Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On Washing Hands

On Washing Hands was about the importance of washing your hands. The story took an inside look into hospitals and how the doctors could decrease the number of infections and sometimes deaths just from washing their hands. I found this story interesting because an act that is almost effortless, and takes no time at all can make all the difference in the world. "Out of three thousand mothers who delivered babies at the hospital where Semmelweis worked, six hundred or more died of the disease each year-a horrifying 20 percent maternal death. Of mothers delivering at home, only 1 percent died. Semmelweis concluded that doctors themselves were carrying the disease between patients, and he mandated that every doctor and nurse on his ward scrub with a nail brush and chlorine between patients." The statistics in this story are shocking and make you realize just how significant washing your hand really is.
I think that humans are creatures of habit, even if you know something is bad and want to change it's hard to do so. People usually only change when something happens to them personally, even with such shocking evidence why you should change or do something, if it doesn't affect you then why does it matter in their eyes.

Washing Hands

This essay to me seemed a bit tedious because while yes taking all the necessary precautions to wash your hands is extremely important when you're going to operate on someone, it takes a long time. Think about if we all had to do that every time we washed our hands. Our skin would dry out and become cracked and irritated and we would dread having to go through the process. Also, while taking all the steps to properly sanitize oneself, it does have a downside. The downside could be that while we are cleanging ourselves against bacteria, it is lowering our imminity to certain bacteria and we will be more susceptible to things that we otherwise would have been immune to.

Reading Response

In "Our Moral Footprint" by Vaclav Havel, he addresses the question of Global Warming cause but tells us that it doesn't actually matter if the human pollution is the leading cause of our worlds warming, that it is a question of moral to take care of where we live. Havel uses a kind of accusing question to make the reader think about what is right:
 "We can't endlessly fool ourselves that nothing is wrong and that we can go on cheerfully pursuing our wasteful lives, ignoring the climate effects and postponing a solution. Maybe there will be no major catastrophe in the coming years or decades. Who knows? But that doesn't relieve us of responsibility toward future generations."

I think habits and behavior are so hard to change because they are repeated so often. After you do something so many times you don't know what else to do so you just keep doing it. Just like brushing your teeth or going to school, you are brought up for repetition so its what your mind and body are use to. Watching T.V. is a really easy habit i think because almost everything on it is series, episodes that go on for ever. You are left curious as to what will happen next so you watch it again the next time its on. I some habits come from getting out of what you don't want to do as well. This photograph I picked out is an example of a small habit that I think people do because of being nervous, like bouncing your leg for a test. I also thought about what Gawande said in On Washing Hands about under your nails being one of the top germ collectors, biting your nails is probably an extremely unhealthy habit. Just something I never really thought about before.

Monday, February 27, 2012

On Washing hands

I really liked this essay the most. I love how it goes through all the procedures about sanitation and organization in a hospital. It stood out most to me me most when it talks about all the steps one most go through to sanitize and wash your hands when you work in the medical field. These steps are to prevent bacteria and disease from spreading. The quote I liked the most was in paragraph 12
     "I checked with her one day not long ago and 63 of our 700 hospital patients were colonized or infected with MRSA ( the shorthand for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and another 22 had acquired VRE ( vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus) unfortunately , typical rates of infection for American hospitals. This shows just had bad it can get if you don't sanitize or wash your hands at a hospital.

For me, sometimes I find it really hard to change my time management when it comes to getting stuff done, whether it be school related, work related etc. I know I need to change my habits and get things done, it is just the matter of doing them. Most of the time I put it off and I decide to choose to hangout with friends instead of doing important tasks. The one way i guess I could change was try and sort out my priorities and do whats more important first, such as doing homework, cleaning up , etc. and doing what is least important last.
    I know at times it can be hard for people to change how they do things, because they have done things a certain way for so long, that it is hard for them to do it another way, that they aren't sure on how to go about changing the way they do things. 

On Washing Hands

The reading stood out for me the most in paragraph two.  I found it very interesting that in the hospital you can get just as sick.  According to the Disease Control Centers 2 million Americans aquire an infection while being in the hospital, and 90 thousand die from that infection.  Semmelweis wrote to a university obstetrician " Should you, Herr Hofrath, without having disapproved my doctrine, continue to teach your pupils against it, i declare before God and the world that you are a murderer and the history of childbed fever would not be unjust to you if it memorialized you as a medical Nero". I found that very powerful that just something as little as washing your hands can be that affective and take so much time.  Change is so hard because I think people get into their own routine and it just becomes natural for them, making it harder to stop.  I know from my experience learning to really become self motivated to work out daily or at least a couple times a week was harder after I graduated highschool.  It was easy for me during school because I was involved in so many sports that it was something I had to do.  After graduating I had to continue the habits of working out without someone telling me to do so.  

Footprints and washing hands

The two essays both raised valid points on both interesting and crucial subjects. Washing hands is important in everyday life and I can imagine it would be just as or even more important in a hospital setting. If nurses and doctors do not properly sterilize themselves and the equipment diseases are almost always sure to be pasted. I completely agree with gawande, washing hands properly is extremely vital.
If we choose not to speak out against global warming and the prevention thereof things will just continue as they are, leaving a very horrible place to live for our grandchildren and great grandchildren to come.

On Washing Hands

Gawande is very passionate as he goes through his essay, "Washing Hands" and tells the reader about all the diseases that people have and also all of the problems there are in a hospital. Many people feel that a hospital is a place to get well and treated at, but many do not realize how dangerous a hospital really is. Gawande states in his essay, "Each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, two million Americans acquire an infection while they are in the hospital". I think this quote stands out the most to me because when someone thinks about a hospital they really think of getting well, not getting sick. The whole purpose of most people that go into a hospital is the idea of getting treated for something that is wrong with them.
People get so used to their habits that it can almost be the death of them. For someone to change a habit that they do is very difficult and it is for many reasons. We just do the same things over and over again. Our lives are very repetitive. When we get into the habit of doing something there is something in our brain that tells us to keep doing that and keep doing it the way you started. That is why it is so hard to change the way that we wash our hands. We could even link this into the addictions that many people have today. Smoking is a good example of this. I have worked with a very nice lady for almost 5 years now. She was a smoker and has smoked her whole life. About two years ago she got Leukemia and was off work for almost two years. She recieved many treatments and is now in remission. They are not sure exactly how she got it. She never did stop smoking through all the time she had cancer. Now she wonders if it is going to come back again. Smoking may not only be a habit, because there are chemicals involved in smoking, but it is defintely partly a habit. Someone is so used to smoking that breaking that chain of smoking everyday is hard because they get so used to doing it. Even if we know that something we are doing is harming us, we continue to do it. Most people know that if they stop smoking or wash their hands more often that they can become healthier, but they keep doing it.

Our Moral Footprint response

My favorite quote from the whole passage was, "Maybe we should start considering our sojourn on earth as a loan." That quote stood out to me a lot because it interprets that we as humans use earth like it is invincible. We use and abuse the earth without any consideration towards the earth's future. We have taken many things from earth and we should think about giving back to the earth now. Just like a loan, we should work hard and stop the debt from growing. Vaclav Havel also talks about how if we, as a society, do not change then earth will never return to its previous state.

I think that it is hard to change habits because changing a habit takes more energy and thought than to not change it at all. Even if we want to change it, sometimes the factor of laziness kicks in and makes us want to do absolutely nothing. The only way to change this laziness in ourselves is by starting from the beginning. In my experience, I realized that when ever I have to do change something, the worst part is just getting started. I hated reading books when I was in high school. Finally during my junior year I was in a class where we had to read 3 books in one quarter. I never used to read, I always used sparknotes and BSed my whole essay. But I realized that I could not keep doing this going into college so i decided to read. When I got started, it wasn't too bad and eventually I knocked down all my books. Just gettting started is the worst part, so if you can get past step one, it will be a lot easier.

Screw it - I'm late

"On occasion, I even think, Screw it-I'm late, I have to get a move on, and what difference does it really make what I do this one time?" This quote from Atul Gawande in his article On Washing Hands, really struck home to me. There are many times through out my day when I am busy trying to do several things at once, that I say "Screw-it", and something always suffers because of my apathy. I really have to watch this downfall at work at the correctional facility I work at. If I say "screw-it" and hurry through the motions of security, someone could get seriously hurt including myself. I have recently been forced to change my habits I have had for 15 years. I worked at North Central Corrections but was forced to move to Marion Corrections due to the sale of the facility. I lost all of my seniority and I went from working day shift with weekends off, to working third shift with Tuesday/Wednesday off. It has been very difficult for my body and mind to adjust to the new hours and to adjust my family schedule to my new life. Things are getting easier over the last 2 months and the hardest part of the adjustment has been sleeping during the daylight. I will continue to adjust or I may just go crazy, who knows?

Washing Hands and Changing Habits

In the Washing Hands article the piece that stuck out to me the most was in paragraph 4 where it talks about how 20% of mothers who delivered in a hospital died due to bacterial infections and whereas only 1% of who delivered at home were affected. This surpirsed me because I would have thought that having a child in a hospital would have been the safest and most santiatry place. I would like to think that even though we all keep our homes "clean" that many would not find it cleaner than the hospital and the sad part is that your home clearly is cleaner and it all starts with just washing your hands. The process of washing ones hand seem much more extensive than many of us probably actually do as well. For example, it says that you should remove all jewelry and wash at least up 1/3 of your arm. Then you have to use like three different paper towels just to ensure that you haven't come into contact with any new bacteria before seeing a new patient and then the process is repeated. After reading an article like this I really begin to over analyze every simple dialy task that I think about and recently I have not become a germiphobe, but I do notice myself thinking, "Wow! I wonder how many other people have touched this handrail, door handle, keyboard, pen...." And the list goes on and on. We come into contact with so many different things and people that I don't think many people realize to wash their hands before they grab that burger and put all those germs in their mouth. It is for reasons like this that your mouth is probably the dirtiest place on the body.

I think that changing habits is often so hard for people because as many times as we are told the correct way once a certain age is reached it is hard to remember until after you have already done it the wrong way and then many people think there is no point to go back and correct it beause you will do it next. But then then next time you say that and the cycle jsut keeps repeating itself. One cna change just by making sure that they practice good habits and whenver you do it the wrong way you do it again so you will remember the right way. I liketo think of recycling when it comes to change becasue many people know its the right thing to do and it doesn't take that much longer to do it right and set up a system, but people will still just throw all the trash in the same bin. This is one of the reasons that we are not moving ahead on the whole "Go Green" effort.

Washing hands

This essay really opened my eyes to the dangers of simply not washing your hands. Of course I wash my hands before eating and after the restroom but I never saw it something that important, just another everyday habit that I don't notice. By not washing hands, people could pickup diseases and transfer them to anyone who makes indirect contact with them. In a part of the essay, the author talks about how especially doctors need to pay attention to good hand cleaning because if they don't "...wash their hands well enough, Obstetricians [are] themselves to blame for childhood fever" (154). Something as simple as washing hands can prevent the spread of diseases.
Often for people, changing habits in any area is extremely difficult for a couple of reasons. One is that people could just forget that they're trying to make a change and continue with original habits. Another is that if it's a habit having to do with the body like smoking or eating constantly, then the body has adjusted to those habits and stopping or changing those habits could be very uncomfortable and tough. One can change those habits by perhaps having someone help them change. For example, I had always been a bad listener. If someone were telling me an "important" story that I wasn't very interested in, the often times I'll zone out and not hear anything they were talking about. My roommates have pointed that out to me and are trying to help me with it.

On Washing Hands response

What really stood out to me in his writing was when he talked about how hand soap does not completely wipe out all the germs on your hands. I always learned that washing your hands was a necessity, but the process which he describes is way beyond the procedure I was taught. After talking about the germs that can congregate on our hands, he says that, "Plain soaps do, at best, a middling job of disinfecting. Their detergents remove loose dirt and grime, but fifteen seconds of washing reduces bacterial counts by only about an order of magnitude" (208). That statistic is staggering to me. I always thought soap killed everything after washing your hands.

Overall, changing habits is incredibly difficult for humans because we are, in essence, creatures of habit. Everything we do revolves around patterns and habits to make things less complicated. For example, work schedules are made in advance so that we can plan accordingly around it. If something goes wrong, such as a last minute time change, that interferes with other plans, we freak out. And even if there is habit that we know is bad, it is still hard to change because again, it is not convenient. In a society that is constantly moving, it is hard to find the time to change a habit. Study habits in particular were very hard for me to change. All throughout elementary and middle school, I never had to study for anything. But once high school came around, and my grades started to slip, I knew I needed to change. However, I would always get distracted while trying to study and venture off to do other things, because I was not used to studying. Eventually, after putting a lot of time into studying and forcing myself to do it, I overcame and changed my habit.