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.

My Multiple Sclerosis Life Story, Part Three : Gilenya benefits and My first Baclofin Pump

Gilenya and root canals on my teeth

To this day, I am still taking Gilenya.  It has had significant benefits to me, as I say, from the neck up.  Prior to taking Gilenya in 2007, I had one root canal after another.  I have had no root canals on any of my teeth since then.  When I do have an extraction, it is not because of a root canal issue.  It is because I cracked the tooth.  Root canals are a nerve issue, I have had none since 2007.  Prior to taking Gilenya, I have had none to this day.

Carrying a computer

In 2005, I was carrying a computer and I tripped.  I was bleeding from my chin, and I had to go to the hospital to get stitches.  I also got a herniated cervical disc.  This certainly hurt.  Gilenya is also an anti-inflammatory drug.  After taking Gilenya, my neck has felt much better.

Allergies

I have allergies.  I have environmental allergies.  I am allergic to grass, trees, dust, mold, ragweed (I have hay fever, especially Spring hay fever), and sycamore.  After taking Gilenya, my allergies have improved.  I had been taking allergy injections for years.  I am still affected by allergies, but much less so, and I no longer take allergy injections.

What about dizziness?

As a result of my Multiple Sclerosis, I would have dizziness.  After taking Gilenya, my dizziness is gone.

Flu like symptoms

I no longer have flu like symptoms, but this I attribute to stopping the Betaseron.

My vision improves

About 10 minutes after starting Gilenya, my vision had improved.  It has continued to improve to the point where my optometrist has had to lower my eyeglass prescription.  However, I still wear glasses, but the prescription is significantly lower.  No more Coke bottle glasses.

Gilenya gives me 2 1/4 years of walking to work

I was about to stop walking in 2007, but Gilenya gave me another 2 1/4 years of walking to work, before I was forced to retire by Multiple Sclerosis.  Gilenya still works great from the neck up.

How to improve

Anyway, by the end of 2011, I was looking for a way to try to improve.  I spoke to my neurologist and he suggested a Baclofen Pump.  Baclofen is a muscle relaxer, but when I take it orally I have had very bad side effects.  I would get headaches and dizziness, and I was a mess.  However, with a pump, the medicine is delivered directly into the spine, with, in my case, no side effects.

It sounded good

This sounded like a good idea and in January and February of 2012, I began to set up the surgery that was need for the installation of a Baclofen Pump.  This would entail incisions in the front and back.  In the right front, the pump would be placed, and in the back, a catheter would be run up my spine to deliver the medicine.

The doctor’s new job

My doctor, apparently had plans to take a new job in New York City.  I followed him into the city, and had the surgery performed in the city.

Successful operation

I had the operation on March 5, 2012.  A representative from the pump manufacturer was present at my operation.  The operation was successful.  The next day, I was awoken, given two Percocets, two aides stood me up, and I was told that I could leave.  Boy, was I groggy after the operation and two Percocets.

The $1,000 ambulance ride

Anyway, I was loaded into an ambulance and taken to Glen Cove on Long Island.  Only later would I learn that this ambulance trip would cost me $1,000.  I would only stay at this hospital for two weeks, at which time the staples from the operation were removed by the doctor.

The problem

Here was my problem.  My neurologist was not admitted to Glen Cove Hospital.  Very few doctors were qualified at the time to regulate the pump.  It is regulated by remote control by the doctor.   The pump cannot be regulated by the patient.   The only doctor I could find to regulate the pump at this facility, hated Gilenya.   Gilenya affected the immune system.  The doctor believed I would get some terrible illness because my immune system was suppressed by Gilenya.  However, the drug company that makes Gilenya tested for this, and found that not to be the case.  I was part of the clinical study that got Gilenya approved by the FDA.  My medical records were sent to the FDA.  Based on my (and others’) medical records the FDA approved Gilenya.  This was not enough for this doctor, and I was taken off Gilenya.

No Multiple Sclerosis medicine

I was given Cellcept, which caused bad side effects, and so I was on no Multiple Sclerosis medicine.  All my pre-Gilenya problems returned.  But I toughed it out.

Medicare will only pay for 100 days

After the two week stay in Glen Cove, I spent about 100 days recovering in a nursing home.  Apparently, Medicare will only pay for 100 days.  After 100 days, I was returned home.

How did it work for me

I wish I could say I had great results from the surgery.  While the surgery was a success, I only had small gains from it.  My Clonis (shaking of my legs) improved (lessened), it did not go away completely.  The Baclofen relaxed my muscles, but did not give me any added strength.  I had less spacity, and could sit up better, but I had little trunk support, and was prone to falling over sideways.  I would have to work on this.

Return to my regular neurologist

Shortly thereafter, I returned to my regular neurologist, who put me back on Gilenya.  This required another 6 hour adjustment period, but it was well worth it to get back on the Multiple Sclerosis medicine.  All the benefits of Gilenya returned.

My Multiple Sclerosis Story, Part Two : Betaseron complications and Gilenya study


The Story Continues

I left off after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and I was prescribed Betaseron.  But my journey with Multiple Sclerosis did not end there.

Betaseron injections

Betaseron is one of the ABC drugs.  These drugs are injected into the arms, legs, and stomach.  The injection site is rotated so that no one site repeatedly gets the shot.  I continued to do this from 2003 to the end of 2006.

It’s all over, maybe

At this point, I felt as though it was all over for me.  I could no longer continue.  I would have to quit my job at the New York City Law Department’s Tort Division.  It was not uncommon for someone on Betaseron to suffer from Flu like symptoms.  This is a side effect of Betaseron and many of the ABC drugs.  Multiple Sclerosis and the MS drug had gotten the best of me.

Misery & Me

I did what I usually do when I’m that miserable, I research my way out of it.

Fingolimod

I found a drug called fingolimod.  It was a pill that you took once a day.  It was for relapsing remitting Multiple Sclerosis.

Conference

I went to my neurologist and I spoke to him about the drug.  This was still the end of 2006.  He told me that he had gone to a conference and they had talked about it.  I was elated.  He knew about this drug.  He gave me information about the drug that he got at the conference.

Prescription, please

But my elation was short lived, because the I asked the key question –  could he write me a prescription for the drug.  He said incredulously, “A prescription, it’s an experiment!”  He could not write a prescription, the drug was not even approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  I thanked him and left the office despondent, but I had the materials he gave me from the conference that he had attended.

I decided not to go to Japan

I decided to continue my research.  I found a place in Japan which was conducting a clinical study on the drug.  I don’t know how to speak Japanese.  I do not want to move to Japan, and if I did, would I even be accepted into the Japanese study?  I decided to keep looking.  My efforts were shortly thereafter rewarded.  I found a place in Plainview, NY that was part of the Novartis study for fingolimod.  I was elated.  I called my neurologist and told him.  He asked me where and I told him.  He said he also had other patients who might be interested in the clinical study.

I stop Betaseron

I called the office in Plainview and I was told to stop taking Betaseron.  I could not be in the study for fingolimod and be on Betaseron

at the same time.  I would have to be off Betaseron for at least 3 months before I could be in the study.

I become a guinea pig

I went to the Plainview office and I was questioned and after looking at my records, I was told I could be part of the study.  The study was in phase three.  In all fairness, I had been following a Blog called Fingolimod & Me.  As far as I know this blog is no longer updated.  However, I owe much to this blog because it gave me great insight into what I was getting myself into.  I was about to become a guinea pig.  I was doing this not only for me, but all of the Multiple Sclerosis world.

Time to wait

It began in a room.  I had to sit there for 6 hours.  The pill I was taking was either a placebo, .5 mg, or 1.25 mg.  It was an FDA approved study and they apparently weren’t even sure about the dosage. I took the pill, and about ten minutes later I started to see better.  There were flyers on the door to the room I was in, and I noticed that I was able to see and read them better.  I mentioned this to one of the doctors who did not seem to give this much concern or credence.  After 6 hours, I would be allowed to leave.  The time came, and I was ready to leave.  I was told there was no way I was going to leave now.  Apparently, my heart rate had slowed significantly and it was time for an EKG.  Thereafter, they continued to monitor my heart.  Eventually, it leveled off and I was allowed to leave.

Many doctors and tests

Thereafter, I was given a list of doctors to go to.  The doctors were part of the study and I got the impression from the doctors on the list that there was only so much they could tell me.  Novartis, the drug company, would pay for the doctors.  It was a variety of pulmonary doctors, dermatologists, MRI’s, and ophthalmologists who I would visit, as well as testing by the neurologist.

Placebo, maybe

I did not know whether I was receiving the drug or a placebo.  I did not know what dosage I was getting, .5 mg or 1.25 mg.

The approved dosage

Later, after the study was completed, I would learn that I was on the later FDA approved dosage of .5 mg.  No one originally told me, but after my eyesight improved about 10 minutes after I began taking the drug, I had suspected that I was getting the real drug, and not the placebo.  At the time, I did not know what dosage I was taking.

The drug gets approved

I later continued with the extended study for another two years.  On September 10, 2010, the FDA approved the drug.  However it was no longer to be called fingolimod, it would now be known as Gilenya.  In time, I learned that 14 Multiple Sclerosis drugs were in testing that year but only one, Gilenya was approved by the FDA.

I continued to work

I continued to work for another two years hobbling around Manhattan.  I have continued to take Gilenya except for one time, since then, but that’s a story for another time.

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

My Multiple Sclerosis Story Begins : The Diagnosis

Doctor
Doctor

My Multiple Sclerosis Story – The Beginning

My Multiple Sclerosis life story began in 1977, even though I did not know it at the time.  Only years later after consulting with my neurologist did I begin to realize the pieces of my Multiple Sclerosis story.

Weakness holding a cup

I was in law school and I began to notice that I was having difficulty holding a cup. I had difficulty holding a cup of coffee, a cup of water, a cup of soup and so on.  I noticed this with my right hand.  I am right handed and usually pick things up with my right hand.

The nervous twitch is everywhere

I noticed that this was odd, but I was not that concerned about it.  I went to class and I looked around my law school class.  I wanted to see if anyone had a similar problem.  Virtually everyone in the class had a nervous twitch of some kind.  This was not unusual for a law school class.

The weakness subsided

I did not think much of it and I went about my life.  The weakness in the right hand subsided in a couple of weeks and I just continued with my life normally.  I really did not focus on the issue and after a couple of weeks all was well.

The cloud arrives

My life went merrily along until on Saturday in 1985.  I awoke with a cloud in my right eye.  I could barely see through the cloud.  It did not cover the entire field of vision, but it obstructed about 1/3 of the field of vision.  I continued doing things that day and went to the Bay Shore Shopping Mall on the south shore of Long Island, NY.

I still see the cloud

I still had the cloud in my right eye and it was a sunny day.  I was hoping it would go away, but it did not.  I was thinking maybe I slept on the wrong side of my bed and I must have leaned on something.  Anyway, by the afternoon, I was beginning to think that someone who knew something about eyes should take a look at my right eye.

What to do in a shopping mall?

I was still in the shopping mall.  I looked up.  I saw Cohen’s Fashion Optical.  I went into the eyeglass store and I asked to see the optometrist.  A Dr. Corbin came out to see me.  He took a look at my eye.  Then he took me to his office in the back.  He looked more.  He kept looking, but he could not find anything.  He seemed frustrated. He kept looking, but could not find anything.

Time to see an ophthalmologist

He finally said that he knew an ophthalmologist that might still be available on a Saturday.  He sent me to Dr. Bruce Mazure in Woodmere, NY.  Dr. Mazure apparently had a new device.  It looked like a white mini satellite tv dish.  It had little points of light that came out of the device.

Optic neuritis

Dr. Mazure concluded after the testing and often looking at my eye that I had optic neuritis.  I had what?  Yes, he said he believed that I had optic neuritis.  Really, it is apparently an inflammation of the optic nerve.  I remember walking out of the office with Dr. Mazure, he apparently had a place to go and I walked outside with him to his car.  I was his last patient on that Saturday.  We continued to talk about optic neuritis.  Then we left.

Studying up about optic neuritis

I went home and told my parents, who also knew nothing about optic neuritis.  I began studying up on everything I could get about optic neuritis.  However, this was 1985 and there was not much known about optic neuritis.

Detached retina?

I went to many ophthalmologists after that and I was told that I had a detached retina. Who was right? Meanwhile, the problem was slowly improving, and became increasingly difficult to detect.

My first neurologist

I even went to a neurologist associated with North Shore University Hospital, who raised the specter of Multiple Sclerosis.  He said it could be many things.  What was this and how could we detect this.  Well, we couldn’t.  It was 1985 and there was no effective test.  We could do an epidural, but even that would not be conclusive.  Besides it was 1985 and epidurals had mortality rates at that time.  He said to just continue living your life.  There would be no confirmation of Multiple Sclerosis at that time.

Studying up on Multiple Sclerosis

I went home.  I studied up on everything I could get on Multiple Sclerosis.  I was a lawyer.  This is what I do when I have an issue.  However, again I was not coming up with much.  It is an inflammation of the nerves.  It was 1985, and even if they could confirm it, which they couldn’t, there was no cure and no effective treatment.

Optic neuritis disappears

Life went on and the optic neuritis almost completely vanished and my life continued happily along.

The limp begins

Until, 2003 came.  It was Presidents’ Day 2003 and I began to limp with my right leg.  I went to Dr. Schlesinger who was a neurologist.  He is no longer practicing.  He sent me for an MRI of the brain with and without contrast.

MRI shows Multiple Sclerosis brain lesions

When I returned to his office, he gave me the news.  I had Multiple Sclerosis.  He showed me the MRI results with multiple MS lesions.  I told him about my story of weakness in the right hand.  The difficulty I had holding a cup in law school.  I told him about the optic neuritis or detached retina.  He said I probably had Multiple Sclerosis for more than 20 years.

Finally there is a treatment

I left his office with a prescription for Betaseron.  It is given by injection.  I would have to inject it myself. This would be the beginning of years of treatment for recurring remitting Multiple Sclerosis.

Comments

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

Bridge to the Dentist

Bridge
Bridge

WordPress issues

I’m still having problems with the new WordPress 5.0, which automatically updated.  However, I still can’t link pages or products.  Wordpress needs to fix this as soon as possible.

Two scrambled eggs

I started my day preparing for my dental appointment.  I awoke, had my usual two scrambled eggs with cheese.  I sometimes have it with ketchup and sometimes I am just so hungry that I eat it without ketchup.

No sugar added

I been noticing that Heinz has come out with a no sugar added version of ketchup which has 1 gram of sugar, but this is significantly less than the regular version of their ketchup.  This is better for people who are diabetic, or prediabetic like me.

Eggs in the microwave

The eggs are always scrambled.  This is not only because I like scrambled eggs, I do, but because scrambled eggs is the only way you can make eggs in a microwave.  I have tried to make eggs in a microwave that were not scrambled with disastrous results.

Eggs explode

The eggs exploded in the microwave.  It seems that scrambling the eggs is the only safe way to make eggs in a microwave.  Lucky that I like scrambled eggs.

Medicine time

After that I take my medications (I have a Freebie Pill Reminder, which you can find on the Freebies page to my website, but I cannot link to it thanks to the mess that is the current version of WordPress).

Manual patient transfer

After that I have a diaper change.  Then the sling is put under me for the patient transfer.  The one I have is a manual version, which was all Medicare would provide.

Different batteries

Then I was lifted and placed in my wheelchair and headed to the van.  As a note of information, I have two power wheelchairs.  Both run on batteries, and use different batteries.

Same batteries

They have been running on the same batteries for more than four years.  Most manufacturers say that the batteries will last for one year.  So far, I’ve been lucky.

Up the ramp

I attempted to go up the ramp .  This is easier said than done.  For my first attempt, I almost fell off the ramp. I backed up and tried again.  The second time was the charm.

Almost off the ramp

I have a new driver.  I think I scared the living daylights out of him when I almost fell off the ramp.  He tried to lift the four hundred pound wheelchair.  This was total futility, and I had to back up the wheelchair electrically.

New driver

Since he was a new driver, I had to direct him to the dentist’s office.  He let me off at the dentist’s office.  He parked the van in the metered lot, which cost money, there is a free parking lot, but it is limited to two hour parking.

To bridge or pull

After signing insurance forms, I waited a half an hour and was called into the dentist’s office.  The dentist and I decided to put in the temporary bridge, rather than pull the broken tooth on the lower right side of my mouth.  This leaves me with at least one side of my mouth to chew my food.  The extraction and permanent bridge will be done another time.

A room to recline

My dentist’s office has many rooms for dental work but only two rooms are large enough for my power wheelchair.  Also, my dentist would like my wheelchair to recline.  It does not, without a handiman to take out multiple screws.  However, it works well with the van.

Put in the bridge

The dentist took a couple of molds.  He drilled some and put in the temporary bridge.  My next appointment is next month.

The way home

I had to direct the new driver home.  I figured that if I directed him within a block or two of my house, he would be able to get me home.  No such luck.  We had to circle back because we passed the road to the house.

It is probably my fault

This is partly my fault, because I was explaining to him the solar charger that I use in my car.  It can be found on my Products page, which I cannot link to, thanks to the latest version of WordPress.

Release the seatbelt

Once home, it was the usual routine of patient lifting me out of the wheelchair and into bed.  My wheelchair has a seatbelt, which I almost always forget to release.

To the bedroom

Getting into my bedroom is a chore since there is barely enough room to get through the door.  I almost always smack into the television stand.  This wheelchair, while good for the van was not designed to get through the doorway to my bedroom.

Previous transfer to a smaller wheelchair

Initially, the idea was that I would transfer to the smaller wheelchair to get into my bedroom.  As my Multiple Sclerosis got worse, it became increasingly difficult to transfer to the smaller wheelchair.  Now, I really cannot do the transfer.

It takes time

Well, I’m home, but I feel it when I eat on the side of my mouth that has the new temporary bridge.  It may take some time to get used to the new temporary bridge.

Questions and Comments

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

To SEO or Not To SEO

SEO
SEO

All about SEO

I have recently done a number of new blog posts, and I thought my work was done for now.  Then I was invited to a new Pinterest group board – All about SEO.  Being the computer geek that I am, I could not resist the offer.

Not a computer website

Now, I know that this website did not start as a computer website, however, I have done a number of blog posts that reflect on computer issues because in blogging about anything, computer issues arise.  It is like having a blog about cookie recipes, and finding that you are blogging about computer issues.

Cookie time

Come to think of it, I joined a group board for cookie recipes.  Everything looked so delicious, how could I resist?  Anyway, I do what I usually do when confronted with a life issue, I blog about it.

Life happens

Well now, I have to come up with something for the new Pinterest group board.  This isn’t the first time Pinterest has encouraged me to enter a field that I love, but had no idea that I would be involved in at Pinterest.  I have joined a bird group board.  You know something, sometimes life just happens.

Keywords

SEO are initials that stand for Search Engine Optimization.  Bloggers sometimes try to do blog posts that contain keywords so that the post will get ranked higher on search engines.  An example is if Google puts the website post on page one of a Google search (people are likely to find it and read it) versus Google putting the post on page 37 of the Google web search.

Do you really want to be on page 37 of a Google search?

Let’s get real. Does anyone go to page 37 of a Google search.  You do a web search and you look at what came up on the first page.  Maybe if you’re really determined you might go to page two.  Hell will freeze over before you get to page 37.  Be honest, have you ever gone to page 37?  Maybe I did once, but that was when I was running Windows 95.  And that was a long time ago.

Bloggers want page one

If you’re a blogger and you want to get serious hits, you want to be on the first page of a Google search.  Well, how do you do that?  The answer is SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  If you can optimize your keywords, you stand a much better chance of landing on page one of a Google search, than page 37 of a Google search.  Suddenly, it makes sense to do SEO.

The big problem

Here’s the problem.  SEO is for computers.  It is built on algorithms.  We are humans.  We write blogs for other humans.  SEO would be perfect if we were doing blogs for computers.

What humans need

We humans need creativity, inspiration and motivation to write really good blog posts.  At least I do.  I have found that the fastest way to destroy creativity, inspiration and motivation is to spend significant time doing SEO.

Jaxxy for SEO

In all fairness there are some great software platforms for doing SEO.  One such software is Jaxxy.  It is great.  In fact, I get so into Jaxxy that I often forget what I was going to blog about.  Jaxxy motivates me to keep using Jaxxy.  It soon occurred to me that if I continued to focus on SEO, I would never write a blog post.  I needed to find another way.

The other way

Actually, it was easier than you might think.  Just forget about SEO.  Just write really cool and fun blog posts.  If I would like to read what I write, there is a good chance that other people would enjoy it too.

Occasionally even I check keywords

Sometimes I check to see if anyone might actually use one of my keywords, and I do a simple Google search.  Most of the time, I don’t.  I just write cool and fun things.  It works for me.  If I’m motivated and inspired to be creative, the blog post will be cool and fun to read.  This is because it was cool and fun to write.

Algorithms and humans

I found something interesting about writing blog posts.  The algorithms are trying to determine what is cool and fun.  The algorithms only use SEO to help them determine what is cool and fun for humans to read.  Using SEO is like trying to get into the head of a computer that’s trying to figure out what works for humans.  Just be human, and you will rank in Google.

Catchy title

When writing a title for a blog post, just come up with a catchy title.  A cool and fun title works.  It attracts humans, and also computers that are trying to figure out what cool and fun thing humans are looking for when they do a web search.

Thinking is good

Think about it.  Do you really want to destroy your creativity, inspiration and motivation if you don’t need to?  Just write cool and fun stuff.

Comments

If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below and check out the Freebies and Products pages.

Gutenberg strikes back!

Gutenberg
Gutenberg

A good or bad idea

I’ve been wondering whether installing the new WordPress 5.0 (software that makes websites look like websites) was a good or bad idea.  The new Gutenberg block editor gave me the answer when I tried to put a new product on my Product page.  Clearly, it was not one of my better ideas.

To link or not to link

Gutenberg would not let me put the needed product links for the gel overlay.  It tried to put the link elsewhere on the Product page.  I use Block editor.  I use Classic editor.

What a mess

Gutenberg tried to mess up the text on the Product page.  It froze.  It crashed.  It did everything but put the link where I wanted it to put the link.  It lost the link.  I found the link elsewhere on the page.

But it floats

It has a floating menu with the link.  It floats everywhere except where I want it.  I tried different links.  Amazon provides a short and full size link.  All to no avail.

The missing link

I could not put in the link to the affiliate disclaimer page.  I could not link the Amazon product.

Frustration

In my frustration, I decided to try placing the image without the text.

Computer code here I come

This required me to enter the HTML code editor.  I am not great with computer code.  I am still working on it.  But I entered the HTML computer code editor.  In the past entering computer code was relatively easy.  You entered Visual or Text (for code).

Now for something completely different

Now Gutenberg has an “other” menu which you must look through to find how you enter code.  It has three dots.  I found the place for the HTML computer code and inserted it.

It’s all about the image

Now this provides an image of the gel overlay.  If you click on the image, it will take you to Amazon and you can purchase the gel overlay.  I still do not have the text links, but you can purchase the product.

Work on the text links

I will be working on the text links in the future and I hope that WordPress 5.0, and Gutenberg allow me to put in the text links.  For now, at least you can purchase the product by clicking the image.

It is not fully stable, but then how many of us are?

This is a limited success and Gutenberg needs more work.  It is not fully stable.  It is still a work in progress.  Wordpress has released it as part of WordPress 5.0, but working with it seems more like working with a beta product.

Someday soon?

Someday they will fix it.  Hopefully, it will be sooner than later.  It often bothers me when websites don’t work the way they are supposed to work.

Don’t blame the webmaster

I often find myself blaming the webmaster, but this is not the webmaster’s fault.  This is poorly designed web software.  Better luck next time.  I will continue to cajole Gutenberg to work, but it may take time.

Questions

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

The Gel Overlay

Gel overlay
Gel overlay

Second time is not always a charm

This is my second post using the new WordPress 5.0.  I wish I could say everything went smoothly.  It did not.

Gutenberg is Mr. Freeze

Once when I tried to edit a post with the new word editor Gutenberg, the whole thing froze and crashed.  Another time it seems to have made my iPad keyboard lock so I could not enter numbers.

When in doubt, reboot

Rebooting solved the problems.  But I should not have to reboot to fix Gutenberg’s problems.  Anyway, with some cajoling, I was able to get it to work, but it took much more time than it should have.

What smell?

One day, I started to hear complaints about the smell of my gel overlay.  The gel overlay is about a 3 inch mattress like covering that goes over the actual mattress in a hospital bed.  It apparently smelled of urine.

Allergies

In truth, I have a number of of environmental allergies (grass, trees, dust, mold, ragweed, and sycamore) that led me to go to an allergist.  I have stopped going to the allergist.

Gilenya side effect

My Multiple Sclerosis medicine (Gilenya) has had the effect of reducing my allergies, and I now suffer only a few days a year with allergies. Anyway, my nose is often stuffed a little, and I don’t have a good sense of smell.  If others tell me that I smell of urine, I generally accept their assessment.

Time to accept defeat

After trying to open the cover of the old gel overlay, and clean out the odor, albeit unsuccessfully, we gave up on the old gel overlay, and decided to buy a new gel overlay.  We kept the cover of the old gel overlay, just to maintain a cover over the mattress in order to protect the mattress from becoming wet.

Diamonds may be forever, but gel overlays are not

The old gel overlay was a Kloss, which was paid for by Medicare.  These gel overlays only last about a year and a half, and I have no real complaints about the old gel overlay.  However, it was about time for a new one.

Housecalls on call

I called Housecalls, which is a service of my hospital, and they arrange for home visits from my doctor.  I have recommended them before, and I again recommend them or a similar service, from your local hospital.

Years to go

I was advised that it would be another 2 years before Medicare would approve payment for another gel overlay.  This means I would have to incur the cost of a new gel overlay out of pocket.

Inexpensive gel overlay

My aide and my wife, decided to get a Drive gel overlay.  This is the Drive Medical Premium Guard Gel Mattress Overlay, 3.5″x34″x76 by Drive Medical.  Check it out on my Products page.  It is one of the less expensive gel overlays, but it works well.  It is not waterproof, but most are not waterproof.

Water resistant

This new Drive gel overlay is water resistant.  This should be sufficient under most conditions.  It is not a perfect solution, but then perfection usually comes at a high price, if at all.

Break in time

I was surprised how quickly the new Drive gel overlay was broken in.  Usually, it takes months for the new gel overlay to be broken in, but this took a week or so to break in.  This means it became comfortable in about a week.

Expect some sag

All or most of these gel overlays sag in the middle.  This one also sags in the middle, but less so than most.  Considering the cost, this is surprising good.

Measurements count

Make sure the measurements are correct for your bed and mattress before you buy.  I have twin size bed.

Recommended Drive gel overlay

I am including the Drive gel overlay in my recommended products and it should appear shortly on my products page.  Please check out this Drive gel overlay for your hospital bed.

Comments

I hope this post has been of help.  If there are are any comments and/or questions please leave them below.