July 05, 2008

Strange 4th

My family usually celebrates Independence Day with a rowdy day of bbq and swimming, little kids splashing and dancing, adults laughing and joking and playing games. The anticipation of fireworks fueling the fun.

About 9:30 in the evening we all gather our chairs and blankets and walk over to the park to ooh and aah at the explosion of color and sound of the fireworks.

No fireworks this year and the absence of the "expectation" was worse than the actual absence of the show itself!

We have been surrounded with over 800 fires. Though yesterday was the first day we actually saw a little bit of blue sky for the first time in weeks, the air has been so thick with smoke that you could very definitely imagine cutting it.

Some days the visability was so bad that I couldn't see the house across the street. Several times I thought about swabbing the inside of my nose just to see if the swab would come out black but I was too freaked out to find out that it might!
At our clinic we have had families of firefighters calling us for prescriptions for the treatment of poison oak because the firefighters themselves haven't been able to leave the fire lines for days on end. There have also been lots of respiratory complaints and one of our older patients had taken 4 nitros in one day because it hurt so much to breathe. Of course, she also worked in her garden all day inspite of air quality alerts....but at 91 I guess you do what you want!

There were so many fires at one time, and maybe even now, that only the fires that were threatening structures could be fought, just not enough man-power to fight them all.

Living in Northern California these past couple of weeks has really felt as if I was a citizen of a science fiction movie, living on a strange planet, with a red sun and a brown moon. The sun has been so incredibly red at times that it took every bit of will-power in me not to just stop and stare at the ghostly glow of it.

Air quality warnings have been issued and we have been advised to stay inside. Makes me wonder what the consequences of this fire could be. During the huge blackout on the east coast in 1965 there was a marked rise in the number of births 9 months later.
Can we expect that in California? Will the birthrate drastically rise in March of 2009?
Will the rising price of marijuana rival the increase of gas prices since much of the land burning is prime location for illegal marijuana plantations?
Will there be a marked increase of lung cancer, asthma and other upper respiratory ailments in the years to come?
Will the California Supreme Court reconsider next time it wants to overrule a decision that the population of California voted against (twice) again without considering the Karma of it?

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