Adult children who stay actively involved in their elders’ lives as relatives need more external assistance can feel like case workers, health-care providers and medical-library researchers all at once. But these advocates, by providing an extra set of eyes, ears and wheels for their relatives, add quality to the adventure that is aging.
Lupus, while treatable, has no cure. The cause is unknown. Women are nine times more likely to face the unexplainable, potentially debilitating flare-ups of this disease. Moderation is key. “A lot of lupus patients are real high achievers,” says Della Hunter, chair of the Lupus Foundation of Virginia. “Then they find themselves trying to do too much and wind up in bed for two or three days.” For Alison Reuse, the first symptom appeared 20 years ago. Sore muscles and joints made holding her infant daughter a challenge. The bigger trial came when Reuse entered her 40s. “Ooh,” she says, “that’s when things got bad.”
A stroke robbed Dave Thomas, not yet 40, of the ability to talk, swallow or even nod. During a two-month hospitalization, doctors told his wife that he might remain bedridden. “I went out looking at nursing homes,” Suzanne Thomas says. Through intensive rehabilitation and a lot of hard work, her husband not only regained the ability to speak but walked his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day. “I walked with a cane real slow,” he says, “but I got there.”
Aspiring entrepreneurs with more ideas than legal funds find a means to protect their innovations and pursue their dreams for an unbelievable price: Free. The lifeline comes from the newest law student clinic at the University of Richmond, which contributed an estimated $219,000 in business, contracts and licensing services to the community in its first semester. Businesswoman Kelli Lieder launched a speaking tour for her company and its children’s musical project a week after third-year law student Jim Stubbs finished sorting out a complicated series of rights and royalties issues. The case involved 109 hours of work, valued at more than $17,000.
At the University of Richmond, “The Gift” means one thing: an extraordinary, unrestricted donation by businessman and alumnus E. Claiborne Robins Sr. Forty years ago, his contribution of $40 million accompanied by a $10 million challenge grant exceeded all other gifts from living benefactors to an American university. The result altered the school’s course.
As Virginia’s secretary of public safety, Marla Graff Decker oversees 14 departments with an estimated 22,000 employees. She and several other University of Richmond Law School graduates in high-profile positions find state government roles are “pretty much as good as it gets” for lawyers with a driving desire to serve the public.
The humble belly button takes on new importance. A single, thumb-width incision in the navel permits hysterectomies that avoid cutting abdominal muscles, resulting in tiny scars and little pain. The morning after Theresa Eanes underwent this surgery through an umbilical incision, she felt no reason to remain in the hospital. The best part? “My belly button looks way better than before.”
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