Sunday, September 29, 2019

End of SCI Awareness

September was spinal cord injury (SCI) awareness month. I followed the example of a friend and posted something about SCI every day on my Facebook page. It has been a fun and rewarding exercise.

I tried to limit myself to three paragraphs of information and start out with general information before talking about my own experience. With writing here every week, I'm used to having more space, but I was able to stay in my self-imposed rules. It helped that I made a list of 30 points in August so I didn't have to think of a topic. I knew what was coming next, could allude to it, and somewhat plan what to write in my head.

A few people said they enjoyed the updates and learned a few pointers. Some days received a lot of feedback with others hardly getting any interaction. If I had several days in a row with little interaction, it started getting frustrating, but I somewhat expected it for certain topics.

In the over 34 years I have lived with my injury, I have seen a lot of change. Technology has greatly improved for therapy, independence, and the ability to connect with other families. Having a certain month designated to raise awareness of it also helps, but I can't say I heard any mention in regular news channels.

With tomorrow's conclusion, it will be nice not trying to remember to do an update. However, it has felt good to more actively teach about the life I've been given and have more interaction with friends, even though it's just virtual.

During all this, I had eight shifts missed in September, only four were scheduled. I had to cancel two meetings I was scheduled to attend and had more trouble with my pressure areas. These are normal parts of the quad life, but I only barely mentioned them.

October will be another challenging month with nine shifts already scheduled to be open. Winter weather and illness looks early this year, so that number could raise. I'm increasingly thankful for the coverage God has provided through all these years and keep praying relief will come soon.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Controversial Buns

When you have absolutely no control of your body, you're completely dependent on others for absolutely everything. It's a regular part of the quad life, but can result in odd conversations.

Regular readers will know very well that I am dealing with pressure sores. One is on my extreme upper right leg, another on the coccyx, and the third on my left glute muscle. All three have been around for several years, two over a decade, and are a constant concern.

Twice a day, every day, dressing changes are done with different creams being applied to help promote healing. I think they somewhat help, but VERY slowly. Dressings are held on with tape and I'm good to go for several hours. The controversy comes in when deciding how much ointment, dressing, tape, and what size of gauze to use where.

I currently have five different people that do my wound care. Every single one of them thinks they do the job the best and gives tips for me to pass along to the others. Along with different opinions on treatment, each one also provide different reports on healing progress. I can see my back end without some precise mirror handling, so I generally rely on reports from my caregivers.

Early this week, I heard from three different people of a new large skin tear in a certain area. With taking tape on and off of new skin twice a day, further abrasions aren't uncommon. However, this was more than I typically heard. Since it sounded like a significant area, I try to carefully word a reminder to everyone to please be careful with placing tape, use very little, and also use caution when removing it.

Any such mention brings up more advice than I have caregivers. It's a challenging juggling game sometimes, especially when I don't have control of my hands in order to juggle.

No matter the debate, I'm thankful God has provided the people I currently have. Each one means well and is concerned for my care, but sometimes may not see what someone else does. I am also thankful these wounds have improved over the last few years, but look forward to a day when such problems no longer exist.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Preaching Again

In October 2018, I preached at a friend's church near Louisville, KY. A few weeks later, on October 21, I gave another message at a church in northern Iowa. That service concluded a busy first full year of preaching. Unfortunately, that was the last time I have had the opportunity.

I was scheduled to help at a church in February, but the service was cancelled due to icy conditions. I had hoped to get asked to preach a few times this summer, but I never heard from anyone. So far this year, my home church has had three times our minister was gone and someone needed to fill the vacancy. Everyone who gave messages did very well, but I wasn't asked to do any of them.

A friend of mine has the same license I do and he said this was the slowest year he has ever had. However, I spoke with him again a few weeks ago and found out he preached three times since May. I have people no longer use my web development services after meeting me. The stigma that someone with a physical disability is unable to work is still strong and I've seen it in my life. I wondered if that could be why I wasn't getting calls or if my preaching and gravely voice were just that bad.

Thankfully, I received a long-awaited email a few weeks ago asking me to preach. If everything goes as planned, then I should be giving a message at a local church this evening. It felt great getting asked to help and I've had to remember how to review again. I had a sermon prepared for February that I didn't get to use, so I decided to use it and mainly just have to review my notes.

I was scheduled to have a nurse overnight this weekend, but we got a call late Friday evening she couldn't come due to an injury. I was foreseeing preaching after two nights without anyone, but the nurse thankfully came last night.

With September officially halfway complete, my winter hibernation is approaching. I hope to get opportunity to teach God's Word again, but I'm thankful for at least one this year. The next few months will determine if I can stay living at home and be available, or if I need to go somewhere and no longer be active. Either way, I will follow God's plan and serve where He wants me.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Airline Empires

While flat, I'm limited in how much I can do. I'm still able to watch YouTube and Pure Flix as well as play Farming Simulator, listen to an audio book, and read physical books. It's actually quite a list, but I still like variety as much as possible. Therefore, I added another casual game, Airline Empires.

Trains are my primary interest, but there are few games associated with them. Aircraft and the airline industry are a close second interest, so related entertainment is fun. Airline Empires is completely played through your browser, no downloads or costs involved. It's very simple with no graphics, action, or motion, just primarily spreadsheets and Google Maps. However, I am really having fun with it.

As the name suggests, you own an airline. At initial startup, you choose a plane to lease and what city to base your airline, anywhere in the world. My airline is called Air Canadia with bases in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada. After establishing your home airport, you pick where to fly, ticket prices, and what services to offer your passengers.

Destination Map
It sounds straight-forward, but you also compete with other players' airlines that may offer the same flights. Therefore, you have to adjust prices and keep the competition from taking your passengers, and profits. Expenses include aircraft leasing, and purchasing, as well as gate rental at airports, employee wages, advertising, etc.

I have been playing now for about two weeks and find numbers and planning going through my head. Each game day takes 30 minutes in the real world. Therefore, one week passes in 3.5 hours, a month in 15 hours, and so on. Ordering a new plane can take 4-6 weeks for delivery. I don't want it delivered in the middle of the night and sit idle, costing maintenance fees, before I get to it. So I calculate when to order aircraft of different types so they become available at appropriate times.

As of this writing, I have 29 planes with only three owned. My fleet goes to 30 different destinations with a daily profit of over $7.3 million (I choose destinations carefully). It has been a fun venture, but doesn't take much time. The world my airline is in is at May 21, 1983 and goes to the end of 2010.

The quad life can be full of variety, and I'm thankful God allows me to stay active through various activities.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Thankful and Cautious

The weather feels like fall, even though August just ended. It was a challenging month with several open nights, but still productive.

With three weekends without night coverage, I only got to physically attend church a couple times. Answers in Genesis had a dinner for supporters on August 24 followed by two days of teaching conferences in Des Moines. I was able to attend the supper, but that was all. It felt like I missed out on a lot for the month, but could still be active as well.

To my family's surprise, September's schedule came with only three nights not covered. It is still just my two remaining night nurses, but we are thankful to have the time primarily filled. One nurse, that now covers four nights a week, drives over an hour to come. She gives great care and has been reliable for many years, but has already been asking what is being done to find another assistant.

Fall weather should hopefully be good for a few months, but winter is uncertain with long driving distance. Also in September, my primary day assistant's daughter is getting married and will be off a few days. I'm happy for her family, but she is always missed when gone.

With an already full month, I delayed contacting grade schools to schedule talks. I offered dates in October and November, but don't know if I'll have night nurses to allow me to sleep before going. I feel like I'm playing a guessing game while watching time slip by.

This week, mom noticed there wasn't advertising in our local paper for the nursing position. I asked my nurse manager about it and was told since they didn't have any responses, they stopped newspaper ads and would try mailing known nurses instead. It seems like giving up to me, but I was told the agency isn't finding help anywhere and I shouldn't expect to either.

At least God has allowed another month with nearly full coverage. I'm thankful for this gift and will continue to pray that someone is found. It's part of the quad life that will always continue, but I look for help from the Lord and His plan in this as well.