscles in my lower back and hips that ought to hold me upright weren’t doing their job, and the hip flexor muscles in the front of my body were doing it instead. Sitting at a desk all day in a bad chair only made things worse. (The ergo guy at work ordered a really good office chair with great lumbar support for me last month, so that problem is solved.)

I am currently in a lot of pain all over my back and legs since, as my physical therapist told, all my muscles are mad at me as we are doing exercises to get the back muscles to do their job and the front muscles to do their job. I am also being very mindful of my posture, even when I drive, and that has also stirred up some muscle pushback. All of this has reminded me of the Pushmepullyou from Dr. Doolittle.

My mother constantly harrased me about my posture. Ok mom, you were right! I should have listened! I don’t remember ever liking the Dr. Doolittle books much. I found the writing kind of stuffy, but the plot was fun. I appreciate the tug of war concept with the Pushmepullyou. My hips can relate.

What animals would you like to talk to? Ever had physical therapy? What did you parents tell you that you should have listened to but didn’t.


I was quite amused yesterday on my way to work to see our insurance agent presumably driving to his office. He was riding a motorcycle. HE WASN’T WEARING A HELMET!

It seems to me that being an insurance agent means you exemplify caution and careful living. I remember the conversation we had together with our son when he got his driver’s license, and our agent told him to never hesitate to phone him any time, night or day, if he had been drinking and needed a ride home. Well, I wonder what he says to young motorcycle drivers he insures about helmets?

Our agent goes to our church and has a lovely tenor voice and sings with us in the choir. I can hardly wait to tease him about this.

What do you like to tease people about? What irony have you noticed this week? Any stories about insurance agents or companies?

This and That

This weekend’s Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

Two weeks plus post-surgery and putting socks on is still kind of a process. Picking black raspberries was harder than I expected, too. But I’m getting there.

Last Monday the two corners of CRP got planted to a ‘pheasant habitat’ blend of wildflowers and grasses. And we got three loads of crushed rock delivered for the farmyard. One dumped in a pile for use as needed and the other two spread on the road.

We have a brush pile of sticks collected from the yard since December, and we’ve been meaning to burn it all spring. Several times Kelly has said “This would be a good night to burn the brush pile” and then we fall asleep on the couch.

But the other night we were out there ready to do it! Aaaand there’s a duck nesting under it. Sigh.

A few years ago, we started a pile of sticks on fire and there was a good blaze going before a chicken came running out from under it. So, we look before we light it now. The duck only has three eggs… not sure they’re even fertilized. But the fire is still on hold.

I’m delivering straw this weekend with my friend Paul, and we’re going out in the middle of nowhere. It’s a Winona Address…and it’s a great drive on lonely gravel roads and hills and valleys and S-turns and I have a printed map because there is no cell phone reception down in there. I love going there.

Crops are looking good. Two weeks ago, I had a photo of Kelly on July 4 and the corn was up to her waist. In 10 days, it’s doubled in height.

Soybeans are up to her knees.

I’ve talked about 15” rows vs. 30” rows and how we like the crops to canopy to help prevent weeds growing. Compare these photos: first is the neighbors 30” rows and second is my 15” rows.

Growing degree units are 1384, 94 above normal for my area. The hot weather coming helps, but the plant actually shuts down above 86 degrees, so we don’t actually gain GDU’s after that.

See this corn plant growing in the middle of the soybeans.

That’s called ‘volunteer corn’ and it can be a problem in soybeans. Because we use crop rotation, usually a bean field this year was corn last year. If a storm or disease knocked down the stalk of corn, depending how much it’s fallen over, it can make picking it up at harvest that much harder. A lot of ears may fall to the ground and grow voluntarily in the field next year. Hence the term, volunteer corn. It doesn’t generally reach maturity with full ears, but depending on the amount, it’s competing with the soybean crop and it can be a problem at harvest.

Kelly let the little chicks out to run at large. Padawan and I took down the fence and they’re enjoying all the room. Of course, a new pecking order will need to be established eventually between the old hens and the new ones.

A friend of mine in town had given me some chickens a few years ago and was ready for more, so I took two of the laying hens and one of the younger chicks to her. At her place, the two laying hens went to her outdoor run and settled right in. The younger one made a break for it. Out the coop door, through the garden (The entire backyard is garden) into her garage, out the big door, across the street, and under the neighbor’s car. Two adults and my young Padawan in pursuit. Padawan really does not have much interest in the chickens, so the last thing he wanted to do was chase this one up the street. Eventually, the young chick reversed its course: back into the garage, back into the garden, in and around all the plants, and eventually, got stuck in a narrow spot between a retaining wall and a fence.  Was captured, and returned to its new home. I really wanted a photo of all this, but I had left my phone in the truck. Use your imagination. Remember, the backyard is all garden so they’re dodging all that too. It was as funny as you imagine.


A Need To Worry?

While I was gone in Minnesota earlier this month, my colleagues on the Youth and Family Team decided I needed a new lanyard for the electronic card that opens some of our office doors. They got me the one you see in the header photo.

It looks quite nice, and is quite comfortable to wear, but there is a slight problem with it. It poses a safety issue. The beads on the lanyard are set on a strong, thin wire, and there is no catch on it that will release if the lanyard is pulled hard enough. That means someone could strangle me with it. Being strangled is something one needs to prepare for when working in a mental health facility. All the lanyards issued by our administration have safety release catches on them just for that reason.

I am not worried my colleagues have it in for me, but I thought they would have been more safety aware. We have safety in-services quite regularly. I suppose this is one of those situations I could write about to an advice. columnist “Are my coworkers trying kill me?”

Have you ever written to an advice columnist? Which ones do you like to read? Have you ever felt someone had it in for you?

Cone of Shame

Last week Guinevere took a flying leap off the back porch steps in her never-ending pursuit of squirrel removal in our back yard.  Not that this pursuit has ever shown any positive outcomes.  When she came back in, she was limping a little and leaving a little trail of bloody spots on the kitchen floor.  When YA and I wrestled her to the ground to take a look, it turns out that she had ripped one of toenails partly off below the quick.  Ouch.

Neither I nor YA was brave enough to clip off the nail so YA carted Guinevere off to the vet where they applied a little anesthetic and loped it off.  Of course that turned out to be the easy part.  Guinevere, like most dogs I assume, just could not leave the toe alone.  I’m sure after the drugs wore off, it hurt so she reacted as animals do.  Licking.  And licking.  After not long a time, she had licked her little pad raw and she didn’t show any signs of stopping.

At night we were able to wrap her foot and leg up within an inch of its life (antibiotic ointment, bandage, sock, lots of painter’s tape) but during they day, she had the wrappings off within minutes.  YA found a cone of shame up in the attic and brought it down to try to keep her away from the foot.

This turned out to be awful for the dog and for me (dog spends more time with me at night).  When we put the cone on her, she was beyond paralyzed.  She wouldn’t move, wouldn’t lay down and after about a half an hour, she started to breathe a little heavily.  Her eyes said “please, please save me” and I couldn’t stand it; I took the cone off, made her get on the bed with me and re-directed her every time she took a lick.  This went on for DAYS.  And do we even need to say that repetitive noises (like a dog licking its paw) drive me up a wall? 

Finally at the 10-day mark, she has mostly stopped bothering the toe.  The quick appears to have covered over and her pad is now longer licked raw.  I’m not sure who feels better about this – Guinevere or me?

Have you ever had to be cruel to be kind?

Mid February in Minnesota

Today’s post comes from Ben

The weather is all over the place. One day it’s 5° and windy and a little bit ugly out. One day it was 30° and almost sunny. I was seeing some 40s in the forecast but they’re gone now and it is teens and single digits, which I thought we were past. I’m ready to be done with winter.

Not much happening here on the farm, still finishing up bookwork, doing a few tweaks on Spring planting needs, and I am as boring as a one armed Lighting designer with post it notes covering my sling. Recovery still goes well, I’m off the pain meds, I’m tired of the sling already and I have over a week to go. At least it’s not five weeks to go. (The sling kinks a little at my wrist and that was bugging me. I solved that by stuffing a hotpad in there for more padding) I am moving slower than molasses in February but at least I have two legs to stand on. And I’m not wrestling ducks with one arm.

The bottom fell off one of our birdfeeders, it got to swinging in the wind and simply unscrewed. And squirrels, trying to get at the corn in the feed room, chewed through the cord of the tank heater down by the barn. The cord comes out through a crack in the feed room door, so it was in their way as they attempted to gain entrance. I took the cord back up to the shop and put a new receptacle on it; I can do that pretty much do one handed, then we fastened the cord higher up so hopefully it’s out of their way. We use this tank of warm water to thaw ice in the buckets that have froze. (The chickens like water out of a bucket better than the water in the heated water bucket.) We seem to have a lot of squirrels around this year. It’s driving the dogs nuts. Here’s a picture of Humphrey gazing out the window.

I’m having trouble washing my hands, it’s hard to wash ‘hand’. Dictation on the Mac laptop works pretty well. As does dictating to my phone. Trying to hit “Control, alt, delete” on the computer has proven difficult. Some of that is simply the keyboard being too far up on my desk.

Kelly has plowed the driveway, filled the birdfeeders, does chicken and duck chores morning and night, feeds the dogs, drives daughter around, drives me around, and tries to get some work hours in when she can. She is pretty impressive.


Virtually Fun

Since my local State agency and Husband’s State agency in Bismarck are considered health care facilities, we can’t have in-person office gatherings in which we share a meal due to pandemic protocols.

Yesterday, the social committee at my agency held our annual Christmas party over lunch hour. We all filed in to the main meeting room, filled our take-away containers with deep fried turkey, knoephla soup, and all manner of casseroles and baked goods, and returned to our offices to fire up our computers to play trivia games in a Microsoft Teams meeting. We also had a scavenger hunt to find things in our building that were either red, gold, green, or silver, based on on the team we were assigned to. I was on the red team. I took the red fire extinguisher off the all outside my office to show on-line, along with all the red items in my play therapy room.

In Bismarck, Husband’s party was also virtual during Wednesday’s lunch hour. Each “work team”, in its own space, staged a tableau from a well known Christmas movie, again, with computer video, and others were to identify the movie via chat. The Psychology Department depicted a scene from “Jingle All The Way”. This was followed by an all-out, virtual Pictionary game drawn on a white board for people to guess the Christmas song depicted. Everyone’s answers were delivered via Microsoft Teams chat. The food came from the Pizza Ranch.

We all want to engage with one another, and we miss the camaraderie. We enjoy our coworkers so much. Virtual is as good as it gets for now. Oh, for the days when we all got together for a catered meal and live music at the Knights of Columbus Hall with spouses and partners in tow, and the Regional Director would get blitzed and start singing, and there would be pinochle into the wee hours. We were all younger then.

What are your best and worst Christmas parties ever? What kind of party would you throw if there was no pandemic?