Sunday, April 28, 2019

Reverse Positions

In June 2003, I was working at a temp job in West Des Moines. I had just finished college three months earlier and had started looking for full-time employment with needed insurance benefits.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) had helped me through school and upon graduation, had me hire a job developer to assist in my job hunt. On June 6, I took the morning off from work to meet with VR and the developer to update on progress. Over the Memorial Day weekend a week earlier, my job assistant talked with a few friends that were business owners. They told him a company would never hire someone like me because of possible increase in medical insurance costs.

Based on this, VR decided to stop assisting me and stop my funding to live independently. I was told I shouldn't expect to ever find work and should go live in a nursing home. My VR counselor gave me a list of phone numbers to care facilities and that's all they would do.

This was a major turning point in my life, one of which I haven't forgotten. I remember the events, and location, very well. I haven't set a wheel in that building since that day in 2003, until this past week.

One of my web clients works to help people with disabilities be independent and productive. It is primarily operated by VR counselors and they wanted to meet with me on Thursday to discuss changes to their site. The meeting was in the same building that I was in nearly 13 years ago.

This time, I was seen as the professional offering advice and helping to improve the lives of others. Nobody in the room Thursday knew my history, until I told them at the end of our meeting. These counselors were surprised at the news, but glad to use my services.

God has brought me on an interesting journey in the quad life. At the time, I didn't know what my future would hold. Now, looking back, I can see His hand in directing the path I needed to take. It has been very trying at times, but I've learned to trust Him with each day and week ahead.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Sunday 2019

If you watched the news at all this week, you likely heard about the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The news showed video of flames leaping from the roof and the spire crumbling to the ground. For me, it was a reminder of the modern church.

Today is Easter Sunday. All across the world, Christians took this day to remember Christ's resurrection on the third day after His crucifixion on Friday. If anyone, including me, honestly examines their life against the ten commandments, they will see a life of sin. All sin requires payment, and that debt is paid in Hell. However, for anyone who truly repents of their sin and puts their trust in Christ alone, they will be saved. No works are required for this gift, Jesus paid it all. Today marks the memory of that conquering of death and is the basic Christian message.

Picture from
However, many churches in today's world reduce the seriousness of sin. They say Jesus is love and leave out that He is also a judge that requires holy perfection. Churches of all sizes have become centers for entertainment, highlighting some particular music, and have messages that merely tickle the ears of listeners. Christianity in its present state has existed for nearly 2000 years, but is ignoring the God they claim to worship.

I saw this picture after the fire. Among the rubble of the fallen building, the cross remained. Even though some parts of Christianity are falling away, Christ remains faithful. There are still churches, and Christians, that truly believe the Bible and follow God's teaching through life. At some point, I believe the churches that have gone away from faithful worship will fall themselves. Many are deceived by them and I pray these people find their way back to the gospel as in the Bible.

Whether you're living the quad life or not, I encourage everyone to regularly attend a Bible confirming church regularly, not just a few times a year. Some may be hard to find, but resources are available to help search. I'm thankful for what God has given me and I look forward to serving Him again for another week.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Tale of Two Doctors

I've seen people say a sure sign of spring is road construction popping up everywhere. For me, it's an increase of doctor's appointments that I delayed over the winter. This week, I had two visits, both with first-time physicians.

Tuesday was the visit about my chair that I wrote about last week. My nurse and I took a slight detour trying to find the facility, but eventually found it the opposite direction from what Google told me. I was quite surprised to see a wheelchair scale ready for me and staff that was familiar with spinal cord injuries. When I was last weighed a few years ago, the total came to 501 lbs. Now, I'm at 509.2 lbs, with my chair. Of course my portable suction and other equipment are a little bigger than my previous measurement, so I'm sure that explains the change.

The doctor was also familiar with my diaphragm pacemaker, even though he hadn't seen one before. This is the first time in over eight years of having the system that I've encountered someone in Iowa that knew about it. Even though it may have felt like an unnecessary appointment, it was a pleasant surprise.

Well over a year ago, my dentist found that one of my front teeth is eating itself from the inside and needs to be removed. Since I use my mouth for everything, he recommended that I have an implant to replace it. However, it's an expensive procedure that my insurance doesn't normally cover as they say it's just cosmetic. The dentist and my primary doctor have been working to show the necessity for the replacement and to have it covered. Thankfully, my dentist was able to get his part approved. The next part of the process will need to happen in Iowa City.

I met with that dentist on Thursday, and I promptly became confused. He apparently does everything, extraction and implant, but knew nothing about the funding approval process. Since my regular dentist is closed on Friday, I plan to make calls Monday to see who knows what is going on. Hopefully it won't be several more months and my teeth keep intact until then.

On Tuesday, the doctor made a point I'm already well aware of, I should be thankful to still be around after this many years of the quad life. Their are a few other senior citizen quads like me, but not many. My teeth are part of the evidence of the time I've been given. This looks to be a calm week, but I look forward to more busy times as long as God gives me, and my mouth allows stick work.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Redundant Overcrowding

The season for doctors' appointments is upon me once again. Unfortunately, I'm not alone in my quest for assisting medical professional's funds.

I've had my chair since August 2015 and never tested how well, or bad, the pressure points are on my seat's cushion. Since camp didn't go well for my pressure wounds last year, I thought it was time to get a pressure mapping done. I contacted a few facilities to see who could do the test, and found one in Des Moines. Therefore, I contacted my primary doctor for an order for the test, and it was sent to the facility.

Nearly a week later, I received a call from a different location to schedule my appointment. However, it wasn't for the test, but to see their doctor who would then provide the order and then I can, hopefully, get scheduled for a pressure mapping. If it shows their are problems, I was hoping to have enough time to get a new cushion before June. This process has already over two weeks though and I don't even have the correct paperwork in place. I'm beginning to think I should have started searching a few weeks earlier.

If you name different systems in the body, I have a specialist doctor for several of them. Those living the quad life have trouble with kidney stones, and it has been a few years since I've been checked. I called for an appointment and said any time in the next few months is fine as I'm not showing issues. The receptionist started talking about July to August as maybe the earliest dates, but had to have the nurse return my call.

A few hours later, I received the return call and learn five doctors left the office where my physician is located and he is not available. Instead, I'm seeing a physician's assistant named Sara Lee. I wondered if she provides pastries for her patients, but apparently not.

As the population ages, I've noticed it's getting increasingly difficult to get in to see doctors I've had for 20 years or more. I'm very thankful to live in a country with excellent medical care, but also wonder about practices like needing to make more visits just for paperwork. I have two scheduled this week, so I'll see what progress is made.