Tissue Transplant Allows Recipient a Proper Proposal
Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Rus and BrideIn 2002 when Russ Stoneking was 25, he fell from a sixth floor balcony. “I hit my head on the fourth story balcony and landed in the lobby on polished marble.” His heart stopped beating for one minute and 23 seconds. He broke 74 bones and suffered from a collapsed lung and internal bleeding. Russ was in a coma for two weeks. He was given an 80 percent chance of never walking again and told he’d never regain the use of his right arm. “The first thing I thought of is how am I going to make a living now. I had been a home builder since I was 18 and had no secondary education.”

 Over the next year, Russ taught himself to walk again, and function with his left hand. He even went back to school and pursued a degree in architecture, but he did not regain the function of his right arm. His doctor said Russ’s arm had heterotopic ossification, which meant the arm had fused itself at the elbow at a 90-degree angle. Russ taught himself to write, draw and even shave with his left hand. Russ’s condition made social situations awkward because he did not have what he thought was a proper handshake.

 In 2008, Russ fell again, but this time he fell deeply in love and wanted to ask for his girlfriend’s hand in marriage. “I wanted to do the honorable thing and ask her father. This undoubtedly meant a handshake. I know this may seem trivial to some, but there is nothing more defining about a first impression than a handshake and a straight look in the eyes. Call it vanity or pride, but I could not ask the father of my future bride for her hand in marriage with a handshake like that. I was deeply in love and would do anything to spend the rest of my life with her.”

 Russ set out to get his arm “fixed.” Since the year of Russ’s accident, he learned from his doctor that a new procedure had become available. According to his doctor, it came with it a 15 percent success rate and a year of rehab. Russ wanted to do it. The procedure required a donated Achilles tendon. This surgery had only been done a handful of times and never on someone with a condition like Russ’s. “A donor was found, and three months later, I was standing in front of a man I had never met before asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage, looking him in the eye and reaching out with my right hand.”

 Russ has started to remodel homes again, throw baseballs to his nephews, hold babies, write with his right hand and wipe happy tears from his wife’s eyes on their wedding day. “Someone’s loved one gave me a selfless gift, the gift of a second chance.”

 

 Tissue Donation – Offering a Framework for Life

 Although it can be a challenging subject, this is an important decision and it’s vital that you make your wishes known.  There are several ways you can do this and we are happy to present your options when you’re ready to move forward. 

 Our years of experience have taught us that people have misconceptions and benefit from learning how life changing this choice can be. The word “tissue” is a broad term that covers everything, except organs, that modern medicine knows how to transplant.

 Tissue donation is a gift worth giving. Donated heart valves grow with young patients so that future surgeries may be avoided. Vein grafts restore impaired blood circulation. And cornea transplants allow those with an injured eye to see again.

 SETATo ensure that your questions are answered accurately and that all services are done professionally, we have partnered with the Southeast Tissue Alliance (SETA), a nonprofit dedicated for more than 25 years to educating the community about tissue donation and monitoring recovery to comply with government regulations. By working together, Anderson-McQueen and SETA offer the peace of mind you need to comfortably make this incredible gift.

Back to School Blues
Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Has your dog been feeling the “Back to School Blues” since his or her human family members have gone back to school? Does your pooch bark, howl, chew, dig, urinate, become destructive or try to escape when left alone?

Although these problems often indicate that a dog needs to be taught some manners, they can also be symptoms of stress or anxiety. Separation anxiety is triggered when dogs become upset because of separation from their owner or family. Escape attempts by dogs with separation anxiety can be extreme, resulting in self-injury and household destruction, especially around exit points like windows and doors. Then, when the owner returns home, the dog often acts as though it’s been years since he’s seen his family.

As with most behavior problems, treatment involves altering multiple factors including the dog’s environment, how your family interacts with the dog, and, at times, the use of anti-anxiety medications in combination with behavior modification. Overall, the goal is to resolve the dog’s anxiety by teaching him to enjoy, or at least tolerate, being left alone. The following are some tips to ease your dog’s anxiety:

Before Leaving

  • Pay no attention to your dog for about 20-30 minutes before you leave.
  • Leave a special treat or a toy, such as a Kong to distract the dog when you go out, and remove the item upon your return.


When Returning

  • Ignore your dog until he is quiet and relaxed, then interact on your own initiative.
  • Do not reprimand your dog for destructive behavior or for urinating or defecating in the house.

At Home

  • Interact with your dog only at your initiative and when the dog is relaxed
  • Gradually increase distance and time away from home
  • Minimize your “departure cues.” For example, move your keys and purse around the home during times other than departure

If you believe your dog suffers from separation anxiety, and behavioral modification has not resolved his or her symptoms, contact your veterinarian.

For additional information regarding separation anxiety, see
The Humane Society of the United States’ Online Resource

Compliments of Northeast Animal Hospital
Gretchen Sutton, DVM

Life After the Loss of a Spouse
Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

The death of a spouse may be the most heartbreaking experience an individual will ever face.  Shock and anguish, mixed with an uncertainty about the future, can understandably paralyze one’s ability to take control of their own life.  However, the only way to deal with death, no matter how painful it might be, is to accept it.   You must continue living your life with the realization that your spouse would have wanted you to be happy and productive, with or without them.

joysadness_sm blogPerhaps the most difficult aspect of life as a widow, is the newfound feeling of loneliness.  Indeed, the quiet in a home of two people is much different than the quiet found when you are left alone.  However, in addition to family and friends, there are a number of other resources available to help new widows deal with their grief.  Public libraries have entire sections of books and guides devoted to widows, many of which are aimed at answering the difficult questions and issues that arise from the burdens that often accompany such an unexpected life change.  Also, most churches and synagogues have outreach programs that help connect those in need to the very support groups that were created with them in mind.  Finally, you might consider joining a club or taking a class that interests you.  By becoming part of a group that holds the same interests and desires, you are taking one of the first steps in creating a new life on your own.

           

In reaching out to new people, you might find someone whose company you especially enjoy.  In that event, you might begin to wonder how long you should wait before dating again.  While there is no single answer that will work for everyone, the best strategy is simply to do what feels comfortable.  That could be several months, or it could be years, but only you can decide when you are ready to begin that new chapter in your life. 

           

Finally, for many people widowhood brings a number of new financial responsibilities.  Indeed, if your former spouse always handled the banking, taxes, and investments, then whether you like it or not, you have some important work to do.  Also, you might also have questions about your financial future.  How will the death of your spouse affect both your own lifestyle, and that of their loved ones?  If you were not the primary source of income for the family, will you need to take on a more demanding job?  These are all important questions, and finding the answers is a necessary step as you begin your new life.

           

Life cannot be the same again after you lose a spouse, but it can be enjoyed and treasured. With time and friendship, you may carve out a new and comforting path not only of contentment, but happiness as well.

Healing with Tai Chi
Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Tai Chi Group     

   Tai chi is a mind-body practice that originated in China as a martial art in about the 12th century A.D.  Over time, people began to use tai chi for health purposes, and many different styles and variations developed.  Presently, tai chi is regarded in China as one of the best overall forms of exercise.  This martial art is especially popular with the elderly population because it is generally slower than other forms of exercise and can be practiced without too much physical exertion. The low velocity, low impact movements can be performed by older individuals experiencing joint degeneration, muscle atrophy, poor balance, and low stamina.
        The ancient art of tai chi uses slow, circular movements to exercise the body, mind, and consciousness.  These moves are performed gently and at a uniform speed, with one movement flowing into the next.  In addition to movement, tai chi involves two other important elements, breathing and meditation – a self-directed practice for relaxing the body and calming the mind.   In tai chi practice, it is considered important to concentrate, put aside distracting thoughts, and breathe in a deep, relaxed, and focused manner.
        There are many proven health benefits of tai chi training.  For instance, performing a tai chi routine increases the strength and flexibility of muscles and ligaments by the slow shifting of weight from one side of the body to the other.  Tai chi also has the effect of inducing deep relaxation in the body. You may find yourself yawning and taking spontaneous deep breaths that release a great deal of physical tension during your practice.  Less tension in the body conserves energy and provides a sense of well being and ease in your life.  Finally, the movements of tai chi help to make the body far more agile and coordinated.  In turn, this makes your reflexes sharper and quicker, helping you in all aspects of your life.
        Although tai chi is a relatively safe practice, if performed improperly it could lead to minor injuries, such as sore muscles or sprains.  Accordingly, before beginning a tai chi routine, you should speak to an instructor or purchase an instructional DVD to learn the movements.  Also, you should consult your health care provider to ensure that you are healthy enough to practice tai chi.

Handling Finances After A Loved One’s Death
Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Handling Finances  

        It is an unfortunate but all too common experience that, even while still dealing with the grief associated with the loss of a loved one, a person will be forced to make important decisions regarding the loved one’s finances.  If not made carefully, these decisions could result in a significant loss of time or money or both.  In this highly stressful situation, it is easy to see how anyone could get overwhelmed.  With this in mind, the following is meant to provide a very broad guide to handling the finances of a loved one after he or she passes.

 

       

   Financial considerations after a death can be broken down into several categories:  

  1. Often, the first bills are the funeral or memorial service, cemetery expenses and anything else associated with the final services.  There may be insurance to take care of this and our funeral home provides several ways for families to take care of the costs.  In order to pay these expenses as they arise, a separate bank account or credit card should be set up so funds are available when needed. 
  2. The deceased’s family must deal with his or her estate and will or trust.  It is important to remember that even if the deceased did not have a will or trust, if he or she left behind any property, there will be an estate that must be handled.  At this stage, a local attorney who knows the property laws of the deceased’s state of residence will almost certainly need to be involved.   
  3. With respect to the deceased’s income and any financial instruments that he or she owned (including a 401(k) and stocks and bonds, etc.), the survivors often notify the various banks and account holders of the death.  If any income or property taxes are owed, these may need to be paid.  The process of handling the deceased’s various accounts can be complicated, but most banks now have financial advisors specially trained to deal with this situation. 
  4. If the deceased left behind any bills – including a mortgage, credit card payments, and any medical expenses not covered by insurance – the creditors are often notified and the expenses will generally need to be paid on time.  If the deceased left behind a number of unpaid expenses, it might be best to seek the help of a financial advisor to budget any proceeds of the deceased’s estate. 
  5. If the death was unexpected, there is usually much more to be done by the survivors. Getting support from other family members and friends is very important during this difficult time. There may also be church, community or volunteer organizations that can help, if not with the financial affairs, at least with the other day-to-day needs that must be met.

 

          These kinds of problems are why more people are choosing to plan ahead even if they will live thirty more years.  It is worth the peace of mind, if they are a single parent or an individual with complicated finances, to have the final arrangements pre-paid and a will in place detailing assets.  The more preparation, the easier it is later for everyone and there will be an assurance that the money goes where the owner wants it to go.

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