In Memory of Maria

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On January 3, 2022, Maria Diaz passed away peacefully in the evening after a brief battle with cancer. Her love will be remembered by her husband and three children, as well as numerous other family members and friends. 

The BIND family will hold memories of her closely during this time of grieving. Maria’s daughter Diana has been an employee at BIND for three years and served as a volunteer for the organization for several years prior to her employment. Maria ultimately joined the BIND family as a volunteer with the Nueva Vida group and quickly became a cherished member of our dedicated volunteer team. She will be fondly remembered as a compassionate, kind, patient, supportive and cheerful addition to the program at BIND.

Please let us know in the comments area of the donation form that your gift is in honor of Maria. Contributions made by check can be mailed to BIND, 1416 Gables Court, Plano Tx 75078 c/o Maria Diaz Memorial 

Our program members and volunteers have submitted the following dedications in her memory: 


– Tuve el gusto de trabajar con ella corrigiendo mi historia q escribí para el libro de Nueva Vida, también fui la última persona que caminamos juntos en Richarson, porque de ahí fue que enfermo, fue una gran Amiga, siempre nos apoyaba en todo, Dios la tenga en su Santa Gloria.

– I had the pleasure of working with her correcting my story that I wrote for the New Life book. I was also the last person that walked with her together in Richardson because then she was sick. She was a great friend. She always supported us in everything. God keep her in your Holy Glory.


– La primera vez que conocí a la Sra. Mary percibí su gran Corazón y espíritu dador. No solo era voluntaria en BIND, sino amiga de todos. Su bondad y entrega sobresalía cada vez que el grupo de Nueva vida se reunía, siempre tenia algo que dar. La última vez que la vimos le regaló a mi hija unas plantas. Te recordaremos cada vez que las reguemos. Mujer dadora, mujer de luz. Siempre estarás en nuestros corazones. Descansa. Descansa Descansa en paz. 

– The first time I met Mrs. Maria I sensed her great heart and giving spirit. She was not only a volunteer at BIND, but a friend to everyone. Her kindness and dedication stood out every time the Nueva Vida group met, she always had something to give. The last time we saw her she gave my daughter some plants. We will remember you every time we water them. Giving woman, woman of light. You will always be in our hearts. Rest. Rest. Rest in peace

Dr. Belen

– Es y será siempre la madrina de Nueva Vida. Ella hizo que cada uno de nosotros se sintiera digno y valioso. Siempre tenía algún dulce o comida para compartir y nos recibió a todos amorosamente en su casa con una alegría infecciosa.  Ella nos amaba profundamente y su amor siempre se sentirá.

– She is and will always be the godmother of Nueva Vida. She made each of us feel worthy and valuable. She always had some candy or food to share and she lovingly welcomed us all into her home with infectious joy. She loved us deeply and her love will always be felt.


– Some people are angels on earth to show us the way of love, patience and acceptance. Maria opened her heart and home to everyone as though we were all family. She will always be a beacon of love for those of us lucky enough to know her.


– Mi mas sentido pesame para la familia Diaz los acompañamos en su dolor que Dios les de fortaleza estamos con usted Sigy descanse en paz Sra.Maria.

– My deepest condolences to the Diaz family, we accompany them in their pain, may God give them strength, we are with you, Sigi, rest in peace, Mrs. Maria.


– María will always will be the cheerleader for Nueva Vida. Her energy always lightened the day. She welcomed all of us to her home and being a key for Nueva Vida to be family. We miss you Maria


– I was blessed to have known Maria, even for a short time. Her kind and giving nature shined through in her laugh and her time as a volunteer at BIND, her smile, her love for her family was evident when she shared stories about them. Her memory will live on in all of our hearts for many years. Thank you Maria for touching all of us at BIND 


Maria Inez Diaz of Plano, Texas passed away January 3, 2022 at the age of 68.  She was born on January 21, 1953 to Santiago Reyes and Maria Del Carmen Suarez in Montemorelos, Nuevo León Mexico.  Maria attended Escuela Normal Superior Serafin Peña in Montemorelos Nuevo León.  She also received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.  Maria married Sigifredo Diaz on December 27, 1976 in Elsa, Texas.  She worked as a teacher in Mexico for four years.  Maria continued her teaching career in the Lubbock Independent School District and the Richardson Independent School District, retiring in 2013 after many wonderful years of dedicated service.  She was a member of SVDP, Church Lector, and BIND, Brain Injury Network of Dallas Volunteer.  Maria was a devout Catholic and a member of St. Marks The Evangelist Catholic Church in Plano, Texas. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend.  Maria will be missed dearly by those who knew and loved her.

She is survived by her beloved husband of 45 years, Sigifredo Diaz of Plano, Texas; daughter, Diana Elizabeth Diaz and Frank Bedoya of Richardson, Texas; son, Roberto Carlos Diaz of Allen, Texas; daughter, Bianca Diaz Castillo and Joe Castillo of Lubbock, Texas; granddaughter, Kaitlin Geronimo of Omaha, Nebraska; grandson, Cristian Bedoya of Richardson, Texas; granddaughter, Mila Castillo of Lubbock, Texas; sisters, Paula Reyes, Maria Del Carmen Reyes, and Claudia Reyes; brothers, Guadalupe Reyes and Javier Reyes, all of Montemorelos, Nuevo León Mexico; many nieces and nephews; and a host of other loving family and friends.

Maria was preceded in death by her father, Santiago Reyes; mother, Maria Del Carmen Suarez; brothers, Jorge Reyes, Santiago Reyes, Jr., and Jesus Reyes; and sister, Maria Luisa Gutierrez, all of Montemorelos, Nuevo León Mexico.

A funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Monday, January 10, 2022 at St. Mark The Evangelist Catholic Church, 1201 Alma Drive, Plano, Texas 75075.  Facemasks will be required and available to friends and family who wish to attend in person. Following the service, a procession will make its way to Ridgeview Memorial Park, 2525 Central Expressway North, Allen, Texas 75013.  For a committal service the family will receive family and friends during a visitation on Sunday evening from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow Funeral Home Chapel, 2525 Central Expressway North, Allen, Texas 75013.  A rosary service will begin at 6:30 p.m.  Virtual attendance will be via Zoom.  Zoom ID 833 455 53505, PW:  NOVENA.  

In an effort to mitigate the risk of COVID, please consider joining us via ZOOM for the rosary and burial. A YouTube link will be provided for the funeral mass as well. 

The family requests memorial contributions may be made in Maria’s honor to BIND: Brain Injury Network of Dallas. 

Welcoming 2022

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Let’s join together to welcome 2022 alongside our new Executive Director, Brian White! Brian joins us in this new capacity after serving generously as a program volunteer and an officer on our Board of Directors. He is also our 2021 Goodman Award recipient. 

About Brian: Brian White, MRC, LPC, CRC – Following a 20+ year career in Information Technology Brian earned a BA degree in Psychology and 2 Masters degrees in Sport Psychology and Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of North Texas and UT Southwestern School of Health Professionals, respectively. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has worked in sub-acute neuro-rehab and he has a private practice in the Frisco/McKinney area. Brian has owned 2 other companies in the DFW area and has served as a volunteer with many charitable organizations. Brian has served as a program volunteer, the Treasurer of the Board of Directors and the President of the Board of Directors for BIND. He has been married for 25+ years to his wife Kelly and they have 3 Rhodesian Ridgeback rescue dogs. Together they enjoy traveling and remodeling.

Beginning in February 2022, Brian can be reached by phone or email, listed below. 

855-769-2463 Ext 705

Moody Foundation Supports BIND

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December 7, 2021 – BIND: Brain Injury Network of Dallas, a 501c3 nonprofit corporation based in Plano, Texas, is excited to announce a grant award of $130,000 from The Moody Foundation to provide assistance in reconnecting adult survivors of brain injury with their community, family and careers through the Brain Injury Clubhouse.  

About The Moody Foundation – For more than 75 years, the Moody Foundation has funded projects and programs that better communities in our great state of Texas. As a family, their stories have fueled our mission and our grantees continue to inspire us across the arts, education, environment, health, and social services. The Moody Foundation strengthens the future of Texas by investing in charitable projects that exhibit innovative ideas and make long-term improvement in our communities. 

About the BIND Clubhouse – The Brain Injury Network of Dallas is a community center for people living with the effects of an acquired brain injury including stroke, traumatic brain injury or brain cancer. The BIND Mission is to provide tools and a bridge of support to adult survivors of acquired brain injury so they can reconnect to work, life and the community. BIND operates the first and only Brain Injury Clubhouse in the state of Texas, which is its primary tool used to serve survivors. The BIND headquarters is in Plano, Texas, and in 2022, BIND will open a second location in Fort Worth, Texas. BIND is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. 

At BIND, staff and program participants, called Members, work together to run all aspects of the program. The core of the model is an emphasis on empowerment and person-centered programming – allowing each brain injury survivor to regain a sense of control by choosing how they interact with and engage in a work-ordered day. Members manage Clubhouse daily activities, gain work skills and address appropriate social behaviors by working collaboratively with staff, interns, and volunteers on all program tasks. Through this productive and meaningful work, Members build physical and cognitive endurance, increase self-esteem and develop skills necessary to live more independently. For all of its Members, BIND offers the Clubhouse Program, Peer Mentoring, the Work Readiness Program, Spanish-Speaking Services, and Caregiver Support. The BIND Clubhouse Program, including in-person and virtual services, inspires hope for continued brain healing, restores a sense of purpose, improves the quality of life, and reconnects brain injury survivors to the community. 

BIND is a proud member of IBICA: International Brain Injury Clubhouse Alliance, TCC: Texas Clubhouse Coalition, and the Plano Chamber of Commerce.  

BIND Membership – BIND Members are a diverse group of individuals of varied race, gender, education, income, age, and ability. 70% of Members are physically disabled, 17% are Veterans. Ages range from 18 to 80 with an average age of 48. To qualify for membership: Survivors must be 18 years of age or older, have a documented acquired brain injury, be independent with self-care and use assistive devices independently, be willing to participate in a working community, not be a threat to self or others, and, have transportation to/from BIND in Plano or Fort Worth.    

Festival of Lights

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Thousands of years ago, a Jewish holiday was born. Chanukah or Hanukkah. Chanukah is the Jewish “Festival of Lights.”

The English spelling, Hanukkah, and Hebrew spelling, Chanukah, translate to Feast of Dedication. As with many languages, Hebrew has its own verbal distinctions. One is a “guttural,” or rough-sounding ch…(as if one is clearing his/her throat). When spoken in English, the word is Hanukkah. It’s spoken with a softer, or smoother, sound. 

Chanukah is “An Eight Day Winter Festival of Lights.” This year, (in 2021), on the Gregorian calendar. All Jewish holidays begin at sundown the night before the first day…similar to the way Christmas Eve is celebrated on December 24th, with Christmas day celebrated on December 25. The Christian holiday, Easter, is celebrated on the lunar calendar. Easter is celebrated in spring, usually in March or April, and on any date.

Most of today’s agenda-book style calendars and wall calendars are diverse. If you look at your calendar or agenda, you may see that your own holidays and others’ religious and cultural holidays are printed in it. With Jewish holidays, many calendars are printed with “Chanukah begins at sunset.” 

Chanukah candles are placed in a menorah. The Chanukah Menorah is a “Chanukah”. Every night, the Chanukah holds its given night of the holiday plus a leader candle, called the Shamash. The Shamash has an important job: to light each candle before it is placed in the Chanukah.

This year, the first Chanukah candle is lit at sunset or sundown on Monday, November 29.  Going forward one candle, the first night’s candle will be lit at sundown. A candle signifying each day of Chanukah, for eight days, will be lit each night during the holiday for eight days. On the night of Chanukah, the last candle will be lit at sunset on December 6, 2021.

Last September, Jews around the world welcomed the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah means “the birthday of the world.” This year is 5782. That’s five thousand, seven hundred, and eighty-two years. (Nearly 6 millennia ago!) 

On Chanukah, Jews invite family and friends into their home to enjoy a holiday meal, sing songs, light the menorah, and play games. One well-known game played during Chanukah is Dreidel. The game “Dreidel” is a spinning top decorated with a Hebrew letter on each of four sides. They are the letters Noon (nuhn), Rash (raysh), Gimmel (gimmel), and Hay (hey). Those letters represent “A great miracle happened there”. 

Chanukah is not the Jewish Christmas. Chanukah is a winter holiday held to celebrate the Jewish people finding a small amount of oil inside the first temple, lighting it, and the oil staying lit for eight days. We celebrate the victory of the small amount of oil burning for eight days, and the Miracle that the oil played. Jewish families prepare the celebratory meal, usually making latkes, (laht-kehs) or potato pancakes fried in oil, most frequently served alongside sliced brisket and roasted vegetables, like potatoes and carrots. For dessert? Sufganiyot may be served. That’s delicious, delectable, fried jelly doughnut. Yummy! 

~Susan, BIND Member

We’re Hiring!

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The Executive Director Position: Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director (ED)

will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for fund development, finances/budget, its

staff, volunteers, members, student interns, programs, expansion and execution of the Mission and

Vision. The Board of Directors monitors and supports the ED to ensure that he or she is competent

and effective, including conducting an annual performance review.

The ED works in partnership with the Board and the staff to provide leadership and vision for the

organization and to develop long-term strategies. The ED develops and implements policies

approved by the Board, maintains organizational culture, proactively works to reduce risk, and

effectively manages resources while representing BIND in the community.

We’re Looking For Someone Who:

Thrives in a work environment with a fair amount of governance autonomy and is fully

invested in collaborative program enhancements and fundraising with top reports.

Demonstrates excitement when scaling projects through development of goals and

objectives and tracks performance while closing gaps along the way.

Consistently seeks funding diversification and sustainability for a healthy future.

Enjoys learning and demonstrates the ability to adjust to unanticipated challenges.

Intuitively realizes the potential in others and sees where opportunity may be hiding

Aligns resources in a productive, efficient and meaningful way.

Expects direct reports to accept ownership and reinforces accountability across all levels of

the organization.

Easily establishes and maintains relationships with a variety of stakeholders.

To learn more about the position and how to apply, please refer to the full position description:

Where to Start to Reduce Violence and Abuse

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I miss several things I used to do before the stroke, but one of the most rewarding was running two conferences on Domestic Violence.  On that occasion, the title was “Are we winning the war on Domestic Violence?”  To close the conference, I concluded that the answer was no.  Even today, the number of instances continues to grow, primarily because so many violations are never reported.

A great friend of mine encouraged me to investigate Domestic Violence against women and sexual abuse.   After reading extensively about many sub-topics on these two subjects, I believe that the root cause is a massive failure to instill in young boys and young men the virtue of honoring womanhood.  I have come to this conclusion and believe that it has little or no emphasis in the literature.  

I contend that at a young age, little boys need to learn how to treat little girls properly, and at an older age, young men need to learn how to treat young women properly.  Instilling that learning experience about proper treatment – what you do and don’t do – is important for men in producing proper respect for women. 

I believe that proper treatment yields respect.  Conversely, I believe that improper treatment yields a lack of respect.  

When men do not respect women, they are then objects for mistreatment, abuse, and debauchery.  There is where you see physical strikes and sexual abuse.  It all goes full circle.   

When I was 15 and continuing through age 22, I traveled throughout Texas reciting a poem from the Order of DeMolay called the Flower Talk.  I must have given it close to 1,000 times.  In part, a mother speaks to her son when he reaches the threshold of manhood at age 21, “for my life, make no woman weep / for my life, make no woman cheap / and for my life, give no woman scorn, for that dark night when you were born.” 

Not everyone has the chance to hear these lines.  But, we don’t need poetry to instill proper treatment, which yields proper respect, which yields proper activity.  If we had this as a baseline, we would have much less Domestic Violence against women, because men would know better.  

And, they should learn about proper treatment at a very young age.  It should be a core value that will stay with them throughout their lives – one that does not waver with circumstances or conditions. 

~ Karl K, BIND Member


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The number of Americans who suffer from pain is astounding.  Recent figures reveal that “an estimated 20.4% of U.S. adults had chronic pain and 8.0% of U.S. adults had high-impact chronic pain.  Both were more prevalent among adults living in poverty, adults with less than a high school education, and adults with public health insurance.” The cost of medicine, lost productivity, and disability programs have climbed to $560 billion each year.  1

The difference between these types of pain is important to understand.  “Acute pain is provoked by a specific disease or injury, serves a useful biologic purpose, is associated with skeletal muscle spasm and sympathetic nervous system activation, and is self-limited. Chronic pain, in contrast, may be considered a disease state.  It is pain that outlasts the normal time of healing, if associated with a disease or injury.  Chronic pain may arise from psychological states, serves no biologic purpose, and has no recognizable end-point.“ 

Despite the attention pain management attracts, current research indicates many treatments are inadequate for several reasons:  (1) many patients do not trust the knowledge they get from healthcare professionals, (2) consultations with patients are rushed, (3) general practitioners put pain relief as a low priority, (4) pain specialists do not believe that this is a disease in its own right, (5) healthcare workers skills are not fully utilized, and (6) psychological therapy is usually delayed and even too late to do any good.  3

Most pain management programs encourage users to take medications that have unwanted side effects.  As a contrast, holistic pain management focuses on a body’s internal functions, “triggering natural healing and releasing endorphins, your body’s ‘feel good’ chemicals.”  4

We have members at BIND who have tried different methods to manage or alleviate their pain.  A number of these members claim they are “still a work in process.”

I can only focus on a few good examples.  Half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.  It is the leading cause of disability, and it is the most common reason for missed work.  Americans spend at least $50 billion each year treating back pain.  5

Here is one that I have had several bouts with for my leg and thigh.  Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through the hips and buttocks and down each leg. 

In my case, I had a herniated disk, or bone spur on the spine or narrowing of the spine that pinches part of the nerve.  The pain is intense.  I took treatments from both a pain doctor and a chiropractor, whom I made sure did not know each other.  The pain doctor used Morphine, Hydrocodone, and Tramadol, which I still use daily.  The chiropractor used decompression to separate the bone from the nerve.  This is not a quick treatment, and that can take as much as six months to see any results.  

Here are some observations from our members at BIND:

“I have been seeing a chiropractor for 2 years.  Shortly after I started seeing him, I noticed that I was sleeping better, reduced headaches, and it has improved my spine alignment.”  Carrie 

“Thankfully I’m not riddled with pain.  I do prefer a more homeopathic approach when available.  I have found Arnica Montana which has both topical and sublingual pellets.  Works great – it’s also helpful in alleviating minor strains and sprains.  I use CBD pain serum topically.” Annette K

It is not always possible to prevent sciatica.  The suggestions for treatment are to exercise regularly, maintain proper posture when you sit, and use good body mechanics.  If you stand for long periods, you will be told to rest one foot on a stool or small box occasionally.  I have also taken steroid injections and acupuncture, with disappointing results.  6, 7

What are some other sources for managing pain? 

DO’s (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) and MD’s (Doctor of Medicine) are both physicians who can practice in any area of medicine.  “Of the 860,917 physicians actively practicing in the United States in 2015, 67.1% hold an MD degree granted in the U.S., 24.3% are international medical graduates, and 7.6% hold a DO degree.” 8 Many are primary care doctors.  Both can prescribe medication and train to do surgery.Osteopathic doctors get extra training in the muscles, bones, and joints. DO’s learn osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), which means that they use their hands to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness and injury.  They apply techniques such as gentle pressure, stretching, restoring range of motion, and encourage good health.  9, 10

Massage Therapy compliments chiropractic care. In many cases, massage therapists and chiropractors use the same location or office.  Massage is another natural way to relieve pain.  Many patients believe that a massage will reduce stress, internally relax the body, and promote safe healing.  

Other pain relief options include Meditation and Relaxation.  Several of our members at BIND have testified that these techniques are often helpful to fight pain caused by stress.  Simple exercises release natural endorphins, which combat pain.  You can easily find sources that document the fact some daily exercise even reduces heart disease risk, controls blood sugar levels, and helps to lose weight.  

In summary, no one wants to live in pain.  While there are options for how to take care of yourself, there are barriers, including lack of adequate insurance and other factors.  Some of these involve transportation, lifestyle habits, family support, financial pressures, just to name a few.  For 19 years, I taught foreigners from many places all over the world.  Many times, they remarked, “Americans have the greatest chance to live and survive in a healthy way but so many of our citizens do not have access to it.” Sad!  

~ Karl K, BIND Member









8              :2016 Physician Specialty Data Book”.  Association of American Medical Colleges



Caregiver Spotlight

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By Karl K

Our Caregiver of the quarter is Jerry Holliday. He celebrated his 80th birthday this year. Jerry has three children, and the youngest is Jeff, who is a member at BIND. Jerry lives with Jeff, who is now 40 years old. He has been widowed since 2009.

Jerry served in the US Army, and then started his career in photocopy printing. He was a proud member of his union for 14 years, and when he moved to Houston, he worked for the Houston Post. Afterwards, he worked in the oil and gas industry, in on and offshore rigs. Jerry has been now retired nine years. Since he wakes up early, he drives UBER a few times a week.

Jerry has two hobbies – bass fishing and golf. He does not get to play as much he wants, due to a leg injury. He also knows a lot about old-time baseball players and events.

On a typical day, Jerry does housework, cooking, and takes care of the yard. You may have seen their new family dog on Facebook. Jerry helps Jeff monitor his medicines. He takes Jeff to the doctor as needed, and now they are concerned about his upcoming MRI.

Jerry is a big fan of BIND. He thinks that Jeff has benefited by getting around people and is excited about getting to run morning meetings and organizing walks. They are both also active in an Ataxia group, While Jeff can be online, his preference is to meet in person.

Be sure to meet Jerry online for the next Caregiver Meeting on August 11 at 2:00 p.m. Congratulations on this honor!

Preparing for Surgery

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About a year ago I had a hip injury while exercising, so as an athlete, I pushed through the pain for as long as I could. I was nervous to learn that I needed surgery to repair the damage, especially considering my seizure disorder. I finally had the surgery to repair the torn ligament, so that I could get back out on the hiking trails.  Fortunately, I had time to prepare for the surgery and this allowed my family and I to make certain preparations beforehand. Knowing the recovery time to be at least 9 months and knowing a disruption to my schedule would be difficult, we planned ahead. Here are a few of the things I learned that were super helpful:

Preparing the body:

I worked with my medical team beforehand– like my neurologist, to try to reduce my seizures and my PT to learn exercises, and how to use assistive devices (like my crutches).   I made sure I ate well, drank plenty of fluids and RESTED prior to my big day.  I cut back on sugary treats, drank less coffee, and reduced my exercise plans. I wrote down my usual routines, so that I would remember all the important things I do every day, (like taking my meds and making coffee, of course), and so that my partner could help me out. I made a list of all the things for my surgery day so I would be as comfortable as possible (see photo below)

Preparing the mind:

I spoke with a mental health professional about my concerns and fears. For example, what if I have a seizure during my surgery? What if I wake up and can’t remember who I am?  How will my behavior affect my relationship with my partner? I increased my mindfulness practices to prepare for hours and days unable to do my normal routines (like meditation with Lynn hosted by BIND on Zoom.) I worked on my patience and how to ask for help. I slowly did less around the house and asked my partner to take over things that I knew I wouldn’t be able to do for months, such as cooking and cleaning.

Preparing the home (I had a lot of help from my partner on this):

We made several frozen meals ahead of time and made sure I had all my medications refilled.

We set up the shower, moved furniture to make space and put things in reach that I might need

We figured out how to get me up and down the stairs, in and out of the house, the bed, the shower and the car.

Preparing with loved ones, friends, and medical staff:

We communicated with family and friends for support, especially if I needed help getting into the house when I got home from the hospital  I kept all my medical, dental and PT appointments ahead of time (There were a lot!)  I was open and honest with everyone about my medical history so I would get the best care possible.

I am grateful to have had the good fortune to have this surgery and to prepare for it. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to ask questions. The next blog I write will be about what I have learned after the surgery.  Stay tuned….


Not a Hot Idea

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By Karl K

BIND Blogs

How can a parent forget that a child is locked in a hot car?  As I write this, I still cannot believe how this could possibly be.

It happens more than you would ever think.  The situation is getting worse, not better. The child’s temperature can rise quickly and die at 107 degrees. They must be cooled off quickly.  Between 2018 and 2020, a record number of children (126) died due to vehicular heatstroke.  

Here are three primary circumstances resulting in deaths of children in hot cars:

  • A caregiver forgetting a child in a vehicle.
  • The child gaining access to the vehicle.
  • Someone knowingly leaving a child in the vehicle. 
  • NSC advises parents and caregivers to stick to a routine and avoid distractions to reduce the risk of forgetting a child. Place a purse, briefcase or even a left shoe in the back seat to force you to take one last look before walking away. Keep car doors locked so children cannot gain access and teach them that cars are not play areas. There is no safe amount of time to 

leave a child in a vehicle, even if you are just running a quick errand.”   

The first step is to be sure you lock your car door and trunk, where children cannot get in.   The second is to be observant, when people look through a car window to see if child is inside.  Here are some tips:  

1.     Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended — even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running, and the air conditioning is on.

 2.  Make it a habit to check your entire vehicle — front and back — before locking the door and walking away. Train yourself to Park, Look, Lock, or always ask yourself, “Where’s Baby?

 3.     Ask your childcare provider to call if your child does not show up for care as expected. 

4.    Place a personal item like a purse or briefcase in the back seat, as another reminder to look before you lock. Write a note or place a stuffed animal in the passenger’s seat to remind you that a child is in the back seat.

  5.   Store car keys out of a child’s reach and teach children that a vehicle is not a play  area.”   

I could hardly write this piece.  This was very hard for me.  You see, my goddaughter was accidentally locked in a car at a mall in Las Cruces, New Mexico when she was only 7 years old.  Her Mom put the keys on the seat and lost sight of them  I ran to the store to see if I could find a hanger to open the car window.  I did, and all went well.  Had that not happened, I was ready to break the window.  

There are many examples of near-tragedy or worse.  Here are three:

In 2019, a Georgia father was convicted of murder after leaving his son in a hot car two summers ago.  His 22-month-old toddler was left in a car for seven hours.  Jurors believed he left the little boy to die on purpose, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  He was also convicted of eight counts of malice murder, felony murder, cruelty to children in the first and second degree, and sexual exploitation of and dissemination of harmful material to minors.   4  

That same year, in Garland, police took a call from a car wash at Jupiter and Arapaho.  The temperature was 97 degrees at that time.  Witnesses saw the father had parked and was vacuuming his car when he suddenly pulled the limp baby out and appeared frantic.  Employees at the car wash said they saw a driver go through the wash, park his car, and start vacuuming.  They said 10 or 15 minutes later, they saw him running.  The 9-month-old girl was found dead  

Close to home, I know a man well from my own church and Masonic Lodge who was fortunate.   Distracted by a change in their morning routine, he left his 3-year-old son, Michael, asleep in the back seat of the car when he returned home on June 10, 2015.  He is now well, but behind in several areas in his development.  As a result, he and his wife have presented this story to several audiences, including television appearances. “It can happen to you,” he said.  “I was the guy that spent an awful lot of time beating up on the internet parents that bad things happen to”. She urged parents “to check the back seat every time, even when you know you don’t have your kids with you, and you are positive they are not there. Look in the back seat just to make sure, because the moment that you think you’re safe could be the moment that you’re notThat moment can get away from you, and if you’re not fortunate – as fortunate as we were – you’re going to live with the consequences for the rest of your life.”  6

I wish I did not feel this way.  I am a forgiving person.  I just cannot get past this.  Everyone is entitled to make mistakes.  But, I cannot see how, even as busy or distracted as someone can be, what is so pressing that a child is forgotten.  I welcome any comments that our readers wish to offer,





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