The second annual R.I.D.E. (Reliable Information about Diabetes Education) for diabetes will be held Saturday, Sept. 14.
There are actually three bike rides: Family Fun Ride of one mile; a ride of 7.25 miles; and an 18.25 mile ride. Proceeds will benefit scholarships for Diabetes Education.
Registration will take place from 8:15 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. at the Education Center at Waldo County General Hospital. The 18.25 mile ride will take off at 9:30 a.m.; the 7.25 mile ride at 9:45 a.m.; and the Family Run Ride at 10 a.m.
The fee for any of the rides is $15 per person or $20 per family. There will be free T-shirts for riders (families receive the first 3 T-shirts for free, the remainder are $5 each).
To register, go to active.com. For more information, call Sarah O’Blenes at 338-2500 ext. 4607 or email: email@example.com.
Waldo County General Hospital has awarded $18,000 in scholarships to 19 residents of Waldo County who are pursuing further education in a healthcare-related field. Awards are made to graduating high school seniors, college undergraduates, and employees pursuing careers in healthcare-related fields.
Selected to receive scholarships and the area of study he or she plans to pursue are Jennifer Cook, nursing, Paige Emerson, nursing, Rhonda Fowlie, nursing, Ashland Hall, speech & language, Sherri Littlefield, nursing, Alexis Morse, pre-med, Brenda Prisco, nursing, Jordan Ray, nursing, Maggie Raymond, nursing, Killyan Richards, nursing, Katelyn Ross, nursing, Kaitlyn Schweikert, healthcare administration, Janelle Scott, nursing, Julia Spieldenner, nursing, Theresa Spieldenner, nursing, Sierra Warner, nursing, Chantelle Whitcomb, pharmacy, Starlyn Whitcomb, nursing, and Candace Work, nursing.
Motorcycle riders, mark your calendar! On Sunday, Sept. 22, Waldo County General Hospital will be sponsoring the second annual Waldo County Ride for Oncology. This will be a fun event plus an opportunity to raise money to help those fighting cancer.
The day will start with registration at the Waldo County Shrine Club. The ride will take off at 10:30 a.m. and will return to the Shrine Club around 12:30 p.m. From 12:30 to 2 p.m., there will be a live band and food available.
The registration fee for the ride on Sept. 22 is $25, which includes lunch, a goodie bag and the live music. Additional lunches can be purchased for $10.
However, if you pre-register prior to Sept. 22, the cost is only $20. To pre-register, go to
For more information, call Gary Collins at 322-8675.
On June 29, Waldo County General Hospital cut the ribbon for Waldo County Dental Care (located on the first floor of 125 Northport Ave. the new building across the street from the hospital).
This facility will provide dental care to qualified individuals in need. And we believe the need is great.
The Registered Dental Hygienist at Waldo County Dental Care will do dental cleanings, x-rays, screenings, fluoride treatments, sealants, temporary fillings, oral health instruction, and a referral for further care by a dentist, if needed.
To qualify, an individual must:
• not have seen a dentist in the past 12 months;
• live in Waldo County;
• meet federal income guide lines (for family of four that is $41,213); and
• be at least age 18.
Depending on the family’s income level, there is a sliding co-pay of between $10 and $20.
The hospital was well represented at the recent annual meeting of the Belfast Rotary Club.
Andrea Walker, Community Services Manager, was awarded the club’s Paul Harris Fellow for her “Service Above Self” to the club. Making the presentation was Mark Biscone, Executive Director of the hospital and chairman of the Paul Harris Fellow Committee.
Lee Woodward, chairman of the hospital’s Board of Directors, was named Rotarian of the year.
And Lois Dutch of the Education Office was presented with a Paul Harris Fellow by her husband, Greg Dutch, who was the outgoing president of the club.
The 23rd annual Hospital Aid Garden Walk attracted more than 130 participants and raised $2,005. A homemade coverlet created by Barbara Biscone garnered $187 in a raffle. The quilt was won by Lindsay Moore RN. All proceeds from Aid activities are donated to Waldo County General Hospital.
Recently, Jill Kulbe, center left, retired as the director of Waldo County Home Health and Hospice. She was presented a gift by Teri Young-Hise, Director of Nursing, center right. They are laughing because in lieu of a more traditional retirement gift, the hospital donated a piece of equipment to make taking a blood sample easier to Home Health and Hospice that Kulbe has wanted for a long time. Looking on are Dr. Dana Whitten and far right, Ann Hooper, Director of Imaging.
The 23rd annual Garden Walk sponsored by the Hospital Aid of Waldo County General Hospital will be held on Friday, July 12, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., rain or shine. Tickets are $15 each with all proceeds benefiting the hospital. A map is included with the ticket for this self-guided tour.
This year’s walk includes six gardens in Belfast and Northport. The gardens can be visited in any order. Aid members volunteer as hosts in each garden and refreshments are served.
The Ladd-Spears garden, at Head of Tide, was created on family property 10 years ago when the house was built. Perennials, vegetables and herbs surround the house, a garden room, pergola and tool shed. There are many seating areas among the natural features of large rocks and pine trees. A circular path of grass and wood chips can be followed to a pond fed by a natural spring for those able to walk on uneven terrain.
The tour continues in Belfast with the Krueger garden on Durham Street. This in-town garden is full of perennials behind an ornamental fence. Paths surrounding the house lead to a back patio and vegetables grown in cold frames. A rustic garden shed and bird houses add a note of whimsy.
Penobscot Shores, an independent living community, is the next participant of the tour. At the Ocean House, one can view the floral gardens in a circular drive, step inside for a tour of two apartments and have refreshments. A handmade coverlet of floral and bird design fabrics was recently made and donated to the Aid by Barbara Biscone. The quilt will be displayed at the Ocean House where people can buy raffle tickets.
Continuing along Shoreland Drive, three families, the Gilbertsons, the Hauswalds and the Barnes families, are displaying their ocean-front cottage gardens. The owners have created small sanctuaries for birds, butterflies and peaceful views of the ocean. The Barnes cottage will be open for an inside tour as well. Between the cottages is a path to the ocean that includes a gazebo with seating. You are welcome to bring a lunch.
The two remaining gardens are in Northport on Bayside Road. The Garber/Holland/Scala garden is at the site of a former church. Three resident gardeners have turned the lawn into raised vegetable and flower beds and added fruit trees and bushes. They hope to raise all of their own produce. The backyard has a small pond and chicken coop.
The Beiser garden accompanies a newer house built on family land. The house is surrounded by herbs, perennials and pear trees. Raised beds of vegetables are started in the winter under a plastic canopy. Fruit bushes include raspberries, black raspberries and lingonberries. Various compost systems are used in the back. You can walk across the street to see peach and apple trees on family property. A bonus for the more adventuresome is a walk down a dirt road onto a tiered walkway that slopes to the ocean.
Tickets for the garden walk are available at Brambles garden shop, Left Bank Books and the Waldo County General Hospital gift shop, all in Belfast, and also in any of the gardens on the day of the walk. Plan to join the hospital volunteers for this affordable family event, which is the Aid’s largest fundraiser of the year. For further information, please call Wilma at 338-2785 or Sandra at 930-6739 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Waldo County General Hospital was selected as one of two sites in the state to pilot telegenetic services videoconferencing with Maine Medical Center’s cancer genetic specialists. The service is funded in part by a Maine Cancer Foundation grant awarded to Maine Health. Now in its third month, four Waldo County residents referred by their primary care providers have received cancer telegenetic services.
The telegenetic services at Waldo County General Hospital include all cancers that have genetic risks, such as breast, colon, pancreatic, kidney, melanoma (skin), and others.
The Waldo County General Hospital team members include Ann Hooper, the hospital’s Imaging Manager who oversees the program, Kim Lenfestey, the patient navigator, Mary Ann Dyer, RN and Sharon Curtis, RN. The genetic specialists at Maine Medical Center include Amanda Lamb, ScM, a board-certified genetic counselor, and Dr. Susan Miesfeldt, a medical oncologist.
Karen Kelley of Searsport was the first person to take advantage of the new telegenetic services at Waldo County General Hospital. On her birthday last December, an abnormality was detected in one of Karen’s breasts. The Friday before Christmas she had a biopsy. When she received a call the next week asking her to come to the hospital, she expected to be told that she had breast cancer. She was correct. Karen feels lucky that her cancer was found early. She had a lumpectomy in January and then 33 sessions of radiation in Brewer. Now she is taking an oral treatment for five years.
During her treatments, Karen was able to maintain her counseling practice and her normal activities, including skiing. “I had to keep being Karen,” she explains. “My attitude was that I was going to keep moving forward…I am grateful that I didn’t have many side effects.”
Telegenetics was recommended to Karen because of her family history of cancer. Karen’s mother and grandmother both were diagnosed with breast cancer. Karen says it was really interesting to begin genetic counseling. She was asked to fill out a family health history form, including the causes and ages of family members’cancer diagnoses and deaths. “It really opened my eyes about how inclusive cancer can be,” she says. Her grandmother died fighting her second diagnosis; her mother has been cancer-free for seven years.
Six years ago, a close relative with a history of breast cancer underwent BRCA1 and 2 genetic testing. These genes are known to increase the chances of getting breast cancer and other types of cancer. Her relative’s genetic test was negative. Karen still expected she would be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime, because she is convinced that this disease runs in her family.
Now there’s another BRCA1 and 2 test, BART, that sometimes catches genetic defects that the original test missed; Karen’s relative will have BART. If this test is positive, Karen says she will also have the testing. She knows that this information will allow her to be proactive in her health. It will also direct her generation and the next to make decisions about genetic counseling and testing and preventive care.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer and have a family history of it, talk with your primary care provider about whether genetic counseling might be right for you.
Longtime columnist Ellen Goodman says of her mother, “We talked about everything except one thing: how she wanted to live at the end of her life…
In my mom’s last years of life, she was no longer able to decide what she wanted for dinner, let alone what she wanted for medical treatment. So the decisions fell to me. Another bone marrow biopsy? A spinal tap? Pain treatment? Antibiotics? I was faced with cascading decisions for which I was wholly unprepared…
The last thing my mom would have wanted was to force me into such bewildering, painful uncertainty about her life and death. I realized only after her death how much easier it would have all been if I heard her voice in my ear as these decisions had to be made…”
That experience led Goodman to co-found The Conversation Project, which is designed to help people have “the conversation.” Eighty-two percent of people say it’s important to put their wishes in writing and yet only 23 percent have actually done it.
You may have strong opinions on whether you would want a doctor to hook you up to a breathing machine or insert a feeding tube. Or if your heart stops, you know if you want to be resuscitated. You know if quality of life is more important to you than the quantity.
These are tough, but important, questions. Having a conversation about what matters most to you and your loved ones and then putting your wishes in writing is important. But far too few people do it before it’s too late and their families have to make the tough decisions on their own.
Sixty percent of people say that making sure their family is not burdened by tough decisions is “extremely important,” and yet, 56 percent admit that they have not communicated their end-of-life wishes.
While it’s important to put your wishes in writing, it’s also critical to designate a health care agent in the event you cannot communicate yourself.
Increasing the number of Advance Directives (a document in which you put your wishes in writing and designate a health care agent) executed by individuals 65 years and older is a stated goal for Waldo County General Hospital during 2013. The plan is to accomplish this through the hospital’s employed primary care doctors’ offices and at the five health centers.
To help with this goal, the hospital is offering a number of presentations to hospital personnel, Hospital Aid and Hospice volunteers, and the community through a presentation on the local cable station, access at Health Fairs and community classes, and placing Advanced Directive packets at nursing homes, Spectrum Generations, the local Agency on Aging and on the hospital’s website.
On April 23, Dr. David Giansiracusa, a physician in Portland, who specializes in Hospice Care and Palliative Medicine, did a presentation on Advance Directives for medical staff and other interested parties at the hospital. He said Advance Directives are important so doctors know what to do when a patient is unable to express his or her wishes. And based on the incident at the Boston Marathon, “everyone is vulnerable to being unable suddenly to express his or her wishes,” he added.
Giansiracusa said Advance Directives “prevent a huge amount of suffering,” adding, “It is difficult to care for a patient whose wishes are not known and it creates conflicts within the medical staff and within the family. The family has to live with uncertainty.”
He said advance care planning helps the health care agent understand the values and beliefs of the patient, which provides a foundation for making decisions. Advance care planning is “preparing for the in-the-moment medical decisions” that often need to be made, he said.
“If you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones,” Giansiracusa said. He said visiting The Conversation Project website is a good way to get the conversation started. And the decisions that are made should be shared with all involved “to decrease confusion and conflict and to provide peace of mind to the patient and his or her family.”
He said advance care planning should be a routine part of medical care for a primary care provider. “I think it is equally important as allergies and medications list,” he said, adding he thinks primary care providers should be asking their patients “what type of life would be intolerable.” And there should be notes in the patient’s medical record about the discussion.
So no matter what your age, if you are interested in making your wishes known and having them carried out, ask your primary care provider about completing an Advance Directive packet and providing a copy to your doctor, the hospital, with your health care agent, and at your home.