Status Update January 2018

Looking back over the blog, I see that my last post was on October 24. Where, you may wonder, have I been since then? Well, on October 27, an infection changed my life.

What’s Bacteria Got to Do With It?

I have an ancestor who died from an infection she got after picking at a pimple on her face. It was the early 1800s, about 200 years ago. My ancestor was a young Mormon girl, too young even to be a sister wife. She messed with a pimple, some teenage acne, for God’s sake, and Nature killed her for it. Fast-forward to 2017 and to me. I had some calloused, hard skin on my big toe, so I picked it away. I know better, of course, but it was so rough, and I just wanted it gone. Then one day my toe swelled up. It was the size of two toes, red,and hot. I went to Urgent Care and that was the start of a three month journey away from this blog.

I had MRSA, streptococci, (yes, like strep throat but in my toe) and enterococci bacteria all playing around in my foot. Even more fun, the infection had gone into the bone. I saw a wound care specialist, my GP, a podiatrist, and an infectious disease specialist. I got an MRI. I got a port placed in my arm so I could give myself IV antibiotics daily after the first six they tried didn’t work. A nurse came to my house once a week to take blood, and clean the port. I got to go to the wound clinic once per week for a doctor to clean the wound, and scrape away the dead skin and pack it with an antibiotic strip of cloth. For awhile I had two holes in my toe–one on top and one on the bottom. You could take that strip and push it into one and out of the other; in fact I was supposed to, to remove dead skin.

The doctor at the wound clinic told me I would probably lose my toe, that if the bone infection came back or was too far advanced and had killed part of the bone it would have to be removed. I was told to elevate the leg to maximize circulation and not to walk on it. No dog walking, no running around the bookstore finding books for customers, no cooking, shopping or going to the post office. No pressure on the wound. I couldn’t wear regular shoes.

I was lucky. In the first week of the New Year, they told me I was cured. I still have all 10 toes. I got to Ring the Bell. (A wound clinic graduation ritual which means you are free to go. Hopefully you won’t come back.) As my foot was slowly healing I got to know someone–the daughter of a friend–who had had a worse infection even than mine. She wound up in the hospital. They had to shave her head. She’s out now and doing better, but not out of the woods yet.


My ordeal is in the past, I am alive and well today. I am grateful. I am going forward with the blog, finishing up a post about a book on Panama. I will walk the dog. I might even make dinner, if my husband does the shopping. I am trying to be careful, and cautious, and not overdo. Trying to be careful, and mindful, as I should have been in the first place. Be careful, people. Infections can happen; bacteria are out there and they are deadly. You can get them in hospitals (as I’m pretty sure I did in January 2016). So, remember:

  • Wash your hands. Careful hand washing remains your best defense against germs. Scrub hands briskly for at least 15 seconds, then dry them with a disposable towel and use another towel to turn off the faucet. Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer containing at least 62 percent alcohol for times when you don’t have access to soap and water.
  • Keep wounds covered. Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with sterile, dry bandages until they heal. The pus from infected sores may contain MRSA, and keeping wounds covered will help prevent the bacteria from spreading.
  • Keep personal items personal. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, sheets, razors, clothing and athletic equipment. MRSA spreads on contaminated objects as well as through direct contact.
  • Shower after athletic games or practices. Shower immediately after each game or practice. Use soap and water. Don’t share towels.
  • Sanitize linens. If you have a cut or sore, wash towels and bed linens in a washing machine set to the hottest water setting (with added bleach, if possible) and dry them in a hot dryer. Wash gym and athletic clothes after each wearing.

And I’ll see you on the blog side! I hope, soon.


Most Popular Books by Country

most popular books by country map

My friend Asa shared this awesomely interesting link:

How many of these books have you read? Or heard of? I’ve read 10 of them, and most are new to me. Although some might be making an appearance on this blog quite soon. (One does want to keep up with the Moldovans!)

At the end of the article, the writer has another map for the most popular books in the U.S. by state. Such fun!

Asa is originally from Sweden, and her first book will be published this fall, so look for a (probably biased) review of it here on this blog!

What’s Popular on 365 Bookworm’s Blog?

From January–June 2015 , the most popular books were:

  1. Lolelaplap Legends and Stories (Marshall Islands)
  2. The Healing Wisdom of Africa (Burkina Faso)
  3. I am Nujood, Age 10, and Divorced (Yemen)
  4. Head Cook at Weddings and Funerals (Canada)
  5. Chronicles in Stone (Albania)
  6. Nafanua: Saving the Samoan Rainforest (Samoa)
  7. Earth Weeps, Saturn Laughs (Oman)
  8. Dots on a Map (Gibralter)
  9. Sastun: My Apprenticeship With a Maya Healer (Belize)
  10. The Samana Incident (Papua New Guinea) — And this one was written by a local (to me) author from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Who Visits This Blog?

In the past 6 months, you readers have come here from…(and I thank you!)


blog visitors by country

Dog Ear That Page!

Apologies to my junior high school librarian, but mark your pages. (Hello, Mrs. Matthews!) I am declaring today, August 1, 2014, my Blog Readers’ Day! Thanks to all of you from around the world for stopping by. I love meeting you.

In honor of you, Dear Reader, I decided that one of the next six books I seek out for the blog will be from YOUR country. (I always want to get them in groups of six…don’t know why. Hm, pie and flashlights.) Below are my blog stats listing the visitors I’ve had and which country they’re from. I’ve already done some countries, so:

  • Canada
  • Thailand
  • Singapore
  • Indonesia
  • Mexico and
  • Austria

it is your turn!

Thank you so much for visiting. Come back again soon!

views by country

2014 & the Journey Goes On

and I didn’t get one book from every country read in the 365 days. That’s ok. I had a feeling this was a 4-year project anyway. Last year, in 2013, I managed to read 51 books for this blog.

Many of them were by authors I have never heard of from countries I know little about. Some were classics. Some I loved; some I didn’t. Some were given to me by friends and some came about because of my book group.

A book group that came about because of some of us working at Auntie’s (indie) Bookstore for so long.

It was fun last year and I hope you guys enjoyed my posts and learned about some books that YOU might like to read. Or avoid. Whatever!

Looking forward to at least 51 MORE books this year on this journey. First up is Malidoma Patrice Some, a Dagara elder from Burkina Faso in Africa.

He has some very interesting things to say about the way indigenous people approach community, technology, and healing.

Not the Swiss Family Robinson (Not Switzerland)

Dear blog followers;

I have had quite a time this July in trying to get my hands on a copy of the Swiss Family Robinson in the original German. I speak German. The Swiss Family Robinson was actually written by a Swiss pastor, Johann David Wyss, in 1812, and it was one of my favorite movies as a child (not to mention a favorite place at Tokyo Disneyland!). So I thought…why not?

I’ll tell you why not.SFR

1) and suck if you want to buy a book in another language. It’s impossible. I got so irritated I almost Facebooked my friend Coco and asked her to email her mother in Ludwigsberg, Germany, to buy me a copy…but Coco is living in England and…yeah. I didn’t.

2) I finally found a used copy on a different website but it was $26.

3) I gave up and ordered a copy for 5 cents through Amazon. Shipping was $5.95.

4) It arrived amid great rejoicing…UNTIL…GUESS WHAT…I saw the dreaded letters marching across the front of what I must say is a hideous hardback cover from the 1970s…ABRIDGED. Grrrrrrrr!

5) Step Five should really have been step Three or possibly even Step One. I strolled over to Spokane’s fabulous indie bookstore, Auntie’s, and picked up a trade paperback for $7.99. 553 pages.

6) Let the reading begin!

As disappointing as it is to not be reading this book in its original language I still have a chance at Germany and Austria, neither of which have I done so far…and anyway, this book MIGHT have been in Sweetzer-Deutsch anyway, which is a dialect of German which Germans say is completely unintelligible to them. Well, my Bavarian host father said it in 1987 while watching the Calgary Olympics on Swiss TV. (Note, he was still watching it!)

My only observation so far is that the characters seem to have a callous attitude toward the animals they encounter, even the dogs, but I guess that’s to be expected from people 200 years ago. Most people.

February 2013 Progress Report

Our progress so far:

The Marshall Islands (Lileolap)

If we continue at this rate, we will complete our 365-day armchair journey around the world in approximately 4.5 years. I think I need a Tardis.

Considerations: My friend went into the ER and learned she has MS, my husband changed from the graveyard shift to the swing, and our dog has to have knee surgery.

Things To Give Up:

In order to finish on time this year I could possibly give up:

The Clothing Exchange
Going to Trader Joe’s
Swimming at the Y
Working for a living

We will take a moment at the end of March to regroup and recap again.