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.
CLEARWATER - The Florida Department of Health Pinellas County is offering a pre-Halloween treat - free flu shots with a "Flu Boo" event on Wednesday, Oct. 29, DOH-Pinellas will provide flu vaccines at no cost at its Pinellas Park Health Department, 6350 76th Ave N. Vaccines will be available from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. or as long as supplies last.
Although flu vaccines are available at the DOH-Pinellas health departments in St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Clearwater, Mid-County (Largo) and Tarpon Springs locations during normal operating hours on weekdays, only this Oct. 29 clinic in Pinellas Park will offer them at no cost.
Flu shots will be available inside the Pinellas Park location or in the parking lot at the drive-through that will be set up in front of the building. Please enter from 63rd Street to allow traffic to flow more smoothly at the drive-through. The DOH-Pinellas site can be accessed from Park Boulevard or 66th Street.
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.
Daughters of Italy meeting CLEARWATER – The Daughters of Italy Lodge 2825 Clearwater chapter of the Order Sons of Italy in America will have their monthly meeting on Thursday, Oct. 30, at the Clearwater Community Church, 2897 Belcher Road, Dunedin, in room 206 of the Education Building.
Italian and non-Italian women are invited to attend. Dessert is served at 6 p.m., followed by a short general meeting and cultural program.
Free grief seminars PALM HARBOR – Dr. Alan Wolfelt, director of the Center of Loss in Colorado and an author of more than 30 books on grief, will present a free seminar Wednesday, Oct. 29, 7 p.m., at North Bay Community Church, 3170 N. McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater.
The title of the seminar is “Understanding Your Grief: Touchstones of Hope and Healing.” The special program is designed to help anyone experiencing grief.
Wolfelt also offers a second seminar for professionals Thursday, Oct. 30, 9 a.m., at Suncoast Hospice Community Service Center Gathering Place, 5771 Roosevelt Blvd., Building 100, Clearwater.
The topic of this seminar will be “Exploring the Value and Function of Grief Symptoms: The Companioning Helping Role.” CEU credits and a certificate of completion will be available.
Both events are free and open to all. Free handout materials and refreshments will be provided.
Curlew Hills Memory Gardens is the sponsor.
Call Curlew Hills Memory Gardens at 789-2000 by Oct. 27 to reserve a seat. Seating is limited.
Halloween mixer SEMINOLE – Pinch A Penny, 9686 Seminole Blvd., will host a Halloween mixer for the Greater Seminole Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Oct. 30, 5 to 7 p.m.
Indian Rocks Beach Library story time INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – Story time resumes again at the Indian Rocks Beach Library.
The program will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays.
Children of all ages are invited.
Kiwanis Club of Seminole meeting SEMINOLE – The Kiwanis Club of Seminole meets Thursdays, 6:15 p.m., at Freedom Square’s Town Hall.
The group’s next speaker will be Breanne Zsiga, from Career Academies of Seminole, discussing on her steer project.
For more information, call Terry Carr at 394-2582.
Wine tasting workshop SAFETY HARBOR – A wine tasting is set for Thursday, Oct. 30, 6:30 p.m., at the Safety Harbor Public Library, 101 Second St. N.
Enjoy samples of new flavors and learn the “Four S’s” of wine from Jon Marshall, wine expert and owner of www.jonswine.com. Marshall will be your guide to limited production, Napa Valley, artisan wines by award winning winemaker, WineShop at Home.
The event is limited to 40 people, and all must be age 21 or older. Registration is required.
Ceilidhs, traditional Gaelic social gatherings Ceilidhs, traditional Gaelic social gatherings, are held every Friday night from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Scottish American Society of Dunedin, 917 Louden Ave.
The cost is $3 and $5 for nonmembers. The social club is dedicated to the preservation of Scottish culture, offering Scottish country dancing, line dancing, holiday dinners and parties.
Family fun night CLEARWATER – A Family Fun Night sponsored by the Upper Pinellas County Ministerial Alliance is set for Friday, Oct. 31, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Buccaneer Field, 905 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.
Costumes are not necessary but welcomed. Children age 6 and younger must be accompanied by parents at all times.
The free event includes entertainment by the Dundu Dole Urban African Ballet, food, games, treats and additional entertainment. There also will be various vendors and on-site service providers.
Food includes hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, soda, popcorn, snow cones and cotton candy. There will be bounce houses and face painters as well.
The event is partnered with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the Clearwater Police Department, Walmart, Publix, Clearwater Parks and Recreation, Greenwood Panthers, PSTA, AIB and GFS.
Postcards from Italy PALM HARBOR – Residents are invited to view the video “Postcards From Italy” on Friday, Oct. 31, 2 to 4 p.m., at the Palm Harbor Library, 2330 Nebraska Ave.
This program is a part of the library’s Italian-American Heritage Month celebration.
The video, which was filmed in Sicily, Matera, Irsina, Naples, the island of Procida, Gubbio, Spoleto, Siena, and Rome, shows the uniquely Italian way of life as reflected in its cultural traditions as well as in the stories of its people.
Mildred Cooper, president of Central Gulf Coast Lodge in Florida, Order of the Sons of Italy, will facilitate the discussion for this and each of the Italian/American Heritage programs. Light refreshments will be provided.
For further information, call 784-3332, ext. 3006.