Friday, April 26, 2013

There's Always Another Train

I don't know why I did it I know better, I know 100 times better. In fact I often make comments to the drivers of the train when I see people rushing in front of the trainin order to be sure to get on that particular train. We talked about how stupid they are, these people that take the risk, we talked about how getting rid of them bettors the overall gene pool.

So a couple weeks ago and hadn't for the train, in fact trains coming quite a ways down the track I know I can make it and I did it. I powered up to the max shot across the tracks in front of the oncoming train. Second I did that I felt the driver shake his head and think what a ass hole. I was chagrined immediately I didn't something I'd totally ridiculed others for. I was stupid. To make matters worse I happen to of been caught by one of the traxx cops walked over and gave me a stern warning. He indicated he give me a $300 fine for what I did. I looked pitiful me finally relented but you know he probably should find me should find good. That was stupid there's always another train save

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Social Contract

Really, I have been trying to write this blog artist finished this update literally all week. So far this week has been the most busy week since my retirement. For the first three days I had to be out and out the door like my old schedule. Like I have been out the door like six clock to catch the bus I need to get the were going. Monday was volunteer day of course, Tuesday I started my physical eval's at University of Utah rehabilitation center at the new sugarhouse facility. Actually that was kind of fun. It's been cold this week, unnaturally cold, with rain and snow and wind. This has not been to discomforting to be out in the elements. However I am happy to be basically at home today.

A few weeks ago, I received a piece of mail from my brother, Ross who lives in my hometown Boise Idaho. Inside the letter was a photocopy of a piece of news indicating a local Boise resident had murdered his wife by strangulation. I was totally blown away to see this individual was my old buddy Bruce. Bruce and I had gone to the same elementary school, we played baseball together ended down to the same junior high. I lost contact with Bruce as I did with many at the time of my accident for my life detoured away from all those I grown up with. In the ensuing years I thought of Bruce often on but I doubt ever to the point of trying to actually making contact. I heard things through the grapevine and I would run into old friends but nothing definitive. So, until the letter I got from my brother but had no contact with Bruce in over 40 years.

So what do I do? I've been trying to wrap my brain around this incident for the past three or four weeks. I even contacted my old buddy John who I knew had been quite close to Bruce and his family. It took me three weeks to even talk to John. I didn't know how to frame the question or was even speaking about the issue appropriate. In verbalizing and thinking about this horrendous event I realized how long reaching Bruce's actions had on me. In fact his actions have had some issue on everyone who knew him. Luckily, I live in Salt Lake and Bruce lives in Boise. Even if I wanted to I would not be able to easily visit or communicate with Bruce if communicating with them is even possible. Still what is the social contract? How long does the embrace of friendship reach over the years? And what nullifies the social contract? I have joked that distance might nullify the contract are marriage might nullify the social contract of friendship. I mean I don't think my wife would be open to me packing up and driving to Boise for a weekend to see if I could visit Bruce and offer my support. What support could I be I mean really I am thinking support “hey buddy I hope everything works out, I'm thinking of you” and that's about it. It's not like I would contribute any kind of legal fund, he clearly did it, he's a murderer does that nullify everything? Boy, how much more awkward would've been if there was a question of innocence? I mean this is hardball good old Bruce could swing on something like this, since they still hang folks in Idaho. My friend John said he was done with Bruce and that was that. The conversation with John did help to some degree. I mean I start pondering the issue gets weird really fast. It's like now everybody in our class from campus school, East Junior High and those good folks who went to Boise High is sort of colors the whole class just because Bruce was part of that group. We all end up taking a little of this responsibility whether we like it or not. That's just really strange. I just can't wrap my head around it.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Taking Control

I've talked in the past about my fear of losing Independents which is natural, anyone including me, as they age is going to lose independence is a natural fact. So I feel is a person with disability I'm rather scrutinized closer than other folks without disabilities. So any time I look like I'm losing the ability to care for myself I began to get nervous real nervous. Such was the case this last week when attempting to transfer myself from my manual wheelchair to the power wheelchair something happen and before I knew it I was on the floor playing on my back looking at the ceiling.

Again in the past when I would fall out of my chair ,for one reason or another, I could actually physically pull myself back into my chair. Actually, it's more of a function of climbing back in my chair but the point is I can do it myself by myself. I can't do that anymore to fat are two week are elements of both. So I'm laying on the floor looking at the ceiling wondering what the hell am I going to do now. DD rushed into the computer room as soon as I yelled I was going down but there is nothing that could be done I was gone I was on the floor. I mentally sifted through my alternatives: call Gabe, call Mark A, call Dan the neighbor called 911. Neither of these options seemed desirable. The most logical was to call on family I. E. Gabe or Mark A. We did check to see if Dan's vehicles that is house that was a no go in unto spoke to call 911 is a something in the back of my mind that says if you call them too many times they, 911 or aging services puts you on the fast track to long-term care, nursing home. I called Mark A but he was at work and would not be off for at least an hour. Dee Dee called game got a hold of him who is able to break free from husband duties for a few minutes came over through me back in the chair easy as pie. Thank goodness for children are able to come at a moments notice and help out. We're indeed blessed and fortunate. So we are able to dodge the bullet this time but DD and I sat down, well I was already sitting down, had a hard discussion on what was to be the next step. We did it! We purchased an all electric lift, a left that should allow DeeDe to be able to pick me up off the floor, if need be, and get me back to a wheelchair of some sort. We have spoken about getting such a device numerous times over the past couple of years but have never made the next step. The trauma of the days events was about to push us out of denial. DeeDe jumped on the Internet and before you knew it had found the left which was actually shipped the next day we think. In any case it took a week for us to get our hands on the device that we have it now and it's pretty exciting. We have not tested the device yet but can already see how the left is going to help us stay in place hopefully for years to come. I've excited because the lift comes with a built-in scale, I think it accurately weighed that's pretty exciting and hopefully will motivate me to lose more weight.

I am even excited to the point that I'm willing to explore other options of assistive technology that could greatly assist me in my day-to-day living. I have always not really considered investing in these kind of devices, tools that stupid. We are at point right now where we can afford purchases that we don't often consider. I'm willing to give it a review. I deserve a break.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Morally Bankrupt?!

Remember, I volunteer at 211 on Mondays? I do this not because I'm a nice guy full of unresolved altruistic needs but really I love to have a reason to get up and get dressed and get out the door on Monday morning. This true, I am finding that I don't have something to do are go to I just don't do anything during the day. Mondays bring me back some form of routine. I'm shocked at how much routine I need this in my life. So yesterday it's Monday morning I'm up and I'm out the door. A storm front moved in during the night in the dark morning was overcast but as of yet no rain. So I get to the bus stop and headed directly into Starbucks for my weekly latte.

This morning is kind of quiet at the coffeehouse. I visit with the baristas, I get my latte to kill little time sense the inbound 201 had passed just minutes before across the street so I knew I had another 25 minutes to kill before the next bus rolled up. I rolled over to my table next to the window and fiddled with my tablet, checking Facebook, twitter and e-mail accounts. I lingered at my table by the window for about 15 minutes then headed out to the bus stop. Despite the overcast morning the temperature was agreeable as I waited for the bus. I was mindlessly facing South, looking down State Street peering for my bus when I heard the crunch. I heard a light crunch found two malicious, like a warning, I turned to the direction of the sound and saw a late model vehicle backing away from another late-model vehicle parked against the wall of a small printing and office supply shop. The vehicle was the only vehicle in the lot clearly the vehicle belonged to one of the patrons of Starbucks and had parked, purposely all the way across the shared parking lot so it would be free of any damage risk. So it is pretty ironic that this other late model vehicle back all the way from the front of Starbucks arced directly into the parked vehicle. I took all this in an instant. The vehicle backing up was not going very fast, thank goodness, and actually just The bumper but a loud enough tap that it gained my attention.

I just watched and wondered if the driver was going to get out of the vehicle and go around and look to see if any damage had been done. I sat there and remembered times that I had “ tapped” and I had to adjudicate whether I would turn the car off get the wheelchair out of the backseat transfer and and inspect for damage. I hated doing this. The driver did leave the vehicle, there is a long pause and I can sense them making the decision of to check for damage but they did not. They quietly turned and left the back of the parking. I was intrigued and I knew I had the time. The bus was not due for another seven minutes. I rolled over to the car and looked for damage. Luckily I couldn't see anything amiss. I did see some scuffing the bumper which I'm sure was the contact point of the two vehicles but really no damage I could see. However, I did take an image of the vehicle just for the fun of it.

I immediately began to ruminate over my action or lack of action. Was I supposed to come forward as a witness to this event? Should I have gone into Starbucks and try to find the owner of the vehicle and let them know what I had seen? Should I have told someone am I a total slacker because I shirked my civic responsibility? Is there an unwritten social contract of reporting accidents when the occur in your immediate vicinity? So many questions that I don't have the answer for. Clearly I flunked my good citizen test yesterday morning, waiting for the bus in the sun to rise.

Sunday, April 07, 2013


It's April and that means April showers. Already this month has brought a few very warm days with temperatures in the 70s but we have also seen much lower temperatures in fact tomorrow forecast is for snow on the valley floor and of course tomorrow being Monday is a workday. I will be out in the elements going back and forth to work in the rain and snow. That's okay, it's Spring. I don't think I've ever noticed how April is such a month of struggle. It seems the very world is struggling to pull itself out of the grasp of the frozen clutches of winter. I have never noticed how April builds off the herculean efforts of March to begin this separation process. I witness how April struggles to wrestle its self free. There was a time when I was impatient with this month, I wanted every day to be warm and dry and to be out in the month as much as I could. I would be so frustrated when the day would present itself to be cold, wet and dark and sometimes even snowy. I've grown to accept this is April, this is the way it has to be for a host of reasons. This is April's going to be cold and it's going to be wet but it's also going to be warm some days and dry and eventually beautiful more days than not. I'm at peace with this.

This is April the second month of my retirement and I am amazed at how difficult this transition is becoming. Perhaps, if I had been seeking retirement, longing for retirement, this transition would not be so difficult. But, I felt the retirement somewhat forced on me particularly physically. My body just could not tolerate continuing to work at the way I have been working. The fact that my position was no longer be funded also contributed to my decision to leave the workforce. Again, I am eternally grateful that I had a boss who went the extra mile to make sure that I had a safety net to catch my fall. I am also grateful that I had the health and the commitment to work not take off time needlessly but just when I needed to to have amassed the sick leave and vacation time I would need to bridge the gaps until I reach Social Security age. Still I am struggling. As I have noted earlier I continue to go in to my old position at 211, as a volunteer, once a week. I have enjoyed doing this, I have enjoyed staying in touch with not only my fellow workers but the feeling of occupation, being occupied one day a week not having to think what to do with my time, with myself. I've been doing some cooking, trying to do some artwork, try and do some writing but I feel I'm not doing enough. I am wasting days, I am wasting the final days of my life and that's unconscionable. I am struggling to come to grips with what to do with the days of my life. I sense that I am using my one day of work as a crutch and I will shortly have to make a decision of ceasing this behavior. I'm going to have to grow up and figure out I plan to do the rest of my life and do it.

Friday, April 05, 2013

A Man and His Dog

I am now a little more than one month into my retirement and I'm still getting my retirement legs and I'm finding retirement is a bit more challenging than I anticipated retirement would be. I find it challenging to structure my day with meaningful things to do and not waste the day or the week. I'm surprised at how quickly Friday's come along. I'm surprised at how quickly Friday's come along and I have not updated my blog. I'm surprised at how little sketching I have done. The surprises worry me know little bit. Granted I've had my hands full with minor traumas and duties. Applying for Social Security, state benefits and attending to medical needs and appointments. The collapse of my manual wheelchair notwithstanding has taken a lot of my time in trying to get this issue resolved. Not only getting our ordering a new chair but trying to get the broken chair repaired. It just seems like so much energy to get these little things done and it should be so much energy consuming. The fact that I was left with less than ideal backup options for manual wheelchair which would allow me to maintain my independent lifesp
tyle has also been frustrating and eye-opening. I'm amazed, once again, how quickly and completely I can adapt to new situations. Case in point: having the use the manual chair I had a garage for these needs. The manual chair is a solid frame and way too large for my needs but I have been getting by to the point where this kind of becoming comfortable. However on a good note I have received word that my old wheelchairhas been approved for repair, the park has been orders and hopefully the chair will be repaired by next week send. This is been most frustrating. Gratefully, the chair is under warranty and should cost little for the repair, at least to me.

In the meantime, life goes on. I have been pleased at how close have been able to stay with my work mates from my last and final employment. Yesterday we met again for a” staff meeting”. Our staff meetings are actually lunches where we discuss mainly how I am doing in my retirement. Yesterday we met at the restaurant and the Gateway Mall across the street from my old building. I was concerned that I would have enough power to get to the restaurant and back home with the power in my chair but that was not a problem. The trip into the city was uneventful, I got my coffee, caught the bus then the train with ample time for my appointment.

I noticed I got off the train at the planetarium stop at the mall. A homeless guy with the dog on a leash got off with me. Not a big deal. As I got off the platform and on to the sidewalk I hadn't gone far, and the morning sun when I heard a crash behind me. Startled I whipped around my power chair and there was the guy with the guitar, the homeless guy with his bike and my dog he was laying on the sidewalk right just been. He must've been 10 yards behind me there were a number of other homeless guys begin to crowd around. I could see the homeless guy was writhing on the concrete. I could tell immediately the individual was suffering a clonic tonic seizure. The seizure was not as violent as many I have witnessed but a seizure nonetheless and someone had to do something. I am always a bit stressed about who has responsibility and who should take the first step in the event such as this. And since no one seem to be stepping up I thought the least I could do was make the phone call to 911. Luckily, I noticed there is another person with a cell phone and ham working through the same catatonia that had seized me and he in fact was beginning to dial 911. I made eye contact and asked him are you dialing he acknowledged in the affirmative.

The morning was a bright and beautiful spring morning, still crisp from the morning temperature. I could see the seizure person mildly thrashing on the concrete. There were a number of other homeless folk helplessly wandering around the down vagrant. Some were trying to verbalize psychotically what was going on as I move forward to the individual the crowd began to dissipate. Interestingly the Samaritan with the cell phone and I tried to get closer to the victim of the seizure when suddenly his dog began to bark rabidly. I was impressed a little spooked but impressed at how well the dog guarded his master. In fact the dog so well guarded his master complications begin to arise.

Luckily as we waited for 911 response mall security begin to appear. Mall security gathered around the circle and basically scratch their heads. I was looking for something to put under the seizures head, as he was rhythmically pounding the pavement with the side of his head. As I try to get closer to the person the dog barked savagely. This was also the case with mall security as they tried to assist the seizing person. Eventually the fire engines arrived and an ambulance. The dog standoff continued until eventually one of the firemen grabbed the leash and dragged the dog to a nearby lamp post.

The man with the seizure was coming around. His mouth was caked the spittle there is blood from his mouth from where he chewed his lip. He was still way groggy but the paramedics bundled the man up and whisked him into quick response vehicle. The event was over. I made my way over to the restaurant where I met my party. I asked him if it's seen the emergency vehicles. Enough time had passed where the vehicles were now gone. However Amy indicated she had seen a dogcatcher truck. My heart broke I am sure animal control was called to take care of the noisy beast. I kind of hoped somebody would've stepped forward to take care of the pooch. In fact a couple of hippie looking types did offer just that but they're just pushed aside. No I think the black and white protector was sent to animal control hopefully to link up again with his master. I kind of doubt that though. I think the clock started for the pooch on death row.