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By Greg Schwem

I took up cycling several years ago after reading multiple scientific studies concluding that the simple act of repetitive clockwise leg movement while hunched over and struggling to breathe (my definition of cycling) improves memory and concentration while reducing stress and anxiety. This being science, researchers no doubt spent astronomical hours and federal grant monies to recruit cycling enthusiasts, place them on stationary bikes, hook them up to heart monitors, take copious notes (“Look, Dr. Jackson, he’s still pedaling! What do you make of that?”) and then observe those same participants as they solved puzzles and engaged in cognitive activities.
Save yourself time and tax dollars, scientific community. Next time, simply hop aboard a bike and ride naked through a large metropolitan city.
Having recently completed Chicago’s chapter of the annual World Naked Bike Ride, I heartily concur with the “cycling helps your brain” theory. For the record, I wore boxer briefs and a helmet, firm in my belief that nudity should always take a backseat to safety, particularly when one is riding up Michigan Avenue on wet pavement while high-fiving Uber drivers. And for those who feel my decision to ride partially clothed was somehow illegal, allow me to set the record straight. Total nudity is not a WNBR requirement; some participants wore full cycling attire while others bared all, much to the horror of young families strolling near the American Girl store on the Magnificent Mile.
Let’s start with concentration. My prefrontal cortex – the portion of the brain that controls the ability to focus – was in fine form. Perhaps it was the random bare body parts, both male and female, to my left and right, or the body-painted butt in front of me proclaiming “Less Gas, More A**” (an event slogan coined to encourage more reliance on “people-powered vehicles”).
Alas, the cheap acrylic paint was no match for the recurring rain showers; the message slowly dissolved into its owner’s intergluteal cleft while I pedaled and focused intently. Add that image to the all the other stimuli flooding my acetylcholine receptor and I felt confident I could work as the lone barista at Starbucks and correctly produce every order during the Monday morning rush, no matter how complex. This from a guy who, prior to the ride, could only half remember his wife’s request to pick up ground beef AND toilet paper from the grocery store.
As the phalanx of nudity streamed up Rush Street, causing upper crust Gibson’s Steakhouse patrons to whip out their cellphones for something other than trading stocks, my stress and anxiety levels evaporated. Granted, I was a bit anxious upon checking in for the event and realizing I could be riding next to “Baby,” a New York man whose cycling ensemble consisted of a Scooby Doo mask, ski googles and candy-striped underwear. But Scooby/Baby quickly melded into the crowd. I bonded with 36-year-old Sarah, riding her fifth consecutive event and insisting she would continue doing so until “my boobs get caught in the spokes.”
Anxiety free and armed with my newly returned abilities of concentration and memory, I began to exercise the capabilities of my brain’s parietal lobe, processing auditory information and committing it to memory via the hippocampus deep within the medial temporal lobe. In other words, here are things I overheard on the WNBR and will NEVER forget:
“Does anybody have any duct tape?”
“Slow down. I don’t need road rash down there.”
“No photos please.” I’m still wondering how a publically naked person can be camera shy.
“Why bother closing the door?” (A comment made to a male participant about to urinate in a Porta-Potty)
“Go Hawks!”
Even among nudists, Chicago is a hockey town.

(Greg Schwem is a corporate stand-up comedian and author of “Text Me If You’re Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad,” available at http://bit.ly/gregschwem. Visit Greg on the Web at www.gregschwem.com.)

Jim Kendrick, CEO of Oklahoma Network and Devon Hyde, CEO of Deaconess announce new name of hospital: AllianceHealth Deaconess

by Vickie Jenkins

On August 11, 2015 Deaconess Hospital changes its name to AllianceHealth Deaconess and joined the nine other CHS-affiliated hospitals in the state to form AllianceHealth Oklahoma. One of the state’s largest healthcare systems, AllianceHealth Oklahoma combines the strength, resources and commitment to quality of 10 hospitals, more than 70 clinics, six home health agencies and more than 4,500 employed physicians and employees to serve patients across the state.
“Working together, we can embrace how we serve patients across Oklahoma, stated Devon Hyde, CEO of AllianceHealth Deaconess. “We are determined to offer patients the best possible experience, when and where they need it. When patients see the name AllianceHealth Oklahoma, we want them to expect high quality and safe care.”
What does this name change mean for you? “It creates a network so that when patients are receiving care in one of the outlying facilities, they have an understanding that there is a continuity of care throughout the state of Oklahoma. We have a pervasive presence in those communities, and if patients need to seek higher levels of care, it is certainly available within our network,” states Hyde.
“Currently, we provide healthcare in 10 Oklahoma communities, but no one has a sense that we are affiliated and provide coordinated care throughout the state. With the connection among our partners strengthened by a system name, common visual identity and consistent, strategic communications, our patients will know at every point along the continuum of care that they are being cared by our health network. From a hospital perspective, we are one of the largest health systems in the state. Most people don’t realize it but the branding will help patients easily recognize that our hospitals are part of a single network where they can expect to receive high quality care and the best possible experience,” Jim Kendrick, Network CEO comments.
The hospitals in AllianceHealth Oklahoma are:
* AllianceHealth Deaconess
* AllianceHealth Blackwell
* AllianceHealth Clinton
* AllianceHealth Durant
* AllianceHealth Madill
* AllianceHealth Midwest
* AllianceHealth Ponca City
* AllianceHealth Pryor
* AllianceHealth
* AllianceHealth Seminole
* AllianceHealth Woodward
All programs and services of these hospitals are also part of the AllianceHealth Oklahoma family; the physician practices are renamed as AllianceHealth Medical Group, Home Health agencies are now known as Alliance Oklahoma Home Health. Today, there are agencies located in Oklahoma City, Midwest City, Ponca City Pryor and Woodward. In Clinton, the agency offers home health and hospice services.
“Another great thing about these communities coming together, we get to see our employees be a part of an organization. It creates a greater level of coordination and care whether it be locally or throughout the regions, we provide outlets of an alliance. All organizations in the state of Oklahoma are now branded with the new AllianceHealth. It starts today and I am very excited about it,” Kendrick states. “All 10 hospitals have been locally operated, which they will continue to do, but they will now identify with the AllianceHealth Oklahoma network. Now, whether it is patient care or physician recruiting, we are going to do the best job we can having that visual alliance, we can now identify with the new, basic network through Oklahoma.”

Tamara Walker, RN, uses her nursing degree online as host of her own radio show.

by Mike Lee, Staff Writer

As the host of the online radio show Ask MomRN, Tamara Walker’s patients are people she will likely never meet.
But the nurse of more than 20 years still feels like her Oklahoma City-based show fulfills the mission she trained for at Oklahoma Baptist University years ago.
“I consider what I’m doing to be non-traditional nursing,” Walker said. “I’m still able to use a lot of my nursing experience in order to share important information, advice and support.
“The things that I learned in nursing school and as a nurse have all combined to start this platform.”
When Tamara Walker chose a nursing career, she never expected it would lead her to her own radio show, to appearances in local and national media, or to a spot as a child health expert on The Rachael Ray Show.
In fact, her motivation for becoming a nurse was much simpler: a desire to provide the same type of care for others that she received as a child.
Walker wears an artificial leg because of a birth defect, and at age 15 underwent hip surgery.
Pediatrics was a natural draw for her.
Walker worked in pediatrics at Baptist Medical Center for three years, and like most nurses, found one of her biggest challenges was finding enough time to care for all of her patients.
Working with an artificial leg was also challenging, especially after spending several hours on her feet.
So she left full-time nursing in 1994 to raise her children. She also started a childcare business, and her combination of nursing experience and knowledge of children’s health and development made her the person friends and family came to for answers.
So why not use that knowledge on a broader scale?
Walker launched MomRN.com in 2001, with the mission statement practical advice for raising a happy, health family.
A few years later she offered to act as a resource for a local radio station that needed parenting information for its lunchtime programming. Walker never expected to be put on the air, but was offered a radio show that lasted until the station changed ownership and switched formats two years later.
Walker took her show to BlogTalkRadio in April 2008 where it remains today.
Her listeners range in number from 2,500 to 3,500 each show and she’s seen spikes of up to 10,000 listeners depending on the topic.
This year was the first time she took a summer break but her show resumes at the end of August.
Walker’s radio show has hosted experts and celebrities like Kathy Ireland, Kirk Cameron, Lucy Liu, Tom Arnold, Nancy O’Dell, Niecy Nash and Dr. Ian Smith from VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club.
Listeners will commonly call or email their basic health concerns they are having with their children.
When is a child sick enough to go to the doctor?
What’s this rash caused by?
What are the symptoms of an ear infection.
Are immunizations safe?
The last question has been a big one the past few years with vaccines making headlines worldwide.
Walker is careful with her responses, knowing that she sometimes may not have all the information.
“I feel like vaccines are really something parents need to educate themselves on,” said Walker, who is pro-vaccine. “Unfortunately, there is so much misinformation out there on the Internet. It’s hard for parents to know who to trust. They really need to talk with the family physician and pediatrician about which vaccines they feel comfortable with and know why they’re choosing them.”
Walker teaches children and teens how to protect themselves through her MomRN Safe Kids and MomRN Safe Teens classes.
Her method differs from others in its approach.
Her emphasis is not only on keeping kids safe, but on preparing them to go out into the world with confidence rather than fear. She does this by teaching kids the warning signs they need to look out for in a person’s behavior, and training them to focus on the person’s actions and how they make them feel, rather than on if the person is a stranger or someone they know well.
Walker says she hopes to do more speaking engagements in the next few years and possibly write a book.
This January, Walker took on another role: empty nester.
With her youngest of two moving out, Walker experienced the role for the first time.
“It’s been good,” she said. “They’re still close by and we see them frequently. I thought I would always be one of those moms that couldn’t stand when their kids move out but we had time to prepare so it’s been good.”
But if the last couple of decades have proven anything it’s that this nurse is anything but typical.

Gina Hollingsworth, owner of Southern Okie Gourmet Spreads, talks business with a Mexican buyer and translator at an in-bound trade mission sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture and the Southern U.S. Trade Association.

What will I do with all these apples?
Too much of a good thing was the dilemma facing Gina Hollingsworth. The overflowing supply of apples in her refrigerator needed to be used before they turned rotten. She baked apple cakes, muffins and everything she could think of before finally concocting a recipe for gourmet apple spread.
Hollingsworth knew she had a winning recipe when she couldn’t keep up with demand at local craft shows and fairs. That’s when she realized she had a new business on her hands.
She decided to call her business Southern Okie to blend her Kentucky roots with love of her newly-adopted state of Oklahoma. Both have been important to her success.
Hollingsworth grew up with a tradition of great cooking and Southern hospitality. She added marketing savvy and a love of people to sell gourmet spreads in Edmond, then at the State Fair of Oklahoma, and now, the world.
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) helped Southern Okie get established as a Made In Oklahoma company. This program promotes locally made products at state fairs and area grocery stores. ODAFF’s international marketing program helped Hollingsworth meet international buyers and move to a world stage.
Hollingsworth has participated in two trade missions sponsored by ODAFF and has made valuable connections in foreign countries that want to import her original gourmet apple spread. They also love her peach, pumpkin and pear spreads.
A recent in-bound trade mission brought buyers from Mexico to Oklahoma City. They sampled MIO products and considered making them available in Mexican stores and restaurants. The trade mission was a partnership between ODAFF and the Southern U.S. Trade Association (SUSTA) which promotes the export of U.S. agricultural products.
The buyer from Mexican food service company Salud Y Sabor was impressed by the freshness of ingredients used in Southern Okie products. He told Hollingsworth that his company never compromises on quality.
“I think about what I can do for him and his business,” said Hollingsworth. “He wanted to know what kind of business relationship we would have if he imported Southern Okie products.”
During the trade mission, Hollingsworth met with four buyers and developed strong leads for future sales. ODAFF’s international marketing team has decades of experience in matching Oklahoma companies with appropriate contacts from other countries.
“SUSTA and ODAFF have been instrumental in guiding me through the process as I have grown my business. I am thankful for their support and their willingness to help not only Southern Okie but all Oklahoma based businesses,” Hollingsworth said.
ODAFF’s programs and services are open to all Oklahoma companies interested in selling their agricultural value-added products to the world. Value-added products and companies contribute to the health of the state’s economy and the agriculture sector.
“Southern Okie has more than tripled in sales the past two years. With this exceptional growth, I am hoping to expand my product line as well as hire another employee,” said Hollingsworth.
To find out if ODAFF can help your business, contact Barbara Charlet at barbara.charlet@ag.ok.gov or Haidar Haidary at haidar.haidary@ag.ok.gov.

Dear Savvy Senior, What can I do to stop the perpetual prerecorded robocalls I keep getting? I’m signed up with the National Do Not Call Registry, but it seems like I still get three or four robo telemarketing calls a day offering lower credit card interest rates, medical alert devices and more.

 

Dear Fed Up,
Millions of Americans on the National Do Not Call Registry (donotcall.gov) complain they still receive unwanted calls from robocallers. Why? Because most robocalls are scams run by con artists who are only trying to trick you out of your money, and they simply ignore the law.
But there’s good news on the horizon. A few months ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed a rule giving telecommunication companies more leeway to block robocalls. Before this ruling, the FCC has always required phone companies to complete all calls, much in the same way the postal service is required to deliver all your mail, even the junk. So, look for your phone service provider to start offering call-blocking tools in the future. But in the meantime, here are some things you can do to reduce those unwanted calls.
Set up “anonymous call rejection” option: This is a free landline-calling feature available from most telephone companies. It lets you screen out calls from callers who have blocked their caller ID information – a favorite tactic of telemarketers. To set it up, you usually have to dial *77 from your landline, though different phone services may have different procedures to set it up. Call your telephone service provider to find out if they offer this feature, and if so, what you need to do to enable it.
Sign up for Nomorobo: This is a free service and works only if you have an Internet-based VoIP phone service. It does not work on traditional analog landlines or wireless phones. Nomorobo uses a “simultaneous ring” service that detects and blocks robocalls on a black list of known offender numbers. It isn’t 100 percent foolproof, but it is an extra layer of protection. To sign up, or see if Nomorobo works with your phone service provider, visit Nomorobo.com.
Buy a robocall-blocking device: If you don’t mind spending a little money, purchase a call-blocking device like the Sentry 2 ($59) or Digitone Call Blocker Plus ($100), sold at Amazon.com. These small devices, which plug into your phone line allow you to blacklist numbers you no longer wish to receive, and set up a whitelist, or manually program the phone to recognize and accept a certain number of safe numbers. Both devices are very effective.
Don’t pick up: If you have a caller ID, another tip is to simply not answer the phone unless you recognize the number. But if you do answer and it’s a robocall, you should just hang up the phone. Don’t press 1 to speak to a live operator and don’t press any other number to complain about the call or get your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, you’re signaling that the autodialer has reached a live number and will probably lead to more robocalls.
Get a cellphone app: To help with robo telemarketing calls and robo spam texts to your cellphone, get a call-screening app like Truecaller (truecaller.com) or PrivacyStar (privacystar.com) that screens and blocks them.
It’s also important that you report illegal robocalls to the Federal Trade Commission at consumercomplaints.fcc.gov or call 888-225-5322, and sign the Consumer Union petition at EndRobocalls.org to pressure phone companies to start offering free call-blocking technology.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Date/ Day/ Location/ Time/ Registration #/ Instructor
Oct 17/ Saturday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 427-3366/ Palinsky
OK Democratic Party – 4100 N. Lincoln
Sept 21/ Monday/ Shawnee/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 818-2916/ Brase
Shawnee Senior Center – 401 N. Bell St.
Nov 4/ Wednesday/ Norman/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 691-4091/ Palinsky
Fowler Toyota – 4050 N. Interstate Dr.
Nov 5/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9:30 am – 4 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
Integris 3rd Age Center – 5100 N. Brookline, Suite100
Nov 7/ Saturday/ Chandler/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 258-5002/ Brase
First Methodist Church – 122 W. 10th
Nov 10/ Tuesday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 691-4091/ Palinsky
Rose St – 6191 Tinker Diagonal, room 102
Nov 10/ Tuesday/ Yukon/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 350-7680/ Edwards
Dale Robertson Center – 1200 Lakeshore Dr.
Nov 12/ Thursday/ Norman/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 440-8802/ Palinsky
Norman Regional Hospital – 901 N. Porter Ave.
Nov 13/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 752-3600 or 478-4587/ Reffner Mercy Hospital – 4300 W. Memorial Rd.
The prices for the classes are: $15 for AARP members and $20 for Non-AARP. Call John Palinsky, zone coordinator for the Oklahoma City area at 405-691-4091 or send mail to: johnpalinsky@sbcglobal.net

Still going strong at 63, Oklahoma Men’s Basketball Coach Lon Kruger continues to excel as a leader of young men.

by Mike Lee, Staff Writer

For nearly three decades now, Lon Kruger has been called on to be a change agent. It’s a role he’s filled well, and at 63, one he still has a passion and knack for.
With more than 500 career collegiate victories and as the only Division I coach to ever take five different schools to the NCAA Tournament, Lon Kruger has been leaving his trademark rebuilding stamp on college basketball programs as a head coach for 29 years.
In fact, he is perhaps the greatest change agent in the sport’s history.
Headed back from a coaches clinic in Kansas in August, Kruger shared some thoughts on his career, his stay in Norman and the season ahead.
Kruger admits this is his favorite time of the year.
“You’ve done it for a while but every year is different and unique,” Kruger said. “The start of the school year is always a little bit special. Football season is right there and there’s the start of school.”
Kruger welcomes five newcomers this fall including Oklahoma’s first seven-footer in nearly 15 years.
He subscribes to the philosophy that one of the best ways to stay young is to be around young people every day.
“I think there’s truth to that because of their energy, their enthusiasm and their stage in life,” Kruger said. “They’re all changing and developing at different rates. Hopefully we’re part of all of that and that’s the challenge, to help them continue maturing and developing in a good way and be ready when they leave Oklahoma to do whatever they want to do successfully.”
For Kruger, it’s always been about the people he’s coached. The things he is the most proud of are the people he’s seen grow and move on, even though it’s a bit humbling when they show back up toting grandchildren.
Now beginning his fifth season at the University of Oklahoma, Kruger’s reconstruction job with the Sooners has occurred faster than even some of the program’s most ardent fans imagined possible.
After inheriting a program that went 27-36 (.429) in the two seasons prior to his arrival, Kruger has coached the Sooners to a 82-49 (.625) record in his four years in Norman.
Kruger has led Oklahoma to three straight NCAA-tournament appearances.
The Sooners had not been to the postseason since 2009 when they advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight.
Oklahoma is the fifth school Kruger has taken to the Big Dance. His collegiate teams have made postseason appearances in 20 of the last 25 years, and he has the storied OU program positioned for another long run of success.
He’s quick to point out that he hasn’t done it alone, with wife Barbara at his side every step of the way – even when he made the jump to coach in the NBA as an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks.
“That’s huge,” Kruger said, noting his 40th wedding anniversary is coming up in December. “That’s the basis of everything. It’s a partnership and we’ve done all that together. At the heart of it is that relationship.”
What makes Kruger’s more-than-500 career wins and NCAA Tournament trips with five different programs even more impressive is the condition of the programs when they hired him and the rebuilding jobs he faced at each.
In the year before his arrival as head coach at Texas-Pan American, Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma, the schools combined for a 78-99 record (.441).
He directed all six programs to 20-win campaigns and took each of the last five to the NCAA Tournament or NIT by his second year.
In 2008, Kruger released his first book, “The Xs & Os of Success: A Playbook for Leaders in Business & Life.” The book, which highlights the parallels between coaching a sports team and leading others in non-sports settings, consists of 40, five-minute lessons conducive to leadership, life and teamwork.
It uses sports as a way to tell the story and a way to make things tangible. All proceeds earned by Kruger from the book went to charity.
Kruger admits the conversation with his wife about life after basketball has come up recently.
So when will that happen?
“That’s a good question,” Kruger said with a chuckle. “We actually started talking about it and that’s never happened before. Five, 10 years from now (the grandkids) will be active and doing their thing and we’ll be enjoying that for sure.”
Daughter Angie, an obstetrician, has given the Krugers a pair of grandchildren in Florida.
Son Kevin is an assistant men’s basketball coach at Northern Arizona University.
Between now and then another season, or two, or three awaits.
And however many remain, Lon and Barbara will tackle them together.

The great room, where groups or residents can meet and sit when the Grand Tapestry at Quail Springs is completed.

Story and photos by Vickie Jenkins

Meet Donna Bingham, Community Manager for the upcoming Grand Tapestry at Quail Springs apartments in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This brand new luxury apartment community is exclusively for active adults 55 and older and will be a spacious, gated and pet-friendly community, the perfect place to call home.
Avenida Senior Living LLC, in partnership with Black Oak Reality Fund of Oklahoma City is proud to unveil their newest development, located at 14101 North Kentucky Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK. The walkable location offers easy access to retail, entertainment, restaurants and medical facilities. This 140-unit community will feature state of the art amenities not previously available in Oklahoma City.
“I love what I do. I am proud of the community that Grand Tapestry is building. We are providing everything the 55 and better community loves to do under one roof with convenience, comfort and affordability,” Bingham states. Avenida Senior Living is dedicated to developing this new generation of active senior living communities intelligently and strategically located to meet the needs and preferences of today’s active and engaged senior. These age-restricted apartment communities are a ‘right at home fit’ for this stage of life, providing residents a safe and secure maintenance-free lifestyle with a full daily schedule of physically invigorating, emotionally engaging and socially stimulated activities. The senior tenant lives independently with a full amenity and activity package and shuttle transportation, which are all included at a comfortable, monthly rental cost that meets a senior’s budget. There are no buy-in or entrance fees. Additional services can be added by the tenant on a la carte basis, so that the senior pays only for the services needed.
The completion date for Grand Tapestry at Quail Springs is set for December 1, 2015. Designed in a resort-like, craftsman inspired architecture style Grand Tapestry at Quail Springs comes in a variety of one-and two-bedroom floor plans to meet your specific needs.
“It is rewarding to spend my days with my community. I get to hear their stories, understanding how they feel and what they want, but the best part is I get the biggest hugs,” Bingham says. “They know I am working alongside them to make this our community. They are my neighbors and my friends,” she adds.
“When I tell others about Grand Tapestry, I tell them about our fabulous apartments with granite kitchens, walk-in showers and lots of attention to detail in their homes. Then, I tell them about all of the amenities; the continental breakfast, the daily activities, the fabulous heated salt water pool, and then I tell them, think hotel, actually a 5-star hotel, that’s where you will be living,” Bingham explains.
“It is always exciting to move into a brand new home, even more so when you realize all of the fun community activities you get with it. We have several area chefs that are willing to come in and do food demonstrations. We have a fabulous 3-tier theater room for movies. We expect to have catered brunches available for the community and their families on Sundays, and we even have several meeting rooms that will not only be open to our community but to groups that belong to as well, free of charge. We have spoken to a Red Hatters group and a bunco group, we will have many fun activities going on, no matter what you like to do,” Bingham comments.
When asked about the area, Bingham replies, “The Quail Springs area is one of Oklahoma City’s most desirable neighborhoods. The area is home to one of the city’s major shopping malls and is a hub for all types of restaurants and retail options. World class health centers and churches are also close by.” “When I met with the management company for GREYSTAR and I was told about the community that they were building in Oklahoma City, I was so excited! Then they asked if I would be the manager, I look forward to it and am proud to get the opportunity. After meeting with the owners, developers and marketing people of Grand Tapestry of Quail Springs, I was ready to move immediately! It’s awesome to love what you do, love the people you do it with and the ones you do it for. What more could I ask for?” Bingham says with a smile.

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Donna Bingham, Community Manager of the upcoming Grand Tapestry at Quail Springs apartments, Oklahoma City, OK shows a display of the different finishes that are in the common areas; the bistro and the great room.

Kris Judd, Senior Regional Property Manager of GREYSTAR in Irving, TX, Gail Peacock, Director of Sales and Marketing, Tulsa, Ok and Oklahoma City, Ok of Grand Tapestry
Kris Judd, Senior Regional Property Manager of GREYSTAR in Irving, TX, Gail Peacock, Director of Sales and Marketing, Tulsa, Ok and Oklahoma City, Ok of Grand Tapestry

 

Katrina Bright Cochran, Ph. D, 67, plans to get in front of as many people as she can over the next year to spread her message as the new Ms. Senior America Oklahoma. Photo provided by Melissa Cosper/DCmgmt Creative Consulting.

by Mike Lee
Staff Writer

The last 10 years have been packed with life’s worst and best for Katrina Bright Cochran, Ph. D.
She’s fought Cancer twice.
She’s nearly lost her faith and turned around to find it stronger than ever.
In the meantime she’s found the love of her life – someone who finally values her for the person she is and the person she’s becoming.
And most recently, Katrina Cochran was blown away when she heard her name called as the 2015 Ms. Senior America Oklahoma winner.
“That was an absolutely huge and wonderful surprise,” Cochran said. “I was just blown away. I’m a very spiritually-based person and use a lot of spiritual language and in all reality the entire process was part of a divine plan of God.”
Looking back, Cochran admits seeing the hand of God during her life. She’s grown to realize that she has purpose beyond what she imagined.
Cochran accepted her crown as hundreds looked on at the Rose State Performing Arts Center earlier this summer.
It was a mix of emotions but gratitude was a big one. She saw it as yet another calling, and this one excited her.
Thryroid Cancer came calling in 2008. Breast Cancer found her in 2013.
Complications with Breast Cancer landed her in the hospital after her immune system was so compromised that bronchitis handed off to pneumonia.
With an oxygen saturation hovering around 85 percent her body was slowly being starved of air in January 2014.
“CJ Judd was the respiratory therapist on call that night,” Cochran remembers. “She came into the room and stood by my bed and worked on keeping me breathing and alive until four in the morning.”
Cue the divine intervention because Judd has directed the Ms. Senior America Oklahoma Pageant the past few years. She specializes in finding amazing women in the community and then convincing them to share their wisdom and inner beauty with the rest of the world.
“You’ve got to be part of our pageant and tell your story,’” Cochran remembered Judd saying. “I said to myself ‘how can I say No to someone who just saved my life.’”
So Cochran signed up for the pageant in 2014.
A severe reaction to surgery landed her in the hospital again on the eve of the pageant. Emergency surgery to stop a MRSA infection was the cause this time.
Cochran has been in the medical field with Mercy Health since 1988 when she joined as a clinical psychologist. She has stayed in private practice within the Mercy complex until today.
“I could have died twice in 2014,” Cochran said.“I decided God is not ready to call me home yet and he still has a plan for my life and I still have things to do.”
Plans with husband, Norman, whom she married nearly 12 years ago.
“He has just been incredibly supportive,” Cochran said. “He is truly my lifemate. It took me 55 years to grow up and mature enough to understand what it meant to be a wife. He is absolutely my rock and foundation.”
As a child of the 1940s, Cochran said the career path laid out for her by society was one of housewife. Getting a Ph. D and becoming the first woman to ever hold a hospital chair in her field was not a norm.
“Most of the men that were born in the 1940s found my professional and financial success pretty threatening,” she said. “My husband is a musician. He knows what it means to have a gig. He’s proud of me and says he feels enhanced.
“I was sold on that one.”
A partnership with the Salvation Army will keep her involved in the group’s women’s ministry will keep her in front of senior women at the organization’s meetings.
She’s consulted with the group for the past 12 years.
On a professional level, Cochran is in the middle of closing her practice which she hopes to have done by November 30.
Goal setting and living in the moment will be Cochran’s message as she travels the state this year to fulfill her duties.
The UCO graduate will be at the UCO Homecoming parade later this fall. Before that she will counsel parents of incoming UCO students.
And as she sees it, it’s all part of a great big plan that she’s learned to hang on to.

Anna Diaz, Administrator of Noble Health Care Center, Noble, OK and Lois Lenz, resident for 4 years, share a hug.

by Vickie Jenkins

Anna Diaz is the Administrator of Noble Health Care Center in Noble, OK. The city of Noble declared July 22nd as Noble Health Care Center Day in recognition of the staff and employee’s loyalty, hard work and devotion to the elderly of their community and achievement in the Best Practices and Administrator of the Year awards.
Today, celebrating Noble Health Care Center Day, representatives from local hospices, dental agencies, retirements centers, etc. are on hand for the big event. The celebration is open to all. Balloons are hung, music is playing and plenty of food is being served. The music is provided by the Tinker Flying High Band and even ‘Elvis’ will be making an appearance, singing songs along with his famous dance moves.
Diaz has been at Noble Health Care Center for 21 years. “I just love these people so much,” she says. “It’s so easy to get attached to them because there is such a strong bond between us. I always remember why I am here; to touch lives. We have a very caring staff and I feel like they give their all to our residents. It’s like we are one big happy family, “ Diaz adds. “Some of our residents have lived here for a long time and I can’t tell you how close we become to that person and their families. We receive thank-you cards all the time from family members. It is so touching to be a part of this extended family.”
Asking Diaz what her greatest asset is, she replies. “I believe in longevity and a caring staff. We care for each other and we definitely work as a team. We laugh and we smile and we care for each other.”
Diaz thinks that Noble Health Care Center is the best nursing home around. “I think it is because of the tender loving care that each employee and each staff member share with the residents. It’s the caring that makes a difference, making our facility stand out from the rest. Love is present throughout the home and I think we all feel it; the residents and the staff. We are happy and positive and it shows each time we are with our residents. It’s not about the building where these residents live, but it’s about each individual and the strong foundation of the people on the inside that make up this home.”
When asking Diaz what her most rewarding thing about her job was, she answered. “Oh, it’s definitely the hugs from the residents. I usually can’t get down the hallway without someone giving me a hug or me taking the time to stop and chat for a minute. I love the people here. I feel so good about knowing how I am touching another person’s life in the smallest way. Sometimes, a smile, a hug, a kind gesture is all it takes. I know it is a true blessing because it is the residents that touch my life. To tell you the truth, we need each other.”
“What do you think is your biggest challenge here at the facility?” I ask. “I think it is the fact that I want to make sure everyone is happy. I can always tell if someone is having a bad day. We try to have good times, staying positive in every way. I realize that whatever I do is going to reflect back on me so I need to be the best I can be.”
“There are many activities offered to the residents here. We play board games, and listen to music. There are entertainers that come to the facility. We have different people come in with their music and the residents enjoy that so much. We have arts and crafts for the residents and church services. We have a good time,” Diaz says.
Asking Diaz if she had any words of wisdom or words to live by, she replied, “Yes, I live an Ephesians 3:20 life which is from Journey Church.”
‘God can do anything you know, far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams. He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His spirit deeply and gently within us.’

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