March 2010

 


 

 

Name Of Column Author Title Article Type
News Views Pat Sanders Seeing Stars News & Events
VoicePoints Mary Brawley, MA CCC SLP Well Being Of Patients Education-Med
WebWhispers Columnist Christine Price Carers' Chat Experience
Practically Speaking Elizabeth Finchem The Village Network Education 
My Neck Of The Woods Gerry Rice Trading Places Experience
The Speechless Poet Len A. Hynds Thank-You, Please Poetry
Editor's Mailbox Jack Ijac Missy Experience
P. S. Terry Duga Going To Clarksville Commentary
New Members Listing Welcome News & Events

 

 

 

 

Seeing Stars!

 

Is there any truth in horoscopes? Do the stars tell us something of the future?

My newspaper at breakfast is a daily habit that I enjoy and one of the things I glance over, and smile about, is the horoscope. I certainly don't plan my day around it but it is usually fun. If it tells me I am surrounded by many friends in a social setting... I think, day for a support group meeting so I guess I'd better go to the WW Forum and converse with some of the folks there. Somehow, since my whole life revolves around WebWhispers, I can often relate that way.

This morning, the forecast was: "Someone may flake out on you. This is not a personal rejection and should not be taken as such. However inconvenienced you may feel, you'll soon find the perfect person to fill in." My first thought was of our volunteers, people we rely on daily to keep WebWhispers running.

They are my stars, far more important to me than the ones in the horoscope. From the wonderful officers I work with, Terry Duga, Michael Csapo, Ed Chapman, and Mike Rosenkranz to the department heads: Len Librizzi, webmaster; Donna McGary, newsletter editor; Buck Martin, database; Logan Grayson, loan closet and Forum; Vicki Metz, library chair. Our List Managers, Jeff Vanden Hogen and Sunny Bakken are on duty daily as are Chief Moderator, Randy Lemster and Carl Strand. Some work more than one job. We all work or are on call every day. Gary Metz has worked on several projects for us. We have others who are on stand by to be called if we need them.

We have people who write articles to go in Whispers on the Web, send in items to be placed in the Library, answer questions in the list, care for people in the Forum or chat rooms. We appreciate them all. If there were such a thing as Gold Stars to stick on our charts... these are our deserving Gold Star people and some would wear Five Stars.

There is approximately one of these stars for every 100 members of WebWhispers. We could use a few more.

 

Enjoy,
Pat W Sanders
WebWhispers President
 

 

 

VoicePoints written by professionals 

Coordinated by Meaghan Kane Benjamin, M.A., CCC-SLP

 

                                         meaghan.benjamin@mac.com  

                 

 


Psychological Well-Being of Patients

 

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) specializing in the treatment of head and neck cancer is no stranger to the emotionality attached to the diagnosis. When cancer leads to laryngectomy, patients struggle with physical and psychological distress that no amount of pre-operative counseling seems to mitigate. For them the stoma becomes a stigmata and the SLP often becomes the confessor clinician.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) offers a screening tool for measuring distress. The patient first rates their overall distress on a scale of 0-10 (0=none) that best describes the amount of distress experienced in the past week. Secondly, the patient answers yes or no to problems of the past week. The list of thirty five problems are categorized as practical (housing, transportation, etc), family (dealing with children or partner), emotional (depression, fears, etc), spiritual/religious concerns, and physical problems (eating, fatigue, etc). If the self-rated overall Distress Score is more than four, the patient is referred to the appropriate service based on problem list responses. A score of less than four falls within the domain of the nurse and/or treating clinician.

It is not important that an SLP understand each theoretical model of psychological well-being in order to effectively treat a patient and facilitate progress. It is important to understand disease sequela and normal post-operative course if we are to appreciate the consequences of distress and the impact on recovery and rehabilitation. Guiding the patient through problem focused coping is an extension of the treatment planning process. Find out what matters to the patient. People feel better when goals are meaningful and when there is a reasonable chance of success. A patient’s thoughts and behaviors are valuable resources and will affect outcomes. Encourage positive behaviors and emphasize opportunities for personal control. When goals become untenable, regroup and revise. Research shows that psychological well-being is possible even in the gravest of situations if the patient is able to make sense of what is happening and is able to figure out the benefit. Help the patient see the challenge and not the threat.

Healthcare providers now have a better understanding of the mind-body connection and how it affects health. Psychological well-being can strengthen the immune system. It can also influence therapy outcomes. Clinicians need to tap into that resource and forget about the hand-holding and the cheerleading. Certainly we need to encourage our patients, but more importantly we need to foster resilience and empower our patients to reach the goals they have set for themselves.

1. NCCN Practice Guidelines in Oncology v.1. 2007
2. Folkman S, Greer S. Promoting Psychological Well-Being in the Face of Serious Illness: When Theory, Research and Practice Inform Each Other Psycho-Oncology 9: 11-19 (2000)
3. Serran-Schreiber, D Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life

Mary Brawley, MA CCC SLP
Medical College of Wisconsin
 


 

 

 

Monthly Carers’ Chat on the Forum



The second chat for carers, caregivers - call us what you will- took place on Feb. 4th.


The turnout was a little disappointing; 8 at one time or another but the chat was FUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN! What we lacked in numbers was made up for by the amiable,happy nature of the chat - quality as opposed to quantity! As I envisaged, we had no set agenda, so it flowed at its own pace and in its own direction.

Jim Lauder was there and provided some very interesting information re: lary goods available. It is always handy to know what help is available and where to get it. Jim is a mine of information and I am so grateful for his input. We also discovered a mutual love of Yorkshire pubs. No borders to this chat!

There were a number of larys who stopped by, which I was glad to see because larys, too, can be their own carers. I believe that if a carer has a problem, the chances are that it is best answered by someone who walks the lary road - they KNOW. Plus, of course, every lary in the world has a duty of care to themselves and so, can truly be called carers.

Elspeth was the only true sole carer present, so the poor soul was inundated with information, whether she wanted it or not. She has told me that she really did pick up some useful pointers which she is now using. It was a pleasant, no pressure time with some wonderful chat and advice. Please join us at the next one on 4th March, 6:30 G.M.T./ 1:30 Eastern Time / 10:30 West Coast Time .

We are each hoping to bring along 3 carers to the next chat - Dee, Jo and Claire - you all know you are my chosen victims! If you don`t want to actually join in, just sit and watch and "listen" until you feel ready to join us. I have been unashamed in trying to grab every available carer and encourage them to come along. You know who you are !

I so look forward to welcoming you all.

I will end on a personal note which touches most, if not all, WW members. It was my birthday on Saturday, 20th February and it was also the first anniversary of losing my dearly loved friend, Rosalie Miles Macrae. Never again will my birthday come around without thoughts of my dear friend and our last chat on the evening of Friday, February 20th last year. She soundly berated me for not meeting her on chat as we had arranged. A Rosalie telling off was rare but unforgettable; we ended the conversation with much laughter - the last we shared. In fact ALL of our conversations contained laughter…and we talked every single day. The pain is less raw, but it remains and I would ask you all just to remember this Golden Woman and all the joy her writing brought to so many.


Christine (Wales)
 

 

 

 

 

The Village Network



The “Village” I’m specifically referring to this month is the International Association of Laryngectomees (IAL), and its foundation is the “Network” made up of local and regional clubs, WebWhispers cyber club, professionals and vendors, all that support the goal of total rehabilitation for laryngectomees.


Last month I covered part of the personal journey that led me to the IAL. It began pre op, and continued after surgery with my hometown SLP who went out of her way to discover what it must be like for a new laryngectomee trying to learn to cope while using an EL, and then attempting to communicate with ES in the early stages of rehabilitation.


During my pre op counseling at Mayo Clinic I had the chance to view a videotape of two women speaking with esophageal speech that sounded very much like a normal voice to me. Both continued teaching, 3rd grade and high school French, for years after their surgery. I faced my surgery with hope and a plan to follow their lead.


The post op journey began locally the end of October. Two months later the reality of the laryngectomy and radiation left me with so many questions about how to reach the level of rehabilitation those two gals had demonstrated. I felt a real need to see another female laryngectomee in person. I was advised that there was an IAL club that met 100 miles away in Jackson, MI. During the winter months that did not seem practical given the snowy/icy roads. Starting a club in Kalamazoo seemed easier to me. It couldn’t be any more difficult than being a Den Mother, or PTA President. My SLP helped me arrange for a meeting room the new club could use at the Speech & Hearing Center, where I had been going for my speech rehab. She also helped me contact the local newspaper to place a notice in the Current Events column announcing this new opportunity.


Our first club meeting was held January 10th, , and the weather was blustery. As I recall we had six show up, and that number doubled in February. Word does get around. By spring we had 35 showing up, drawing from several surrounding counties. The laryngectomees were all fellows who brought their wives along. It was a loyal group that faithfully showed up every month.


Around February or March we decided to join the IAL and follow their Charter requirements with Officers to establish Robert’s Rules of Order for conducting the business portion of our meetings. The newest attendees were always the focus of the day.


While at Mayo Clinic for my post op annual check-ups, I also attended the week long Mayo Laryngectomee Rehabilitation Seminars. There I met Frances Stack, a female laryngectomee, who also went on to complete her education, becoming an SLP. An inspiration who was later elected IAL President. By 1981 I was ready to attend my first IAL Annual Meeting. I thought I was going to pick up some program ideas for our club. A couple from our club made the trip by car with me to Philadelphia. I sat in utter dismay as I watched and listened to several elegantly dressed women delivering speeches using esophageal speech. During that week I found out about the Voice Institute during the Annual Meeting speech therapy break-out sessions. I was determined to attend the 1982 VI for sure, and I did. By 1983 I had passed the written exam that SLPs take to be listed in the IAL Directory of Alaryngeal Speech Instructors, and I was working with new laryngectomees in Battle Creek at a Rehab Center. In 1983 I mounted a statewide conference in Kalamazoo to bring in some of the professionals who had taught me so much in a short time. I wanted future Michigan SLPs to know what is possible.


There is another important note about the Voice Institute during that era that I think we are missing with today’s program. At that time the VI was held on college campuses during the summer. We were housed in the dormitories and each room had a laryngectomee & SLP rooming together. The SLPs learned a great deal of practical information about how we manage in this way. We walked to the student union for all of our meals, and to the classrooms for all of our classes. It was an intense week of long days that produced miracles following such focus and professional help. We also made life-long friendships. The most important thing that came out of those early VIs was the laryngectomees who went home and started a local club better equipped to help their new members adjust to changes they faced.


At that point I had been invited to apply for a seat on the IAL Board of Directors. I was elected for a term from 1983-86. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to learn more about the IAL and serve on most of the Standing Committees. There is so much the IAL can do to tell the public and professionals about what we are capable of post op. Many of the Directors I served with had returned to their pre op professions: policeman, doctors, nurses, bankers, CPAs, publishers, ministers, chefs, sales reps, and more. They all brought their skills to our efforts as we did our best to move projects forward. We had over 30 Directors; enough to staff all the Standing Committees with about seven members each. You can be sure these folks were also very active in their local clubs, as well as carrying out IAL duties.


There is so much we can do locally, and then take what we learn to the IAL and share it there. Some are also successful in building an association of local clubs to provide access for new laryngectomees and SLPs to noted speakers, vendors and get to know other laryngectomees on a social basis. The circle is complete when we are able to serve the IAL as a Director or Officer, or work on a Standing Committee as a volunteer. We have experience and ideas that will enhance the effectiveness of the IAL now and in the future.


In closing, the “Village” can also be seen as the “laryngectomee community” as some say. Accepting that view we can also say the “Network” is made of every laryngectomee as the fiber the net is made of. This net is as strong or weak as the fibers that hold it together. I like the concept of the net for as we know a net can be a very positive tool to feed a village.


Elizabeth Finchem, Tucson, AZ 10/78
 

 

 

 


 

[Editor’s Note In June 2004, Gerry Rice wrote a great article on care-giving for Headlines (a quarterly publication Pat Sanders edits for the ACS in Birmingham, Alabama). She thought it was well worth re-printing here as a part of our ongoing series to address the unique needs and perspectives of care-givers. Watch for more articles in the future under this banner…My neck of the Woods. I wrote to Gerry to get permission to use her article in Whispers on the Web and she replied with her characteristic wit and candor.]


“Donna, I had forgotten all about that piece I had written. As I recall I was rambling on about various ills we have gone through together, Nothing has happened much since then, just gotten worse. I've had pneumonia 3 times. The last time the EMTs got me to the hospital just in time. Blue/purple is not my color. LOL!


You are welcome to use it if you think it will help others. I know sometimes I want to scream and vis-a-versa Del. I can get my EL pretty loud!”



Caregivers – Trading Places


Is there a formal definition for being a caregiver? If there is, I imagine my husband, Del, and I are at opposite ends of that definition. And yet, we both know we are in each other’s corner 100%. It’s never been an issue even though we are so different. I’m an extrovert, independent. Del is an introvert, dependent. We are both optimistic and resilient.

We were married in 1961. He was 28, I was 22. He was an engineer and I was a number cruncher. It didn’t take long to discover that Del was more than a guy with sex appeal and I was more than a gal with a great butt and never ending legs.

At a young age, I developed a neuromuscular disease which started out as a tremor in my right arm. At 23, I developed blephorospasm (constant involuntary eye blinking). At 25, I developed migraines. I was 28 when my spine began to spasm. Del never considered me handicapped so neither did I.

We raised two children. We camped, boated, ballroom and square danced, dirt biked and skied. Del coached the kids’ soccer, baseball/softball and football teams.

He often teased me about my aving the ability to pour several cups of coffee at once. We maintained a sense of humor and were not above laughing at the absurdity of my illness. I have a brittle and prickly personality and living with me takes a very special man. He put up with comments from macho men friends about marrying someone “normal”. He is fiercely loyal and being a caregiver comes naturally to him.

I required learning about it. In 1971, Del broke his back in 3 places. He was paralyzed for several days, was depressed and needed positive reinforcement. After six months he regained his mobility and strength. It was my turn to get some nasty comments from co-workers about my sex life with a sick husband. Stress and anxiety can come from the strangest places.

Being a caregiver during illnesses requires unique handling for each situation. Giving and receiving TLC from each other is never ending. Del is the better caregiver. I have been known to call it hovering. I, as a caregiver, have little patience and get really grouchy. I think it is because I will not admit to Del’s illnesses. I’m a realist but not with him. We both strive to keep a positive attitude: a little depression, a little feeling sorry for ourselves and then back up and at’em.

In 1978 we moved to Richland, Washington from Placentia, California. We experienced the normal ups and downs. Our children grew to be mature responsible adults and began their own families. And, then, Del’s face was white as a sheet when he found blood in his urine. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer and had surgery in 1987. He was so cool with the diagnosis and surgery; I barely knew what was happening. He kept it from being more than a blip in our life.

In 1990, he quit smoking. He announced one day he would probably be in a crabby mood for awhile. He never had another cigarette even though I stupidly kept smoking. Was I a responsible caregiver during that time? No! Did I care? Oh, Yes!

In 1991, illness again hit Del. He had a heart attack which led to a triple heart by-pass. Richland is a small community so surgery was performed in Spokane. The day after I got him home he insisted we go to our favorite winery for his favorite wine. He was back and I was learning to cook in a heart healthy way. Well, sort of.

Del called me in 1994 saying he was having trouble focusing. I took him to our family doctor with many specialty doctors visits to follow. After several months of tests the diagnosis was Multiple Sclerosis. We experienced shock and disbelief. Weekly injections to slow down progression of this ugly disease began. Because of my permanent arm tremor, I could not administer the injections but became expert at preparing them and telling Del to “take that needle and shove it”. He “gets” my sense of humor. I was a wealth of encouragement. The MS did go into remission and life got back to normal. Normal was changing though.

Retirement, golf, grandkids, golf, condo living, golf, socializing, golf, all was enjoyable and satisfying.

Through the years I had seen several neurologists regarding my arm tremor and eye spasm, but had done nothing for years. My tremor worsened so I learned to write with my left hand. The tremor moved to my neck. Del always went shopping with me so I wouldn’t have to write the check. In 1996, I saw yet another neurologist and after several tests was told I had, Early Onset Generalized Dystonia. My gosh! There is a name for it! Unfortunately there was no cure. Several very strong medications were tried with no success and a lot of drastic side effects. Del, my calm, cool caregiver put up with many weird mood swings and reactions but many times wanted to give me an upper cut.

In 1998 I learned of a fairly new surgery performed to stop the eye spasm so off we went. This husband of mine has put so many hours in a waiting room, he could qualify for that as a full time job. Patience is definitely his virtue. After surgery, I could for the first time since I was 23, keep my eyes open. What a joy for both of us. We had for so many years shared the fear that I would miss seeing the kids get into trouble or some such thing.

Relying more and more on each other became the norm, which in itself is normal. Three back surgeries from 1997 to 2001 put me in bed the better part of those years. Del was so attentive; he never made me feel that I was a burden. He golfed every morning and came home to take care of me and business. After each back surgery I got physical therapy only to have my deteriorating back renew its attack. The Dystonia was in my spine. In January, 2001, it was back to Spokane for anterior/posterior back fusion. Del could make that trip in his sleep. By September, 2001, I was feeling better than I had in years. And then………….

A sore throat was developing. It continued throughout the winter and by March 2002, I could barely carry on a conversation without great pain. My ENT gave me the bad news and thus started the most difficult period in our lives. The big C. Chemo, radiation, hospitalization with a near death experience. A stroke in my cerebellum while hospitalized. Learning to balance and walk again. Having our days dictated by the tube feeding schedule (I could not use the g-tube myself because of my tremor so Del had to feed me). Another round of chemo and radiation, only to be hospitalized again with neutropedia and then the decision to have a laryngectomy. Oh, how we agonized over that decision. How could I have possibly survived without Del, his strength, love, assurance and steadfastness? I was able to lean on him and he never let me down.

Over to Seattle for surgery. Our kids came. David took Del to Hooters and was a caregiver to him. Dianna held my hand. Del kept assuring me I was still me even though my head and neck was swollen to the point of resembling a basketball. I survived surgery and found WebWhispers 6 months after becoming a laryngectomee. But, that’s another story and, first, I’ll continue this one.

In February, 2004, Del had an acute MS breakthrough. It happened between going to Arizona to visit his bro and my trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to visit a friend, my first outing by myself in years. Del understood my need to become independent again and encouraged me to go even though he felt very ill. He never let me know, but the relief written all over his face when I deplaned said it all.

At first he had massive steroid injections. They helped but we noticed his eyesight, mental ability, spine, balance, and physical strength waning. Omigosh, did I have the where-with-all to deal with his disabilities as he had mine? Would he have the strength to “keep on trucking” one more time? These and more questions naturally came up. The quantity and variety of medications became mind boggling with side effects unbearable and fickle. Would I be effective in encouraging him to stay active and yet also ease his burdens? So far so good. Recently he told me he feels much better when he is active.

We moved from our beloved condo. In looking at the options we decided that with Del’s health rapidly declining we had better bail and we are now in a wheelchair accessible apartment. It’s very cozy and surprisingly liberating. I bought Del a cane on a whim. He has found it helps a great deal and is very comfortable with it. It’s the little things that help.

Obviously, we’ve been trading the caregiver responsibilities back and forth. Del is still the better caregiver. We constantly encourage each other to strive to be more than the sum of the illnesses we have had or are currently experiencing.

After all this time we each know the others strengths and weaknesses and how to work those to best advantage for both of us. Have we been preparing for this level of illness and support since 1961? Nah, we’re making the best of bad situations, one at a time, just like everyone else.

Gerry Rice
 

 

 


 

A Little Thank-You, Please



I was on night duty and walking in to the station for my break, with another PC from an adjoining beat, when we saw the roof of a storage garage well alight. Running towards the place, I said, " There's a night watchman in there. I bet he's asleep in that back room. Get the Fire Brigade and I will make sure the old chap is alright."

As my colleague ran along the road to the nearest telephone, I banged on the side door but could get no answer, and I could hear wood burning on the other side. I climbed up onto a partition wall of the premises next door, and I could look down into the room where the night watchman usually stayed. I could see through the dirty window that he was slumped over the table, and the room was filling with smoke. I shouted but couldn't rouse him, so leant across the gap, and ripped a sheet of corrugated iron from the upper wall of the garage, and climbed in and down to the floor level. Burning timber from the roof was falling on all the cars parked in the garage. The door of the back room was burning. I kicked it open, and with difficulty carried the old chap on my shoulder, out into the main garage, but my means of entry was now well alight. I carried him still unconscious through the falling timber and now burning cars to the main doors., but they were padlocked on the outside.

The vehicle at the very front was an ex-army Fordson, exactly like one I drove in Egypt, so after pulling burning wood away from its doors, I laid the old chap on the passenger seat. I got in the driving seat, thank god the engine started straight away, raced the engine, and slipping it into gear I charged those big wooden doors. Not only the doors, but the framework around it went crashing out into the road. My colleague outside said I came out like an explosion, in a shower of flames, sparks and smoke.

The fire brigade arrived and went to work, and an ambulance arrived for the watchman, who by this time had recovered, and realised that I had driven him from his place of work by a little bit of mayhem. Admittedly he was still groggy when he said to me, under glowering brows," I didn't cause that damage to the breakdown truck, or to the front doors. If I lose my job over this, I've only got you to blame." Not a word about saving his life!

My sergeant realised that I had burns on both hands, from pulling wood out of the way in trying to get the old chap across my shoulder and to the truck at the front. I was taken in the van to Guys Hospital, where I think the nurses went over the top in bandaging both hands.

When I got home, I had to wake Tilly, and ask her to undress me, as it was impossible with both hands out of action. Her sleepy comment was, " And what have you been up to now?"


During the last few months of the last war, a truck load of us were sent on a mortar firing course down into Dorset, at a place near the stunning Lulworth Cove. The nearby Purbeck Hills, its villages, farms, homesteads and all the roads had been taken over by the army at the beginning of the war as a training ground, and for the previous two years had been used by an American tank division. All civilians had been evacuated several years before, and every lane leading into the area was blocked by mountains of barbed wire.

I remember talking to a homesteader, who was gazing through the barbed wire at his deserted home in distance, and as we all knew that the war could not last much longer, he wondered how soon they could all return.

I have converted his sad words into a poem.........


A Village in Dorset

By Len A.Hynds


I can only see the earthworks,
that keep me from my home.
Beyond, behind, the danger lurks,
beside my garden gnome.

The army took our village,
to train for the 'Bocage.'
Like vikings they did pillage,
as against my house, they charge.

Mines are laid, just everywhere,
even in the loo.
They enter warily, if they dare,
those Grant and Sherman’s crew.

Dragon’s teeth are on the grass,
like soldiers on parade.
Midst debris of war, and shattered glass,
our hearts in sadness fade.

So when this war is over,
and our homes we can reclaim,
we'll surely be in clover,
when they re-build, just the same.

If what they learnt, around my home,
saved some young soldier’s life;
I am content, as is my gnome,
and of course, my lovely wife.

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Folks,


I just wanted to share this with you all.


Not too long ago, one night after dinner, I was making strawberry short cake for my wife, Elaine, and me when the door bell rang. We live out in the country and visitors are rare. I went to the door and was surprised to discover it was a fellow who had lived in the neighborhood years ago. He was with his two girls, ages 5 and seven, and Elaine and I welcomed him in.

He grew up down the road and now, at 25, was married with three children, one a new born at home and was out with the two daughters, selling Girl Scout cookies, for a fund raiser for school. He said he had been off work for awhile and had been called back, around Thanksgiving, and now was again laid off again,

My attention was drawn to one of the girls, a tiny slip of a thing dressed in a long dress down past her knees. She was so thin; she did not look like she weighed much more than a feather. As I looked down at her, she smiled and said, “Hello, my name is Missy, and I am in kinder garden.”

I repeated, with the aid of my Servox, “kinder garden, how nice!” Her face lit up as she hugged my legs and her eyes looked up at me as if she were trying to be heard past all the tall people in the room.

Then, she looked over the living room and spied the large wooden rocking chair and asked if she could sit in it. I nodded yes and before I could help her, she was climbing up! I just steadied the rocker for her and began to push the arm down to rock her back and forth, She smiled, then shortly climbed down.

As Elaine made out the order for the Girl Scout cookies at the table in the kitchen, Missy noticed the cut crystal candy dish and asked if she could have a piece of candy. I lifted the lid and gave her one red sucker. But Missy said, “No, it was not for her.” She wanted candy for her sister and brother and then I offered some chocolate wrapped candy.

But Missy said her brother did not like chocolate. So I let her pick out some wrapped hard candies. TWO suckers: one red in clear wrapper, the other was in opaque wax paper. I could tell Missy wanted the Red Sucker I first gave her, but then asked me if the wax paper wrapped sucker was red also. After I said yes Missy smiled, walking toward her sister with the candy in her small hands.

Her father began to tell me what the working conditions were like before he was laid off and how he was going back to school to be retrained. The company made him sign off on his health insurance, as a condition to being rehired at a later date (if at all) and the ones who did not sign would not be called back!

I could say nothing and felt helpless as he continued to tell me about his struggle to support his family, living in a rented two bedroom house and how his landlord had let him stay when he was off of work.

THIS put a face on the plight of the un-employed worker here in the Great Lakes State of Michigan.

I could not get over how little Missy had filled up the great room with her presence and charm, only thinking of her sisters and brother, not of herself. I told Missy that when the cookie order comes in she can come back and visit us again, She beamed with her pale blue eyes, staring through thin light blond hair.

The old saying the more things change the more they stay the same holds true. As I recall the struggle to raise our four children, only now am I seeing things on the other side of the mirror, so to speak. Seeing the world through Missy’s eyes lit up the room and made my heart glad.
.
You just never know when something or someone will brighten up your day!


Jack, Feb. 11 2008 blue skies
 

 

 

 

 

 

Going to Clarksville

Terry Duga

 

On Monday, February 8, 2010, I traveled with Lynn Erdmann and Lynn’s husband, Ed, to the Holiday Inn Lakeview in Clarksville, Indiana to view the premises, sample menu items, and discuss the WebWhispers Awards Dinner to be held during the IAL Annual Meeting in June. Originally, we had been set to travel the Saturday before but snow made such travel inadvisable, at best. Monday was a window between snows that worked to our advantage.

Now, through the years, I have stayed at the hotel under previous incarnations. The site was a preferred place to stay when I was trying cases along the river, and I had attended a prosecutor’s conference there in the late ‘70’s, so I have a certain fondness for the location. It is located just off of I-65 at the second exit north of the Ohio River. I last stayed there in 1993, shortly after my partial laryngectomy.

The renovations to the place pleased me and it is much nicer than I remembered. Now, it is not a plush five-star hotel located in a busy metropolis, but it is an up-scale Holiday Inn built with several sections that surround ponds allowing for some nice views. It has a very nice indoor pool area and is next to a water park and a dinner theater. The Ohio River is a short drive (or a fairly long walk, similar to the walk from the hotel in Burlington to the lake). Louisville is just across the river.

We met with Becky Fulkerson, Sales Manager and Diane Isdith, Director of Catering who introduced us to Johnny, our banquet “guru.” In the dining room, we were presented beautifully plated samples of some of the dishes proposed for the WebWhispers Award Dinner. Home-style green beans centered the plate and were made as good green beans should be made, with ham and bacon seasoning. The beans were tasty and tender without being mushy. The sliced roast beef with gravy also proved to be tasty. The bourbon chicken was a nicely cooked boneless, skinless, chicken breast with a light bourbon based sauce. The chef uses Old Forester bourbon, which is decent bourbon, a step above bar bourbon, though several steps below, say Jefferson or Blanton (though anyone cooking with the latter two should be shot in my book). The honey glazed carrots provided a pleasant surprise for me. Now, I am not particularly fond of carrots, but, for the sake of the dinner I tried them. They are delicious! The texture is very tender without being mushy, so they should be easy to eat even if you have difficulty in swallowing. The light honey glaze makes them sweet without being overpoweringly sweet. I ate them all, and I was not just being polite. The yeast rolls were yummy -- soft, yet chewy and nicely warm with butter. What can I say? The gelatin fantasia is a nice gelatin cup that is almost a dessert, but, again, will please any palate. We were all quite pleased with the selection.

Now, we did not just keep to the selections we tried. Lynn negotiated a nice buffet to meet our needs as well as our pocketbooks. The menu will be a tossed garden salad, gelatin fantasia, sliced roast beef with gravy, bourbon glazed charbroiled chicken, baked cod with lemon butter, southern green beans, honey glazed carrots, au gratin potatoes, peas and mushrooms, mashed potatoes, rolls and butter, and a do-it-yourself sundae bar (as in ice cream with the fixings) for dessert. This all comes at the best price we have had for a dinner in years - $27 per person.


After sampling the food, we were given a tour of the facility. The rooms are nice. Not huge, not dinky. We noticed that the rooms are quiet. Given the hotel’s proximity to I-65, this is a sign of good insulation. The meeting rooms are on the lower level from the lobby but the common area looks out on a nice pond (the hotel is built into a hill). We looked into the banquet room, but because there were auditions being held for the dinner theater (located next door), we could not go in.

The hotel offers free Wi-Fi throughout its facility. This is a plus. The large parking lot provides plenty of free parking.

I asked for, and received, copies of the menus for the dining rooms. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all in affordable ranges. Prices may be a bit higher than Denny’s or the like, but they are not as much as the hotels we have stayed in the last few years. The selections are good, so eating on premises will not be a problem.

The people running the hotel aim to please. They are in competition with venues across the river and they want to be a place to which people will return. While it will not be the most glamorous place the IAL has been, it will be a good, affordable venue where we can meet, get together, and have a good time.

 

View of the Pool Pool from the Pagoda View of Outside
Hotel Room Hotel Room Dining Room
Grounds Outside the Common Area Common Area Outside Meeting Rooms Area Outside Back of the Bar
 

 

 

Welcome To Our New Members:

 

I would like to extend a "Warm Welcome" to our most recently accepted laryngectomees, caregivers, vendors, and professionals who have joined our WebWhispers community within this past month. There is a great wealth of knowledge and information to be accessed and obtained from our website, email lists, and newsletters. If ever there should be questions, concerns or suggestions, please feel free to submit them to us from the "Contacts" page of our website.

 

Thanks and best wishes to all,

 

Michael Csapo

VP Internet Activities

WebWhispers, Inc.

 
 

We welcome the 40 new members who joined us during February 2010:

 

Bill Arnold
Marietta, PA
Lonn Atwood
Norfolk, NE
Benjamin F. Barnes III
Deltaville, VA
     
Juanita J. Broxey - (Caregiver)
McAlpin, FL
Gerri Carr - (Caregiver)
Center City, MN
Lucinda Case
Sarasota, FL
     
Herbert Clements
Newport, NC
Daniel Condit
Morrison, OK
Elizabeth Condit - (Caregiver)
Morrison, OK
     
Rob Fleming
Brooklyn, NY
Daniel W. Gray, Jr.
Charlottesville, VA
Sandra C. Gregg
Zionsville, IN
     
Fred Hindman
Kittanning, PA
Pam Hoch
Glendale, AZ
James Harte
Haiku, HI
     
Kelli Johnson - (SLP)
Bristol, TN
Ansar Mohammed Khan
Toronto, CAN
Hank Luniewski
Earlysville, VA
     
Lucius L. Mackey
McAlpin, FL
Charles W. Miga
Warwick, RI
Jean Miga - (Caregiver)
Warwick, RI
     
Meriann Moses - (caregiver)
McKinney, TX
Bette Paruszkiewicz - (Caregiver)
Visalia, CA
Reggie Paruszkiewicz
Visalia, CA
     
Kenneth Poland
Mechanicstown, OH
Bushra Sameer - (Caregiver)
Toronto, CAN
Daphne Schirripa
Kalamazoo, MI
     
Domenick Schirripa - (Caregiver)
Kalamazoo, MI
Bernie Schwenke
Abilene, TX
John M. Shellhorse, JR.
Arlington, TX
     
Robert J. Smiley
Port St. John, FL
Anne Spencer - (SLP)
Southport, QLD, AUS
Tony Thompson
Madison, IN
     
Rebecca Traen - (SLP)
Hines, IL
William Travis Morris
Greenville, NC
Gerald Trefsger
Dunedin, FL
     
Grant R. Wallin, Jr.
St. Petersburg, FL
Bob Webb
Queen Valley, AZ
Doc Welter
Winnemucca, NV
     
Steve White
Encinitas, CA
   

 

 

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