Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Today was the day, today was the day I was scheduled to pick up the manual wheelchair we ordered a few weeks ago. You might recall this whole event started back in February, I think, when I will swallowed up by my manual wheelchair that I use at home. One of the cross axles broke causing the chair to implode and swallow me.( this post is written couple days after it was initially started).

Normally, I would be somewhat excited at the prospect of a new wheelchair, like a new bike or a new car or anything new but this is the case with this chair. Initially, my goal was to get a chair just like chair that imploded on me: quickie 2, folding chair. I seem to lose control of the whole operation the second method my therapist, that's physical therapist. Now I love my physical therapist, she's intense, she's focused and professional and a seating specialist. I really just want someone to sign off on a script that would let me order chair. But no I have had the whole 9 yards. Evaluation was intensive it took two hours intended discussion. I tried to make my point but it was a losing battle. My PT pushed strength of the chair, butt protectionand a lot of other stuff that only professional would push. I just wanted a functional piece of equipment that would let me get on with my life when not in my power chair. The only silver lining to this dark cloud was that by this point of my coverage year I met my deductibles and theoretically the chair not cost me anything out of pocket. I knew I would be disappointed.

I hate being right. Even the fact that the chair had been in the vendors shop almost 2 weeks before I was able to pick up because I had to meet with the seating specialist and the vendor do a final fitting. I think my PT and see my crestfallen face when I was presented the chair. I think they want to see me boiling over with excitement that was not to be. I essentially was transferred out of my chair and sat in the new chair. The chair is a solid frame quickie, it has especially back like my power chair, which I guess is okay it could help. The question is a mega cushion its huge. It must be at least 4 inches tall which will make transferring from the toilet to the chair are from the bed to the chair near impossible to say nothing of transferring from the shower to the chair. The chair itself is 2 to 4 inches longer than the chair that broke. I still haven't figured how to deal with this. Needless to say I haven't even really tried the chair yet. I think I'm still in mourning. Now get this to top everything off remember couple weeks ago and I fell down the steps at the library in my power chair? Well it's been acting weird ever since. Yesterday I finally had my appointment with the technician. Of course, the technician found major issues with the chair. I've been having problems with my controller which is what I was really worried but it seems the chair itself is broke upon which tells the chair is actually broke and of course will take time and money to repair. So I'm shagging ass everywhere trying to find a cheaper solution which all takes time and I'm sure I'll write more on that later.. So, I am off to find a loner power chair which will get me by until I can get my 6000 Z repaired.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Where t Are The Technicians?

Blog June 11, 2013

There is a conspiracy out there I can feel it, I know there is I just cannot prove it yet. Once again I am being plagued by a wheelchair cannot rely on. There seems to be an issue with my controller, the mechanism which allows a wheelchair to function. I would say controller the most port device on my wheelchair.. The controller allows me to communicate with my chair, how go, when to stop, when totilt in place and so and so on. My chair has been stopping its forward motion and switching into tilt mode at which time I must manually return chair to one of the forward speeds. Many times when I do this I travel just a few feet or yards event happens again I have to repeat the procedure. I have found if completely shut down a wheelchair and bring it back up I can then continue my trip causing great frustration and great concern and safety of myself and my chair. This problem seems to have gotten worse in the last couple of days. So much so I switched from denial mode to action mode.

Today I called my main provider and found I could not even have my chair diagnosed a week. I made an appointment thinking there's no way I can continue using this chair but I have to, it is how you get around. It seems my provider has so few technicians that this wait is not uncommon but thisuncommon to me. I even called the only other service provider for power chairs that I am aware and was shocked to find my wait will even be longer. She explained that her shop is down to onetechnician. This is uncanny. She further noted they used to have three or four technicians but they're gone now. I was think it would be an abundance of technicians, wheelchair technicians, and the Valley since a major wheelchair shop imploded. But it seems there are only two technicians serving the Salt Lake Valley. Unbelievable! So I was forced to accept week long wait. Fortunately for me that after a number of tries I was able to get my chair to sustain forward motion for my travel needs today. I have a full agenda for the rest of the week, meetings, wellness a birthday lunch with my son I cannot afford to have a chair malfunction. Even if I make it to Monday when I'm supposed to have my chair diagnosed I know this just going to be a diagnosis they will be time and great expense after the diagnosis. But what can I do?

Something or someone is taking the technicians I'm sure it is aliens. To me the answer is always aliens. Why aliens would be interested in power chair technicians is beyond me.. So here I sit on a time off not knowing when the bomb will explode or implode. I should be thankful the malfunction exhibits itself by just switching into tilt mode and not switching into uncontrollable high-speed) just as the train approaches.. But I fear something bad is going to have and I think it's going to be something like the chair stopping never go again in the middle of an intersection downtown Salt Lake.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

One of the rituals that has filled my space of time left by retirement has been my involvement in the Wellness program offered by University rehab. I believe I have blogged about University rehab before and the Wellness program. Recently outpatient rehab separated from inpatient rehab at the University of Utah Hospital. University outpatient rehab is now in Sugarhouse Utah, a small community and the larger area of Salt Lake City. Sugarhouse is a cutesy area of the city which is fast becoming the new yuppie center with art houses, coffee shops and trendy apartment complexes. Sugarhouse offers great restaurants and other fine amenities to the Salt Lake area. I usually access this area at 1100 E. and 2100 S. I'm fortunate that my bus drops me off at this point and then it's just two blocks to outpatient rehab in my workout area. I've noticed that last couple of weeks since the nice weather has started back there has been a looks like a street person selling walking canes that he makes right at my bus stop.

This little guy is there every afternoon I get off the bus, runs over this stick carving away. Truly, he looks like a homeless guy trying to make a buck. I quickly categorized this fellow as a huckster, flimflam guy trying to shakedown the public. He's always there, is by close by with his inventory of sticks. I always flew past this guy as quickly as I could, making no eye contact and try not to make any other kind of contact. Friday was challenging, without going into a host of boring reasons now is just say I felt I needed to speak with someone who maybe have been having the worst day than me. I had a great deal more time than I usually have to get to my appointment when I got off the bus Friday and I really had no other place to be at that exact moment or maybe I was at the exact place to be at that moment. I roll over and just watched this fellow worker his sticks for a moment. Was definitely a carver with great skill. Use only a humble pocketknife but very sharp. The strokes are short clean and exact you knew what he was doing. He scanned the bark from the sticks Swift and clean he made it look easy like one of those guys at state fair sales kitchen equipment for fixing vegetables making it look easy but it never is once you get the product home. I work with enough would you know how hard it is for me to carve and to see him handle the knife like you did was a joy to behold. I risked and said something and he looked up his face broke into a smile that put me to rest. I don't know his name, yet but for the purpose of rest this blog I will call him John Carver.

I looked into John Carver's eyes clear, focused and sparkling. John's face is a sunburned, bearded craggy portrait of solitude focused on his work and at turning stick into a walking cane. His is clothes are not raggidy, is not a hobo, he wears a bandanna aroundhair that is not gray and most likely was once golden. Carver looks like an aging country singer truly this. Carver's quick to speak, is eyes dance to a quick smile when asked a question. Carver told me he makes these canes for anyone who wants. Carver does not put a price on his work just asking folks donate what they feel the cane is worth. Carver told me, in not so many words, that he has been homeless but is not now. Carver does not strike me a raving Christian but he definitely attributes what security in life he has to his God. Carver stated he does not worry about food nor place to live saying those things be taken care of Carver just has to take care of his fellow man. Carver told me he has to range for his sticks harvesting them where ever he can find them, backyards, riverbanks, parks and alleyways, anywhere wild things grow. He has a bike and pedals far for his product. He told me heartbreaking stories of how his bike had been stolen with his sticks and tools, we dashed into a local restaurant to use the restroom. Carver smiled when he told me almost immediately someone had replaced his bike and now he used his knife to whittle his sticks.

John told me to get handouts, that he was a veteran that he had no ID so you can collect any veterans benefits. I tried to tell him there was ways around this but gave me a look that said there's more to that story a lot more so I stopped. This guy is probably been around the block more times than me. There's more I could write about this meeting and I just might at some other time but suffice it to say I will speak with him again and maybe drop a dollar or two into his hat not because I feel sorry for him but because I admire you doing, is surviving by his wits and his skills and his ability to entertain me.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Another Scrape on the Wall

It's the end of May and once again I neglected my blog but the upside is that I have been busy very busy and I guess that's an excuse as best I can do today. I have been faithfully attending the Wellness program. I think this program is doing me some this. I was a little concerned at the beginning because I didn't think I was being challenged enough. However, my main trainer has been done on vacation for two weeks and Stephen the replacement trainer's been very good. Essentially I have been much more directed in my own exercise. Before, even though I was committed to the project, I was doing work for the trainer and not really for myself. This is changed, I now have really bought in to the idea that I'm there for myself in any work I do is for me and for some reason that makes all the difference.
Wellness is just that working to be as well as I can be. I know this sounds corny but it's true. I try to be the first one there on the afternoon workout. I am beginning to identify and feel like I'm part of a group. This is also corny but it's how you feel. I'm getting used to seeing other people with disabilities some similar to mine working out and taking control of their lives in some small way. I'm also beginning to feel that making inroads with members of the staff which is a small thing but makes me feel good. The staff: physical therapists andaids produce an interesting hierarchy of service and tension I find fascinating. The two aids I have worked with both share a goal to be more than physical therapy aides. Both of these physical therapy aides are working to enroll in physical therapy school with the end goal of Becoming physical therapists. I get the impression they really hate the role of being an a in physical therapy. I've seen them kind of being mistreated and second-classes by the other Pts. It's just interesting. The wellness program I sense is being driven by one of the PT's will call Kristen. She's young but has a doctorate in physical therapy clinics are one of the gods of the room. She's nice enough but has a real mean streak or need for control. A few days ago while working out I saw her walk past a wall that had been damaged by someone's wheelchair most likely a power chair. She became more than irritated not full-blown angry but focused on finding out who had done the damage. I'm sure it was not me but I sure have been guilty in the past of damaging walls. I watched Kristen intergate various individuals mostly aids and inquire if they know who did the damage. No one fessed up. But I could feel a thick oppression fill the room. It was not pleasant and I dialed down the speed of my chair.