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March 11, 2012

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As I Was Saying
By Opal Toney

OpalToney7-24.jpg (37075 bytes)Seasons...
Well, I’m looking forward for spring, but when I woke up this morning and opened the door to go feed the cats and give Son #2’s dog food, whose name is “Bounce a Little,” but it takes quite a lot to feed him. I have to watch, or the cats wouldn’t get a bite!
I enjoy fall and winter when Santa comes, but spring is my favorite.

The Last Word: I enjoy them all! – O.T.

 

honeyandflag.jpg (61206 bytes)The View From Here
By Katherine Veno

Prescription drugs and our teens...
Normally, I do not delve into any sort of medication issues or drug problems unless they are something I know about personally. But I got curious after watching a program about all the teens dying from mixtures of legal drugs and alcohol. I wondered what was up with this, and wanted a better understanding. Now, I want to share what I learned.
I am making an exception this week because something is bothering me. Between the years of almost grown, and all grown up, is a vast and dangerous land. When I walked those roads and chose paths, there was not so much danger. I thought it was risky to sneak a beer under the bleachers at a football game. Wow ... I was a wild one I thought. If I did not make my curfew, I had two mad parents waiting up for me and grounded for an unknown miserable amount of time. It was hardly worth the gamble.
The drugs in our medicine cabinets, along with the street drugs are killing our young generation of leaders. Good kids who don’t think mixing one Methadone pill washed down with two gin and tonics is dangerous. But it is a game of Russian roulette they do not understand. It can be fatal.
Kids think prescription drugs are safer than street drugs because you can buy them in a drugstore. But the prescription drugs they think won’t hurt them are powerful. Teens like the woozy, light-headed feeling that drugs like Vicodin, used in excess, can induce.
They do not want to feel hurt, or stress, and the drugs take it all away. If they endure a break-up, or have trouble at home, the drugs take away the bad feelings at least for a little while, but they can do much more harm than good.
It is primarily painkillers such as Oxy-Contin, Vicodin, and Methadone, all synthetic versions of opium that are largely to blame for the dramatic increase in accidental fatal drug overdoses.
I looked it up as I did not know what they were doing with these drugs, and had not paid close attention. It stopped me in my tracks.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioid painkillers now cause more lethal overdoses than heroin and cocaine put together. What I found most alarming was the fact that 15-to-24 year olds are dying because they do not understand that even legal drugs have a “wild-card-factor.”
Methadone, the biggest prescription drug killer, kicks in slowly, then lingers at full strength. That long “half-life” is dangerous for anyone not used to the drug. They usually experiment with 40 milligrams and a little while later they are disappointed because they don’t get a buzz, so they take another 40.
By the time the full 80 milligrams kicks in, it does not make them feel good, it stops their respiration. The trend to experiment with a variety of prescription pain killers and drink alcohol with drugs such as Fentanyl, Oxy-Contin, is a deadly miscalculation, because the amount of opioid painkiller needed to induce happy euphoria is frighteningly close to the amount that can kill you. This margin disappears if you add alcohol or tranquilizers like Klonopin, Valium, and Xanax which depress the brain’s respiratory center.
Like myself, many people think of drugs coming in from other countries, not from our own medicine cabinets. Prescription drugs are easy to pilfer from the family bathroom of a parent, a friend, and sometimes a neighbor. What really blew my mind is that adolescents are being prescribed opioids by dentists and oral surgeons and sent home after molar extraction with more pills than they need. Athletes who get hurt are prescribed painkillers such as Vicodin. They find out it is also an easy high.
Pills are easier to come by than beer one teen told me. All they have to do is text their friends. They slip a few Oxys from grandmother’s medicine cabinet, and the other friend gets some of their brother’s Ritalin. They exchange pills at school for money in a handshake or swapping jackets. It is so convenient and the high is not immediately detectable. Teachers can smell alcohol or marijuana. They don’t know if a kid takes some prescription drugs.
I wanted to know what they are taking, stealing, selling, buying, and risking their lives for. High School seniors admitted in a recent study to abusing Vicodin, Oxy-Contin, Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin to name a few. Parents are and should be terrified. But parents have an enormous impact on their children’s attitudes toward prescription drugs.
Experts have some advice. The first thing is to not be shy about asking teens about prescription drugs. Kids don’t think parents will care as much if they are caught at school abusing prescription drugs because they are legal. Let them know you do care and you want to help if they are in trouble. Even a few missing pills could be a red flag your teen is in trouble.
Move your drugs and those of your children to a secure location in your home under lock and key if you have reason for concern.
Properly dispose of old or unused medicine. Put them in a bag or container with coffee grounds or cat litter to discourage pill hunters. Check with local police or pharmacies for sponsored pill drop-offs to dispose of unused pills.
Talk to other family members, especially grandparents and parents of your children’s friends. Visit theantidrug.com for more information like I did. I was aware, but not as conscious of the problem as I am now.

 

EmilyLundy4-2.jpg (36194 bytes)Escapades of Emily
By Emily Gail Lundy

Super shopper
“Shop until I drop” no longer has jest. No more big stores, oversize clubs, super-duper sports magnums for me unless a cot, pillow, orange juice and crackers await in the middle of the store within a small tent. My shopping blood rages still, but it quickly is used for energy in the front part of the oversize plants of merchandise for today.
If I get to the back of one of these circus tents, I see an item of possibility and place it into the basket; I won’t go back that far again. If I’m seen again in the giant stores of America, I know the red carts are for me, injury, handicap or not. I’ll ride one and create doubt. When I chauffeured my mother of the age 80 to 90, she would not ride on anything as “people will think I’m an old lady.” At a much younger age, I will ride one; I’m old and worn out.
In the time span mentioned above, I would drive Mother to Dallas, Tyler, and all towns around us. She could get out and shop in six or seven, then forget something and go back. This Woman of Iron could outshop most younger women 3 to 1. Her beloved grandchildren stood ready with excuses, anything, to keep from going on one of these mega trips. “I can’t work all day and do that on Saturday,” whined one.
I could and kept my cool, even if only one item was purchased. The only time anger built up was the day a dollar store and scooper doopers were on sale for $1, noticed after we were in the cool car, ready for home. I went in, made the buy, and got behind the wheel again. Mother examined the scooper, decided she didn’t need it, and said, “Return it.” I saw red and other colors. I had waited in line to buy Mr. Scoop and now would wait in line again to get the dollar back. Once in the car, I handed the bill to Mother but said, “Mama, why didn’t I just buy it for you as a gift? She said quietly,” I guess I didn’t need it.” This is probably why she always had the money she needed.
I won’t be shopping at Mama’s age even if most doctors, gurus, lecturers on disease, think all daughters take after their mothers. Not exactly true. Since no one wants to hear about my triple bypass surgery, the need passed down by my paternal side, I feel the need to reiterate. I chose a specialist after angina pain went from my arm to my neck, jaw, teeth and ear. For four years I had stress nuclear tests, blood analyzation, took medication, and was told my blood work was fine. Then in 2005, I demanded another stress test of the long kind. One day later the phone was ringing in my home with this doctor telling me to get back to the clinic fast.
Once there, he said, “How soon can you go to a Dallas hospital for a stent. Your aorta is ready to top.”
I said, “Now or tomorrow.” The next day I was prepped for the stent which once applied, ruptured my aorta, caused a heart attack, thirty seconds loss of oxygen, surgery, and two days “out of it.” I had never hurt so bad all over and don’t ever remember being so ill. One night I vomited all over my hook-ups shutting down the center for monitoring all heart patients. Archaic equipment came out and worked until the other went back into action. Someone said this surgery was not “major” anymore. If it still done the same way, with the sawing to separate central bone to get to the heart, I don’t know what major is. There are worse surgeries like the transplants, but I will never forget the heart surgery which my surgeon said wasn’t as bad the second time. I asked how he really knew.
Back when I tried to be a supermom, I would teach all day, drive to Town East, go to Joske’s basement and buy what someone needed for some important something. I was home in an hour preparing a meal. This might account for my depletion of “get up and go” now.
So, the “they” who created zoo-sized establishments for shopping aren’t all to blame for my dropping, but presently I have no heart problems or so my new specialist tells me. When I shop I must not be under pressure which is difficult with hubby napping in the car. At five years my senior, this man can still outlast me. Men are wonderful and probably design the mall-size stores. Incidently mall shopping is gone for me. Too many choices, confusion, and walking.
And I guess I didn’t purchase enough from the catalogues which come no more. My name hasn’t made the mail-order list again for some reason, but I’ll find one and make an order, paying in advance. That should work.
Truthfully, I’ll drive or ride by the enormous American shopping stores remembering the life when I shopped and didn’t drop.

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