Friday, January 22, 2021
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Gratitude for a gadget and medical professionals

| January 6, 2021 1:00 AM

In December Cheryl Freeman and her husband, Kenny, came down with a "bug." Cheryl was feeling sick for several days when her friend, Dianna Haug dropped off a "care package" of chicken noodle soup, over-the-counter medications and an oximeter. Cheryl is convinced the finger pulse oximeter saved her life.

"Never would I have thought to check my oxygen levels," she said.

At one point her oxygen level was at 80 (normal is 90-95) and falling so Kenny called the hospital and was told to get her in ASAP. By the time Cheryl was at the ER and tested the level was at 60. She was treated with oxygen and released, only to return a day later and be admitted. She spent Christmas in the COVID intensive care unit.

For the Freemans being up close with COVID-19 has been a harrowing experience, although one filled with gratitude for the frontline medical professionals and the compassionate care at Kootenai Health. Cheryl was home recuperating by her New Year's Eve birthday.

After Cheryl shared her story I went in search of a fingertip pulse oximeter, finding one at Walgreens. They're also available at Medicine Man Pharmacy, Walmart, Target and Costco locally. I recall last April that there were few thermometers on local shelves or even online and oximeters might soon face similar scarcity. Doing research on the gadget's technology I learned that while they are not intended to replace medical diagnoses, as in Cheryl's case it prompted her to seek medical care sooner.

Mine is easy to use, it clips on the middle finger of my dominant hand and gives my blood oxygen level and pulse rate. At about $30 it's a small price to pay for a such a useful tool, especially for people with underlying health issues.

Thanks for the recommendation Cheryl and continued improving health my friend!

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The Jan. 3 Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley program on CBS closed with Bald Eagles in Idaho, with film of a snowy day with eagles on Lake Coeur d'Alene. And we get to live here!

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It's only the first week of January and the Christmas decor has disappeared from local store shelves, already replaced by Valentine's Day and Easter promotions!

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Happy Main Street birthdays today to Gary (GA) Allen, Colton Peugh, Bobby Wilhelm, Kris Cederburg, Kim Dennison, Griffin McAndrew, Christina Sedgwick, Will Moore, Robert Green, Dale Kreager, Judi Caceres and Kellie McCracken. Friday Christopher Chaffee, Jerry Sparling, Donna Trueblood, Sandy Wendell, Fondra McGee, Marc Kroetch and Rebecca Mort add another candle to their cake. Saturday Carrie Miller, Dan Ryan, Pat Mitchell, Jim Magnuson, Avery Hunt, Jennifer King, Esther Webb, Robert Coles and Cathy Evjen blow out the candles. On Sunday Jan. 10 Mary Jane Hahn (85!), Shelley Rosenberger, Nathan Johnson, Katrina Jaeger, Jan Harris, Tom Iverson, Paul Matthews and Ronan Kennedy will celebrate. On Monday Kathy Kress White, Chris Hansen, Luke Gonzales, Tim Elder, Cora Cole, Amy Morfitt, Ivan Bosanko and Nathan Johnson blow out the candles. Tuesday Deborah Shaw, Pat Russell, Mike Baker, Wendy Wallin, Debbie Oliver and Ryan Wichman (50!) put on their party hats.

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Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email mainstreet@cdapress.com. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.