Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Calamities All Around

SillyBilly and Napoleona have gunky colds. Which for SillyBilly means another round of nebulized albuterol and, this time, several doses of oral prednisone. He's seeming to be over the hump and is now just producing epic amounts of mucus from all quarters.

To add to that, since yesterday afternoon he's been going around with fingers in his mouth, complaining about his tooth hurting. At first I just thought it was referred pain from his sinus congestion, but he kept indicating a specific tooth, and then last night he woke up twice crying and he ate very little dinner or breakfast this morning.

This morning it was no better, so SillyBilly had his first dentist appointment! (I know, he probably should have had one a few years ago.) Everything is fine with the tooth in question, and all the other teeth -- including the big back molars that are coming in and causing the pain. He's teething!

We got a recommendation from our pediatrician for a children's dentist who uses alternative therapies and doesn't push fluoride. He recommended clove oil (my mom's recommendation too!) and homeopathic chamomile to ease the pain.

I talked to SillyBilly on the phone just now, while he was on the way to get a snack with Papa. He informed me that he was brave, and that the dentist's office has some sort of treasure box. I can't wait to hear all about that!

* * *

I've been following the news of the huge wildfires in California, as they are occurring in areas where I have family and friends.

(NASA's Earth Observatory Satellite imagery)

Most of my immediate family lives underneath that smoke cloud to the top, below the Ranch Fire. The big problem with the San Diego-area fires is that the winds are pushing the fires west, which is to say, toward all the populated areas.

Southern California typically only gets rain during the winter months, with the rest of the year being completely dry. The natural terrain is all resinous brush and dry grasses. Added to that, the Santa Ana winds are fierce this time of year. The area around Lake Arrowhead has an added problem of huge areas of dead pine trees, which were killed by a beetle infestation.

This terrain is thought to be naturally rejuvenated by periodic fires. Some plants in fact do not reproduce except after fires! But with fire-suppression policies, manmade fires (arson as well as downed power lines and overturned vehicles) and increasing human encroachment into canyons and other remote areas, what was once a periodic, healthy occurence is now a major disaster.

Last I read, 500,000 people have been evacuated. This time, having learned something from Hurricane Katrina, President Bush has responded quickly with federal aid. Now we just need the wind to die down.

Update: For a good overall picture of the fire/climate/people interaction in So Cal, read this.

2 comments:

Kerryn said...

My mum also recommends clove oil for toothache but I've found mild relief with sage leaves. I hope those teeth come through soon, for SillyBilly's sake.

The California fires are scary. While the fires in Victoria at the end of last year devastated millions of acres of land very little property or human life was at risk. One of the dubious benefits of living in a sparsely populated country, I guess. I hope that your family and friends come through this safely.

Henitsirk said...

Kerryn: I tried to make sage tea for him last night but we were all out!

I was thinking of you and Helen when I noticed on the NASA site some pictures of fires in Northern Territory. Similar climates, I think.

I talked to my dad yesterday who said that the only ones who are actually close to a burning area, some of my step-siblings, are not in any danger. Otherwise everyone's just feeling the effects of all the smoke.

Then my mom said that there was a tiny fire near where she lives, in a ravine near many houses. Luckily it was doused quickly, but it was clearly manmade. I can't imagine what people are thinking messing around like that!