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.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Wide Range

Sometime earlier this year I signed up for Scripture Typer. You select as many passages as you want and work to memorize them and type them from memory. It's good practice in remembering scripture, but it also keeps track of your typing speed. My average and peak speed are a bit of a difference from each other.

That gets displayed along the bottom of each page, along with the number of verses you've covered and other information. When you're typing, the page shows something like a speedometer that bounces up and down showing how fast you're going. I often get distracted by it and forget what I'm typing.

With an average of 31 WPM, I sometimes wonder what I'm at in other situations. Sometimes I feel like I'm closer to my maximum in these entries or emails, but other times much lower than my average. I'm still getting used to the bed with it moving frequently and having to adjust the keyboard as well. Spelling is my biggest problem on Scripture Typer though.

Any word that misspelled can't be entered, so you have to back it out and retype it, all while the timer keeps ticking. I used to do well at spelling, but thanks to auto correct on Microsoft Word and Mac, I'm definitely not very proficient any more. That last sentence alone required two word corrections.

After a busy Monday, this week looks pretty slow again. Highs in the 50's are predicted for the weekend though, so I'm hoping to get out to the tracks. That's all for this week in the quad life.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Last One

It has been a busy week, but I'm finally getting a chance to post. Last week I said we learned that it would not work for me to get nursing coverage through my own insurance. One of my case workers did some further investigating and found out I'm an oddity (no laughing).

In talking with my nursing agency, they said they don't have any private insurance companies that pay for nursing for their clients. They all have state funded services or have moved to a care facility. Apparently staying with what I we currently have is the best option.

Due to this development, my parents are going to try and see if we can do another year of staying on our current plan. Hopefully we won't need to go through all the work this year required to get everything covered.

After I graduated from college in 2003, Voc Rehab hired a job developer to help me find a job. After a few months, he decided that no employer would hire me due to potential insurance costs. Therefore, I was given the number to several nursing homes and told not to look for work. Now over ten years later, it seems like insurance wants to do the same thing.

Thankfully, quadriplegics like myself aren't very common, but there are a lot of us out there. In public and in my school talks, kids and adults don't know how to work with someone like me and what we can do. I keep working to change this thinking, but it's a long uphill battle. This week though, I did get to see a result of this work.

Sunday morning, I was sitting in my regular spot before church service had started and one of the boys I work with in Cadets came up to me and wanted help finding his family. A quick scan of the crowd found them and I directed him in the correct direction. Most people would forget this account quickly, but for me it was a victory of sorts.

I've been working with this kid since late last year and in that time he has learned to see me as any other adult. In the case Sunday, as someone he can go to for help. This is a rarity with a lot of people with severe disabilities, but doesn't need to be.

Hopefully my quad life can continue to help others, but we'll see what God has in the plan for this life in 2015 and the next week.