WHAT A WEEK!
Hurricane Harvey wrecking havoc in Gulf Coast lives with parts of U.S. cities under water – tragic deaths -- thousands of people in shelters. Another part of the world revealing South Asia experiencing monsoon rains causing many deaths due to flooding in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Buildings collapsed in Mumbai, India. Traumatic experiences for so many whose lives have been altered in many ways.
Disasters began to strike closer to home with wildfires in Southern California erupting in the midst of our record-setting three digit teen figure temperatures as the work week ended. The heat has been made even more miserable given the humidity we’re experiencing from unusual monsoon moisture to which we’re unaccustomed. These fires are far enough away to pose no danger to my community.
Toward the Pacific Coast, west of where I live, the largest wildfire ever within Los Angeles city limits, La Tuna, continues to threaten several communities including Burbank. Fickle winds fan scorching fires racing over San Fernando Valley hillsides burning almost 6000 acres. A hundred or so So Cal firefighters are in Texas necessitating a call here for more help, reportedly.
So far only a few So Cal houses have been lost though thousands of residents have had to vacate their homes. A few have been allowed to return home as I write this – others wait breathlessly watching from afar one large condominium complex as the fire creeps slowly down the hillside toward their development. Thousands of other homes are without power.
Now, miles east of here, the Palmer Fire in Riverside County has an out of control fire raging over 3000 acres endangering homes there. Officials report this firestorm was unintentionally started by individuals playing with fireworks.
Planes dropping fire-retardant Foscheck -- water-dropping helicopters flying day and night -- aid the firefighters on the ground in containing these wildfires. Fleeing wild animals including antlered deer are seen as are other creatures running for their lives. Smoke-filled darkening skies with winds spewing ashes into the air fill our TV news coverage.
Owners are shown corralling frantic horses with young sons riding some out of danger while others are loaded for transporting to safety. Domestic pets, including dogs, cats, even chickens, are caged and crated to join other personal possessions with which their owners must quickly depart.
Many of these flood and fire residents displaced permanently or temporarily, believed that this would never happen to them. But, between the water and fire we are reminded that we may not be as immune to human mistakes as well as nature’s environmental catastrophes as we might like to believe.
Coincidentally, explosions -- a hydrogen bomb -- detected in North Korea has been determined to be the country’s sixth nuclear test. They say the warhead is for its intercontinental ballistic missile believed to be capable of striking anywhere in the U.S. Our Pentagon says we are protected by missile interceptors though some say not 100%.
I wish I could have more confidence our nation’s leader was capable of making rational decisions on how to best govern under these circumstances for the best interest of U.S. citizens and the world. I can only hope the judgment of knowledgeable sane heads surrounding him prevails.
This past week has brought us a humdinger of a heat wave with temperatures soaring into three digits. I keep my appointments though the close humid atmosphere in one new-to-me small compact area business, though air conditioned, caused me to experience what were slight dehydration feelings after I’d been there about an hour, so I sat a bit and drank ice water before I left. I always carry water in my car, too.
After about three hours of in and out of A/C from my auto in the parking lot to one place or another, I concluded my errands with shopping at my grocery. By then, my body was telling me to acquiesce to having help with carry-out to my car -- that my energy had become sapped by even those brief times in that 111 degree moist heat. I was more than pleased to arrive home where I’ve remained indoors since I replenished my supplies.
Accepting help from others in an appreciative and gracious manner makes the whole experience so much more pleasant for the helper and the recipient. I think we accept assistance in some situations more readily than in others as I did with carry-out at the grocery store. I’m reminded that when I worked I observed with adults of all ages, but often with some of those who were older, a reluctance to allow, much less ask for help in other settings and situations.
I suppose there can be different reasons why this is so – a person wants to “do it myself” which can be desirable, even appropriate. The person is determined to be independent when they really aren’t able to safely be so, may talk in a grumpy grouchy manner, and be uncooperative.
Sometimes that person unrealistically believes they are more capable than they are, so may undertake unsafe activities despite cautions, even instructions, to do otherwise.
One major example might be insisting on walking without using a prescribed walker. Another could be not waiting for a caregiver’s assistance to aid their getting up from bed or a chair to safely walk to another room.
Those are simplistic instances of when two people can have an unpleasant experience – the person and the caregiver, often a spouse. I think when we experience pain and discomfort we may be more prone to be unpleasant, too – reflecting how we feel to others, however unintentional that might be.
I hope I’ll always be able to recognize any of my limitations, accept or ask for assistance when appropriate, and express my appreciation to those who provide me the support I might need.
Every small positive effort or gesture we make toward deserving others can help create an atmosphere to make life more pleasant -- whatever the world situation that exists around us.