Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Switching Up

Along with all the insurance trouble this summer, I also had changes in nurses. A long time night nurse had family trouble and took an indefinite time off to deal with it. She has since moved on to other work. Therefore, a new night person started in June. For ease, let's call this nurse Judy (not her real name).

Living in small town Iowa, nurses sometimes have to travel quite a ways to come and work with me. However, Judy actually lived close by and didn't have to drive very far. My nursing agency had wanted to shift her over to me from another client for a couple years, but it didn't work out until this summer. Judy has been doing very well with all my cares and has a great personality. Unfortunately, like many nurses, she is starting to get near retirement age.

The physical requirements of staying up and working nights have not gone well for Judy, and she has told the agency that she needs to go back to days. That means she'll be no longer working with me. Due to this development, another nurse was sent to train last night and is scheduled to come again tonight.

It's rare to find someone so quickly, so that was a good start. So far, she seems to be learning everything well and I hope that continues tonight. When she trained with Judy last night though, mom said the first question was how to get on days. Hopefully that won't be needed, but we'll see.

Caregivers through the nursing agencies seem to be hit or miss for how long they stay. I've had a few that stayed for several years, but others just a few months or weeks even. Getting used to a new person's mannerisms and how to work with them takes a while. With switching them up frequently, that gets to be a real challenge.

Hopefully this trainee will work and be able to come for several years. As with everything else, time and patience will tell. It's just a regular part of the quad life.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mountain Seed

In my daily readings, I have been in the New Testament for about a month. I'm currently near the end of John in the morning and halfway through Acts in the evening. If you look back to early August's post, you will remember my schedule.

The first four books of the New Testament go through Jesus' time on earth and some of the miracles He did. The apostles were also enabled to do some as well. When the Holy Spirit was received by the apostles, and Paul, a number of miraculous healings are again recorded. In the two thousand years since then, I've been curious if some of these abilities have been passed down or if it was a one time thing.

Jesus said that if anyone has faith the size of a mustard seed, he can tell a mountain to throw itself into the sea. I haven't found any pesky mountains in my front yard lately, so I can't say I've wanted to move any. However, I believe mountains don't necessarily need to be made from dirt and rocks, they can be things that must be overcome in life.

My own personal thinking is that the power given to the early church following Christ's resurrection was a one-time thing. You occasionally hear about faith healers today, but any I've seen are in it for the money and could likely be labeled as more anti-Christs.

Having the ability to go out and boldly proclaim the gospel and back it up with miracles would be great to see. Really, people going out and just being bold for Christ and His word is great to see and hear these days. Unfortunately, I don't see these abilities returning until the return of Christ.

Just some random thoughts I've had the last few weeks. This coming week looks to be the first signs of winter, we'll see what comes by the next entry.

Monday, November 3, 2014

52 Plus a Few

Last October, I said I would start doing weekly updates. It has now been over a year and I've managed to make an entry at least once a week. At first I didn't think I could write so much and keep it somewhat interesting, but here we are.

The insurance trouble this year helped for a few weeks, but that has only been about seven of the posts. A lot of days, and weeks, are pretty much the same, but I'm realizing I do more activities than I thought. There have been several weeks, like this one, that I have had no idea what to write about, but something has come up for an idea.

I am currently planning on continuing the schedule, but I have no idea what it will be from one week to the next. I have been busy for the last few weeks, so it may generate a few tales to tell. One of which was Friday.

This was my first time speaking to nursing students. I had two classes of about thirty students each. They were not the bouncy kids I'm used to, but it was still fun. These classes were first year nursing students, so everything was new to them.

Going over the changing technology in wheelchairs and going from the vent to the DPS was fun to share. I showed a few pictures and the zip line video from camp and a few looked like they may be interested. I'm hoping to be able to go to more classes at this school in the spring as well as another school or two. Maybe I can get a schedule going of grade schools in the fall and colleges in the spring. If web work is slow, that will give me a few things to do at least.

A bit of a program note that I don't get notification of comment posts. Therefore, I only see them when I'm here once a week. I'm not ignoring anyone, I just don't see the post. We'll see what comes up next week.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Break Downs

Home and vehicle ownership mean things eventually need fixed and that has especially been true this month. The first thing to start having fits was the van, the only vehicle I can ride in that we own. At first it just started to chug every now and then, but it continued to worsen.

It was fine to about 35 MPH, then it would go into chugging fits until about 45. Dad did some research and realized he should have replaced the fuel filter several thousand miles ago, and figured that was the problem. One Saturday on the driveway he went to change it, but couldn't get it off. Going around my schedule, he managed to get it scheduled at the local Ford dealer. However, despite having it twice, they have yet to be able to replace the filter. With multiple hour-long trips to Des Moines for speaking engagements, it continued to get worse.

Then Saturday morning, the night nurse let mom know the toilet in the bathroom near mom had been spraying water. After a quick look at the tank, dad found a broken part. Mom had a few things she had to do and we didn't have a nurse, so dad and I again went to Des Moines. The van chugged up every hill and at various speed limits, but thankfully got us to our destinations. Two home improvement stores, one twice, supper and the return home thankfully went well.

Unfortunately, despite three boxes of parts, none would fit the stool. Therefore, the nurses have been either pouring water into the toilet to make it flush or use facilities further away in the house. Today's fix was to get a new porcelain throne that dad installed tonight. After much frustration though, a manufacturing defect became apparent and it will need to be replaced. During Saturday's trip, dad realized how bad the van is getting and hopes this week's fix repair appointment works.

At least through somewhat minor trials we can be thankful that all trips were successful in getting to points A and B, and C. The nurses are congenial to take a longer walk, or extra work, to use the restroom. Now as long as my antique wheelchair doesn't get added to the list, we'll be good until next week.

Monday, October 20, 2014


I watch the news most nights and for the past several days, Ebola has been one of the featured stories. Discussing how a nurse may have been infected, tracking down people that may have been exposed, and so on. It now sounds like some test antibiotics are being taken from Canada to a few people in Africa. For those that are dealing with this outbreak, I hope the test is successful.

It seems that every few generations has an outbreak of a disease that ends up causing new breakthroughs in medicine. Polio was the most recent one that comes to mind. It was uncertain how it was spread and the effects of contracting it were serious. In the same way, new theories are coming up that Ebola may be spread through the air.

Fortunately, with polio a vaccine was developed that halted its spread. I can't say I've heard of it occurring in recent history. Hopefully Ebola will have similar results in the generation to come.

When an epidemic or crisis occurs, it seems that the regular rules for vaccine testing are relaxed to a great extent. I have an uncle with Parkinson's Disease (PD) and he has been waiting for a new medication to be approved for many years. Unfortunately, for my uncle and thousands of others with PD, the testing and approval process in the US is very slow. It is good to be careful when dealing with medications, but I sometimes think there's a little too much testing. When a drug has been proven affective and not to have major adverse reactions, it should be used. The last part is the tough one though since every medication has unintended consequences.

People have asked me before if I think I will ever walk again. A lot of progress has been made on SCI research, but I honestly don't believe I'll see a fix in my lifetime. If a scientist came out tomorrow saying that he found a solution, the proving and authorization time would likely take as long as I've been injured already. Plus, my bones and muscles are in bad shape after so many years of non use.

In the off chance a treatment or medication came through, it would depend on the situation if I would do it. If it was uncertain to work, and my going through with it would help someone else, then I may consider it. However, if it was a certain fix, and I may delay someone else from being helped, I would be last in line. One thing is certain though, I would NEVER use something like embryonic stem cells that cost another life. A few short years on earth is nothing compared to eternity and answering God on the decisions I made.

That's all I have for this week. We'll see what comes up next time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New Mattress

In early high school, around '97-'98, I started having trouble with pressure sores. Therefore, I got an air mattress for my bed to help reduce and prevent sores. This was a three-cell mattress, head, middle, and foot, that worked pretty well.

This mattress had thousands of tiny holes that continually lost air, so it had a pump that ran continually to keep it inflated. I was very aware when the electricity went out, because I went flat quickly. In any case, I could easily sit in bed and do whatever I wanted and still have good pressure relief. With a few replacement cells, I've used the same mattress ever since high school.

Unfortunately, like a lot of my equipment, it is now no longer produced and I can't get replacement parts. A few months ago, we noticed my butt was really sinking in when I sat up. When I was flat, I resembled a hot dog in a blue bun, making it difficult to do my cares and attempt sleep. For the first time in more than a decade, it was time to get a new mattress.

The first one I received was two inches too long for my bed, so we started looking at what it would take to lengthen my bed. However, after further testing, we noticed the air mattress was not made for sitting, just laying, so it was back to the phone and supply company. The second attempt is now underneath me and working well, at least for now.

Unlike the old system, this one doesn't lose air, so the pump isn't constantly running. The new quiet in my room was nice, but has taken getting used to. The first day I had it my caregiver and I committed that it sounded we were speaking louder. The second major item is that the air continues to move while I'm sitting, or laying.

Every four minutes, the pump comes to life and adjusts the air in various places. At one point, my keyboard will be just right, a few seconds later I find it moving closer or further away and I need to adjust it. I would say it's a good change and should help with my current sores and hopefully reduce problems in the future. My keyboard is going away again, so we'll see what comes this week.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hit the Ground Rolling

The saying hit the ground running sounds like this week for me, but since I don't run, I'll roll. Today is the only day this week I am not scheduled for something. Several days this week have multiple items per day.

In some ways, this time of year is good with having more to do and being active. However, my tendency to want to stay home and on my computer wants to stay put as well. That's especially true as the temps get cooler. This week isn't supposed to be bad for October in Iowa, low 60's for highs most days, but it's a taste of what's to come.

Colder temps mean layering on more clothes, and going back into footwear. Along with that comes stiffer muscles, more spasms, and being uncomfortable when out and about. One thing is looking up this year, older kids at church.

My dad, another guy, and I have lead junior Cadets for three years now. This year, we just have second and third graders, the same kids as last year. Two have graduated from our group, so we're down to six this year. So far, they are easier to work with, noticeably better at reading and writing and just seem more grown-up. I know it has only been six months since our last meeting in March, but they do seem older. I know the feeling parents have that their kids grow up too fast.

Two kids we have had for the last two years, three years for one, are now in the older classes. I wish I could continue with them and continue to teach, but just as they move on, I have more to instruct in their place. This picture was taken on the night of our first meeting. We'll see how I'm looking in March if I'm able to continue that far.

The next entry will be during a calmer week, and I'll be looking forward to a rest.