Thursday, November 21, 2013

"What We Got Heah......".............Good And Safe Eats............. Watch What I Say

Hey Everyone

No, these aren't JEOPARDY categories, but the titles of this entry's content. Much has happened since we last spoke, so let's get right to it.....
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Those of you who follow me or are my friends on Facebook will know that I recently discovered that since I'm over the age of 62 (I'm 63), I can return to college and take whatever courses are available --- for free.

 Or so I thought.

When I decided to pursue this, a friend was kind enough to drive over to my alma mater, the University of West Georgia, to pick up whatever it is I would need to get started. When she explained my situation, she was told, yes, the classes are free, but the fees are $929.00 per semester.

Huh?

That's not really "free" then, is it? Besides, the fees are for stuff I would never ever use: medical clinic, student activities, parking, etc. etc. Certainly, I expect to pay for books and lab fees, but $929.00???? Fugeddaboutit!

But y'all know me...... I don't give up easily and the next thing I did was contact the entity which governs all the universities in the state of Georgia: The Georgia University System. I e-mailed them and received an answer the same day informing me that I was correct and they provided me with the following  link.....

See anything interesting? Although a little ambiguously worded, what I see is I shouldn't have to pay that $929 bucks. What do you see?

So where does that leave me? Don't know. So far my e-mails and phone calls have gone unanswered and my next stop are my state legislators. I'll let y'all know as soon as I do. Oh yeaaaaahhhhh -- almost forgot; I did let them know about my "problem". So ya think they just don't wanna mess with "The German Boy" or what?
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I know that during the course of your day, some of you must be thinking to yourselves, "Wonder what the German Boy's doing right now?", right? That is what you're doing, isn't it - thinking of me? I thought so (he wrote, tongue firmly planted in cheek).

Well, I play World of Warcraft (after I do my listed chores, of course), I keep up with current events, ride my bicycle and sometimes I even make it to the gym - not as much as I'd like, but I have to go when my chauffeur, the lovely Dondra, is available and off from work.

All this work (*ahem*) makes a boy hungry, so we decided to figure out which foods are safe for me to eat. "Safe" in this instance meaning foods I can fix without burning down the house.
 

These include snacking foods such as pepperonis, pork rinds (I know: "yuck", right?) and string cheese among others. All stuff which needs no preparation. To wash it all down I drink cold green tea (I like Lipton in the jug).

For stuff which does need preparation, I have one of those microwave egg boilers. It looks like a big egg and inside is a tray which holds 4 eggs and which sits above a little water. I just set that big egg into the nuker for 6 minutes or so (had to experiment to see which time works best) and pretty soon I have my soft-boiled eggs.

So what about other foods? Foods which are actually good for me? Well, those are the ones the lovely Dondra prepares, but when she's working - and she works 12 hour shifts - I'm left to my own devices and again "simple is as simple does", so here come the microwave meals.

By that I mean the bags that one can just throw in there and let 'em cook - mostly veggies. I like cauliflower and broccoli - both with cheese. But for something that sticks to the ribs and gets me through the day, we found another type of microwaveable meal which is also very easy for me to fix myself and takes very little time at all. They're called Gourmet Dining, and just as the name implies, they're just like foods you'd eat at a restaurant and just as delicious - my favorite is Shrimp Alfredo.  You just take 'em out of the bag, put in a covered bowl and cook for the specified time.

Dondra and I have written a list of what meals require what amount of time and laminated it. Delicious and so easy to fix even I can do it.

So you guys can stop worrying. I'm getting my nourishment.
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The "Watch What I Say" portion of today's show means just what it says. It's come to my attention that if the listener isn't careful, he may be getting false information from me, so I've told my friends and others near and dear, to always make me repeat my answers to be sure they're getting correct information.

Admittedly, this doesn't help the poor schmuck who doesn't know I'm bat-shit, but for him I've made accommodations too: I just make certain I don't encounter him as much.

I do feel bad and somewhat guilty when someone wants to ask me directions, though.

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So that's it for now. I will write again before the holidays and try to find some Christmas songs to include, but for now, y'all have a great Thanksgiving holiday, and please spare a thought for the unwanted animals left by themselves on the streets and shelters. Help me feed them by clicking the link below.

Thanks

Bill
The Animal Rescue Site

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Little More "History" About "The German Boy"

About The Time I Tried To "Go Home Again"

In the words of Thomas Wolfe, "You can't go home again", and I'm the poster child for that. 
Way back in the 90's, I thought I could go home and live again in my native Germany and it turned out to be a dismal failure. It set me back not only financially, but mentally as well.

To be fair to myself, I had stars in my eyes and didn't think things through all the way. If I had, I'd never have moved, but you can't talk to someone who thinks he's finally fallen in love with the "right" woman. You can't make them see reason and you just have to go let them go ahead, make their mistake (s) and hope they can recover when things don't work out.

And so it was with me and here's the story as well as I remember it - sorry, but I don't know any exact dates - I just know it was in the early 90's.

In the late 80's, a few years before my Mother died, and while I was still employed by USAir, I decided to take her with me on vacation to Germany. We both rode free, it being one of the "perks" of my employment, and I was happy to have her along.

Ab out that time, I reestablished contact with a lady I had spent part of my childhood with, and decided that seeing her again would be one of our stops.I hadn't planned on falling in love, but I did. And she did.

So after Mom and I visited her family in East Germany, it was time to go home to Georgia, only this time I had a little extra "baggage" with me smuggled in my heart. Remember, I grew up with this lady, so the "getting to know you" stage, was, for the most part -  skipped. First mistake. I got those "stars in my eyes" the minute I laid eyes on her again and on the trip home, I felt like I didn't even need an airplane. I was flying just fine on my own.

Then it was her turn to visit me, and after a lot of writing back and forth (I'm not sure if we were e-mailing then) both of us realized that this was the real thing, so when she arrived at the Atlanta airport, I was standing there with a dozen roses.

When it came time for her to leave, I didn't want her to go, but she had commitments and responsibilities she couldn't let go, so I became USAir's most "frequent flier". Whenever I could, I used my free travel pass to fly to Germany to see her. This was mostly on weekends, and the jet lag was murder on my body, but I was in love, so just shut up, "Common Sense". It became a bit of a joke around the office, whenever I came to work already packed and ready for the weekend. "There's Bill," they'd say. "About to take flight on Cupid's 'Arrow of Love'." All kinds of alarm bells were ringing, but they sounded like wedding bells to me.

This is probably a good time to mention that my air travel consisted on flying "stand by", which means, yes, I can fly free, but only if there's a seat available. I first had to fly from Atlanta to North Carolina and then to Frankfurt, and in either city there was the chance I might not be able to get on.

Those were the times I needed a tranquilizer really badly. Luckily though, I always got a seat and she'd be waiting on me in Frankfurt. This went on for the better part of a year, until I decided that something had to change, and so ends Part I. I'll continue the story in the next blog entry.
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Thanks as always, for helping me feed the animals by clicking on this icon. See you next time!

The Animal Rescue Site

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I Want To Tell You Something

This is being written in real time, right now, this minute. I thought about writing this a little while ago while watching an HBO documentary about Alzheimer's Disease. It had a title which I don't at this second in time remember. Maybe I will before I stop writing this, but I don't know for sure.

This documentary had as its focus a poet, a man named Edwin Honig and it followed him on film through all the stages, even the very last one before you die; Stage 7.

At the start the viewer is asked to remember three words in order and at this moment in time, I do remember them, but throughout the film, it was a struggle for me and I'll try to explain it so you can understand what was going on in my brain, because even though it seems important, I don't understand why it should be.

Okay, the words are "chair", "tree" and "bird". As I just now wrote this, I hesitated maybe a second between each word to make sure. Is this important to you, that I had to make sure?

When the words appeared on the screen, I said to myself , "Piece of cake, Bill. Just associate the words with each other. A chair is made of wood, the wood comes from a tree, and a bird lives in that tree." With me so far, right?

So here's why I had to struggle with remembering: That damn word table kept wanting to creep in and I had to fight to make it stay out, so I wasn't really paying attention to what I was seeing, because I was working so hard to remember those three words and fighting against the table.

Okay, say it. You know you want to, so say it, dammit! Okay, I'll say it for you since we can't see each other: "Oh, that happens to me all the time, Bill!" Right? Didn't you want to say that? I knew you did and I know why, too. It was to make me feel better, wasn't it? I don't hate you for that, I don't hate anyone for that, but it does get under my skin something fierce, because you can't feel the struggle with me. And it (oh boy! I started a sentence with a conjunction! Sue me!) doesn't happen just once or twice a day, but pretty much throughout.

I have written about this before, I know, but it bears repeating: it's a struggle for us - those of us who have problems with short term memory, and so that's what I wanted to tell you, even though several minutes have now passed since I began this blog entry.

The name of the documentary is "First Cousin", and yes, I remember the words, although I had to stop typing, close my eyes and think them out loud.

This is my journal and maybe some day, someone will read it to me, but I fervently hope I can read it for myself.

Short And Sweet!

Cautiously hopeful that all my symptoms have stabilized, but not altogether sure of it. I still have the short-term memory loss, and I know this won't improve, but it hasn't gotten worse, so I see that as a good sign. I'm almost 64 after all, so nothing reverses now anyway.

"From the minute we are born, we begin to die". Who said that? Damn if I know. I googled it, and although many people use the quote, no one attributes it to anyone. Nietzsche, Kafka, Crosby, Stills, Nash, Freud, Marx, Engels or Jung? Like I said, I don't know, but it's true. Our cells begin to die once we hit the open air. I can't remember it, but it musta been nice and warm in mother's womb. No wonder we get slapped on our butts when we exit: it's like a "welcome" of sorts to a world of pain and death - however they manifest themselves. In between we try to find a little happy-time, and some of us do.

I'm still keeping up and promoting my German friends ("my boys"), "Copper Smoke", and continually finding more and more out about Markus Rill, who, in my opinion is the best poet/singer since Dylan. If he reads this, it isn't mean to embarrass, but is a genuinely sincere observation. This guy, although yet to see 40, sings like he's lived forever. The song at the bottom of this entry is about Alzheimer's, and since we've become friends, he's used a bit of what I write as his inspiration. On behalf of all of us, Danke, Markus.

Dondra's developed some more lung problems. We don't know specifically what is wrong, but we've ruled out pneumonia or anything viral, so we're looking elsewhere. She asks that you please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Because we're both respiratory therapists we know what it could be, but neither of us are saying it out loud. She's had some lung testing this past week and we should know something soon about what's going on.

Autumn is settling in just fine here in Georgia, after a very mild Summer, and my bicycle is in the shop for a tune up. When I get it back, I'll be riding the trails to see the beautiful leaves changing their colors.

I hope you're doing well, wherever you are, and I appreciate your reading my drivel here. My writing has been sporadic of late, but it's just because I've had nothing to say - not because I'm dead or anything. Follow me on Facebook if you wish. Sometimes I write stuff there which doesn't appear here and my handle there is Wilhelm Trommler.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Markus Rill
Please don't forget to help feed our unwanted four-footed friends. Click on the icon, which will take you to the site. It's free. Thanks and see y'all next time! Bill The Animal Rescue Site

Monday, July 15, 2013

My Life, Economically

I don't know if it's old age or this, but I find myself no longer having to have that. This includes Stephen King novels, a new set of drums (although new cymbals would be nice!), the best guitar and clothes. I was also once crazy about men's fragrances, but the last one I bought was 5 years ago and it's still full.

No, these days I could live very nicely on what income I (we) get and I still get my allowance every month from my wife, Dondra. Sometimes I use it all, sometimes I don't, but it's all I need.

Okay, before y'all say, "Bull-SHIT, Bill", a small caveat: Yes, I do like to look at guitars, and, if the price is cheap enough, I may buy one, but the last one I bought was 3 years ago: my Paul McCartney copy bass. Clothes? Well, yeah. If something wears out, I'll tell Dondra what I need and she picks it up for me, but the last time we did that was last Summer.

My allowance goes mostly for what little bills I incur: Doctor's visits, hospital procedures and meds. I download cheap books onto my Kindle from Amazon and may buy the infrequent used DVD or CD. For birthdays and such, yes, I do order from eBay or Amazon, but there are just a few people to buy for really. Immediate family mostly.

So I wrote all of that to ask you this: If you're my age (63), is this happening with you, too? Don't have to have that special Beany-Baby, or that latest smart phone or (mine is just a normal cell - no bells, no whistles), handbag anymore? Do you still collect stuff?

And another caveat: Our lives aren't the same, are they, my friends? [insert shrug here].

I hate that I can no longer manage my own finances and that I am given so little, when once I could manage a couple of thousand, but if that's the way it is (and it is - I can't make change anymore), then let it be.
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Most of my adult life, people have said I am "multi-talented". Maybe, I don't know - I've just always done the things that I've always wanted to do, and not for recognition. Just because I could. Poorly maybe, but I did them.

However, always first in my life was music, and before I am or was anything else, I am or was a musician. It's the way I speak, write and sometimes - reason. Like Beethoven, my idol, I hope that this will be remembered about me: I tried my best to make people smile for a while and forget their troubles.
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Not a whole lot this time, right readers?

Be that as it may, it is what is travelling through my mind, and I have always written that you will take this journey with me. I appreciate it very much.
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Here once again is Markus Rill with a terrific tune accompanied by The Troublemakers! I wrote in his review I thought he'd been reading my mail. Has he been reading yours as well? His lyrics are dead on, and I can see why folks like the late Townes van Zant, Rosanne Cash and Tom Waits consider him a contemporary.

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Bye for now and please remember the four-footed ones who have no home and are waiting to die due to no fault of their own.

Thanks!

Bill



The Animal Rescue Site

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Dondra's Birthday & Other Stuff

Yup, Dondra's birthday is the 11th, and I know she'd enjoy getting some well-wishes from our friends. She may be found on Facebook if you don't want to leave a comment here. I've taken care of my end, having gotten her favorite perfume which I ordered online. Speaking of which, since I've become very much a private person, my computer has really helped a lot in keeping in touch and keeping myself occupied.

In other news, I'm still busy being "Brian Epstein" to COPPER SMOKE, an American Roots Rock band based in W├╝rtzburg, Germany. I'm their unofficial PR rep here in the US, but they badly need some talent representation over there. They're booking their own gigs and doing their own publicity on various sites, but they badly need their "chance", because they're terrific musicians and Frank Halbig is a great songwriter.

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The weather here is a little unusual. As I write we're waiting on a tropical storm/hurricane to come up our East Coast, and it's really too early for hurricane season. Speaking with D a few days ago, we were talking about the climate-change "nay-sayers". Haven't heard much out of them recently.

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Something I didn't know (or chose not to know): The Alzheimer's Association has "competition". I put that word in quotes because that was the way it was said to me. In the words of Paul Simon, "I have no opinion about that..." other than my hope that they don't confuse things any worse than they already are. This is my opinion (and you can quote me). Much is lacking in the way of Alzheimer's Dementia education - especially in the case of our young. For instance, the name itself is, in my opinion misleading. People have come to know it as "Alzheimer's Disease", and that's okay - as far as it goes. But it is also a dementia - one of 11 - and here's where the confusion comes in: when we try to let folks know that AD comes under the heading of dementias, the lay person is apt to ask us, "Well, what is it? A disease or a dementia?", and we need to change this and call it Alzheimer's Dementia and let the fact that it is a mental disease be understood.

Agree? Disagree? Got a better idea? Write me a note.

And yes, educating our young: Many of them are already helping to take care of parents or grandparents when they should be studying or most important of all, having fun. There's a wealth of information that needs to be taught about Alzheimer's Dementia in our secondary schools and it just isn't being done. I have been waiting to hear back from our State's (GA) Education Secretary to see how the problem can be best resolved, and as soon as I do, I will print the information here.

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That's it, everything else is status quo and I hope y'all are doing great as well.
Check ya next time!


This is Markus Rill, a friend of Copper Smoke's Frank Halbig: ======================================================
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Please join me in helping to feed and house unwanted animals by clicking on the icon below, thanks.


The Animal Rescue Site

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New Meds? Old Ones No Longer Working?

First of all, yet another apology for the long time(s) between posts. I don't have an excuse my friends, so just imagine the "German Boy" standing before you, head bowed and taking whatever verbal punishment (well-deserved, I agree) there is in store for me. Just imagine yourselves as the editors and myself as one of your staff who hasn't turned in an article in months, and that should explain how I see this whole situation..........

OFFICE OF THE DAILY PLANET -  MORNING

You, as "Perry White" are standing behind your desk - the cigar smoke so 
dense one can only see a vague outline as any proof that it is really you - not 
a good sign.

PERRY (YOU, CLOSE TO SCREAMING)
                        
                                     Captain Kirk's nipples, Craig!!!! Where have you been - at home with
                                     your fingers up your ass???? 
         
                 Stammering, I try to answer but am interrupted angrily by you.

                                                   BILL (LOW AND CONTRITE VOICE)

                                      Well, sir, you see, uh, it's like this. Um, I was like, ah.....

PERRY  (EXASPERATEDLY)

                                      Never mind! It's a rhetorical question! You know - rhetorical?
                                      Like your life has been????? Never mind, just sit down, shut up and
                                      listen. Oh, and take notes! You remember those, right? Notes???

SCENE FADES, VOICES FADE......
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Well my friends, there you have it: I am apologetic and contrite. I am also SINCERE - evidenced
by me writing screenplay-style, something I haven't done since the turn of the last century. From beginning
to end: 28 minutes. At my college, the University of West Georgia, the last student would have left
the room 20 minutes ago.

But let's talk about why I've dropped into such a lackadaisical lifestyle: tolerance. Short answer is there is
no short answer.

So what I would like to do is list my meds, their dosages and write a "Readers Digest" version of tolerances of each one. I use "condensed version", because I want to keep the information as concise and simple as I can and, because IANAD ("I am not a doctor" in web-speak), I also need to keep from speaking like one. Please allow a small chuckle to pass through your lips now, thank you.

Let's begin with Cymbalta 60 mg. once a day. Cymbalta was prescribed as an anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory, so this one also helps with my rheumatoid arthritis.

In speaking with Janet at Eli Lilly®, I found out that there is "no research to support evidence that doses greater than 60 mg provide any added benefit." What this says to me is they don't know if one can build up a tolerance and it'll be up to your own doc to decide if that is what's happening and where to take you from there. There's also no known antidote, so if you're thinking that it's not working at a current dose don't pop a handful thinking to jump-start it. Conversely, do not just stop taking it. Very dangerous and can lead to certain death. (Dr. Moe: .... "Dr. Curly, are we sure this patient has passed?" ...... Dr. Curly: "Why soitenly  we're sure! Right, Dr. Larry?"......Dr. Larry: "Either that, or very short of breath, Dr. Curly.") ....Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk. Long story short, expect to "go shopping" for a new anti-depressant if you and "Dr. Feelgood" decide you've reached the end of the line with Cymbalta.

I also take Bupropion (aka Welbutrin) SR (sustained release) 150 mg, once a day. Now this anti-depressant is more "flexible" than the previous one because of the many varied dosages. The web is overflowing with praise for this AD, and you'll find tales of  "The Honeymoon Effect" - that place where and when it "kicks in". After 6-8 weeks, you'll one day get "hit" with a sort of "fake high", which lasts a couple or three days (hence "the honeymoon") after which it will stabilize itself and do what it was made for: keep you mentally healthy and on an even keel, so to speak. From there on out, you and your physician will work together to find your maintenance dosage.

As far as building up a tolerance for Welbutrin, there are two schools of thought: yes you do and no you don't. I'm not being a smart-ass when I say that.  My opinion on the "naws'" position is because it comes in so many strengths and functions, the drug is very easy to work with if you or your doc feels you've reached your tolerance limit. The "yeahs" don't need to state their positions, and here's why I believe that: Keeping in mind that IANAD, I think some of those folks might have missed a dose or two. When that happened, they knew it right away because it can make you feel like shit very quickly. It's kinda like blood pressure medicine in that way, so don't miss a dose or let yourself run out. Because of economics, I weaned myself from 300 to 150mg, but in retrospect, I wish I hadn't. 300 mg was my maintenance dose and I can sure feel the difference. Next appointment, I'm going to ask to go back to its original strength.

Last but not least is Lamotrigine (aka Lamictal) 200 mg, once a day.  Lamotrigine is primarily an anti-convulsant used to treat epilepsy, but has also proven its efficacy in delaying mood swings caused by bi-polarism (manic depression or what I like to call "the booga-booga disease").

To get to the point: does Lamotrogine stop working after a certain time period? The answer is not that simple because there are so many outside factors, such as diet, which can slow or eliminate its efficacy. One's own body can determine if it works or not. Remember that it is an anti-convulsant, and so must be closely monitored and its dosage titrated to the individual.

I just spent 45 minutes educating myself about this drug, and it scares me that I knew so little about it after having  taken it 4 years now. It will be a priority the next time I visit my PCP, Dr. Battle, to ask for a specific blood test called a Lamictal Level to be drawn to see where I'm at with this stuff.

A quick word about side effects, drug interactions, overdosing, and why didn't I write about them?, etc.: Should you pay attention to these? "Oh, HELL YES!", says I. There are just sooooo many, and again, IANAD, that there's no way I'm going to include them in this blog. Go to Amazon and find yourself a Nurses' Drug Handbook and keep it handy. It's a reference book no home should be without.

Almost forgot to tell you about one of the many side effects of Lamotrigine and it's ironic as hell: MEMORY LOSS.

Even though this is about the drugs I am taking (and there are more, folks!), I hope you found this interesting and maybe even a little educational. The days of going to the doc, picking up a scrip having it filled and taking it as prescribed are over. You've got to become a part of your own patient chart and educate yourself.
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Heard this one? The song is used as a tv commercial for a popular car!

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Thanks for reading, not being pissed because of my laziness and being my friends! Please click
on the link below to feed unwanted animals.
Thanks!
Bill


The Animal Rescue Site

Monday, May 27, 2013

This is a test post to see if google has cleaned up its act.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Recently someone asked me, "What's your life like these days, Bill?" >Dementia, of course). I didn't have an answer then, but I think I do now........ It's like ordering a Coke, but what 
is brought to the table is iced tea, and you don't realize it until you take that first swallow. That is to say, I 
*never* know what I'm going to get till I experience a little of it. Then, I either make the best of it, or try to send
 it back. So far, I've never just accepted it. (Sounds like a "Gumpism" doesn't it?) And you can quote me on that. 

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Old Friends

Nice to have "met up" with an old friend from Germany recently. We hadn't talked in many years. So many in fact 

that I thought she had passed away. Very nice to know she had not and we write one another now and then in e-

mails and talk about old times. The times I have no problems remembering.

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Alzheimer's Advocacy

Has been neglected by me of late, due to scheduling conflicts with Dondra's work and doctor's appointments, but

today (5.1.13) I attended a business meeting of the Carroll County Senior Citizens' Organization, and plan to work

with them on an ongoing basis.

One very important issue I addressed was the "Sequester" and how it has affected the elderly here in Carroll/

Carroll County. 

What I took away from that meeting is that transportation to and from the Senior Center has been suspended, 

and at some point in the future there may be a transit system which will do more than just take folks to the 

Center and bring them back home. With a county as big as this, I'm surprised this isn't already going or at 

least in the works.

I was pleased to note that "Caregiver's Respite" is already  alive and well here, and money for this has already 

been provided. Some of you may remember that the respite and compensation for caregivers was the focus of  

mine and Dondra's visit to Washington D.C. recently. At last count, caregiver's hours numbered in the billions - all

uncompensated.

One very important project I want to see initiated is getting me into the school system to talk to teens about

dementia. It has been a thorn in my side for a couple of years now - ever since I found out that virtually nothing

is being taught and most kids know only what they've heard, which is largely mythical.

My other project is our Veterans with Alzheimer's. There are some efforts stirring in that regard and I'll research

some stats for us, for the next entry here.

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This song is by a German group I am helping to promote, "Copper Smoke": 


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 Please remember to help feed unwanted animals by clicking on this icon.Thanks! Bill The Animal Rescue Site