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Expat wanderer

Staph Fatalities Alarming

This is from AOL Health News but it is also featured on Good Morning America today. The government says there has been “an alarming increase” in staph infections, and the number of deaths due to these common infections could soon be overtake death from AIDs infection.

My own father spent a year dying, fighting of MRSA, which is common in many hospitals – even here in Kuwait. The old are particularly vulnerable, but so are all those with open wounds, recent hospitalizations, and compromised immune systems.

CHICAGO (Oct. 17) – More than 90,000 Americans get potentially deadly infections each year from a drug-resistant staph “superbug,” the government reported in its first overall estimate of invasive disease caused by the germ.

Deaths tied to these infections may exceed those caused by AIDS, said one public health expert commenting on the new study. Tuesdays report shows just how far one form of the staph germ has spread beyond its traditional hospital setting.

The overall incidence rate was about 32 invasive infections per 100,000 people. That’s an “astounding” figure, said an editorial in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association, which published the study.

Most drug-resistant staph cases are mild skin infections. But this study focused on invasive infections – those that enter the bloodstream or destroy flesh and can turn deadly.

Researchers found that only about one-quarter involved hospitalized patients. However, more than half were in the health care system – people who had recently had surgery or were on kidney dialysis, for example. Open wounds and exposure to medical equipment are major ways the bug spreads.

In recent years, the resistant germ has become more common in hospitals and it has been spreading through prisons, gyms and locker rooms, and in poor urban neighborhoods.

The new study offers the broadest look yet at the pervasiveness of the most severe infections caused by the bug, called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. These bacteria can be carried by healthy people, living on their skin or in their noses.

Your best protection? Wash your hands frequently, and stay out of hospitals.

You can read the rest of the article HERE.

October 17, 2007 Posted by | Education, Family Issues, Health Issues, Hygiene, News, Technical Issue | 5 Comments

“Committee” Cracks Down on Education in Kuwait

This is a small article from yesterday’s (October 16) Kuwait Times:

MOE Cracks down on foreign schools:

Kuwait: The council of undersecretaries at the Ministry of Education chaired by Minister of Education Nouriya Al-Sabeeh will discuss after Eid holidays the demands of the committee about the negative effects of some traditions to the Kuwait society.

(Excuse me? What committee is that? What negative effects of some traditions? Could you make this any more opaque? Or is the goal to have us ask these very questions?)

It continues:

The committee demands to stop foreign schools from making foreign trips until the regulations to control these trips and stop mixing girls and boys together have been issued. The committee also demands that foreign schools inform the ministry about any parties they intend to have and the agenda of that party to ensure that the nimistry is present and in order to make sure that the school abides by the MOE’s regulations.

The committee also asked the ministry to implement a plan for segregation among boys and girls in the high school classes, as it is more important than segregation at universities. The committee noted that segregation should start in school activities as a preliminary step an foreign schools should be instructed by this through a circular to be distributed to them.

Comment: Let’s face it, foreign schools have strange foreign ways, including the mixing of boys and girls. They believe it creates healthier relationships down the road when people learn to get along with all kinds of other people at a very young age.

Even now, fewer western families are coming to Kuwait because of the education situation. It is often discussed among expat groups that the quality of education available in Kuwait is slipping dramatically.

Of those expat families that do come, many are choosing to home-school to avoid the problems developing in the local schools, even the “foreign” schools. It seems to me that local people who send their kids to the better “foreign” schools do so because these schools have a reputation for providing a better level of education than the public schools – is this correct? It also seems to me that if the “foreign” schools are doing better than the local schools, perhaps it is a good idea to keep letting them do their thing, rather than regulate them too closely?

I saw a group of home-schooled kids on the beach recently, having PE. They were playing volleyball, big kids, little kids, boys and girls all together. They were having a wonderful time. They were polite, respectful and modestly dressed. There wasn’t a sign of romance, just good, healthy fun as they played.

A friend who teaches in one of the local schools tells me of little Abdul, whose pencil fell on the floor the other day and he said to her – his teacher – “Pick that up.” She just stood there, half in shock that he would speak to her – or to anyone – so disrespectfully. Abdul looked up at her with those charming big eyes and grinned. And said “You’re not going to pick it up, are you?” She laughed and said “No, you are!” and he did. Little Abdul is learning some strange foreign ways.

Some of you went to foreign schools, either here in Kuwait or elsewhere. What do you think?

October 17, 2007 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Cross Cultural, Education, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Free Speech, Kuwait, Living Conditions, News, Random Musings | 26 Comments

Paranoia: Locked Out

Yesterday was bizarre. The blog has become a part of my routine – I get up, grab a cup of coffee, pick up my e-mails, take care of any business that needs be taken care of, read my daily Lectionary readings (see blogroll) and then – I get to visit with YOU!

Imagine how I felt when I could see my blog, but couldn’t log on to it. I don’t know what the problem was.

I tried it on my computer. It kept telling me my password was wrong. Since I have worn the letters off many of the keys on my keyboard, it COULD be wrong, but you know your fingers have this kind of mechanical memory, you know how you can type and your fingers know where the letters are and you don’t even think about it, just think about what you want to say?

So I asked for a new password, thinking oh well, I could change it back to something I might be able to remember. The new password didn’t work. Three times I tried with new passwords, and nothing worked.

I went back and used Adventure Man’s computer, and still couldn’t access.

I have a life, so I went on with my life, and later in the day tried again, with the same results.

Paranoia kind of kicked in. I wondered if I was being blocked? If WordPress was being blocked?

This morning, same story, except this time I prayed and tried all the passwords, promising God if he would just help me get on, just once, I would post my problems (in case it happens again) and change my password, (in case someone has messed with me) and do all the admin work I need to get done.

I haven’t backed up the blog for a long time. I don’t really have time to do it today. Aaaarrrrgh.

But my first, paranoid though was wondering if I had annoyed someone and if I was being blocked.

Then common sense kicked in, thank God, and I figure it was just some kind of technical anomaly. . . it’s like medicine, and political “science”, and all this computer wizardry – there are a lot of black holes, information we just don’t have yet, and I am guessing that this was just one of those anomalies.

I thank you all for bearing with me, and continuing to comment and check on me!

And no, I am not blogging from Syria. The visa never came through. 😦

October 17, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Blogroll, Communication, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Free Speech, Kuwait, Technical Issue, Travel | 6 Comments