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Family Newsletter - March 1999

Past Issues: June July August September October Nov/Dec February

From: Steve and Jo

We thought you ought to know that this Hiebert website is now two years old!

Thank you to all of you out there that have contributed material for this site, and keep sending it in!

From: Betty

Carl had a pacemaker installed to correct a very slow heart rate and some long pauses in the beats. He is doing very well and wonders how he didn't notice the problem sooner. We are happy the problem was caught before he had more serious problems, like passing out while driving (as a friend did). Thanks for the thoughts and prayers.

(also recieved:)

Our thanks to a wonderfully supportive family for calls, thoughts and prayers for the successful implantation of a pacemaker. Carl sailed through and feels so much better that he wondered why he hadn't realized he needed one sooner. In about two weeks he is free to golf or lift. Modern technology is wonderful.

Some researchers are having some success with implanting pacemakers in the brains of Parkinson's Disease patients. That would be strange. It reminds me of the Wizard of Oz: Carl needs a heart and I need a brain.

In two weeks we head to NYC to take care of Nicholas, our youngest grandchild. Cindy, Mike's wife, is a litigator and has to try a case out of town. Mike wanted help in the evenings after the nanny leaves. Carol succesfully managed the release of Oracle's main product and is going to take a month off to catch her breath. It has been called the most efficient release in the company's history and she has gained recognition for her leadership.

Gentry teaching Steve how to play his Great-Grandma's Indian drums

From: Loey

Family Reunion News

Great news -we got 5 cabins and 3 camp sites for August 5, 6, and 7 at Snow Mountain Ranch in Colorado. This should give us plenty of room and a big area for group dinners. Please let Jo or me know that you are coming so that we can make sure we have logistics worked out.

Check-in at the cabins is 3:00pm and the drive from the Denver Airport is about 2 hours. If anyone is coming a day early or needs to stay a day later you are welcome to stay at my house in Boulder - just let me know. The cabins are fully furnished with sheets, blankets, towels, cookware, dishes etc. The cabins have a kitchen, bedrooms, living room, fireplace, porch and are fairly spacious - and most have stunning views.

Snow Mountain Ranch has a wide range of activities so we should all have a great time. For kids there is a swimming pool, miniature golf, and an activity center which acts as a day camp where kids can stay for the day (for free!!). For adults there is hiking, biking, horses, a rock wall for climbing, and a wonderful hot springs 'resort' nearby for tubing and massage therapy. I thought we might also organize a 'ropes course' - a team event to complete a challenge course.

So far we have Betty signed up to organize the food, Jo to figure out some activities, Phyl and Margie to work out pictures, videos etc. (reunion t-shirts?) and Gwen to direct.

If you have any questions specific to Snow Mountain Ranch, call/write Loey. Hope to see you there.

From: Rick

(These are excerpts of Rick's email from Africa, where he was for three weeks, along with Elmer, who was there for six weeks.)

I think I told you in the other email, or it's in my journal, that the city of Brazzaville, 3 km. away, is being shelled by rebels. So, although this is a quiet place, that isn't the case everywhere. It is strangely eerie to be near fighting like this. Last Thursday was exceptionally bad. The shelling started at about 7am with a loud 'BOOM' and didn't finish until about 7pm tonight. All day long we heard machine guns, mortars and today for the first time, rockets. I realised that I am such a child of the media, the only thing that I could compare this to was the film, Saving Private Ryan. Isn't that sad? Across the river people were probably losing their lives and I was comparing it to a film. It's times like these that show me how shallow my life experiences really are.

Wednesday 29th Jan
I was in a car, riding to a church to preach, when I saw something I had never seen before. It's important to realise that here in Kinshasa there is no such thing as an MOT or smog test for cars. In fact, I have seen many cars that are so wrecked and rusted I wonder how they keep moving. What I saw coming toward us on the road was a large truck. The hood was open and a man was sitting in the engine compartment pulling the lever to send petrol into the carburetor with his hand. The driver (?) had his head out of the window (he couldn't see out the window, the bonnet was up), and he was steering this big truck down the road. But this isn't the end; in the back of the truck were about 50 people getting a ride. I think I would have waited another hour for a different taxi.

From: Margy

It's time for spring garden out here on the farm--we're eating up the last of our winter vegetables in great, hearty soups and looking forward to new seeds and seedlings. Have some flowers going too to attract butterflies.

Michael continues to interview for teacher's aide positions, averaging 1-2 a week. There appears to be stiff competition! One position had 75 applicants. Tough odds, especially when you have something working against you to begin with.

I'm 8 weeks away from graduation and counting. Am getting daily more comfortable in seeing patients, but am still overwhelmed with the vast array of pharmaceuticals that our society and health care system pushes. You can't convince people that their respiratory illness is viral and thus not treatable with antibiotics. They want to walk away with prescription in hand or they feel cheated. Actually, about 80% of what walks through the door are conditions I'd never bother to seek care for - just let 'em run their course.

The big news is that Michael and I are negotiating to spend June and July in Guatemala, working at an orphanage. They are certain they want us to come, but there are so many details to work out in advance. The orphanage is in the Eastern part of the country, along the Rio Dulce, a site accessible only by boat!! They depend on donated materials and medicines, so if you know of any....I'm not sure how I can ship stuff, but I'm guessing that clothes, shoes, toys, medical supplies and basic medicines are very welcome. I'll do health care and Michael will help with record keeping, taking vital signs, and playing with the children or childcare.

Gwen was here for a visit recently. Went to dinner and saw a flamenco dance show. Rambled around a huge indoor flea market, antique place, where Gwen found some crocheted doilies she turned into fabulous throw pillows for my bed to match my quilt. Wish I could see more of you more often.

Michael is also quite busy becoming an advocate for Asperger's Syndrome (AS) cause, since very few people are informed about it and the severe lifelong consequences of having it. He's already faxed or e-mailed letters to the editor of about 20 newspapers, gotten some printed + responses, and has done the same to all the Florida legislators, some churches and schools. He's galvanizing other parents of AS kids on his special computer listserv to get involved as well. He's also signed up for his local representative's task forces on education and on the disabled. I sure am proud of him.

More next time, folks. I can't wait to see what everyone else is up to.

From: Barbara

Attached is a brief newsletter on the topic of nutrition:

Nutrition in a Nutshell #2

What's all this Fuss about Folate?

by Barbara Hiebert, R.D.

Doctors and dietitians alike are buzzing over the recent news about Folate. So what's all the fuss about? To answer that question, let me take you back a few years to the early 1970's.

Over 28 years ago a promising young doctor by the name of Kilmer McCully, practicing at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston first proposed a link between the amino acid called "homocysteine" and heart disease. He had studied several cases of children who died at very young ages of coronary artery disease (hardening of the arteries), due to a genetic predisposition to high homocysteine levels in the blood. Dr. McCully began to test his theory on rabbits. The scientific community took little interest in his work at the time, some even laughing at his ideas.

Current research from several top institutions in the country, including Tufts University and the Cleveland Clinic, support his theories about homocysteine and heart disease. The Physician's Health Study found that subjects with the highest plasma homocysteine levels had a 3.4 greater risk of myocardial infarction than those with normal levels. Tufts University reported that risk began to rise with homocysteine levels as low as 11.4 umol per liter, levels which were previously considered to be normal.

High homocysteine levels were not the only "bad guys" discovered by these studies. The Cleveland Clinic reported that Vitamin B6 deficiency resulted in 4 times the risk of coronary heart disease.

So how can we improve our risk factors in light of this new information? Green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of folate, however most of us do not consume amounts sufficient enough to reduce risk.

My recommendation is to take a daily multivitamin containing 400 ug. of Folate (folic acid, folacin), 2 mg. of Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and 1 mg. of Vitamin B12. Most general brands, including the cheaper generic brands, will provide what you need. Check the label on the back to be sure.

Please let me know if you have other ideas or questions! My e-mail address is: BarbaraHi@Helix.org; snail mail: 2412 Crest Rd. Baltimore, MD 21209.