DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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19 March 2013

Minister for Simplicity

I went to the doctor again yesterday. It was a different doctor. The swab of my foot grew nothing, it's not infected. This doctor thinks it's a spider bite. I think it's eczema. But whether it's a spider bite or eczema, I have to rest with my foot up and not walk around unless absolutely necessary. She's given me more antibiotics, a different kind. I have a zinc dressing on it and have to go back next Thursday and Monday. My family wonder why I hesitate going to the doctor. This is a prime example of why I don't - there are few answers, it's guessing. I am resting when I can but life goes on and I have workshops to do. There is one today at Cooroy and eight more after that.

Thank you all for your continued good wishes. I appreciate it very much.

This was originally posted back in December 2008, the first year of the GFC.


I didn't think I'd be frightened by our economic crisis. Initially I saw it as a way of slowing everything down, putting the brakes on indiscriminate spending, and forcing many people to rethink the way they live their lives. Now it has gone beyond a simple lesson and is hitting hard. At the Centre I volunteer at, many more people are needing help and some of them are losing hope in the future. The crisis has a long way to go yet, some say life will be very difficult for at least another 18 months. My fear is that our governments have no idea how to handle what is happening and if they continue to throw money at the problem, the chance to grow through this, and eventually prosper, will be lost.

Simple living is the answer but politicians and those in power refuse to acknowledge that reducing what we spend on 'stuff' will help us and our planet. They are choosing to support 'the economy', and here in Australia, sections of our community - pensioners, carers, some people on a low income and families with children are being given one-off payments of over a thousand dollars ($1000 per child) and being encouraged to go out and spend it. It's a great pre-Christmas boost for those people but it's not a long term solution and it totally fails to address the problems associated with always having an economy reliant on non-stop spending, shoddy products and debt.

Simplifying our lives is not just a decision for tough times, although it makes the most sense then. I am not naive enough to believe that moving to a more simple way of life would be easy. I know it would be tough. But would it be tougher than what we are faced with now? Continuing to spend like drunken sailors is not sustainable, there must be a point at which the economy can't "grow" any more. Is climate change telling us we have reached that point?

I think our political agenda needs to change. If we had a Minister for Simplicity, she would be overseeing the development of factories to produce good quality, repairable, electrical appliances and cars that run on hydrogen; she would be encouraging us to attend the sewing or gardening classes in our neighbourhood; she would support the use of renewable energy, give rebates for solar panels and make water tanks compulsory on all homes. Schools would teach life skills. Community gardens would flourish. The general population would re-discover self-reliance.

Isn't that alternative an enticing idea. It would be wonderful if we had governments that really meant it when they said "it's time for change". Imagine if our factories reopened to produce sustainable, good quality products we all needed. Imagine if children grew up learning about vegetable gardening instead of sitting in front of an Xbox for hour upon hour. Imagine if credit cards were banned and we went back to thinking carefully about what we need, and then saving for it. The reduction in our landfill dumps alone would be astounding!

I don't believe that is going to happen, at least not in my lifetime. I am an optimist but I'm not stupid. I know handing out money is far more popular than being the instrument of change. I know band-aid measures are popular.

But in the meantime, we can all work towards further reductions in our lives. We can teach ourselves lost skills and be energised by producing some of our own food. We can slow down our spending and pay off debt. Big business hates that - it takes away their control of us. We can sew and knit, keep chooks; teach our children; talk to our neighbours; make do with what we have; be aware of our local natural environment and care for it; cook from scratch and become healthier because of it; and live smaller instead of bigger.

And while you're doing that, show your friends and neighbours what you're doing; they might be interested. Talk to your children about your family's changes and show them ways they might change too. Explain what you're doing to your extended family and work mates. If we can help others find a way of living that will help them survive this financial crisis, that helps us all. Be open with what you're doing and show others the benefits of your changes. And if you get the chance to talk to your local politicians, tell them how you've changed, what you've done and what you've planned for your future. Then ask them when we will have our first Minister for Simplicity.

40 comments:

  1. I was thinking this when our first recession hit, that it would be a chance to slow down, take stock and have a more sustainable pattern of living, to not always think that we need substantial growth in countries, that maybe we could work at equalising wealth across the world if the more developed countries slowed down and gave some of the others a chance to catch up. I guess maybe I'm a bit naive, but governments don't seem to go in for lateral thinking.

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  2. I had to smile at your comment about not going to see Dr's because it is so true, you rarely walk out with a diagnosis. I've been saying what you said for a couple of years now, and besides a routine womens check I haven't been to a Dr in over 18months. Mind you this has coincided with eating better and looking after myself better too!

    Don't get me wrong Doctors have their place, but the body's ability to heal itself is one of the true miracles still left in this world.

    Take care.

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  3. I take great pleasure in reading your blog, l havn't signed up for a newsletter as l very rarely check my email, but l look forward to your every post. I sincerely hope your foot heals quickly and doesn't cause you too much discomfort. From Norway,all the best, Pam

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  4. Rhonda,

    I very rarely post, and I am one of those women you talk about who does have a very active job, but who returns joyfully home on evenings and weekends to bake bread and rake out the chicken coop. My very busy job is as a family practice doctor in the States. Board certified and in practice for ten years. you bring such joy into my life and the life of my family. If you could use any medical help, from afar, I would be happy to help in any way possible. I have a skype account and could talk in the evenings. Wishing your foot improvement, and trying to bite my tongue and not ask if you've been tested for diabetes and peripheral vascular disease...

    Anne

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    1. Hello Anne dear, you don't have to bite your tongue. I was tested a couple of years ago for diabetes, cholesterol etc. It was all good. I think I'm in good health, I don't take any medications except what I'm on now for my foot. As I said in the post, I think it's eczema and that I have a zinc deficiency. The zinc dressing the nurses applied yesterday has done wonders. I've asked Hanno to buy some peanuts, beef and wheatgerm when he's out today, they'll all high in zinc. You'll be pleased to know I'm having more blood tests, I have the form but I'm not sure when I'll get there, maybe tomorrow. Thank you so much for your very kind and generous offer but if I talked to you on Skype I'd prefer to talk about how we are both living, our families and our happiness rather than my foot. But I really do appreciate your offer. XX

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    2. Oh, and I meant to add that I have a great respect for doctors and the work they do. It's just that I don't think the doctor/hospital model works for everyone.

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    3. I am very disappointed at your flippant comment. Differential diagnosis is NOT the same as guesswork.

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    4. That's one of the benefits of blogging, Cassie, it allows everyone to voice an opinion.

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    5. Hi Rhonda,

      Here's hoping your foot will be well soon. I'm not a doctor, but I, too, had wondered about whether or not you have been tested lately for diabetes. Hopefully since it's been a couple of years since you were checked for diabetes, that is one thing they are now checking with this new blood work. Diabetes can hover and strike without warning. I have diabetes and cuts, bruises, swelling, etc. on your feet can become very serious very quickly if you have diabetes.

      How very kind of Anne to offer to speak to you about your foot. Hope everything is resolved soon for your foot. Not fun to be chair bound!

      Diane in North Carolina

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  5. Hope your foot improves soon. I have chronic eczema on my hands, and it's horrid, so if it is that I hope you're able to find something to calm the flare-up. Salt water helps mine more than anything else--actual sea water, not just mixing salt and water at home (that does help, just not as much)--but I don't get to the beach that often.

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    1. Helena, thanks for your comment. Have you tried zinc on your eczema? I used salt water to wash my foot for the past week, salt + water, not sea water, it didn't do much at all. When this settles down, I'll go down to the beach and sit with my foot in the water for a while. When Hanno was small he used sea water for small out breaks of eczema.

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  6. Rhonda could it be a white tailed spider bite cheers Affussa

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    1. I doubt it's a spider bite Affussa.

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  7. I am really enjoying going back over these posts, Rhonda. Some I have missed altogether and others have reminded me why I liked them in the first place and prompted me to rethink things. I am sitting here looking at my 'brand new' 1966 Fowlers vacola and working out how to use it ... I think if there really was a minister for simplicity , he or she would like the look of it , in fact it might be mandatory to preserve all fruit for later use or give it to your friends as a government policy !

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    1. Nice one Kim! My FV is circa 1970 and it's still going strong. I like your idea of good government policy.

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  8. I'm sorry to hear about the continued foot issues. I hope this improves for you very soon.

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  9. I do hope your foot heals soon now, Rhonda. However with all those workshops coming up, it will be a challenge to rest with your feet up! This was, and is, a good post.

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  10. Hello Rhonda,

    Another lovely post.

    I really thought that you would be much better by now, you just seem the type of person to bounce straight back. I do hope the latest attempts work. I've had ezcema too, a miserable complaint. I expect you work too hard.

    love Angela (south England UK)

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  11. Hi Rhonda...Sending good thoughts to you ...Hope your foot improves real soon. Enjoying the older posts and always learn something new from you. My country (USA) is going through so much craziness right now...Debt is rising, too many people just stand around with their hand out and we all need to be puting ourselves on the simplicity road and once again be learning the old skills of self reliance! Thank you for letting me express my frustrations...Blessings, Carolyn from Florida

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  12. Get well soon Rhonda, thank you for some re-posts, I am enjoying reading them,
    Hugs
    Mabel (((())))

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  13. Hoping you heal quickly, and that there are no return flare ups. This is a very good post.
    But i am biased, I believe all of your posts are!

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  14. I am just like you about going to the doctor. I do my own thing and most of the time I can deal with it myself. I cannot abide sitting around while life goes on around me either. Hugs and I hope you heal quickly.

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  15. Am i the only person who noted that the Minister for Simplicity is a "SHE". I had a good laugh but it would have to be, wouldnt it?

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  16. Hoping your foot is better soon. Shame no one actually knows what is wrong with it yet. Really enjoying the reposts :).

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  17. Hi Rhonda,

    It must be so frustrating to have this right at the moment when your workshops are just taking off.
    Thanks for the re-posts - It was really interesting to look at the beginning of the GFC through your hindsight.
    Jen

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  18. Hi Rhonda,
    I'm also like you and don't see doctors as God's! I prefer alternative treatments and only see doctors for a diagnosis.
    I'm on a wife's pension - my husband is disabled. That $1,000 that pensioners are getting unfortunately doesn't mean ALL pensioners. Most disabled pensioners don't get the benefits of other pensions.
    I am happy to live simply, though! I knit my own clothes (I hope to build up my wardrobe eventually), preserve fruits and make jams and sauces, and try to cut spending as much as possible. I like the challenge of it! I love reading these older posts!
    I hope the foot clears up soon for you! It must be so frustrating!

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  19. Thank you for choosing to repost this one Rhonda, I think it's worth reading and thinking on even when not going through a GFC! Unfortunately most people I come across don't think, except to think I'm a little nuts for my 'far out' views! I can only hope that more and more people will choose to self educate and choose to live a life that works for them, their society and the earth. I suffer from terrible eczma on my hands so I sympathise with your current woes! Best wishes, Leiani

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  20. Get well soon Rhonda. Oh my goodness, this post is so relevent right now. Don't get me started on 'the economy', growth and all of that, it just drives me nutty. Seems ministers can't see, to quote Basil Fawlty, 'the bleedin' obvious' in that growth cannot continue ad infinitum, eventually the world is just going to explode. And by growth I mean the economy AND population, but like you I cannot see it changing in my lifetime. The ministers will just continue to have their heads in the sand and encourage everyone to be on this ridiculous spending spree until it's all to late. Very doom and gloom but I can't see it ever changing. You get my vote for Minister for Simplicity!

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  21. Hi Rhonda, I hope your foot improves soon. That zinc dressing sounds interesting. I don't think I have heard of them before. Thankfully you don't have the bite from a white-tailed spider as they are terrible bites and if it is eczema I am sure it will clear up soon if you don't usually suffer from it. Let us know how the workshops are going and all the best with them.

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  22. Hello Rhonda,
    I am sorry to hear your foot is being a bit stubborn & is slow in healing. I don't know where your opening appears, it's size, behavior, drainage, nor it initial appearance, but at this point, if it were me, I would ask for a biopsy of the tissue, if that has not already been done. If there is a circulation issue, there are leg boots which message & pump the leg to aid on circulation. I'm wishing you a speedy recovery so that you may continue on in your enjoyment of living a simple life. Take care my friend.

    Natalie Ann

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  23. Rhonda, I empathise with your situation. I went to the doctor for the first time in 14 years a short while ago - I had a spot on my nose that I suspected might be a skin cancer. Turns out it was, and dealing with that has been reasonably straightforward, but I am amazed at all the peripheral activity I have been sucked into - blood tests for everything, glucose tolerance tests, home blood pressure monitoring etc. etc. All ok of course, but I am apparently a "risk" because my mother had, and now my brother has, type 2 diabetes. Apparently GPs in Oz get a practice incentive payment for "managing" potential diabetes and heart disease candidates these days (govt has worked out an ounce of prevention is worth many dollars worth of cure). Seems that even when you are healthy you're potentially unhealthy these days - and fair game - all a lot of worry, and fuss, and time off work, and travelling about to all these different places on odd days of the week, and expense, for very little gain - to me - it seems. Get well soon - have you tried bathing your foot in salt water? Marg.

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  24. Hi Rhonda! Thank you for posting the older but very relevant posts! I hope your foot will heal quickly! Kirsten x PS: I think zinc is a brilliant healer - I use a zinc cream on any sore, cut etc and they seem to heal much quicker. Sudacream used to be used over here for nappy rash but it's brilliant on anything else and very affordable.

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  25. Unfortunately Rhonda, Big Business is even interfering with our choices in food: look at GMO'd seeds and the politics around Agri-Business. But there are still non GMO seeds around and of course the option to save our own. It amazes me how little control we have in our governments and voting issues. They seem to do just what they want to anyway. Not a reason to give up though; just an observation. If we all lived the way you suggest, we would indeed be better off.

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  26. Hi Rhonda, interesting comments. I would agree with the zinc, and I've had great success last year with a festering bite which was resistant to antibiotics; as a last resort the brilliant Nurse Practitioner at our GP surgery plopped on some medical grade Manuka honey, and within the week we had HUGE improvement and within 2 complete healing.

    More concerned with your GP prescribing antibiotics when it has been decided you do NOT have an infection! Firstly this is ineffective, expensive and unnecessary. However more importantly it goes against the latest (and not that recent either!) concern about the proliferation of antibiotic resistant strains or bacteria. What is the general attitude to AB prescribing in Oz?
    Hoping you make a good recovery soon, you are not the kind of woman who likes to be lounging around, I think!

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  27. Good to hear that your foot is responding to something---antibiotics/zinc? Multiple trips to the Dr. are a bother but often symptoms may be similar for different situations and so trying one thing and getting a negative result may eliminate the thing that isn't the problem and help you get to the real cause of it. I agree that Dr's do seem to go overboard on tests these days and I think that the general "just sue the guy" mentality is a main cause. It's one way that Dr's can protect themselves from frivolous lawsuits. On the other hand going to the Dr. early on can often help in the long run as the condition won't have deteriorated in the meantime meaning more drastic measures need to be taken. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

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  28. Hi Rhonda, It was refreshing to re-read your 08 post. I was absolutely astounded when the Govt put money into our bank account and looked on in disbelief as the sales of plasma TV's went 'through the roof'. I agree that personal spending is a big part of the problem we face 5 years on and I don't think the hard times are over yet. Management of one's own personal finances needs to be taken a lot more seriously by many. Living a simpler life will help if only most folk could see it. I hope your foot heals and allows you to carry out the workshops comfortably. Many folk will benefit, I'm sure.

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  29. If you have Eczema, try the following: take a half pint canning jar and fill with olive oil (you can put in some coconut oil or avocado oil, if you have those on hand). Put in a heaping tablespoon of beeswax and microwave until wax is melted. Then add 15 drops peppermint and 25 drops tea tree essential oils. (This stopped my niece's Excema, my mom's shingles and my husband's poison ivy. It's a great salve to have on hand.

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  30. Rhonda many years ago my GP told me that 'medicine is a process of elimination'. There is no hard and fast 'one size fits all' rule.

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  31. Hi Rhonda,
    Sorry to hear your foot is still no better and that you're on yet more antibiotics. I don't blame you for avoiding the doctor, I do the same. I am in fact in my 2nd year of training to become a homeopath and am wondering if you might want to think about seeing a homeopath for your foot? Admittedly I am biased, but treating the whole person rather than merely a physical symptom that has appeared on one part of the person has to be the right approach. I've seen the astounding results of homeopathy on both my children, my husband and myself, as well as the many friends and neighbours I have treated. I cannot recommend this gentle yet powerful form of medicine highly enough; in India more people go to a homeopath than to a GP!
    Sending you healing vibes and best wishes,
    Sam (UK)

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  32. I too am wondering if there is an underlying circulation issue that is causing an ulceration. This without, of course, knowing where or what exactly the problem is, but I am a certified compression garment fitter who has seen a LOT of circulation related leg ulcers and skin conditions. :)

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