Month: September 2016

The Verdict is In…

Everyone adores the family dog. Maybe you have more than one. It lives in your midst providing hours of unconditional love for which there is no substitute. Sometimes it sleeps with you on the sofa as you watch TV or atop you in your favorite easy chair next to the cozy blanket. Most have been known to grace the bed covers during sleeping hours no doubt imparting enough pet dander to create some major family allergies.

It is a sad state of affairs to find out that one of your children is allergic to this favored pet, who otherwise can do no wrong. Allergies in kids are serious matters causing coughs, shortness of breath, wheezing, and general respiratory discomfort. Well, the obvious solution won’t work. You can’t get rid of the precious pet no matter what. The anguish to the child alone is far worse than the allergy symptoms. We wouldn’t put food in our children’s lunches that aggravate allergies, so why keep the family dog around without taking some precautions.

Where there is a will, there is a way. It comes in the form of an air purifier designed for pet allergies and odors. You can ban the pet from the bedroom to be sure, especially at night, but you need to do more than that if he or she is to live peaceably in the family home. An air purifier is designed just for such occasions when the air quality is poor and full of pollen, pet dander, mold, germs, odors, bacteria, smoke, or allergens. They work wonders in keeping kids breathing well and they don’t cost an arm and a leg. You will want a good portable model that will take care of an entire room of up to 500 square feet. You don’t have to install the appliance in your HVAC system which might be cumbersome unless your family allergy problem is quite severe. Room size air purifiers cost much less than the whole-house models in any case and can be quite effective when used consistently. You can then move it around as needed as they weight from 10 to 20 pounds, but let it reside in the bedroom for the night.

So which one to buy? After careful scrutiny, the verdict is in. I prefer a HEPA as opposed to a carbon filter. A lot of confidence goes with that name. It is a common sense step to eradicate air pollution. What this means is that some room models use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which can capture ultrafine particles. Most such specialized filters need to be replaced annually, an expense that might increase the total cost of the air cleaner (A few air cleaners are now available with cleanable HEPA filters.) Be advised that room models that use either electrostatic-precipitator or ionizer technology produce some small amount ozone, which can be a lung irritant. Check the product specifications to learn how to cut back on this emission or opt to avoid this process altogether. I think, however, that the benefits outweigh this drawback.

A New Chapter for Mom

Retirement is indeed the turning of a big page in one’s life journey. So much so that many people do not look forward to such major upheaval in their lives. I don’t look at it that way since it is not about me this time. My mother, a nurse, is about to retire and a party is in store to celebrate her many dedicated medical years. We have a lot of family coming to join mom’s coworkers. It will have a medical theme, of course, with plenty of references to the stethoscopes, hypodermics, blood pressure cuffs, bandages, compression stockings, and more. I have my ideas about decorating the room. I will try to use the medical paraphernalia humorously, some of it hanging from door jambs and windows. I will fill bandages like a piñata laden with assorted candies and mini toys. I want it to be festive and fun and a big send off for her termination of a major lifelong career.

Mother’s friends are nurses so I will have favors and gifts for them as well. I am making goodie bags full of colorful Band-Aids (the kind kids like), shoe laces in colors for nurses sneakers, miniature tongue depressors, and the like. It is all in fun as every guest will be entirely familiar with this hospital stuff.

Some family members are not as in the know so they asked me about finding gifts for nurses. What do you get a retired nurse? I answered just about anything. Don’t worry about making it practical since she is no longer on the job. Why not eschew the nurses gift idea altogether and get luxury items she never had time to use like perfume, cosmetics, scarves, and real pantyhose—not just the thick and unsightly compression kind. I myself had been struggling with the gift idea since I wanted it to be a representative of the major nature of this event. So I started thinking about a nice vacation to a sunny isle somewhere where she could bask leisurely in the sun. As a nurse always confined to dark hospital corridors, she had gotten a bit pale. I think this kind of gift would be a big surprise. She never had time to take more than two or three days of vacation, as dedicated as she was. She never wanted to abandon the patients and she was always on time for her shifts. I think if I do the sunny isle location, I can add this to the decorations of the party as a getaway secondary theme. We can have rum drinks with little umbrellas and trays of tropical fruit like pineapple. We can have colorful cloth draped here and there, the kind they wear in Hawaii on those famous shirts and muu muus of the state. It will be a hint of what is to come. I want to convey the idea that life is grand after retirement and something indeed to look forward to.