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View From Pope’s Hill

Our roses are still blooming beautifully in front of our home. There is a single rose blossom out in the yard against the back fence. Hubby took the clippers to our two clematis bushes and cut them severely. We will say a few prayers over them in the spring, hoping that they come back. They are so pretty when they are in flower. I have cleaned out several of the large flower pots but I still haven’t cleared out our whiskey barrels for the winter.

On Wed., Oct. 28, Hubby, pal Eileen Burke, and I attended the Senior Supper at Carney Hospital. The topic for the discussion was “Stroke-Education and Prevention,” with Dr. John Mahoney, Service Chief, Neurology, Carney Hospital. We were surprised at the number of people already in the cafeteria for the supper. We headed toward our regular table. On the way, I had a chance to say, “Hi,” to my friend Diane Loupo. Sr. Paula Tinlin came around to chat with the guests at every table.

Another friend Nancy Lafoe, Manager of Medical Services, introduced the president of the Carney, Dr. Dan O’Leary. Dr. O’Leary told us that the hospital is in great shape. Eight million dollars were invested in the hospital last year. He proudly pointed out that the hospital had three new operating rooms.

Following the chicken dinner at only $4 per person, Nancy introduced the speaker for the evening, Dr. John Mahoney, who had done his residency at Carney. He told us what we already knew, that information about strokes is very important for seniors. He mentioned that there are 700,000 stroke victims each year. There are currently 4.5 million stroke survivors and 10 million stroke and TIA survivors in the United States. Strokes are the Number 1 cause of disabilities and the Number 3 cause of death in the U.S. If you have already had one stroke, you are 40 per cent more likely to have a second one. He told us that the brain needs both glucose and oxygen. If your brain is deprived for 10 minutes, it is a TIA, a transient ischemic attack. If it is deprived for more that 30 minutes, it is a CIA. 85 per cent of strokes are caused by a clot blocking the passage. 15 percent are caused by something bursting.

Dr. Mahoney also mentioned that dental hygiene is very important in maintaining good health. (I just learned that I have to have dental work done because I have Gingivitis. My dentist mentioned that the disease could go throughout my body.) He also mentioned that each senior should take a lo-dose aspirin. He said that 325-milligram aspirins sometimes hurt people’s stomachs. He noted that Plavix is an alternative to those allergic to aspirin. He warned that those who smoke are twice as likely to have a stroke as non-smokers.

Dr. Mahoney also urged us seniors to keep good check on our cholesterol, keeping it below 100. He stressed that blood pressure is the most important factor in stroke prevention. He said that keeping blood pressure lowered, in spite of stress, has a lot to do with avoiding a stroke. A person possibly having a stroke should be put in a cat scan machine to see what damage has been done. It is crucial that a clot-busting medicine be given to the patient within three hours. He also stressed that sleep apnea can cause problems to the patient’s well-being because it upsets heart rhythm. Strokes tend to run in families. He mentioned that places like Spaulding Rehab Hospital sometimes will tie down a stroke victim’s good arm and make the person use his bad arm to improve the use of that arm. We learned a great deal from Dr. Mahoney at the Senior Supper. The most important thing is to get prompt medical attention for the victim.

There are quite a few employees of Carney to thank for putting on the Senior Supper. Kathleen Killeen and Mary McGaugh manned the registration desk. Barbara Breslin, Susan McGahan, Joyce Murray, and Doris Hanlon set up the tables for the supper. (The beautiful autumn plants on the tables were from the Cedar Grove Gardens.) Those who served the supper to the seniors were many: Chris Brooks, Yolanda Cruz, Joy Allen, my pal Mary Truong, Chad Finley, James Seide, John Walsh, Muriel Radden, Lilya Fisher, Marlyn Ruocchio, Bob Angland, Scott Tripp, Elizabeth Clifford, and Nancy Hoffman. We thank all the Carney employees who helped with the Senior Supper. It was a very informative evening.

About the middle of October, Hubby, daughter Sue, and I received an e-mail from daughter Jeanne, telling us that the sophomore class of grandson Brendan was holding a fundraiser at the Fish Shack Restaurant in Rockport on Wed., Nov. 4. It was to be a spaghetti and meatball supper. Did we want to go? Of course we would go. Daughter Sue was delayed at school that afternoon so she called us and told us to start without her. She would come as soon as she could. It was just 4 p.m. when Hubby and I started out so we were a bit early, missing the heaviest traffic. We made it to Rockport in about one hour and 15 minutes, even with just one lane of traffic over one of the Rockport bridges.

Parking near the restaurant as scarce so Hubby dropped me off at the restaurant and went to find a parking spot. Daughter Jeanne came out the front door and greeted me. She had already bought the tickets for us. As soon as we went inside the restaurant, I saw son-in-law David sitting on a bench. We were seated immediately in the main part of the restaurant and our drink order was taken. We had seen Brendan in the big kitchen washing dishes and pots and pans as we walked to our seats. The student serving as our waiter brought out five plates of spaghetti and meatballs in a very short time. He had no sooner put the food on the table than daughter Sue showed up. We all praised the food. It was excellent.

Then it was time for dessert. (Daughter Jeanne had already brought the cupcakes that she had made for the occasion to the restaurant earlier in the day.) Our waiter brought us an assortment of desserts from which we could choose. Since it was quite late when we finally left the restaurant, grandson Brendan came home with us. He flew right to his room to do his homework because he had not yet been home from school. Granddaughter Erin was studying on the sofa when we came in. We told her that Christmas music was on Comcast TV and we discovered that it was also on Ch. 533 just as it was on our Boston Comcast station. She listened and watched that station for a few Christmas songs and then went to her room because she had a big Biology test the following day. We thanked Jeanne and David for the pleasant evening. We were back home is just over an hour.

The other day, Hubby and I drove to Milton Hospital for my yearly check-up with my opthalmologist, Dr. Dale Oates. As Hubby and I were walking into the building, I heard someone call my name. Who was going into the hospital at the same time but Sissy Mullane. I hadn’t seen Sissy in quite a while so it was great catching up with her. We went up to the eye office and I checked in with the receptionist. Hubby and I had no sooner sat down than a man from the other side of the room came over to speak with us. It was Tom Nutley, whom I first met through the Dorchester Board of Trade. He had a baseball cap so I wasn’t able to see his face very well. While Tom was talking to us, his wife Rita came over to chat. They are so happy that they are now grandparents and are awaiting the birth of twin. I told them that our grandson is 16 and now has his driving permit. It was so good to see them. Tom was called before I saw the eye doctor so I didn’t get a chance to see them again at the office. By he way, Dr. Oates gave me a prescription for distance glasses so I could see better in the car and I will even be able to see the words on the TV screen a little more easily.

I was sorry to read of the death of George Jakub of Quincy on Oct. 27. George was well known to those in Neponset because he ran George’s Market on Neponset Ave. from 1948 to 1982. I send my sympathy to his children.

Last Friday, Hubby and I had gone to lunch at Sully’s at Castle Island. While we were munching our 75-cent hot dogs, we heard the exact moment, just after noon, when WROR FM (105.7 FM) changed to continuous Christmas music. Its sister station, WODS FM, Oldies 103, changed to 24-hour Christmas music the following day. Hubby and daughter Sue will keep Christmas music on their radios until the stations revert to their regular music.

Here’s a wonderful short Thanksgiving Prayer that I found many years ago in the Globe’s Confidential Chat: “Lord, bless our meal and, as you satisfy the needs of each of us, make us mindful of the needs of others.”