Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A Big Cholla and the Virus

This is a terrible cell phone picture taken through the dirty windshield of the Jeep, but what it does show is how dang yellow it is here.  The Acacias are winding down their spring bloom.  The Palo Verdes are ramping up theirs.  I think there is still something after that, but I can't remember.  I should write that down.  It's no wonder we can't breathe.

This is the best cholla in Tucson.  It's in front of an apartment complex.  It's a huge plant, it's about three feet taller than I am, I'm 5 foot 5.  It's an amazing plant.  It has the best looking arms of any of them.

Just look at those arms, really pretty, not gnarly.

There were many bees.  I was brave, and moved in closer for pictures anyway.  We have Africanized bees, so one does not swat or wave at them to leave.  See the bee in the upper left hand quadrant?

This is an article I want to not lose, thus I'm putting it here.  I need to keep reading it and looking up words.  Basically it's saying that people are sometimes put on ventilators too soon.  Covid-19 is new, and unpredictable, and it often looks like Advanced Respiratory Distress Syndrome, but it's different.  New ways of observation are required.
Circular thinking is especially dangerous when managing patients with coronavirus. After a patient starts on a therapy, it is often stated that the patient is “requiring” the said therapy. Physicians commonly state that "a patient's oxygen requirements are going up,” without making any attempt to measure oxygen consumption; it would be more accurate to simply say the patient’s level of supplemental oxygen has been increased. Reports on Covid-19 are also articulated as “patients requiring mechanical ventilation.”1-3 Only a small proportion of patientslargely those in a cardiac arrest situation“require” mechanical ventilation. In most instances, mechanical ventilation is instituted preemptively out of fear of an impending catastrophe. These patients are receiving mechanical ventilation and it is impossible to prove that they “required” it when first implemented.
He goes on to discuss that doctors should attempt to wean off the ventilator after 24 hours.  I read a lot of med-twitter, and there seems to be a significant change in thinking about ventilators.

There is a shortage of swabs with which to do testing.  Puritan, the company that makes them in the US has been inundated by demand.  Enter the entrepreneurs.  They're 3D printing swabs.  It's really cool.  EnvisionTec is one such company.  WAPO did a very interesting article in how this is developing.
The company is teaming up with a network of 500 affiliated medical labs that already use EnvisionTec printers to make medical devices such as dentures and mouth guards. They are now making 200,000 testing swabs a day and have the capacity to make 1 million a day, said chief executive Al Siblani.
Siblani said those labs had largely sent home their employees during the pandemic because their work had been deemed “nonessential.” They are gradually returning, he said, to make testing swabs on 3-D printers already designed to make safe, medical-grade products.
They swabbed me in 2016 to see if I had the flu, I can remember how much that hurt.

I am not liking the idea that mouth guards and dentures were deemed non-essential.  Not being able to chew, or grinding your teeth down to the nubs while you sleep are both very bad things.

Also interesting was an article on how genomic sequencing of the virus has allowed scientists to see where the virus came from.  As the virus jumps from one location to another, it mutates.  After sequencing the RNA, family trees of the virus can be developed.  Thanks to open source data, these trees can be plotted.  There is an extremely cool animation of how the virus has changed over time and space.  In the article there is a link to the origin of delays in testing, which is also worth a read.  So much time was lost due to internecine warfare between bureaucracies.  Both are terrific articles, written in standard English and well worth reading.  NYT and WAPO have taken Covid-19 articles out from behind the paywall so you should be able to read them.

Today or yesterday, Dr. Bright, who lead the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority was ousted from his job.  His department developed treatments for epidemics.  Dr. Bright resisted the rush to use hydroxychloroquine because it was an unproven therapy.  Resisting the president will cost you your job.  Article on CNN is here.  This really pisses me off.

What would a post be without some mention of the orange man?  This is what he tweeted this morning.  I did not know that Iran had flying boats.

So, many lenders have instituted a three month period during which you do not have to make payments.  However, in month 4, they want all that money paid.  If you've been unemployed, who has that much money?  There is a viral video out in which Mr. Vic DiBitetto suggests that the three unpaid months could be moved to the end of the loan.  The lender loses nothing by doing this.  I'm linking to the video.   Approximately every third word used by Mr. DiBitetto is the F word.  If this will offend you, please don't click on the link.  The degree to which this guy is pissed off is amazing, and so I include it for your consideration. 


  1. I really appreciate the research you’re doing on this evolving situation. Yes, ventilators should be avoided if at all possible.

  2. Is it the "Brittlebush?" One of my favorite yellow desert adornments.

    1. Those are the steeenking Palo Verdes. Brittlebush is done for the season, thank goodness.

    2. Yes, I recognized them, but I was trying to help answer the question, "I think there is still something after that, but I can't remember." Just trying to solve under the category of "Plants that turn yellow."

  3. Lovely cactus. A friend of mine has a cholla growing in his yard here in TX. It's also blooming. Pretty, considering they have spines that reach out and grab you!

  4. what frustrates me is how the information one day changes to the information another. The thing right now is smoking. First I read that people who smoked were more likely to get seriously ill from the virus. Now comes France claiming that smokers are less likely to get it. Can both be true? lol

  5. Wow. You are definitely staying on top of things, medically. I could not dissect the effects of and treatment for coronavirus so thoroughly! Honestly, I'm just washing my hands and distancing and hoping for the best.

    I love the cholla -- really beautiful!

  6. I'm sure you've read about this by now. I'm glad we bought a pulse oximeter a few weeks ago as I imagine it will become hard to find once the word gets out.

    1. I saw a similar article, and ordered one from Amazon. Hopefully it will be here before the virus is over. Kidding, just kidding, they're predicting the first week in May.