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Maybe it was Groundhog’s Day. Maybe it was a reflection of the feel-good feelings emanating from our last several get-togethers. Maybe it was the impending arctic freeze. Whatever the reason, last Thursday’s meeting – which was publicized as Rotarian Vicki Haugen talking about her decades-long medical expertise in the nursing profession – turned out to be an absolute hoot and the funniest, most enjoyable presentation this club has experienced in a long time.

But I get ahead of myself.

To lead off the evening, Ellis Casey, who has visited our club previously with his Mom and our Vice President Nicole Evans, led us in the Pledge. President Bruce led us in the Four-Way Test, which he got right this week (we’re all learning!). Guests were introduced, including Sally Kent, Carol Atwood-Lyon, and Margot and Al. Family guests in addition to Ellis were Sue Hochstein, who also acted as Greeter. She is clearly ABDPM (all but dues-paying member).

Lorraine Faherty, our assistant governor from the Damariscotta-Newcastle club, was on hand to recognize the club for our 2021-22 donations to PolioPlus. Marty Helman took the opportunity to say that when Rotary got involved in polio eradication back in the ‘80s, 350,000 children worldwide were being crippled or killed by the disease each year. Thanks to Rotary’s tireless work, advocacy and fundraising, the wild polio virus is now active in just two countries – Afghanistan and Pakistan – and the number of cases has dwindled to just a handful with the expectation that the disease will be completely eliminated in the near future.

But caution is appropriate: Marty reminded us that there was a case in Rockland County, NY, last year, and that the polio virus has been found in water samples in London and Jerusalem. “This just proves Rotary’s point that as long as the disease is anywhere, it’s just a plane-ride away from everywhere,” she said. “Fortunately, there’s a solution: Get vaccinated.” Rockland County has low vaccination rates; many residents there shun the science for religious reasons.

Charlotte Jameson tried her hand at being Sergeant-at-Arms, and racked up many happy dollars for the aforementioned and awesome social the previous night at the Whale’s Tale. Thank you’s went out to Linda Clapp for organizing – and she plans more such outings on a monthly basis throughout the spring. Stay tuned. Other happy dollars: The barn may be closed but the receipts keep rolling in! Mike Pollard reports that Kaja Veilleux sold a bentwood rocking chair of ours for $650!

And then the Main Event from Vicki Haugen, RN, MPH, CWOCN.

The first hurdle was learning what all those initials stand for. Vicki wanted to be a nurse from an early age – she showed us a picture of a very young Vicki sitting in her high chair with a play stethoscope around her neck. And indeed, Vicki has been a Registered Nurse for more than 40 years and a specialist in caring for patients with wound, ostomies and incontinence for the last 30 of those years. Her presentation was on protective equipment for persons with incontinence problems.

For many reasons and for many people, incontinence becomes an increasing problem as we age. And manufacturers know this: They name their products in a way that will diminish our wetness concerns. They give us “Depends” so that we can depend on dryness. And “Serenity” and “Tranquility” so that we will have peace of mind while wearing these garments.

Children have undergarments – we call them pull-ups -- decorated in cheerful ways with teddy bears or rubber duckies. Vicki thinks manufacturers should put their efforts into giving adults “fun” pull-ups as well. She offered examples – complete with photos, I might add: Cappuccino pullups meant to keep us awake and dry with our morning cuppa. A cocktail on our dinner-time pull-ups to bring a new kind of serenity to the end of the day.

She may be on to something: Already, these products are improving all the time and men, especially, now have several different pads and products available – some of which sound more comfortable than others. And young, post-partum women can now take advantage of special, “prettier” pullups.

Vicki’s final recommendation was: as we get older, remember to contract the muscles before coughing or laughing. Now why didn’t she share that suggestion prior to one of the funniest presentations this editor can remember?

In summary, Vicki said her goal in sharing the message is to stress that there is no shame in incontinence, but that we must keep reminding ourselves that hope will “Prevail” – another product name – as manufacturers continue to develop more products for our use and, umm, enjoyment.

After the applause died away, we looked at our upcoming schedule:

Next Thursday, February 9, our speaker will be Debrah Yale, speaking about a local housing project that community members are involved with.

The following Tuesday, February 14, our club president, president-elect and vice president are invited to a MidYear Leadership Dinner followed by a concert for all at the University of Southern Maine’s Hannaford Hall. Details and registration info is on the District website:

Then, our own mid-month celebration: On Thursday, February 16, the Rotary Building will be dark because we will be out and about at our own 80 for Brady movie night. We’ll meet at the Harbor Theatre at the “usual hour,” which means 5:30-6:00, for appetizers plus what Laurie Zimmerli termed a “little bar,” whatever that means. Food will be available, and a tip jar – requested donation $10 for appetizers/$5 for drinks – will be advantageously placed within easy reach. Invite friends and family – and be sure to come accoutered in football gear, Tom Brady paraphernalia, and the like, if you are so minded. The main event, our personal showing of the movie, will roll at 7:00 pm. Super Bowl movie night, here we come!

Other dates on the District calendar include Saturday, April 15, when all Rotarians – especially newer members who have not previously had the opportunity – are invited to the District Assembly at Westbrook HS. Several more tenured club members, including Judy DeGraw, promoted the Assembly, saying it’s a great way to learn more about our organization and how our club fits into Rotary as a whole.

Then on Saturday, June 10, the District will again get together for a Celebration on Bailey Island. Keynoter at lunch will be Lonnie Hackett, the young Bowdoin graduate who initiated a program to keep school children in Zambia healthy, and in addition to Rotary information, there will be lots of time to explore Bailey Island, right here in the MidCoast region.

Looking out to Labor Day, we will be hosting the Catalonian Rotarians who gave our group such a warm Spanish welcome last fall. We’ll be needing Spanish speakers to help with interpretation and hosting – already, Lorraine Faherty has been roped in – if you or someone you know can speak the language and is interested in helping to show off our beloved peninsula to our guests, please let Sue Hochstein know.

Think you’d like to join in on the fun? We’re always looking for new members who share our love of community and fellowship. Join us! Every Thursday (except February 16 when we will be at the Harbor Theatre) at the Rotary Building, 66 Montgomery Street in Boothbay Harbor. You’ll be glad you did!