Living Life In A Wheelchair

January 2020 Newsletter Edition

January has been a rewarding month. It hasn't been easy. I've been struggling with the challenges created by my hips and knees and am thinking of creative solutions to compensate. But on account of the challenges I've been focused so what I'm able to do gives me a sense of accomplishment. I'm trying to live my life as close to normal as possible.

My power wheelchair underwent a routine (albeit major) overhaul. It needed new motor brushes, batteries and small tires. It is responding like it is new again. In the spring I will need to do some rust mitigation. I have high strength baked on enamel paint to protect the parts which are rusting. My power wheelchair serves me well.

I worked out part of why I was experiencing so much pain was because of the mattress for my electric hospital bed. I used inheritance money to purchase an orthopedic mattress. The model I selected is specifically designed to support the hips. I found an "end of year" clearance sale. The mattress was 80% off. The quality of my sleep immediately improved. It has been money well spent. Certainly as a strategy to co-exist with a physical disability I'd suggest researching what the right mattress to use it. It is making a positive difference for what I have control over to improve my quality of life.

I've had another MRI of my right knee joint. The plan is to undergo a scope of my right knee joint as the next step. Then I am hoping to be assessed for a stem cell transplant to repair the compromised tissues in my right knee that are causing me so much pain and stiffness. Otherwise I will need to pursue knee replacement surgery. I am not yet ready to undergo more treatment. I've made myself a "to do" list in order to manage the risks of these options.

The treatment I've undergone since 2006 hasn't brought about the restoration expected. I want the frame work for my pursuit of self employment to be in place before I take on the risk of either treatment option. I am very grateful that I live in Ontario Canada. The down side of this is that the benefit rate only covers the absolute essentials for life. I really want more than this. I am willing to work hard towards my goals. It has meant so much to me for the income from my Patreons and using some of this money to help support youth and young adults in the community where I live. As well this money has helped pay for some of the hardware for my home to accommodate my physical challenges.

My weather station sensor went offline and required urgent maintenance. As 2019 came to a close I modified my weather station sensor so it was powered by the electrical grid for consistency. I discovered this had an unexpected consequence. There was a bit of heat coming from the electronics in my power distribution junction box. This turned the humidify within the junction box to condensation. This arced the power of the DC power regulator used to power my weather station sensor. I replaced the DC power regulator. I've started planning a solution to dehumidify the air that is within the power distribution junction box. I am hoping to purchased the hardware in February and make the change in the spring. Wintertime construction is absolutely miserable.

In 2011 I found myself in a very difficult financial position. The disability pensions I receive were not keeping up with the actual rate of inflation. I could no longer afford a phone. It was prohibitively expensive. I discovered an amazing alternative: Using the Internet to make and receive my phone calls. This is known as "voice over IP". I purchased a magicJack Plus and connected it to my Internet connection. It worked! In recent months I've been hearing static on both the phone and fax line devices. I've had them for several years. magicJack has been continually researching and developing their brand. I've replaced both devices with the current model. It is really amazing how far this technology has developed since I started with magicJack.

In part I've used the experience with my physical disability and chronic pain to help others when opportunities present themselves. In June 2019 an article was in the local newspaper talking about a research project to understand why the adults in the workforce has been trending downward. This is something that interests me. I became very aware of the poverty in the community where I live when I started receiving the disability social assistance. I offered to be available to be interviewed to discuss the barriers I experience. They took me up on this offer. In early January I received an invite to attend a conference about the findings so far. I attended this conference. It is obvious they were listing to the set of challenges people experience (including what I talked about).

After I arrived home I was still thinking about this. I offered to share the notes I took. I offer a weekly tip to support people who live with chronic pain, low income and have a physical disability. The conference nearly doubled the content I have. The next stage of this is forming policy and strategies to help people pursue gainful employment. I've shared my complete set of tips. I am hoping it will help spur on ideas that will ultimately help people and make life easier for those who are struggling.