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House Calls: Could you be at risk of COPD?

House Calls runs every two weeks. Today’s column is written by Sandra Howerton, a respiratory therapist at Sutter Coast Hospital.

What is COPD? Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a serious lung disease that robs people of their ability to breathe.

There are two types – chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Both types make it harder to breathe because less air is able to flow in and out of the lungs.

Chronic bronchitis causes the lining of the lungs’ airways to become inflamed, which makes the airways tighten and narrow.  Emphysema causes the air sacs in the lungs to become damaged so old air inside the air sacs of your lungs cannot be exchanged with new air. 

Gray Matters: Senior Volunteer Program honors local

Geraldine Safford at the thrift shop. Submitted
Editor's note: The Area 1 Agency on Aging commissions freelance writer Carol Harrison to produce Gray Matters every two weeks.

Geraldine Safford and Shirley Fullmer have more in common than their 80-plus years. So do Margaret Jonas and Eleanor Sullivan.

At an age when many folks are slowing down, the quartet keeps showing up. Eureka’s Fullmer and Crescent City’s Safford were among the honorees pinned last month for 25 and 20 years of service, respectively, to their communities as part of the Volunteer Center of the Redwoods and RSVP.

Warrior Memories: Remembering coaching help from a real pro

With baseball season here it is fun to look back at a great experience I had coaching baseball in 1979 at Yucca Valley High School in the Mojave Desert.

I had coached baseball before for several years at Twentynine Palms High School in Southern California, but when a new school  opened in Yucca Valley I transferred there as the athletic director and head football coach — no more baseball even though I had always enjoyed coaching it.

During the era when coaches had to have teaching credentials, as had happened with the girls basketball team, baseball season was about to start  and we had no coach, so as the athletic director my principal said, you get the job.

Yoga Bites: Twisting can wring out the toxins, tension

Yoga Bites appears every four weeks.

For many people, the word yoga conjures up the image of a human pretzel.

It’s true, yogis do often enjoy a stretch with a twist. When practiced with care and mindfulness, twisting feels invigorating and calming at the same time. Rotating the spine helps to maintain its length, resiliency, health and suppleness. By squeezing and stretching the entire torso and its contents, including organs, muscles, glands and nerves, we wring toxins and tension out of the body.

Imagine squeezing dirty water from a sponge. The poetic irony here is that as we twist and wind up our outer bodies, the inner body and mind unwind more easily.

Del Norte Gardening: Rain has punished the early planters

Del Norte Gardening runs monthly. Paul Madeira and Julie Jo Ayer Williams own Ocean Air Farms in Fort Dick.

Welcome to the wet and wild spring of 2012!

It’s the darndest thing trying to grow food in the garden 12 months out of the year. For months we’ve had no trouble finding a break in the rain to get out on the soil. Then March happened!

Fall and most of the winter had been good to us, with lots of sun.  Perhaps this spring is where we’ll see lots of rain, more wind and more rain.

Del Norte People: A lifetime of ‘reading the water’

Editor’s note: Longtime Del Norte County resident Chuck Blackburn’s column appears monthly.

I was fortunate to be brought to the Klamath River in 1949 as a 13-year-old boy. I spent a summer rowing boats, fishing for salmon and steelhead and learning to run a motor boat up and down the river.

 Running up the shallow waters in the summer above the town of Klamath required a knowledge of reading the tailouts of riffles and being able to center off your approach to the deepest part of that riffle and the telltale signs of submerged rocks.

In my travels up and down the river in years ahead I tried to maneuver without hitting bottom and shearing a pin to protect the engine shaft and propeller. Even then I had times when I would have to pull over to the river bank and put in a new shear pin.

House Calls: Heart murmur may not be all that big a deal

House Calls runs every two weeks. Today’s column is written by Randy Landenberger registered diagnostic cardiac sonorophone at Sutter Coast Hospital.

There’s a murmur going’ around this town. Word is, dang near everyone’s got one. A heart murmur, that is.

So what exactly is a murmur and why do so many patients state, “Well I’ve never had one before.”

The first definition is that a murmur is an extra sound your doctor or nurse hears when they place the stethoscope over your heart. Typically we expect to hear the classic “boom-boom, boom-boom.” Any other sound is a murmur. Those “boom-booms” are made by your heart valves closing. You have four valves, two on each side of the heart, and they close two at a time.

CRDN Report: CR students join Sacramento march

Editor’s note: CRDN Report appears every four weeks.

Welcome to this month’s edition of the CRDN Report. As promised last month I will be talking about the trip that some of CRDN’s students took to Sacramento to attend the annual March In March rally.

It’s been a month since the event and it has been covered but this will be a firsthand report from a student who actually attended the event. I will also be talking about a raffle that the ASB Club is holding right now and I will remind everyone of some of the wonderful events scheduled in April through our Community Education program.

The scene in Sacramento

Nine students from CRDN and two students from CR Eureka, along with our staff adviser, left March 4 to attend the rally the next day. The trip down gave those of us who didn’t know each other a chance to become acquainted. All of us stayed at the Embassy Suites hotel overlooking Capitol Bridge in downtown Sacramento.


House Calls: Cold? Flu? Here is some info to help

House Calls runs every other Saturday. Today’s column is written by Quenlyn Larson, a pediatric nurse practitioner at Sutter Coast Community Clinic.

Even though it is now March we are still seeing children in the office with colds and the flu. Here are a few tips on how to recognize and treat a cold or the flu.

What is a cold?

 A cold or an upper respiratory infection (URI) is a viral infection of the nose and throat. A cold consists of a running or stuffy nose usually associated with fever and sore throat, and sometimes a cough, hoarseness, red eyes, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Children get on average an estimated six colds every year. Cold viruses are spread from one person to another by hand contact, by sneezing and coughing, not by cold air or drafts.

Yoga Bites: Treat every breath like the gift it is

Yoga Bites appears every four weeks.

Are you still breathing? I bet you inhaled a tad deeper just now after I brought it to your attention.

We spend far too much time being unaware of our breathing. Conscious breathing is a simple and powerful way to increase vitality and clarity, decrease stress and anxiety, regulate moods, enliven and even enlighten.

Breathing exercises can be practiced anywhere, anytime.  Becoming aware of the breath instantaneously shifts one into a higher consciousness, and profoundly into the present moment.

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