Health

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Whenever our aunt, Pearl Hein talked about her husband, our uncle, Eddie Hein, she always called him Big Ed. It was her “pet name” for him…kind of like saying he was her superhero. That is truly how Pearl felt about Eddie. Theirs was a long-standing marriage of 52 years at the time of Eddie’s graduation to Heaven. He was her superhero, and she was his too. It was always fun to watch them, because their personalities were very similar, and yet each was unique.

I first met them on my first trip to Forsyth, Montana to visit my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s family, and the trip was so much fun that for many years we went for a visit every summer. I loved all of the Forsyth family and looked forward to it every year. Eddie and Pearl lived at the edge of town beside the dike that held the Yellowstone River back from the town. Eddie and Pearl always had a vegetable garden, and they canned lots of their food. Eddie transformed their house from the original mobile home to a house and decorated it in various places with river rock. The fireplace was a beautiful focal point.

Eddie, and Pearl too, had what I call a smiling face. Their whole face smiled with they smiled, and that is a very cool kind of face to have. I think it is a sign of a really happy person too. They loved to entertain, and they loved to laugh and joke. Some of my fondest memories are when they were picking on my husband, Bob. He had long hair back then, but everyone in the hippy generation did, so he wasn’t alone. Eddie was always threatening to give him a buzz cut, and one time went after him with the shears, but of course, they weren’t plugged in. Nevertheless, it was funny, and unless you looked closely, you might think they were plugged in. The picture is funny anyway. It’s funny stuff like that that I think I miss the most about Eddie. There was really never a dull moment when we were over at their house.

Eddie went home to be with the Lord on October 16, 2019, and I still can’t believe he is gone. He had a stroke a few years earlier, and fought his way back, with much help from Pearl, who was his “rock” during those days. I think one of his happiest moments after the stroke, was when he was able to walk his daughter Kim down the aisle when she married Michael Arani on October 7, 2017. I don’t think he thought he would be able to do it, but Eddie was a strong man, and he was determined. I’m so happy that he got to see that day. Today would have been Eddie’s 79th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Eddie. We love and miss you very much.

It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that four years ago today, my husband, Bob Schulenberg had a heart attack in the Walmart parking lot. It was the Widowmaker…one of the deadliest types of heart attack. MY memory of that event, however, is as vivid today as if I were standing there watching it happen all over again. That day could have changed my life forever and taken his life from him…but it didn’t. My husband is still here because there are heroes among us!! They are everyday people who see a deadly situation, and don’t just turn their backs. They take action. I didn’t see the attack, because Bob had gone to put the shopping cart in the rack. I was checking my phone when a man I don’t know to that day knocked on my window and asked if I “knew this man?” I immediately realized that Bob had taken too long to get into the car.

I jumped out of the car and ran to the other side. There on the ground, with blood coming from his head was my husband. His eyes were open, but he was not there. I immediately thought that I had lost him. Then I came to my senses…sort of and got down beside him. I “demanded” that he wake up. Looking back now, I must have looked crazy, telling my unconscious husband to “wake up and get back to life” basically. Then I noticed someone was there, with a stethoscope!! Who carries a stethoscope in their car, and how did she know we needed her? Only an angel, sent by God to be there!! There were many angels in that parking lot that day. Some I now know, like Sean Pesicka-Taggart, the man who first came to my husband’s aid, and his girlfriend Laura Lance, who was a transport worker at Wyoming Medical Center, at that time (I’m very proud to say that she is now a Radiologic Technologist). Laura assisted the nurse, Ginger Sims who was the one to realize that it was not a fall or hit-and-run, but Bob’s heart that had stopped. She told her son to push the OnStar button and tell the ambulance where to respond. Then, Ginger took immediate action, and if she had not, I would have been a widow today. Ginger was doing CPR, and told me how to do rescue breathing, because I couldn’t think straight. Laura assisted in CPR, thankfully, because that is a hard job, and no one can do it for very long. Then just as suddenly, another nurse, who worked with Ginger saw what was going on, and stopped to help. Valya Boycheva is also a nurse at Wyoming Medical Center, and she took over CPR for Laura. Together the three of them continued CPR until the fire department and ambulance arrived. I’m not sure, but I think Sean called them. When the paramedics took over, I stood back and thought…”How will I ever know who to thank for their assistance?” So many heroes had stepped out of thin air, to give their all for my husband. Somehow, God made sure that I found out who they were, and I have been forever grateful for that too.

There were other angels there that day…prayer warriors!! These people were in the parking lot, and saw the situation, and immediately started praying…Lori DeSanti (a friend of mine from church), Chelsea Kessler (who immediately called her dad and stepmom, Page and Donna LePage…who, not knowing who they were praying for, called my boss, Jim Stengel and got him in prayer too), and Chelsea’s husband, Zack Kessler. There were probably countless other people there praying, because there were angels all over that parking lot that day. I have no doubt about that, and because of all the heroes, prayer warriors and angels there that day, my husband is health and most of all, still with me today.

To add to the incredible events of that day, it seemed only seconds before the firetrucks arrived, with a friend of Bob’s on the crew. Jerod Levin saw me and immediately came to my aid. I was standing there feeling very small and totally lost, and he told me I could go with Bob in the ambulance, and that he would bring my car to the hospital for me!! And, when we got to the hospital…on a Sunday afternoon, all the right people, Jon Cook and Sam Cann (both of whom work in the Heart Cath Lab), just happened to be there, and they know Bob, because he had worked on their cars. From attack to full treatment took two hours…two hours!! How could that have all came together? Only God…only God!! And to this day, I give him all the praise, and I will be forever grateful for the heroes among us, who stepped up to the plate when Bob and I needed them most. They are family now, and they always will be.

My nephew, Steve Moore has had an interesting year and a half. March of 2021 found Steve in a position that no active person ever wants to find themselves…with an injured hand. For Steve this was especially bad, because he likes to do so many projects with his hands, and to suddenly find himself sidelined was devastating. Nevertheless, Steve turned his attention to doing whatever was necessary to find his way back to being able to use his hand again. Really, it’s a good thing that occupational therapy is time consuming, because occupational therapy is a lot of work, and if you want to get back to full use of your hands, you have to work hard and commit to the program. Steve did that and now he’s back.

While Steve was unable to do the wood for his father-in-law, LJ Cook last summer, he has been able to get back at it this year. The vibrations from the saw really gave him a lot of trouble last year, but this year has been much better. He has built up the strength to almost 100%, and while the vibrations still bother him, it’s not enough to not run the saw. I’m sure that LJ is happy about that too. Getting and cutting up wood is a big job, and every hand is a big help.

Steve loves doing projects around the home he and his wife, my niece, Machelle Moore share. Earlier this spring he did some work on the front of the house. This has been an ongoing project. The cement work was done about 5 years ago, and just they then had to wait to do anymore digging so the cement was well cured. They then had to move about 16 sprinklers, before they hand dug the front and side part of the cement area. They didn’t want to take a chance on cracking the cement by using equipment for the dig, so they did it all by hand. The plan was to move the rock out to the sidewalk all along, but it’s a big job, and they had to get motivated for it. This summer was the year. Maybe the time of sitting around made him want to get back to it. Anyway, it was time, and Steve tackled it and now it’s way better than what Machelle had envisioned. It’s amazing how much things like that came make you feel a sense of pride of ownership.

Steve is a good man to have around, as his in-laws, Debbie and LJ Cook, have found. He is the kind of guy who will drop everything to help someone out when they need it. Plus, he likes to build things, and he has a real knack for it. The raised gardens he built for his in-laws, have made their gardening so much easier on their backs, and the fact that they are beautiful is a definite plus too. Steve stepped in to help Debbie and LJ with their freezer defrost project this past week too. That is a really hard job, and it’s always nice to have an extra set of hands. I know that Debbie and LJ really appreciated it. Steve is just a great guy to have around, and he has been a huge blessing to the Cook family. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

It’s strange how the longer a person has been in Heaven, the more you sometimes find yourself talking about them. My father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg was like a second dad to me, in fact, my mother-in-law was also like a second mom to me. I was very blessed to have the sweetest in-laws in the world. The first years of having my in-laws were wonderful, but the last years of having my in-laws were quite possibly the ones I will always treasure the most.

While my mother-in-law wasn’t always able to contribute much to our conversations, she always added a bit of a humorous flair to them, because of her dry sense of humor and her off the wall moments of lucidity. My father-in-law, on the other hand, had a sharp mind. He also had a great sense of humor, and we had many times of laughter. We also had many conversations about their care. I wanted Dad to be involved in the care they were receiving. He needed to be comfortable with all of it. He never felt like he understood the medical side of things, and so he was happy to turn that over to me, and even have me speak for them with the doctors…a plan the doctors didn’t always get until we explained our arrangement to them. Then they were on board, and everyone was comfortable. Dad and I became very close in those years. It was like a partnership of sorts.

While some time was spent with medical things, there was also lots of time spent just visiting. We talked about so many things, and I really felt like I got to know both my father-in-law and my mother-in-law much better than I ever had. It’s amazing just how much you can become good friends with someone, when you spend a lot of time together, and we really did, especially when my mother-in-law began to need more care. I went over four times a day in those days, and I believe they really looked forward to the increased visits. It can get lonely when there are just two people in the house, and one can’t really carry on a conversation very well anymore. Dad got a chance to visit when I was there four times a day, his sons Bob Schulenberg (my husband) and Ron Schulenberg were also there pretty much every day, and his daughters Brenda Schulenberg, Jennifer Parmely, and Debbie Cook were there at times too, along with my daughters, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce and their children, Chris Petersen, Shai Royce, Caalab Royce, and Josh Petersen. And we had the occasional help, when needed of my sons-in-law, Kevin Petersen and Travis Royce. We were a team, and for my in-laws, that made all the difference. Today would have been my father-in-law’s 93rd birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Dad. We love and miss you very much.

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.

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