Hi, I’m Margaret Baker, a hospital volunteer for the past 20 years at the North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, Mississippi, since retiring from Sears, Roebuck and Co. where I worked for more than 30 years. In 2007 I received my certification to teach T’ai Chi Chih under the direction of Pam Towne and other teachers.
I had always suffered with acute sinus, inner-ear and vertigo; doctors would give me Dramamine and different drugs that didn’t help much. Finally one doctor said, “Since you have high blood pressure I’m going to give you a 5mg tablet of Valium to help your dizziness.” I soon found out I could not take 5mgs so I took half, for years…. In 1995 I lost my husband to lung cancer and in 1998 I lost my sister and mom six weeks apart. (Both lived 55 steps from my door and I attended to them and worked a regular job. In order to sleep I started taking a half dose of Valium until it didn’t work anymore, and then I increased it a whole dose. I then had to take a whole dose more often. When I changed doctors, during the first visit he asked if I needed a refill of anything. I said, “Yes, Valium.” He said, “You need what? I’m not going to give you Valium.” Agony set in. He tried giving me antidepressants, one after another, until I refused to take any more because I couldn’t function. I told my story to anyone who would listen and finally a guy from the FDA said, “Why trade the devil for the witch?” He said, “Don’t take the antidepressants. I want you to eat well and exercise.” I went back to the doctor and asked to be weaned off Valium. He did not want to do it but I would not leave the office until he wrote me a prescription. Then I joined the Wellness Center and the T’ai Chi Chih class. I have been “well” ever since! T’ai Chi Chih saved my life, and as Justin Stone said, “You can’t appease your appetite by reading the menu; you have to do it!”
I’ve taught TCC on and off for many years and tell my students that TCC may help most medical problems but you have to do it to reap the benefits.
I have taught at the Wellness Center, senior centers, churches, various businesses, open spaces, and more.
I live on the south side of Verona, which adjoins Tupelo, and where I am an Alderwoman for my city of about 2, 500. My hobbies are gardening, sewing, reading, and taking care of grans and dog, Janie Mae. I love people and miss them when I can’t get to church on Sunday. I love social media, my computer, cooking and living the good life. During the Covid-19 pandemic I have made hundreds of masks.
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