On pneumococcal disease—and vaccination—awareness

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This is a sponsored post in partnership with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

When I was in fourth grade, I was the only one in my class who could spell pneumonia. I clearly recall my teacher standing at the front of the class, carefully writing out P N E U M O N I A on the chalkboard then asking the rapt students who knew what the word was. No one raised a hand… so I did.

I did indeed know the word because I was, in fact, the reason my teacher had written it on the board. He resourcefully used my return from an extended absence—due to pneumonia—as a lesson on a wacky word that not only began with a silent P, but boasted an abundance of vowels.

That wasn’t the first time I’d had pneumonia. I had suffered a serious bout at 18 months, though I naturally don’t recall that time. I do recall the three…

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Risque rehab

Risque rehab

On Monday I visited my mom in the rehabilitation facility where she’s been staying since an especially difficult setback in her lung cancer journey a few weeks ago.

As I sat on the edge of the bed next to her, we perused the papers left by a CNA which listed various activities meant to get the patients up and about and socializing. I read the options for group entertainment to her.

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Grandbaby ETA draws near

Grandbaby ETA draws near

Brianna is officially at 37 weeks and two days today. Yesterday I had the privilege of attending one of her final ultrasound appointments—an exciting opportunity for me, considering my first three grandbabies were born 815 miles away, making this my first such experience.

I got to watch Brianna undergo a neonatal…

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Getting real... plus GRAND Social No. 321 link party for grandparents

Getting real... plus GRAND Social No. 321 link party for grandparents

Getting real

My mom is struggling to survive stage 3 lung cancer. My firstborn will soon deliver her firstborn any day now. Somewhere in between my utter despair regarding the one end of life’s spectrum and my sheer delight related to the other is the space where I, a writer and blogger, should be writing and blogging.

But I don’t feel like…

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Like father, like son... and son... and son

Like father, like son... and son... and son

"A father is someone you look up to no matter how tall you are." ~ anonymous

My son-in-law Preston works out in the mornings before he goes to work. Last week my grandsons joined Dad in doing a few pushups—before school, before even changing out of their pajamas.

The photo Megan shared on social media…

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The Let's Be Well Diabetes Box™ a thoughtful gift for loved one with diabetes

This post sponsored by AARP and the American Diabetes Association.

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My husband isn't normal. I guess a more accurate descriptor would be that he's an anomaly. See, my husband has peripheral neuropathy—numbness, tingling, pain, and worse in his feet. It's a condition most commonly due to diabetes. Yet my husband does not have diabetes, not even pre-diabetes. According to literally decades of blood tests seeking a diabetes-PN connection, there is no connection.

There are, though, chronic—and oh-so stubborn—foot wounds my husband regularly contends with, similar to the foot wounds folks with diabetes often experience. It's a confounding state, to say the least.

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MS and must-see brain matters

MS and must-see brain matters

As many of you know, I have multiple sclerosis, having been diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS in 1992. I've done fairly well with the condition over the past 26 years, with the help of progressively stronger drugs along the way. In fact, most strangers—and even some folks I do know in person—have no idea I have MS because, for the most part, it doesn't show. It's one of those "invisible" diseases.

As such things go over the years, though, some of the effects are becoming less invisible. Especially to me. Especially those darn…

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Throwback Thursday: Thoughts on My Daughter's Miscarriage

Throwback Thursday: Thoughts on My Daughter's Miscarriage

This #TBT piece—originally published October 18, 2015 on Purple Clover—underscores the appreciable blessing of my daughter's recent pregnancy announcement. Thank you for reading.

My daughter lost her baby last week. A miscarriage in the first trimester.

Coming from an abundantly fertile family, it's hard to wrap my head around that. My mom had seven children. Three of my sisters had several children, and a number of those kids had kids. I had three children myself, and my middle child had three children, too.

All of us had no problem. Yet it's a problem for my oldest child, Brianna.

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Brains on music, plus GRAND Social No. 293 link party for grandparents

Brains on music, plus GRAND Social No. 293 link party for grandparents

Brains on music

Let's kick of the new week with music, as who doesn't love music?

More accurately — for the purpose of this post — who doesn't love what music does to the brain?

Exactly what is it that music does to the brain? Well, take a look at this intriguing video on such that I saw on social media yesterday:

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A plumber's daughter on shootings, guns, and mental illness

A plumber's daughter on shootings, guns, and mental illness

In the aftermath of the appalling loss of life in Florida on Valentine's Day, social media is once again abuzz with anger, outrage, sadness, stingers, zingers, and some seemingly common-sensical solutions (others very nonsensical and hate-filled) related to gun control, mental illness, and myriad other factors related to yet another WTF situation. 

Once again because nothing changed after the last mass shooting. Or the one before. Or the one before. Or the one before and before and before.

Most of the rhetoric and (justified) rantings seem...

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That time I tried the new Signature Collection from Readers.com

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Enter nearly any room in my house and you'll likely see a pair of reading glasses somewhere. Kitchen? Check. Bedroom? Check. In the study where I work? Of course. In the bathroom where even my magnifying mirror needs a bit of a boost? Yep.

I have lots of reading glasses because I need them for lots of reasons. I go through them so often — scratching, losing, or tiring of the style — that I buy only inexpensive ones, typically those that come in batches of four or more for a relatively low price.

So when Readers.com invited me to try out their new Signature Collection of handmade yet a smidgen higher priced readers free for review, it didn't take much...

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Shingles and shots: On the shingles virus and vaccine

Shingles and shots: On the shingles virus and vaccine

This post sponsored by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases through an unrestricted educational grant from Merck & Co., Inc.

What you should know about shingles and getting vaccinated to prevent it

When conversations and considerations turn to vaccinations, immunizations for little ones is most often the focus. Or, for traveling folks, the shots necessary for globe-trotting trips might be what comes to mind.

The shingles vaccination rarely registers in the top shots grandmothers and others consider in relation to must-get vaccinations. Which is a shame considering that, according to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), one in three adults will get shingles in their lifetime. In the United States, shingles affects nearly one million people each year — roughly half of them are age 60 years and older.

Which means thousands of grandparents likely suffer the pains and problems associated with shingles.

My older sister happens to be one of those struggling with shingles. Becky, three years older than me, was ...

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