Friday, January 30, 2009

Thalidomide – A Haunt From the Past

When I was a young teen, I went to the county fair with a group of friends like most kids do. I remember the tent we walked by several times advertising “freaks”. My curiosity peaked, I wanted to check it out but my friends said, “Don’t waste your money. It’s all fake stuff, a hoax, and a rip off.” They went on some rides and I decided I had to see for myself. What I saw that day changed my life forever. There was the 2-headed cow and the little person about three feet tall. Both behind ropes so you could not get too close to see if they were fake. But, that is not what grabbed my attention. Up close, I saw an unborn fetus in a jar of formaldehyde with no arms and legs, big posters describing the thalidomide caused birth defects, and pictures of babies who had indeed been born with no arms and legs. Okay, if this was a hoax someone sure had a sick sense of how to make a buck. If it was real, then how could anyone let something like this happen? How could they not know this drug would cause these horrific birth defects? Reality or hoax, the shock factor lived in my subconscious for years.

Fast-forward nearly 30 years. Pregnant with mild morning sickness, my doctor offered a prescription to alleviate the symptoms. I shuddered although I was not sure why the suggestion prompted such intense feelings. Fast-forward about five more years. I stumbled upon an article on the Internet regarding the approval of thalidomide by the FDA (for a different use). Suddenly, it all came flooding back to me. The images of unborn deformed babies and Thalidomide Babies born with no arms and legs. No, it was not a hoax. The thalidomide caused birth defects was a very real and tragic situation that occurred back in the 1950’s and 60’s. It unsettled me for a few days as I thought of how crazy this must be. I soon put all the thoughts aside after several thankful prayers for my healthy son. Now, a few years later more news seems to be regularly cropping up about thalidomide. More applications are being discovered all the time and more countries around the world are approving it for many new uses. This time, I find I cannot put the thoughts aside. We all have an obligation to our subsequent generations to pass on our knowledge and wisdom to them. That is why I have vowed to do what I can to increase awareness of the potential consequences of this drug when taken by the wrong person at the wrong time.

For starters, I have written two articles:

The Thalidomide Tragedy – Will History Repeat Itself?

Help Avoid More Thalidomide Baby Births

I feel like we are watching a big snowball rolling downhill, gaining momentum before it finally hits the huge boulder at the bottom of the hill smashing it to bits. Let’s all work together to change the path of that snowball before it hits the boulder.

Friday, January 23, 2009

This Crazy Weather Is For The Birds! NOT!

About a month ago, it was well below zero for a week. Lately, we have been teased with 50F degree weather but yesterday it dropped to zero again – within a few hours. Weather patterns around the world seem to be getting more erratic. Humans are definitely affected in many different ways by the crazy weather but we find ways to cope. Whenever the extreme weather is causing extra hardship to our daily routines, I cannot help but think about the hardship that wildlife must endure. I come home at the end of the day to a warm home, prepare a warm meal for my family, and sip warm coffee or tea as I watch the wild birds through my kitchen window feasting on wild bird seed from a homemade bird feeder. It warms my heart to help in little ways that I can.

In these tough economic times, many people feel that they cannot afford to think about the wildlife – even the little wild birds. I think we can’t afford not to think about the wildlife. Each creature on this earth plays a role in the fragile balance of our ecology. Mother Nature is sometimes cruel enough, but since mankind has also upset the balance of our ecology, destroying habitats and food sources of our wildlife, do you not think we owe a little helping hand whenever we can? I have shopped for bird feeders on numerous occasions and every time, I am in awe at the prices ranging up into the hundreds of dollars. We manage comfortably on a modest budget. We certainly would not be in a position to help our feathered friends at those prices. Frankly, I do believe it would eliminate the potential from most of the population.

A couple of years ago I discovered a clever little gadget that makes it affordable for most of us to feed the wild birds and enjoy the rewards of bird watching too. As an additional bonus, it helps the environment by keeping some of the plastic soda bottles out of the landfills. If everyone made just one, think of how many bottles would be put to good use instead of using energy to be recycled or filling up landfills that are already overburdened with garbage. You can make this wild bird feeder for less than $5.00. I have written an article to show you step-by-step instructions. Once you see how quick, easy, and inexpensive this project is, I hope you will begin the rewarding experience of helping our joyful feathered friends for many years to come. Please visit again to share your bird watching experiences. May your day always begin with the gift of a song bird.

How To Make a Quick and Easy Wild Bird Feeder With a Reused Plastic Bottle