Thursday, January 29, 2015

Continuing Education

Every field of work that I'm aware of has some sort of continuing education. Nurses continue to learn about new medications and techniques, accountants keep up on new tax laws, and mechanics keep up with new engine components. Web development isn't any different than these other careers.

Technology continues to change, and so does the way you program for it. One thing that I'm doing now is making sites so that business owners can do their own updates. This was something I barely heard of when I started working on sites, but now it's common practice. In order to do this, I, and a lot of web developers, use a program called Wordpress.

Wordpress logo
Wordpress was originally designed as a blogging platform, but is now behind more than 74.6 million web sites according to one source. In another month or two, I will likely be having a site redesign project that will be using this platform. That's not unusual, but the site designer and I will be using an addition, or plugin, that allows for streamlined control over the site's design. This plugin is what is new to me.

Therefore, I have been learning how to use it with two other sites I have been working on this month. So far, I'm liking the opportunities it provides in terms of site layout. However, it's taking time to figure out what goes where to make everything work. I learned yesterday that it also doesn't use a certain programming language I'm familiar with for design aspects. Yesterday was spent looking through the changes and finding a program (such as Microsoft Word for text) that can read the code and let me work with it.

Learning new things can be a fun challenge and I'm thankful I have the opportunity to learn before I need to be working quickly. I can see this being something I'll use quite a bit, at least until another replacement comes. That is what has been going on in the quad life.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Day of Acceptance

Today, January 20, 2015, is the International Day of Acceptance (IODA). It is a day given to educate about all kinds of disabilities and learn how to accept these diversities into mainstream life. That includes schools, work, and anything people do every day.

In living the quad life, I know the pubic in general are not fully accepting of someone like me with diverse needs. Despite the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) nearly 25 years ago, many places remain inaccessible to wheelchairs. An addition to the ADA, Section 508, requires web sites to have certain features added to make them accessible for all users. Unfortunately, I commonly find sites that don't meet these requirements and site owners can be reluctant to have them included.

Despite these problems, disability acceptance is improving. First of all, these laws exist and since the passage of the ADA in 1990, several improvements in accessibility have been made. Due in part to this, you can see someone with a disability more frequently in public places as well as work. Accepting a person with a disability is a great start, but this country is getting far worse at acceptance.

Yesterday, several of the groups I follow shared a news story about seven kids that were "stolen" from their home (text has more detail than the video) by police. It is a Christian family that home schools their kids and they prefer to go without footwear. After a second investigation, the children were taken due to the house having a chemical used to purify water for the garden. A social media campaign has since started showing support for the family.

The general thinking is the anonymous complaint was due to home schooling from a Christian perspective, similar to the family I talked about last year. From what I've read, this is similar to my ideal for raising kids, perhaps minus the water purifier. Christians are being less accepted and not allowed to openly practice our faith at a fervent pace.

Living the quad Christian life has its challenges, that in some ways are easier than times past. However, in other more important ways, they are ever increasing. We will see what comes up in another week.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Royal We

A late post this week, but it is still within the correct time. On weekday afternoons, I have been watching an online show that covers Biblical evangelism. While watching, you can chat with others who are doing the same thing.

Caregivers from time past
One of them asked me where I live, and I answered we live in southeast Iowa, about an hour from Des Moines. His response was that he wasn't familiar with the city, but lived in Wisconsin. Therefore, I related my location to a few cities in his area, again saying we are a particular distance. After more responses using the plural, he wandered why I kept saying we and not I.

After some thinking, my answer was that I was referencing my town and family, not just me. In most conversations though, I find it strange, and even somewhat difficult, to just say I.

For pretty well every activity, I need help from someone else. I can run the computer on my own, but only after someone gets it setup for more. If I go to an activity such as a movie, concert, or just out to eat, I have to have two times the cost. For business meetings, I need to make sure the other person knows I'm bringing someone. I might be a bachelor, but everything I do is essentially as a couple.

When medical needs are being taken care of, caregivers will often ask how "we" are doing. I often respond with, "I don't know about you, but I'm fine." After so many years of hearing this, we has become my normal wording for most situations. It's only at times like above, when I'm not seen, that someone questions my reasoning.

In Matthew 28:20, Jesus tells His disciples that He is always with them, even to the end of the age. Therefore, no matter if we have a person physically with us or not, we are never truly alone. It's a part of the quad life, and every life that has been given.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Top Views in 2014

With 2014 now behind us, I thought I would look back to the most viewed posts from the year. The top five had several more few than the rest, but were somewhat surprising to me.

The fifth most viewed post was Cracked Door on May 4 with 199 views. This was the start of the following months with appeals and learning how to work with the new system of funding.

Coming in at position four with 204 hits is ACTS on July 27. Giving thanks in all circumstances is what we are called to do, and I'm glad to get reminders. I'm always thankful that I can work with kids, even when they surprise me.

In third position with 218 readers was the post titled Help from Friends on June 7. This past year I learned more about my friends than I knew and was very grateful for help. I'm still blessed to have friends in many different areas of life.

Second from the top was The Answer Is... on July 8 with a jump to 580 looks. After working on funding for over half the year, it was still not over. Continuing with appeals and contacting different doctors was getting very frustrating, as well as looking at care facilities.

In number one position, the most viewed entry of 2014 with 744 views, was New Horizon on April 7. After finally getting new insurance, learning that nursing would not be covered was quite a surprise. Thankfully, as we now know, it did work according to God's will.

I'm thankful for all the people that cared enough to follow this past year's story. I'm amazed at the numbers, but glad to have my story available for everyone. I can't guess at this point what will top out in 2015. One change I'm hoping to do is add more pictures or video. Looking at a solid block of text can be intimidating. We'll see what the first few week of the year brings in the quad life.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Good-bye 2014

My nightly reading beat my morning reading by a few days. I finished Revelation Sunday night and started again with Genesis 1-3 last night.

In the beginning, God made everything, including people, perfect and said that it was very good. Unfortunately, our first parents, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God's command and brought sin into the world. Tonight I'll be reading the first recorded murder in history, showing how bad man has become.

Throughout 2014, I've seen the bad side of man. Insurance people not caring if I have care and continue to breath and others twisting words to fit what they want to say. Among this, I've also seen the good in others. Friends helping to get insurance funding to continue and relatives putting forth a lot more financially and time commitment.

This past year has been one that has helped me grow closer in my trust of God's plan and relying on Him inn everything. I read a few days ago that the other insurance provider my dad's employer was considering is having financial trouble and members are being encouraged to go elsewhere. If we had tried to use it, we would be in even worse shape.

I do not know what will come in 2015, and I don't dare to try and guess. Each day has enough worry of its own, why try to look an entire year in advance. I do know to expect hard times and good times, and to rely on God through all of it.

The quad life of 2014 is nearly complete, now it's on to another year. We will see what the first week has in store next time.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Reason

Just a short note this week to remember the true reason we celebrate Christmas. It to remember the gift God gave us 2000 years ago in the form of a baby, Jesus Christ. So that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

I'll leave with two videos to watch. This first one is my favorite portrayal of the first Christmas, done by kids.

Second is a reminder of the gift we've been given, and what we must do in response to that gift.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone and we will see what comes next in the quad life.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wake Up Call

Everyone gets used to a familiar routine in their life. Every day has its set routine with each one being pretty much the same. In an average week, you can often guess what will be going on in the next because it changes very little, if at all. It's the same with the quad life.

Every morning I have a set routine of what I do to get going for the day. The schedule continues with being upright for a few hours, then down for a couple, lunch, and so on. Some of my nurses have been accused of copying their paperwork from previous shifts because nothing changes.

In many ways, this is a good thing, I know very well how to plan my day and it makes for easier training. About three years ago, I made a training book for my new nurses so they would have a written document to help them learn. Part of this manual is a daily schedule. Since I made it, only one item has needed to be adjusted.

All this sameness can lull a person into a sense of complacency. A holiday or appointment may break up the monotony, but life feels secure and routine. However, events sometimes occur that get us out of our routine and wake us up that life can change in an instant. That is what happened to me last night.

The nursing schedule changed due to someone being being ill, so the new caregiver worked last night, her third shift. Shortly after I finished my night scripture reading, we noticed my lower abdomen was moving kind of odd. It would start to expand as I took a breath, then the left side would suddenly bulge out. Somewhat like pushing on a balloon and one side bulges more than the other. I commented that she had a treat with something unusual to document. Unfortunately, it wasn't the only one.

About 1:45 in the morning I suddenly woke up. Junk from either my nose or lungs had collected in the back of my throat and I couldn't breathe. My pacemaker fired every four seconds to make my diaphragm contract, but nothing could get through. I could just barely start to clear my throat when the next breathe would initiate and plug everything up again.

My monitor that shows my heart rate and oxygen level started alarming that my oxygen was low and I couldn't speak. My caregiver noticed the commotion and came up beside my bed, but I couldn't tell her what to do. Thankfully, I was able to croak out to turn me on my back. As she did, the junk moved enough that I could clear my throat and start breathing again.

The entire incident maybe lasted a minute, but it felt longer and kept my heart rate up for quite a while. Shortly after, I went through what motion I do to indicate to take the plug off of my trache so I can breathe through it instead of my nose and mouth.

Just like in any life, something can happen in an instant that changes everything. Being dependent on mechanical ventilation for breathing, this is especially true. This lesson reminded me that you never know what will happen from one day to the next, it's all in God's plan. I am especially thankful I had a nurse with me that could respond immediately and help resolve the situation. That's it for this week in the quad life.