Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 17, 2013

ED VASICEK: November opinionettes on storms, cycling, etc.

Age brings medical, publishing advances

Kokomo Tribune

---- — Today I am going to share someopinionettes

— scattered thoughts about a number of subjects. Let’s begin with the Philippines.

Another massive disaster has gripped our planet. According to the Associated Press, “Bloated bodies lay uncollected and uncounted in the streets and desperate survivors pleaded for food, water and medicine as rescue workers took on a daunting task Monday in the typhoon-battered islands of the Philippines ... Authorities estimated the typhoon killed 10,000 or more people ...”

It is heartbreaking to read of such tragedies. The miseries of the death toll are amplified when you consider the injured, those who will yet die from the post-storm conditions, and the survivors who will grieve the loss of those close to them.

Although we cannot do much, we can pray and give for these unfortunate folks. Red Cross, for example, will offer significant relief efforts. Religious denominations offer a variety of relief channels. My wife and I make donations to Franklin Graham’s “Samaritan’s Purse,” a Christian relief organization. You might consider giving to the charity of your choice.

In your face

My next opinion is about a lighter subject. The other day, the wife and I were strolling in the woods on the west leg of the Walk of Excellence. We soon heard a voice behind us, “On your left.” I knew to move over to the right, behind Marylu. I thanked the cyclist as he passed us, and he thanked me in return. We have had other experiences, however, in which cyclists came flying down a downgrade portion of the trail at breakneck speed. We even came up with a contingency plan: I would dive to one side, she to another (if need be).

Reckless cyclists need to take note of this UPI article: “A 75-year-old British woman was convicted of assault for emptying a bag of dog droppings on a cyclist she accused of riding too close to her.

“Prosecutors said Susan Currall, 75, of Trumpington, England, swung the bag of her dog’s feces at cyclist Michael Ramage ... she was angry at how often cyclists passed too close to her while she was walking ...” There must be a better way to handle this!

Calling it in

Another subject that caught my interest pertains to “telemedicine.” The idea of getting medical help without seeing a doctor is not new. Growing up, our family physician would often prescribe medicine over the phone. Rather than see the doctor to get a prescription for antibiotics, he would call the pharmacy and authorize a prescription on our behalf. He did not charge for this service — it’s just the way things were a few years back. With the rising costs of health care, our society is moving back to that old concept. Rather than a free phone call, we now communicate information online — or converse using Skype to include the visual examination. There is a fee involved, but a lesser one.

Futurist Ben Miller writes: “‘telemedicine,’ the use of information technology for remote medical consultation and other health services, not only saves health providers time and money, it is also far more convenient and less costly for patients. In addition, by decreasing the importance of location for health care provision, telemedicine can help increase competition ... Finally, using technology to allow health care workers to quickly serve those where there is the greatest demand will create a more efficient health care system overall and provide access to the best doctors to the largest number of patients.”

Book publishing

Self-publishing is my next subject. About three years ago, I published my first Jewish-roots-of-Christianity book (“The Midrash Key”) using Amazon.com’s “Create Space” self-publishing service. Then I was able to also convert my book to Kindle format. Right now, I am nearing completion of my second book.

I know a number of people who have self-published books. The technology for “on demand” publishing is amazing. The book itself exists as digital computer information. As folks order it, it is printed. Authors can now publish books for their unique niche, and some of them are remarkable.

Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at edvasicek@gmail.com.