Sunday, November 28, 2010

Spring Semester

Well, fall semester is almost over. I'm going to be taking my final exam for my online environmental biology class sometime between December 9-14. I have to schedule a time to take it with the office for students with disabilities at Normandale. This class is been difficult at times, but I've made it this far. I will let you know how I do when I find out.

I signed up for classes to take in the spring. In a post before this fall semester I noted that I had to drop a class that I was signed up for at Normandale. It wouldn't have worked for me to go because of my wheelchair situation. That class was intercultural communications and I signed up for it again at Normandale in the spring. I also signed up for stress management online. I'm excited to start getting out more and actually going to Normandale.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, not just for the food but for the meaning behind it also. We hosted it at our house and had about 15 people over; mostly family but some friends too. Our feast consisted of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rutabagas, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole (I think that's more of a Minnesotan thing), and crescent rolls. There was also apple, pumpkin and pecan pie. I'm not much of a sweet eater but I did have a small slice of apple pie (my favorite if I had to choose).

I am thankful for many things, but mostly I am thankful to be alive. Something tragic happened in my life and there were many times where I almost didn't make it. I'm not angry or sad that this happened; I'm just glad and thankful that I'm still here. What are you thankful for?


Monday, November 22, 2010

A Lesson from the Geese

As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird following. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds 71% to the flying range than if each bird flew alone.

Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier when they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone, and quickly gets back in formation to take advantage of the "lifting power" of the bird immediately in front.

Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed where we want to go.

When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies at point position.

Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership -- interdependent with each other.

The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Lesson: We need to be sure our honking from behind is encouraging, not something less helpful.

When a goose gets sick or wounded, two geese drop out of formation and follow him down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it is either able to fly again or dies. Then they launch out on their own, with another formation, or catch up with the flock.

Lesson: If we have as much sense as the geese, we'll stand by each other like that.

-Milton Olson

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Wheelchair

My new power wheelchair has been working out great for me. I have been enjoying my independence and am getting used to the sip and puff (prefer the tongue touch more still but it's better than being in a manual wheelchair). Compared to my old power chair, this is definitely an improvement. And I thought that one was great but I didn't know any different. It's from the same company just a new model and more comfortable. It's also roomier because it's 2 inches wider (yes I've grown in the last five years; I was told that comes with age so I shouldn't worry :-). They did switch a couple things from my old wheelchair to my new one, like my armrests and footplate but there are still a couple of other things like a tray that holds my water and a pole to attach my humidifier for my vent.

Here are some pictures of when I took it outside last week to test the speed (this was before the 10 inches of snow we got on Saturday).

The straw attaches to the head rest. The black pad on the other side of my face is a reset switch in case I need to stop the chair immediatly.
A side view
The back of my wheelchair. My vent is hanging on a bar and my oxygen (for emergencies) hangs below.
For now my tubes are tied to the side of the chair.
This is how it looks tilted back.
Invacare TDX SP


Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm Still Here

I have been extremely busy the past week with my environmental biology class; paper due tomorrow and quizzes on Saturday. The other day I went outside to see just how fast my wheelchair would go. If set at 100%, it supposedly goes 7 mph! The highest speed set for me is 80%; probably a little over 5 mph. It went way faster than my old chair did. Anyways, I took some pictures and a video that I will put up soon.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Standing on My Own…

… two feet. I love getting in the stander, but sometimes it can be really tiring especially when my blood pressure drops. Also, my legs and back hurt if I'm not at 90° because I'm using more energy and muscle to only stand halfway. It's hard for me to even consider that standing, but I guess it is weight-bearing.

On Wednesday I actually got up to 90° for 10 min., which hasn't happened in at least a couple months. (I should note that it took me about 30 to 40 min. to get there, which is normal.) It felt so good to be standing up right, and my blood pressure actually got higher the longer I stood. It started compensating for my standing. However, on Thursday I only got up to 60° in 30 min. time before my blood pressure dropped and I had to go back down to sitting (30°). I guess it depends on the day and my body's ability to adjust. Either way I'm glad I got up to the max at least once.


(I will get pictures of my new wheelchair and post them soon! I was also thinking about doing a video of me driving it.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Remember November 1

Yesterday was a big day. It was the eighth year anniversary of my accident. I can't believe it's been that long already. I've come a long way, and thank God for being alive. I also got my new wheelchair! After five months of being pushed around (pun intended) I'm finally independent again. The rep from Key Medical switched a few things over from my old wheelchair to my new one, but he's coming tomorrow to do more. I took it to Ridgedale Mall today to wear it in a little. I did a great job driving it and didn't run into one thing (well, except for the wall upstairs, but the black marks should come off easy!) I'm going to take pictures of my new wheelchair and post them and also talk more about in my next post. Just thought I'd give a quick update. It turned out to be a great day and one I'll remember!