Ohio Nurse Collects Barely Worn Hospital Socks for the Homeless

iStock/AnthonyRosenberg
iStock/AnthonyRosenberg

When setting aside clothes to donate, most people ignore their old socks. But even if they're used, a free pair of socks can make a huge difference to someone who needs them—especially as the weather gets colder. According to The Columbus Dispatch, one local nurse has found a way to take advantage of one of the biggest resources of secondhand socks out there: hospitals.

Kathy Francis first became aware of just how many perfectly wearable pairs of socks are thrown out by hospitals each day after her own hospital stay for back surgery. If a patient doesn't want to take their hospital-provided socks home, the pair gets tossed straight in the trash—even if they were only worn for a few days. Once it was her own barely worn socks being thrown in the trash, Francis realized how wasteful the current system is.

When she began working at OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital six months after her surgery, socks were still on her mind, so she asked her employer if she could salvage them. That was eight years ago, and she has helped donate an estimated 13,000 pairs of socks to people in need since then.

After used socks are deposited in one of the hospital's utility closets, Francis collects them (about 35 pairs a week), washes them at home with a little bleach, folds them, and stores them in brown paper bags. She then drops off the bags at the office of Tony Bonacci, a deacon at the local St. Joseph Catholic Church, and he delivers them to the soup kitchen where he volunteers.

Socks are often the most-requested clothing item at homeless shelters. Since hospital socks are designed to be thicker and warmer than regular socks and come with non-skid rubber grips, they're great candidates for donation.

Francis's sock recovery program is currently limited to the surgery and recovery unit where she works, but she'd like to see it expand to the rest of the hospital, as well as hospitals elsewhere.

[h/t The Columbus Dispatch]

A Custom Wheelchair Allowed This Brain-Injured Baby Raccoon to Walk Again

фотограф/iStock via Getty Images
фотограф/iStock via Getty Images

Animal prosthetics and wheelchairs allow dogs, cats, and even zoo animals with limited mobility to walk again, but wild animals with disabilities aren't usually as lucky. Vittles, a baby raccoon rescued in Arkansas, is the rare example of an animal that was severely injured in its natural habitat getting a second shot at life.

As Tribune Media Wire reports, Vittles came to wildlife rehab specialist Susan Curtis, who works closely with raccoons for the state of Arkansas, with a traumatic brain injury at just 8 weeks old. The cause of the trauma wasn't clear, but it was obvious that the raccoon wouldn't be able to survive on her own if returned to the wild.

Curtis partnered with the pet mobility gear company Walkin' Pets to get Vittles back on her feet. They built her a tiny custom wheelchair to give her balance and support as she learned to get around on her own. The video below shows Vittles using her legs and navigating spaces with help from the chair and guidance from her caretaker.

Vittles will likely never recover fully, but now that she's able to exercise her leg muscles, her chance at one day moving around independently is greater than it would have been otherwise. She now lives with her caretaker Susan and a 10-year old raccoon with cerebral palsy named Beetlejuice. After she's rehabilitated, the plan is to one day make her part of Arkansas's educational wildlife program.

[h/t Tribune Media Wire]

Why You Should Never Shower With Your Contact Lenses In

belchonock/iStock via Getty Images
belchonock/iStock via Getty Images

Contact lenses offer a level of convenience for those with less-than-perfect vision that glasses can hardly compete with, but that doesn’t mean the daily struggle of taking them in and out of your eyes doesn’t wear on you. If you get a little lazy and decide it’s fine to leave them in your eyes during showers or pool parties, think again.

According to Popular Science, a 41-year-old woman in the UK lost sight in her left eye as a result of frequently showering and swimming without removing her contacts. The culprit was Acanthamoeba polyphaga, a protozoa that crawled into her eye and caused a cornea infection called Acanthamoeba keratitis. After two months of pain, blurry vision, and light sensitivity, the woman sought medical attention at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, where doctors discovered a ring shape in her left eye and a hazy layer covering her cornea. Upon testing her vision, they found that her left eye was now 20/200, which counts as legally blind in the United States.

Leela Raju, an ophthalmologist and cornea specialist at New York University, told Popular Science that the single-celled organisms “can be anywhere,” including pools, hot tubs, showers, dirty saline solution containers, and even tap water. Lens-wearers make up around 85 percent of those who get infected, and experts think it may be because the amoeba can latch onto a contact lens more easily than a bare eye.

Though Popular Science reports that Acanthamoeba keratitis only affects one or two people out of every million contact wearers each year, that’s no reason not to be careful. If you do catch it, you’ll likely need a cornea transplant, and even that won’t necessarily restore your eyesight to its previous state—after her transplant, the UK woman’s left eye now has 20/80 vision.

“It’s just a long road, for something that’s totally preventable,” Raju says. In addition to removing your contacts before swimming, showering, or sleeping, you should also refrain from reusing saline solution, make sure your contact case is completely clean and dry before filling it with more solution, and check out these other tips.

[h/t Popular Science]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER