Sunday, April 30, 2017

Monthly Emergency

A few years ago I saw several advertisements for a cell phone service called Safe Link. It was advertised as free for people that have state sponsored health insurance (like me) and could be used in an emergency.

At that time I would maybe borrow my nurse's cell phone once every couple months when we were out somewhere, but that's all I ever needed. There was no reason I would need to get a cell phone plan and have monthly expenses, so I thought it sounded like a good deal for my needs.

The phone came and as I expected, it was a very basic older generation phone with capabilities of just voice and text. Unfortunately, it didn't have a place to attach a head set, so I had to have someone hold it or put it on speaker and sit it on my table. For rare usage though, it served the purpose. After about two years the phone upgraded, but it was just the newer version with same capabilities of the old version. It's what should I expect for a free phone though.

Last month I ran into one of the problems with the service. I was notified that I needed to use it more or the phone would be discontinued. The service is advertised as to be used in emergencies, but it has to be used for at least one minute every month. Therefore, I guess I'm supposed to have monthly emergencies that I need to call for assistance.

I'm thankful for this type of service that I can use as needed. If it had a way I could use it hands free, or just with my stick, I think it would get much more use. It is good to use to call for pizza every week at least. Hopefully it will never have to be used for the purpose it was intended. However, I never quite know what to expect in the quad life.

This coming week should be a busy one again. Thankfully today's cold and rain should be stopping soon and make for a good time to be out. Until then, I'll see what calls I can figure out to make!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Be Prepared

I like spring with outdoor temps going up, flowers blooming, and the world turning green again. It's like the world is waking up and preparing for a new year of growth. It also means my schedule starts to fill up more.

Last August, I volunteered at the Iowa State Fair to work in the Ark Encounter booth. I received an email a few weeks ago looking for volunteers again this coming summer. I am currently on for two days, instead of three as last year, and look forward to the opportunity. There will also be a booth at Pella's Tulip Time this year that I hope to also volunteer with.

Tulips in 2016
In preparation for these potential times, I have started reviewing some of my books again. I started with an overview of different common world religions and how to work with these followers. In 2009 I took several online classes through Answers in Genesis. However, one more is required for volunteers at the fair.

Review is always good, especially on items you don't get to use much. Most of everything in the lessons has been very familiar, but I still try to go through the videos and most of the articles. I have been working on it since Wednesday evening and just passed my quiz for lesson five. I'm doubting I'll get all 15 done in a week, but it may be a possibility.

1 Peter 3:15 says to always be prepared to give answer to everyone who asks. I can't begin to know everything, and never will, but I can always prepare for common questions. Before August's volunteer time, I will be looking for a small portable microphone to use so people can hear me better.

I will see what this last week of April brings in The Quad Life and try to be prepared for whatever God has in store.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday

Last night, thunderstorms rolled through central Iowa. As I laid in bed finishing my night routine, I could see flashes of light through the blinds that lit up the entire sky. A short while later the rain began to fall.

With flashing light, thunder, wind, hail, and rain I could hear the storm beat against the house. One wave ended, then the next began again. Eventually the sky again grew calm and only the dark of night was again outside my window. Spring and summer storms are an excellent display of God's power in His creation. However, this is nothing compared to what happened about 2,000 years ago on Easter Sunday.

After the Crucifixion, Jesus' body was laid in the grave, but it could not hold him. On that first Easter the ground shook as death was conquered. Hardened Roman soldiers who trained killers fainted at the sight of the angels who came to proclaim the news, "He is Risen!"

Unlike the storms we experience today, this awesome power of God did not fade away and leave the world as it was before. Jesus' gift to conquer death is free for all who will take it and are truly repentant of their sins.

Just like a flash of lightening is seen by everyone around, the results of Christ's death and resurrection were shown by those with open eyes. On the day of Pentecost, 3,000 were added to the church. Following the spread of the gospel through the book of Acts, the numbers grew daily of those who were being saved.

On this Easter Sunday, don't wait too until it's too late to except this gift. Our life is like a flicker of light that is here one instant, then gone. Living in this world has its storms, but they are nothing compared to the joy to come for those who believe.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

1/3 of History

April 2017 is the centennial year for the field of occupational therapy (OT). A lot of progress has been made in the last 100 years to help people be able to function in the world around them. The scary part though is that I've been part of OT for nearly a third of its existence.

When I was injured in 1985, there wasn't much technology available for a young child with a high spinal cord injury. I remember very few sessions of being taught how to use a mouth stick. My primary learning technique was just doing something. If I wanted to play, then my only choice was to use the stick. God gave me a mind that is tuned to physics and mechanics, so I tend to pick up quickly how things function. I learned how to manipulate Legos so that I could build multiple levels high with very little, if any, help from my nurses. My dad is also mechanically minded and built a couple great systems for me to play with my farm toys.

School was another area that I felt like a guinea pig. I remember trying out several different devices to indicate I was raising my hand. Ultimately, I went with a flashlight I could activate with a switch on my head rest. After a few years of using though, I just ended up shaking my head or raising my stick if I was using it.

Hand splints have been another area of development. They started out by taking a type of foam and plastic hybrid, heating it until it was pliable, then forming it to my hands. After several months they would start to crack and the Velcro would lose its adhesiveness then the process would start over again. Now, we measure my hand size and order a splint online and it lasts for a few years.

Wheelchair development, exercise equipment and techniques, and new ways of communication are all other parts I've seen the field advance in my lifetime. In another 25-50 years, what we think is advanced today will likely seem very basic and primitive.

We live in a world that is deformed due to sin. As a result, the need for assistance continues to increase. I'm thankful God has given us the tools and knowledge to help with physical challenges that would otherwise make the world inaccessible. If you happen to know anyone involved in this area, please be sure to give thanks for what they do and for the things it has enabled to be done.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

RT Experience

Every day of the quad life, I use different items to do every task. In order to type this, I use a mouth stick. For getting around anywhere other than my bed, I utilize my wheelchair. Finally, every minute of every day, I use mechanical support for breathing.

After more than three decades of using these tools, I have gained a bit of experience with them and everyday life. I have been able to help college students in the fields of physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), emergency management services (EMS), nursing, and now respiratory therapy (RT).

My first RT class was Wednesday. I have been working to speak to this class for a few years and it thankfully worked this year. There were about 30 students from a combined two classes all stuffed into one room. After going over my basic history, I was able to cover my years of using the traditional ventilator as well as now with the diaphragm pacemaker and trach button.

Just like with the other classes, I'm hoping to make this an annual visit. With the OT and PT classes, I feel like I provide them with some useful help, but this class felt like much more. With the other professions, my use of technology is pretty basic compared to what's available in their fields. However, for RT I do now use more diverse options that not everyone gets to experience.

With the insurance uncertainties, I didn't contact very many schools to try to get scheduled this spring. The school I was at this week also offers several other medical degrees that I hope to be able help. However, I didn't want to get scheduled and then have to back out if my availability changed.

Sometimes wanting to do more and being unsure of what I will be able to do gets annoying. Through it all, I'm continuing to learn to step out and be active and trust God's plan will happen no matter what. The start of April looks to be slow for now, but that could always change with a few emails. I will wait to see what another week brings.