SUNDAY – Soup Fest Kick-Off Event
From 3:00 to 5:00 everyone could taste five large samples of soup for $5.00. There was a raffle and the winners were announced at the social hour at 6:00. All proceeds from the raffle and food events went to benefit the CARE Center.
MONDAY – Blood Draw and Ultrasound Scans
This morning I got up an hour earlier than usual so I could have my blood drawn the first thing. I didn’t want to have to fast any longer than necessary! The tests will be done by CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial Express Lab. I’ll receive the results in two days.
Later in the morning I had some ultrasound screenings by Stroke Scan Plus. These scans are not part of a routine physical exam. They look for carotid artery blockages, abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral arterial disease and possible cysts, stones or masses in the thyroid, gall bladder, liver, kidneys and heart. The results will be read by a board-certified radiologist and a report mailed directly to me in 2-3 weeks.
TUESDAY – Health Education Seminars
Today I attended three health seminars and all were interesting, with supporting slides. The presenters were very willing to answer all our questions. All of them are associated with CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial Hospital.
The first seminar concerned Medicare wellness visits. These are preventive care visits and are free. The doctor or nurse takes vital signs and discusses lifestyle, home surroundings, etc. If anything worrisome is found, it will require a visit with the primary care doctor or a specialist.
The second one concerned adult health screenings. Of course, there are many of them, including cardiovascular, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, physical activity, diabetes mellitus, EKGs and on and on.
The third one was presented by a new doctor in Livingston, Dr. Husam Najjar. One astonishing fact is that, if the lungs were spread out, their area would be the size of a tennis court! The right lung has three lobes and the left has two. The only way the lungs can move air in and out is by the action of the surrounding muscles. Dr. Najjar said that a good exercise for the lungs is blowing up balloons.
The last seminar of the day concerned what to expect before and after surgery. I didn’t attend that one because I think I already know a bit about that subject. :>)
WEDNESDAY - Exhibitors’ Market Day
Today representatives from home health agencies, hospice, nursing homes, funeral homes, and many other agencies were at the Escapees Activities Center to provide information, brochures, advertising items and door prizes. There was a veritable bee hive of activity!
I had my eyes screened and was surprised that I could read farther down the chart with my left eye than with the right one. The left eye is the one with a scarred cornea. I also took advantage of the hearing screening and was dismayed to learn that I have some hearing loss in noisy situations. I can hear but some clarity is missing. Bummer! It’s not bad enough to require hearing aids, though, for which I’m thankful.
Some very useful information from a podiatrist brightened my day. His office is in The Woodlands but someone will come to CARE every other month to cut my toenails. Now, I know that this doesn’t seem like a big deal but, because my spine is fused and attached to rods, I just can’t bend down easily to cut them. I manage to cut nine of the toenails but the tenth one is a problem piggy. Its nail was injured several years ago and didn’t grow back out normally. It is now curved and digs into the toe’s flesh.
THURSDAY – Four More Health Education Seminars and Annual Dinner
The first seminar today was on the topic of migraines. I don’t suffer from migraines but wanted to learn about them so I could tell those who do have migraines. I was surprised to learn that migraines aren’t the most painful type of headaches; cluster headaches are worse. Dr. Tri Le showed slides illustrating the brain and what is happening during migraines. He talked about the various causes and types of treatment and their rates of success.
One particularly successful treatment is a lower cervical intramuscular injection. The area is first deadened with lidocaine before the injection and the relief lasts several months. Occipital block is another treatment that is used for more severe migraines and it lasts about four weeks. Another one he mentioned that made us all shudder is a sphenopalatine ganglion block in which a very long cotton swab is dipped into lidocaine and inserted deep into the nostril.
The second seminar was presented by Kindred Rehab Hospital in Humble. The people discussed the advantages of rehab and described the various types and their purposes.
During the first seminar this afternoon, Dr. Satish Velagapudi, of The Heart Institute in Lufkin, discussed heart diseases and their warning signs and treatments. He had some excellent slides showing healthy and diseased hearts. Each day a different doctor from The Heart Institute comes to Livingston to treat patients.
The last seminar today was on financial crimes and identity theft, presented by District Attorney Lee Hon. He described the various types of these crimes and gave us tips on how to keep from becoming victims. It is amazingly easy to fall prey to the perpetrators! I try to be very diligent in protecting myself. One thing that I had never considered is how they can use our mother’s maiden name, our birthplace and such, to steal our identity. He recommended that, in many situations, we use fake names and cities. Nothing on the Internet is really safe and those criminal types are very clever in getting access to information from multiple sites. Oh, if only they would use their intelligence for good instead of evil!!
Tonight we celebrated CARE’s 25th anniversary with a big dinner of fried catfish and all the trimmings. We had quite a large crowd of people, which included our U S Representative of the 36th District, Dr. Brian Babin, as well as the Polk County Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff and the leaders of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas. Congressman Babin presented a US Congressional Recognition certificate for 25 years of dedicated service providing care to the community of Polk County.
The keynote speaker was Jim McIngvale (a.k.a. Mattress Mack) of Gallery Furniture in Houston. His topic was on people helping people and he told several very inspiring stories of those who had overcame hardship or other difficulties, made very important contributions to society and lived very long lives. Some examples whose names I remember were Mother Teresa and George H W Bush.
FRIDAY – Final Four Health Education Seminars
Today there were four more excellent seminars. The first one concerned cataracts and surgery and was presented by the Mann Eye Center. I’ve already had cataract surgery but learned some interesting things about the various types of vision correction procedures. The eyeball is an amazing “machine” and heals quickly.
Next, a presentation on Alzheimer’s disease was provided by Provident Memory Care. They discussed the various stages of the disease and the types of care needed during those stages.
The first afternoon seminar concerned nutrition for good health. It was presented by classical homeopath, Jennefer Payne. The main point was that gluten is the culprit in a wide variety of health problems: respiratory, skin, bowels, stomach, gall bladder, fibromyalgia, etc. She gave us self-evaluation health questionnaires. She will evaluate them and make recommendations for changes in our diets. [www.hope4.life]
The final seminar was on wills and probate. What a complicated subject that is!! I revised my will in 2017, not long before I left Austin. I’m glad I don’t have a lot of property to deal with. One thing I learned is that there is a new box on the vehicle title for transferring it to someone else at the owner’s death. I need to do this so that my vehicles will be transferred automatically to CARE when I go to the Great Beyond – assuming that my old vehicles will even be useful at that time.
This has been a busy and fruitful week. The fair keeps getting better and better and raising more funds for CARE. The event raised $54,221 toward the cost of 14 new RV sites at CARE. There are already 21 people signed up for one of the new sites!