Letters to the editor — The Courier-Gazette
The need is here
Last Thursday evening, I attended a presentation; open to the general public and professional community alike, entitled Adolescent Depression & Self-Injurious Behavior at the Camden Opera House. This caught my attention on two levels, as an addiction counselor and as a Midcoast resident currently residing in Martinsville.
I have had the opportunity to observe the on-going discussions between Camden residents and the team attempting to bring McLean Hospital into a rehabilitation facility on the Fox Hill Estate. This may have been part of the inspiration that motivated me to leave the warmth of my home on a brisk evening in February and make the 45-minute drive into Camden.
Approaching the Conference with a guarded domineer, I was quickly impressed by the number of people who had also left the warmth of their homes. Once inside and upstairs in the Opera House, I was warmly greeted at the door, introduced to several other local professionals and community members and directed to my seat.
The three professionals gave informative and captivating presentations on adolescent behavior, each pinpointing different aspects including understanding, detection and solutions. They discussed who is likely to be afflicted, what to watch for, what to do and what not to do. Their approach toward human behavior and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was impressive and innovative. Two of the professionals were from this community, the third represented McLean Hospital. They were such a natural blend of understanding, positive energy and optimism that I left feeling hopeful about our struggling adolescent community.
I truly believe there is a need for McLean Hospital and its colleagues in this community. As our numbers here on the Midcoast continue to climb in depression and addiction we could certainly use the strength, ambition and education of the McLean professionals. I personally look forward to seeing more of them as we all continue to battle this expanding, critical and unbiased war on depression and addiction in the Midcoast area.
Well it is now official the Secretary of Defense has come out and recommended that the United States Army be scaled back by, if I am correct, almost half of what it is now. I am a retired soldier who served in the U.S. Army from 1969-1991 and was deployed all over the world from Vietnam to Turkey and places in between. And for the record, I do not regret serving one day and I will also say that if I had to I would gladly put the uniform back on and stand the line with any member of the military service be it the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines, and proudly stand with all of them on the front lines. Serving in the U.S. military system is not just a honor but is also a very hard job to do because when you be become a member of the U.S. government and you are told to deploy, you end up leaving behind your family and friends and loved ones and they also end up paying a price in the area of loneliness because their mother or father is gone and may not come back to them. It is by any standard a very hard job to do because of what is expected of everyone and that is to support those who are serving. And I know of no one who can come out and say that those who in the end gave their all, and this means their life, deserved what they got because in the end if this happened and they went above and beyond what they were trained to do and paid the ultimate price and gave their life for the freedom of rights we have all come to expect. So for the record, cutting back the military for any reason in my opinion is a very serious problem and in the end will only create more problems than the United States can handle and will, in the end, be paying the price. I can only say that in the end I hope I am wrong, but based on the way things are going I very seriously doubt it.
Robert J. Robinson
It is a decidedly spring morning and to my delight — for the first time in weeks — I am sitting next to my hospital room window. It is open and is broadcasting all the freshness that spring can offer. My vista includes a small children’s park filled with the laughter that it was designed to elicit. But best of all to an old fly fisherman like me, there appears to be a small trout stream wending its way through trees and gardens.
In all probability the stream does not hold trout. But at this moment, given my long illness, I prefer to believe that it does. I am also willing to believe, from the feelings of hope this place has been steadily giving me, that I will wade trout streams again.
I am at the Knox Center for Long Term Care at this moment, reflecting on the arduous illness I have had for the last eight weeks, the first three of which were the most difficult of my life. A year earlier, I had heart surgery that, by comparison, seemed like a cakewalk.
Yet my thoughts at the window are about the amazing care that gave me strength through this terrible experience.
When I came to this rehabilitation facility after a three-week stay at Pen Bay Medical Center, walking was far from being assured. This was, in fact, what I had been told in the hospital when I was barely lucid. I had lost my ability to walk and was advised that I might never be able to walk again. I developed a massive staph infection, the result of a tiny self-inflicted wound from a paring knife, combined with a compromised immune system associated with Parkinson’s disease.
Through my darkest days, my sweet, wonderful and ever-present wife was with me and helped me climb out of the abyss when I began to improve. As a consequence, she has been able to tell me about the excellent and the extensive care I received. From the beginning she was impressed with the kindness and helpfulness of my physicians and the entire staff. On the physician side, she was highly impressed with the curriculum vitae she was able to review via the Internet.
Indeed, the overall impression left by the exceptional care at Pen Bay began to suggest that this would be an excellent area for our permanent retirement residence. As it happened our vacation home in Tenants Harbor of some 10 years seemed to be a ready-made spot. We are now Mainers, although as we understand it, not the authentic kind.
Having heard my wife’s high praise for the hospital’s care, I had high expectations when I was transferred to the Knox Center. They were more than met. Based upon my hospital experiences elsewhere I was truly astonished.
It certainly wasn’t because the facility was new or posh. To the contrary, it was so old that in its former life as a hospital, many of Knox Center’s current personnel and their grandparents were born there. Instead, it is the attitude that pervades the place that is so special; it effectively greets you at the door. It is as though the entire place has had a course and earned a doctorate in pleasantness.
This was of great comfort, not only to me but to my family. All three of my adult children came to visit early during my stay at Knox Center. They were expecting something more institutional and less responsive. Their experience at-large city hospitals had not prepared them for the can-do attitude of the nurses, nurse’s aides, the building staff and administrative personnel. The patients came first, and were generally met with a broad smile and a “What can I do for you?”
At the heart of my efforts to walk again were the physical and occupational therapy staffs. I was usually assigned the same therapists who became used to my quirks and particular needs. While at times I thought I would never succeed in my goals, the encouragement of both of my therapists, their professionalism and the confidence they placed in me, bolstered my own determination and desire. I was also highly impressed with their knowledge of the Kineseo tape used with such success at the Olympics. Their willingness to use and experiment with it indicated an institution flexible enough to move in any direction required. I learned to develop total faith in the therapy these kind professionals so expertly administered, but could hardly believe how well it worked.
Slowed down by a case of gout at the end of five weeks, I was walking with the aid of a walker and was able to take care of most of my daily needs.
An important bonus was the daily instruction I received from the staff nutritionist. Clear and helpful instructions were given at the outset of my stay and every day we planned menus together. This exercise reinforced better eating habits which have proven useful to this day. And on top of everything else the food was home-cooked and wonderful.
During my stay at the Knox Center, I came to learn that the phenomenon that makes the Center such an inviting place for recuperation and its unique culture is described by the staff as “Knox Magic.” This is appropriately so. Having a name for this potion helps to ensure its continued existence.
Before learning of the staff’s nickname for its own culture, a metaphor came to my mind from my own relatively brief observations. One of my favorite comic characters invented by Charles Dickens is Jerry Cruncher, the grave robber from "A Tale of Two Cities." Jerry is accustomed to calling himself “an honest tradesman.” It is a description which he proudly embellishes from time to time by saying that he is in the “resurrection business.”
So too of great meaning, taken from "A Tale Of Two Cities," is the name of the first chapter and phrase. Dickens refers to Dr. Philip Manet upon his release following a lengthy imprisonment as having been “recalled to life.” For me, it was that Knox magic that recalled me to life.
This is written to express my enduring gratitude.
Kenneth A. Payment
Trekkers thanks Cappy’s
Trekkers was pleased to be selected as one of the recipients of this year’s Community Connections fundraising dinners. We want to thank the folks at Graffam Brothers for creating this fundraising event, and are so grateful to the management and staff at Cappy’s Chowder House and Harbor View Restaurant in Camden for continuing that tradition this year.
On Feb. 26, Cappy’s hosted a wonderful fundraising dinner for our organization. From the excellent service, to the great food and all the positive energy in the restaurant that evening, it was an enjoyable event for all the guests. We truly appreciate all that Cappy’s Chowder House and Harbor View Restaurant have done to support local nonprofits.
We would also like to thank all the folks who came out to enjoy a meal last Wednesday night, even in the midst of several snow squalls. It was wonderful to see the support for our students and to have the chance to share more information about our outdoor-based youth mentoring programs.
Many thanks to Cappy’s and to the community for your support,
409 Old County Road, a large modern building, where a person can go and pay his or her medical bill from Pen Bay hospital and its other services in this building; it used to be years ago the office of Time Warner Cable. The question is they have two large flag poles in front of the building, but there seem to be no flags, the state of Maine flag and the American flag are not on display. What is the reason?
Super Bowl success
Rockland Elks would like to thank the following businesses for their generous donations to help raise money for local charities, children activities, Maine Children's Cancer, etc., etc., the list goes on an on.
We have a Super Bowl Party every year to help with these expenses. The spirit remains high even though the Pats were not in the Superbowl this year.
Thanks again to: Viking Lumber, Seaside Spa, Home Depot, Wasses Hot Dogs, Eastern Tire, China Coast, Rockland Golf Club, South End Grocery, Dominos, Curtis Meats, Russ Fish Paving, Boo Fish, Hannaford, Bank of America, Auto Zone, Dennis Paper, J&J Lobsters, Marty Malloy, Geno Drinkwater, Ralph Post, Mike Myers, Dunkin' Donuts, Games Inc., Bill Bachofner, Harbor Hounds, Rockland Ford, Mark's Appliance, Journey's End Marina, Oakland Park Lanes, Courier Publications, Travis Widdecombe, Central Distributors, Maritime Farms, Clayton Collins, Interstate Septic, H.C. Ralph Chevrolet, Cayouette Flooring, Jamie Fish, Pine State Beverage, Flag Ship Cinema, Wiscasset Ford, Federal Distributors.
Rockland Elks No. 1008
Do you know how easy it is to recycle bottles and cans for a good cause? The Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County in Thomaston is devoted to caring for and placing unwanted or abandoned animals in loving homes. They have been saving lives and creating families since 1989. This bottle return program makes it so easy to help them out.
Free Clynk bags are available at the Pope shelter and several locations around town. Each bag has a sticker with a special code associated with the shelter. All you have to do is fill up the bag, drop it at the Clynk collection bin at Rockland Hannaford, and the money collected is automatically credited to the shelter account.
There is no counting, no waiting, and no mess! Every little bottle and can adds up. Please consider lending a hand in such an easy way and making a difference!
Nancy T. Jones