|Name Of Column
||Diet for what?
||News & Events
|Travel With Larys
||Traveling Thru Life
|The Speechless Poet
||Len A Hynds
||Barefoot In The Rain
||Prose & Poetry
|Bits, Bytes & No Butts!
|| Homegrown Month about the Castle
||21 Years in a Box
INDEX AND LINKS TO EACH ISSUE MAY BE FOUND AT: http://webwhispers.org/news/WotWIndex.asp
A Diet... for What?
Something for everyone? A frend recently went on a diet for her heart and they said eat a banana a day. I said, it is one of the highest carb fruits, metabolizes fast, and eating it alone is like gobbling sugar, spiking your blood sugar and, then, you will end up soon with a sharp drop, starving, and maybe even shaking with hunger. Since she also has to watch a pre-diabetic condition and keep level blood glucose which doc does she listen to? Meet it halfway? Eat half of the banana after having a couple of eggs. Put protein with it... Peanut butter is great. Or have a little sliced chicken with some fruit, cheese, and nuts. But do keep the carbs down at any one time. Know what you are dieting for or you may unleash another, sometimes worse, problem ...there are other choices of potassium than bananas. Look for them. Green leafy vegetables are wonderful.
Mix baby leaves of kale and spinach, some chopped cabbage, diced tomatoes and mushrooms and top with an avocado and you will have a powerhouse potassium salad! Worth hmore than a whole bunch of bananas... and hardly any carbs.I use Balsamic vinegar and olive oil on mine.
I remember the days when someone would say they were on a diet and we never asked nor discussed for what reason. Mostly they had to count calories and eat no fats, no sweets, no snacks and no decent sized portions. If they straved themselves enough, they lost weight and if their blood tests didn't improve or their weight didn't go down, their doctor thought they were not doing a good job of dieting or were cheating on what they ate.
Some diets have blended into other types of diet to become a third kind and if you have enough things wrong with you and a different diet or doctor for each, the diets start to conflict and you are left in a quandry.
Are you trying to get your heart healthy? Is your blood sugar out of control with your diabetes? Do you seem healthy but are just plain overweight? Do you need to restrict fats, sugar, salt or amounts, in general?
Are you wanting to fit into something you wore years ago and then not care again? Or, best of all, are you trying for a change of lifestyle?
I find the odd diet with names of body parts as though your body really knows where you want to adjust the size or weight! The Abs Diet or the Flat Belly Diet. The HMR Diet is costly... I guess you would automatically eat less of expensive foods. The Macrobiotic Diet kills my appetite with it's name!
You might check here for the Best Diets Overall (4 pages of them)
The top rated diet they have in the list of 34 is the DASH Diet. It keeps you in the acceptable range for the nutrients you should have and yet provides the necessary amounts of vitamins... sort of an "everyman's diet" Recommended for Heart problems and diabetics.... and it is moderate.
My personal choice is not one that ever counts calories. I prefer having a low-carb diet. It doesn't score high on the rules they set out for diets but it pleases me, keeps my blood tests reading right and I like beig able to eat almost all of the veggies I want (well, not the starchy ones!) And I find a big salad with strips of chicken and cheese, sprinkled with nuts, to be quite satisfying but not harmful.
Good luck to you in staying on any diet but the results are important if you want to stay healthy.
By Paul Evitts, Towson University, Towson MD
Greetings all and welcome to the first edition of ‘Research Corner’. When Kim had asked for people to submit articles for WW and given complete freedom about the content, my thoughts were all over the place. After narrowing down some choices, I figured I’d stick with my strengths and start a column on what’s going on in the world of research and laryngectomee rehabilitation.
When I went to my favorite medical search engine – www.pubmed.org (arguably the most comprehensive medical search engine and free to all) - and searched using the terms ‘total laryngectomy’, what initially struck me most was the number of different countries represented in the research articles being published in the last two years. (Just in case you were curious, there were 3397 total research articles). Research articles from the USA were there but so were research articles from Turkey, Canada, Hungary, Brazil and China. In fact, one journal devoted four articles on the current state of laryngectomee rehabilitation in four different regions: Hong Kong, USA, South America, and Australia.
Two of the first four most recent research studies investigated the psychosocial impact (another term for quality of life) of a total laryngectomy on either patient or the partners’ of the patient with a total laryngectomy. The first (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25631352), out of the Netherlands sent surveys to 151 laryngectomees and their partners asking about quality of life. Overall, results showed that a total laryngectomy did have an impact on the partner with over 30% of the partners saying the surgery had an impact on their social and sex life. The authors recommended that health care professionals should start screening not only the patients but also their partners for need of support. The second research study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25619472) looked at the quality of life of people with a total laryngectomy and the authors were from Portugal. This study sent questionnaires to 34 people and the overall results showed a lower quality of life for laryngectomees compared to people without laryngeal cancer.
While these results may not be surprising to many of you, it is a good opportunity to talk about what to do and how to help. The first thing that comes to my mind is the upcoming IAL annual meeting to be held in Baltimore MD (June 10-13, 2015). After looking at the program from last year in Buffalo and having a good sense of what programs/sessions are being offered again this year, the annual meeting is a great place for laryngectomees and their partners/spouses to learn more about these issues and ways to cope. Experts in a variety of fields will be there so there are lots of chances to ask not only experts from the world of healthcare, but also from many people just like you who have gone through similar problems. All your problems may not be solved, but at least you’ll be surrounded by people who may have gone through what you’re experiencing and you can surely find a sympathetic shoulder to lean on.
Here’s to a happy and healthy 2015 and try to make sure to keep an eye on your own ‘psychosocial’ health—
(Please note: This article was adapted from an earlier article for the IAL News).
In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin's breast;
In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;
In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish'd dove;
In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
Locksley Hall ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson~
Last month’s VoicePoints column on Body Image got both Noirin (see her column below) and me thinking about just what this whole lary business has done to our self-image. I was about to jettison my early attempts at a column when I read hers (one of the privileges of being an editor) and I was right back on the subject. I had to go back and re-read the column of mine she references, “Sex and The Single Lary”, http://webwhispers.org/news/aug2006.asp . It’s been a while and, frankly, I don’t mean just since I wrote that column!
Not too long ago I was out and about delighting in the spring weather which has come so late this year to my part of the world when those lines of poetry came to mind and I chuckled, thinking, “Apparently not only a young man’s fancy but that of an old woman’s as well”. I was so startled by my own thought I stopped dead in my tracks! Where the heck did that come from?
I felt good about myself that morning - I felt vibrant, attractive; there was a definite spring in my step. Something had happened over this long dark winter but what was it?
Two very different things happened- my father died and I lost some weight. The two are not directly related. I didn’t lose the weight from stress; I had been trying to get back on track for some time. My father’s death was not unexpected; he had been receiving hospice care since the summer and was nearly 90. But these two things converged in an unexpected way.
The weight gain happened over the last 20 years, initially just the creep of middle age but then exacerbated by cancer and treatments resulting in long-term devastating consequences. I led pretty much a sedentary life for several years. My world narrowed while my waistline expanded. I struggled to find myself in my “new normal”. Eventually, I was able to master a new voice, reduce my coughing/breathing issues and regain some of my mobility and my life. But the excess weight was stubborn.
My family and friends brought me great joy and satisfaction. I had a wonderful life but I felt uncomfortable in this new body even after nearly 15 years with a hole in my neck. I kept trying to lose some weight, get active and fit again but each effort seemed to stall. The visible scars and odd voice combined with feeling old, fat and unattractive just added insult to injury. Photos seemed to bear this out and I found myself wanting to avoid social situations.
Then my Dad died. Being so intimately involved with caring for him as he lay dying from cancer made me poignantly aware of how alive and vibrant I still am. How lucky I am to have lived through my own cancer journey and survived; how many years I may still have to enjoy this world and celebrate life, in all its precarious glory.
I started paying attention and noticed just how much I had been eating without even thinking. And in a nod to Noirin (thank-you so much for giving me the vocabulary) I started eating (and drinking my favorite wine) mindfully. Amazing what a difference just that makes!
My brother noticed the change and asked what I had done and I told him, “Not a diet, per se. Just paying attention to what I’m eating and how much. I always ate healthy foods- not a lot of junk- but even healthy foods can be overdone.”
He laughed in agreement, “It’s so funny. Folks always say, ‘I’m on a diet’ when talking about losing weight or getting healthy. Well, you are always on a diet; it’s what you eat. It just depends on whether or not it’s a good diet.”
Check out Pat Sanders’ column this month for more on THAT subject!
So, anyways, back to that spring day. I felt attractive and vibrant because I was alive and felt good about myself because I was proud of exercising some discipline, setting a goal and finally meeting it. I “made an effort” that morning before I went out and it paid off.
Now, I didn’t lose that much weight and something happened over the last 20 years so the same number on the scale looks different now. Still, I did have to buy some smaller jeans although I know they have more stretch in them these days
The point is I kinda got my groove back. I want to be out and about. I take a few extra minutes to “put myself together” even if that does mean finding new ways to cover my stoma and stash my tissues and spare batteries.
I still struggle with the “new me” but that has as much to do with being 62 as it does to being a lary.
And as for that fellow lary I mentioned in my 2006 column, that was a relatively short-lived relationship. Great fun while it lasted but we couldn’t talk about anything. And by that I mean we had absolutely nothing in common except a mutual friend and a stoma. Well… maybe one other thing…but there are some things a lady just doesn’t talk about.
I’m a struggling actor hired by your insurance company.
Your insurance policy doesn’t cover a real doctor!
~ The above is a caption from a cartoon I saw. Some bitter sweet humor depending on your experiences
New Mexico, USA
I have been on disability since my Laryngectomy. I pay $105.00 a month for disability insurance. Way over priced for what little they cover! When I order my supplies I use a credit card to pay for the items and In Health does a fantastic job of getting my paperwork to Medicare. Then in about 30 days I receive a check for about 50% of what I paid for the supplies. This does not included the yearly deductible of $175.00!
The only real problem with the government is they pay 80% of what they feel the item should cost! Not the true cost of the items. The Government has not updated there prices since before I became a Laryngectomy. That is just past 13 years now that I know of! So I do my level best to keep the daily cost of being a Laryngectomy as low as possible. This is why I use In Health Technology. Their prices are about 1/3 of Atos Medical.
For me to use a tape disk, replacement foam in my HME and cleaning supplies I figure I have my daily cost to about 19 to 22 cents a day. Best to all
Laryngectomy in February 1993
Since I went on Medicare thirteen years ago, I have been constantly amazed at how CMS determines the reimbursement amount. For my voice prosthesis and hands free speech supplies the average reimbursement has been forty percent of my out of pocket cost. The icing on the cake came in October 2010 when Medicare would no longer reimburse for the cost of an indwelling voice prosthesis that was purchased by the patient.
My speech pathologist and her hospital would not absorb the sixty percent out of pocket cost that Medicare was imposing on the purchaser. As a result, I had to purchase it myself with complete out of pocket cost and no reimbursement. I was fortunate, in that I was able to extend my prosthesis life to a full year and was financially able to cover the $300 plus cost.
I have been very proactive in keeping my costs down, by using base plates and tape disks instead of single use housings. I also use the Blom-Singer ASTVII hands free valve which uses replaceable filters rather than cassettes. And, for sleeping I use the Humidifilter Holder which also uses replaceable filters. Even so, Medicare in their infinite wisdom decided that I could not get reimbursed for more than two base plates every 45 days. I get 15 days from a base plate, but feel that is pushing it. My preference would be 10.
I have a Medicare supplement which picks up the 20 percent of the 40 percent that Medicare reimburses. I'm glad to get what I can, but fully appreciate the struggle that people with less financial security face in dealing with tracheoesophageal supplies.
Ashford Kent England
I can look at your system of medical insurance as an outsider, and although I always avoid anything political, especially of another country, this invitation to speak must not be missed.
I have many American friends, both in the states and also residing in the UK, and I read in the digest fairly frequently in these hard times, how some laryngectomees find it almost impossible to get the simplest of supplies. The Laryngectomees in those countries where the health service is free, are always horrified.
I know that your system seems to vary from state to state, and your veterans seem to be well looked after, but for the poor population, the Insurance companies seem to hold the whip hand. America is such an advanced country, and seems so afraid of adopting a completely free health service.
It was in 1939 when New Zealand started it, and then England 1948,and these are the countries that run a completely free service…..Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Canada, Finland, Australia, Russia, Italy, Portugal, Japan, Greece, Israel, Holland, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan, Switzerland, and I think Argentina.
Something to think about.
I HAD INSURANCE THROUGH Anthem (Blue Cross Blue Shield). WHILE INSURANCE paid for the operation and hospital stay, it balked at paying for supplies.
In denying payment for humidifilters Anthem said the InHealth price was not “The best and lowest.”
When I called Anthem and asked where I could get the humidifilters at a lower cost, they had no answer. (Which I knew already because InHealth is the only distributor for that filter which is used with the Blom/Singer hands free valve.)
Well, I guess I'm one of the fortunate ones after becoming a Lary. I do have Medicare and private insurance through my company’s retirement plan. I'm fortunate in the sense that I'm a veteran and use the VA for all my SLP needs and supplies. One of the reasons I signed up with the VA was because Medicare made the changes on how they would pay for valves and supplies. If I need any medical help with my puncture or stoma I'll see my Dr. at Stanford and be covered by Medicare and private insurance.
Class of 1990
I think that I am very lucky to have had no problems with my insurance. Ever since I got Medicare and AARP I have been able to go to any doctor I want to and I have no problems with my "durable medical equipment". Before Medicare I had no insurance for about one year and it was a little scary.
In Ireland laryngectomees are given a medical card which means that all medical care and supplies are provided by the state. You order supplies through a local health care office and all are free e.g. trachea tubes, bibs, saline and sterile water, feeding tubes, syringes, wipes and all the supplies needed for TEP.
Each medication like calcium, eltroxin costs 2.50 each time you get prescription filled - usually each month.The medical prescription covers Jevity and Fortesip and any other special foods. All GP and nurse visits are free as well as all visits to consultant, speech therapy, nutritionist, physiotherapist etc. The district nurse will visit as often as you need for home support.
By the sound of what many of you have to go through to get your supplies, I think we are well cared for by the state medical system here.
I wasn't sure if you wanted us to name the company that insures us, but I have Humana/Medicare Advantage. I had surgery April 9, 2014 (not a lary but had neck dissection, tracheostomy, and my base of tongue and epiglottis removed.).
So far, my coverage has been very good, with minor co-pays. My trach supplies, my tube fed formula, visiting nurse, and speech therapist have been covered. I also have a portable suction machine, a machine supplying moist air, and an adjustable hospital bed which have also been covered. So far, so good.
Let me start with I have company insurance which is Aetna POS II. We do have a high deductible, $3,000 for the family before they start paying, then it is 80/20 until I have paid a total of $6,800 out of pocket. Now I will add that even though that deductible is high it is misleading. Aetna has an agreed price with all the doctors and hospitals that they will pay. It is often not even close to what they bill. As an example I had to have an upper and lower GI and they removed a polyp. They billed $12,000 for all total, but the agreed price was $1200. So I paid 20% of $1200, which was $240 instead of $2400. So I save even when I pay my deductible.
Now When I got real sick and they found I had Cancer, Aetna assigned a registered nurse to me to help and assist with all my needs and make sure all tesst went smooth, and were all done in network where they will get paid by insurance. Well I met the total amount and everything went to 100% covered.
When the doctor requested a PET scan the nurse saw that it got approved ASAP and had it done within days. When I was to leave the hospital I had to have a portable suction machine for the 5 hr. drive home and another one with supply's plus a machine for moisture I would need when I arrived home at 10 PM. I was contacted and told to call when I got 50 miles from my home and they would meet me at my house at 10 pm. They put up everything I needed within five minutes.
My nurse is still assigned to me 18 months later for me to talk with, and if I need to talk at any time I just e-mail her. If it’s after hours they have someone else I can speak with. They were made available to my wife and son if they ever wanted or needed to have someone to talk to about what I had to go through. I could go on for days on what they have done for me.
I also have to mention that the company I work for was so good to me. I was able to go back to work for five months but my emphysema go worse and I was put on disability and told I would never return to work. I got with my HR person at Kraft Foods to set up retiring. I was told I was NOT to retire but to go on short term disability, then go on long term until it ran out which would be 30 months. I would be paid by Kraft for the 6 months short term, but Kraft would keep me on the payroll so I would keep all my benefits like health insurance and life insurance.. All I paid was what I paid when I worked and they paid the rest. When the long term [24 months] was up then I could retire. It was nice to know I had full coverage insurance for my family and they paid almost all of it, and didn't have to. I could have just retired, but the corporate office told HR to tell me not retire until all disability had run out. I guess my 20 years paid off.
I'm on BCBS, and they don't cover supplies I order through ATOS. Inconvenient, and I could argue that without supplies I would likely die, but I doubt they're listening. Not sure what argument one could make -- insurance companies are in this for profit, not patients.
Perhaps a petition from all 14,000 laryngectomees would get someone's attention, but in the meantime I'm glad I'm still working and this isn't a financial hardship.
Class of 1979,1988, & 1995
I retired from the government with BCBS which I’ve had most of my adult life. I had no major complaints and have always kept it because I’m covered to some extent wherever I travel, have a very wide choice of doctors, I’m accepted at most medical facilities, and the price seemed acceptable.
When I was eligible I immediately signed up for Medicare Part A but not for Part B because my BCBS covered that and I didn’t want to pay the additional cost, and my cost for BCBS would remain the same even though they would now become the secondary provider for all my services and their costs would be significantly reduced. Great deal for them!
Several years ago (as many of you personally know) BCBS dropped both InHealth and Atos (the only suppliers of TEP and HME’s at that time, plus other supplies) as a preferred provider and as a result my co-pays increased significantly. This of course makes no sense because they recognize 3rd party suppliers that sell the same things at more than double the price based on what some of you have reported in the past. That situation led me to finally apply for my VA benefits even though a trip there is about 140 miles round trip. The good news is that my cost is now zero but the bad news is that the SLP assigned to me is (in my opinion) grossly incompetent. That’s not a knock on all VA SLPs. I know several that are highly trained and caring providers…. Mine isn’t!
In 2013 I had some major medical issues and my total medical costs were $1.2 million. My total out of pocket cost with my policy is $5,000 (plus the cost of the insurance) so that’s all I had to pay. In 2014 things were a lot better with my total bills running about $200,000 but $7,000 of that was dental (damage by radiation that BCBS won’t pay for) so my total out of pocket that year was about $13,000. That’s 2-3 really nice vacations and could have cruised with WebWhispers 4-5 times.
Based on my out of pocket costs the past 2 yrs. I decided to enroll for Medicare Part B this year which take effect in July with a 30% penalty for signing up late. That may be like closing the barn door after the horses are gone but if my math is correct I’ll never have to pay that $5,000 maximum again and the dental is no longer an issue since I no longer have teeth!
Thank you for your submissions. Edits are used for length, clarity and to keep comments on subject of the month.
Staff of Speaking Out
I was happy to see the article on body image by Melissa Nash and Philip Doyle in last month’s VoicePoints column of this newsletter. I have certainly felt this as an issue for me since my laryngectomy and their article helped me reflect on this.
Joni Mitchell said it all: “Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” I hadn’t realised how attached I was to my natural voice until I lost it. OK it’s gone now. So can I write its obituary? It was quite a gentle, female voice with a soft Irish accent. I used to lead meditation and people often commented that just my voice soothed them, never mind what I was saying. I didn’t have a great ear, so singing was never my forte. I could only carry a tune if there were enough others around to set the right notes. But I could chat and even speak in public with quite an engaging voice. And I completely took for granted that I would be understood.
Fast forward to today – an electro-larynx squawk as one WebWhisperer put it. I’ve never been able to tune my EL to anything that sounds pleasant or even female to my ears. My tongue is half paralysed since surgery so it’s a big effort to get my tongue around my mouth to talk. And along with all EL users there is the difficulty of distinguishing “t” from “d” and “p” from “b” and so on. What speech sounds emerge are like a whisper amidst the blare of a drill. I wear a loudspeaker around my waist and a microphone to amplify the whisper, but even then being understood first time is now a relief rather than an expectation.
And – lol – we can’t! I really miss that. It’s worst on the phone. If you’re talking to people face-to-face at least they can see you smile. Though once I had been talking with friends about the difficulties of laryngectomy. Suddenly I creased up laughing at the craziness of it all! They mistook my laughter for crying and rallied around with hugs and understanding murmurs. I couldn’t tell them I was only laughing so decided to lap it all up instead of bothering them with the truth!
But on the phone when the other person is struggling to understand – it would be great to be able to chuckle at our predicament, just to relieve the tension and as an easy way of thanking them for their patience. I’m certainly not going to waste their time trying to say that – not till the end of the phone call anyhow.
While most kids react with fascination, more vulnerable children can be frightened. Just yesterday I met with a woman with two children – they all said hello and I waved and smiled as I passed by. But then we needed to talk about how to open the garage door in our apartment block. This time I used the EL. The little girl just started at me speechless, while the boy actually turned away to hide his head in his mother’s dress. She told me he couldn’t speak himself – he uses sign language. Anyway we chatted for a while and his fears must have abated somewhat because when I passed in my car a few minutes later he waved at me.
This new body image of myself with a harsh, emotionless, muffled voice that can frighten vulnerable people is not one I welcome. It can’t convey love or interest or happiness or care. It’s a big loss.
I suppose one advantage is that when I’m not feeling any way loving or caring, the EL kindly disguises that for me! I can be in the worst humour inside, hurling mental insults at the other person but so long as the words I mouth are relatively polite no harm is done. Later as I’m licking my wounds I’m glad not to have hurt anyone while I was feeling so sore over whatever sparked my bad humour. Anyway can you imagine trying to insult someone using an electro-larynx? “You f... b... s... son-of–a-bitch!” They look concerned, “You fell into a ditch? Oh dear, I hope you weren’t hurt!” So much for that little bout of temper!
Anyway – back to body image: I was delighted to read Donna’s article from 2006 on sex. Like so many of you I’m sure, I had to trace this back when it was mentioned it last month. I’m single and haven’t been tempted to get into a relationship for many years now, and especially not since laryngectomy. A big part of that is to do with body image. Apart from the sexless voice many other indignities have come with laryngectomy. I don’t actually think the hole in the neck is so unattractive – I imagine if this was ‘normal’ people would be putting lipstick or whatever around it to attract attention! But I suppose what can come out of it and tends to crust around the edge is not going to win any beauty contests! And because of the difficulty swallowing my mouth quietly drools saliva down my cheek when I’m not watching, so I have to use hankies or wipes at night to save my pillow from my bad manners. And would any of the kama sutra positions not stir acid reflux?
Apart from changes relating to surgery there is all the usual indignities of aging – flabby and droopy where once I was firm and round. None of this does anything for my confidence that I could be deemed physically attractive.
Donna’s article has helped me think more generously about all that. Great that this was referenced in the same newsletter carrying the research article on body image. It gave me a new perspective: If I can put up with this changed anatomy and harsh voice then so could A Significant Other – whoever that might be. .
Hmmm ... would this do for my profile on a dating site: Lovely lady looking for stout hearted gent, not afraid of mechanical voice, aging body, hole-in-the-neck or sweet nothings being drooled on the pillow at night!
Traveling Thru Life
I Want to Die Fat.
By Marona Posey (WW Friends Member)
“What?” Joe asked.
“That we’re all going to die someday.”
“True but we don’t know the day so we get up each morning and keep going, and going, and going.”
“I want to die fat, do you hear me? I want to be fat when I die!”
He laughed at the statement but understood because we were on our way home from a funeral of his best friend who’d suffered with pancreatic cancer. You know how he looked in his casket. I don’t have to tell you.
‘Well I have no control over that.”
“I know. Are you hungry?”
“I’m always hungry.”
We stopped at a local eatery then had a bowl of ice cream after we got home. Comfort food. I did the research years ago on ice cream. If you never eat ice cream again you will live five days longer.
We eat ice cream.
I retreated to my computer and shut the door, he went to his.
I wrote, I want to die fat, on a sheet of paper and put it on my desk.
We never discussed it again, but it was there, in the room with us. Old age.
Old age gets you eventually.
The symptoms? Your body sags, wrinkles appear out of nowhere, grey invades your hair, the knees give out, you can’t walk long distances, your back hurts, you slump, and walk slower, ever watching for a pot hole or an uneven sidewalk where you might stumble into and fall. Fall. What a horrible thought. Break something. Oh please no... no falls.
Then you realize you can’t remember what you did last week. Did you pick up the cleaning? You forgot to get coffee at the grocery store. But, you have ice cream, yep, it’s in the refrigerator. I just checked to make sure; Blue Bell, Homemade Vanilla, and Chocolate. The milk jug is half full, there are eggs, a can of biscuits, bacon, a frozen pack of pork chops, so you are good for tomorrow! You don’t have to fight the crowds and stand in line, you don’t have to drive around the parking lot four times to find a parking place close to the door.
Then there are the challenges in your own house, your own house that you chose. One is the bath tub. It’s that thing in the bathroom you can’t get in and out of anymore. You put those nifty handles on the ceramic tile but they slide. You turn over and your feet can’t get traction on the soapy surface. You start to get cold, you try again and slip around like a train on greased tracks. Then someone has to help you. Bummer, they saw your fat body naked. Now they know.
And the commode got shorter over the years. And the stairs are higher, the yard bigger, the weather hotter, the winters colder, and driving at night when it’s raining? Forget it. Stay home, get into your lounger, pull your blanket around your body and tuck it in. Ah, comfort.
Old age causes some things to go by the wayside. Your sexual relations moved away and left no forwarding address; your vacations to sunny destinations with shapely women and handsome men became a trip to see the faces of Presidents at Mt. Rushmore. Why? The parking lot there has handicapped parking, close to the elevators. That’s important.
You begin to notice other things, young people with children, some with teenagers. You’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt. You don’t envy them, you just want to tell them, enjoy your kids, they grow up and move away after you get them through college and you never hear from them again. They are too busy, they have jobs, baseball games with their kids, school schedules, their friends, vacations to the sunny places you used to take them to, financial problems and you take last priority.
It’s okay, the circle of life is like that. You are closing the gap and a new generation will be born. Let them take over, run things, keep the economy going, take the good parking places at the grocery store, get sun-burned at the beach, drive in the fast lane. You don’t care if they are in charge. You had your chance.
Eat another bowl of ice cream, Homemade Vanilla with some strawberries on top. Get fat. Stay fat. Die fat.
Another “True Tale of a London Bobby” from our intrepid lary and consummate story-teller.
~ Editor’s note ~
BAREFOOT IN THE RAIN
I was leaving the station at 2:30 am in pouring rain with another P.C. heading out to our respective beats after a 30 minute break when we saw a seven year old boy running towards the police station. It had been raining heavily all night and it was torrential at that particular time.
I stopped the boy who appeared exhausted from running in fear and realised he had nothing on his feet and was wearing only pyjamas. He was saturated with the downpour. I quickly took off my police cape and wrapped it around him, trying to calm him down, and asking what was wrong.
He told me where he lived, in a tenement flat near a street market over half a mile away. He had been woken by the sound of his mother screaming and sounds of fighting. Going out of his bedroom he had seen two men with knives had broken in and were trying to steal things. His father had been knocked down, and couldn’t get up, so he had run out of the street door to get help from the police station.
I told my colleague to carry him quickly back to the station, and I set off running as fast as I could the half mile to his address. I arrived there fairly quickly, completely out of breath, with my heart pounding at a great rate, and soaked in that cold rain right through to the skin.
The ground floor flat was in complete darkness, and I thought the worst had happened to the boy’s parents, but experienced relief and puzzlement when a gas lamp was lit inside, and they both appeared in night attire at the door.
I asked if they were alright, which astonished them, and then I told them about their seven year old son who had stopped me over half a mile away and told me what had been happening. They looked at each other in horror, saying, “He’s ill in bed with the flu.” and rushed into his bedroom to find he was missing.
It was only then that I realised that the boy had been suffering from such a high temperature during the night, that he had become delirious, and imagined everything. Help arrived from the station, and we took the parents back with us. The police doctor had been called and the young lad was taken by ambulance to hospital to ensure his safety.
It was about a month later, I was on traffic duty, when on walking back to the kerb, Mum brought the young lad over to thank me for looking after him on that night. I told him that illness can make any-body imagine things, but in spite of all that his instinct of running to police was perfect, on trying to help and protect his parents, and I considered him a brave young man.
That brought a smile.
Homegrown Month about the Castle
Windows 10, Chromebooks
I started the month downloading and installing the latest build of Windows 10 tech preview...which I can tell you Windows users is coming along very nicely and will more than make up for the flop known as Windows 8. Windows 10 will incorporate a new web browser called Project Spartan...replacing the iconic Internet Explorer...which will exit stage left. Microsoft will also incorporate their voice assistant "Cortana" to the Spartan browser and the search functions of Windows. For those who have been using their voice assistants on Apple, Google or Android products, this may solve many issues they had with the aging aspects of Windows. We should see the final Windows 10 introduced in the late summer of this year...and it will be free to all owners of Windows 7 and 8, including 8.1.
I also found a used Chromebook on eBay for $100. and it forced me to buy it...this is a fully functional computer capable of just about everything we are accustomed to in a computer. For those of little or no tech savvy this is your ideal product. Anyone who has used the Chrome web browser already knows how to use a Chromebook. All updates are done in the background and it just works. So far there have been no reported hacker attacks on the chrome OS so no need for security software to keep your info safe.
Beware of "ransomware" the latest in the hacker's bag of tricks to help separate you from your cash. Speaking of keeping safe online...one of our members and a friend, Parnell Stratton, sent me a very interesting email on a situation he encountered online and the solution he found...with Par's permission this is his email:
" Frank, my back-up PC was hijacked by the “FBI” program about downloading illegal music. They only wanted $100 to unlock my computer. I couldn’t get into my PC at all. Except for the FBI page. Office Depot wanted $175 to “try” and fix it. I went to Wal-Mart and bought a copy of Kaspersky’s Pure 3.0. It was $70 and is for three computers for a year. There are cheaper versions for one computer. I turned on the computer, inserted the disk as soon as possible and then it took over. Just follow directions. There is a section called ”Rescue Disk” that will get into a locked computer and allow you to scan for malware and collect it for deletion. I had to have it scan twice to get rid of the hijacker but it did a very good job of it. There is a free download of the Rescue Disk but if you are frozen out, you can’t download it. Having it on your computer doesn’t prevent malware programs from infecting your computer. I suggest buying the least expensive version and, if nothing else, keep the disc stashed away for emergencies. Par"
I recommend you all make a note of Par's email in case you ever need it.
Dave Taylor's newsletter - Apple Watches, iOS Upgrades
Dave published an article that perfectly summarizes my feelings on waiting to buy the newest technologies.
The really big news for April was the opening for pre-orders of the Apple Watch. Another article From Dave's newsletter and written by Judy Novotny (Whom I think is an excellent tech journalist.) Judy will tell you all about her experience buying her Apple Sport Watch and her decision to forestall upgrading the watchband for another $249...my, my.
iOS 8.3 update badly needed...warmly welcomed! The attached article by Judy Novotny details all the ins and outs of this critical and the reasons why you should update your Apple gear ASAP.
A word for WW Members on Facebook
The WebWhispers Facebook Group is our most recent addition as another form of communication. Many of our members were on Facebook, so we knew it was time to have a Facebook site. We invite our members to join us in our Facebook Group. The best way to join the Group is to “friend” me on Facebook. My Facebook name is Shmuel Mitchell. Go on Facebook, type in Shmuel Mitchell and send me a friend request. As soon as I “friend” you, you will be invited into the WW Facebook Group. That is it, just "friend" Shmuel Mitchell and I will do the rest.
Mike R, Administrator, WebWhispers Facebook Group
21 Years In A Box
I’m sleek and silver in shape.
I have a button you can push and obtain great joy by its vibration.
I’m alone, in a box,
Nobody can use me for the purpose I was made.
It has been lonely in this box.
No one seems to want me.
They have set me on a shelf and forgotten me.
There was the day, for a short period of time,
When I brought my dear friend a voice to be heard.
We became good friends
And I served him the best I could.
Why was I put in a box on a shelf for 21 years?
I know someone out there can use me.
Remember, I’m sleek, silver, vibrate,
And can bring the joy of a life time.
I’m an electrolarynx device.
I have a purpose,
I can help Laryngectomees regain what they have lost.
The ability to speak.
Won’t someone come by and use me?
Sleek and silver, my name is Servox
The above was submitted in story form by Larry Hammer who initiated the Viet Nam Laryngectomee Humanitarian Project for the purpose of helping laryngectomees regain their speech. This project has donated well over 100 electrolarynx to those in need, much like my own Voices Restored project. The primary difference being that my focus has been in Latin America and the Philippines while Larry’s is in Asia.
If any of you have a “Voice” just sitting in a box unused and unwanted that could help someone else please consider donating it to some good cause. Maybe a local lost chord club, the WebWhispers loan closet, or perhaps to help someone in a 3rd world country where a new voice may be next to impossible. You know how to reach WebWhispers, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can read more about Larry’s project at www.vietnamspeak.net
Jack Henslee - Editor
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