RAGBRAI ’19 – Friday Starting Out

Toni and I, packed up and ready to hit the road

My sister-in-law Toni and I headed out for RAGBRAI today around 12:30 pm today. We had a few setbacks that lengthened the trip, but overall it was uneventful. We have gotten stuck in traffic in Chicago almost every year, so we decided to go cross country this time, since the start was farther south in Iowa. As it turned out, that put us on a lot of county roads, so we really didn’t make any better time. I drove and the Jeep isn’t the smoothest ride!

We had to get my bike carrier modified (Thanks Burt’s Body Shop), because both of our new bikes have frames that are too small for the carrier as it was made. There aren’t many options for Jeep bike carriers, so it was good that we could “fix” it. That seemed to work well for us. We both like our newer bikes (mine from last year and Toni’s from a year or so ago), though I’ve been struggling to find a saddle that works for me. I’ve also been having some issues with my left wrist and Toni is having some shoulder issues, so this trip could be a bit challenging!

Marshall County Senior Expo 2019

I always enjoy meeting new people and seeing current clients at the Senior Expo. This Saturday there was a blurb in the Pilot News (see right) about preparations that are underway. The date is set for October 17th at the Plymouth High School. Mark your calendar to come out and see me. As always, I will be doing hearing screenings and will have a few give-aways at our booth.

For those of you that don’t know, a hearing screening is the most basic of hearing tests. It is the best that can be accomplished in a temporary setting like the Expo, but nothing compared to what you would receive with a full hearing test at my office where I have a sound booth for optimum testing.

A screening is a great start and I’ll be able to provide you with some basic information. If warranted, a follow-up visit to my office can be scheduled. There we would be able to explore the full range of options open to you.

Spring ’19 Newsletter

Happy Spring!

I hope you enjoy our newsletter, which I will try to get to you quarterly. Please note that I am having a Patient Appreciation event (see page 2) at the end of this month, which is Better Hearing and Speech Month.

Please join us on May 29th and bring a guest!  We would love to see you here!

The Newsletter will be sent out by email quarterly. Please email us at bergeraudiology@outlook.com if you would like to be added to our mailing list.

Hearing Aid use can Slow Cognitive Decline in Older Adults

It should be common sense that untreated hearing loss and the associated isolation would exacerbate cognitive decline, but a study was completed on behalf of the SENSE‐Cog WP1 group and reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol. 66, Issue 6, June 2018 provides backup data. The conclusion: “Hearing aids may have a mitigating effect on trajectories of cognitive decline in later life. Providing hearing aids or other rehabilitative services for hearing impairment much earlier in the course of hearing impairment may stem the worldwide rise of dementia.”

Note that it also says that addressing this earlier provides the best effect. Just another reason proper hearing health care is important to your quality of life. Don’t forget that changes in your hearing can also be indicators of other issues. As your Audiologist, I can help with these issues, and if necessary, direct you to other health care professionals with advanced skills in these areas.

Senior Expo – 2018

If you’re not aware, the Marshall County Senior Expo will be at the Plymouth High School on Thursday, October 18th – 8:a.m. to 3 p.m. Come out and see me in Booth #26.  I will be providing free hearing screenings.

If you haven’t looked at the Senior Expo flyer that’s been in the newspapers, be sure to flip through it.. There is an article on hearing issues and the importance of seeing an Audiologist. I’ve seen it in the Plymouth Pilot and the Culver Citizen. Ask me why it’s important to see a Doctor of Audiology for your hearing needs. I’ll happily give you an earful! <pun intended> I’m passionate about my profession and the patients I serve.

Stretching My Doctorate…

Rebecca Berger, Doctor of Audiology

I am very proud of my AuD (Doctor of Audiology) designation. I often have to explain what it means. I have advanced degrees in Audiology. I am not just a technician that fits you with a hearing aid… I am trained in the theory and practice of how my equipment works, how hearing aids work (and don’t work!), the interaction of the hearing aid with various types of hearing loss, the interactions of various drugs with hearing as well as a myriad of other hearing related information. I also am trained to recognize the physical causes of your hearing loss that might require you to see a physician and possibly a specialist such as an ENT. I participate in yearly continuing education to maintain my license, advance my knowledge and keep current on the latest technology and practices that I can use to help my patients.

When a patient mistakes my degree for a medical degree, I am quick to correct them. I am not qualified or licensed to dispense specific medical advice outside my defined limits. I am not able to write prescriptions for medicines. I often recommend a visit to a patient’s family physician for further evaluation if I feel that there is a health issue that needs to be addressed in conjunction with the hearing loss. That said, I’ve been pressed into other roles this past month!

Lions Club Shelter at Centennial Park

I am a member of the Plymouth Lions Club. On Labor Day Weekend, I was one of the volunteers serving food, or more accurately, acting as cashier, for the Lions Club Fundraiser at the Blueberry Festival. A festival-goer came to the pavilion and asked if they could have a seat as they were not feeling well and the heat was affecting them. Seconds later, I found myself holding them, slumped in my arms, as they passed out and vomited. I took control, organized help to get her settled and directed calls to get her medical attention.

Pulaski Memorial Hospital

Our satellite office is at Pulaski Memorial Hospital in Winamac. I am there two days a month. On a recent day there, a staff member came into my office, distraught over a patient. I sat with them and comforted them until someone from the hospital could help. I often feel like a marriage counselor when dealing with spouses with hearing loss, but this was a bit outside my realm!

I’m sure my years of working with the Medical Doctors who were my previous employers helped me deal with these issues. Doctors Brooks, Kletzing, Saine and McTigue were all compassionate professionals, dedicated to their patients’ care. They set a great example and I respected them all. I was glad that I was able to step up in these recent situations when others were unable to do so. But it has also reaffirmed my understanding that everyone should have some basic emergency medical training. My Doctorate didn’t apply here, but my compassion and basic knowledge let me be a Good Samaritan when one was needed.

It’s Windy Today!

This has always been one of my favorite Birthday Cards! It’s a Zero Gravity card from Andrew McMeel Publishing, LLC. You can buy them here.

You can imagine how often I run into this issue in this profession. When I give patients the word testing, it’s sometimes hard not to laugh when they tell me what they think they heard. I’ve had a few patients blush and tell me, “I can’t say that!” Trust me, there are no off-color words in the standard word list. If you hear something that you think is bad, it’s in your head!

RAGBRAI ’18 – Wrap Up

Toni didn’t want to spill her saddle bag, so she let me do the lifting honors.

Toni and i successfully completed another RAGBRAI journey. Woo-hoo! (Toni and I have been joking about all the Woo-hoo women here! Ha!)

The ending day on Saturday was long… 69 miles and as usual, lots of hills as we got closer to the river. We were motivated to get home, but it was still an all day endeavor.

We were going to forego the dunk site and just head to the Jeep, but as we came to expect this trip, we had no internet service. Without Google Maps to guide us, we decided we were best off just to follow the route to completion and head to the parking site from there.

Elvis would be proud of my peanut butter and ‘naner Buca-wiche

We’ve had vehicle issues in the past, i.e. dead batteries, lost keys, etc., but fortunately the Jeep was ready to go when we got there. As expected, the smaller bike frame did not fit on the carrier, so I had to take the tire off my bike and put it inside. Everything fit, but it had to go in a certain way so nothing got damaged.

Again, without Google Maps, it took us a bit to find our way out of Davenport and get on the road. What should have been a four hour trip took a little longer, but part of that was our stop at Culver’s for Butter Burgers. We also imposed on their restroom to change clothes and take a wet nap sponge bath. (It felt really, REALLY good to get a real shower and wash my hair when I got home!) We make it back to our house about 10:00. Murphy actually barked at me! Apparently a week away made me a stranger, but he was ecstatic when he realized it was me.

Despite my constant use of sunscreen, I came back with a pretty good tan. I am apparently learning, because I didn’t have any spots of sunburn this year. Even better I didn’t get any of the sun rash that I’ve gotten in the past. I was tired, but felt like I got stronger as the week went on.

Toni and I were already discussing next year on the way home. We are always energized by the accomplishment. We had a blast! Here’s to next year! Cheers!

 

RAGBRAI Friday Morning

Sunflowers surrounding a farm where we had fresh peaches. Very pretty setting.

We’re still alive. Internet service has been poor. I’ve had trouble connecting the last couple of days. We’re in Harper, having breakfast. Pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs and Bloody Mary’s. All the

Lots of uncomfortable people practicing their patience…

major food groups. Ha!

I did go ahead and buy the bike. I’ve had some issues with the derailleur. I transferred my old saddle over, but I’m still getting a bit sore since the different frame style has me riding in different positions than I’m used to. I think it will be better once I get used to it. I’ve basically taken it in each evening to have something tweaked. They all say it’s a good bike, but it just has some new bike kinks to work out.

Along with the internet issues, the lack of adequate Kybos has been an issue too. The picture to the left is an example of the lines. That gets to be an issue when you put off stopping until you need to! There’s a lot of dancing going on in these lines! Ha!

There are a lot of idyllic scenes along the way. Toni and I try and find places to meet up where there’s shade to take a break. We usually meet people to talk to and it’s fun to watch the seemingly endless line of bicycles go by.

This picture was one of our stops along the way. This was at the Templeton Rye Distillery. They weren’t giving out samples! Not that I’m much of a whiskey fan anyway… I would probably have tried Rye since I’ve never had it before.

Many of the iconic features along the way try and draw you in, even if they are off the actual ride route. Since the route changes every year, there are always new things like this to see. I didn’t take time to do the tour this time, but it was a cool place to stop. In the past I’ve done things like toured museums and dug for fossils.

 

RAGBRAI ’18 – Day 3

Today’s ride is more challenging than yesterday’s with 72 miles and about 2,500 feet of climb. It’s been pretty warm today too, though not horrible. I was cold last night with the temperature down around 60. I had brought a mylar blanket, but didn’t expect to need it. I didn’t want to get it out in the middle of the night since it’s so noisy and we have the tents set up almost side to side.

As always, there were some interesting things to see. The custom made Indiana jersey’s were impressive. I would have bought one if they were selling them! They had them made special for their team.

This giant cornhole game was pretty cool too! Brought new meaning to the term “throw pillows”. Some of the participants referred to it as a Pillow Fight.

So more on the Bike saga… My bike with the cracked frame is a Scott bike. I did an internet search and found that there is a Scott dealer in Ames, a town we’re passing through on Wednesday. I called them and they said they dealt in Trek and Scott bikes, but were more familiar with Trek’s warranties. Scott required a voucher be sent in for approval, so even if the damage was covered under warranty, they would not be able to do anything for me that day.

When I got into Denison last night, the Trek dealer said the black bike I had been riding was spoken for today and there were no other bikes available that would fit me. No one else was doing loaners so it looked like I was going to be riding the bus instead of a bike today. I explained my situation and they asked me to come back in the morning and see if the bike actually went out.

As I was walking away, I thought about it more. I turned around and went back and asked if I could go ahead and buy it. I told them that without the bike I couldn’t ride at all and whoever else was asking to do the demo still had their own bike to ride instead.

They decided to let me have the bike again today. I’m going in this evening to get some final tweaks on it and purchase it. They gave me a 23% discount on the bike and were trying to work out a way to get my old bike home to me when I left. They were very helpful and sympathetic. I wasn’t excited about the expense of buying a new bike, but I was thrilled that I wasn’t going to have to ride the bus for the remainder of RAGBRAI. So far I’ve never had to ride the SAG wagon and it was going to be a sad climb on that bus if I had to do it today.

15 more miles to go today. Wish me luck! There are a few additional things posted on Twitter if you want to look there.