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From Using a Walker to Climbing a Bell Tower: An Experience That Changed My Entire Perspective
Some of you might not be aware, but early last year I had to undergo major surgery to alleviate some severe health issues that had been developing over several years. While talking about the details of my diagnosis, health,
and recovery might not be the easiest task, my work requires that my clients share some of their most personal details with me, so I decided that this month (a little over a year since my surgery) was the perfect time for me to share this with you. Since 2015, I felt like I was losing strength and stamina, and the way these losses manifested was through chronic pain in my lower back and pelvic area. I’ve always been an active person, so when the pain prevented me from running — and even caused me to fall on several occasions — I sought help from several healthcare providers. None of them could explain my symptoms or resolve them. After months without answers, I felt like my body was “slowing down,” and the stress of not knowing why was all-consuming. Everything I experienced during that time made me feel for my clients, many of whom are several decades older than I am. Just as so many of them come into the office and tell me about their unresolved serious health issues and associated distress, I too had to find a way to get on with my life, even when my mind was constantly filled with dread and uncertainty. My body was changing, and I couldn’t figure out why; I was still Geneva, but my body didn’t feel like it was my own anymore.
Thankfully, I found a team of persistent and curious doctors who discovered that I had metabolic issues that were causing my bones to weaken. In the three years that I struggled with the pain, the condition worsened: small cracks developed into full-blown fractures in both of my femurs. With the help of an endocrinologist, and with surgery to repair my damaged femurs, I began walking the path toward addressing my metabolic issues and getting my body back to what it had been like before the pain started. Just over a year ago this month, I underwent surgery to repair both femurs simultaneously. After leaving the hospital, my recovery period started with the use of a walker, but after hours of physical therapy I was able to graduate to crutches, then one crutch, then a cane, etc. I finished my last physical therapy session in December of 2018, and after over ten months of difficult and time-consuming rehabilitation, the most arduous part of my recovery period was officially over. Still, the impact the injury had on my approach to everyday life continues to play a role in my psyche. For example, I now notice whether a sidewalk has curb cuts because when I was using a walker and crutches, it was hard to get up and down from the curb without
a ramp. It’s a seemingly small change in my perspective, but it’s emblematic of the lack of accommodation that exists in our country for people with physical ailments or disabilities — I couldn’t have understood the depth of this frustration without experiencing it myself. To celebrate the end of my recovery period, my fiancé, Fred, and I traveled to Europe, a vacation filled with amazing plans I wouldn’t have been able to do pre-diagnosis. One of those plans included climbing the 500 stairs to the top of the bell tower in the Cathedral Church of St. Peter in Cologne, Germany, a real testament to my hours of physical therapy! All in all, while the emotional minefield that permeated my life for the last several years was certainly difficult to navigate, I’m thankful for the perspective it has given me. I can be more sensitive to the challenges my clients face because I’ve struggled through them myself, and I take solace in the small feats that make life worth living.
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THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING FLAGS An Inside Job
Theft is a serious matter, made even more grave when the victims are fallen war heroes. Such was the situation that stumped police in Hudson, New York, in 2012. The crime was first committed in July of the previous year. Flags had been placed around the graves of soldiers in Cedar Park Cemetery — only to go missing right around Independence Day. Veterans groups and locals were outraged and mystified by the crime. Some worried that a hate group was to blame, as the missing flags had adorned the graves of Jewish soldiers. Veterans worked to replace the flags, one by one, and right the wrong. No culprit was found, and the community moved on — until the following July, when the mystery repeated itself. Like the year before, flags were placed on veterans’ graves in honor of Independence Day, and again, they went missing sometime in the night, this time taken from the graves of African American Civil War soldiers. Cemetery caretaker and veteran Vincent Wallace was appalled, as was the rest of his community. “I just can’t comprehend the mindset that would allow someone to do this,”Wallace said. When retirement approaches, you may be thinking about the freedom you’ll enjoy after putting in your last nine-to-five. It’s a culmination of years of hard work and a cause for celebration! Before you get to celebrate, though, it’s important to consider what kind of support you might need down the road. With our generation living longer than our parents, there’s a possibility that we may require additional support services. You and your spouse may not know if either of you will need in-home care, but considering this possibility and the financial factors that come with it can help you better enjoy this exciting phase of your life. that are state and locally funded and cover those who qualify through Medicaid. If you or your spouse are veterans and meet the requirements, you may be eligible for aid and attendance benefits. These benefits are paid for by the VA in addition to a veteran’s monthly pension. It may cover the costs of in-home care for veterans who require the aid of another person or are housebound. Visit Benefits. va.gov to learn more. Still, you may not want to rely on qualifying for one of these services. Consider adapting your estate plan to include designated in-home care. Meet with your attorney to review your living trust and see if it addresses a caregiver. In most cases, neither Medicare or Medicaid covers in-home care. There are some exceptions, like home and community based services
Determined to find out who was to blame, police put up surveillance cameras and recorded the goings-on in the cemetery. As they watched the tapes, sure enough, they saw one of the culprits sitting atop a gravestone with an empty flagpole in front of him. It was a groundhog.
Apparently, the wooden flagpoles attract groundhogs, something other groundskeepers have experienced as well.
“I’m glad we don’t have someone who has taken it upon themselves to desecrate the stones and the flags in front of them,” said Hudson mayor Bill Hallenbeck. “We can all rest a little easier knowing that it was a critter and not a human defacing our flags, especially those of the veterans,” added Hudson’s police commissioner.
Turns out Punxsutawney Phil has some very naughty cousins — ones who aren’t subject to the law.
Creating a Home Care Plan
TO LIVE YOUR BEST RETIREMENT
Talk to your family members and loved ones about the possibility that you or your spouse may need this service. While a family member may offer to step into that role, consider how easily they will be able to carry it out. Even a part-time caregiver could provide you with support and make your family members feel like they are not doing it alone. Planning for the possibility that you may need in-home care services can help make your retirement even more enjoyable. Knowing you’ll have a close helping hand can ease your family’s worries and even strengthen your bond.
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TAKE A BREAK
3 Ways to Honor International Women’s Day
On March 8, people around the world will honor International Women’s Day. Adopted by the United Nations in 1975, the holiday is meant to highlight the immeasurable accomplishments of women throughout history and draw attention to the ongoing struggle for global gender equality. International Women’s Day is celebrated differently around the world. Some nations, like Nepal, give all their citizens the day off. Most countries, however, including the United States, treat it as a normal day, at least officially. Even though we don’t have the day off, there are many ways for everyone to honor International Women’s Day this year. Here are a few of them. From major innovators, like Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, to megalithic literary icons, like Maya Angelou, women throughout history have shaped how we live our lives. Whether you’re inspired by famous historical figures or the women in your own life, take the time to talk about that influence. Which women helped get you where you are today? What female leaders do you look up to? What are some lessons you’ve learned from them? Many of the challenges women face globally happen in the workplace. If you think your company has room for improvement in its treatment of women, now is a great time to do something about it. Even if you believe your company treats women and men equally, there’s no harm in empowering your colleagues to talk to give their opinions. If you’re an employer, this could mean giving women in your workplace an avenue to discuss issues, air grievances, and make suggestions. If you’re an employee, consider asking for such a forum. In either case, providing both public and anonymous avenues for women to express themselves is a great way for your company to take a step forward in fostering gender equality. TALK ABOUT THE WOMENWHO INSPIRE YOU MAKE ROOM FOR CONVERSATION IN THE WORKPLACE Regardless of your gender, March 8 is the perfect time to tune in to the larger conversation surrounding gender inequality, if you haven’t already. This could mean attending meetings or demonstrations in your town, reading works that capture the female struggle for equality, such as Roxane Gay’s“Difficult Women,”or seeking out blogs and social media accounts from gender equality activists online. International Women’s Day is about appreciating the contributions of women to society and envisioning a more equal world for the future. However you decide to celebrate women this March, keep in mind that no matter who you are or where you come from, we all have the power to change our world for the better. JOIN THE CONVERSATION
ASPARAGUS AND AVOCADO SOUP
This hearty soup is the perfect meal for those late winter days when you think spring will never come. It can be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken stock.
• 12 ounces asparagus • 1 tablespoon olive oil • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped • 2 cups chicken stock
• 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed • Juice of 1/2 lemon • 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil • Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Heat oven to 425 F. 2. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss asparagus and garlic with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes. 3. Transfer asparagus to blender. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. 4. Season to taste and serve.
Inspired by CookEatPaleo.com
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
An Experience That Changed My Entire Perspective
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The Curious Case of the Disappearing Flags Considering the Costs of Home Care Asparagus and Avocado Soup 3 Ways to Honor International Women’s Day
Getting the Most Out of Your Digital Home Assistant
Get the Most Out of Your Digital Home Assistant
More and more people are welcoming in the Amazon Echo or the Google Home into their spaces. Everyone knows they make great Bluetooth speakers and can tell you the weather forecast, but they’re also capable of so much more. Digital assistants can do a variety of tasks depending on how much you want them to do for you. For example, if you want your digital assistant to be heavily involved in your daily life, you can use the Echo or the Home as the core of your “connected home.” You can connect numerous compatible devices to these assistants, including other Bluetooth or networked speakers, lights, thermostats, coffee makers, refrigerators, and even microwaves. Of course, therein lies the challenge — you must have compatible devices to make a connected home efficient. And let’s be honest: Many of us aren’t going to buy a connected fridge or Wi-Fi enabled lightbulbs just to get the most out of our digital assistants.
What you can do, however, is make use of what you already have. Here are some ways to put your digital assistants to work without committing to a connected home. Both the Echo and the Home make excellent communication hubs. In the home, they can be used as a local intercom system. Do you have a few Echo Dots or Google Home Minis? If you do,
you’re set. You can communicate in any room where another device is present.
Your digital assistant can also make outgoing calls. As long as the device has access to your contacts (or the person you’re trying to contact has an Echo or Home), you can easily make the connection. Want to send a text message? No problem! You can dictate a text to anyone in your smartphone’s contact list and send it without ever touching your phone. Aside from communications, the assistants can handle calendars, appointments, emails, and more. You can ask for information relevant to you, like “When is my flight again?” Google Home can recognize your voice, or the voice of anyone in the house, and respond accordingly. There’s no worry that anyone’s calendar or appointments will be mixed up with yours. If you want to learn more, search for tutorials online. We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to what these digital assistants can do for you.
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