Wednesday, August 30, 2017

the new chair

Tuesday of last week we drove to North Raleigh to pick up Bobby's new wheelchair and receive instructions on how to operate both it and its accessories. It was more than a little overwhelming for both of us. I think the mechanic was surprised and disappointed/concerned that we weren't thrilled (these chairs are non-refundable). It's a lot to take in. This chair is not identical to what the sales rep brought to the house. Two inches here and two inches there make a world of difference.

The chair we received has a head rest, which presents a small challenge in our morning routine and trying to get him buckled in the van, but nothing I can't live with. We hope to meet with the van company today to start overcoming the biggest hurdle...whether or not this chair is too tall/too long for him to drive. Every time you get a new power chair the van and the chair have to be modified slightly, but this one is so drastically different there's a good possibility it will be equivalent to having a new van upfitted. If that's the case, then it would actually be cheaper to purchase a new wheelchair similar to what he had. If we go that route, then anytime that chair has issues, we pay out of pocket for every part and all labor. Insurance will only cover the chair they provided, which the physical therapist suggested.

There are other issues/concerns we have that I think can be overcome if we get the right people putting their heads together (and I have a few in mind). But for now we're taking every issue one at a time. As Bobby had to remind me last week, there's no point in immediately trying to correct everything as sometimes one adjustment can solve multiple problems. That's hard for me. I want him to like this chair and be happy and I want to just take care of everything all at once. But I know he's right and that we need to resolve the larger issues first.

So even though it's been a week, we're now on day four of adjustments/appointments all chair related. I'm more than ready for us to find a new normal.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Monday, August 21

Last Monday we drove to Sumter, South Carolina so we could view the eclipse in "totality". (My uncle was laughing that he had never heard that word in all his life and in the span of a few days he'd heard it so many times he was tired of it.)  The public park there was having a special event, but the traffic to the park was quite long so we drove on down the road to Lowe's hardware store and parked. Evidently quite a few other people had the same idea. :)

Due to the heat, we headed inside, and would walk back to the garden center every 10-15 minutes to see how much it had changed. About 15 minutes before totality, Bobby came out and joined me. The lights in the parking lot that were on sensor came one, as did the ones in the garden area. A few workers slipped outside (despite the announcement not to abandon their posts) a few minutes before, and it was amazing. A worker who had glasses told those without when it was safe to look. A HUGE cheer went up from the parking lot. We were able to spot two stars, even with the night lights on around us. And the temp dropped at least ten degrees.

As the sun begin to be uncovered once again, we suddenly realized all the birds had gone silent. They began to chirp again. The lights slowly flickered back off, and we headed back inside to finish looking at a few things and check out somewhere between the 2nd crescent shape and bitten cookie shape.

It was a great day, and I'm thankful we were able to go where it was totally darkened. Bobby wants to know where we're going to visit in 7 years when it passes over the US again. :) It's not often he mentions wanting to go somewhere or do something, so I think this might be something we have to do!

Friday, August 18, 2017

97 and fall

Bobby laughed at me last night when I declared it was fall, reminding me that it was to be 97 degrees today. And yes, we are under a heat advisory here in NC today, BUT my surroundings are saying otherwise. The poplar tree has been shedding its leaves for over a week, and the grapes are ready for picking. I was too busy yesterday to take pictures, but I now have 3/4 gallon of muscadine juice in my refrigerator waiting to be made into jelly later today (and I only had time to pick 1 side of 1 row). Grapes are ripe in the fall.

And, as if that wasn't enough, school is starting back this week (or starts back next week for the last track of year rounders) in our area, and I had my dry run for fall elections training. (Trainers teach the class to elections staff to make sure we understand the process before classes begin.) So everything around me, except the temperature, is screaming fall.

So happy fall, y'all, sweat and all.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

twice in one day

Today I attended a presentation for Quilts of Valor for a Navy vet who served during the Vietnam War. He talked about his introduction to basic training, and how excited he was when he saw the line for food. He had never seen that much food, and thought if this was Navy life, it had to be good. No more hunger. He said that evening and the following days were tough, but having enough food to eat was always a good thing.

Tonight our church was full for a Wednesday night and buzzing with excitement as 25 people had just returned from serving at a camp in Haiti. Two people shared a testimony and some things that happened (the rest will share Sunday morning), and as they spoke about the bathing and bathroom conditions, as well as the food (good but they got tired of eating the same thing), I couldn't help but think about how spoiled many Americans are, and how deprived others are. I know these things will always be, but it made me think again of how the church should respond, and how do you assist without drowning yourself or enabling?

My Mom always said when God points something out to you more than once in a short period of time, you better take heed! It's given me a lot to think about.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


When I hear the word brush, I think of a hair brush.
When I hear the words brush in a motor, I think of this:

the brush found in a vacuum cleaner. So all these years when mechanics said "we need to replace the brushes" (in Bobby's wheelchair), that was the image that came to mind. So imagine my surprise last week when the mechanic came out with a piece smaller than my finger, and it looked almost like this:
This is a wheelchair motor brush. The bottom piece is the size of your thumbnail, and looks like a jump drive. The end of all the pieces are different, based on the model of chair. Bobby's had wires sticking out of it. The metal pieces near the bottom had snapped and burned, and we fear it may have caused the circuit board (the chair's brain) to short circuit. So even though we've found the parts (thank you Sean the sales rep guy!!!!), and are willing to pay out of pocket (insurance won't cover it since they're covering part of the cost for a new chair), there's a very good chance that this minute piece may not solve our problem for now. I'm so praying that it will. I'd love to photograph his hand and arm and other parts and send it to the insurance company along with my dr bill from last week to let them know the havoc and danger their delays and denials have created for us. But they really don't care. And it would simply be a waste of my time. But a chair is coming...I feel like a kid with Christmas two weeks away!!!!

Friday, August 4, 2017

a blur of a week

It's been a good but hard week. Sometime last week I did something to my back. Unlike muscle pain I've had in my neck and shoulder, this has been intermittent. One moment I'm fine; the next minute has me gasping in pain. Afternoons/evenings seem to be worse.

So I went to the dr today and was told I'd over-stretched a muscle between my ribs, and am to not do any major work in my garden for about a week. I guess that also means I won't be deep cleaning behind some of the furniture I didn't get to last week, either.

Meanwhile we found out Bobby's chair had NOT been ordered, so the ordering process began Tuesday evening - which means we're still 3 weeks out from having a chair he can use. I hate it for him even more than I hate it for me. I'm realizing more and more how difficult  it is to maneuver with manual chairs. We're still waiting to hear from the sale rep whether or not he can find us a "black market" part for the old chair or if we can get a loaner chair (meaning he can still get around on his own, but not drive) until the new chair arrives and goes through the modification process.

Tomorrow is Melba Lauver's funeral (the wife of one of Bobby's close friends). He wants us to stay and eat with the family after the funeral, and I have very mixed emotions about that.

I was also offered a unique temporary job this week. I have until next week to make a decision. It's an honor to be asked, but the hours are long (12 hr work days...on top of housework and caregiving...for 2 different 10 day stretches) and I'm not sure we're up to that right now. Praying for wisdom.

And that is Friday. Not quite ready to believe that it is August, nor that this week is almost over.