Will airfares go up or down?

Anybody who has researched airfares on the web has experienced the frustration of not only trying to figure out if they have found the cheapest fare or not, but also of deciding whether there’s any chance the fare will get cheaper or not.  Farecast tries to solve this problem.  When you research fares on Farecast, it will tell you whether it expects fares to go up, stay the same or get cheaper.  In addition, if the fares are expected to stay the same or get cheaper, they’ll sell you insurance.  So for example, I researched fares for Denver to Boston for a random weekend in March.  Farecast said the cheapest fare was $219, fares were expected to hold steady over the next week but they recommended that I buy.  For $3 I could buy insurance called a "FareGuard."  So if I’m not ready to buy but I want to hold the fare, for $3 I can buy a FareGuard.  Then, when I’m ready to buy a ticket I use Farecast to look for the cheapest fare and if it’s more than $219, Farecast will pay me the difference.  (If the fares are supposed to go up, they just recommend you buy now.  They don’t insure "overpayment" which is usually the one that worries me.)

Just the forecast without the insurance is pretty cool.

Not all cities have forecasts yet but they are working on it.

Buying human eggs – who are we exploiting?

So I think buying human embryos is fraught with moral and ethical issues but what about human eggs?  This article seems to think it’s unethical because the program that buys eggs (for stem cell research) might exploit poor women.  There are two issues that are getting mixed up here:

  1. buying a human body part
  2. buying part or all of a human

In the first case you could look at buying an egg like you do buying a kidney or buying blood plasma.  Within body parts there are two kinds, ones with an infinite supply (like plasma) and ones with a very finite supply (like kidneys.)  For parts with a finite supply, I think we definitely have to make sure that we don’t take advantage of people.  Desperate people might sell something they really can’t afford to sell or they might be coerced into it and there’s no way to really give it back to them.  In the case of infinite supply, I don’t see any problem with paying for it.  We pay for lots of different kinds of output from our bodies like construction work, sitting at a desk for hours, or participating in medical studies.  Those all take a toll on your body that is supposedly reversible and replenishable but costs you something and you get compensated for it.  Eggs, if they are a "human body part" fall into the replenishable category.   We have so many of them, it’s unlikely we are going to run out.

However, if you look at human eggs as potential human beings, then you have a whole different issue.  This is like buying and selling embryos – you are just buying half of an embryo.  And since you can easily acquire sperm from a sperm bank or other source, you can easily make an embryo.  Add a surrogate mom and you have a human being.  When you sell human eggs, you once again come close to trafficing in humans and there’s a whole slew of legal, ethical and moral issues that need to be addressed!

So I’d argue that when an organization buys human eggs they aren’t exploiting the woman, but they are potentially exploiting a child depending on what they plan to do with that egg.

Challenges in life are fun!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do with my life and I had another ah-hah moment this weekend.  I spent the whole weekend with Caleb in the hospital and it didn’t bother me at all – once they figured out that Caleb was going to be ok that is.  I did feel extremely grateful that we had health insurance – I might not have been as calm through three days in the hospital without insurance but that’s another topic.  So being in the hospital with a sick kid didn’t bother me.

We have also been spending a lot of money and vacation time lately.  Some of it planned (like for vacations and treadmills) and some of it unplanned (like for hospital stays and snow storms.)   And that didn’t bother me.

And I realized a while ago that if I won the lottery I wouldn’t want to go sit on the beach for the rest of my life.  I’d want a few interesting things to do.

While I was thinking about all this, I ran across Steve Pavlina’s Life – The Ultimate Game post.  And it made sense.   He writes that life is like a video game and you don’t play the game because winning is fun.  You want to win, but you don’t play just because you want to win.  You also enjoy all the challenges along the way (can you get past that hairy monster or collect all the right objects?) and all the places you explore.  Even when you are losing, you might be having a lot of fun.   You might play one game for days, weeks or even months without "winning."

That explains why people hike the Appalachian Trail, sky dive or even raise kids. The challenges and the journey are as rewarding as the end goal.

I’m not big into video games, so I’d rather think of life as a game of cards.  You start out with the hand you’re dealt and play it the best you can.  If you get all top cards, you’ll win fast and it’ll be exciting for a minute, but if you’re dealt a not so good hand and you make it work, it’s so much more satisfying.  You prove that you are good, not just lucky.  The way I see it I started out with a pretty good hand, my parents added a few good cards (like self-confidence and a college education) and now I’m playing the best I can.  When I get a bad card (like a hospital stay or an unexpected bill), I just add it to the mix and see how I can make it work out. [And sometimes you need that low card to get the straight!]

I’m having fun playing and I’m winning! 🙂

We’re home!

We’re home and Caleb is doing well!  His crib mattress is at a 45 degree angle and he has his own humidifier.

Cross Your Fingers!

We’re two hours into the four hour test – can Caleb maintain his oxygen levels without supplemental oxygen?  If he can, we’ll be going home in two hours!  Yeah!

Monday update to “Caleb has RSV”

We had kind of a rough night.  Caleb was doing good on 1/4 L at midnight so they decided to slowly turn down the oxygen overnight.  (They were trying to get us home today!) Only they didn’t tell me.  So in the wee hours of the morning I couldn’t figure out why his oxygen levels kept falling to 80% and then spontaneously going back up to 90%.  When they fell below 80% I paged the nurse.  The nurse that responded wasn’t our nurse but she figured out that Caleb was on room air!   We turned it back up to 1/2 L and he fell asleep for a couple of hours and woke up his usual happy self.  But neither of us got a whole lot of sleep.  (Caleb’s taking a nap now so all is good.) 

We are now back to a 1/4 L and expecting to see the doctor over lunch.

(Caleb’s figured out how to get the oxygen tube out of his nose.  So he did that 3-4 times last night.  Luckily he hasn’t figured out how to keep the machine from beeping when his oxygen levels falls so I always find him out!)

Sunday evening update to “Caleb has RSV”

They got his oxygen down to 1/4 liter this afternoon.  (They turned it down little by little and then waited to see if his numbers held steady.)  But we had to turn it back up to a 3/4 liter this evening because his heart rate jumped back up to the 200s and his oxygen went down to 88%.  (Actually, probably his oxygen dropped and then his heart rate went up as he tried to get more oxygen.)

I don’t know much about this but I don’t think we’ll be going home tomorrow.   He has to be completely off oxygen for four hours and still doing well before he’s ready to go home.

Sunday update to “Caleb has RSV”

Caleb is doing much better today.  He slept all night, ate 5 ounces in
one sitting and woke up "talking" like he normally does.  His heart
rate has also come down a lot.  We even got a couple of smiles out of
him today.  (He’s been playing and interactive most of the time but no
smiles.)  As soon as he can maintain this without oxygen, we’ll be able
to go home.  In the meantime, it’s nice to be here in the hospital with all the help
from all the experts.

Oh … and did I mention that everyone that comes to visit has to wear
a mask, gown and gloves?  (RSV is very contagious.)  I think Caleb’s wondering why everyone looks
so funny … he stared at our new nurse this morning for a good 10
minutes.  Then he finally gave her a big smile!

Caleb has RSV

In case you are wondering where we are – Frank and I are camped out with Caleb in a hospital room this weekend.  Caleb has Respiratory Syncytial Virus, RSV for short since I haven’t even figured out how to pronounce it yet.   For most of us this would be just a common cold but for the little guys like Caleb who are under six months of age, it can be quite serious. 

Caleb had been sick with a runny nose and a cough since Wednesday.  Many thanks to his day care provider who on Friday called us at work and said she thought we ought to take him to the doctor.  With a temperature of 99.6, a runny nose and a cough, we would have dismissed it as a cold until much later on Friday when it got much worse. 

After a very long wait in the urgent care waiting room (over 90 minutes during which our six year old was very, very good), we finally got in to see a doctor.  They immediately determined that his oxygen saturation was not sufficient (85% instead of at the 92+% they would have liked to have seen), his temperature was 101.6 and he was starting to have problems breathing.  You could hear him struggling to breath.   His heart rate was also over 200bmp – part of the trying to get enough oxygen to his body.  They immediately did chest xrays to eliminate pneumonia.  (The xrays were very cute – his whole torso fits on one xray.  You could also see his teeth even though none of come out yet!)  They sent us over to hospital and by 9pm we were checked into this room where we’ve spent the last few days.  They’ve been treating him with oxygen and nose suctioning.  (Not his favorite but he must realize it’s helping because he’s gotten better about them.)  The earliest we can hope to take him home is Monday morning.