LARGO - Sara McBride was 10 when her mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
The Largo family had noticed some changes in Donna McBride’s memory and attention.
“She’d get lost driving to places where she’d been,” Sara remembered. “She’d forget things that she’d normally wouldn’t.”
Donna worked as a paralegal, and her boss had cut her pay, explaining that she hadn’t been performing as she used to. She would get off task and lose focus. But she didn’t want to see a doctor - she didn’t want to believe she had a problem.
Donna’s two sisters came down from Tennessee to help. They told Donna they were taking her for a spa day and drove her to a specialist in Tampa. The terrible results came back in the same appointment, after a CAT scan that confirmed everyone’s worse fear. Donna was only in her 40s, but she was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
“It was a shock for everyone, especially at such a young age,” said Sara, who is now a freshman in college.
In a blog Sara began, called “Brains are Beautiful,” she wrote about the day of her mother’s diagnosis, a day clearly etched in her memory. Donna didn’t take the doctor’s diagnosis well.
SEMINOLE - More than 250 people attended the 18th annual Harvest Festival for Pinellas County’s National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, at Lake Seminole Park Oct. 11.
Aside from the food, games, prizes, camaraderie and weather, the event included honoring recipients of the Iris Awards. The awards, named after Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, honors Pinellas County community members who have generously gone above and beyond their call of duty to assist people living with mental illnesses in Pinellas County.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many facilities are offering mammograms at reduced rates to encourage women to be screened.
A reduced-rate mammogram may not always be the best option. If an issue is detected in a woman who is uninsured, there aren't many options for further testing or treatment. A screening by a State of Florida program would provide more options if the patient is diagnosed with breast cancer.
At the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas, the Florida Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and Mammography Voucher Program offer these screenings all year at no cost to eligible low-income women who are uninsured and between 40 and 64 years old.
SEMINOLE - The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (VAHCS) is teaming up with the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital of Tampa to host a job fair at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center on Saturday, Oct. 25, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The event will take place in the JC Cobb room (building 100) located on the first floor of the medical center. Parking will be available in the parking facility located adjacent to the medical center building.
The fair is open to all professionals seeking employment in the following occupations:
CLEARWATER - Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” has been used as anesthesia in dentistry for 170 years.
More recently, hospitals in the United States have begun offering nitrous oxide as analgesia - pain reliever - for mothers during childbirth. Morton Plant Hospital, Clearwater, incorporated the practice in March, and Mease Countryside Hospital, Safety Harbor, began offering the option Sept. 3.
“Until now, women in labor only had two options for pain management,” said Marcia Albanese in a press release. Albanese is director of Women and Children’s Services for Morton Plant Mease Health Care. “The more well-known method is an epidural - an injection of anesthesia that blocks pain in certain areas. The other choice is pain medication administered intravenously. Many women prefer a more natural childbirth and nitrous oxide is a good solution for them.”
LARGO - Largo Medical Center recently announced that Hussein Osman-Mohamed, M.D., Ph.D., FACS - a transplant and hepatobiliary pancreatic surgeon - has been named medical director of the hospital’s soon-to-open Transplant Institute of Florida, currently approved for adult kidney transplantation.
Osman-Mohamed will begin his duties with TIF in December in preparation for its opening in 2015. He also will oversee the Hepatobiliary Center at Largo Medical Center. Hepatobiliary services include treating diseases of the liver, pancreas and gall bladder.
“Dr. Mohamed is not only a dual fellowship-trained surgeon, he is a highly-skilled hepatobiliary specialist, has worked teaching medical students and researches in his field of expertise,” said Anthony Degina in a press release. Degina is Largo Medical Center’s chief executive officer. “And it’s that expertise that a teaching hospital, like Largo Medical Center, is excited to provide for its patients and community.”
LARGO - Mary Jane Cronin, a licensed mental health counselor, recently published a new book and opened her own private practice in Largo.
Cronin’s practice will focus on caregiver needs including compassion fatigue and burnout. She also offers counseling for issues of work demands, grief, and end of life decisions, anxiety and depression. Appointment hours will be Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to noon. She will offer both individual and group sessions and is available for speaking presentations within the community.
“A Caregiver’s Connection,” Cronin’s third book will be published this month and is a guidebook for those providing care to a family member or loved one. Her two previous books, “November
Pinellas residents can protect themselves from the seasonal flu with one of the vaccines now available at the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County and many community clinics in the Tampa Bay area.
In addition to the usual vaccine, other versions available this season include a high-dose immunization recommended for adults older than 65; an intradermal vaccine delivered with a very small, barely-felt needle and one administered in the nostrils as a mist without the need for a needle.
The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County was awarded a federal grant of $2.6 million over three years to combat chronic diseases in communities throughout Pinellas County.
Areas that have more than 30 percent of residents with incomes below the Federal Poverty Level and more than a quarter of adults older than 25 without a high school education will be the main focus as well as areas that are also located in or near "food desserts" with low access to healthy, affordable food stores.
The Partnerships to Improve Community Health awards are part of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initiative to support public health efforts to reduce chronic diseases, promote healthier lifestyles, reduce health disparities and control health care spending.
ST. PETERSBURG - The Nursing Excellence Award was recently awarded to four deserving nurses at St. Petersburg General Hospital.
The second quarter Nursing Excellence Award was presented to Eric Sorensen, RN from 1 East; Jackie Swedeen, RN from ICU; Casey Russel, RN from Women’s Services; and Eugene Thomas, LPN from the Emergency Department.
Sorensen was praised for having “a great attitude and a kind smile.” According to a press release, he is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to his patients in a relaxed and comfortable manner.
ST. PETERSBURG - All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine will receive a $5.6 million grant for the St. Petersburg Healthy Start Federal Project as part of a collaborative effort with the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County.
The grant-funded program, sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services, is designed to improve health outcomes for women, infants and families in underserved populations, as well as reduce racial and ethnic disparities, and facilitate access to comprehensive health and social services.
“All Children’s Hospital is dedicated to improving birth and early childhood outcomes through the Healthy Start program,” said Jonathan Ellen, M.D., in a press release. Ellen is president and physician in chief at All Children’s Hospital and professor of pediatrics and vice dean, All Children’s Hospital at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Healthy Start allows for increased coordination and access to care at the community level, ultimately leading to positive changes in these targeted areas of Pinellas County.”
Circus McGurkis ST. PETERSBURG – The St. Petersburg Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) will host the 43rd annual Circus McGurkis peace education celebration Saturday, Oct. 25, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Lake Vista Park, 1401 62nd Ave. S.
Circus McGurkis is a peoples’ fair focusing on peace education and service to the community with special focus on activities for children of all ages and families of all types. It features arts, crafts, music, games, and ideas that celebrate the creativity and activism that makes the community a more beautiful, loving and just place to live.
Cooters Crab Fest CLEARWATER – To celebrate the opening of stone crab season, Cooters Restaurant & Bar will host its 21st annual Crab Fest Oct. 23-26, at 423 Poinsettia Ave., Clearwater Beach.
The four-day big tent party will kick off Thursday, Oct. 23, 5 p.m., and will run throughout the weekend, while supplies last. Cooters’ special Crab Fest menu will feature fresh off the boat Florida stone crab, king crab, snow crab and Dungeness crab all at special reduced prices.
There also will be live music under the big tent, commemorative merchandise and drink specials.
Cooters’ Crab Fest is a family friendly event and there is no cover charge. Valet parking will be available.
Customer Appreciation Celebration PALM HARBOR – The Brooker Creek Publix store, 36301 East Lake Road, Palm Harbor, will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a Customer Appreciation Celebration on Saturday, Oct. 25.
The event will include food and wine tastings, and runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Friends of the Clearwater Library book sale CLEARWATER – The Friends of the Clearwater Public Library is having its annual fall book sale on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 24 and 25, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Clearwater Main Library, 100 N. Osceola Ave. The books will be of all genres.
Halloween Spooktacular LARGO – This year’s Halloween Spooktacular event will be Saturday, Oct. 25, 2 to 10 p.m., at Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive.
This widely popular, family-friendly event includes fun and games for kids 14 and younger. Enjoy music, concessions, bounce houses, a petting zoo and strolling entertainment in this great event for the whole family.
Join thousands of families as they walk the free trick-or-treat trail from 2 until 6 p.m. The trail will end promptly at 6 p.m., so based on the number of patrons waiting, the line could be cut off earlier than 6 p.m.
Wristbands, for children 14 and under that want to participate in the activities outside of the trick or treat path, will go on sale starting Wednesday, Oct. 1. They cost $5 for Largo recreation cardholders or $6 without a card. Wristbands are $7 on day of event. Parents do not need wristbands.
Limited on-site parking will be available for $5. Park for free and walk from Everest University and Largo Middle School.