Sunday, January 26, 2020

Finding more Archives

Unfortunately, the last few weekends have been cold and snowy in Iowa. I had caregivers scheduled so that my parents could get away for a full day, but they ended up staying in town. Therefore, since I had day help, it allowed for cleaning in the basement.

I'm quite certain most households have items that end up getting stored and forgotten about. I know I have posted on a few previous cleaning excursions, but the stuff just keeps bubbling up. After a few hours of work, I was soon given some bags and boxes to sort through.

One of the items was my old Toshiba laptop. I remember getting it in 4th grade and wondering what to do with it. Throughout junior high, it became a well used resource to help write papers and the 8th grade project of an autobiography. For a short time, it was equipped with a straw that I would sip or puff on to make dots and dashes for Morse code. A string of eight dots and dashes produced a single period at the end of a sentence. I quickly returned to using the keyboard and mouth stick to type with much less effort.

This machine was well before modern Windows' operating system and required a code to start it. After more than 20 years, I can't begin to remember what it was or now what to do with it. I was always interested in all the screws showing, so I see an electronic experiment in my future.

Other finds in this round of cleaning produced high school graduation gifts from 2000 and more trinkets I don't remember in the first place. If I keep working on my book, some of these finds do help me recall that time period and what was happening.

In this quad life, I'm thankful for all the tools God has provided for me so I can participate in the world around me. Some had more function than others, but they were all a part of some occasion. Now, a few items can go on to be used by other households while others may collect dust a little longer. No matter what comes this week, I am thankful for every item I've received and their various functions.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Less is Good, Maybe

In my sophomore year of high school, I started having a lot of trouble with muscle spasms (or stretching as I said). After talking with my doctor, I started taking medication to help reduce the stiffness and be able to function. It very quickly increased from one dose a day to four until I was on the maximum allowed amount.

About a decade later, I was having trouble with pressure sores and very strong spasms even with the pharmaceutical assistance. I was started on an additional medication that also eventually increased to four times a day and the maximum allowed dose. It has now been over ten years with the schedule of two meds, four times a day, to control my muscles. Even with this, I still had a lot of trouble with stiffness and being able to function.

Prepared for cold temps
Since November, I have had a lot less trouble with my limbs stretching and everything getting stiff. Therefore, I reduced one of my anti-spasm medications by once a day to see what happens. It has now been a couple weeks since the change and I'm not having any trouble. I'm hoping to stop another daily dose in February if everything goes well. The real question is though, why have they improved?

In 2019, my three pressure sores have been greatly improving. They didn't get any worse at camp and have continued to look good (as good as holes in your skin look). My primary day assistant says she has noticed the decrease in spasms since around June and thinks it may be due to decreased pain from skin issues.

Footwear still causes an increase in problems, but I have primarily been able to stay barefoot this fall and early winter due to mild conditions. Along with that, I have also been able to get on my exercise bike more often which also helps reduce stiffness. However, little to no muscle spasms can also indicate something is wrong in my body and has coincided with hospital stays.

Living the quad life can be a guessing game sometimes. Even if it's just one pill a day, I'm thankful to be able to decrease my medications and also side effects. I'm praying my caregiver is correct with the cause of the improvement, but time will tell. No matter what, I am thankful for at least the current change and pray it continues moving forward. I will see what another week with much colder temperatures brings.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Trusting in 2020

Living the quad life, I have to have a lot of trust in those that help me with my every day activities. That's especially true when it comes to doing anything with my breathing.

My diaphragm pacemaker has a port on the right side of my chest. A small plastic bracket sits securely in a dressing that's near my ribs. Unfortunately, it gets bumped on occasion and everything pops out of place. For my regular caregivers, most can get it back in place within a few seconds. However, my new night assistant has accidentally pulled it out three times this month already.

In order to get the plastic bracket in place, the wire for my pacemaker needs to be unplugged. Therefore, I don't get stimulated to breathe during this process. There is a bit of a trick to getting it back in place, and he is learning quickly, but it does still take a couple minutes. I am able to somewhat breathe on my own, but winter congestion makes it a challenge and during these learning experiences, I need to trust God's hand through my caregiver.

On Thursday, I needed to pick a few things from Wal-Mart and got out on the record setting high day to run errands. When I returned to the parking lot, I waited to get in the van while my assistant loaded my purchases in the vehicle. Wondering around the van, I saw a minivan parked near us that had a wheelchair ramp.

The ramp was down, with the van's doors open, packages on the back seat, and nobody around. We thought this way an odd situation, but further investigating confirmed no one was in the vehicle. My assistant and I got in my van, but didn't feel right just leaving the other vehicle, that also had a purse in it. After sitting for another 20 minutes, the minivan's owner finally rolled up and into her van. She didn't act surprised it was still open, but I guess just trusted nothing would be touched. As we sat waiting, few people noticed it, but two other nearby occupied cars seemed to be doing the same thing we were.

Some people are concerned what will happen in 2020 in the political arena as well as world relations. They are appropriate concerns, but we need to remember God is in control of all things. I will be watching as events unfold this year, but trusting in God's plan will be my main thought, even if everything seems to be going wrong. I pray that my readers here will as well and see what another week will bring.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Looking at 2019 Results

Now that 2019 has come to a close, I wandered how I did with social media reach. It was the first year I tried both blogging and vlogging (video version of this). I somewhat knew what I would find, but was still surprised.

Since you are reading this (hopefully), I'll start with blog statistics. The top five most viewed 2019 posts were:

Reaping what is Sown: 51

Most of these blog entries receive around 20 or more views, like the picture shows. It is a little lower than I would like, but it does well enough. I know my weekly musings aren't that interesting, so it's what I would expect. What really surprised me though, were the numbers on my vlog.

With just one year and no advertising (not that I promote this very often either), I still had some high view counts. The top five videos from the year were:

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-->Looking at these numbers, I'm much more popular with my strange looks and voice rather than just typing. Apparently a lot of people are also interested in what I do to get up every day.
I have been given many years in the quad life, and I am glad to help educate anyone or help others living in similar circumstances. Those are my main goals with these ventures and I have had a few comments saying what I've shown, or written, are helpful.

With another year, I don't know what God has planned for this life. Whatever comes though, I pray I can spread the gospel and help others through life along the way. Thank you for my readers as well for coming by regularly to see what has gone on each week.
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