Archive for July, 2010


Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Looks like a Stardate doesn’t it? Well, I really couldn’t think of a title, and I haven’t really kept up the blog, something I’m having to train myself to do, as I know people ARE reading it. Things have been a little crazy around here since Chewie is home. He’s a mess. He’s licked himself hairless behind the tail and on his hind legs. He’s going to the vet on Saturday, and I hope the hair will grow back. I’m pretty sure it was nerves. He had to be put in a muzzle 24/7 except for when he was eating and drinking. He doesn’t do that here. He spends all his time in the bathroom sleeping, or laying behind my wheelchair.

Now there’s a difference since he’s come home. Usually when he went outside. He’d spend HOURS outside, barking at the other dogs and such. Now he just goes outside, does his business and wants back in. He is also sleeping in MY bathroom quite a bit. He still spends time in Keith’s bathroom, but I’ve noticed he spends most of his time in my bathroom, which is different. I think he’s happy to be home. He doesn’t really bark when someone comes to the door, but we’re working on that. I WANT him to bark. I don’t know if Mike told him not to bark, but he hasn’t barked since he’s been here.

I hope his hair loss isn’t permanent. I liked his coat. I know it’s just nervious llicking and he’s not doing much of it here. A ‘leave it’ and he stops, if he’s doing it at all. And he’s only doing a tiny bit. I guess I now know that I can’t get rid of him. Keith wants to take him to the pound. But I doubt anyone will want to adopt him. He couldn’t handle Mike’s house, and he was a friend. How is he going to handle a total stranger? Mike bent over backwards to deal with Chewie’s quirks, a stranger won’t do that.

I just hope Chewie can accept a new dog and that I can teach him that he can stay at home and not pee and poop in the house. He’s done that twice now… we were home both times, but it was nerves. Luckily, he chose to do the ‘dirty deed’ on the kitchen floor so it was easy to clean up. I just don’t know what I’m going to do when I want to go somewhere as Chewie isn’t a service dog anymore. By my choice.

Chewie is coming home!

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

It’s just not working out at our friend’s house. Chewie is having to wear a muzzle 24/7, except when he’s eating and drinking. He’s licking himself hairless and is visibly deteriorating, and Mike, the friend that wanted Chewie when I retired him, sent me a message on Facebook in response that Keith and I would be driving past his house because we are going to a play and we would stop in to see Chewie. He said to be prepared to take Chewie with us. Keith’s response to this was to suggest we take Chewie to the Animal Shelter. I won’t do that. And Keith’s comment was that I would have to watch Chewie grow old and die then. How insensitive can you get?

Anyway, so Chewie is coming home tomorrow. I’ve got my dog back, but I’m still going to get a new dog. Chewie will just have to learn to live with a 2nd dog in the house.


Saturday, July 24th, 2010

I bought an Amazon Kindle from in early February. What the Kindle is, is an e-book reader. A very NICE, e-book reader. I tend to drop books when I turn pages about 99% of the time, the Kindle is perfect for me, as there is no actual page turning , you just press a button and the page is changed, the Kindle is perfect for me. I also like being able to order a book online and not have to wait forever for it to arrive by US Postal service. With the Kindle, I can order a book, and it’ll be available on my Kindle in about 60 seconds.With the downloading of Kindle book, I am free to read in bed at night, free of the computer… I do have to use an external light on the Kindle as it has no backlight, but that’s because the inventors wanted the Kindle to mimic a regular ‘paper’ book.I can get monthly magazines and my local newspaper. (I get PC Magazine)There are two Kindles. The Kindle 2, with a 6 inch screen, and the Kindle DX. All in all, it’s a very nice setup… and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy more books for it.

Pain Patches

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

I am using Lidoderm patches or what I affectionitally call “pain patches” to control the discomfort that I have from my shoulder that I injured when I tipped over my motorized wheelchair in February. They are used 12 hours on and 12 hours off. They work really well. THe problem with them, is the cost. While I only have to pay $56 for 90 patches, which lasts me 90 days, the cost to my insurance company is $700. and that cost is deducted from my yearly allowable, of which I start with $2800. Once I use all that up, I am in what’s known as the ‘donut hole’ and have to start paying for things out of my own pocket, and although, all of my generic drugs would be paid for, it’s still going to cut into any drug that is not generic, and I don’t think the pain patches qualify.

I just wish my shoulder would settle down so I wouldn’t have to use the patches so then I wouldn’t have to worry about it, and could just go back to my normal oral medications, but while I’m in Physical Therapy, the pain is a bit more than I can stand. (Okay it’s more than a ‘bit’, that’s why the pain patches, but still…

Anyway, my allowable, would get me pain patches for the year, and that’s IT. It wouldn’t allow me any other drugs… but I still need oral medications. I’m not sure how much my prescip9iton medicaitons run, but it’s not the amount that I pay that is calculated, it’s the full cost. say you pay $4 for a prescription, but your insurance pays $200. Well, if that happens for me, the full cost of $200 would be charged against my allowable. Sucks, doesn’t it? I’ve only hit the ‘donut hole’ and that was last year, but that year I was on a plan that didn’t cover as much as the plan this year.

I decided to pay more in premiums this year, so I was covered. I am paying $100 more a month, but all big ticket items will be covered like a new wheelchair, which is one thing that I am getting this year. My current wheelchair is 10 years old, and they usually replace them every five years. Well, I paid for this wheelchair as a private pay. That means I bought it and didn’t charge it to insurance. It was only 3 months old when I bought it. when I went to Florida and bought it from my partner Fred Shotz way back in 1999. Fred didn’t like it because it had a hard seat and a hard back but that was required for the ’tilt and space’. He bought it from a gentleman’s estate and the chair was brand new. Well, Fred sold it to me for what he paid for it, and he got it for a steal. I flew down to Florida, minus wheelchair because I was picking one up, and just took myself and Gillis (my Doberman). And stayed a week. Had a blast.

Transit (or Getting from here to there)

Monday, July 19th, 2010

I’m upset with myself. And disgusted. I had a Physical Therapy appointment today. I didn’t go. Why? Because I was going to have to take the regular bus (fixed route service, it’s called), to get to my PT appointment, instead of the ParaTransit. That’s what I was told yesterday when I called to schedule for my appoinment. Well, I decided this AM not to go, because there are no sidewalks to the bus stop, and the bus stop is 4 blocks away. There are no sidewalks, and the bus stop is NOT wheelchair accessible according to the ADA, although, it’s marked as such.

Then I called Pierce Transit (the local transit company) and talked to Eligibility, and found out that I should have had ParaTransit (Shuttle) take me to my appointment, as it was scheduled between the hours of 9am and 2pm. I had been told the exact opposite. Sheesh! Well, now I know, so I can relax. And anytime I need to go somewhere, I’ll make sure and schedule it between 9am and 2pm.

Buying a Wheelchair

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

I’m sitting here at home, waiting for the wheelchair salesman for a local store to come and bring several wheelchairs for me to see. Now, I would rather not do it this way, as my house is in somewhat of a mess. Well, it’s more than ‘somewhat’… there’s stuff all over the floor, ’cause when I drop something I couldn’t pick it up, until yesterday, when Keith’s dad brought me a replacement Gopher (pick up tool). There are a couple of styles. I have the original Gopher right now. I HAVE had the Deluxe Gopher III – Pick Up and Reaching Tool W/ LED Light, but I accidently got it caught in my wheelchair and broke it. My father-in-law bought me the original Ontel Products GOPMO2 Deluxe Gopher Pick Up and Reaching Tool Set
and I am now able to pick up anything that weighs less than 5 pounds. Yes, the Gopher can pick up something that weighs 5 pounds! Pretty nifty, huh? Anyway, with the Gopher, I now don’t have any excuse NOT to clean my house, . Not that I’m trying to make one up… I hate living in what amounts to a pigsty. I WANT my house to be clean. I’d love to have friends over, and throw video parties, since we have a projection TV system. When the house gets cleaned up, we’ll be able to do that.

That will be neat. I’ll have to actually COOK, but that’s okay. PotLucks are good, too. We have over 900 DVDs, plus a laserdisc player, so we have plenty to watch and we’ve been known to throw parties when Star Trek was on TV. Since that isn’t happening anymore, we’ll watch DVDs and just have a good time.

Okay, I know this is supposed to be about me buying a wheelchair, but I got sidetracked. Anyway, I originally visited a store that impressed me with their display at the annual Abilities Expo last year. I went to their store, and they only cell the wheelchairs with the one post that supports the seat from companies like Pride Mobility. Those chairs work great for most people, but I need a custom seating system, and I have broken that post, because of the way I get out of a wheelchair. I need a wheelchair like my current one, which is a Invacare Action Arrow.

Well, Steve, (the wheelchair guy), just left. And I won’t be getting the newest version of my current wheelchair. He took lots of notes, and pictures. Of me and of my wheelchair and of my house. It looks like I’ll be getting a mid-wheel drive chair (compared to a rear wheel drive chair). It may take some time for my insurance to approve it, or it may be approved in no time at all. Steve told me a story where a person with the same insurance that I had, got a motorized wheelchair approved in TWO weeks! Now that would be awesome if that happened to me.

I REALLY need a new wheelchair. My old one is 10 years old. I bought it from Frederick A. Shotz, a dear friend of mine that helped write the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and helped with the Owner-Trained Assistance Dog (OT-Adogs) list. He and I worked together in inspecting businesses for ADAAG (ADA Archtectural guidelines) so that they were accessible to persons using wheelchairs. He taught me everything I know.

Anyway, the wheelchair I have now, I bought from Fred, and he got it when it was only a few months old from the estate of a friend. Fred did not like the hard seat and back, which are required because the wheelchair has ’tilt and space’ which is where the wheelchair’s entire seating system tilts back to perform a ‘pressure release’, which is where you lift up your body to take the pressure off your butt to prevent pressure sores. You only need to hoist your butt off the seat for about 30 seconds, but even that is painful, so the tilt on the wheelchair is used instead. I love it, and would not want to part with it.

The new wheelchair would have ’tilt and space’ but also have a reclining back and footrests that move so you can basically be in a flat position. Basically a bed on wheels. Sheer luxury! We’ll see how it goes, and yes, I’ll keep people updated! The cost of the wheelchair is probably going to be at the upper end of $15,000-$20,000 although, I can’t be sure of that. My insurance, Regence MedAdvantage, will pay 100% with no deductible, which was planned when I chose my Medicare provider this year. I knew I was buying a wheelchair, so I chose a provider that had good DME (Durable Medical Equipment) coverage. Yes, I pay an extra $100 a month, but it’s worth it. If I hadn’t, I would probably have to pay about 15% out of pocket, which would be a lot more than $120.

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

I’m 46 years old today. Wow, feels like I’ve been alive longer than that! Seriously, I can’t believe how fast time has been flying by. It seems like yesterday that I met Keith, then we were getting married. Wow.

Here’s a list of stuff I’m involved in and happening currently in my life.

Married 19 years to the most wonderful man.

One of the top disability and service dog experts in the US.

The Commanding Officer of a Starfleet International chapter (the USS Daniel Soule) (working on the website, but you can join this Correspondance chapter from Starfleet‘s webpage.

The Executive Officer of a independant Star Trek simulation (the USS Constellation)

Disabled Accessibility Officer for Starfleet International and Region 5, Starfleet in which I put Starfleet’s newsletter, the Communique’, in audio format for the blind, and help Chapter Chairpersons by answering questions they may have on how to accommodate a disabled member.

Have a website Service Dogs and More! that is #1 on almost any search engine you can name! It still amazes me when I think about it!

Own and run the nationally known Owner Trained Assistance Dogs (OT-ADogs) email list at Yahoogroups. This list helps you train a dog to become a service dog.

Executive Producer of Star Trek on Audio, in conjunction with Roddenberry Productions. Putting all the Star Trek episodes and movies in audio format for the blind.

Amateur (Ham) Radio operator where I am heavily involved in community service and emergency preparedness.

I have been blessed throughout my life by God. Yes, I am disabled, but I firmly believe that God allowed it to happen for a reason. If I were not disabled, I doubt that I would be doing or experienced half the things that I have in my life. Sure, I am confined to a wheelchair, but the choice of using a wheelchair was just that, a choice that I made when I was 21. It cost so much energy and hurt too much to keep walking… sure I could do it, but I wanted a life, not just to exist, but to LIVE. Choosing to use a wheelchair was the best thing I ever did for myself. I can go anywhere within reason, at a reasonable speed, and I can enjoy life, instead of struggling through it.

The reason God allowed me to become disabled? I think it’s so I could help people with service dog advice and training and disability advocacy. I have been blessed with meeting many people, all because I am disabled. I would never had learned about service dogs if I weren’t disabled, and I would not have helped the hundreds of people personally with questions about service dogs and issues relating to disabled access and service dogs. And indirectly helping, I believe, thousands of people through my website, Service Dogs and More!. I still don’t know what I did to get it to the top of Google or any other search engine you can name. (including Bing).

Three wonderful service dogs:



Gillis, My 2nd Service Dog

Gillis, The Wonder Dog!

And last but not least:



I am currently looking for my 4th dog. Now, I do have a breeder of Doberman Pinscher dogs near by, and as soon as I can make my house puppy proof, I’ll go look at her dogs, and then probably have to save up for a puppy. I can’t expect someone to give me a dog like has previously been done.

Guess I better post this, and go pay attention to my hubby, who said he wanted to make me feel special on my birthday! I also have to answer all the birthday wishes I got on Facebook today! Wow! What a treat!

Upcoming Blog Visit on August 4th

Monday, July 12th, 2010

I subscribe to a few online newsletters, and one, the Kindle Nation Daily, had a guest who is doing a Blog Trot – he’s travelling through blogs doing guest blogs. I contacted him and he’ll be here doing a blog on August 4th. He asked me if I had a specific topic in mind, or if he should do an interview. Well, I was going to do an interview, then I thought about it some more, and thought I’d like to hear his thoughts on the Kindle and the disabled.

Stacy Cochran has written Claws and Claws 2

I confess, as I write this on July 12th, I have not yet read either of the above books, but with Claws priced at 99 cents for the Kindle edition and Claws 2 priced at $2.99. Good pricing for someone who hasn’t experienced an author before.

Stacey asked me what I wanted him to talk about, or should he just do an interview, with me asking questions, but I wanted his take on the whole eBook industry, Kindle and the disabled, because I really can’t deal with regular print books anymore. My audience here, I hope, are a cross-section of disabled, and non-disabled persons, so we can learn from each other. I’m not quite sure, as I haven’t received much in the way of comments on my blogs. I do know people are reading them… but maybe that’s because I cross-post it to my Facebook page.

ParaTransit or How can we screw with the Disabled?

Monday, July 12th, 2010

I started going to Physical Therapy for my shoulder, the right rotator cuff got injured when I tipped over my 250# motorized wheelchair. Pierce Transit Shuttle has taken me to Apple Physical Therapy a few times. So, I was unprepared for the conversation when I called to arrange my Shuttle ride for Wednesday. I was told I would have to take a fixed route bus to the Sumner Sounder Station and then Transfer to another bus to my destination. HUH? I have ALWAYS gotten door to door service with Shuttle, with some exceptions.

Those exceptions are because I am capable of riding a normal fixed route bus but sometimes I can’t do it, and have to take Paratransit. I live in an area with bus stops but the bus stops are NOT wheelchair accessible. The stops are placed where there is gravel or rocks, and no concrete pad for the wheelchair lift to use to get on the bus. Someone down there in Shuttle Eligibility needs to get their head out of their ass. It’s just NOT safe to use a wheelchair and a normal bus. Well, I guess I will be going down to Tacoma and giving them a piece of my mind the next time Keith has a day off. This is just getting rediculous. I need to be classified that I can’t ride the regular bus due to disability, weather conditions, road conditions and landscape. If I had access to sidewalks, SURE. I’d take the bus with no problem. But wheeling out in the street? Nope, don’t like it at all.

What really bothers me is that the bus company wants more disabled to use the regular (fixed route) buses because Paratransit is expensive. It is, and I agree. But, if they aren’t going to make bus stops that are compliant with the ADA, I say they can just take their “trip plans” and stick them up their collective asses and to hell with them. If they can’t spend $500-1000 on a concrete pad (and I’m not sure it’s even that much) for each bus stop to make it accessible, then they can live with the extra expenses of shuttle.

More to come, on this… stay tuned.

Center for Pain Relief (Well, maybe)

Friday, July 9th, 2010

I have been going to the University of Washington Center for Pain Relief for about 9 months now. I wanted to get off the narcotic drugs and the supportive medications. Narcotics have caused my memory to deteriorate and have caused a lot of other weird things to happen to my body, but mostly the memory issues.

I also have sleep apnea. But that’s a story for another blog entry. You’ll find it in here as soon as I finish typing up this one and do a bit of research so I can explain things in my blog… yes, yes, I do like to teach. Must be that early stint in teaching at the Community College level, where I taught Introduction to Computers for two years, with a one day workshop of HTML taught by Keith.

Back to the Pain Clinic. Getting off the narcotics is important, but I didn’t realize how much pain my body was in, until I used the lidocaine patches (hereafter referred to as ‘pain’ patches for pain relief. Problem is, those are EXPENSIVE. And right now, I don’t have an alternative. The Center for Pain Relief didn’t give me one. Which pisses me off.

On the shoulder injury, I have badly bruised the rotator cuff muscles, but my doctor at the Center for Pain Relief says it’s not a rotator cuff injury, because I bruised the muscle. Um, that’s what the rotator cuff is, a group of muscles. This woman has just lost all credibility in my eyes.

Dr. Zang said the x-rays showed no injury, but to be sure, they need to do an MRI. However, there’s a problem with that, I am disabled due to Cerebral Palsy. I have an intrathecal drug pump. And the ITB pump is a hockey puck sized disc made of metal. Metal and Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) do not mix.

As for the pain, I got injections of steroids in my knees and my shoulder. I am keeping a pain diary for the knees, not the shoulder. Good thing, the shoulder still hurts, but the knees are barely a 1 on a scale of 1-10, 7 hours later.

This might actually work out… if it works out, then I’ll get shots into my knee and be relatively pain free. Well, the next step is to freeze the nerve and basically kill it… it grows back 8-24 months later (although, another piece of literature says 8-12 months). Even then, being pain free from this for 12 months is a lot better than what I have now!

So now I wait to see when they will schedule a follow up. I hope it’s soon..