Sunday, November 19, 2017

Dragging On

In last week's post, I was having issues with congestion and suctioning. I would like to give a great progress report today, but it has still been hanging around.

On Wednesday, my doctor contacted me that lab test results showed I was on the wrong antibiotic and that was why I wasn't improving. Unfortunately, the new one he prescribed had possible interactions with another med I use. After several phone calls, I finally got it Thursday night and am hoping it starts working soon. That wasn't my main concern though for the night.

I do passive range of motion (PROM) exercises four times a day to keep everything mobile. On Thursday afternoon, my caregiver was doing my PROM while we watched a webinar on osteoporosis
Stretching hip and knee
and SCI. When she was stretching my leg up, we both heard a small pop. My knees and hips like to pop on occasion and my caregiver thought it was her thumb we heard. My leg moved fine and everything around my hip felt normal to her, so we assumed everything was fine.

Later in the evening, I was up in my chair for a meeting for church. However, I noticed I hadn't had one muscle spasm since doing PROM. It was too cold to go barefoot as I usually do, and when my shoes were put on, I also had no reaction whatsoever. Normally, my legs jump and kick a lot when putting anything on my feet, but nothing. The trend continued all evening during my meeting.

When my night nurse came and got me undressed for the night, I still had no reaction. This was exactly how my body reacted both times I broke my femurs and it was beginning to concern me. She felt further and did find swelling on my inner leg. After a family consultation at 11:30 at night, we decided to be careful during the night and get checked at the hospital in the morning. Living in small town Iowa, I would get better care at home than overnight in the hospital anyway.

Friday morning x-rays revealed that everything was intact. The doctor could see where the bone was broke and not fixed properly in 2001 (another long story), but nothing this time. So we're guessing it is a pulled muscle and I'm just staying in bed for a few days and doing ice packs a few times a day.

After preaching on how to respond during times of trial and watching about osteoporosis (which I do have), my mind was wondering what was next. I'm thankful everything is intact and it will hopefully be a quick fix. Twelve hours of no spasms was an odd time for the quad life and I'm somewhat thankful they returned. Hopefully this week will be much less eventful.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Busy November Illness

This past week has been full of experiences and busyness and one I would only partially want to repeat.

I'm thankfully very rarely ill, but the past 10 days has seemed like all I do is suction. My nose has been full, making breathing uneasy, and then requiring my lungs to be cleared out. I have been fortunate that I haven't had much pain, but it has been coming on occasion as well. Even with a full week on an antibiotic, I can't tell any difference.

On top of being sick, I was gone to Des Moines nearly two full days for doctors' appointments, biking, and picking up new equipment. When I was home, work seemed to keep piling up without making much progress.

Preacher Joel
Saturday saw the completion of a site I've been rebuilding for a couple months. Everything was ready to go live to the public, but then I couldn't get it to transfer correctly from my test location to the client's site. I spent most of Saturday afternoon and evening and almost all of Monday working on it. I'm very pleased to be able to say that it is now up and running for all to see.

This Sunday was my preaching debut as well. With having trouble breathing and a sore throat, I was really wondering if I would be able to do it. Sunday afternoon was about one of the worst days I had as well, but thankfully cleared up well by time for church.

During the sermon, I could feel my throat getting more sore and dry as I went, but was able to get mostly everything included. If I get another opportunity to preach, I pray it will be with better health and voice.

I hope my next entry will be closer to usual time and have better health report. The remainder of this week looks like a calm quad life at least.

Sunday, November 5, 2017


This week, my teeth have been yelling at me more than usual for some reason. When I try to do much while flat, they start to complain. So instead of my usual farming simulator while down, I have been watching more videos.

A friend suggested a few series on Netflix that I started watching Wednesday. One is "Zumbo's Just Desserts" and is a competition for amateur bakers to make different desserts. They come up with some very tasty looking creations during the show. The only problem is that I then get hungry for chocolate. Fortunately I don't have much candy leftover from Halloween, and I shouldn't eat too much.

The second show I started watching is "Canada's Worst Handyman." Netflix seems to like showing how bad Canadian's are at simple tasks, but I like watching them as well. One of the handymen consistently uses a hammer to put in screws and another has electrocuted himself multiple times. I know some people have no mechanical skills at all, but these people make it much more entertaining.

Yesterday I was able to observe the opposite of a bad handyman. When my friend Ken died last year, he left me his old computer. It took some work from John to get around the password and upgrade it, but it has now been sitting in my house waiting to use. My parents and I thought it be good to use for my caregivers to use, but it didn't fit on our computer desk.

Dad spent most of the day taking the stand apart, cutting notches out of some boards, and putting it back together again. The computer now fits on the stand perfectly and you have to look close to notice the changes. At least until I said it on here.

I'm thankful that dad was given good mechanical skills in a variety of areas. They have come in handy on many occasions and allowed me to have a more active quad life. Whatever gifts God has given you, make sure to use them to their full potential. The body of Christ has many members fulfilling different needs. I pray I will continue to be useful and active in all the ways I've been given.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Reformation Day

This Tuesday, most people will be celebrating Halloween with kids going around collecting candy and adults watching scary movies. Before the commercialization we know today, October 31 was reformation day. This year marks an anniversary for the reformation that is unlikely to be in the news.

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. This started what we now know as the protestant reformation. Luther saw how the Roman Catholic church was not following God's Word and boldly declared his work on the church door.

In the 500 years since the reformation, many denominations have started and are now based on God's word. The other reformers such as John Calvin, William Tyndale, John Wycliffe, and others worked to get the Bible into a language that everybody understood and made it possible for all to read. Some paid with their lives and we see the results of their efforts today with Bibles freely available in most countries and languages. However, we're getting close to needing another reformation.

In many of today's churches, we water down areas that talk about a need for repentance from sin. People sitting in church pews (or chairs more often) are often just their for an hour of entertainment and anything that just feels good. It's also common for churches to abandon early parts of Genesis to secular interpretation with evolution and just say to trust in Jesus.

As in Luther's day, the church is following man's ideas and not scripture. Modern evangelism touts God as love and will fill a God shaped hole in your heart. The hearers then just add on Christian to their title and don't lead a changed life.

The world has now invaded the church instead of the church influencing the world around us. I pray that the 500 year anniversary of the reformation will help to remind the Christian church about its roots and start digging back to them. I'll see what opportunities I get in this coming week of the quad life.

Sunday, October 22, 2017


Everyone is familiar with your own point of view. Certain activities, phrases, and actions are normal in your own view and those around you. When you experience an outside perspective, some items that you're familiar with may look odd.

This week, I received an email version of the New Mobility magazine. One of the articles was about a quadriplegic who has made a living with assistive technology. The opening picture is of him using a wireless head set for his phone and chin controlled wheelchair. My first reaction was curiosity in what he was using and that it looked cool. Thinking for a second, that's what I look like with my phone.

Looking through my eyes, I don't see the stuff I use or how it looks like when I'm using various devices. In my early years as a camp counselor, one of the campers was also a high level quad. As I rolled by his bed one morning, I looked down and saw he wasn't moving and thought he had fallen asleep again. I commented to another counselor and she corrected me that he was actually dancing to the music. Looking again, yes his head was bopping around to the stereo that was running, exactly the same as I do.

The problem was I looked at his chest and arms for movement and didn't look up to his head. I have seen others using a mouth stick for various activities and think it looks challenging. Once again, I only need to look in the mirror to see the exact same scene.

Getting outside of our own viewpoint can sometimes be very helpful to better understand a topic. It's what I try to do in classes and when I study apologetics. Seeing it from multiple angles helps to work with someone that has a different point of view.

As you go throughout this week, try to look at problems from a different perspective. It is interesting in the quad life and helps to better understand the world God has given.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Teacher Hunt

As is pretty normal, last week was a fairly busy week again. Tuesday was my regular biking in Des Moines, Thursday had a meeting for Medicaid renewal and a church meeting, and Friday was speaking at school.

This was my last scheduled school for the year, but I'm hoping to get a few more for spring. If I do, I hope they are a bit calmer. My last visit for the year was with my biggest school, three classes of second graders back to back. By the end of the day, I was having trouble remembering what I had said where, but each class was unique.

During my presentation, I show the students how I write with my mouth and then let them try it on there own. When older kids see me, this is usually the part they remember the most and it's a fun activity. The first class went as usual, but the second group had a bit of a difference.

After I did my demo, the kids started to give it a try. However, just as one girl got the marker near her mouth, she put her hand over her mouth, ran to the trash can, and threw up. The teacher was helping another fidgety student, so I got her attention and she quickly ushered the student, with trash can, out of the room.

Thankfully, the rest of the class didn't seem to notice and I just continued on as usual. During the remainder of my presentation, the teacher kept busy wiping down the door knob, student's desk, and area where the trash can had been. I pray the young lady is feeling well again and won't have memories of a different kind if we get to meet again.

My church's pastor search team started up again, so I'm back to listening to sermons during my flat time. I was also asked this week to preach at a church next month, so I started writing my own sermon to present. With ideas running through my head and listening to multiple preachers, I'm not sure which thoughts are original anymore.

As I continue to learn in the quad life, I never what to expect in any situation. My only scheduled activity this coming week is biking again, so hopefully it will be just the routine. God is in control of it all, even sudden illnesses.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

No longer very good

A week ago today was another mass shooting in the U.S., this time in Las Vegas. The conspiracy theories abound on what took place, but the fact remains that another 58 people were killed and hundreds of others were injured.

In Genesis 1:31, God looked at creation, everything in the universe, and called it very good. If you look to the original wording, He said it was exceedingly good, or perfect. It doesn't take much observation to see the world we live in today is not perfect by any means.

Large massacres of people by gunmen is almost starting to become common. However, smaller sometimes more personal tragedies such as cancer, suicide, and young children sustaining life altering injuries in car accidents are things we experience almost daily. Even when Jesus was on earth, we read in Luke 13 about people being killed by the governor and when a tower fell on them.

The question most people ask is why do these things happen? What is wrong with this once perfect world? The answer goes back to Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve, the head of all people, sinned against God. They said by their actions they wanted to do things their way and to leave God out of it, and the consequences were given.

As a result, God withdrew some of His sustaining power and allows some sins to occur. Now, all of creation groans as in childbirth until the present time (Romans 8). As the world continues to go against God's will, we continue to see sin and its results increase.

What should be our reaction when these events occur? As a consequence of sin, death entered the world and it is appointed once for every person to die, and then the judgment. Jesus' response to the tragedies He was asked about was to repent, or you will likewise perish. Therefore, these events should be a reminder that our time will come, most likely when we least expect it.

As I tell grade school students, living the quad life is not part of the original very good creation. However, God has not left us as orphans and we can still serve Him and follow His commands. May everyone continue to do this in the week to come as well as whatever time we have been given.