Monday, September 15, 2014

Movie Review

The number of movies and TV shows I've watched this year has increased substantially compared to previous years. While laying flat on my back, or on my side, it's the easiest thing to do. I have watched a variety of shows on YouTube, UK/US/Australia border security, air crash investigations, and many others, and some through my Netflix subscription. I thought I would take this week's entry to review a couple of them.

First, I'll take a sort of documentary on YouTube produced by Living Waters called Noah and the Last Days. It's about half an hour long and interviews several people on the street about Noah and the end times. I can't say that I disagree with them in their argument, several of the signs of the end times are apparent.

As I've said before, people are turning away from God and Christianity and are calling evil good and good evil. Those that think Biblically are said to be backwards and believing in pseudo-science. Also if anyone speaks out against gay marriage they are said to be hateful and not accepting of others' views.

While I agree with much of what is said, I don't think we're at the end times, yet. Unfortunately, I believe it will get much worse, for Christians especially, as the end comes. I do recommend taking the time to watch the show, it does give food for thought and how to approach people in ways I hadn't considered. The other productions by Living Waters, also on YouTube, are also recommended.

Second on the review list is the feature length film God's Not Dead by Pure Flix. I watched this last week via NetFlix DVD rental. This movie was recommended by a caregiver and was interesting to watch. In this movie, a man is just starting college and is asked to deny God's existence in a philosophy class. He takes the unpopular side and decides to defend his faith in class.

I agree with the main theme of the movie, to boldly stand for your faith and not merely take the easiest path. Going to college can be a tough time for a young Christian man or woman and their faith will be tested, even in some colleges claiming to be Christian.

Unfortunately, the movie takes the stance of God directed evolution and the Big Bang. During his three arguments, our student does use some good points, but with a wrong basis. At the end, his last argument could be shot down by just a few different questions. This is a good film to see how to boldly stand for Christ, but still needs work on the foundation.

We'll see what the next week brings in the Quad Life.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Month of SCI

Several months of the year have been dedicated to raising awareness for some cause or condition. September is Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) awareness month.

I can easily say that Christopher Reeve has done the most of anyone to raise awareness about SCI. After his injury, the work he did on research and improving quality of life still has impact today, nearly ten years after his death. According to the Christopher Reeve Association, there are about 6 million people with paralysis. That's about 1 in every 50, which means that most people know someone with a SCI or related condition. However, it's still relatively unknown and misunderstood of what's involved.

Injury level is of course a very large determining factor on a person's needs and abilities. It can go from needing complete care including mechanical ventilation, like me, down to having some trouble walking. I have worked with parents of a boy with an injury like mine who initially thought he would be confined to a bed for the rest of his life. I also had a doctor's receptionist think the same in advising that the office was under construction and didn't know if they could fit my bed in through the doorways. Fortunately, with the change in ventilators since the iron lung, that is not the case.

As anyone who reads this blog knows I do a lot in the community, from bed and chair. I am a web developer for multiple businesses and organizations, at my church I'm a deacon, newsletter editor, prayer coordinator, and Cadet counselor. I also give disability awareness talks at schools, and have volunteered as a camp counselor for many years. As I tell the school kids, just because you can't move, or breathe, doesn't mean you can't do things. Many other people with SCIs have families and work full-time jobs to support them. However, as I've discussed here, the life of SCI is not easy.

With a high injury like mine, you are very dependent on other people for help. As I type this, I would normally be at church just before evening service starts. Unfortunately, my dad has been ill today and unable to take us to church. The big topic for me this year has been funding trouble with insurance not wanting to cover my caregivers. It often seems like the life of SCI is one battle after another, especially with funding. It's unfortunate that their are also many secondary problems like pressure sores and infections. I know several people that had SCI and are no longer living, mostly younger and with less time injured than me.

The ultimate reason for SCI and any other debilitating condition is living in a sin cursed world. At the end of creation week, called everything "very good." However, SCI and its affects are not very good. As a result of Adam and Eve's sin, the world is deteriorating, along with mankind. The ultimate cure for all ailments will come with a new heaven and new earth, where there will no longer be any more pain or suffering. Until then, we live the lives God has given us, no matter what our abilities.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day 2014

Today is the day of labor, the time every pregnant woman looks forward to. Well, maybe that's a different subject.

This year has felt like a labor of different sort for me with all the work of trying to keep funding for my caregivers and stay at home. My actual labor of web development continues to be on the slow side, but that's not bad.

In laboring to keep my body in good shape and down to the appropriate number of holes, I continue to spend a lot of time flat. I got to thinking the other day, and realized I only sit for a total of around six hours a day. It's no wonder that even short jobs for VMT seem to take a lot longer than they should. Yesterday dad said that he noticed the one wound is half the size it used to be, so working to be off the back side is helping.

Friday afternoon, we learned that the funding that was set to expire yesterday has now also been extended to January. However, we don't know anything beyond that. Due to this, I've been working on scheduling my school talks this fall instead of spring as usual. It will be different doing them early in he year, but it may work out better. If funding does continue beyond January, maybe I can try for more schools at my normal time. Before that time though, I need to continue to work on new insurance that is more affordable and will cover my needs. If that is even a possibility will remain to be seen.

We read in Colossians 3:17, "Whatever you do in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus..." As this labor day ends and I look toward changing seasons, activities, and regular life changes, I need to keep this in mind and work toward the final goal.

Monday, August 25, 2014


Some weeks, everything goes right, but others are just the opposite. Last week seemed to be a lot of the latter.

After over four years of work and waiting, my new chair arrived last Tuesday. Unfortunately, we should have left it in the crate. It didn't have several of the items it was supposed to, won't fit me, and a long list of problems. After a little investigation, I also found out the base was purchase in 2009 by a company in Florida. The on switch is missing, so I can't tell how many miles it has driven, but it has definitely traveled the country.

I also had a miscommunication with a client a couple weeks ago and I ended up overwriting changes they had made. Last week was spent getting the original changes online again along with the changes I made. Now we're working to get everything correct on the client's computer again so they can continue doing updates. Normally, I'm able to get updates complete for clients within one business day, but not last week.

With the catching up on the one client and still being flat a lot, I let an update request get buried in my email. It was two days later when the client reminded me of it that I finally got it online. I'm supposed to be trying to get more clients so I can help with insurance expenses, not lose current ones because of poor management. Mom also said that if I can't get on my own insurance with nursing coverage in January that I'll need to just go to Medicaid and see what we can do. That will very possibly mean a care facility. With the negative, their also was some positive.

Tuesday also had an interview with a potential new client. If they decide to go with me, it should be a fun site to work on. I also started back into Spanish after more than a year off. I've wanted to for a couple months, but finally took the initiative and did it.

Other than warm, this new week has potential to go either direction. We'll see what it brings by the next post.

Monday, August 18, 2014

SCI Knowledge

Last week I said that I have been noticing fewer intrigued looks when I'm out in places like the state fair. That is the case, but this past week has had more of a twist on that.

We were given a few free tickets to the fair after our initial visit, so dad and I went up again late Wednesday afternoon. The evening crowds are generally much smaller than the day and it makes for easier viewing of displays, and shorter food lines. After eating a hard-broiled egg that one egg exhibit was handing out, we stopped by a greenery display so dad could stop and help feed me ice cream (did I mention the Iowa State Fair is known for food?). A mother and, I'm assuming, son sat nearby us for a rest and to wait on other kids.

A short time later, the boy started asking me questions, why was I in a chair and how did I drive it. Very typical questions from a kid, but it had been a while since anyone had approached me in public with questions. After finding something for supper, dad and I wondered over to where my uncle was stationed on the fairgrounds selling farm equipment and a grill called the green egg. We sampled some pizza that had just come off of an egg and the son of my uncle's coworker walked around trying to see what he could do for entertainment. Sure enough, after I had been there a few minutes, he asks about how I drive my chair.

Both of these boys looked to be around the age I speak to at schools, so a couple quick questions were easy to answer, but the public wasn't finished. Thursday, I had an afternoon doctor's appointment in Iowa City, so my assistant and I left early to get lunch somewhere. We arrived in town with plenty of spare time, so in a rare event, we both got out of the van and went into the restaurant to eat. We're usually pressed for time to either get to the appointment or get home, so we normally go through the drive-up window and eat in the parking lot.

My inexperience showed as I initially went to the wrong end of the line. As the person built the sandwich I normally order at this popular sub shop, I actually had to think about choices of what to put on. Most of the time, often on weekends, mom and I give our order to dad and he returns with our sandwiches. Actually seeing the choices and knowing what to have was a nice change. Shortly after the sandwich build, we were at the designated wheelchair table munching on flattened bread. A few minutes later, a mom with three young girls sits in the booth adjoining ours.

The middle girl, probably around age five, asks her mom to see why I'm in a wheelchair. As best I could in a booth I gave a very brief history and wheelchair demo. In two days, I had more questions in public that I've probably had in a few years.

People with spinal cord injuries (SCI) are becoming more common in my area. A young man of 15 was injured this spring and came home to a neighboring town a few weeks ago. While he was at rehab near Denver, they met another family from my town whose son had just been injured. He is scheduled to return home later this week. Both of these injuries are fortunately lower levels than mine with one having some arm control and the other at least partial leg control. What the short- and long-term future is for these two will remain to be seen. In any case, kids will have more opportunity to ask questions and learn about the quad life.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Iowa State Fair 2014

Toward the end of summer in Iowa we have one thing to look forward to, the Iowa State Fair. As the musical with the same name says, it's the best state fair in the state. I go every year, with last Friday being my time to visit.

The attractions don't change much from one year to the next, but it's still always fun to go. One of the places I always go to is the Central Iowa Railroad Club's (video) train layout. They have a lot of well done modeling on their setup and it's fun to see the changes they've made. This year, a new attraction was a thirty foot tall American Gothic statue, which was painted in Iowa. You couldn't get a picture with someone at the base and tell who it was, or get a clear shot between all the people.

One Man Band
Navigating through crowds (video) with a wheelchair can be a challenge. Not running over kids or other people's feet is difficult when they're all moving around, but it's a skill I've learned through the years. Something that has changed is the amount of stares I receive.

It used to be that I would see a lot of people, especially kids, looking at this intriguing site of a guy in a wheelchair. I still do get them, but not nearly as often as a few years ago. However, with aging baby boomers, the scooter population has also exploded in the past few years. It's very likely that the two are related, but it could be that the general public is just getting used to wheelchair uses.

After visiting mostly every building, watching the one man band, touring the machinery and livestock exhibits, it was a full day. Figuring out how to cover my assistant's time was an added challenge this year, but it was a nice outing in any case. It was also a great feeling to not have insurance worries overshadowing everything and just get out to enjoy the day. As summer begins to wind down, more days out will hopefully continue.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Morning Catches Evening

In high school I started to read the Bible mostly every night, but slowly. I just one chapter every night, no matter where it ended. After graduation I increased to two and eventually three chapters at a time. This is a habit I continue to follow today, nearly fifteen years later. There are nights I miss, if I'm too tired or we get a late start for some reason, but I generally get my nightly reading in.

A few years ago, a friend wanted to get into regular Bible reading and maybe we would get the Bible read in a year. I did a little searching and found the reading plans at Bible Gateway. We looked over the options and picked one, but we were already behind starting in February. Simply reading two days' worth at a time would get us caught back up though.

Unfortunately, the busyness of life got to my friend's schedule too much and I lost my reading partner after a couple weeks. I didn't see a good reason not to continue, so I just keep going with online reading in the morning and the physical Bible before bed.

After the first year, I encouraged another friend to read along with me online and it proved to be a learning experience for both of us. We did different plans for three years until I took 2013 off to read daily articles by Answers in Genesis. However, I took up the morning reading routine at the beginning of this year.

My nightly reading started with Genesis 1:1 in early December 2013, with my morning reading doing the same on January 1. I have stayed about the same distance apart in my readings for several months, but my morning reading has been catching up to nights since June. It looks like this week, in the last half of Isiah, my morning plan will catch, and pass, my night schedule.

The NIV Bible was revised in I believe 2011, and that is the NIV that Bible Gateway uses. I don't like how some words are translated, so I switched to NKJV online. My Bible is the 1984 revision of the NIV, so it has been interesting comparing the translations. I also have a hard time concentrating when reading and my mind tends to wonder off. Going through an area again has been helpful for spots I missed as well. By next week, it looks like my morning will be in the lead, and we'll see what else comes up in the quad life.