To the editor:
The state Legislature passed an excellent bill this session that will save the lives of newborns: The Pulse Ox Bill. This bill only needs Gov. Cuomo's signature to put it into law. Such a law would make sure that every newborn receives a pulse oximetry test -- a simple, non-invasive test which measures the level of oxygen in a baby's bloodstream. A low oxygen level could be an indication of a congenital heart defect, the No. 1 birth defect. One in 100 children is born with a congenital heart defect.
Our son Colton is one of those children. We brought him home from the hospital thinking he was perfectly healthy. At his one-week well-baby checkup, he began to turn blue and was rushed to the emergency room. Today, he's a happy and healthy 23-month old -- who has had two out of three open heart surgeries to repair his congenital heart defect -- but what if he had turned blue in the night? What if we had been far from an emergency room? Our son might not have survived. Pulse oximetry will help to detect these defects before such traumatic events can happen.
I am glad to have joined the American Heart Association and other families at the New York Capitol recently to urge the New York Senate to pass the bill. Our children wore their red "Heart Hero" capes while petitioning for the passage of this law, and I can only hope that soon we are putting those capes back on our children to join Gov. Cuomo as he signs the Pulse Ox bill into law. Every day without this law enacted means another life lost.
Fond memories of Mount Loretto
To the editor:
When it became apparent that I could not make ends meet on social security, I applied for and was accepted as a dietary aide at Mount Loretto. The head honcho at Mount Loretto was Sister Patricia Ann Corbett. She set the bar so high you could not attain it, but in attempting to, you exceeded your highest goals. There was no odor of urine or feces in the old building where we had 80 residents. It was here that I heard my favorite two-word sentence at least 40 times a day. Those words were "thank you."
At last I had an identity. I was functional and I started to get a very large ego. You not only bring the trays up, but you watched the Certified Nursing Aides (CNAs) change diapers and rearrange bedding. When these people (the residents) were having a bad day, you could share a Bible verse, along with compassion and give as much love as you could.
These folks are not residents and they are not patients. They are extended members of your own family. Before you go to bed at night, you wonder what you can do to make life a little more pleasant for them. That is the up side. The down side is that you become so attached that with their passing you wind up with a wet pillow. Certain people you count on seeing every day and when they are gone it creates a vacuum.
The help all seems to harbor the same ambition. We had people with a work ethic you wouldn't believe. They gave us 60 minutes to the hour. The dietary staff was headed by Kathy Williams whose husband Bob ran maintenance, Sally Kreczunas, Shirley Semeyone, Kevin Hitchcock, Daila Sandford, Marcy Korona, Stanley Kwiatkowski, Lynn Kubas, Flo Hartman and Sammy Semeyone. Flo was the night supervisor, and at the age of 85, was either swinging a mop or running a dish machine. Sammy was a "go to" guy if you wanted anything done. Sammy and Flo left us far too early. My two all-time favorites were Joanne Biggi and her son Joey Angelo. You had people in the laundry like Paula Hassfurter and in housekeeping Phyllis Mose and Rose LaGrange, who had a daughter who should have been in Hollywood.
You will notice that I am a name dropper. You may do all the digging that you care to, but, there isn't a lemon in the lot. I was very pleased to acquire recognition, and while we didn't make a lot of money, I think back and you know -- money isn't everything. After all, a man with $4 million is just as happy as a man with $8 million. You just have to have a positive outlook and love what you're doing. Your attitude must be above reproach.
There was a man connected of treason in Cuba and sentenced to death by a firing squad. The captain of the firing squad dispensed the bullets to the men who were going to execute the prisoner. The captain then walked up to the man, who was chained to a pillar, and asked him if he would like to drop off a cigarette. The man replied "no thanks, I'm trying to quit."
Sally and Shirley had more than 25 years of service at Mount Loretto, as did Paula Hassfurter. Judy Newland had more than 30 years of service. You want to talk about dedication? These people wrote the book.
More to come. See you next week.
MS sufferers are not alone
To the editor:
I just want people with multiple sclerosis to know that they are not alone. I too was diagnosed with (primary progressive) MS in August 2005. It is a terrible disease to have to deal with.
People with this disease feel like they are alone and there is no one to talk to. When I was diagnosed I felt like there was no one else I could talk to about multiple sclerosis. I felt like no one believed me, not even my trustworthy doctors. At times I felt like I was losing my mind.
I was sent to an orthopedic doctor here in Amsterdam and I was told that the electrical shock I was feeling from the lower part of my next to the base of my lower spine was a "normal" feeling. I was sent to a cardiologist here again in Amsterdam and was made to run on a treadmill. I was in tears before he turned off the machine -- maybe a whole eight seconds later. After the test was done he looked at me and said I was a healthy 43-year-old woman and I should have aced the test. How could I run on a treadmill when I could hardly walk?
Finally, another visit to my primary care doctor, I had asked him why he hadn't referred me to a neurologist. He said that someone in his office messed up and sent me to a cardiologist instead. Well, I finally was sent to a neurologist, and he listened to all my symptoms. And after a long list of tests, I finally got some answers. After being diagnosed I started seeing a neurologist in Upstate Neurology in Albany. My new doctor's name is Dr. James Storrey. He's made my life a little easier. I see him every three months. Every visit he sits and listens not only to me but also my husband's concerns. He never rushes through my exams. I think of him as such a great man.
I was just wondering if there are any other people dealing with MS and feel like no one is listening. If there is, I will listen, and share similar stories. My e-mail is email@example.com. Feel free to write me. A friendly person willing to listen can sometimes be better than listening to a doctor. Thank you Amsterdam Recorder for allowing my story to be told. And, if I can help just one person with Multiple Sclerosis, that makes it all worth it.
There are bumps along the way
To the editor:
Are high schools in general becoming "athletic factories" of sorts, producing future talented participants for colleges and universities, to utilize in their own national competitive events and obtaining an essential education is considered less important?
Don't misjudge the parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, who asked the question as anti-sports. Actually, most of them as students were active in grade, middle and high school programs. What concerns them is the perception that their offspring are already too consumed at succeeding in one or more athletic endeavors and ignoring all other aspects of growing up.
When The Recorder published the details for the April 6 football combine at HVCC open to players in classes from 2013 to 2016, as well as prep school players, these opinions began to surface.
Also, media coverage of high-school sports and brain injuries escalated the worries. The fact is, all of the adult supervision overseeing athletic sports from grade to high school have done an outstanding job in maintaining a level playing field enabling the youth to keep a proper balance between sports activities and acceptable classroom grade levels.
Yes, there have been bumps along the way, but the majority of final results clearly indicate that securing an education still remains the top priority above all other achievements.
Big Brother's watching
To the editor:
Last week, the Republican controlled House of Representatives took another step back to the 1940s as they passed a bill limiting abortions. Their continuing attempts to control women's bodies seems to know no bounds. And in lock step with his fellow dinosaurs, even thought he's out of step with the rest of the country, was our own congressman, Chris Gibson. He voted to limit women's right to control their own bodies. Congressman Gibson keeps picking away at abortion rights until he, and his fellow Republicans, have managed to eliminate the right to an abortion altogether. Is this the kind of representation we want in Washington?
As a male, I'm against any government interfering in what we can or cannot do with our own bodies. Who knows. Maybe they'll start making vasectomies illegal.
Ladies, let's hear your opinion. Write to the editor, or Mr. Gibson's office.
What's next, telling us how many children we can have? I guess big brother is watching.
John H. Swartz,
Gambling with addiction
To the editor:
For most adults who gamble, gambling is a harmless recreational activity. Did you know that for some people gambling can become a destructive addiction with resultant problems similar to those experienced by people with alcohol and other drug abuse issues? Problem gamblers sometimes resort to criminal behavior in order to cover gambling losses.
No one wants their children or grandchildren to develop such serious problems, and yet studies show that less than half of all parents talk to their children about the potential problems involved with gambling. Gambling is similar to alcohol and other drug addictions in that the younger a child is when they begin gambling, the more likely they will be to develop a problem with gambling as an adult. This is why it is illegal in New York state to sell lottery products to youths under age 18.
The New York Council on Problem Gambling reports that in New York state alone approximately 140,000 adolescents report already having had problems due to their gambling, and an additional 10 percent of our youths are at risk of developing a gambling problem. Youth gambling is closely tied to other high-risk behaviors. Underage students who report gambling are also 50 percent more likely to drink alcohol, more than twice as likely to binge drink, more than three times as likely to use marijuana, and three times as likely to use other illegal drugs.
Youths today are bombarded with messages which depict gambling as exciting and glamorous. They are exposed to messages about the benefits of gambling and the message that gambling is an easy way to make a great amount of money in a short time. Little is ever said about the potential negative consequences or the real odds of winning.
Parents play a crucial role in protecting their children from problems with gambling. Please educate your children about the real odds of winning at gambling and about the risks and ugly realities of addiction.
If you would like more information, please call the HFM Prevention Council at 736-8188, consult the New York Council on Problem Gambling website www.knowtheodds.org, or call the New York help line at 877-8-HOPENY (877-846-7369).
Margaret B. Clark,