Kibbitzing with Caplan

By Lois Caplan

THE NEW OLD AGE is personified by Daisy McFadden. For eight years, she has faithfully attended New York’s Montefiore Medical Center’s cardiac recovery program after her coronary by-pass surgery. Daisy walks on the treadmill first, and then climbs onto the seated elliptical trainer, followed by stints on the rowing machine, a stationary bike, a Stair-Master – seven machines in all, five minutes apiece. Daisy is 99 and living proof that when it comes to cardiac rehab, more is better.

I tell you this because after 24 weeks of cardiac rehab I have graduated with a pretend master’s degree in healing arts, which means that if I continue at a fitness center on the treadmill and the bike, eat a non-fat, non-salt diet and avoid stress I may also live to 99 or maybe even 100.

Is it worth it?

Well, the diet leaves much to be desired like craving a thick juicy steak or even a kosher pickle but learning to eat fruits and vegetables helps.  My first 20-plus weeks were spent in Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s cardiac rehab program where I learned not to faint after 15 minutes on the treadmill or to die of boredom on the stationary bike after 10.  Wired for sound, therapists took my blood pressure with regularity, checked my pulse as I pumped away and offered sound advice on living with a bum heart.  Here in St. Louis I finished the program at St. John’s Mercy Hospital’s cardiopulmonary rehab.

What I thought would never happen happened.  I got hooked on the exercise program and actually felt depressed when I could not go to the gym.  I have learned that exercise is essential to stimulate your endorphins and to keep you in a happy state.  So what I thought was exercise, walking the dogs, turns out to not cut the mustard.

Although I am not as gung-ho as Daisy McFadden, I do make cardio exercise a part of my life – but I still walk the dogs.

FOR OUR DAUGHTERS is a very special event whose mission is to help break the cycle of domestic violence.  On Friday evening, Aug. 6 there will be a fine-art event, an evening of music and art to benefit Safe Connections, a local non-profit organization that assists survivors of relationship violence and sexual assault. For Our Daughters takes place at 6 p.m. at the 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Avenue in University City (long ago Congregation Shaare Emeth). Tickets are $25 per person, which includes dinner and a performance featuring several local performers including Atrek Dance Company, 3 Central Jazz Trio, SistaKeeper Empowerment Poets, visual artist Cbabi Bayou and Chi T. Mathias, a survivor, advocate and vocalist who lost her mother to domestic violence when she was a freshman in high school.Tickets to For Our Daughters are available by calling Safe Connections at 636-530-1235, ext. 225.

For Our Daughters represents the vision of Chi Mathias who has committed her life’s work to empowering women and girls, helping them to overcome the adversities they face.  “We developed the event to bring the community together and break the cycle of domestic violence through creativity and positivivity. Our hope is that this event will foster awareness about domestic violence as well as instill hope that we can stop it,” Mathias said. Safe Connections, the beneficiary of For Our Daughters, is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to reducing the impact and incidence of relationship violence and sexual assault through education, crisis intervention, counseling and support services. It has been serving the St. Louis Metropolitan area since 1976.

ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO come September, a sizeable group of Jewish ladies organized the Miriam Lodge, United Order of True Sisters.  A year later my grandmother joined, 25 years or so after that my mother joined and, you guessed it, 25 years later I joined UOTS. Truthfully, I do not remember what its philanthropic projects were. With time and in tune with the changing community needs, UOTS became the Miriam Foundation and the inspiration, enabler and financial supporter of Miriam School, an outstanding institution which serves children ages 4 to 14 who struggle with complex learning disabilities.

On Sept. 25, Miriam will celebrate its birthday at a Celestial Centennial Gala at the Four Seasons Hotel, an event planned by a blue ribbon committee representing the best of Who’s Who in St. Louis.  Lucy Lopata, philanthropist, community leader and a member of Miriam for longer even than me, will be the evening’s honoree. All proceeds will benefit Miriam School’s Annual Scholarship Campaign, providing needs-based tuition assistance to Miriam School students and their families. Individual tickets will be available at $175 per person, which will directly assist the students and families the organization serves. 

For more information, contact Sara Scott at 314-962-6059 or [email protected].

ANYONE NOTICE MY NEW HEADING?  Any comment? If you are interested in “kibbitzing” with me I can be reached at [email protected].