|Technology in the Simple Life|
I love the simple life.
Sitting beside a wood-burning heater and quilting with one of my cats purring at my feet while a pot of beef stew bubbles on the metal grating is my simple idea of happiness.
Clothes flapping in the breeze and later the reinvigorating sleep that can only come amidst the fragrance of line-dried sheets produce a contentment no pharmaceutical anti-depressant can match.
In so many ways, I feel the old ways are the best. I’ve been told way too many times that I march to the beat of a different drummer.
Friends have called me a "hermit" because I don’t like to leave my little farm. They don’t understand why the neon lights and glowing stores of area malls don’t attract me like a magnet.
A cousin, talking to one of my former editors, explained about me, "Well, you know she’s a hippie don’t you?"
Hum…..then I guess Granny I’ve written so much about, the one I never knew, must have been a "hippie" too.
But I can understand why I confuse so many people. I’m pretty confused myself right now. Since June I’ve been torn between two worlds.
I feel way too many times "modern" medications have side effects way worse than the maladies they’re originally supposed to help or cure.
Everyone laughs at comedian Jeff Foxworthy’s long litany of sometimes wacko sounding side-effects to medications. But the sad part is much of what he says is true.
Why on earth do they prescribe an antidepressant "that may cause suicidal thoughts" to someone who is already sad and forlorn? A colon medication that causes cancer? A so-called "bone-strengthening drug" that now they say can cause FRACTURES? Asthma medications that can cause BREATHING PROBLEMS?
As some of my grandkids would say, "DUH!"
But, as I wrote the first of this article, I was sitting at the University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham beside my husband’s bedside knowing he’s alive because of God’s Grace and a great heaping of technology.
Vascular surgeon Dr. Mark Patterson would swoop into Roy’s room with a covey of white-breasted residents and interns and calmly answer our multitude of questions.
Dr. Patterson used highly–specialized cameras to watch as he meticulously threaded tubes up Roy’s aorta from both legs, inserted a tiny wire and fabric-like trouser-shaped stent to seal off a dangerous aortic aneurysm that likely would have taken Roy’s life if it had burst.
And we wouldn’t have even known about that bulging vein if another doctor hadn’t used an equally incredulous camera to find a cancer in Roy’s esophagus and stomach.
It was quite a double-whammy in June.
By the time this article is published, Roy will have completed a grueling schedule of radiation five days per week and chemotherapy one day each week, and we’ll be waiting for yet another high-tech scan to tell us, hopefully, the tumor has been zapped into non-existence.
The chemo is so toxic it is considered a bio-hazard and its administration governed by OSHA. And evidently Roy has taken two of the strongest kinds each week.
The radiation is in itself amazing.
Roy operated a computer-operated burning machine at Chicago Bridge and Iron for many years, where he punched in programs and lasers zipped through a water bed to cut steel into shapes for nuclear submarines and things like the Giant Peach seen down near Clanton.
Now a computerized machine operating on sort of the same system has been rolling over Roy’s body five days each week, pinpointing four targets on each side and about six down his middle where the rays can zap his cancer while missing most of his vital organs.
So the past few weeks it’s been as if I’ve been living in two totally-different worlds.
Early each morning (sometimes before daybreak lately) and late each afternoon, I feed, water and otherwise care for my goats, chickens, ducks and rabbits. Then I check on my farm’s little general store to make sure it’s stocked with as much preservative-free food as possible.
This farm keeps me grounded. And it still makes me feel as if much of the simple life is the best.
I think so many times we complicate our lives so much we bring far too many of today’s diseases and even death on ourselves…whether through pesticides or even more personal ways like smoking.
But it is sure nice when things do get complicated in my simple world to be able to depend on those gallant white-coated knights with their shiny stethoscopes who ride their steeds of higher learning and technology to our rescue.
But how in the world did we wind up in those sterile hospital rooms with their whirring and beeping machines?
Smoking and heredity are likely the two primary reasons. Heredity we can’t change. Smoking he is changing now, maybe too late.
But even with simple cigarettes (which don’t get me wrong I HATE with a passion) we’ve veered way off that simple path. In addition to the dried, brown, crunchy leaves our forefathers and Native American ancestors tamped into their pipes, somebody had to "improve" on nature to make those little cancer sticks more "tasty" and more addictive,
Obesity is a major problem, we hear on the news all the time. It’s not just the amount of things we’re putting in our mouths, but the kinds of things that have been "preserved" and "modified" for long shipping times and long shelf life.
I feel when we mess with ANYTHING in nature we’re going to screw it up.
God says clearly in the Bible He put everything on earth we’re ever going to need. How did we become so audacious as to think we can improve on what God created?
I think we all need to stop, think and take a deep breath. Is cloning animals really the best thing we can come up with to feed the world?
The steady stream of folks rich and poor to my tiny farm for free-range eggs and pure goat milk soap, and to my neighbor’s for grass-fed beef let me know others are THINKING about what they eat and what they put on their bodies.
I’m so thankful for the technology that may be saving Roy’s life.
But I can’t help but think, if all of us would just use a little of the old-time common-sense our grandparents and great-grandparents possessed, maybe we wouldn’t need that amazing technology so much.
Suzy Lowry Geno is a freelance writer from Blount County. She can be reached through her website at www.suzysfarm.com.