Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lost Generation

I went to church this morning and they played this video that I thought was really cool. I decided to share it with all of you. It has such a great message. I guess it was created for the AARP U@50 video contest and placed second. I hope you enjoy it.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Update on Standing

I have had my Easystand Evolv stander for a little over five months now. I stand on average three days a week and I am able to stand up to 40 minutes. I have now started to use my standing frame outside of physical therapy, which was one of my goals when I first got it. On Sunday, one of my nurses and PCA helped me into the stander. I stood for close to 40 minutes until my blood pressure dropped. It is exciting to be able to do it with my caregivers and have the extra time in physical therapy to do other things.

It has been a tremendous help in decreasing my back pain. I am getting stronger and my blood pressure is adapting as I get to a standing position. My body is getting used to the routine and I am tolerating standing longer than in the beginning. I am achieving all of the goals that I set upon receiving the stander and I am hoping that things will only get better.


"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts."
-Sir Winston Churchill

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Speech Recognition Software

You may have noticed that I haven't been doing as many posts lately. I apologize for that. On Friday, my computer froze up and I had to do a hard shutdown on it. Somewhere in the process, my voice files for my speech recognition software Dragon NaturallySpeaking got either erased or lost. I was without the program for a day and ended up having to change something and then retrain it. It still wasn't 100%. It was very difficult to type without it making mistakes. A tech guy came out yesterday to help me fix it and it's pretty much back to normal. I appreciate your patience and will be up and running with many more posts from now on.

Because of the poor speech recognition, I have changed my e-mail address from yahoo to Gmail. For those of you who have my e-mail address, the beginning part of it is still the same, it is just at instead of For those of you who don't have my e-mail address, the new one is You can also look in my profile to get it.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Did You Know?

I eat regularly.

There are many people with traches/ventilators who are unable to swallow properly. In that case they are unable to eat regularly. Most are fed through a gastrostomy tube, otherwise known as a G-tube, that is implanted in the stomach. A feeding pump can be connected to the G-tube and can run at whatever rate it is set. After my accident I had a G-tube and was tube fed. I was unable to eat regularly until a few months after my accident. Even then I was getting a mix of tube feedings and eating real food. I finally was able to eat real food and skip the feedings altogether. I went in for surgery to get my G-tube taken out and replaced it with a Mic-key button. It is also a G-tube but unlike the one I had before, the button gets changed every 4-6 months. My nurses give me water and some medications through there while I'm sleeping.

I like a lot of foods but my favorites are potatoes (baked and baby red), steak, and grilled asparagus. I couldn't imagine going back to tube feedings. Not only did they make me feel sick, but I don't think my taste buds would allow it. I actually eat pretty healthy. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and meats are my staples. However, I do enjoy snacks here and there.


Thursday, March 19, 2009


Even though it is only 40°, I decided to try going outside instead of watching TV. I was only expecting to stay out for a couple of minutes but ended up staying out for more than 30 minutes. It was beautiful! It felt like 60°! The sun was shining and there was no breeze. I even saw that our irises are poking through the ground. They are about 1 1/2 to 2 inches high already. A little green turns into a lot of green very quickly. I think tomorrow is the first day of spring. I guess I shouldn't complain so much. My day wasn't so bad after all.


A Long Week

This week has been going by slow. For the past three days I thought it was Thursday and now that it is Thursday it feels like Monday. I haven't done much over the course of this break. I guess that's why they call it a break. I am so bored! It's weird though because I only go to school twice a week so it's not like things are that different but I miss it so much. I haven't started the outline for my speech that I'm supposed to be giving next Tuesday. Whoops! I've been kind of out of it because my routine is different. I'm such a routine person. I had a few friends over on Monday evening and yesterday, however, I haven't gotten out of the house since church on Sunday. I think I might go somewhere tomorrow but I'm not sure where. It's not quite nice enough outside yet to sit in the sun. Even though it's sunny, it is only 40° today. I've been on my computer for about 2 1/2 hours now and my eyes are starting to go buggy. I'm going to go watch some TV.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring Break!

Hello everyone.

This week is my spring break. I am happy to have the time off from school, but I am sad that I am not going anywhere out-of-state. I will definitely be getting out of the house though. My sister flew to Arizona for the week. I miss her but I am very jealous as well. She has been going to the pool every day since she got there and she said that the weather is beautiful and 80°. Why I live in Minnesota I don't know. I can't complain though because we're having spring early here. Today it is 62° and sunny which is making all of the snow melt. There are ducks and geese in our pond! I have decided to go for a roll later on.

I only have a few classes left for school. I have one more prepared speech to give and then we have to do an impromptu speech. Our class ends one month earlier than the normal school semester. That is because we have it 4 hours a week instead of 3 hours which makes the span of the class shorter. I am planning on signing up for a summer class in a couple of weeks. I'm not sure what I'm going to take yet.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Please Listen

I have a lot of thoughts going through my mind. I am very busy and get stressed out easily. Sometimes I even lose sleep over things either because I am worried or anxious. One thing that helps me is to share my feelings with other people. However, I am very hesitant to do that. Sometimes I feel like people try to fix my problems instead of just listening and helping me to release them. I am a caring person and I would never want to put any of my feelings on to anyone else. If they would just listen to me and not try to fix me, I would be more willing to let go of whatever it is I had been thinking about. I found this poem a while back that describes perfectly how I feel. I keep it up on my fridge so that everyone can be reminded to just listen.

Please Listen

When I ask you to listen to me
and you start giving me advice,
you have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why
I shouldn't feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something
to solve my problem,
you have failed me,
strange as that may seem.
Listen! All I ask is that you listen.
Don't talk or do-just hear me!


Friday, March 13, 2009

The Birds

The above pictures are of my birds Cole (the gray one) and Rio (the yellow one). They are both female parakeets. I usually have someone take them out of their cage about once a week. They're kind of scared of most people. Neither of them can talk but both can whistle and make noises and they usually repeat after me. Sometimes I like to have the cage door open and sit in front of the cage. Cole usually comes to the door and talks to me and sometimes she comes out on the outside of the cage. They can get noisy at times but they're a lot of fun to watch.

It is hilarious to watch them with the cat. Toby likes to watch them play and he is good for the most part but sometimes he gets a little too close. That's when Cole will peck at him and chase him away. Our other cat Ty just runs away from the birds when they come out. I think he's been disciplined too many times and he knows what will happen if he gets too close. Ty has killed birds, mice, baby bunnies and chipmunks outside so I don't trust him with my birds. I love all my animals. I also have two male Beta fish (in separate tanks otherwise they will attack each other).


Thursday, March 12, 2009


I am now on Facebook! I had a Facebook page about a year and a half ago but I deactivated it because my speech recognition program Dragon NaturallySpeaking didn't work with it. It wouldn't allow me to do anything on it. After that, I swore I would never go on it again. I guess I just got it in my mind that I hated it because it wasn't user friendly and that it was stupid. I was watching all of my friends and my sister get addicted to it and that's all they would be doing. Yesterday afternoon my sister convinced me to reactivate my page and try again. They must've changed the format of their site because I am now able to use it with my voice. I have to say I think I am addicted and it's only been one day. I guess I have to be careful that it doesn't consume my life. My blog is my number one priority.


"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."
-Sylvia Ashton-Warner

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Good News!

Pres. Barack Obama overturns Bush policy on stem cells. In an article by Associated Press it states:

"It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda — and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology," Obama said.

Researchers said the new president's message was clear: Science, which once propelled men to the moon, again matters in American life.

The most immediate effect will allow federally funded researchers to use hundreds of new embryonic stem cell lines for promising, but still long-range research in hopes of creating better treatments, possibly even cures, for conditions ranging from diabetes to paralysis. Until now, those researchers had to limit themselves to just 21 stem cell lines created before August 2001, when President George W. Bush limited funding because of "fundamental questions about the beginnings of life and the ends of science."
This is good news for the spinal cord injury community. They have been trying to get funding for research for the past eight years now and it is finally happening. This is still a very touchy subject for many people and very controversial. However, with hope of someday finding a cure for spinal cord injuries and many other conditions, this is a big step for many involved.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Another New Series

Along with my series Life As a Quad, I will be starting another new series called Did You Know? Each post will feature one fact about me that people probably don't know and an explanation along with it. If anyone has any questions that have to do with things that I can or cannot do please feel free to either leave a comment or e-mail me and I will try to answer them in this new series. I will be happy to answer anything and everything so don't feel limited about which questions to ask me. I am very open.


"Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go. Only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be."
-Karen Ravn

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Those Who Care

I have said before that I have 24/7 nursing care. They work 12 hour shifts from 7 AM to 7 PM and then from 7 PM to 7 AM. I also have a personal care attendant (PCA) every day from 7:30 AM to 11:30 AM. They work for a home care agency where they come out to my house for their shift. The PCAs and nurses do most everything for me including giving me a bed bath or shower, getting me dressed, getting me into and out of my wheelchair etc.

One problem that occurs sometimes is not having nursing staff. If a nurse calls in or we do not have one for a shift, my family steps in to do the job. Sometimes we are able to get a nurse to cover the shift; either one that works here or someone to just fill in. For this weekend, we got all three. The Friday night shift, Saturday day shift and Sunday day shift were all open as of the beginning of last week. We were able to get a nurse that we didn't know to work the Friday night shift. The only thing about that is that they don't know my cares so I only got about two hours of sleep trying to orient her. Yesterday, my dad came over to work half of the shift and my mom worked the other half. I am very thankful that my family knows my cares and is able to fill in when we need it. A nurse that usually works with me 3 days each week picked up the open shift today. It is great that she is willing to work overtime to help me and my family out.

Having people take care of me is not the easiest thing ever. I have someone with me all day every day taking care of me. I have no privacy and very little independence. Sometimes I get irrigated or annoyed with the nurses, but that's only because 12 hours is a long time to spend with one person. I'm very fortunate to have as good of nursing care as I do. I have heard stories of others who have not had as much luck as me. If I didn't have the trache or vent I wouldn't need 24/7 care. Sometimes I am glad I do because if I didn't have nurses I don't think I would be able to get as good of care as I do and it would be up to my family to do everything for me. It would be harder to do the things that I do. I just want to say thank you to all the people that have helped take care of me including my family, nurses, and PCAs.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Money and Accessibility

Today I went to Ridgedale mall for a little shopping trip. I ended up buying a bunch of clothes that I probably don't need but decided to buy anyways. Since I don't go out to many places besides school and appointments, I don't spend my money on very many things. I don't go to the gas station and buy gas, I don't go grocery shopping and buy groceries, I don't go to Target and buy toiletries; so when I go out somewhere all I really want to do is just spend money no matter when it's on. I know that may sound odd to those of you who would rather not be spending money at a time like this, but when I don't I feel the need to.

I don't see how stores can get away with not being accessible these days. I only go to my select few stores when I go to the mall so most of the employees know me by now. When I go into the store they say hi and then also tell me to let them know if I need anything moved. Most stores that I go into I end up rearranging the racks. They pack those things so close together I don't even see how other people can walk through the store let alone a wheelchair. Also, I don't shop at Hollister but I couldn't even if I wanted to. When they put the store into the mall they put stairs in the front entrance. How ridiculous! People with strollers can't even shop there. They have shutters on the sides but there is no way that I could fit through them plus they have tables and racks of clothes on the inside. I hope someday everything will be accessible. I can't even imagine what it's like for people in wheelchairs in other countries.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Something I've Learned

Difficult Times Don't Last Forever

Sometimes, the problems you must face are more than you wish to cope with, and tomorrow doesn't seem to offer any solutions.

You may ask yourself, "Why me?" but the answer is sometimes unclear. You may even tend to feel that life hasn't been just or fair to burden you with such obstacles.

The roads any of us choose to follow are never free of bumps or curves, but eventually the turns lead to a smoother path ahead.

Believe in yourself and your dreams. You will soon realize that the future holds many promises for you. Remember... difficult times don't last forever.
-Geri Danks

I found this poem to be extremely similar to my life and thoughts. So much so that I have probably written it some way in my mind before. I didn't know it at the time of my accident, but I know now that difficult times don't last forever. Things have gotten easier and I have learned how to cope. I believe that everything happens for a reason and that there is a certain path that each of us take. I have had many obstacles along the way but I am here now doing exactly what I feel I am supposed to be doing. We just have to go along with the hand that we are dealt and hope that everything works out in the end.


Monday, March 2, 2009

A New Gadget

The other day I went to Best Buy and bought a camcorder. I also bought software to edit the videos that I make. I figured I could videotape parts of my life and add them to my blog. Right now I'm just using my digital camera to make short videos. It definitely isn't as good of quality. Now I just have to figure out how to use it. I'm going to write and direct my own documentary one day. Yeah right, like that will happen. I guess anything is possible. The video camera that I bought is a Panasonic with image stabilization. Image stabilization is a feature that compensates for peoples shakiness.

I merely just made a joke but I think I embarrassed the guy that was helping me. I was talking to my mom and I told her out loud that it was a good thing that we got image stabilization just in case while I was holding the camera I spasmed. Obviously it wouldn't matter since I can't hold the camera anyways. We both started laughing and the poor guy thought we were laughing at him. My mom explained to him that I was paralyzed and that I was just making a joke and then he felt bad. Earlier he had tried to hand me the software that would edit the videos for my computer and I didn't take it from him. Once he found out I was paralyzed he said "so that's why you didn't grab it from me. I kept trying to give it to you and you just wouldn't take it. I didn't realize you were paralyzed; you should have said something." Sorry Jeff!