Archive for June, 2012

NASA Shuttle Trainer Headed for Seattle!

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

When NASA retired the Space Shuttle fleet, they picked places for the shuttles to be shown. Seattle was in the bidding for one of the 4 shuttles, but didn’t make the cut, instead landing the Shuttle Trainer. People here lament the fact that we “lost”, but no, I think we won! The cities that will host actual shuttles, must display them away from the public (look but don’t touch), while WE, here in Seattle, will be able to climb into the shuttle trainer and play with it. It’s a mock up of a shuttle, built in the 1970’s, is made of plywood, but has all the systems that the shuttle used, for astronaut training. The only thing the trainer doesn’t have, are the wings.

This weekend, the nose and crew compartment are being flown to Seattle via NASA’s ‘Super Guppy’. Then only 3 more parts are needed to be shipped (the cargo bay and the stand for same). Then they will put it together, and it’ll go into a new gallery at the Museum of Flight.

Like I said above, I think Seattle got the best part of the picks. No, we didn’t land an actual shuttle, we landed something far better.

See the move from NASA to the airport and the trainer being loaded onto the Super Guppy. Shuttle Trainer Coming to Seattle

My website is getting an updated look!

Friday, June 29th, 2012

After having had my website Service Dogs and More! up for years, and years, it needs a major upgrade, and I finally was able to get FTP to behave so I could download the whole thing! I will be updating it slowly over the next several weeks, and adding some things I’ve been meaning to add for years. If you are a service dog user, and have suggestions you’d like to see on the site, drop me a line either at webmaster@danawheels.net or comment here, or on Facebook.

Amazon Kindle 3 needs a new home!

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

I recently purchased a Kindle Fire, so I find that my Amazon Kindle 3 needs a new home. If anyone reading this blog would like to give it a new home, please contact me at danawheels@gmail.com. It comes with a cover and I will throw in 2 of the charging/data cables. As for the USB to outlet attachment, that will be needed to be bought separately, as I don’t have one for the Kindle. They run $9.95 I think. You can still charge the Kindle via the USB port on your computer, however.

Lots of pain today…

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Mostly it’s lower back pain, but still, it’s tiring. And yes, I’ve been taking my meds faithfully. I think that my back just isn’t up to all the sitting I do. I’m in a wheelchair, and that’s all I do. It hurts less when I’m in my wheelchair, however, probably due to the hard back and specialized cushion on the seat. My wheelchair is customized for long sitting streatches as well as other things. It cost a pretty penny too. $23K or so I was told by the company where I bought it. The base chair is only $4K, but with all the modifications where the footrests raise and lower as well as the seat, that adds up, plus Durable Medical Equipment (DME) is notoriously expensive. But, I knew I was needing a new wheelchair, so I joined a high end insurance company and paid $350 a month, before I got the wheelchair and they paid 100% of it.

I will probably have to go back to a high end insurance company next year during open enrollment (I’m on straight Medicare right now), because I have some expenses when I get the intrathecal drug pump refilled that we’re having to pay out of pocket that are a little extreme. $300 or so… The refills cost about $8k each, and I have to pay 20%, so I’m having to be a bit more budget conscious since I wasn’t able to get in with a insurance company at the beginning of the year. The one that I chose, didn’t take my doctor, so I got dumped into regular Medicare. I’ll be switching on January 1st, that’s for sure. Hopefully, I’ll find one with minimal premiums, thanks to Obamacare.

Reading a nifty series

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

i’m reading Double Share by Nathan Lowell, part of the Space Traders series. It’s the newest book, and while all in the series are out as podcasts, the books are just being released in Kindle format. It’s a good book, and Ishmael Wang, the main character, newly graduated out of the Academy (the first book deals with him losing his mother and his serving on a ship to get off the world he lives on), and then the next several books show his service on his ship, the Lois McKendrick and then his being accepting into the Academy.

In Double Share, Ish is on a new ship, and in WAY over his head. Take a look at the books, and have a good read. The links are for the first the paperback, then Kindle editions of the books.

Quarter Share
Paperback

Quarter Share (Solar Clipper Trader Tales)

Kindle Edition

Half Share
Paperback

Half Share (Solar Clipper Trader Tales)
Kindle Edition

Full Share: Solar Clipper Trader Tales
Paperback

Full Share (Solar Clipper Trader Tales)
Kindle Edition

Double Share: Solar Clipper Trader Tales (Volume 4)
Paperback

Double Share (Solar Clipper Trader Tales)
Kindle Edition

Washington State’s new Pain Medication Law

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Washington State passed a law to curtail the rampant overuse of opioid drugs to control chronic pain. Good in theory, not so good in execution. The theory, was to control the doctors that are overprescribing such drugs as Morphine and OxyContin. Doctors were writing prescriptions left and right for these drugs to people that were on workers compensation for injuries. And this is the right thing to do…. but then there are the people that have a disability that causes pain, chronic pain. And to function, they need something to allieveate that pain. Me, I would rather take the minimum amount of pain medication that I can, and still remain functional. I do take a bit more than the minimum… I do not over-medicate, but I also don’t ‘grin and bear it’. I medicate so that I my pain is managed to a great extent. Say 80-95% of it… If I don’t do anything unusual, I can function very well, and do not feel any pain at all, as long as I take pain medication on a schedule of every 12 hours.

However, my doctor has thrown me a curve ball, he wants me to start walking. I STOPPED walking because of two specific things. It hurt, and it cost me a lot of energy. Imagine yourself (if you’re a non-PWD), walking on a tightrope stretched between two buildings. I use up THAT much energy when I walk the same distance. So if I were to talk a block, it would be like someone not disabled walking a block on a tightrope stretched between two buildings. Once I use that analogy, most people look at me and say that they totally understand why I use a wheelchair. I’d be in bed all the time otherwise, and exhausted. I wanted a life, so I stopped walking 27 years ago, except for my wedding, 20 years ago.

It’s been 21 years…

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

since I got married. Our wedding anniversary was yesterday. Time flies when you’re having fun. Keith and I don’t have any children, but it isn’t for lack of trying. I lost my left ovary and 2/3s of my right ovary due to ovarian cysts. I never really considered adoption because of my disability, I figured I’d be disqualified right off. Yeah, they aren’t supposed to discriminate, but that’s what it says on paper. In real life, discrimination happens quite often.

Keith and I went out to dinner, at the local Chinese Restaurant. Been awhile since we’ve been there, and I love their food, it’s just a bit expensive ($50 a visit), but tons of food. I was eating Chicken Chow Mein today because of leftovers.

I love Keith as much now as I did when we married. I was thinking of our wedding, and how Mom had a sour look on her face in some of the wedding pics. You’d think she’d swallowed a lemon! I really need to post those to Facebook. They are so well-done and I look a bit different. I’ve got grey hair now, (and I’m only 47), compared to my jet black hair I had when I was married.

Mom and Dad went all out for our wedding. I had a handmade dress, with little seed pearls on it. it was done because of the way I stood. One hip higher than the other, so custom made was the way to go, so I wouldn’t trip over it.

Yes, I walked down the aisle. I had been using a manual wheelchair since I was 21, but I was determined to walk down the aisle, and I did, with Dad on one side, and a crutch on the other. And Keith and I danced at our reception too.

Things have certainly changed, because our best man, is now a woman! And she’s a far more beautiful woman than I will ever be. *sigh*

I also don’t walk anymore, and haven’t for quite some time. I did walk at our wedding, I was determined NOT to roll down the aisle, and Mom and Dad were really supportive of me. They thought I’d given up when I started using a wheelchair, but nope, nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s just that the pain and the energy expenditure was getting to me. When I walk, it’s like a ‘normal’ person walking on a tightrope stretched between two buildings. That much energy, that much concentration. Would tire a non-disabled person out pretty quickly.

Keith is a great guy… I love him dearly, and he’s adapted to my ‘unique’ way of doing things. And he’s been more than patient with the fact that I use a service dog, and he’s allergic to dogs. He’s taken allergy shots for 21 years to deal with the dog, and he doesn’t avoid interacting with my dog, either… I think my dogs all thought Keith was their best friend, because he doesn’t make them work, and he slips them goodies at times. He even allowed Gillis up on the bed, but then again, Gillis was a Doberman, with SHORT hair, and didn’t bother him all that much. My next dog will also be a Doberman, but I’ll still have Chewie for a few more years, I’m sure, because he didn’t take well to being retired. He freaked out. Has a lot to do with his childhood and how I train. Bonded tightly. *sigh*

I’ll see about posting photos of my wedding to Facebook. I haven’t looked at them in awhile, and yeah, I want them up there on the web for people to see.

Been Kinda busy…

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

I’ve been kind of busy these last few weeks. I had to replace my Kindle fire due to a faulty USB port… what a major PITA. I’ve also been getting ready to clean my house. It’s a major mess and Keith (the husband) has next week off because of our anniversary and I want to do a major dent in cleaning the house before guests arrive in September.

I also need to find my smartphone. It disappeared and I don’t know where it is. I had thought I’d dropped it right here at my computer, but it wasn’t under the desk, or around the computer, so the next place to look is under the headboard and bed. The replacement phone I’m using is running Android 1.5 and I really really want my Motorola Droid that can run all the most current stuff. I have programs that I own, that I can’t use right now. And I only have one battery for this older smartphone… I have three for my Droid. The phone is dead right now, so calling it to find it isn’t an option, but I know it’s in the house, SOMEWHERE. We’ll find it next week. That will be so nice, to have a CURRENT smartphone, instead of one that was out of date almost efore I bought it 2 or 3 years ago. I’ve been with Verizon forever, and upgraded from a regular phone to a smartphone (with a contract), and our contract at the end of June. Don’t know what we’re going to do then, but I hope we stay with Verizon… if not, I’ll have to haunt Ebay for a new phone as we find a new cell carrier.

A dancer, even in a wheelchair…

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Rachel Glander was a book worm, studying hard in high school until her mother told her she couldn’t just do that… so she decided to ask to join the dance team as the manager, because she was born with Cerebral Palsy and uses a wheelchair. The coach of the dance team, Stacey Ross, is a special education teacher, and tells Rachel to try out. She does, and makes the team. Rachel uses her arms to perform the moves her legs can not do. Her teammates help, by wheeling her out onto the basketball court, by carrying things for her, by being her friend. And pretty much, by ignoring the fact that she’s in a wheelchair, except when she needs help.

I had that in high school. I was the manager of my basketball team. A lot can change in 30 years though, and I applaud Plymouth High School for giving Rachel the chance to do more – to be more. She will carry these memories forever, and the experiences will help her throughout her entire life.

This won’t just help Rachel either. This will help the non-disabled kids on her squad seeing a disabled person work to do something they want to do. Show that a disabled person can do something that is ‘normal’ and enjoy doing it.

Rachel touched many a life the first time she rolled out onto the basketball court. Many of the parents out there were in tears seeing her performing. it shouldn’t be so… Twenty years after the ADA, we should be seeing more than just one person able to dance from a wheelchair and it should be something we notice and think “That’s nice”, and it should feel no different than seeing an person of a different race doing something. But, that time will come. I just hope I”m alive to see it.

Disabled Senior with CP A Dancer