Berlin Law Firm July 2018


More Than a Day Off What Independence Day Means to Me

Independence Day is upon us, and I’m sure many readers are stocking up on extra charcoal or staking out their spot to watch the fireworks above the Arkansas River. While I love a good barbecue and fireworks show as much as the next red-blooded American, I’ll admit to feeling nostalgia for the Fourth of July celebrations of my youth. You see, I grew up in Polson, Montana, a cattle-ranching town about an hour’s drive north of Missoula. Being in a small town during the Cold War, you can bet we went all-out for the Fourth of July. Polson had a parade right down the main thoroughfare, and all the school kids participated, including my brothers and me. Every year, we’d dress up in costumes and deck our bikes out in red, white, and blue streamers. I’ll admit that we skimped a few years by recycling our old Halloween get-ups, but it was still a great experience to ride with the parade. The whole thing would culminate in a big shindig down at the rodeo grounds, where kids could win prizes for their outfits. My brothers and I got pretty fixated on this costume contest but never managed to win. Thankfully, our disappointment melted as soon as it was time to watch the fireworks. Rather than jostle with the crowds at the fairgrounds, our parents would load us into the station wagon and drive out to a ridge that overlooked the whole show. My mom would even bring popcorn.

Our town coming together like that, year in and year out, made the Fourth of July feel special. There was a real sense of unity and pride in those days. But even this small-town American experience pales in comparison to the one-of-a-kind camaraderie you get when celebrating Independence Day as part of the U.S. Army. During my six years of service, I was fortunate enough to spend every Fourth of July on a military installation, from Fort Lee in Virginia to Fort Lewis, Washington, and plenty of bases between. There’s nothing like ringing in the Fourth of July with your brothers in arms, especially while you’re going through basic training. It was the summer of 1990, and my platoon had just been through the first four weeks of training. The drill sergeants had barely managed to take the pacifiers out of our mouths at that point, but to us new recruits, it’d felt like we’d already been through an ordeal. Then the Fourth came around, and let me tell you, it was like being a fat kid in a candy store. I mean that literally. We were a bunch of young guys who hadn’t been allowed soda or sweets in over a month and had just gone through some of the most rigorous physical and mental challenges we’d faced in our young lives. Then, suddenly, we were taken to the main parade field for a day of exhibits, games, food, and yes, candy. It was like getting a breath of fresh air from the outside world.

1 Berlin Law Firm • I’m not calling to impose patriotism on our fellow citizens or to bring military fanfare into our civilian lives. All I want is for folks on both sides of the political divide to step off their soap box for a day and recognize the common ideals that bind us together as Americans. If we do one thing on the Fourth of July, it should be to ask ourselves, “Why are we No. 1? What makes us so great?” No matter what your personal answer is, we celebrate together. - Lee Berlin More than anything, there was a sense of camaraderie I haven’t felt anywhere else. Our platoon had folks from every part of the county and every walk of life imaginable. There I was, a conservative kid from Montana, celebrating arm and arm with my battle buddy, a self-avowed liberal from Massachusetts. None of those distinctions we now see as divisions mattered within the folds of the U.S. Army, especially on the Fourth of July. From the valleys of northern Montana to the barracks of Fort McClellan, Alabama, I’ve been fortunate enough to see some truly great Independence Days. Since returning to civilian life, I can’t shake the feeling that our modern-day celebrations are missing something important. The more I turn back to these memories, the more I find myself wishing for the kind of unity the Fourth used to carry.

Our Stroke Survival Story One Decision Made the Difference Our law office was the scene of a harrowing experience last month, when our office manager and all-around superstar, Sonya, suffered a stroke. The episode came out of nowhere, was deceptively subtle at first, and became very serious very quickly. The scariest thing is that Sonya almost didn’t go to the hospital at all. You may remember Sonya from our newsletter’s very first edition, where we dubbed her “The Woman Who Does It All.” Normally she’s an unstoppable force, acting as office manager, receptionist, paralegal, and marketing director. But on that fateful day, it was clear something was wrong. She had been experiencing some nausea, dizziness, and pain in her left arm. Both Lee and Sonya’s sister, our paralegal Cyndie, thought she was having a heart attack. Sonya, never one to want to make a fuss, thought all she needed was to go home and get some rest. Fortunately, Cyndie was able to talk Sonya into seeking medical care, a step that saved Sonya’s life. Still unaware of the gravity of the developing situation, our Sonya refused to go to the hospital. So Cyndie, being the hero of the day, literally saved Sonya’s life by insisting that she take her to the urgent care facility. Due to Cyndie’s quick thinking, she thankfully made it there within minutes, which was when the stroke took full effect on Sonya. The urgent care facility immediately called an ambulance and our Sonya was transported right away to Saint Francis Hospital, where she received the tPA medication. If the onset of a stroke is caught within three hours and a person having a stroke meets the criteria for the administration of tPA, it can reverse the symptoms of a stroke and decrease your recovery time. Due to Cyndie’s quick thinking and response time, Sonya met that criteria and qualified. Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. After just a two-week recovery period, Sonya was back to her old, unstoppable self, answering phones, helping clients, and bringing a smile to our faces. We are all incredibly relieved to see her in good health with such a remarkable recovery. Despite the good news, our firm learned a very sobering lesson that day: A stroke can happen to anyone, at any time. The grim truth is that it had not occurred to any of us — including Sonya — that she was experiencing a stroke. Had she not gone to the urgent care facility for what Lee and Cydnie thought was a heart attack, things would have turned out very differently. Continued on page 3...

How Much Sunshine Is Too Much? To many people, summer is all about heading outside to enjoy the weather. But getting too much sun can be dangerous. To have a fun-filled summer with your family this year, remember that it’s essential to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. COVER UP Covering your skin is one of the best ways to avoid skin damage. Wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants or skirts can protect your skin from direct exposure to UV rays. While this tactic protects you from the sun, it offers poor defense against the heat. So, if you opt for cooler attire, it’s important to cover all exposed skin with a copious amount of sunscreen. Be sure to reapply every two hours for maximum skin protection. SPEND LESS TIME IN THE SUN If you’re planning to spend a significant amount of time in the sun, consider your environment. Will there be plenty of shade? Will you have to bring your own? What’s the best way to step out of the sun for a few minutes? Wearing sunscreen and protective clothing are great ways to shield yourself from UV rays, but it’s important to avoid being in direct sunlight for long periods. Taking a break from the sun gives your body the time it needs to recuperate and helps prevent sunburn and heatstroke. COMMON MYTHS ABOUT SUN EXPOSURE Many people think that a tan is better than a sunburn, but the result of tanning is still sun damage. When your skin tone changes due to the sun, regardless of whether it tans or turns red, it’s a result of the epidermis reacting to damage caused by UV rays. Both are symptoms of harmed skin. While vitamin D is important, the sun does not contribute to its creation as much as you might think. Doris Day, a New York City dermatologist, explains that if your skin were to constantly produce vitamin D from being in the sun, it would reach toxic levels. Vitamin D is the only vitamin that your body can produce on its own, through a common form of cholesterol or 7-dehydrocholesterol. Spending time in the sun does help vitamin D form, but you need far less exposure than you think.

Knowing how to protect yourself from UV rays is the first step to having a safe, fun-filled summer!

2 Berlin Law Firm • 918-770-0172

... continued from page 2

Problems seeing out of one or both eyes

WHAT WE LEARNED Having just gone through this harrowing experience, we have decided to do our part to spread awareness on how to recognize and respond to a stroke effectively. Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in America and a primary cause of adult disability, according to the National Stroke Association. The key is identifying the symptoms at the onset of a stroke and seeking treatment immediately. STROKE SYMPTOMS The following symptoms come on suddenly, usually in tandem. While one of these symptoms on its own may seem innocent enough, having more than one at once should set off alarm bells.

Dizziness or loss of balance

A sudden, inexplicable headache

TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY Where strokes are concerned, every minute is crucial, and seeking professional medical treatment is the only way to help. If you or a loved one is showing the onset signs of a stroke, call 911 right away. Do not attempt to drive yourself to the hospital, as you may pass out behind the wheel. If at all possible, note the time the first symptoms of the stroke appeared; it will help ensure that you or your loved one receive the most effective treatment. By all accounts, we were very lucky when it came to our response to Sonya’s stroke. Hopefully, by spreading awareness, you can be prepared if you’re ever faced with this unexpected, life-threatening health risk.

Numbness or weakness of the face, arms, or legs, usually on one side of the body

Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech

Inspired Be

Kielbasa Kabobs


Inspired by Good Housekeeping

3 red bell peppers

2 pounds fully cooked smoked kielbasa

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large onions

1/4 cup olive oil

2 green bell peppers

Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Heat grill to medium. 2. In a small bowl, combine oil, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. 3. Cut pepper, onion, and kielbasa into 1-inch chunks. 4. Thread onto skewers, alternating ingredients. 5. Brush with oil mixture and grill, covered, 10–12 minutes. [NOTE: If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes before threading to prevent burning.]

3 Berlin Law Firm •

NEW ADDRESS 8516 E. 101st Street, Suite A Tulsa, Oklahoma 74133


We didn’t go far. We are still located in the Park Place Business Complex, directly across the parking lot from our old office.


8516 E. 101st Street, Suite A Tulsa, Oklahoma 74133

Phone: 918-770-0172

Inside This Issue

Thoughts on the Fourth Page 1

Battling the Summer Sun! What to Do If You Have a Stroke Page 2

Kielbasa Kabobs Page 3

Secret Swimming Holes of the World Exclusive Spots You Must See to Believe

Summertime is for swimming, but why settle for a community pool when you can have access to the most beautiful swimming locales in the world? These three exclusive, little-known spots are sure to take your breath away. HALI’I FALLS, HAWAII With its spiral staircase of waterfalls, this remote jungle location offers up more than one unique spot to take a plunge. Visitors never fail to be awestruck by the deep blue- green hue of each pool created by the four cascading waterfalls. Hali’i means “to spread out,” which is precisely what each waterfall does, showcasing a serene experience unlike any other. But the beauty of this one-of-

a-kind experience is only outdone by its exclusivity. To reach these pools, you’ll have to hike through dense forest, deep marshes, and wide-open pastures of sugar cane. DOS OJOS, MEXICO The Spanish translation of the name for this magical system of caves is “two eyes,” and you’ll want to have yours checked after you see this swimming hole. When limestone bedrock collapses, a sinkhole called a “cenote” is formed. The unearthed water from the natural aquifer balances a color palette of earth tones with the most majestic shades of blue you’ll ever behold. The calling cards for these bodies of water are the Blue Eye and the Black Eye. Both offer unforgettable

experiences, but the price of entry is a hefty sense of adventure. You’ll need a full set of scuba gear to get to either hole. THE BATHS, VIRGIN GORDA A day in the Caribbean is like living every moment inside a beautiful pastel painting. The elegance of this location in the British Virgin Islands will make you feel like you’ve been transported into a cathedral. The large boulders and natural rock formations create shallow caves that will captivate your eyes as you wade through the water in wonder. When you exit, you’ll witness the sight that gives this beautiful spot its name. A handful of 40-foot granite boulders form private pools as if that was what they were made for.

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