In past posts I have talked about standing in my new Easystand Evolv standing frame. I found out recently that Easystand has a blog. It is very informative and interesting. They also have personal stories of others using their Easystand stander. I was interested in sharing my story with others so I e-mailed someone who could help me get a post on the Easystand blog. Through e-mail, I was able to send my post over to her and I just found out that she put it on their blog earlier today. If you would like to see my personal story titled, "The Air is Better up Here-Jenni's Standing Story" click here.
I went shopping today. I just felt like I needed to get out of the house. Why I chose to go to the mall I don't know. I always get exhausted from being at the mall with all those people who can never make up their minds on what to buy and just stand there looking lost. I'm claustrophobic; it comes with the territory. When I'm in situations where I can't just get up and walk around those people or all of the clothing racks packed tightly together, it makes me feel claustrophobic and a little frustrated. However, today wasn't as bad as when I went four days before Christmas.
On my shopping spree, I bought two pairs of pants, some more of that underwear from Victoria's Secret that I got for Christmas and love so much, and a journal. I know what you're thinking, "why would she buy a journal if she isn't able to write?" I thought the same thing when I was buying it. My idea was to type up all of my quotes and poems and paste them in the journal. That way I will have a keepsake of them all in one place, voice typed by me. Or I guess I could just have someone else write them in there but that's not the same.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Nothing can be guaranteed. Thousand and one are the hazards of the journey, many are the pitfalls - and the seed is secure, hidden inside a hard core. But the seed tries, it makes an effort; it drops the hard shell which is its security, it starts moving. Immediately the fight starts: the struggle with the soil, with the stones, with the rocks. And the seed was very hard and the sprout will be very, very soft and dangers will be many.
There was no danger for the seed, the seed could have survived for millennia, but for the sprout many are the dangers. But the sprout starts towards the unknown, towards the sun, towards the source of light, not knowing where, not knowing why. Great is the cross to be carried, but a dream possesses the seed and the seed moves.
-Osho (Chandra Mohan Jain)
I think we should all be a little bit more like a seed.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
We went to the Science Museum of Minnesota today and did the interactive special exhibition CSI: The Experience. It is made up of three separate crime scenes, although you only get to do one per time. When we went through, we first spent five minutes at a crime scene collecting evidence. Then we went into the crime lab and they had all the evidence laid out at different sections. We pieced together the crime until we finally solved it and figured out who was the murderer.
The exhibition is based off of the hit show CSI. With 67 million viewers a week, I guess they thought they ought to build something that people can interact with and solve crimes as well. They actually had the characters from CSI on video throughout the exhibition. It was really fun and I would definitely go again, minus all the people.
I forgot how much fun the Science Museum actually is. Next time I go there I'm going to go to the Omni theater and see either Mysteries of the Great Lakes or Grand Canyon Adventure (which one I will see will depend on when I go). Or maybe I will go twice and see both of them.
Friday, December 26, 2008
I wanted to let everyone know that I'm going to be starting a new series of posts called: Life As a Quad. I will probably do one post a week about what it is like to be a quadriplegic. It will contain information about quads, my feelings and progress, videos and pictures, and detailed information about what I go through in my day-to-day life. If anyone has any questions during this series of posts, feel free to comment and post your question and I will try to answer it either in the comments area or my next post in the series. I'm not sure how many posts I will do to make up the series, but I promise it will be enough so that people will have a better understanding of what it's like to be me.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
We had some family over for a Christmas Eve dinner last night. We are also having other family over today in a little bit. We already exchanged gifts this morning. I usually ask for things that I need, not want. This year I received new toothbrush heads for my electric toothbrush and new underwear (sorry if that's too personal for some people, but I don't mind sharing it). I also got a hat and scarf and some gift certificates from various people.
The last couple of Christmases, I've kind of been bah humbug about the whole thing. Not because I don't like Christmas, but because I don't like what it has become. I have learned over the years what Christmas is and is not about. It's not about how many gifts you give or receive. It's not about trying to top last year's gift. It's not about the decorations and the flashy wrapping paper. It's not about Santa Claus and his reindeer landing on the top of the house, him coming down the chimney in the middle of the night, eating the cookies left out, and leaving loads of presents behind. I know it is fun to receive and give and decorate and wrap and believe in magic. But it's about the real meaning of Christmas. It's about family and getting together and celebrating the birth of Jesus. It's about the love and passion and the praise that we give and receive on this one day. It has a special meaning to everyone and I think more people need to find their meaning. For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope this year you all can find the true meaning of Christmas in your hearts.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
My normal blood pressure is usually around 100/60. The lowest my blood pressure got today was 68/43. That is extremely good for me considering my lowest so far in the stander was unreadable (yes, I did almost pass out). The lowest readable blood pressure was 44/31. That's when my eyes start to go black. Probably not a good thing. I am very excited to be standing again. I hope my blood pressure stays where it's supposed to.
"The present is the ever moving shadow that divides yesterday from tomorrow. In that lies hope."
-Frank Lloyd Wright
"The village has a population of around 800 and is located 690 meters above sea level and lies in a valley between two mountain ranges (the reason for the low temperatures). The name Oymyakon means "non-freezing water" because of the natural hot spring close to the village.
The temperature this week is pretty low and the temperature tomorrow is a chilly -63C which based on the stats at Wikipedia equals the record low for December."
I recommend watching the video below. These people are crazy to live in such frigid conditions. Now I don't think Minnesota is all that cold.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
We live on 1 acre and most of it is wooded area. Our property backs up to a reserve/park, which is nice because then we know that no one will build behind us. We also have a marsh to the left of this picture. Right before this picture was taken, I saw some people snowboarding down the hill in the background. Crazy I know. There is a path at the top of the hill that I go down when it's nice out. Hope you enjoyed seeing the outdoors from my point of view.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Life is an Adventure ... Dare it
Life is a Beauty ... Praise it
Life is a Challenge ... Meet it
Life is a Duty ... Perform it
Life is a Love ... Enjoy it
Life is a Tragedy ... Face it
Life is a Struggle ... Fight it
Life is a Promise ... Fulfill it
Life is a Game ... Play it
Life is a Gift ... Accept it
Life is a Journey ... Complete it
Life is a Mystery ... Unfold it
Life is a Goal ... Achieve it
Life is an Opportunity ... Take it
Life is a Puzzle ... Solve it
Life is a Song ... Sing it
Life is a Sorrow ... Overcome it
Life is a Spirit ... Realize it
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I am finally done with my psychology class! Everyone in my class took the final on Monday, but I took it yesterday because of missing a week from being in the hospital. I asked my teacher and he said that would be fine; I figured it would give me an extra couple of days to study. The day before I took the test I looked online at the average percentage of how the class did on the final. What did I find? The average percentage that people got on the test was barely 58%. I probably shouldn't have done that because I was freaked out before my final knowing that it was going to be hard. I went in as prepared as I could have been, but it was very hard. I'm no good at true/false questions and 15 out of the 60 questions were in that format. I usually second-guess myself when there's only a choice between two answers. I don't know how I did yet but I will let you know what I got in the class as soon as I find out.
I'm excited to be on winter break. My next class, Public Speaking, doesn't start until January 13. That's a little more than three weeks of break time for me. I will probably just relax and try to get rid of my stress before my next class. Although, that is hard for some people to do around the holidays. I'm not one to get stressed over Christmas. I will spend my free time reading a good fiction novel, watching TV and movies, and hopefully getting my creative side to come out by starting up painting and crafting. I am so glad to have that surgery done with. The original surgery date was set for December 29. Now I don't have to worry about it and am able to just spend time with my family and do the things that I've wanted to do. I'm not trying to say that I can't do any of this while I'm taking my classes, but it is easier to do without the stress of homework and reading.
"The power to question is the basis of all human progress."
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I am amazed at how many visitors are coming to my site. I didn't think it would become so popular so fast. I love sharing my life and thoughts with all of you. It makes me feel good to know that people are interested in what I have to say. I will keep the site up as long as I know people are reading what I'm writing. Thanks to SiteMeter, I now know that the average number of visitors is increasing every day. Thanks for all your visits and comments. Also thanks to the many who have shared my site with others.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
You take 5 pounds of red potatoes and peel them and cut them into quarter pieces. Then you boil them until done. After they are done, you take what is called a potato ricer, and rice the potatoes. After or in between ricing, you add butter, sugar, whipping cream and salt. Sounds healthy doesn't it. You let the dough sit until room temperature and then refrigerate overnight. The next day, you take the dough and rice it once more before adding flour. Now comes the frying part. You take about a golf ball size of dough and roll it out into an extremely thin, flat pancake like form. Then you use a special stick to pick up the lefse and set it on to a heritage or lefse grill at 500°. After about 30 seconds or until bubbles appear on the top you use the stick to turn it over. After done, let it sit under a towel until cool, and then freeze in bags until ready to eat. Click here for more detailed lefse making instructions. Something to know: there are many different recipes and instructions for making lefse. You can also double or triple the recipe to make more.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Lately, I haven't been in the creative mood. I need my creative juices to start flowing. I haven't painted since last summer (of 07). I am fortunate that I have found a way to express myself, however, I just haven't been in the mood. Sometimes I think it's just hauling everything out that makes me feel this way, but I need to stop making excuses. I also have a book that's sort of like a journal of quotes, poems, crafts, and other neat pictures. I haven't worked on that since last year either. What's wrong with me? Am I that busy that I don't have time for myself? Can anyone help me get my creative juices to start flowing? How do I get back in the groove of painting and crafting? I look forward to your comments. (By the way, the picture above is from 2005.)
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I have been thinking a lot about next semester. In a recent post I said that I would be taking public speaking and stress management. I decided to only take public speaking on Tuesday and Thursday and not take stress management. I can always take that during the summer, but my schedule is very busy, especially with physical therapy four days a week. I also want to have time to do some volunteer work. Plus, I think it will be a lot to handle two classes.
"I wish to live because life has with it that which is good, that which is beautiful, and that which is love."
Monday, December 8, 2008
The waters of this great river push me further and further from my beginning. I am on a journey, as my life slowly turns into a relaxation. As a bump over rocks and smoothly flow right through the ripples, I am tempted to realize what life is really all about. As I dip my paddle to and fro, I laugh and sing as my sweet innocent face glows. Life is now as it seems, peaceful as a river... happy as can be. Paddle with might.
One of my favorite things that I used to do before my accident was to go canoeing. I loved being on the river, paddle in hand, sharing a moment with friends, and being at peace with myself. I made up this poem before my accident, when I used to canoe all the time. I went to camp Icaghowan (a YMCA camp in Amery, Wisconsin) every summer and we would go canoeing. One summer I was a Challenger at Camp, and we went canoeing and camping on the St. Croix River forth 10 days. That was the best. I hope to someday canoe once more and experience new journeys all over again.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Her thoughts are similar to mine, in that we feel the same way on a lot of levels. Karly has Rett syndrome; she is nonverbal and legally blind. Despite her disability, Karly has beat all odds and has become in my opinion the light of many. Her blog, inspired by love, shares her opinions about what it's like for her living with a disability and also stories of moments that she has come across. I encourage you to be a frequent visitor on Karly's blog, and shower her with love and respect for the person that she is. We have become great friends through e-mail and hope to meet some day.
"All your life you are told the things you cannot do. All your life they will say you're not good enough or strong enough or talented enough; they will say you're the wrong height or the wrong weight or the wrong type to play this or be this or achieve this. THEY WILL TELL YOU NO, a thousand times no, until the no's becomes meaningless. All your life they will tell you no, quite firmly and very quickly. AND YOU WILL TELL THEM YES."
Saturday, December 6, 2008
It took 24 hours to finally figure out that I was in Baclofen withdrawal. They took an x-ray of me and found out that the catheter to the pump was kinked and that no Baclofen was getting into my spinal cord. The only way to fix it was surgery. They decided to also switch my pump out so that I wouldn't have to have another surgery in December. I spent 48 hours in Baclofen withdrawal before my surgery with nonstop, intense, muscle damaging spasms. I have bruises on my knees and feet from my legs hitting the bed rails and more bruises on my arms from blood draws and IVs. On Monday they tried to keep me as comfortable as possible and the spasms down by loading me up with Valium and Ativan. What a loopy mess I was.
After the surgery on Tuesday, I had to lay flat on my back for 24 hours. The doctor told me that the catheter had actually broken in half. How that happened no one knows. It was a good thing I got there when I did. I was able to go home yesterday after recovering from surgery and getting up to the right dose of Baclofen. My surgery definitely came sooner than anyone or even I had expected. I missed three classes of lecture, including a test. My teacher told me that I could make up the test next week which I am relieved for. However, I am glad to have it done with, even though it had to happen this way.
Friday, November 28, 2008
On Monday, December 29, I will be having minor surgery to switch out my Baclofen pump. Because I have a spinal cord injury that is incomplete, I have muscle spasms. Most of the time they are full body spasms that include my legs, arms, and back; they last anywhere from 5 to 20 seconds. There is a medicine called Baclofen that helps with spasms and reduces the intensity of them. I take 15 mg orally a day. I also have a Baclofen pump that is inserted just below my skin on the right side of my abdomen. The pump has a catheter that runs around my back and is inserted into my spinal cord. I receive a total of 1189 micrograms (there are 2000 mcg/per milliliter) of Baclofen a day into my spinal cord to help reduce the spasms. Every six hours, the pump administers about 275 mcg, four times a day. When the drug goes directly into my spinal cord, it gets to me faster and bypasses my digestive system, absorbing differently.
My Baclofen pump was inserted in November of 2003. Every three weeks someone comes to my home to refill the pump with 18 mL of Baclofen. She sticks a needle into the center of the pump, draws out the remaining Baclofen, and refills it again. The pump is about the size of a hockey puck with a rubber stopper the size of an eraser head that the needle goes through. The battery life of a Baclofen pump is 5 to 6 years. When the battery runs low, the Baclofen pump will beep at a constant rate letting me know. It beeps for about a month before the battery dies, however, I wouldn't want get to the point where it beeps and I only have 30 days to schedule a surgery to replace it. That is one reason why I am going to have surgery to get my pump switched. I have my winter break from the middle of December through the middle of January, so the timing is convenient. Also, they have come out with a new kind of Baclofen pump called the synchromed 2. It is the same size, however, it holds twice as many milliliters. I will only have to refill it every six weeks instead of every three.
If I didn't have the Baclofen pump my spasms would be much worse than the description in the first paragraph. I would probably have to restrain my arms and legs to my bed rails, and hope that I wouldn't fly out of the bed. I am very thankful for my Baclofen pump and am excited to get the new one. Wish me luck! I will talk more about it after the surgery is complete.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
T for time to be together, turkey, talk, and tangy weather.
H for harvest stored away, home, and hearth, and holiday.
A for autumn's frosty art, and abundance in the heart.
N for neighbors, and November, nice things, new things to remember.
K for kitchen, kettles' croon, kith and kin expected soon.
S for sizzles, sights, and sounds, and something special that abounds.
That spells ~~~THANKS---for joy in living and a jolly good Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the food and the time spent with the family. Today we're hosting Thanksgiving at our house. I think there will be about 12 of us. Everyone is arriving at 3 PM and we are eating at 4 PM. The house smells wonderful! I am also excited for apple pie (after I stuff my face with turkey, mashed potatoes, and green beans). I hope all of you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving and are surrounded by people you love because today is the day to give thanks.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I have many heroes in my life. They are the people that have stood by me throughout my life. They are the people that are willing to give up their time to spend time with me. They are the people that have made a difference in my life just by being in it. They are willing to be there for me when times are tough. They don't know their heroes; it is invisible in their eyes, but to me they're making "one small difference after another", just like the quote says.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I myself use technology for daily activities. In order to type and move freely through the Internet I use a voice-activated program called Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I am able to speak into a microphone and use commands that allow me to independently use a computer. It is so easy to use and cool that you can just say what you want and have the words magically appear on the computer. If you click on the link, there is a video demonstration of how Dragon works.
Also, in order to have independence while lying in bed, I use a voice-activated Environmental Control Unit by Quartet Technology Inc. This box and microphone give me all the independence I need to control things in my environment. It is capable of controlling anything electronic or that can be plugged in. I use it for my radio, phone, DVD player, and TV. It is able to control lights as well, however, it doesn't work with my lights because it is not on the same strip. If I wanted to, I could have it control my bed, lamp, fan etc. There are endless possibilities. It is very easy to train and responds fairly well to my voice. By the way, his name is Denver. He repeats everything I say to him. He is very polite and says excuse me when he doesn't understand what I say.
The last piece of technology that I use every day allows me to move freely without help. It is called a Tongue Touch Keypad by newabilities. By using my tongue, I am able to drive my wheelchair with ease. The Tongue Touch Keypad fits in the roof of my mouth similar to a retainer. It has nine buttons to choose from and there is a menu screen with a choice of nine options. If I push the back left button (chair), I will be able to move my wheelchair. If I push the front button (position), I can tilt or recline. There are other features to the chair that work with the Tongue Touch that I don't have. If I wanted to, I have the option to use the Tongue Touch for my computer and environmental controls such as the lights and TV. However, these fancy features come at a cost. I would have to buy each one separately. If you click on the link above, the newabilities website will show you all the features and tell you about the Tongue Touch Keypad.
The Tongue Touch Keypad does have its faults. Because it is a wireless device, other things sometimes interfere. I may be in an elevator and if I'm not on the park mode, the interference will push buttons and make the wheelchair start moving by itself. Funny sounding, but not fun when I'm driving and the interference will make it so I can't stop and I run into walls. I guess it is kind of funny when I think about it after the fact.
I am thrilled to have this type of technology in my life. It is only a matter of time before they come up with something new that will help me become more independent. Often times I have people guess how I drive my wheelchair. Most of them say "with your eyes" or "with your mind". It sounds crazy but this technology is out there. I watched this on 60 minutes a couple of weeks ago. There is a cap that fits over your head and measures your brain and thoughts. It is able to determine which letters you want to use to type on a computer just by you thinking it. I wanted to post the video, however, there was an error. Click here to see the video called "Harnessing the Power of the Brain".
Just think of the other possibilities. I am excited to have shared this technology with you. If you would like to purchase Dragon NaturallySpeaking or the Environmental Control Unit by Quartet, or if you would like to find out more about assistive technology, click here to contact The Speech Gurus.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I can't understand why he would stick his finger in his brother's mouth again. I found a follow-up video on YouTube from their regional news. It's interesting to see the boys two years later. You can also find other videos from them by clicking here.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I don't think many people realize what it is like for a quadriplegic and the daily routine that we go through. My nurses do most everything for me. I wake up every morning at 5 AM to start my cares. I start off with my bowel program. Then I do range of motion and wash my legs and my face. By the time I'm done with these cares, it is 6:30 AM. The nurses change shifts at 7 AM. After the nurses have given report, I then change my shirt and wash my upper body, put my pants on and then get up in my wheelchair. I usually get up sometime between 9 and 10 o'clock. I brush my hair and my teeth and am finally ready for the day. I get back into bed at 5 o'clock and do range of motion again. I am in bed for the night. I go to sleep at 10 PM and do it all over again the next morning. Wednesday and Saturday mornings I skip the bed bath and take a shower. Monday mornings I just wash my hair in bed.
Now comes my confusing and chaotic schedule. I have physical therapy Tuesday Friday at 8:15 AM and Wednesday Thursday at 4:15 PM. During two of my therapy sessions I go in the standing frame. On Monday I get a massage at 9 AM. I also go to school Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Monday and Friday I leave at 11:30 AM and get back around 3 PM. Wednesdays I leave at 10:30 AM after my shower, and get back around 3 PM, just in time for PT. Once a month I see a psychologist, and not to mention the numerous doctor appointments that I have. Don't ask me how I keep this schedule straight. The good thing is that I love staying busy. Could you imagine me taking two classes next semester?
Yes, I do have a lot to go through and many things to do during the day. I didn't share my daily schedule to confuse you or make you feel exhausted for me. I just wanted people to know what I and others go through each and every day. I want people to know that when times may be tough, not to give up. Just because your day may seem stressful or chaotic, others may be having an even harder day. I don't know how I do it, but I manage to stay positive and never give up. There are others who may not be as strong as me and are having difficulty living the life of a quad. Take this time now to think about those who may be struggling with their daily schedule, self-esteem, lack of independence etc.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
See Me for Me
I am alive.
I am here.
I do exist.
Yes, I look different.
I have a disability.
I am paralyzed.
I am in a wheelchair.
I am on a ventilator.
Does that matter?
Apparently it does.
I don't like staring.
I don't like gawking.
I don't like whispers.
I don't like pointing.
See me for me.
I like people.
I have friends.
I have caregivers.
I have family.
I make a difference.
I am friendly.
I am me.
I know this post may be shocking to some people or a wake-up call to others. I wake up every morning and say to myself "What can I do today to make a difference? Who am I going to inspire?" However, I get interrupted by curious and fearful people who choose to stare at the unknown. Stare at someone with a disability who is just trying to make it through the day. I am here to tell all those people to see me for me. See others with disabilities for who they are. I would rather have someone come up to me and ask me what happened; ask me who I am and what I'm about; ask me how I got to where I am today. I am proud of who I am. I am proud of the challenges that I have overcome. I am proud of what I've accomplished. I am proud of the person I am today. And I will tell you that; if only you would just ask.
Now, most of this post has been kind of negative. I guess I'm just letting go of some of my frustrations. It didn't used to bother me as much as it does now. Maybe because I'm starting to notice it more. I used to just ignore it. Even though I think it is rude, I don't usually get upset with the people who are staring. I know they are just curious. Many of them have never seen someone on a vent before. Especially little kids. Sometimes I just smile at the people who are staring. However, I need to come up with some line or a sign to put people at ease; something to fulfill their curiosity. I think I'm going to put a sign on my wheelchair that says "I was in a car accident". That would solve a lot.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.
-Mary Oliver (The Journey)
I'm not really sure how to pull apart this poem. I think it has to do with self determination. It's really interesting how some poems can make no sense at all but have this hidden meaning that makes them great and powerful. Or how some poems make complete sense, but because they're so easy to figure out, they don't mean as much.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I signed up for classes next spring. Lately, I have only been taking one class at a time. At this rate, it will probably take me at least 10 years to finish. Oh well, at least I'm going. However, I decided to take two classes next semester. It will be tough to balance two classes, four days of physical therapy (including standing), massage therapy, doctors appointments etc. But I like a challenge. The two classes I signed up for are Fundamentals of Public Speaking and Stress Management. I will be going to Normandale Monday through Thursday.
I'm actually pretty excited. One of my friends is taking the Stress Management class this semester. She told me that they work on breathing exercises to help lower stress and calm down. I don't know how good I'll be at that, but I'll try. Breathing isn't exactly my strong point, but speaking is. I know that class will be fun for me and I think I will learn a lot from it. I wanted to take it with the same communications teacher that I took Small-Group Communications with. However, every semester he teaches Public Speaking in the evening. That doesn't quite work for my schedule and I didn't want to wait any longer to take the class so I decided to take it with a different teacher.
At some point I think I'm going to take a Phy Ed class. I was thinking about taking Fitness Walking or Fitness Jogging. Could you imagine the look on the teachers' face when I rolled through those doors all suited up and ready for the fitness class? I'm crazy I know, but I think it would be funny. Just like the teacher for my Stress Management class is going to try to get me to take deep breaths so I can have a less stressful day. That will be interesting.
"The principle goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done; men and women who are creative, inventive and discoverers, who can be critical and verify, and not accept, everything they are offered."
Saturday, November 8, 2008
I think about it every day and night.
There's something about it that's just not right.
It haunts me in my sleep and follows day by day.
I don't know how to deal, there's just no way.
I try to avoid all night long.
It's just too hard because it's just so strong.
So here comes to stay with me,
that's just the way love is going to be.
I have written many poems that will show up in various posts. No, I was not in love when I wrote this poem. Most of my poems come to me in the middle of the night for no reason. This poem was one of them. I don't know why or how I thought of it, I just did. I like it though. I think it really shows what some people go through when they are really truly in love, whether they want to be or not.
Friday, November 7, 2008
This speech was volunteer, and although I like to volunteer my time, I hope to one day get paid for every speech I do. It took a lot to get to Richfield high school by 9:10. I woke up at 4:30 in the morning to start my cares. I normally get up into my wheelchair sometime between 8:30 and 9 o'clock. Yesterday, I got into my wheelchair at 6:45. Yes, it was a very long day, but it was definitely worth it. I love speaking and sharing my story. It is nice to motivate others and it feels good to wow them with my positive attitude and my ability to overcome challenges. If any of you know of a place that would have me as a speaker, I could really use the experience. Even if they are not able to pay; let me know.
"Motivation is everything. You can do the work of two people, but you can't be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people."
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I had psychology today. We took a quiz and I got 4/4. I also found out that I got 15/20 on my test that I took last Friday. Not my best score, but good enough for me.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Wow! This quote is deep. I had to read it four times to get a hold of the intensity and meaning behind it. One of my interpretations of this quote is that faith will help you through the tough times. There are many other interpretations and meanings hidden inside. To me, it doesn't even matter what religion you are as long as you have faith and believe.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I want to update you on my standing. I have stood about five times and I am now on a set schedule of standing twice a week in physical therapy. My longest time at once was 15 minutes. I didn't think I would be up that long so soon. I have to keep the blood pressure cuff on just in case. I usually have to take it about every two minutes, because sometimes my blood pressure can go down without me knowing. It is easier and I find that I can stand longer in the morning than in the afternoon because I'm not as fatigued from daily activities. My blood pressure goes down more in the afternoon because I do get so tired.
I'm excited to be able to do it for longer like 30 minutes but it takes a while to build up to that. Although, I do think I am already starting to feel the benefits. My back hasn't been hurting like it usually does and I feel like I have more energy during the day. Standing helps prevent osteoporosis and also strengthens bones and muscles. It will also help strengthen my back. The picture is of me standing in my bedroom. I'm 5'8", but the stander is up off the ground so I stand taller than everyone who is helping me. It is nice to be able to see the top of people's heads instead of up their noses.
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow"."
-(This is a quote from a plaque hanging in my room. I don't know who the author is.)
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Throughout life you will learn
that sorrow will not remain.
You will see that it is
like a butterfly emerging
from its cocoon to make way
for greater things.
When a caterpillar spins a chrysalis, does it know its life is going to change and that it's going to turn into a beautiful butterfly? When a baby is born, does it know the path that it's going to live and the life-changing moments that may occur? Change happens every day whether it is good or bad. People die, give birth, get jobs, lose jobs, graduate high school or college, etc. Some is just simply change and some is life-changing. Like an accident that changes you from an active teen to being paralyzed and in a wheelchair.
Today is the sixth year anniversary of my accident. This day doesn't frighten or scare me; I don't get sad or depressed; I don't think why me or about all the "what ifs". I just live and thank God that I am still living and still hear on this earth able to live my life with this change. The accident did change my life, but it didn't change me. I'm still the same person I used to be. I still want to love and be loved. I still need friends and family to support me. I want to be an advocate for others with disabilities like me; others who have faced similar changes. I also want to show people not to be afraid of change. Because of this change I live my life differently. It may be hard at times, but I'm happy and that's all that matters.
"New beginnings start as the seed of a flower does, buried, unseen, but destined to bloom.
Friday, October 31, 2008
"The first Halloween celebration in America took place in Anoka, Minnesota in 1921."
"About 99% of the pumpkins marketed domestically get turned into jack-o'-lanterns."
"Halloween candy sales average about $2 billion annually in the United States."
"Over 10% of pet owners dress their pets and Halloween customs."
"Over $1.5 billion is spent on costumes each year and more than $2.5 billion on other Halloween paraphernalia."
"90% of parents admit sneaking goodies from their kids' Halloween trick or treat bags."
You can get more facts and other stuff by clicking here.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tomorrow I have a test for psychology. The tests are only worth 20 points, but it adds up quickly. I hope I'm ready because I chose to update my blog instead of finish studying. Wish me luck!
"The people who say they don't have time to take care of themselves will soon discover they're spending all their time being sick."
-Kyle Lake, Sermon
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Wow! This video makes me think about how lucky I am to be alive. We only live so long and we should live every day like it's our last. "Live for today, hope for tomorrow" is a saying I live by often. The mom of the little boy said something on Oprah today that I would like to quote, "I'm happy today, I can be sad later." All I can say is amazing! Truly amazing people who have come together to make a video and end up touching others. By the way, she's pregnant again! Another baby, another miracle, another joy of life.
"Loss leaves us empty- but learn not to close your heart and mind in grief. Allow life to replenish you. When sorrow comes it seems impossible- but new joys wait to fill the void."
Monday, October 27, 2008
Back in July, I was the keynote speaker at a Spinal Cord Injury Research Symposium. Dr. Wise Young, a world renowned research scientist, was the featured speaker. Dr. Young is well known for his spinal cord injury research and clinical trials in China. The event was put on by the Morton Cure Paralysis Fund. They have now posted a video of the event, including my speech, on their website. It is at least two hours long. I encourage you to watch the whole thing because Dr. Young had some interesting information to share about spinal cord injury research and the progress they are making. Although, if you don't have the time, you can always fast-forward to the end to see me speak. To watch the video click here.
Also on the subject of speaking, I will be giving three speeches in a row next Thursday to three different classes at Richfield high school. I am part of a volunteer program called Best Prep. Although lately I have been getting paid for my speeches, it is nice to volunteer and get practice every once in a while. I will let you know how they go.
"It is not so much the content of what one says as the way in which one says it. However important the thing you say, what's the good of it if not heard or, being heard, not felt."
Sunday, October 26, 2008
One night a man had a dream.
He was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand, one belonged to him
and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome
times in my life there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me."
The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child.
I love you, and I would never leave you
during your times of trial and suffering.
When you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."
Whenever I read this poem, I know that I am never alone. In times of trouble, sadness, grief, loneliness, despair, or whatever it may be, I know that there is someone there guiding and helping me along. This actually isn't the original copy of this poem and its author is no longer anonymous. The original was written in 1936 by Mary Stevenson and copyright ownership was granted in 1984, 48 years after it was written. During those 48 years, some of the words of the poem have changed and it was usually followed by "author anonymous". It is very interesting how the ownership came about. If you would like to visit the website for more information the address is:
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I would love to see more people comment on my posts. It would feel good to know that people are reading what I write and that I'm not just doing this for me. It's not that hard to do. All you have to do is click on comments, fill out some general information to create an identity, and then write whatever you would like. I am also able to write back to any of the comments made, so feel free to ask questions, say a quick hello, or just post a general comment. I would love to keep this site up as long as possible so let me know that you're interested in reading it.
"All of us, at certain moments of our lives, need to take advice and to receive help from other people."
Friday, October 24, 2008
"We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot."
Thursday, October 23, 2008
If I had my life to live over,
I'd dare to make more mistakes next time.
I'd relax, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles,
but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I'm one of those people who lives sensibly
and sanely hour after hour, day after day.
Oh, I've had my moments, if I had to do it over again,
I'd have more them.
In fact, I'd try to have nothing else.
Just moments, one after another, instead of living
so many years ahead of each day.
I've been one of those persons who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, raincoat
and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot
earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would write more merry go rounds.
I would pick more daisies.
What would you do if you had your life to live over? Would you do some of these things or something different? Would you even choose to live your life differently? These things are small differences, are there bigger ones you would change? Feel free to comment below.
To me, life is not about the things you do or how you do them. It's not about who you're friends with, how you look, or the things you say. It doesn't matter where you live or what possessions you have. It isn't about social status or class, work ethic, or ability. Life is not about what type of person you are or who you become. It doesn't matter what filled your past or what's to come in your future. Life is one of those precious things that unfortunately can't be lived over again. I believe that there is a certain path for all of us and that things happen for a reason. You can also choose your life and your destiny. You can wish that things were different, or that you had lived your life differently. In reality, life is yours to live and how you live it depends on the choices you make and the path that is intended for you.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
School is going good. I got 4/4 on my quiz last Wednesday. I was excited to have the day off yesterday for MEA. I went for a role down this path close to my house. A photographer named Kate came with me. She took a lot of pictures of the beautiful changing weather, including me in some of them. It was a little chilly, but I bundled up. I will post some of the pictures when I get them.
Also yesterday, a company called Reliable came out to deliver me my new standing chair. I've been waiting for a long time. One of the things that is recommended for spinal cord injuries is to stand at least a few times a week. Getting started is the hard part. Since I haven't stood in about eight months (when I trialed the stander), my body isn't used to it. I have hypotensive episodes, where my blood pressure drops, when I change positions from laying to sitting. It's even worse when I go from sitting to standing. I have to go really slow and gradual into a standing position. The first time I went up yesterday, I got to 90° for about one minute before my blood pressure dropped and I had to go back down. The second time, I was at 90° for about six minutes. When I took my blood pressure, the machine said error. Whoops, I guess it got a little too low. But six minutes is good for not standing for a while. My goal right now is to get used to standing twice a week. In the long run, I hope to stand at least four or five times a week, up to 30 or 40 minutes.
"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly."
Sunday, October 12, 2008
1. Egypt's great pyramids
2. The Taj Mahal
3. Grand Canyon
4. Panama Canal
5. Empire State building
6. St. Peter's Basilica
7. The Great Wall of China
While counting up the votes, the teacher noted that one quiet student hadn't turned in his paper yet, so she asked the child if he was having trouble with his list. The reply came, "Yes, a little. I can't quite make up my mind because there are so many." The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have and maybe we can help." He hesitated, then read, "I think the Seven Wonders of the World are:
1. To touch
2. To taste
3. To see
4. To hear
He hesitated a little, then added:
5. To feel
6. To laugh
7. and, to love"
The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. These things we overlook as simple and ordinary are truly wondrous-a gentle reminder that the most precious things in life cannot be bought or built.
I love this story! I think it really makes people realize how valuable life is and not to take the little things for granted. There are people out there who can't touch, taste, see, hear, feel, laugh, or love. Think about it. Put yourself in their position, or even my position. Try sitting still for five minutes. No moving around, scratching itches, moving your hair from your face etc. It's hard isn't it. I know there is no way that anyone could know or even imagine how it feels to lose or be missing a sense unless it had happened or was happening to them. Even doing a simple experiment like sitting still for five minutes or wearing a blindfold for a day cannot show someone to the full extent what it's like to have a disability. Just something to think about when you're holding your kids, tasting your favorite food, watching the sunset, listening to the birds, getting a massage, reading a funny joke, or spending time with the people you love.
Thursday, October 9, 2008