The Waldo County General Hospital Aid will sponsor its annual blood drive on Friday, Oct. 25, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Masonic Lodge Hall (behind the Shrine Club) on the corner of Northport Avenue and Wight Street, Belfast.
All donors will be entered into a raffle for a $200 Visa gift card, courtesy of Suburban Propane.
To donate, you must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good health, and show a valid I.D. You must also provide a list of any medications you are taking.
After donating, you will be provided with free snacks and a place to rest for about 15 minutes. The complete process from registration to relaxing at the canteen usually takes about an hour.
To make an appointment for the Oct. 25 blood drive or for more information, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org.
Would you like to enjoy Maine-grown organic fruits and vegetables all year long? Learn how you can with “kitchen shares.”
Based on the Community Supported Agriculture model, with kitchen shares you receive a share each month that includes an assortment of nine items from Cheryl Wixson’s Kitchen. She purchases farm-fresh fruits and vegetables from more than 40 Certified Organic Maine Farmers during the harvest season and then creates small batches of pasta and pizza sauces, condiments, jams, pickled vegetables, marinades, dressings and dry mixes.
There are currently pick-up locations in Bangor, Belfast, Blue Hill, Deer Isle, Ellsworth, Freeport, Portland, Rockport, Unity, Waterville and Yarmouth. And others can be added with a minimum of five shares per location.
The cost of the November to April kitchen share is $300 if you pick up and $390 for mail orders in Maine only.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month and a perfect reminder that early detection can save lives. Most doctors feel that early detection tests for breast cancer save thousands of lives each year, and that many more lives could be saved if more women and their health care providers took advantage of these tests.
Get in touch with your doctor today to set up a mammogram. It’s especially important because these screenings may find tumors too small to feel.
Waldo County General Hospital is offering free screening mammograms for women who are uninsured or underinsured on Saturday, Oct. 19, from 8 a.m. to noon. Call 930-2594 or 930-2553 for more information or to schedule your appointment.
Kimberly Lenfestey, the hospital’s breast navigator, will meet with those receiving the free screening mammograms to try to aid the women in finding a program to help pay for their mammograms.
On Sunday, Sept. 22, motorcyclists will gather at the Waldo County Shrine Club for the 2013 Waldo County Ride for Oncology. It’s a fun event and all proceeds benefit the Oncology Patient Assistance Fund at Waldo County General Hospital.
There will be a little extra twist this year as participants will have an opportunity to purchase a ribbon and ride in honor of a family member who is fighting cancer currently or in honor or memory of a loved one who fought it in the past.
There will be different color ribbons to represent different types of cancer, including pink for breast cancer, dark blue for colon cancer, orange for leukemia, yellow for bladder cancer, white for lung cancer, teal for ovarian cancer, light blue for prostate cancer, purple for pancreatic cancer, or lavender for all cancers.
Ann Hooper, manager for the imaging department at Waldo County General Hospital, and Gary Collins, organizer of the motorcycle ride, came up with the idea after hearing from participants that they wanted a way of honoring their family members who they are riding for.
Sheldon Mitchell of the hospital’s maintenance department constructed the easels that the large posters will sit on, while Kristin Aldus of the imaging department made the large ribbons on the posters. The small ribbons will be pinned on the larger ones after the names of those people who are being honored are written on them.
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.
Waldo County General Hospital’s Journey to Health program again this summer has been sponsoring sea kayaking for beginners. Here is your opportunity to see Belfast from the bay! Among the remaining trips are two 75-minute trips on Aug. 27. There will be trips at 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. and 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. The cost is $20 per paddler. There are some scholarships available. On Aug. 13, the trip will be to Bayside from 4:30 to 7 p.m. The cost of the 2.5-hour trip is $30 per paddler and again there are some scholarships available. Pre-registration is required.
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.
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.