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Father’s garden

first_imgBy Wayne McLaurinUniversity of GeorgiaAs Father’s Day approaches, I remember with fond affection my ownfather. He wasn’t a big man, but was very big in my eyes. Noteducated in a modern sense, he never failed to have time toanswer my thousand questions. He was never too busy to talk to uschildren.Many of the conversations came in the garden, started by aquestion.”What plant is that?””Is this bug good or bad?””Is that ready to eat?””Why are some peppers hot?””What causes tomatoes to turn red?””How big can a watermelon grow?””Can we quit now?”Railroad gardenWe always had a big vegetable garden on land we used with permission from the railroad.At 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. a passenger train passed by going toforeign places as far as we were concerned — northbound toWashington, D.C., and New York and southbound to New Orleans.We knew we weren’t going there, so we just waved at the people onthe train and showed them Southern hospitality while we wentabout our chores.Everyone had chores in the garden. One of my least favorite wasto pick squash and okra — both sticky. I was the fifth child,and now I think this chore was passed down as the older ones gotmore power and control.Okra lessonsLittle did I know then that I’d wind up getting a Ph.D. inhorticulture at Louisiana State University and do all of myresearch on okra. I reckon that garden got me geared up for life.Daddy never was into “gadgets.” We didn’t have a tractor or evena mule, just hand tools and a pushplow.Having come through World War I and the Depression and having sixchildren to support, Daddy was somewhat tight-fisted. Why haveone of those gadgets when Mr. John Scott would come over and plowthe garden with his mule Hugh?Besides the chores, we did everything else that was asked. Daddyalways asked. He never told us what to do. Of course, we neverrefused to do what he asked.That one time…Except there was that one time when my older brother V.L. decidedif he stuck his foot with a pitchfork he could get out of work –we always worked barefooted. Instead, he stuck it through his toe.Daddy took him back to the house, poured iodine on the puncture,bandaged it and made him wear shoes back to the garden. All of uslearned a lesson: don’t try it, because it won’t get you out ofgarden work.We didn’t have any of the supplies modern gardeners can’t seem todo without. We knocked pests off the plants into a coffee canwith a little kerosene in the bottom. After we were through, westrained the bugs out and saved the kerosene for the nextonslaught of insects.Specialized hoesWeed control was never a problem. We just used hoes and kept themsharpened. As the hoe heads were sharpened, of course, theybecame smaller.That was never a problem. We used the small-headed hoe to getclose around the plant. With this implement I could get rightnext to the stem and cut the grass.Woe be unto the kid, though, who cut a plant. We’d get “Son, whydidn’t you just pull the grass from around the plant with yourhands?” in the kindest of words.The newer, wider hoes were for the middles. And we never chopped.We “drew” the hoe along the top of the soil without disturbingthe soil, letting the sharp edge do the work. Chopping brought upweed seeds, the exact thing we were trying to control.Lots of lessonsWe not only planted and raised each vegetable but picked it,shelled it, helped cook it and, of course, ate everything. Theplate was never passed twice, and no one wanted to be at the end.Yet there was always enough to eat and share with others lessfortunate (or as we kids so selfishly saw it, too lazy to have agarden).As I look back, gardening with my father was one of the bestlearning experiences ever. All of the formal education I’ve gonethrough has only refined and enhanced what I learned in myfather’s garden.(Wayne McLaurin is a horticulturist with the University ofGeorgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Dentists continue services via teledentistry and with tighter protocols

first_imgThis article is part of The Jakarta Post’s “Forging the New Norm” special coverage series, on how people are forging their lives anew to adjust to the new realities of COVID-19 in Indonesia.Dentists and dental clinics in Indonesia are attempting to minimize the high risks they face amid the COVID-19 pandemic by embracing telemedicine and tighter health protocols in order to continue treating patients and to keep their businesses afloat.Dental procedures frequently generate formations of droplets and fine water particles in the air that can carry the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, which may end up on the clothes of, or be inhaled by, both dental healthcare personnel and patients. Read also: Indonesian dentists walk on tightrope as practices forced to close due to COVID-19The Indonesian Dentists Association (PDGI) has advised the public not to see dentists unless for emergency or serious dental problems, such as oral bleeding or severe dental pain during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, the PDGI reported that six dentists had died of COVID-19 after treating patients.“Patients can understand their degrees of urgency by consulting the dentists virtually. It has never been more obvious that dental organizations must embrace teledentistry,” PDGI chair Sri Hananto Seno told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.Take pictures Many patients, including Intan Kurnia Marka, have decided to postpone going to the dentist. Intan, herself a 24-year-old dental student in Yogyakarta, has skipped her routine braces checkups during the outbreak. “A loose bracket is a common problem for people with braces but it doesn’t need emergency care. I fear the COVID-19 transmission more,” she said.Hananto said that patients nowadays might want to communicate with dentists online, especially if their dentists have established good relationships with them. Hananto, for example, asks his patients to take several pictures of their mouth and send them through WhatsApp so he can analyze the problem.“This is the closest we can get to solving the dilemma of whether to continue to work and keep earning or to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” he said, adding that in outbreak epicenter Jakarta, the COVID-19 situation had prompted nearly 70 percent of dentists to stop practicing and lose their source of income.Hananto said the PDGI, which has 272 branches across the country, was also starting to collaborate with telemedicine apps such as Klikdokter and Halodoc so that dentists could register easily.Limited servicesDentistry, however, has yet to settle on an established new normal. Dentists and clinics are still grappling with how best to serve needy patients and the results are either a limited service or a costly one.Artist Yustiansyah Lesmana told the Post that his wife, whose gums had swollen, went to RE Martadinata Dental Naval Hospital in Central Jakarta on May 8 where she was asked to cover the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the medical workers in order to obtain emergency treatment. They did not use the national healthcare system BPJS Kesehatan because that system requires the patient to go see their nearest dentist first before being treated as a dental emergency in the hospital.“My wife was expected to pay Rp 500,000 [US$ 33.50] outside the treatment fees. We declined to see the dentist eventually,” he said. The couple spent hours, calling several dentists and clinics, to find a dentist that could treat Yustiansyah’s wife’s problem. Finally, they went to the University of Indonesia clinic in Salemba, where she left her number and was called and treated remotely by a dentist because the dental clinic was closed to visitors.RE Martadinata Dental Naval Hospital head Col. Agus Gamal Mulya said the policy of patients buying PPE for dentists applied to general patients, to partially cover the cost of PPE given the scarcity of protective gear in the first weeks of the outbreak and subsequent skyrocketing prices.“We needed to procure protective gear but were unable to do it without aid from other parties. A set of PPE cost around Rp 500,000 per staff member. Meanwhile, a patient with an emergency case is treated by two personnel, a doctor and a dental assistant. We decided to charge the patient for the PPE at half the cost if they agreed,” Agus told the Post on Tuesday.He added that the policy did not apply to patients covered by the Health Care and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan).Atika Nurmalia was also only able to obtain a limited dental service recently. Unable to bear the incessant pain from her swollen gums, the 24-year-old woman from Kudus regency in Central Java, decided to see a dentist, despite her fear of contracting COVID-19.When she visited the clinic, she went through a body temperature check and was told to maintain physical distance. However, she was surprised when she saw the dentist only wore a surgical mask and did not examine her mouth at all.“I was not told to open my mouth, I didn’t even remove my mask. I understand that must be dangerous to do especially as the dentist only wore a mask but what’s the point then of visiting the dentist?” she said. Her experience demonstrated the necessary shift in dental practice as some procedures may be now carried out without visiting a hospital or clinic.Tighter protocolsEndodontist Rio Suryantoro, who owns a clinic in Tebet, South Jakarta, said he had been conducting assessments regarding COVID-19 through WhatsApp as a routine procedure.“If a patient needs emergency care, we must first assess their condition and travel history in the last 14 days before agreeing to an arrangement. Meanwhile, all kinds of nonemergency practices should be postponed,” he told the Post.Rio added that even with such precheck measures, the risks were still high as long as the patients were not tested for COVID-19, especially as some COVID-19 patients could be showing no symptoms.“Now is a good time for dental professionals to learn about and improve infection control. All this time, both dental patients and staff could be exposed to various viruses and bacteria through direct or indirect contact with fluids, but even the standard precautions are often overlooked,” said Rio.The standard precautions in dental practices include hand hygiene, use of PPE such as gloves, masks and eyewear, safe injection practices, sterile instruments and a clean and disinfected environment.In the future, patients may expect to see all dental staff wearing gowns, masks, face shields, gloves and boots. Hananto of the PDGI said this protective gear was an absolute condition for any dentists who wanted to work during this pandemic.Hananto added, however, that not all dental healthcare personnel could afford protective gear. The PDGI has received 5,000 PPE items from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) and distributed them to several regions. This amount is far from enough to cover all 34,000 dentists across the country, according to Hananto.“Without an effective vaccine, the pandemic will last but we can’t stop working forever. The way to work is by wearing full protective gear,” he said.Topics :last_img read more