Aging Well in the Gorge July 20th 2022


When you reach a certain age of “maturity” your body may need more than just maintenance. You may need orthopedic surgery to replace or repair that knee, hip, or shoulder that’s causing a real pain in the … well, knee, hip, or shoulder. But orthopedic surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly. Because there are risks, surgery is recommended only when it interferes with your lifestyle.

Knowing what to expect is crucial to a healthy recovery. To help you prepare, many hospitals and surgery centers educate patients and caregivers on what to expect before, during and after an operation. (Before her surgery, my wife and I attended MCMC’s Joint Camp.) So what should you know when considering orthopedic surgery?

On the website Next Avenue, I recently read “What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor Before Orthopedic Surgery?” by Sheryl Stillman. She poses questions to ask yourself and your doctor so you and your doctor can make the best decision.

To make an accurate diagnosis the doctor will need to understand the pain you are experiencing. Ask yourself, when did the pain start? Where is the pain? What makes it worse, better and what have you tried that has been effective and what hasn’t been? This information is critical

Once the diagnosis is determined to decide on the next step you’ll want to know if there is anything you can do to prevent the pain from getting worse. Are there any non-surgical options such as physical therapy or medications? What are the surgical options? What is the expected outcome? What, if any, are the risks? What can happen if I wait?

If you then decide to proceed with surgery, you should know what to expect after surgery and particularly during the first couple of days.

How long is the procedure? How long will I be in the hospital? What medications, including painkillers, will be prescribed? What type of post-surgery care will I require (wound care, medications, bathing, etc.)? What resources, including skilled nursing facilities or caregivers, are available to me? Will a nurse and physical therapist come to my home? How long until a full recovery? When can I expect to drive again?

When considering orthopedic surgery, there is plenty to understand. Asking your doctor and care providers the right questions is the first step to making informed decisions and a healthy recovery.

But what leads to many orthopedic surgeries besides that old nemesis arthritis? Falls. One program that improves your strength and prevents falls is OSU Extension’s StrongPeople (formerly known as StrongWomen.) Through the Gorge, there are currently 10 programs, and it is hoped more will start this fall with newly trained leaders!

If you are interested in becoming a leader there is a training scheduled on Tuesday, August 2nd from 8:30am-5pm at the FISH Food Bank in Hood River located at 1130 Tucker Road. To register contact Lauren Kraemer at 541-386-3343 x38258 or 541-296-5494 or by email at For more information about StrongPeople go to

Brain Tease. After last week’s brain tease this one should be easier.

What is the next letter in this sequence: J F M A M J?

The diluted chemical compound commonly used as a mild antiseptic but also as an inexpensive hair dye was hydrogen peroxide. I received correct answers from Rose Schulz, Donna Mollett, Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Pat Evenson Brady who from her days clerking in a drugstore tells me that hydrogen peroxide doesn’t dye your hair but actually bleaches it and you may need several bleachings to get that “peroxide blonde” look.

During the summer of 1971, the classified study “The History of U.S. Decision-Making Process on Vietnam," was released by Daniel Ellsberg, a U.S. military analyst. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was this study commonly called? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with a copy of the front page of the June 13th, 1971 edition of the New York Times.

Well, it has been another week, waiting for the bread to rise. Until we meet again, don’t let a piece of good advice stand in your way.

“I really don't mind getting old, but my body is having a major fit.” Anonymous

Aging Well in the Gorge July 13th 2022

In the Gorge, we don’t experience Midwest tornadoes or east coast hurricanes, but we do have our summer threats: heat, wildfires, and the accompanying smoke. We’ve all experienced those conditions, but here is a quick reminder on how to be ready.

Prepare an Emergency Kit. It should include food and water to last at least three days – and don’t forget your medications. Also, know where you keep your important documents so you can quickly take them with you.

Create a plan. Do you have a personal support network? A family communication plan? An evacuation plan? A plan for your pet? If you rely on electricity or battery-dependent medical equipment, do you have a plan for a power outage?

Stay informed. Do you have your mobile phone registered with your local emergency notification system such as Citizen’s Alert? This enables Emergency Response Agencies to provide you with critical information quickly. As they’ll tell you, they can’t warn you if they can't reach you. (All landlines automatically receive emergency notices).

You can register on your county’s website or call one of the following numbers for assistance.

Klickitat County Emergency Management (509) 773-0582)

Wasco County Emergency Management (541) 506-2790

Skamania County Department of Emergency Management (509) 427-8076

Hood River County Sheriff’s Office (541) 386-2098

Sherman County Emergency Services (541) 565-3100

But what causes more deaths than hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning, and floods combined? Heat-related illnesses.

Older adults are at greater risk for heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion exhibited by heavy sweating and a rapid pulse. But if untreated it can progress to heat stroke the most severe form of heat illness - a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of heat stroke are lack of sweating, headache, confusion, rapid heart rate, nausea or vomiting, and loss of consciousness.

So how do you protect yourself? Stay cool, hydrated, and connected.

Avoid sun exposure; wear light-weight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothes that cover your skin; wear a wide-brimmed hat; try ice packs, cool showers or sponge baths. But do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort but do not reduce body temperature or prevent heat-related illnesses.

Drink plenty of fluids even if you are not thirsty; Drink enough to have to urinate every four hours. The color of your urine is an indicator of whether you are hydrated.

Be aware of local heat advisories; have someone check in on you; and identify places to stay cool such as senior centers, libraries, or your favorite coffee shop.

You can find more information about preparedness at As the saying goes, “Hope for the best, but plan for the worse.”

An inexpensive way to get that deep tan was baby oil. I received correct answers from Rebecca Abrams and Deborah Medina; and Dave Lutgens answered Man Tan a much safer alternative to sunbathing, But this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Margo Dameier who took sunbathing a step further with a combination of baby oil and iodine which I also used. Remember we were just kids!

From the previous week, those who sent in ”Itsy, Bitsy, Teenie, Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” were Sandy Haechrel, Donna Mollett, Cindy Winfield, Keith and Marlene Clymer, Maria Kollas, Deborah Medina, Rebecca Abrams, Linda Frizzell, Lana Tepfer, Margo Dameier, Doug Nelson, Rhonda Spies, Jess Birge, Chuck Rice, Billie Maxwell, Stephen Woolpert and this week’s two winners of a quilt raffle ticket: Joy Bee and Bob Sallee. And way back when I missed Rhonda Spies.

A quick Brain Tease: Can you find the next 3 letters in this sequence? o t t f f s s _ _ _

Remember when girls and boys would dye their hair blond or in some unfortunate cases orange? For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was this diluted chemical compound commonly used as a mild antiseptic but also as an inexpensive hair dye? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with a bottle of H2O2.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the mornings on the front porch. Until we meet again, when there’s a problem, acknowledge it, work through it, and move on.

“Life is too short to waste time matching socks.” Forwarded to me by Sandy Haechrel.

Aging Well in the Gorge June 6th 2022

When you consider the key influences affecting your health, are your primary care providers, medical specialists, and prescribed medications the first things that come to mind? Maybe because you spend too much time getting poked, prodded, and tested in a doctor’s office? Medical services are essential, but they are not the only factors influencing our health.

Over the past years, the medical community and local social service providers have recognized that to improve an individual’s health and health outcomes there must be a broader approach by addressing the social, economic, and environmental factors that affect our health. These social determinants of health (SDOH) such as adequate nutrition, safe and affordable housing, sufficient income, available and accessible transportation, and social connections can significantly impact our health, well-being, and quality of life especially our ability to live independently and age in place.

I have often written about many of the providers that address these social determinants of health: Aging and People with Disabilities in Oregon, Klickitat County Senior Services, Skamania County Senior Services, CAPECO Area Agency on Aging, Housing Resource Center, transportation providers, local senior centers and meal sites, and the many volunteer organizations such as Circles of Care.

I know I depend on the medical community. I seem to have a doctor for every organ in my body!  Access to health care is critical, but now there is also a greater understanding of how addressing the social determinants of health can reduce the risk of physical disease, mental illness, and even death.

But as you may know, accessing the many available services is not easy. One response has been employing community health workers such as Joel Pelayo, a senior community health worker for The Next Door, Inc., who is profiled in this month’s “Through the Eyes of an Elder”. Community health workers such as Joel have a deep connection with their community and can provide the personal and caring support when connecting individuals with the needed health and social service providers that will improve their quality of life and health outcomes. I encourage you to read his personal story to appreciate the important work Joel does in our communities.

To better understand the importance of social connections, the Aging in the Gorge Alliance is distributing the bestseller Together, The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World by former Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, MD. This timely book explores the importance of human connection, the hidden impact of loneliness on our health, and the social power of community. You can pick up a copy after July 15th at the libraries in Hood River, The Dalles, and White Salmon.

There will be discussion groups in September where participants can connect with others and consider how to increase connections in their lives and their communities. More information will be coming, but if you have questions now you can contact Britta Willson at

Brain Tease: Find the next number in these number sequences:

a.       a.       1, 3, 4, 7, 11, 18, ?

b    b.    4, 7, 15, 29, 59, 117, ?

              c.     2, 4, 5, 10, 12, 24, 27, ?

The 1960 hit novelty song sung by Brian Hyland included the lyrics, and you can sing along, "Two, three, four, tell the people what she wore. It was an itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini.” Because of the July 4th holiday, I have once again submitted this column early and will announce next week all those with the correct answer.

During my long-ago days of lifeguarding, when I wasn’t embarrassed wearing a Speedo and before I knew about wrinkly skin and melanoma, I would go to great lengths to develop a tan. For this week’s “Remember When” question, when Coppertone tanning lotion wasn’t enough, what was commonly used as an inexpensive way to get that appealing deep tan? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with a bottle of SPF 50 broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Well, it has been another week, wishing for fall during the heat of summer. Until we meet again, be cool, keep cool, and whatever you do - don’t blow your cool.

“I never feel more alone than when I’m trying to put sunscreen on my back.”

—Jimmy Kimmel


a.        Answers:

            a.   29   (a+b=c, b+c=d, c+d=e, ...)

b.                 b.    235   (×2-1, ×2+1, ×2-1, ...)

c.                 c.   54   (×2, +1, ×2, +2, ×2, +3, ×2, +4, ...)


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