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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Waiting Game

When I heard a strange sound and the lift on my van began operating erratically this weekend -- with me on it -- I knew what that meant: a trip to the repair shop. Fortunately, I was able to get an appointment today. That was a good thing, as the lift completely stopped working after I got inside the van. But that was okay because I figured that as long as I got in the van, it would be the repair shop's problem to get me out!

In these days of instant gratification, I hate to wait for things as much as the next person, but I have to say that I always meet someone interesting in the waiting room whenever I go to get the lift repaired. The truth of the matter is that no one wants to be there, sitting around waiting as time wastes away, for what figures to be an expensive bill. But aside from looking around the showroom at the equipment and vehicles you only wish you could afford, watching whatever the person who got there before you put on TV, or staring aimlessly at the wall, there's only so much you can do you. So you end up talking to other people, asking the inevitable "So, why are you here?" or "How long have you been waiting?"

But you never know where a conversation will lead or what you might learn. On one occasion, I met an engineer who taught me about some of the specifications of my wheelchair. We have actually become friends since our initial meeting. On another occasion, I met a retired law enforcement agent, and together we watched a news broadcast of the funeral of a fallen police officer.

Today, I met two Vietnam veterans. The two men did not know each other, but it was interesting to listen to their conversation. I'm not sure that I would have supported the Vietnam War had I been alive at that time, but you can't help but be amazed by the strength and encourage of the men who serve in the military during times of war. People often tell me that they couldn't imagine living my life, but let me tell you, I cannot begin to imagine the horrors that face soldiers on a daily basis, even today.

After meeting the two veterans today, even my $300 bill didn't seem like such a horror!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

31 Flavors

Yes, it's birthday time again! I don't how I got to be 31 years old, but even though I feel old today, I'm glad to have beaten the odds for yet another year. It will be hard to top Year Number 30, in which my book was published, I returned to school, spoke at conferences near and far, and spent time with special friends. However, I'm hoping this will be a pretty special year, so stay tuned...

After last year's birthday celebration, it was going to be a tall order to even come close this year. Fortunately, the Philadelphia 76ers are pretty tall guys themselves. As it turned out, the team was hosting a meet-and-greet for season ticketholders tonight. Below are some photos from the event.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Writing Feverishly

There's nothing like a fever and a touch of a stomach virus to get the creative, uh, juices flowing. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to update my loyal readers (if any of you are still out there) on my life over the past three months...

1. I finally completed my thesis proposal. Yes, at 2 a.m. last Friday, I e-mailed it to my advisor. Essentially, I'll be conducting a series of interviews with housing developers in Philadelphia to describe their attitudes toward accessibility regulations as well as toward people with disabilities. Ordinarily, writing a proposal would not be earth-shattering news. However, six years ago, when I left school, I not only thought I would never return, but I wasn't sure how much longer I'd live. But thanks to the support of some wonderful friends (Art, Lauren, Emma, Caroline, Pat, Kathie and Julie to name just a few), I decided to go back and finish what I started (gulp) nine years ago. I'm almost there!

2. I switched nursing agencies. I cannot function without the care of nurses. So when the nursing agency I had been with for six years since my tracheotomy could no longer consistently cover my shifts, it was time to make a move. However, my nurses all came with me to the new agency, which saved me the time and stress of having to train an entire new staff of nurses.

3. I had a cardiac scare. After a couple of sleepless nights in December, with my heart pounding through my chest, I saw my cardiologist. He ordered a Holter monitor, the results of which indicated repeated episodes of ventricular tachycardia ("v-tach"), he increased my beta-blocker. As a result, I have felt colder and more tired. But no v-tach. It's a trade-off I'm willing to live with, the operative word being "live"!

4. I hired a self-publisher. My book has proven to be a big hit. Keeping it in a print is therefore a priority. About a month ago, I submitted my book to a self-publisher. The new edition should look almost the same, including the cover. The nice thing is that sales will be on an on-demand basis, meaning I won't have to manage any inventory. When everything is set up, I'll be sure to post an announcement.

So that's it in a nutshell. I'm so glad March is here already, which means that warmer weather and Phillies baseball are just around the corner...