Memories of mines
Editor: I recently watched the movie “Coal Miner’s Daughter” on television, and afterward I had a lot of memories.
My uncle Frank’s lunch consisted mainly of a lard sandwich, pig’s knuckles, a thermos of black coffee, a few shots of cheap liquor and an apple or pear.
In the summer, I would wait for him and carry his lunchbox. He was black with coal dust from his miner’s helmet to his boots. He might give me a penny or two and pat me on the head.
My grandfather’s leg was crushed in a mine cave-in. He somehow crawled on his hands and knees to safety. His leg turned black and purple. He never complained, used a cane and helped with the chores, fed his children and helped my dad in his small store.
I remember a giant burning culm dump near the Marvine Colliery close to the Scranton-Throop border. It had eerie blue flames at night and sprouted noxious carbon dioxide gasses.
If you think you have it tough, think again.
TOM “ZEKE” DZIKI
Stop burning oil
Editor: The Aug. 12 Times-Tribune editorial “Harm isn’t perspective” dealt with climate change.
It is real and will get worse unless we recognize its causes. We have been using oil for decades to power our vehicles, planes and ships. The combustion of oil results in pollution that has accumulated a small amount at a time.
Knowing this, it makes no sense to have auto racing and there should be no unnecessary activity with a billion vehicles in use around the world. Thousands of airplane flights a day also pollute the air. It’s no wonder we have climate change.
The Paris climate accord will do nothing to stop this source of pollution. It is up to us to stop using internal combustion vehicles for unnecessary things. The only way is to make electric vehicles, develop an electrified rapid rail system to travel about the country and use airplanes only for overseas travel.
Editor: I was disheartened to see so many references to “stopping medical care” regarding Sen. John McCain’s decision not to pursue additional cancer-directed treatments shortly before his death.
Although I do not know the details of his care, such a statement is most likely incorrect. As a physician training in the field of hospice and palliative medicine, I care for patients with serious illness. Many of these patients have received numerous treatments directed at curing their disease. Unfortunately, despite advances in the field of medicine, people sometimes die from serious illnesses like cancer.
When curative therapy is no longer an option, due to inefficacy or the risk of causing more harm than benefit, physicians trained in palliative care can help patients by providing expert recommendations directed at treating symptoms like pain and nausea, as well as providing support during a time when patients and families may feel their most vulnerable. Transitioning to medical care focused on minimizing unpleasant symptoms and maximizing quality of life is not stopping treatment.
It may seem like semantics, but language is important and can influence the way patients and families view difficult end of life decisions. I hope that McCain and his family found peace and had the support of palliative care specialists to help take care of him.
MATTHEW MURPHY, M.D.
Assure asthma care
Editor: For the 235,000 children living with asthma in Pennsylvania and an estimated 6 million with asthma in the U.S., gearing up for another school year involves much more than picking out a new pencil case and backpack.
Asthma is the third-leading cause of hospitalization among children under 15 and one of the main reasons that students miss school due to illness, with almost 13 million lost school days every year.
Half of all children with asthma in the United States get their health coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Comprehensive asthma treatment and service coverage mean that these children would be able to control their attacks at school. However, Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program imposes barriers to asthma care — such as prior authorization for asthma medications and step therapy.
Pennsylvania should work to increase coverage of and remove barriers to asthma care. By having comprehensive health care for asthma management, children can feel healthy, safe and ready to learn.
JENNIFER HOBBS FOLKENROTH
AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION,
CAMP HILL, CUMBERLAND COUNTY
Another Gloria Jean
Editor: Thanks to Jerry Lyman (“Honor Gloria Jean,” Aug. 18) for his letter about Gloria Jean Schoonover, the childhood movie star from Scranton. He said the city should honor her on Aug. 24 every year.
I was born on Aug. 24, 1939, and my mother told me I was named after a movie star from Scranton. I knew very little about my namesake, but Mr. Lyman’s letter gave me information about my birth date, too.
Thanks and please pass on my regards to another Gloria Jean from Scranton.
GLORIA JEAN LEONARD
Editor: I received a letter recently from PPL Electric Utilities informing me of the company’s proposal to replace my analog electric meter with a wireless electric meter, commonly referred to as a “smart meter.”
I sent a nonconsent letter to PPL. Wireless electric metering devices may be dangerous to health and an invasion of privacy.
A May 2011 press release from the World Health Organizations International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans.
My research indicates that homeowners and renters can opt out of this proposal. Have your own experience and consider the consequences. Act if you are as concerned as I am.