After seeing in the last week four different mentions of antibiotic use in livestock and whether it does or does not contribute to drug-resistant superbugs, I did some reading this morning.

First, I want to mention WHY I care about this. Teddy’s more likely to get infections. He’s more likely to die of infections. I kind of have grown attached to him.

I’ll also add this: how about if we raise our animals in an environment where they don’t require antibiotics just to make it to harvest? I’m not necessarily opposed to animal lots or conventional animal farming. But if you have to dose your animals with antibiotics just to keep them alive until you can harvest them, wouldn’t that tip you off that maybe there’s a problem?

“over 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are used in food animals (and the vast majority of this use is for animals that are not sick).”

“Many studies show a multitude of resistant organisms on meat and poultry products purchased in grocery stores. For example, a recent study of meat and poultry from five U.S. cities found Staphylococcus aureus on 47 percent of samples. Ninety-six percent of those samples were resistant to at least one antibiotic, and 52 percent were multi-drug resistant.”

“When farm animals receive antibiotics in doses too low to kill all the infectious bacteria in them, those bacteria that survive and flourish do so because they are resistant to the drug. As they multiply and interact with other bacteria, they pass on their resistance. Bacteria can even share the traits that make them drug-resistant with other kinds of bacteria, leading to widespread drug-resistance and the creation of bacterial super-bugs.”

Numerous studies have demonstrated that routine use of antibiotics on the farm promotes drug-resistant superbugs in those facilities. Some of the most dramatic evidence came as a result of FDA approval of flouroquinolones–a class of antibiotics that includes Cipro (ciprofloxacin), which has been used in poultry production since 1995. By 1999 nearly 20 percent chicken breasts sampled contained ciprofloxacin-resistant Camplobacter, adisease-causing bacteria.
After a long fight in the courts, FDA finally banned use of the drug in 2005, at which point nearly 30 percent of C. coli found in chicken breasts were ciprofloxacin resistant; by 2010, resistance to ciprofloxacin had declined to 13.5 percent.
This article goes on to discuss how these superbugs find their way to humans, which occurs both through contaminated food, as well as through the environment (through people on farms spreading them the good old-fashioned way, through water and air).
I found this to be particularly interesting, considering a recent Facebook “thing” I saw claiming that most of the drugs used in animals can’t affect humans anyway:
The industry says that 40 percent of all the antibiotics used on the farm are drugs (called ionophores) not used in human medicine, so it doesn’t matter if bacteria become resistant to them. However, a study by scientists from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Cornell University involving monensin, one of the most commonly used ionophores in cattle production in the U.S., demonstrated that use of monensin in cattle feed and the selection of monensin-resistant ruminal bacteria lead to a 32-fold increase in resistance to bacitracin, which is used in human medicine.
This study demonstrates that one cannot claim that ionophores cannot select for cross resistance to any antibiotic used in human medicine. The study called
for more research.


The FDA has banned the use of medically important drugs in livestock for growth promotion purposes. But this seems completely ineffective considering that there is no ban on their use to compensate for overcrowding and unsanitary conditions.

On Wednesday, December 11, 2013 the FDA released the final FDA Guidance for Industry #213 and draft Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). This is the first time since 1977 the FDA has taken broad action against the use of antibiotics in livestock. Once fully implemented, these policies will eliminate the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion. Still, the Obama administration will need to eliminate the use of antibiotics for other sub-therapeutic purposes, such as the use of low-dose antibiotics in healthy animals to account for unsanitary conditions and overcrowding.”


Plus, the FDA’s “Ban” is hardly anything resembling an actual BAN.

After identifying this problem 35 years ago, the FDA is now simply asking veterinary drug manufacturers to stop advertising growth promotion as a legitimate use on drug labels. These companies have 90 days to tell the FDA whether or not they will comply, and will then have an additional three years to change the labels.

I’m sorry that you’re dumb

Today, I had a “I’m sorry that you’re dumb” send-off. Removed a blog from my feed. Ahhhhhh. Feels good. Was talking to a friend about a blog I’ve followed for a while, and she insightfully observed that this blog only ever  annoys me, and is unlikely to get any better. Wow, you are totally right, I said. Somehow, hearing it stated the way it was (using different words than I paraphrased here) really made me see the truth of the situation and totally changed my perspective.

In trying to decide what’s worth my time and what isn’t… This isn’t.


Off to go pare down on some other blogs…

um, sigh.

Ha ha.

Let’s talk about writing style.

I used to write for a living. I went to college on scholarships won by my writing. I have won awards since college for my writing. I used to edit books for living. I used to edit professional technical writing for a living. I grew up with a grammarian. I know writing.

I know good writing. I know bad writing. I know correct writing. I know incorrect writing.

And I know that what’s acceptable and appropriate for various audiences and types of writing.

For this and my other super casual blogs, I prefer to write in a super casual style. That includes sentence fragments. Like this. Or this. That includes sentences that start with And and But. (Ahem) That includes typing out things I would say if I were talking to you. Like “um.” or “Hm.”

It’s not indicative of my brain rotting away because I read Facebook. I promise.

It’s because, in these blogs, I prefer to write as though you (the reader) and I are just chatting. And when I chat with friends (not so much with enemies), I use “um” as a dramatic device. I say “uhh” and “hm” and “wellllll…”  And so I type it out. Yes, I do. Gasp. Shock. Horror.

And it’s totally ok. Casual writing is absolutely allowed to break the rules that govern more formal writing. I promise. There are no rules like “Never use sentence fragments” for casual blogs. I mean, on occasion, I might even end a sentence with a preposition. Note, even uber casual writing should still use correct punctuation, including using commas where appropriate. Jus’ sayin’.


(I am, of course, only talking about my writing. Of course. Only me.)

Read into it?

Ever notice the insane tendency people have to read into innocent things their or others’ kids do and attempt to predict the future?

Kid throws a ball: oh, he’s going to be a basketball player!

Kid draws: oh, she’s going to be such an artist!

Kid mimics those around him: oh, he’s going to X!


Genna used to pick up tools and fix things every time I got out tools to fix things. I doubt she is going to be a handyman when she grows up. (though, like all my kids, I do plan to make sure she can use tools and fix things.)

Wally used to cut up scrap fabric and pin it together as I worked. I dont think he’s going to be a tailor. (though he will move out of this house knowing how to sew.)

Teddy pushes on his arms when the phlebotomist or nurse starts looking for a vein. I don’t think it’s a sign that he’s going to draw labs for a career.

Kids mimic what they see. It doesn’t point to any sort of particular talent.

November is a month…

Saw a FB “thing” today that said “November is the month when everyone who’s spent the last 11 months complaining on FB suddenly starts saying what they’re thankful for.”

And, yeah.

Here’s my take on that.

I choose to unload most of my grievances on FB. I don’t really see humans in person much these days, and FB is how I connect with my community – with the good AND the bad. If I’m happy about something, I post it. If I’m frustrated, I post it. I don’t really filter that much – at least, not based on “how do I want other people to see me.” I don’t really stop and think if something meshes with the “me” that I want other people to see on FB – because the me on FB is the same me you get in person. Though in person I’d probably talk a lot less unless we were one-on-one.

But just because I choose to share the things that frustrate me or the things that annoy me – in addition to the things that make me happy or the things for which I am grateful – on a daily basis doesn’t mean that I’m not grateful for a *lot* of stuff. I am grateful on a daily basis for some things that everyone is grateful for – and for a good many things that many people would never think to be grateful for.

But I did the Post Something You’re Thankful Every Day In November thing last year (when we were in the hospital for most of August through November, ugh), and it felt really awkward. “Today, I’m grateful for X.” I mostly wanted to post “Every single day of my life, I’m grateful for X.” Or the things I was feeling thankful for were not things other people would understand, and the effort explaining would require was too much. It just was awkward all month long.

So I’m not doing it this month. But here’s some things I’m thankful for:

  • When simple things go right. On the rare occasion that our medical supplies order arrives on time and with everything it’s supposed to contain – Yay.
  • Selfless heroic awesome human beings like Tiff and Steph.
  • Awesome doctors who sometimes frustrate me, but who always have our best interests at heart.
  • Something I don’t care to talk about, but that has improved significantly recently.
  • Teddy’s G-Tube.
  • Teddy’s new kidney.
  • The support our family has available to it, in the form of friends, professionals, etc.
  • Homeschooling.
  • Wally.
  • Genna.
  • Teddy.
  • Randy.
  • Facebook
  • Netflix and Prime. Call me shallow. I can’t turn on a light when Teddy’s not sleeping, but I sure as heck can watch TV.
  • A hospital in our state that’s staffed with awesome, caring people. And a few annoying idiots, but those annoying idiots give me something to bitch about, so in a way, I’m thankful for them, too.
  • Blenders.
  • Walking. Talking. Vocalizing. Putting things in his mouth.
  • Insurance. Our insurance.
  • Having a house, food, cars, TVs.
  • iPod Touches and Nintendo DSs and DVDs and movies on devices.
  • Blogs – mine and especially others’
  • The internet, computers, phones, smart phones.

And I love, as always, this post from Uncommon Sense. We are more thankful than you are.

I’m also learning these last few years a kind of gratefulness that I never really thought about before: thankfulness for things my kid can do that other kids can’t do. When I hear Teddy making sounds and starting to talk, I’m doubly grateful because I know kids who can’t vocalize yet, and parents who would pay good money to hear those sounds. When Teddy can’t sleep for his nap unless he’s completely sprawled across me, preventing me from doing any of the items I might normally like to do during a nap, I’m thankful because I know parents who never got to snuggle their little ones – particularly, a mom whose child has ASD who just simply refused to snuggle. When my kids are annoying the ever loving crap out of me, I’m grateful that they’re all here, alive, able to annoy the ever loving crap out of me, because I know parents whose kids are no longer here to annoy the ever loving crap out of THEM. I know most people sort-of, kind-of think about these things. We’re annoyed that the dishwasher breaks, and then quickly realize we should be grateful we have a dishwasher, the money to fix or replace it, and electricity and a house. But knowing real faces, real kids, real parents who are envious of the things I get to enjoy – as I’m envious of the things other parents get to enjoy – really drives this kind of thankfulness home.

When the day takes all of you

Interestingly, I bookmarked THIS particular blog post, at Heart of the Matter – a homeschooling blog in my feed reader, just before Teddy was born. It’s difficult for me to remember what life was like then, but I’m sure I related to the story told in the first part of the post – a regular day that just wears on you. Purposeful tasks that just grind you down.  (edited this to fix the link that wasn’t working – this post makes more sense with the link.)

Nowadays, I’d rewrite that story there at the beginning a bit. And it’d definitely include vomit, diarrhea, losing consciousness, ridiculous wait times at the lab, a well-intentioned walk that takes an hour to get everyone dressed for because of the aforementioned vomit and diarrhea, and would probably also include something about prescription meds or lab results.

And it would ALSO include the student who won’t focus, the friend who needs support, the husband with a bad day, bickering children, and a supper that I somehow managed to screw up – probably because I walked out of the kitchen to check on something quick and got sidetracked by the 100 other things that vie for my attention.

Hey, good times!!!

Then she goes on…

Then, in the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there (Mark 1: 35).

You’ve had these days and Jesus, too, had a day just like this in which his purposeful work grew into that which was emotional and taxing. Mark doesn’t say that Jesus felt spent or inadequate, only that Jesus’ next step was to get away in a time of solitude and prayer. But we can connect the two.

In solitude, Jesus connected with what he needed to do next: more of the same. To lean in. It didn’t change what needed to be done, only the strength he had to do it. Though others wanted to press him with their needs, he determined not to derail his purpose. Jesus returned from silence and solitude with function and purpose.

Though the linked post ends with an exhortation to get away for a time of silence and solitude for a day or a weekend, and though that’s realistically never, ever going to happen (any time soon, anyway), I don’t think that getting away for a full day – or a half day – is needed. Jesus didn’t, and He was dealing with MUCH bigger problems than I have.

I’m not likely to be able to get away to a secluded place – Teddy has this bizarre spidey sense that alerts him if I move more than 2 inches away while he’s sleeping at night – but I can get up early and have solitude and some level of seclusion in my own bed. (The trick is staying awake, of course…)hnjm gt