Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 26, 2012: Piglet

This morning I was sitting in my chair drinking coffee.  I heard scratching.  There was Piglet trying to bury the pee he made on my leather sofa.  This was the final straw for Piglet.  He's been peeing all over the house for over 3 years.  I've taken him to the vet many times, gotten shots for him, added litter boxes, moved litter boxes, bought special litter and boxes, prescription cat food.  I've blockaded my studio and put my fabric bins in plastic.  Everyday I have to be sure to get my closet closed tight and keep any baskets of clothes or fabric put away.  He prefers to pee in baskets of clean clothes.

I spend hours each week cleaning and changing litter boxes.  I have definitely tried.  I love my Piglet.  He was my Kevin's cat while he was at Cornell.  Kevin brought him home to live with me in December 2003.  The vet estimated that he was 5 years old back then.  Piglet was my last connection to my son's childhood.

The vet said that he had chronic bladder infections and sand in his urine.  Peeing was painful so he looked for soft places to pee in.  I would have made him an outside only kitty.  But he would have suffered in the heat, with his bladder problems, fleas, the other critters living outside, etc.  Not to mention the extra work involved in trying to take care of him outside and keep the other kitties inside the house.

I decided that euthanizing him was the best solution for both of us.  He lived a nice long life and was well taken care of and loved.  It was a hard thing to do.  I feel sad about it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25, 2012: booster seat update

I sent my tutorial on making the adult booster seat to the Learned Empowerment Group on the Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation website.  The organizer of the group, Rich asked my permission and then posted it on his blog.  I hope it will be helpful to someone.

I really love inventions.  I searched the internet for a lightweight scooter for myself and found one invented by a guy who flies airplanes.  I had to give up some options that heavier scooters  have.  But mine weighs only 35 pounds and is manageable for me to load and unload.  (Travel Scoot)

I looked for a folding cane, not one of those that it is held together by bungee cards.  I found one that folds in half and can be tucked into a tote bag or stowed under a chair. (dapper canes)

I've been searching for something to assist me in loading and unloading Jim's 50 pound wheelchair.  I tried a doggie ramp but it was still difficult to push the folded chair up the ramp.  There are big ramps that I could buy but then I would have to lift a heavy ramp.  Jim doesn't want a special vehicle for wheelchairs.

My best option so far is to carry a transport chair that weighs only 14 pounds.  It doesn't have big wheels so Jim is dependent on me to push him around.

One would think that wheelchair manufacturers would give a bit of thought to the caregivers who have to lift the chairs.  There needs to be another place to grip the chair besides the push handles.  If you grab a wheel your hand gets stuck in the spokes. 

So I end up holding the push handles to lift the chair which is very cumbersome because the weight of the chair is not distributed.

Or I could disassemble the chair and then reassemble it while Jim waits in the hot car.  How would I manage it?  I could sit on the sidewalk in the heat and then try to get back up on my bad knees.

I've seen some of the users putting their own chairs in and out of a vehicle.  It's not easy for them either.

If I come up with something that works, I'll share the info.

May 25, 2012: Owl Mobile

This morning as I was driving into Rice I spotted the Rice art car up ahead.  I chased it until it stopped at the stadium.

I think the car looks really fierce!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23, 2012

Today I brought home my new car - a Subaru Outback.  It's big enough to hold Jim's wheelchair, etc. but not gigantic, like some SUV's.  It has 4 doors and a hatchback, rearview camera, moonroof, puddle lights.  But, surprise, surprise - it's green!  I've never driven a green car before.  (Unless you count Jim's mucus-colored car.)  It's a pleasant color- like grass green.  The interior is light beige leather.

My little orange Mazda was the first car I ever bought.  It was always the cutest car in any parking lot.

I'm sure I'll grow to love my Outback.  Right now I think I'll call her Dino (like the little dinosaur on the Flintstones).   Of course, she has to be decorated, at least a little bit.  I just can't imagine driving a car with no personality.  She wouldn't look right with a tiger tail in her tank.  But I'll come up with something special for her!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 20, 2012

Last night we went out to dinner again!  Jim used his walker and booster seat in our local Tex-Mex, El Ranchero.  Lupita and Jimmy went with us.

Jim did very well getting into the restaurant.  He had to go down a little ramp to get back to the car.  He kind of stumbled going down but Lupita kept him upright.

We looked at Subaru together yesterday.  We actually agreed that we like the Outback.  The salesman let us take one home for a trial.  So far, so good.  Today I want to try loading and unloading the 50 lb wheelchair.  I think it might be easier with the Outback since it seems lower than the other cars that we've looked at.

Summer is here with all its heat and humidity.  It's almost 8 AM.  I am going to go grocery shopping in a few minutes so I can miss the worst heat. Also, going early lets me get to the store before all the cranky churchgoers get there.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 17, 2012

Things are looking up.  Jim is improving.  He can walk pretty well with his walker.  Last Sunday we went with Jimmy & Lupita to Hunan Hut.  Jim used his walker to go from the car to the restaurant.  He sat on a regular chair using the booster seat that I made him.  Then he used his walker to go back to the car.
He will probably not want to go out with me alone for awhile.  He has just started walking around the house with his walker with only me to assist him. 

I take him to his physical and occupational therapy sessions on Fridays.  It's nice to keep up with what he's working on and see how well he's doing.

I am still shopping for a car.  Yesterday I looked at Subaru.  I really liked the Outback and I want to take Jim with me next time.  He has to test getting in and out of the car.  And we'll test out how much we can load in the back.

May 2012: How I constructed an adult booster seat

I used "Quick Grip" glue to secure the legs.

 I filled in the space between the legs with cardboard.

 I glued a large piece of cardboard to totally cover the underside of the table.

I put weights on it until the glue dried completely.

 I covered the top of the table with more cardboard and glued it down.

 Carpet tape is very strong and is double-sided.

I removed one side of the blue paper to expose the tape and put it around the perimeter of the box.

I cut a heavy duty piece of a foam cushion and taped it to the top side of the table.  I wrapped the table in a foam backed fabric that is used on car dashboards.  This fabric can be purchased at a fabric store, like Hancock's.

I used small nails to secure the fabric.  I cut out a square piece to cover the bottom and pounded in more small nails.

I wrapped a dog leash (bought at a dollar store) around the booster seat with the hook on the side.  The leash helps secure the fabric and provides a handle to tote around the seat.

The booster seat helps an adult with impaired leg function rise out of a chair (gracefully, even!).