A Bridge and a Root Canal to go!

Try, try again.

It’s time for another trip to the dentist.  I tried to go to the dentist last month, but my mobility van ramp would not come out.  My new driver seemed to try everything.  She tried to pull out the ramp by hand to no avail.  She repeatedly opened and closed the van doors.

Telephone call to the mobility company

It was only after a telephone call to the mobility company was there information about the little yellow switch on the floor of the van that can release the ramp mechanism.  They should tell people about this before selling the van to someone.  Please see my blog post on the issue.

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I tried to go to the dentist again

Anyway, I was once again ready to attempt a trip to my dentist.  It was time for the usual routine.  I had a diaper change.  I am a paraplegic from my Multiple Sclerosis.  I was clothed in my hospital bed at home.  I was patient lifted into my power wheelchair designed to fit in the van.  This is a different power wheelchair than I use around the house.

Garage to driveway

I make my way down the specially designed garage ramp which gets me out of the house and into the garage.  From the garage, I can open the garage door and go out the garage to the driveway and into the mobility van.  I went to the van and pressed the van button on the remote controlled van key and nothing.

The grinding noise

I heard a slight grinding noise which means something was happening but not even the van door would open, let alone the van ramp which is supposed to come out after the side door opens.  I had my new driver close the driver’s door ad then open and close the van’s side door.

The charmed life

This worked like a charm.  The side door then opened automatically when I pressed the van button on the remote (actually I had to press the button twice, but this is normal).

Up the ramp

I could then go up the ramp.  This took me two tries.  I haven’t had to do this in a while, and I went too far to the right.  I need to bear to the left to avoid falling off the ramp.  It worked the second time.

In the van

I was in the van.  When I get into the mobility van, I lock into the (EZ) easy lock system, which really isn’t so easy, but it locks me and the power wheelchair into the van.

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Solar powered

I have a solar charger which I disconnect for the duration of my trip to and from the dentist.  See my products page.  It keeps my van charged even though it is not used that often.  Also, twice a week, we have been starting the van and letting it run for half an hour to keep the battery charged.

We have arrived

My new driver and I finally arrive at the dentist office.  The van door and ramp work.  Getting out of the van is easier than getting into the van.  Somehow, going down the ramp and out is easier than going up and into the van.

Talk about the blog

Meanwhile I wait in the waiting room and tell one of the employees at the dentist office about my blog.  Thereafter, I go to the dentist office.  This dentist is very good, because he is willing to work on my teeth while I sit in the power wheelchair.

No transfer

No transfer is needed.  The power wheelchair does not recline, at least it will not recline without removing multiple screws.  It is meant to stay secure in the van.  The idea is that you don’t want movement in case of an accident in the van.

First root canal since Gilenya

I talk to the dentist and discover that he will put in the permanent bridge on the left side of my mouth (lower side), and he plans on doing a root canal on my right side of my mouth (lower side).  This will be the first root canal I’ve had since I started taking Gilenya for Multiple Sclerosis in 2007.  I was part of the clinical study.

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The factory

In this dentist office, they do root canals as a matter of routine.  They work on multiple patients at the same time and have multiple dental offices at this location.  Some might consider it a factory. But this system seems to work well in today’s world of dental plans and insurance.

Grind the bridge

He put on the bridge, it has been so long that my teeth moved a little, and he had to grind the bridge some so it would fit.

Permanent bridge

He gets the bridge to fit and in my mouth it goes with the permanent adhesive.

One root canal to go

Now, it is time for the root canal.   He gives me a couple of injections.  We wait for the area to numb. He performs the root canal.

No pain

After the root canal, he tells me that it was infected. Anyway, now it is all cleaned out.  He tells me that it may not be so good that I had hardly have any pain, because then I don’t know how bad the infection was.  I have to admit that I thought something funky was going on in that area, but I thought it was the cracked tooth I have there.  However, I really had no pain.

Next time

I made an appointment for three weeks, and then we’ll see about extracting the cracked tooth.

Homeward bound

The return home was uneventful and the van door and ramp worked well.

Mother-in-law

I have to apologize for neglecting the website recently.  My mother-in-law recently passed away.  She was 95 years old, and we regretfully have had to deal with various related issues.  I would like to get back into the full swing of things, but this may take a little while.  Anyway, I feel better that I was able to do this blog post.

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Flip the Chair

I can do it and so can you.

Since I’m disabled, a paraplegic, and I have Multiple Sclerosis, I cannot do many DIY projects.  One that I was able to do may surprise you.

Round cushion

Our kitchen chair has a round cushion that has come loose.  All the screws holding the cushion to the chair had come out.

The screws are gone.

There were no loose screws, they were all missing screws.  I could lift up the cushion and see that there were no screws.  Frankly, the cushion is not heavy and it was easy to sit in my power wheelchair and just lift the cushion up and see that there were no screws.

In the kitchen

I am now working with my OT (Occupational Therapist) in the kitchen.  This provides a nice table and chairs to work with for the OT.  I don’t obviously sit on the kitchen chair.  I stay in the power wheelchair and reach for things that the OT puts on the table and chairs.  She put some things on the chair without screws and sure enough they fell on the floor.

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Get the screws.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any screws and I had to order them from Amazon.  I only needed three screws for the chair.  However, as is usual for Amazon, I ordered 195 wood screws.  Amazon likes to ship things in bulk.  This certainly gave me a choice of a variety of screws.  It also gave me a lifetime supply of screws, if I don’t lose them first.

It is metal.

The kitchen chair has a metal frame. It is much heavier than the cushion.  I do not recommend this unless you have good balance in your seat.  My wheelchair is a 17 inch wheelchair, which means it is small and hugs me on the sides.  I am also seated well in the back of the chair and will not fall.  Also, see my blog on the fall I took when I was not seated well.

Flip it.

Well, I lifted the chair up and flipped it over onto the bench.  The bench is in the back of the kitchen and it is built into the kitchen.  I held the chair with my left hand and screwed with my right hand.  I am right handed.

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The third one is the charm.

The first two screws went into the wood in the cushion without any real problem.  However, the third screw would not go in.  I decided to select a smaller, by that I mean a thinner screw.  This took and after a few turns was going into the wood.  Most any Philips screwdriver will work.  Even a short stubby screwdriver will work.  I finally got all the screws in place and tightened them.

Down is easier.

I was ready to take the kitchen chair off the bench.  For me, taking things down is easier than lifting things up. This is a good thing because I was starting to get tired from the lifting and tightening the screws.  At this point, I could just slide the kitchen chair off the bench, bring it down to the floor and turn it over while it was on the floor.

The OT is in shock!

At his point I positioned the chair at the table and the job was finished.  When I told my OT what I had done she was in shock!  She went to the chair and turned it over in disbelief at what I had done.  As I say, difficult things take time, the impossible takes a little longer.

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Conclusion

Fixing a chair by yourself may seem challenging but it is definitely doable and rewarding when done.  Make sure you select the correct size screws.  You don’t want any unnecessary holes in your chair.

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My Fall From Grace, and How I Got Up

This weekend I was patient lifted into my around the house power wheelchair. The sling from the patient lift remained under me. I sit on the sling.  It is like a grownup swing in a playground.

My Favorite Power Wheelchair

The power chair by Golden Technologies is my favorite power wheelchair.  It maneuvers well, it is easy to steer, and it easily makes it though all the doorway passages in my house.  It does not have a seat belt.  However, in the past, I have never fallen out of the seat until this weekend.

Eat Lunch

I finished eating lunch in the kitchen. All was well at that time or so I thought.

Front of the Cushion

After years of wear, the seat on the wheelchair lost its front cushion.  I had used the power wheelchair in this condition about ten times without incident.

Seat Me Right

Apparently, unless I am seated just right, with my back against the back of the chair, I will start to slide off the chair.  The leather like or vinyl covering on the cushion is grippy.  However the plastic underneath is smooth.  This allows for the seated person to side off the chair.  This is apparently what happened to me.

Set up the new Dustbuster

I had set up a new Dustbuster like vacuum in the kitchen and I returned to my bedroom.

Adjust Lift Chair

I adjusted my lift chair so that it was not so far forward, but I was not in the lift chair.

I Start to Slide.

I could feel myself slowly starting to slide off the power wheelchair.  I called for help as soon as I could, but it was too late.  My aid tried to patient lift me out of the chair.  As the patient lift went up, I slid further out of the sling and out of the power wheelchair.

The slow fall

It was a slow fall and I did not break any bones, however my leg hurt a lot.  I was on the floor.  People with Multiple Sclerosis sometimes suffer from extreme spasticity, and bend the knee can really hurt.  I had my aid straighten out my leg and leaving it straight on the floor relieved the pain.

Go figure?

But now I had to figure out how to get up and get into bed.  This is what I came up with.  Rather than call the police, the police in my neighborhood are really nice, I had my aide remove the patient lift to the other side of the room.  This cleared my legs.

Rock and roll on the floor

I was on the floor and the sling could be detached from the patient lift.  I turned from side to side so that the sling could be placed under me.  After the sling was properly positioned under me, I rolled myself face up.

Bring it all back

I had my aide bring back the patient lift.  The patient lift can not go to the floor, but it doesn’t have to.  It has chains and the two long chains make it to the floor.  The long chains are attached with hooks about at my knees.  I have a baclofin pump.  Baclofin is a muscle relaxer, which means I have virtually no trunk support. I am a paraplegic, but my arms still function.

Grab the chains

I grabbed the chains attached to the sling by my knees and pulled myself up to a sitting position.  Since I was in a sitting position, sitting upright, the shorter chains for the sling no longer needed to reach the floor.  The sling could be picked up off the floor, and the short chains could be attached to the sling behind my back.

Start and stop

My aide could begin to lift my up with the patient lift but then had to stop.  My legs were under the patient lift, and the patient lift had to be moved back so that my legs were clear of the patient lift.  This had to be done slowly.

Make sure my legs are clear of the patient lift.

It also had to be done a couple of times to make sure that my legs were fully clear of the patient lift. Once my legs were no longer under the patient lift, and were fully clear of the patient lift, I was lifted up with the patient lift and placed in bed.

Good things come slowly

This took some time, but it got me back into bed.  All was well.

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Emerson SmartSet Alarm Clock Radio, USB port for iPhone/iPad/iPod/Android and Tablets, CKS1708

Out with the old.

We had a Sony clock radio, but as time went on, it became increasingly finicky to set the clock.  It was also difficult to set the alarm.  It was useable, but it was a real nuisance to set, especially for Daylight Saving time.  Eventually, we were so frustrated that we decided it was time to buy a new clock radio.  We really did not want to set the time on the clock every time for daylight saving time.  If only there were an alarm clock radio that could set the time all by itself, and not cost a small fortune.

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Enter the Emerson SmartSet Clock Radio.

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The Emerson Clock Radio is smart enough to set the time for you.  Never again have to worry that your clock is 3 hours wrong.  Never again miss appointments and meetings because your clock indicated the wrong time.  The clock receives a signal telling it the right time.  Of course, if the clock is prevented from getting the signal, it does not know what time it is, but how often are you in an air raid shelter 100 feet below ground?

SmartSet technology

Under most normal circumstances, the clock has no trouble setting the time by itself.  The SmartSet technology on the first use sets the correct year, month, day, time, and date.  According to Amazon, we ordered the Emerson on March 12, 2018, and it has been working great to this day.

Month/Date display

Touch a button and the clock displays the correct month and date. The Month/Date button will give you the month and date numerically.  For example, May 20 will appear as “5.20”.

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Grab Big Blue

The clock features a large easy to read 1.4 inch time Blue LED display.  When you are old and sick like I am with Multiple Sclerosis, the big display is welcome.   Also, it is easy to grab and hold from the bed as the back is cut out and provides an easy grasp.

The everyday, weekend or weekday alarm

The alarm clock can be set to wake you everyday, Monday through Friday, and on Saturdays and Sundays.

Two Alarm settings

It has two alarm settings, so you can set it to wake you one time on weekdays, and another time on weekends.

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Radio or buzzer

It can be set to wake you to FM radio or a buzzer.

What about Leap Year?

It automatically sets itself for Leap Year and Daylight Saving Time.  It keeps the correct time when the power returns in power outages.

Does it wake you with a sudden jolt?

The alarm buzzer grows in loudness so you don’t get a sudden jolt waking you up.  Of course, it has a snooze button.

What if the power goes out?

There is a button cell battery (included) which maintains the time and alarm settings, so if you do go into an air raid shelter 100 feet below the ground, it will work – it just needs to get the signal the first time it is turned on.

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Is it bright enough?

It has two brightness settings. You can easily read the large LED display from across the room.

Can it play music from my iPhone?

It has an Aux In port so you can connect a music source such as an iPhone to the clock.

But can it charge your phone?

It has a USB charging port so you can use the clock to charge your iPad/iPhone/Android and other tablets.  I don’t know about you, but at our house, we are always losing those little chargers.  We have found it much harder to lose a clock.

It has Dual Alarms.

To change the alarm modes you depress the Alarm 1 or 2 button, and the Week Button at the same time to set the alarm for everyday, weekends only or weekdays only.

How’s it sound?

The sound quality is very good for an inexpensive Clock Radio.

Recommendation

I highly recommend this Clock Radio for anyone who wants to be on time.

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Apple Macbook Pro (13 inch Retina, Touch Bar, 2.3 GHz Quad-Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD – Silver

The Apple MacBook Pro.

This is a review of my son’s newest Apple MacBook Pro.  His previous Apple Macbook A1278 got him through high school and the first semester of college.  However, the touchpad locked up, and I tried to unlock it.  I needed a t7 tool to unlock it, but even with the t7, I was not able to unlock it.  The screw was starting to strip and I gave up before it was too bad.  I had my son buy a mouse, and the Macbook worked fine with the mouse.  However, the need for a mouse made for an unsatisfactory experience.  The Apple store refused to touch the 7 year old Mac, and would not repair it.

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New Mac time

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It was time to get a new MacBook.  We looked around on the internet, but more importantly he needed it fast for school.  We needed to know what was in stock at the local Apple store.

Quad Core i5

My son went to the local Apple store and found the dual core i5.  I asked him over the phone whether the store had the quad core i5.  They did but at a higher price.  Still, a quad core (in my opinion) beats a dual core any day, so we went with the quad core.

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More software, please

Typically the Apple store tries to sell you on additional software.  If you need it, so be it,  But you can often get a better deal if you install your own software.

Retina display

This MacBook has a Retina display with True Tone technology.  This is very nice, but in our house, the Mac is often used by multiple users, making the technology more of a nuisance than an advantage.  We just don’t use the Retina technology.

Touch ID

It also has a Touch Bar with Touch ID.  This is also something that we don’t use.  It is pointless to try to use this when you have peanut butter on your finger or a bandaid on your finger.

Graphics

It has Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, which means the display is beautiful.  We are not video gamers, but I suspect most simple games will play well.  As a home theatre card, the 655 will work well.  You tube videos look great.

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SSD

It has an Ultrafast SSD.  I don’t know how fast, but it boots up in seconds not minutes like the old Mac.  Having an SSD, and only an SSD (not combined with a hard drive) makes this Mac super fast.  Instead of a standard hard drive with a motor and platers to read data off, an SSD is like a giant (it’s actually rather small) flash drive.  Just like there is no motor in a flash drive to break down, there is no motor in a SSD.  You don’t have to wait for the platter to start spinning, because there is no platter, and no motor.  This also means less noise.

Thunderbolt 3

It has 4 Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports.  These are super fast connections to your computer.  USB 3.1, which is very fast at 10 Gbps, is bested by Thunderbolt 3 at 40 GBPs.  That means it is four times faster than USB 3.1.

Where is the USB?

However, I was expecting Apple to include Thunderbolt 3 to USB 3.1 so that files and data could be transferred via a flash drive.  No such luck.  If you want to transfer files using a USB flash drive from your old Mac to your new Mac, you better buy adapters for it, because Apple does not include the necessary adapters.

Battery life

It has up to 10 hours of battery life.  This depends on what you are doing with your Mac, but it is enough for the typical school day.  This assumes that your typical school day is not crunching video in a video production course and not photo editing, and not writing code for advanced video games.

Wi-Fi anyone?

It has 802.11 ac Wi-Fi.  Ac is the latest greatest and fastest Wi-Fi.   However, it is not any greater in range.  Meaning you cannot go further from the Wi-Fi source.  It is 3 to 5 times faster than n, which was way faster than g.

Big touchpad

It has Force Touch Tracpad.  This means it has a larger, easier to use touchpad.  This is really convenient on a 13 inch laptop.

What operating system does it have?

It has macOS Mojave (the new Mac operating system) with Dark Mode and easier screenshots.  Mojave seems to be working fine and I am having no problems with it.

Where is the power button?

Apparently, the Touch ID button doubles as the power on/off button.

Recommendation

I strongly recommend this Mac to everyone.  The quad core Intel chip works fast, the SSD is ultrafast, and the 8 GB of RAM is enough to move this laptop from the mondane to real excitement.

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Hurricane Tower Heater / 70 Degree Oscillating Heater w/Remote Contol Review

Cold spell.

On the east coast of the United States, we are having a cold spell, and while the season for space heaters may be drawing to a close, I decided to let you in on what has been helping to keep us warm all winter.  We have baseboard heating, but sometimes this is just not enough to keep a room toasty.  We actually own the Pelonis NT15-13C Heater, however this heater is currently unavailable on Amazon.  However, I have found a heater which looks substantially the same and appears to work the same as the Pelonis.

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It’s a Hurricane

It is the Hurricane Tower Heater.  I can not vouch for Hurricane as a manufacturer, but it is on Amazon, and is probably good, but I can vouch for how good this space heater is.  It has 1500 watts of power and fills the room with heat in the winter.  It has a low and high setting.

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Does your heater have a remote control?

One really cool feature is that it has a remote control.  This means you don’t have to get out of bed to adjust it each time. This can really help a disabled person and is a convenience for anyone.  The remote requires two AAA batteries.

A nifty stick heater with style.

The heater has a digital LED display.  It is 24 x 8 x 7.25 inches in size. It is 7.15 lbs. in weight.  It is a really cool looking stick heater.

It oscillates

In one place on Amazon it says it is a 70 degree oscillating heater and in another place it says it is a 90 degree oscillating heater.  I do not know which it is, I can tell you that it can fill an average size bedroom with heat.

Thermostat action

It has an adjustable thermostat, and the thermostat shuts off when the desired temperature is reached.

Tip over protection

It also has a safety tip over protection.  I have tried it, and the heater turns off when it tips over.  In truth, it takes about half a minute to shut off, but it does have tip over protection.  It is ETL tested and certified for safety.

Time to assemble

It does require some assembly.  I had to screw on the base.  The necessary screws and bolts came with the unit.  Since I am bedridden with Multiple Sclerosis, I actually assembled the heater in bed. While assembling it in bed requires a balancing act in bed, I can attest that it is doable.  It only takes a few minutes to assemble.

Get your room toasty

People with Multiple Sclerosis often prefer cooler temperatures as I do too.  However, there are times when a warm bedroom is preferable.

Put it in the cold bedroom

The heater is now in my son’s bedroom since his room gets colder than our bedroom in the winter.

Going strong

According to Amazon I purchased this heater on November, 19, 2017.  It is still going strong.  I highly recommend this heater.

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My Multiple Sclerosis Story, part four : Shingles and Tysabri

The never ending story.

My Multiple Sclerosis life story continues, but really has no real end.  At least I’m not quite sure how it ends or if it ever does.  In 2012, after my operation installing the baclofin pump, I continued to see my neurologist.  My neurologist is involved in a multitude of clinical studies, and it was not long before I became a guinea pig once again.

Time to consider Shingles

This time it was Shinges.  No, I don’t have Shingles, but when I was at the nursing home, recovering from the effects of the front and back surgery of the baclofin pump, I met another recovering patient.

It is all about Ted

I really don’t know his story, but then, I’m not going to get into his medical history even if I knew it, which I don’t, but this much I do know, his first name was Ted, and he had severe pain from Shingles.

My father’s Shingles

My father also had Shingles as a kid.  He would tell me about it, but I never made him recount or relive the story.  Anyway, I could not take the Shingles injection, because I had a compromised immune system.

Why compromised?

It was compromised because of the Multiple Sclerosis, and it was further compromised because I was on Gilenya, which also surpresses the immune system.  Gilenya was my first clinical study.  Accordingly, there was no way I could get the Shingles shot, or so I thought.

Shingles shot in the dark?

Well, Merck decided to irradiate the Shingles shot and conduct an FDA approved clinical study of the new irradiated Shingles shot.  There would be no live virus.  Here goes the guinea pig, again.  I had to take a series of five injections, and monitor my temperature with a thermometer.  I kept a record in a journal.

Thinking of Ted

All throughout the study, I kept thinking that I’m doing this for Ted, and others like him who suffer from this awful disease.  I don’t know if I was receiving the drug or the placebo.  After all, this was a FDA approved study.

Study completed

I completed the study, but to this day, I don’t know whether I actually received the drug.  I did get a reaction to a couple of the injections which makes me suspect that I did receive the drug, but I really don’t know to this day.

The infusion drug – Tysabri

Shortly after completing the Shingles study, I heard about the J.C. Virus.  Apparently Biogen  was having problems with it, and their infusion Multiple Sclerosis drug, Tysabri.  They had found instances of PML.  This is another horrible neurological illness.  I decided to be part of that study, too.  I had Chicken Pox as a child and I was J.C. Virus positive.  Once again, here goes the guinea pig.

They want blood

This was blood test after blood test to the point where I asked the clinician who was taking the blood, if she could leave a little blood for me.  After a few months  this ended.  I do not know whether the clinical study was completed or whether the drug company lost interest in the study.  I also don’t know the results, if any of the study.

I begin Housecalls

Shortly thereafter, it became very difficult for me to make it to the doctor’s office.     I started with Housecalls and did not see my neurologist again.

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My Broken Van Ramp

What I have.

I own an old used Chrysler Town & Country Mobility Van.  It is a 2006 van.  The exterior color is midnight blue (it looks like a navy blue).  Most of the mobility vans in the lot looked like handicap vehicles.  They looked like modified ambulances.

I bought it because it didn’t look like a handicap van

This van looked like a regular Chrysler Town & Country, and you would not know that it was a handicap vehicle unless you stopped to look at the license plate or you saw the ramp come out of the side of the vehicle.

Van almost cut in half

They use front wheel drive vans to make a handicap van.  In order to have the ramp come out automatically (you use a remote control key), they need to almost cut the van in half.  This is called a conversion.  They are converting a standard van to a handicap vehicle.

Careful for the drivetrain

Because they almost cut the vehicle in half, if the van had rear wheel drive, they would have to cut through the drive train.  Generally, this is not a good idea.  It is much easier, and less expensive, to use a front wheel drive van.  For the same reason, they don’t use four wheel drive vehicles, or all wheel drive vehicles.

Press the remote key twice

When you press the remote key twice, the side door opens and the ramp should automatically come out.  Then when my power wheelchair goes up the ramp and into the van, you can press the remote key twice and the ramp automatically comes back into the van, and the door closes.

Ramp works partially

Well, that’s the way it is supposed to work.  This week, I had a dental appointment.  I pressed the remote key button twice and the ramp only partially came out.  Then I did it again and the ramp receded partially into the van.  The door would barely close.

It was stuck.

This was big trouble.  After that the ramp would not come out or go fully into the van.  It was stuck.  This is a nightmare.  The only thing worse is if this happens when I’m at the dentist office.

Call to the dealer

I called the van dealership where I bought the van and they agreed to pick up the van the next day.    The next day they picked up the van and later that day I received a call from the dealership that they would need more time to look at the van.

Out of cycle

The next day I received a call from the dealership that the ramp worked all but one time at the shop.  Apparently,  it had gone out of cycle.  I don’t know exactly what that means, but I asked if there was anything that a handicapped person could do to get it back in cycle?

A manual release

At that point, I was told that there was a manual release that was yellow in color.  It take time for me to get to the van, when they came so I had my wife talk to them and show her the manual release.  When the ramp got stuck, we were pulling it every which way to no avail.  I had a picture taken of the yellow manual release control so I could see it.

Where is it?

It is by the door on the floor of the van.  This is in a position that is almost impossible for me to reach.  However, another, more capable person, could easily reach it.

They should tell you about this

This way the ramp could be manually moved in and out.  They should really tell you about this when you buy the van.  I’ve had a lot of headaches with the ramp in the past.  Fortunately, they did not charge me this time.

Time to reschedule

The dental appointment had to be cancelled.  I will reschedule the appointment shortly.

Comments

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave your comments below.

What to do when your dog chews your lamp cord

For lack of a chew toy

Your dog is precious to you. Your dog is your best friend and companion.  Your dog is part of your family.  But what do you do when your dog has decided to chew on your lamp cord rather than his or her favorite chew toy?  This can be a real problem.  It can even lead to a fire hazard.

The dog that is proud of his or her chewing

Of course, part of the problem is that your dog is unlikely to tell you that he or she has eaten through your lamp cord or the cord of any other appliance.  Consider yourself lucky, if you have a dog who is proud of his or her handiwork, and shows you what was done.  More likely, you are going to have to find this yourself.

Little Lassie

My dog is a Shetland Sheep Dog named Chuckie.  My wife brought him home, and he looked like a little Lassie.  How could I not fall in love with little Lassie?  However, little Lassie has chewed on all sorts of things.  He chewed on furniture.  He has had accidents all over the house.  But we still adore him.  He is a member of the family – a family where no one is perfect.  I certainly am not perfect.

Who am I to complain?

I have Multiple Sclerosis.  I’m a paraplegic.  If I can do this, so can you.  Accordingly, I am in no position to be critical of Chuckie.  By the way,  Chuckie got his name from our son, who named him after Chuckie Cheese because the shopping center that he came from had a pet shop (where we purchased Chuckie), and a large Chuckie Cheese.

A partial job

Anyway, Chuckie ate his way though much of the lamp cord, but not though the entire cord.  This led to intermittent lamp operation.

Is it the power strip or cube tap?

I had no idea what was causing this problem.  At first, I thought it might be the power strip, or the cube tap that I was using.

Feel the cord

Eventually, I figured out that the cord was chewed.  I felt along the cord until I noticed an uneven part.  There it was.  The spot where Chuckie had partially eaten through the lamp cord.

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What you will need

To fix this problem, you will need four things, a new plug, a screwdriver, a wire splitter/cutter, and an extension cord.

Cut close to the lamp, but not too close

Cut the wire before the chew line created by the dog.  You want to make sure that the part of the cord chewed by the dog and causing electrical problems is completely removed.  You are cutting the cord close to the lamp, and away from the plug.  This will shorten the lamp cord.  This is why you’ll need the extension cord.  There may not be that much of the original cord left, depending on how much your dog chewed.  Remember to leave yourself enough cord to work on.

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There are two wires together

There are actually two wires on a lamp cord.  This is to allow for the positive and negative alternating current. You need to separate the two wires.  This can be done with the cutter.  If you are strong enough, you may just be able to pull them apart.

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Strip the ends

Then you will need to strip the ends so that they can be connected to the new plug.  Some plugs can work without stripping the wires, but I have had more success with those plugs that require stripping.  Those that don’t require stripping often require exact placement to dig into the wire.  I’m not exact, and my wiring is often less than perfect.

A dependable connection

Do yourself a favor, strip both wires at the ends, wrap the twisted wires around the screws and tighten with a screwdriver.

Get a good screwdriver

The Irwin screwdriver on My Products page is a good choice because it includes both Flat and Phillips bits.

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Do the twist

If the wires are not already twisted, I recommend that you twist the wires before you wrap them around the screws in the new plug.

Polarized plug

You will note that some plugs are polarized.  This generally is not critical for a lamp, which usually has a two prong plug. It is critical for three prong plugs.  Usually, you will notice writing on one wire, but not the other.  If you want to maintain the polarization (recommended), make a note of which side has the wider plug, and which has the narrower plug, and maintain this arrangement for the new plug.

Extension cord

Plug the new plug into the extension cord (the length of the extension cord needed will vary depending on how much your dog chewed).  I have found that a 6 foot cord is usually sufficient.

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What about a new lamp?

Replacing the plug is usually much less costly than buying a new lamp.  Also, if you have two lamps, say on either side of the bed, then you are unlikely to find the exact same lamp, years later.  You will need to buy two lamps, making buying new lamps, much more costly.

Comments

Please feel free to leave any questions and comments that you may have, and enjoy your lamp and dog!




Car Batteries and More

My love / hate relationship with car batteries

Car batteries and I have a love / hate relationship.  I love what they can do, start your car, and I hate it when they don’t.  Recently, we have had a cold spell in the northeast United States, and my handicap van did not start.  I have a solar charger, and still, it did not start.

The AAA battery

I have a battery from AAA, yet I did not call AAA.  AAA will not give me a battery boost after 5 starts.  So if my van doesn’t need a new battery, I may call someone else.  Otherwise, AAA charges me $45 to start my van.  So, rather than use my 5 calls to AAA, I call Allstate Motor Club.  I also have BP Motor Club.  I have found that both Allstate and BP Motor Club are good for light duty boosts, and AAA is good for both light duty and heavy duty boosts.

Light duty boost

In this case, all I needed was a light duty boost.  Apparently, someone left a light on in the van and even with a solar charger, which I have, the battery will begin to die.  I like to buy batteries from AAA, because they will come to the house to install a new battery.  Also, they will come to the house to change a dying battery.  Remember to ask for battery service which may only be available 9 am to 5 pm on Mondays through Fridays.

AAA batteries are very good

Of course, there is that $45 charge, so I try not to call them too often.  By the way, I have found that the AAA batteries are very good batteries that last years with the regular use of the vehicle.

Notorious Me

I am notorious for not maintaining regular use of the van.  I have Multiple Sclerosis, and I only use the van when I really need it, which means I regularly deal with dying batteries.  The van has to be often started and allowed ro run in the driveway, otherwise it would rarely start when I need it.

A brake check

Recently, a friend of ours decided that her brakes may be going bad and she took her car to a service center to check the brakes.  She was told that the brakes were fine, but she would need a new battery.  About 2 months ago, she had a new AAA battery installed in her car.  AAA will make good on their warranty if you have the receipt. So the decision came down to does she have the AAA receipt?

Keep the receipt

Apparently, she did not keep the AAA receipt, and she got a new Exide battery.  Exide also makes very good batteries that last many years.  However, this service center did not install the battery correctly, and the battery had to be reinstalled, so that it worked.

The power wheelchair batteries

Recently, the power wheelchair that I use around the house, I use a different power wheelchair for the van, went bad.  This was no surprise because the batteries had lasted 4 1/2 years.  The manufacturer says the batteries will last only one year.  I have found that keeping the wheelchair plugged in the wall year round makes the batteries last longer.

The power wheelchair uses two batteries.

This is a smaller size than usual, because the Golden Tech, Lite rider power wheelchair has a special battery case.  This battery case does come with batteries pre-installed, however at a substantial price.  This does make changing the batteries convenient, but costly.  I have a handyman who will do work around the house and change the power wheelchair batteries for a good price.

Panasonic calling

I have a landline telephone.  It is a Panasonic cordless phone system.  It uses rechargeable AAA batteries.

What is an Odec?

I bought Odec rechargeable batteries for the cordless phones.  The original Panasonic rechargeable batteries had not stopped working, but they were not lasting as long as I like and were many years old.  The Odec batteries did not come charged and needed to be charged and discharged and recharged 3 times before they fully hold a charge.  However, they are a great price for 16 rechargeable batteries.

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Work in progress

I am currently working on that but it seems that I may have a couple of dead batteries.  This is not a big problem since I have many of them, and they are cheap.  Also, they are probably not slow discharge batteries, because they came completely discharged, which is unusual for slow discharge rechargeable batteries.

Comments

Please feel free to add any questions or comments below.