Health

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Each year, approximately 40 million lightning strikes hit the ground in the United States, with Tampa, Florida having the most, and Florida being listed as the Lightning Capital of the United States. While Florida is known as the Sunshine State, it is notorious for thunderstorms, lightning strikes and fatalities. On average, Florida has 3,500 cloud to ground lightning flashes per day and 1.2 million flashes per year. Nevertheless, the odds of a human being struck by lightning in a given year are less than one in a million, and strangely, almost 90% of all lightning strike victims survive. The odds of being struck multiple times is even less, with the record being seven times in one lifetime. According to the National Weather Service, lightning causes an average of 62 deaths and 300 injuries in the United States each year. People can be at greater risk for being struck if they participate in outdoor recreational activities or working outside. Regional and seasonal differences can also increase the risk of being struck by lightning. Being outdoors in a lightning storm is certainly not a good idea.

Lightning strikes to humans have been going on as long as times and lightning strikes have been going on. We just hear about them more today than in the distant past. Rarely, humans are struck by lightning, and even with the record of known strikes to humans in one lifetime being seven, it is still a very rare phenomenon. The first time Major Walter Summerford, an Englishman, was said to have been struck by lightning was in 1918 on a World War I battlefield. He was reportedly riding a horse at the time and, while the animal died, Summerford was only temporarily incapacitated by the strike. It’s possible the horse took the bulk of the hit, because Summerford’s feet were not on the ground, meaning that it traveled through Summerford, through the horse, and then on into the ground. That is the nature of lightning. It travels through something with electricity (which humans have, by the way) and then into the ground. So unfortunately, the horse became a part of the connection and actually finished the connection…costing the horse its life. Sad, for sure, but the horse saved the life of its rider.

Summerford’s documented additional strikes included two more times…in 1924 and 1930. Then to make him even more unique, Summerford was technically struck after he had died. It happened that two years after he was buried in Vancouver, Canada, a lightning storm went through the area, and lightning actually struck his gravestone in 1936. The bolt was packed with so much power, that Summerford’s gravestone was completely destroyed by that fourth lightning strike. Now that’s got to be the most unique human/lightning encounter story in history.

My sweet sister-in-law, Marlyce Schulenberg has been in Heaven for 33 years, and yet at times it seems like she was just with us yesterday. Time is a fickle thing that way. Maybe it’s because God blurs time to help us cope with sad things. Losing Marlyce was so hard on everyone in the family. She was developmentally disabled, and yes, Mom and Dad (Joann and Walt Schulenberg), worried about what would happen to her when they were gone. Of course, they needn’t have worried, because we would have taken care of her. Nevertheless, it was their concern. Marlyce was probably 13 years old mentally…old enough to take care of her own daily needs, but no old enough to live on her own. I guess, in the end, they needn’t have worried, because she went before them.

I miss so many things Marlyce did, mostly because while they were not vital to our days, they made our days. That was really a big part of who Marlyce was. She liked bringing joy to those around her. Her baking skills were always a big hit, with her chocolate chip cookies being a big favorite. She also made stocking caps, and a lot of people were a little bit warmer as a result. Marlyce loved being useful, and she loved it when people recognized her hard work. You were her favorite person, if you appreciated her work.

As time marches on to the place where Marlyce has been gone longer than she was here, I’m having trouble sorting out just how that makes me feel. When I married into this family, Marlyce was expected to always be a part of that, but then she got cancer when she was just 39 years old. So very young to be facing cancer, especially since she didn’t really understand all that was going on. Watching her lose so much weight as she fought the cancer in her esophagus was just so hard…and even harder when she went into the hospital for the last time. Marlyce lost her battle with cancer on August 13, 1989. Her cheerful voice was silenced and the beauty that Marlyce created with her gifts was gone. While I know she is in Heaven, happy and fully restored in her mind, her presence here is forever gone, and that makes me sad. Happy birthday in Heaven, Marlyce. We love and miss you very much.

My nephew, Lucas Iverson is growing up so fast. It’s hard for me to believe that he is eleven years old already. Lucas has been through a lot. He was born with Down Syndrome, and that has made his road a bit longer and more difficult, but his mom, Cassie Franklin is such a great mom, and she works tirelessly to get him the best education and the best care possible. Learning difficulties are not the only challenges Lucas has faced. He has had health issues most of his life too. A lot of his problems are in the digestive system, which can be very painful, and while I’m sure there are a plenty of tears and fussing when he doesn’t feel well, Lucas is also a real trooper during these hospital stays. He is a wonderful boy, and very, very brave.

Lucas works very hard in school. He is getting special care and help to communicate, and he is doing so well. His little sister, Zoey has also been very helpful in Lucas’ development. Zoey just naturally understood, from the time she was born, that her brother, while the sweetest brother ever, was not able to do all the things she could do. She took it upon herself to help Lucas to excel. One of the biggest ways Zoey helped him was in learning to walk. She never got upset with him, and never left him behind. She was patient and kind, and Lucas responded so well. They are and always will be best friends.

Recently, Lucas’ mom, Cassie Franklin; her boyfriend, William Burr; and sister, Zoey got to take a trip to Oregon. I don’t know if they knew it was there or not, but they found a whole park that was dedicated to disabled children. This park has Lucas’ communication board there in it, and they were all so excited. The communication board is the same one Lucas uses at school on his tablet. It was an amazing find. Lucas knew immediately what it was and what it was for. It was like finding a place where he could play without having to think about his disability. Everything they played on was for children just like Lucas, and yet it was also geared for Zoey. They could play together, and each could have a fantastic time. I was so excited for Lucas when I saw this, because he could just be a kid, and fit right in at the same time. How very cool is that. Today is Lucas’ 11th birthday. Happy birthday Lucas!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Cassie Franklin is starting a wonderful life, after coming out of a bad marriage. She has two beautiful children, and now she has found a partner, William Burr, with whom she is very happy. Life has not always been easy for Cassie, especially with the loss of her mom, Rachel Schulenberg coming up on 2 years ago now, the extra work of raising a child with Down Syndrome, complicated with the ex-husband and all of his issues, Cassie had her hands very full. Enter William Burr. These days, I see a whole new Cassie. She is happy, relaxed, and while her plate is still very busy with her children, Lucas and Zoey, she is not alone in this journey anymore.

Cassie is a woman of many talents in her own right. She is a great photographer and owner of Iverson Photos, and I have very much enjoyed viewing her work over the years. Cassie has been a member of our family since her late mom married my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg on June 12, 2010. She posts all kinds of photographs, but my favorites are the landscapes. I love the outdoors, and so naturally, the pictures of the outdoors are of the most interest to me. I also love the pictures of her children. When you live a little way away from the little ones, it’s always nice to get to watch them grow up, even if it is in pictures.

Cassie has a second business called Nature and Sun Natural Products. Cassie is all about healthy natural products, including candles, body products, and foods. She is very resourceful, and very devoted to a healthy lifestyle for herself and her children. She is a naturalist in every way. She doesn’t want the vaccinations…for herself or her children. She is careful about what they eat, a habit that most likely started with all of the health issues that Lucas has had. Lucas is a healthy boy because of the fight his mom has waged to make sure he stays that way. While Zoey doesn’t have the same health issues, Cassie is unwilling to take any chances with her health either. I think that sometimes having a health scare with your child, necessarily makes you as much a health expert as any doctor, and that is what Cassie strives to become. Her children are very blessed to have her for their mom. Today is Cassie’s birthday. Happy birthday Cassie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My sister-in-law, Brenda Schulenberg loves riding her bicycle. She made some health changes in her life following a hospital stay on October 18, 2013. Her health scare prompted Brenda to make difficult decisions about her lifestyle. She is not alone in finding herself in that position, because many of us have been in the same place. It’s a daunting situation to find oneself in, and when you do find yourself there, you have no other choice but to begin at the beginning. Most of us who have been overweight, have been there more than once, and each time it’s harder to start again, but you just have to do it.

Brenda felt that same way…overwhelmed. But she took a deep breath and started at the beginning. Eventually, she achieved one of her biggest personal goals…to ride a bicycle. As a young girl, Brenda was not able to ride a bicycle for very long, because she was too heavy. Her knees would simply not bend enough to comfortable work the bicycle. She always felt like she missed out on a lot.

Once she got her weight down enough to get on a bicycle again, she bought a beautiful purple (her favorite color) bicycle, and took the pedals off, because she still couldn’t make them work, but she could walk the bicycle…called stridering. It wasn’t exactly riding, but it was close, and it got her on the bicycle…her ultimate goal. Now, Brenda has put 9000 miles on that old purple bicycle, so she decided to take it up a notch. She bought a new bicycle this year. The one problem Brenda still had on the old purple bicycle was that the hills were still difficult. Her knees still don’t bend like she would really like, and that makes going uphill difficult. The new bicycle has a small motor on it that kicks in to assist with the hills. The rider still has to pedal the bicycle too. It’s not a scooter or moped. It is a real bicycle, but with a “hill assist” attached. I know that this new venture is going to be a good one for Brenda, and I think it will take her exercise to the next level. Continuing to exercise and do the things necessary to stay healthy is vital to Brenda’s life. We want her to be around for a long, long time. Today is Brenda’s birthday. Happy birthday Brenda!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When we think of vaccinations, most of us think of modern-day medicine, but that wasn’t always the case. There have been serious diseases out there for centuries, and in fact, since Biblical days. Many of those diseases have been cured these days, or they are at least manageable, but in the 1700s, a disease like Smallpox was deadly. Others like Leprosy were just as bad. I’m sure that any doctor in those days cringed at having to make a diagnosis like that, because he knew that he was pronouncing a death sentence on his patient, and basically all he could do was to tell them to get their affairs in order and go into hiding to die, because their case was one with no hope of survival.

Vaccinations, for any disease, start out as trial and error, and Smallpox was no exception to that rule, but Edward Jenner, while still a medical student noticed that milkmaids who had contracted a disease called cowpox, which caused blistering on cow’s udders, did not catch smallpox. Unlike smallpox, which caused severe skin eruptions and dangerous fevers in humans, cowpox led to few ill symptoms in these women. I guess it takes a medically trained mind to connect the two situations and find whatever small similarity there is between the two diseases…and then decide to experiment with a possibility that no one else saw…or to decide not to.

Jenner was that kind of a medical mind. By 1796, Jenner was an English country doctor, who hailed from Gloucestershire. On May 14, 1796, he took fluid from a cowpox blister and scratched it into the skin of James Phipps, an eight-year-old boy. A single blister rose up on the spot, but James soon recovered. On July 1, Jenner inoculated the boy again, this time with smallpox matter, and amazingly, no disease developed. The vaccine was a success. The medical world at the time, went wild. Doctors all over Europe soon adopted Jenner’s innovative technique, leading to a drastic decline in new sufferers of the devastating disease, as well as many lives saved.

Following Jenner’s model, scientists in the 19th and 20th centuries, scientists developed new vaccines to fight numerous deadly diseases, among them polio, whooping cough, measles, tetanus, yellow fever, typhus, and hepatitis B. The lists of vaccines, goes on and on, all using the same model. More sophisticated smallpox vaccines were also developed and by 1970 international vaccination programs, such as those undertaken by the World Health Organization, had eliminated smallpox worldwide. Many people, these days would question the World Health Organization, and its motives, but there was a time that vaccines were very helpful and saved a lot of lives. I think it is sad that politics has made its entrance into the world of vaccines, because the lack of trust we have now is making the World Health Organization more of a hindrance than a help.

My brother-in-law, Brian Cratty has been my sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely’s partner since July 25, 2011, and theirs has been really a wonderful relationship. They love doing the same things, like skiing, hiking, bicycling, snowshoeing, and hanging out at their cabin on Casper Mountain. They met at Wyoming Medical Center, where they both worked…she as a labor and delivery nurse, and he as a life flight pilot. Brian is retired now, and Jennifer soon will be, so their real adventures are coming up very quickly.

Brian has been there for Jenifer in so many ways. He has been there for the low points in her life like when her parents passed away; and he has been there for the high points, like hiking Mount Elbert’s 14,473-foot summit. You don’t get more “lows and highs” than that. Through every part of their relationship, Brian has been there to love and support Jennifer, and the rest of the family too. We have all grown to love him very much, and look to him as a brother, uncle, grandpa, and dad.

With their birthdays being so close together, Jennifer took this past week off, and the two of them made a trip to Colorado to have some fun…probably skiing, since Colorado had some new snow last week. They really do quite a bit of outdoor activities in Colorado, and I can understand why, because the Rocky Mountains have lots to do…for this fun loving, outdoor couple, even more to do than most people. While traveling is fun, I still think that their favorite place to be is on Casper Mountain at their cabin. It was pretty rustic when they bought it from a friend who, for health reasons, was unable to go there again, and moved to a warmer climate. When they bought it, the cabin was little more than a glorified tent. The interior needed lots of work. Brian and Jennifer have worked really hard to make it into the getaway they want, and I can say that it looks a lot better now. The land around it is much better too, and when they are at the cabin, they are close to some of the trails they love. Brian is probably more of a bicycler than Jennifer is, even though she loves to ride too. He will ride for hours on the mountain trails. Sometimes when the rest of the family are hiking, they cross paths with Brian on his bicycle.

Brian is a licensed pilot, and I sometimes wonder if he misses that part of his life. I know he could fly planes for people if he wanted to, but that would put him on someone else’s timeline again, and that is something most of us retired people don’t want to do. So, Brian spends his time doing the things he loves, and that suits him just fine. Today is Brian’s birthday. Happy birthday Brian!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely is a busy person in just about every way. Jennifer is a labor and delivery nurse who is close to retirement. I sometimes find myself amazed that she can possible have been helping to deliver babies for about 40 years now. She has assisted in the delivery of more babies than I’m sure even she knows or could count. It’s a lot of years of deliveries, some of which were her own grandnieces and grandnephews. I know that my girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce were both very thankful to have their aunt in the room with them when they gave birth, and so was I. It’s hard to watch your kids go through so much pain, and it is comforting to know that their aunt, who was a delivery room nurse, and who cared about my kids, was there with them during one of the hardest times in their lives, even if they were also the happiest moments of their lives. Jennfer has been that blessing to so many people, friends, family, and strangers, and all of them are so thankful.

Jennifer is also an athlete. She hikes, skis, rides bicycles, and also does many indoor forms of exercise there is. Jennifer and her partner, Brian Cratty have a cabin on Casper Mountain, so they can be closer to the mountain and activities they love. For them, Casper Mountain is their “happy place.” Jennifer and Brian have hiked many places, including to heights as high as 14,473 feet when they climbed Mount Elbert in Colorado, called a 14er. She has also hiked in Vermont, Maine, and New Zealand…yes, New Zealand. That is a dedicated hiker, and I thought I was. Not nearly as much as Jennifer. I think when Jennifer retires, she will wonder how she had time to work with all of her athletic passions.

While being a nurse, an athlete, as well as mom of three boys, Barry Schulenberg (married to Kellie), JD Parmely, and Eric Parmely (married to Ashley), keeps Jennifer quite busy, her latest blessings are her grandchildren. Jennifer has three granddaughters, Reagan, Hattie, and Maeve Parmely, and grandson Bowen Parmely…these are the children on her son Eric and his wife Ashley. Jennifer loves to do special things for the kids, like their own special cake for their birthday, taking them on a special shopping trip for their birthdays, and taking turns spending the night with their grandparents. She works hard to make things special for each of them. Jennifer goes by Oma to the kids, which is German for Grandma…a fitting name for a woman of German descent (along with a lot of English). For Jennifer, life is good. Today is Jennifer’s birthday. Happy birthday Jennifer!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When we think of runners, most of us are impress, and rightly so. To run a race…especially a marathon…is an amazing feat. A marathon is 26.2 miles, but do you know why that is? Supposedly, the length of the race is a “tip of the hat” to a man named Pheidippides. According to legend, Pheidippides, an Athenian soldier, witnessed the combined Athenian and Spartan army’s victory over the Persians at Marathon. Then he supposedly ran 26 miles to Athens to deliver the news. When he arrived, he informed the Athenians, and then promptly perished of exhaustion. In his honor, marathon runners run 26.2 miles to remember that amazing feat, hoping not to share his fate in doing so. Another legend claims that the extra 0.2 miles were added during the 1908 Olympics so the race would end in front of Princess Mary’s pavilion. I’m not sure about the addition of the 0.2 miles, but the reality is that Pheidippides ran a lot further than 26 miles in his “death run” to spread the news of victory.

For that reason, the real Pheidippides probably wouldn’t have been impressed with someone who ran just 26.2 miles. That would have been child’s play to him. In reality, Pheidippides ran about 300 miles over the course of two days. It’s no wonder he passed away from exhaustion at the end of such a run. Pheidippides was a hemerodromos, or a military long-distance runner. Basically, he was a courier, but these days couriers use a bicycle or car to carry their messages. Nevertheless, in ancient times, runners were the most efficient way to transmit messages over long distances, but Pheidippides’s legendary run was much, much longer than the average run. In fact, it was a “death run.”

The actual task assigned to Pheidippides was to run from Athens to Sparta to ask for more soldiers to be sent. It was a task he carried out, and the Spartans agreed. However, they refused to fight until there was a full moon, as was their battle custom. That was six days away, and would be of no help, since the loss of life by then would be too great. So, Pheidippides turned around and ran back to Athens to inform his superiors of the delay. It reportedly took him two days to cover 300 miles, and it was at the end of this run that Pheidippides expired.

Supposedly, it was a different runner entirely who ran from Marathon to Athens to deliver the news about the victory. While remaining anonymous, this runner apparently still perished at the end of his journey, which is why his shorter run is still remembered. I suppose that does make the marathon a treacherous and dangerous race. Over time, Pheidippides’s ultra-marathon was combined with the anonymous runner’s feat. Maybe they thought it was impossible for a man to run 300 miles in two days, and since I’m not runner, I really couldn’t say. For me, while I can and have regularly walked 10 to 15 miles in a day, to run even a mile would be a likely impossibility, so I have great respect for anyone who runs any distance, much less a marathon or even a half-marathon. I am not surprised that these men died at the end of their runs. Quite possibly, their water and even food supply was somewhat limited during their runs, and since I know how tired I am after walking 10 to 15 miles, I can almost imagine the exhaustion after running a marathon or half-marathon, but to run 300 miles over two days, well suffice it to say I would have dropped before the first day ended…which is probably why I don’t run…unless it is to get away from danger, hahaha!!

My husband’s uncle, Bobby Cole was born in South Dakota, where he lived for all of his young life. I don’t know all the details of how he met my husband’s aunt, Linda “Knox” Cole, except that they met in Colstrip, Montana, when her parents were living there. It is my thought that Bobby was working at the coal mine in Colstrip, when a certain girl caught his eye. Once he met Linda, he was smitten. He knew she was the love of his life, and he was right. They were married on December 29th, 1965, and their marriage would last until Bobby’s passing on May 30, 2014. Of course, I don’t know these details for sure, except that my husband, Bob Schulenberg told me that they met in Colstrip. I also know that Colstrip is a coal mining town…or at least a coal processing town. So, it made sense that mining and coal was the reason Bobby was there. And in the end, it was fate, I guess…or a really good move.

Bobby was raised on his parents’ farm, so the country lifestyle was in his blood, but like many kids, the idea of a change of pace can be very appealing…not to mention getting away from home. Kids, once they graduate from high school tend to either want to move out and get a job or head off to college. For Bobby, the choice was to move to Colstrip, Montana was the best decision he ever made. Once Linda and Bobby met, they never looked back. The dated a while, and then went to Las Vegas, Nevada to get married. Following their wedding, Linda and Bobby would go on to have two children…a daughter, Sheila and a son, Patrick. Since that time, their lives were blessed with multiple grandchildren. While they passed away at a younger age, they lived a good life.

Eventually, life would take Linda and Bobby in an unexpected direction. After the hotel they owned in Kennebec, South Dakota, burned to the ground, they decided that since Kennebec was a small town and business was going nowhere, it was time to leave. They moved to Winnemucca, Nevada, and lived there the rest of their lives. Today would have been Bobby’s 79th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Bobby. We love and miss you very much.

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