Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Finally a good day!
The work at our condo is just about complete, a few minor fixes and everything will be done. It only took three years what should I expect?
It's beautiful outside nice and sunny.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday, March 29, 2009

After waiting for approximately 3 years we finally had some work done under Québec's P.A.D program. We had spent a fair bit in extras in order to accommodate a person in a wheelchair making it virtually barrier free. Some items such as electric door openers for the building, a remote door for my condo and a few other modifications were left to be covered by P.A.D.

One of the modifications was to raise my toilet and replace the flimsy support arms I had with proper devices. The pictures at the top give you a before and after view.

As I may have mentioned previously when you have MS and your mobility is affected you become accustomed to your environment you adjust to them. If something is moved it usually requires another period of adaptation which can range from a few days to several weeks until you feel comfortable with the changes. On Friday I misjudged my transfer from the new toilet seat and landed with my butt on the edge of my wheelchair, while I was sitting on the edge of the chair it was impossible for me to reposition myself, basically hanging on to prevent a fall with both hands.
I do not have enough strength in my arms to lift my body weight "yes I can hear you now a diet would certainly help" the best analogy to describe my predicament would be if you were to imagine hanging off the edge of a cliff and did not have the strength to pull yourself up. You know that eventually you will have to let go thereby falling, I held on for 45 minutes and as soon as my wife opened the door returning from work I slipped to the point of no return and landed on the bathroom floor.

I wasn't hurt anywhere in particular yet my body ached everywhere. My arms probably hurt the most due to holding on for so long and my left leg hurt as it decided to go into spasms for more most of the time I was holding on. Once on the floor all I wanted to do was rest for a while to catch my breath and then attempt to use my bath electric lift chair in order to raise me so I could transfer to my wheelchair. That would've been possible if I had any remaining strength in my arms I did not and my wife certainly could not pick me up so we mutually decided that 911 was our best alternative. Turns out they were very busy and since I wasn't bleeding profusely not at all actually and it wasn't a heart attack or anything serious which it wasn't they referred to it as "humanitarian aid" the only thing they forgot to mention is that humanitarian aid may mean lying on ceramic tile for two hours until they decide your call cannot be answered so they transfer it to the fire hall.

Sure enough four firemen came with the huge fire truck of course spoke to my wife and I for a few moments assessing the situation. Then two of them lifted me and deposited me in my wheelchair wondering why it had taken so long for them to receive the call as they were not busy that evening and would've come much earlier. We both thanked them and they left, I took some painkillers and went to bed.
Saturday was a write off as I spent most of it in bed taking painkillers and sleeping most of the day I tell you every part of my body felt as if it had gone through a meat grinder.

Sunday morning I decided to take a shower which was a dumb move since I hadn't recovered completely from the previous episode, my leg still hurt and my arms were weak. You guessed it fall number two, I slipped and landed on the shower floor for certain I thought I had broken a limb but no just more bruising. I sat in my shower and after a few minutes decided to take a shower there and then, once I was done I transferred onto my electric lift chair raising it to the height of my wheelchair for a lateral transfer.
It was at that time I decided my next purchase would be an electric operated lift. A device used for patient transfers from the bed to the wheelchair or wherever else the patient needs to be moved to. It certainly wasn't in my plan to get this so early yet realistically things are not going to get better are they?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Yesterday I received a letter from the licensing bureau advising me that based on the information provided "my medical condition entitles me to keep my drivers license." There is no doubt that I was pleased with their decision yet I wondered what other conditions merit such stringent guidelines.
It appears as if I will be required to provide them with a report from an ophthalmologist or optometrist, a report from my general practitioner and possibly one from an ergo therapist on a yearly basis.

I can't help but wonder how many other chronic conditions are subject to these demands? Would a person with diabetes or someone having undergone angioplasty perhaps people suffering from glaucoma or those people driving with the vision from one eye hey why not include anyone having to wear glasses.
How about people over the age of 50, people having had one or two accidents or received one or two speeding violations in the past few years. Even those receiving parking violations "obviously they can't read the signs" which is obvious based on the number of people occupying handicapped parking spaces, perhaps we could take this further and include a whole whack of people who suffer from degenerative progressive conditions just think of it, age is a progression of sorts resulting in reduced capacity, reflexes, mental processing speed. Hell even an ingrown toenail could cause enough pain for you to drive improperly or at least be unsafe behind the wheel. How far should we go with this? It begs the question have we gone too far? We allow drunk drivers and repeat offenders to take the wheel yet rarely call on them for yearly sobriety tests now wouldn't that open up a whole other niche think about the money that could be made from all these tests, reports, approvals, retesting. I think we've gone nuts, off the deep end and while a responsible person could easily correct the situation with common sense once the government gets involved common sense is lost forever.
Personally I stopped driving in Toronto when I felt it was unsafe for me to drive, I did not lose my license nor did I receive any tickets it was a decision I made on my own. Upon arriving in Québec I was evaluated and judged capable of driving, my question is do you think I would continue driving if I felt it unsafe for me or others? Why should everyone be made to suffer for the few who have no brains whatsoever.

I need to get my manual wheelchair fixed to incorporate a headrest as I sometimes utilize it to go from one place to another especially when the house I'm going to does not have wheelchair access. The manual chair which is lighter than my electric chair makes it possible for several men to pick me up including the chair and bring me into the non-accessible building. My electric chair also needs modification yet for some reason my manual wheelchair takes priority. I do not drive with my manual chair at least not yet but I have to bring it in for repair which means I will be loading my manual wheelchair in my Van drive from my electric chair which requires modification and upon arrival disembark my manual chair by pushing it in front of me using my motorized chair. Makes sense to me doesn't it? Something is reversed there oh well can't be all that important can it? Maybe I'll drive back with my manual chair since my electric one will still need modification.
You got to love it.

Have a great day!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2008

Denise parked the van outside so I could use it for our MS luncheon also some shopping for her upcoming birthday on March 15. I managed to make it to the luncheon however I was unable to tie the seatbelt the way we had previously determined at the mobility service center. Possibly feeling pressured for time yet yet for whatever reason it just didn't work and I ended up tying it the way I normally do. At the mall after completing most of my purchases I headed towards Costco for a bathroom break. They have the largest and most accessible washrooms in our local shopping center, well wouldn't you know it the handicapped stall was occupied by someone who was not handicapped correction a stupid inconsiderate neuron deficient employee. Because of this I ended up emptying my bladder in my diaper which unfortunately does not contain what my bladder does, end result wet pants and an awful feeling where you just want to go home and change into something dry.
Do you think I wanted to fool around with the seatbelts for my return trip?
I tried them way I normally do and drove home.
Now that the nicer weather has arrived I wll have to spend some time when I am not rushed in order to try and tie the seatbelts properly.
Every time "which isn't often" I take the van I feel like the monkey they first blasted into space. A good analogy would be the movie Apollo 13 where an stronaut spends hours in a mock spaceship to find the right combination to allow safe reentry into the earth's atmosphere I feel the same with the van I think I'll have to make list of things to do, you know like a preflight checklist used by an airline pilot. If everything is not done quite right and in the right sequence you ain't going nowhere.
For now it's outside and when Denise returns from work she can park it wherever she wants to frankly I don't give a damn. Was that not a famous line in a movie at some point in time?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Interesting afternoon yesterday, I needed some guidance and recommendations regarding the use of seat belts and fasteners for my wheelchair. My therapist sent me to a store in Ottawa called "Liftability" they specialize in equipment for those of us with mobility issues. Everything from grab bars, electric beds, transfer devices, scooters, wheelchairs, Van adaptations, you name it and they can probably provide it. As you may know, I purchased my vehicle from Shoppers Home Health Care and while I have no regrets in purchasing the vehicle the service and support were not as expected.
I would recommend "Liftability" for any assistive device equipment/requirements you may require. The person I dealt with was Don Johnston however, there are quite a few others who work in this store. I doubt they would have any objections if I gave out their phone number 613-738-0454 . They are located at 2600 Lancaster Rd. in Ottawa Ontario.Although they are authorized to service the Braun vehicle I own. It would be nice if Braun recognized them as an authorized dealer since Braun's current dealer distribution channel leaves much to be desired.What impressed me and my spouse, the most was their attention to detail and their general regard for my safety and comfort. At no time did I feel rushed making certain that I was fitted properly in my vehicle. Will I return, you bet, without hesitation, would I recommend Shoppers Home Health Care not! They have a lot of work to do before they can even catch up to
Liftabilities level of service and support.
Looking forward to working with you in the future.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Has Spring Arrived?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Finally it appears as if we will be getting rid of the snow after all a forcast of 13°C for tomorrow will definitely help. The NCC is closing the canal tonight at 11 PM another sign that spring is just around the corner.
Personally I can't wait until I can go outside instead of being cooped up in a condo all day. I have everything I need yet let me tell you once the snow disappears I'll be out there for certain. This will also be the first spring and summer where we have the Van and that should make a big difference, it already has made a difference even though we have used it sparingly throughout the winter.

I don't have anything new to report when it comes to MS which is good in one way and yet on the other hand it would be nice if something new came out. I'm not holding my breath on that one, they have medication to treat relapsing remitting MS yet the medications are not really that effective something else is definitely required.
Went to the optometrist to get my eyes checked out also saw my M.D. to have some forms filled out. It's difficult for them since they don't come into contact with MS patients that frequently yet I got my form sent it in and I haven't heard anything back from the licensing bureau, that's okay I'm driving the van and things are going very well.
I will be taking it in next week to have the seatbelts looked at by a mobility technician because my O.T found some areas of concern. To give you an idea it's pretty hard to have your seatbelt resting on your basin or hips when you have arms on each side of your wheelchair. They interfere with the proper placement of the belt and keep it away from you, hopefully he will find something to make things a bit safer.

With regards to P.A.D I received a call from our contractor yesterday telling me that all the parts are in. Construction is scheduled to begin on Monday, March 23 finally it's only been three years. Luckily when I had the condo built I designed it making it as accessible as I could, thank God since I don't know what I would've done if we had to wait three years before getting the required work done. The grant totals $16,000 which sounds like a lot of money yet believe me you do not go very far with that. Our condo is to a large extent already accessible all the light switches and thermostats are lower the AC outlets higher. A portion of the kitchen countertop is 32 inches high instead of the standard 34, all doors are 36 inches wide we have one and a half washrooms the largest has a wheelchair accessible shower, accessible sink and there are grab bars everywhere. You would think that where all these modifications I'd be able to do with $16,000 well here is a breakdown of what will be done.

My toilet will be raised, even though it's a handicapped version which is higher it's still not high enough so will be raised by approximately 5 inches. I'm having two support arms installed one on each side of the toilet which will make the transfers to my chair easier not to mention safer. The main door to our condo will be replaced with a 36 inch wide door and an electric opener will be installed. Finally one electric door opener will be installed on the first door that serves as the main entrance to our building, making my life easier since the wind and in the winter the cold makes it impossible for me to open. That's it that's all we are at $15,800 and I have spent enough on my own initially that this will suffice for the time being.

Throughout the whole process I have learned much about the program itself, how it functions the numerous improvements which could be made to make the program more efficient to better serve the city or municipality from a financial perspective as well as making the program easier for the patient or person requiring the modifications.
Hopefully I will be able to share my experiences and possibly bring change to some of the flaws in the system. Problem is who do you speak with that has an open mind with no personal vested interest?

Finally as I opened my blog I saw this little note on the side that asked if MS was fatal. If you read the small print I guarantee you that statistically our life expectancy is reported as being almost the same as for someone without MS varying only by 10% or so. That figure most likely encompasses all forms of MS everything from benign to primary progressive. Throughout the years I've known enough friends who have passed away to tell you that depending on what form of the disease you have it can kill you however it will do so in a way which allows the medical community to classify your death as they see fit. As an example if you are diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis and after 15 or 20 years find yourself bedridden to the point where you develop bed sores which become infected or you catch pneumonia due to a compromised immune system and you die. As a doctor I'd say you have your pick of what to choose as a cause of death, but no MS does not kill yeah right tell that to someone who hasn't lost the friends I have.

And have a great day

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