The extreme heat has set in and forecasters say it’s going to be around a while. So now is a good time to use caution and act appropriately with steps to battle heat-related situations.
EMSA officials have these words of advice:
* Remember, PRE-HYDRATION is key in preventing heat related illness. Drink plenty of water or electrolyte replacement drinks several hours prior to long exposure to the summer heat.
* Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat if working outdoors and take plenty of shade breaks.
Kids in Cars
There is no “safe” amount of time kids can be left in a hot car. How quickly a child becomes ill varies widely based on a number of conditions, including:
* The child’s hydration level to begin with the temperature in the car (which can vary based on car interior, temperature outdoors, whether there is shade, etc.)
* The child’s weight
* The child’s overall health (diabetes and other chronic medical conditions can make a child less able to tolerate the heat), and any medications the child may be taken.
The Centers for Disease Control presents these key points:
A heat advisory or warning has been issued. Now what do you do?
* Stay indoors and avoid extreme temperature changes. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to a shopping mall or public library — even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
* If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine.
* Keep your electric fans running.
* Drink cool liquids often, particularly water, even if you do not feel thirsty, to help your body stay cool.
* Avoid alcoholic beverages, which dehydrate the body.
* During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.
* Eat small, frequent meals. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.
* Keep pets indoors; refill their water bowls frequently.
* If you must go out, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect the sun’s energy.
* Slow down, avoid strenuous outdoor activity. If you must engage in strenuous activity, limit exposure during mid-day hours.
* Cover all exposed skin with a high SPF sunscreen, and wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and head.
* Drink plenty of fluids.
* Never leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car.
* Continue drinking plenty of water.
* Never take a cool shower immediately after becoming overheated. You may cool too quickly and become ill, nauseous, or dizzy.
* Know the symptoms of heat disorders and overexposure to the sun, and be ready to give first aid treatment.
These are just some of the ways you can combat extreme heat. For more information, go to KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/SEVERE-WEATHER-OKLAHOMA and click on the INFORMATION area in the header.
Patty Gail Patten was guest speaker at our last Parents Helping Parents meeting (Edmond Chapter). Her topic of “Grieving the Loss of the Child of Your Dreams” was one that was well received by her audience.
Parents of a child who is addicted to alcohol or other drugs must deal with their loss in much the same way as parents whose child physically has been lost.
Unfortunately, with parents of an addicted child, the grieving is repeated over and over with every relapse the child has on his/her path to long-term recovery.
There are three stages of grief for parents:
The first is shock and denial. You just can’t believe something like this can happen to you or your child. This forces you into denial and you go on with your daily activities as if nothing as actually happened.
The next stage is anger, or depression. You may find yourself turning inward away from your usual activities and/or people.
The third stage is understanding and acceptance. You will sense a feeling of peace and serenity. In addition, you will regain your ability to find a new meaning in your life.
Patty Gail indicated that these stages can overlap one another and they may not be experienced in a specific order. Everyone heals in his/her own way and time.
There was one last critical, vital statement from Patty Gail. She said addiction is now accepted as a mental illness.
I feel one of the most critical issues parents face is understanding that addiction is a disease, a primary disease, a brain disease.
We focus all of our attention on the behavior of our addicted child and we keep seeking resources that will create the change in him/her to lead to recovery.
It is certainly true that our addicted children must embrace change to maintain recovery but family and friends must work just as hard in changing themselves to support their loved one’s recovery.
We, as family members, don’t feel a real need for change for ourselves and, even if we do see a need to change, we resist it.
That is a natural reaction but I feel if the family members aren’t willing to make the changes that are necessary to support long-term recovery, the battle eventually will be lost.
Our children need and deserve a supportive family foundation. It’s a life-and-death decision.
I’ve noticed over the past several years that traffic in Midwest City has drastically increased. At least it feels like its a drastic increase every time I go out to do something and find myself rubbing my ears in frustration.
I don’t even think it’s the amount of traffic, but the manner of traffic. Let me explain. If everyone is paying attention to what they are doing, watching out for each other, you know, courteous driving, then everything is fine.
When I have a problem is when we get Johnnie Hot Rod zooming in and out of traffic, or Sally Makeup, or Dave SlowDriver, or Oh My, Victor, We’re In The Big City Now not knowing how to use a center turn lane properly.
Ok, I know, I’m venting. But when the traffic volume increases, it seems as if these people really stick out in a crowd. I think I have a solution.
Let’s give those people special orange lights that go on the roof of the car, so that we can all at least see them coming or going and have an ample chance at avoiding them altogether!
Anyhow, I know that other large metro towns are probably feeling the same pain, Norman comes to mind, I just hope the city fathers are allowing for the increase of traffic that added good eating and shopping bring to a community.
Orange lights on sale now, send checks made out to Ken Tate. Installation extra.
I have spent the past five years with a parent support group.
I rarely miss a meeting. There is this special feeling of connectivity that only parents of an addicted child can relate to.
I have cried there. Yes, it’s true, a grown man in tears. It is hard to explain the emotion and pain a parent feels but that is what is so priceless about the group, I don’t have to explain because my fellow travelers already know.
There is something else very special about the group. There are many other men in attendance and, over the years, I have seen many break down when sharing their pain. I have found that I am not seen as less than a man but a human being who needs, at times, understanding.
It’s interesting that the tears are not near as common as the laughter. I would have never dreamed that there would be laughter in such a setting but it is true.
I remember a time when I was under siege by the enemy of addiction. I was on my way to the meeting and almost turned around and headed home several times. I resisted the urge until I arrived at my destination.
I was walking down the hall to the meeting room and finally gave up the fight and decided to go back home. But as I turned toward the exit, I heard the room down the hallway explode in laughter. I felt God instructing me to turn around and enter the room.
That night was one of the best evenings of my life.
If I could have, I would have passed out “good driving” certificates to every driver I encountered during about a 45-minute period Monday night on Interstate 35, southbound between the Stillwater exit and Waterloo Road. Make that Covell Road. Aw heck, let’s say Second Street in Edmond.
You all are to be commended and thanked, from the guys driving the big rigs to those in the compact cars. You made the trip much safer, simply by being smart and considerate of others who negotiated their way through a strong thunderstorm.
My wife and I were returning from a holiday visit to our families, like countless others I bet, when conditions turned treacherous. What began as an incredible electrical display off in the distance rapidly became an Oklahoma thunderboomer like we’ve all come to know and … respect.
By the time we reached the Fir Street exit at Perry, it had become very clear that we weren’t going to slip by without at least a little dance in the rain. By the State Highway 51 (Stillwater/Hennessey) exit, we were feeling the wind, hearing the thunder and starting to see some rain.
I told my wife that the long line of vehicles headed north (nearly bumper to bumper, actually), as compared to the much thinner line heading south, was an indication that there most likely was some heavy rain and more ahead. It was minutes later when we found ourselves smack down in the middle of the worst of it.
With visibility less than a hundred feet or so, slowing down to a near crawl was the only option. But everyone seemed to be of the same mind. And, they were using their flashers as they eased on down the highway, making it much easier to make out what and how far away the vehicle ahead was.
The truckers were doing the same and their huge sizes helped smaller vehicles by becoming somewhat of a windbreak. In addition, they were making a path on what was now a water-covered roadway.
We saw no instances of road rage, no indication that anyone was taking any unnecessary chances, and no attempts at what I call the “me first” mentality, where the driver pushes himself to the head of the pack. It was just plain common sense prevailing.
I’m sure there were several out-of-state drivers in that mix. I couldn’t read tags through the rain, and wouldn’t have anyway. All attention was focused on the road and those on it.
It was great to see everyone doing the right thing and keeping themselves and others safe in the process. Great job by all.
See KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/SEVERE-WEATHER-OKLAHOMA for more on last night’s storms and check out the resources on weather safety. It just might come in handy.
The fear and the desperate acts that parents will resort to in order to rescue their addicted child would make an incredible reality TV show. A father shared this story with me several years ago.
His son was in his early 20s and was working at a used car lot in south Oklahoma City. The father knew his son was addicted to drugs. There had been a long history of serious consequences directly related to his addiction, including several arrests that led to lengthy times in jail.
At this time, the father lost contact with his son. When he called the car lot to speak to his boy, he was given vague reasons his son was not available. The father’s suspicions grew.
He drove to the car lot and, upon his arrival, was told by a salesman that his son had not been seen in more than two weeks.
It was very unusual that the son had not called in that length of time. The father was terrified and knew he had to find out if his son was alive.
The father was once in law enforcement and called his contacts. However, another week went by and there was no new information.
The father, in desperation, hired a private investigator, who was was experienced in law enforcement and who knew the area drug culture.
Within four days, the PI learned that the son was living in a drug house. They developed a plan that the father and the PI would meet with a contact and give this person $300. The contact said that the son owed that amount of money to the drug dealer. Once this transaction was completed, the father would be given a location and a time to meet his son.
The father decided to trap his son and force him into a treatment program. The father’s van was rigged so that when he entered through the rear doors, they could not be opened from the inside.
The father and the PI waited patiently at a gas station. The father was standing outside the van, looking in every direction in anticipation of the arrival of his son. Off in the distance, he saw his son walking in his direction and he went to greet him. They hugged each other and walked back toward the van.
The son entered the van through the rear doors and the trap was set. The father explained to his son that he was taking him to a treatment program out of state.
As the van began to move toward the interstate, the son went into a rage and began kicking the van doors, screaming that he wanted out. The situation was escalating toward a violent ending, so the father pulled to the side of the road.
He went to the rear of the van and opened the doors. His son jumped out and stood there, looking at his father. Neither one spoke, but rather just stared at one another.
Finally, the son said: “I love you, Dad. I have to go now.”
The father responded: “I love you, too, Son, and I will always be here for you.”
They hugged one another and the father watched helplessly as his son walked out of sight.
Parents will go to any length to save their child from the disease of addiction. This is understandable, but at some point in the journey, parents will need to understand Step One of the 12 Steps: “We admitted we were powerless over drugs and other people’s lives — that our lives had become unmanageable.”
Memorial Day always has been one of my favorite holidays.
It’s the first holiday of summer, even though the change of seasons doesn’t occur for nearly a month. That means it’s time to enjoy those warm-weather activities.
Of course, in Oklahoma, warm weather sometimes arrives early, which can sure play havoc with those of us who have allergies.
Memorial Day is a confirmation in many communities that school is — or nearly is — out. Like most people, when I was a student, I looked forward to those weeks when I got a break from the books and assignments.
I also enjoyed my summer job, earning a little money while spending time with people I knew well. I was lucky in having that opportunity.
Much of time in the summers was spent playing baseball. The older I got, the more fun it became. Again, it was spending time with people I knew well, traveling to ballparks and working together.
I always enjoyed watching the Indianapolis 500, from the prerace pageantry to the dueling on the track to the final lap. When I got to take a lap around the Brickyard while on vacation one year, I thought about all those drivers I had seen competing on that very same track.
That also made watching the race on TV more enjoyable because I was able to recall certain areas of the race course.
Taking a trip, even a short venture to the lake, to relax and check out the scenery or play in the water also has been something I have tried to do.
And I always remember those who no longer are with us, including those who gave their lives in service to our country so that we might have those opportunities such as I mentioned above. “Thank you” never could adequately cover that debt.
We should all remember them … always.
See more about those in our armed forces in KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/MILITARY-OKLAHOMA, as well as in The Oklahoman.
When parents learn that their child’s abuse of alcohol or other drugs is destroying their lives, they lose all sense of reality. They live in a fog and slowly release all self-control.
How can parent’s control their emotions? How do you stop the fear and worry as your child continues a path of self-destruction?
It’s not easy but it is possible for parents to regain their sanity. This is why organizations like Al-Anon, Families Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery were started. They are support groups based on the 12 steps and adopted specifically for family members who are dealing with a loved one’s addiction.
These programs allow us to change. They provide us a proven path that will allow us to regain the life we were called to live and one that brings back the peace and serenity that was taken from us by our loved one’s addiction.
Change is difficult and this why it is such a challenge for us to accept the fact that we need to be in recovery as much as our loved one does.
That is the true challenge we face. I speak from experience as it took me seven years to begin to understand what I have just written. It was another two years before I began attending 12-step meetings and worked the 12 steps with a sponsor.
I credit my renewed faith in God and the 12 steps for giving me back my life. A life of meaning and purpose.
I pray for your child and recovery for all who suffer from this disease.