Sunday, December 31, 2006

Stairs, Stares, Everywheres                                                             

Going to a New Year's Eve party tonight
at a friends house.  Stairs to get in the house,
stairs to get to the basement.  Ugh.  I don't
worry so much about them dropping me, but
I worry about them hurting themselves.  They
say it's no problem.  

Saturday, December 30, 2006

My Daughter, the Climber                                                                                                      

My daughter suggested I write about her today!

Okay, I can do that.  She's a super great kid!  
Smart, funny, sweet, loving, talented, great
with animals...

She's reading over my shoulder, and she says, "Awww".

It's all true.  She's all those wonderful things and so
much more. 

She says that when I get the iBOT it will be nice for
her because when we're at the grocery store,  she won't
have to climb the shelves in the frozen food section and
freeze her fingers anymore.  In balance mode, I'll be able
to reach it myself!  

I prefer to do my grocery shopping first thing in the
morning after I drop her off at school.  I like to go then
because there aren't many other people shopping at
that time of the day.  The problem is, without a lot
of other people around, I often find it difficult to find
someone to reach those items on the higher shelves.  
There are always at least 2 or 3 things I can't reach.  
Sometimes there is no one around and I sit there and
wait for someone to show up.  Other times I'll go looking
for someone.  Most of the time though, I just skip it.

Going to the store with my daughter works fairly well
because she can climb and get the stuff for me.  She
doesn't really like going to the store though.  When
she was little, she used to stand on my lap to reach
things.  When she got too big for standing on my lap,
she stood kind of on the seat of my wheelchair.  Lately,
she's just been climbing the shelves.  I got yelled at
once for letting her do this.  A store employee saw
her climbing and she scolded me saying that if my
daughter fell, they'd be in big trouble.  Pffft!  

She also likes to climb fences.  And rock walls.  And
furniture.  And the back of my wheelchair.  And trees.
She has never fallen.  Not even close.  She's a careful
climby climberson. 

Friday, December 29, 2006

Is This a Freak Show?                                                  

After 28 years of being in a wheelchair, people
staring at me still bothers me.  I'm talking about
the eyes popping out of the head, mouth hanging 
open stare.  It doesn't happen very often, but it 
does happen.  Do these people live in a closet and 
am I the first person in a wheelchair they've ever
seen?  It's like they cannot believe what they
are seeing, and they simply can't take their eyes 
off of me.

I'm sure this staring thing is going to get 10 billion
times worse when I'm in the iBOT in balance mode,
or when I'm going up or down stairs.  I  think  it
won't bother me so much though as this is some-
thing I might stare at myself.  Okay, I wouldn't
stare, because that's rude, but I would be curious,
and I would want to check it out.  Still... I'm pretty
sure I'd give the person a break and I would turn
away and go about my business.   I'm the kind of person
who would like to blend in with the crowd, but I know
there are a whole lot of "look at me!" people, and those
"look at me!" people don't seem to understand there
are people who don't want attention.  BUT, being that
there are very few iBOTS out there, I suppose I can't
blame them for looking.  I just hope they try to keep
their eyeballs in their head and their jaws off the floor.  

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Whoa, Everything Looks so Much Different
From up Here

The very first thing I'm going to do when
I get my iBOT is put it in balance mode and
just check out every room in my house.   I
remember when I was about 19 or so, I was
hanging out with a friend and she stood up
on her couch and she said, "Whoa, everything
looks so much different from up here".

Today's photo is an amaryllis.  It's fun to have
flowers blooming in the winter. 

I haven't forgotten to write about the safety
of the iBOT.  I just have not obtained that
information yet.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I'm going to have to get an iPod with iTunes 
to go with my iBOT.  

Sorry, that's all I got today.  It's been a hectic
day.  Here's a picture of a frog.  

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Different View                                                                       

I took my daughter to the ice skating
rink today because she was invited to
a friend's party.  The above photograph
was the view I had.  Not bad, but when
I have the iBOT, I'll be in balance mode
and then I'll have a much better view!

Also, I was invited to have pizza at the
friend's house after skating, but it was
just the friend's mom, who has a bad hip,
and two teenage girls who would get me
up the steps.  I decided against it.   

P.S.  This is actually not a good representation
of the view I had.  Most of the time there were
adults standing against that wall watching
their children.  I waited for a clearance to take
the photograph because I didn't think it was
a good idea to take a picture of people's butts.

Monday, December 25, 2006


Thanks to writing this blog, I have a new 
friend.  Although I have not met this
friend in real life, we've chatted via
email and telphone.  He has the same
injury level as I do, and he is 16 years
post injury.  He got an iBOT last March.  

We don't get snow often here in Portland,
but I was curious to know how well the
iBOT performs in snow.  I asked my new
friend, and he said that he just recently
took it through the snow.  He said the snow
was about 8 inches deep, fluffy and dry, with
concrete under it, and the iBOT had no
problem getting through it.

.......Hmmm, after I have my iBOT I will no
longer have a good excuse to not go outside
when it snows..... thinking..... wait, I spent
the first 21 years of my life in Minnesota
and Wisconsin, so my excuse can be that
I've had my fair share of snow.  Whew.

Seriously though, one of the main reasons
I moved out of MN was to escape the snow.
Although I managed a manual chair in the
snow for many years, it was difficult at times.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Safety Continued...

I'm feeling really spacey, but here it goes.

When I was a freshman in high school I was
going too fast and cutting a corner, as was
someone else who was going in the opposite
direction.  We collided, my books went
flying, and I started to tip over backward.  
Thanks to bystander Wayne P-something's
quickness, he caught me before my head hit
the floor.  

Ah, who cares?  :D  I have a few other stories,
but they're boring.  The biggest injury about
using a manual wheelchair is the wear and tear
on my shoulders.  Although I will still use my
manual at times after I get the iBOT, I will use
the iBOT for going long distances.  One of the
reasons I like living in the city is that things are
walking distance.  Recently I've had to drive
places to save my shoulders.  With the iBOT,
I'll be able to "walk" to the grocery store and
restaurants and shops, to my daughter's school,
to the park, etc, instead of drive.   This makes
me very happy.  :)


Saturday, December 23, 2006


Nearly everyone I know has been sick and
now it's my turn. I just wrote a long
entry here despite my desire to be curled
up in my nice warm and comfy bed. As I
attempted to publish my post,I pushed the
wrong button and it disappeared!

Sorry, I gotta go back to bed.

Friday, December 22, 2006

IBOT on the Colbert Report                                                                    

Ugh, it's been a gimptastic day filled with  
loads of fun gimp stuff.   Ain't nuthin' like
spending the entire day at the wheelchair
shop for one simple fix.  

So I don't feel like writing about falling out
of my wheelchair and other mishaps, so
instead watch this:

(Colbert must be about 7 feet tall.  His head is
way higher than the headrest and my head
barely reaches the headrest.)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Please Get Your Finger out of My Forehead                                                            

It was summertime.  I was 11 or so.  I was
sent to a day camp for disabled children.  I
wasn't happy about going and would have
rather done just about anything.  But after 
the car accident, I no longer had the luxury
of making decisions for myself.  A lot of
adults made my decisions for me because
now that my legs didn't work, my brain
didn't either.  They didn't listen to what I
wanted and didn't want, and they thought
they knew what was best for the poor little
handicapped girl.  This was quite a change
for the shy little mousey girl who easily, and
gladly, blended into the wall throughout her
first 8 years of life. 

Oh gee, do I sound bitter?  

So anyway, the counselors were a small group
of teenage kids.  There were probably about 8
"campers" and I think most of us were in wheel-
chairs.   One day one of the teenage counselors
thought it would be fun to have a wheelchair race.
I said, "No thanks", but apparently even teenagers
knew what was best for me.

Camp took place in a park in a small Wisconsin
town.  I think all the counselors came from area
farms.  Or at least they smelled like they did.  I'm
not dissing farmers here. If a person wants to
trod through cow crap everyday, that's okay with
me.  I'm just saying that they probably should
have stuck with milking the cows instead of
attempting to interact and entertain a small
group of alien crippled kids.  

Their idea of racing wheelchairs meant
that the wheelchair user sat in their wheelchair
while one of the counselors pushed them as fast
as they could.  Quite a brilliant idea if you think
about it because what could be more fun for a
wheelchair user than to get pushed on an uneven 
surface by someone who is running?  (Is my
sarcasm obvious here?)

Again, I protested, but of course since my legs
didn't work, I didn't know right from wrong, so
just ignore me.  The race started.  I was pushed
up a slight incline, made a turn and started going
down a hill.  Suddenly my front wheels got caught
in a crack in the sidewalk.  My wheelchair tipped
over forward, I landed on my face and my chair
landed on top of me.  The landing knocked
me out, resulted in two cracked front teeth, a fat
and bloody lip, and broken eye glasses which
sliced open my forehead.  I was rushed to the
ER and before the doctor stitched me up, he
wanted to make sure there weren't any small
rocks or dirt in my forehead.  He shoved his finger
into my open wound and felt around.  I was conscious 
at this point, and because that memory still lingers
to this day, and it still gives me the heebe gebees,
I wish I hadn't been aware of what was happening.  

Now I'm no doctor, but it seems to me that if I
wanted to clean out a wound, I would flush it with
some sort of sterile solution.  I guess sticking a
finger in there and feeling around between my skin
and my skull seemed like a better idea to him.
Satisfied that all the gravel was out of my head,
he stitched me up.  I went home with the good news
that I wouldn't be returning to camp.

About 15 years later, the area around my scar on
my forehead started to irritate me.  I finally went
to the doctor and she told me she didn't know what
was going on, but she gave me some sort of cream
to rub on it to stop the itch.  I felt a small bump under
the skin where it was itchy and I asked her if it was
possible that I had a little rock in there from all those
years ago.  She thought it was unlikely, but that it was

And then one day I was rubbing my forehead
and out fell a tiny rock.   

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


When I first saw the iBOT on TV, I thought
it looked unsafe and that it would be difficult
to get it on the market for that reason.  I
wasn't alone.  There was a lot of talk in the
disability community about safety concerns.
Now that it has been proven to be safe, these
concerns are no longer much of an issue to
people who are familiar with the iBOT.  The
general public is still at the, "Oh my God, that
looks dangerous!" stage.  Okay, okay, I admit
that doing the stairs at the recent test drive
was a little scary, but I definitely wasn't as
scared as my friends who were watching were.
I could tell by the looks on their faces that
they were concerned.   Actually, Jeni and
Lise were.  Ron wasn't, but he's my ex-
husband, so, well...  you know.  :D

I was thinking today about the injuries I have
had resulting from using a manual wheelchair.
There are only a few, and nothing all that
serious.  Well, okay, one of them included
stitches and cracked teeth and an emergency
room doctor's fingers in my head, but that'll
be tomorrow's story.  

Before I tell today's story, I'd like you to know
that I am not a risk taker.  I avoid hopping curbs.  
I don't enjoy spinning around while doing  a wheelie.  
You'll never find me balancing on my back wheels
just for the hell of it.  The possibility of falling out of
my chair and breaking my wrist in the fall, or landing
on my face and breaking my nose, or tipping over 
backward and cracking my head open doesn't appeal 
to me in any way, shape, or form.

On to today's story.  I'll start with my first mishap.  
I must have been about 9 years old.  My sister was 
pushing me in the yard when the front wheels
met a piece of concrete.  The chair came to an
abrupt stop, tipped forward, and dumped me
face first onto the concrete.  Luckily I caught myself
before my face got a close up view of cement,
and I ended up with only skinned up knees and hands.
More than anything, it scared me.  If it happened  
to me now, I'd laugh about it, but as a 9 year old kid 
adjusting to this new life, it was frightening.  

Tomorrow's story is slightly more interesting.  It 
involves blood and a little something that will probably
turn your stomach.   After that, there are a couple
other stories I will share and then I will write about
the safety of the iBOT.

As always, thanks for reading.  Please feel free to
leave comments.  I like comments.  I welcome
comments from anyone at all, not just wheelchair
users.  Don't forget that you can leave comments
anonomously.  There's no way for me to know
who left the comment, unless you leave your name.  
I do have the ability to delete comments though.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I'm Gonna Be Taller Than Her!                                                                           

My daughter and I were going to the grocery
store and she hopped up on a cement thing that
made her a few inches taller.  I looked up at her
and she said, "Pretty soon I'm going to be this
tall".  Pretty soon I'm going to be taller too.  I 
can hardly believe that in probably less than
two months, I will have the ability to be the 
same height as an average standing adult.  It
blows my mind.  I've lived my 36 years of life 
no taller than an average 2nd grade kid.  I 
think it's going to be so strange.  Strange and

The picture above was taken a few months ago
and you can see how she, at the age of 9, is 
taller than I am in my manual chair.  Things
will soon be changing!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Goosing Santa                                                           

I took the kid and the dogs to Petsmart
yesterday to get the polaroid of them with
Santa Claus.  After the photo was taken, we
were hanging around waiting for the polaroids
to develop.  I was looking to my right and when 
I turned to the left,  much to my unpleasant
surprise, I discovered Santa's butt in my face.  
He was bent over talking to some dogs.   I 
seriously considered goosing him.  I mean, how
many times in a person's life do they find Santa's
butt in their face?  And how many people have
goosed Santa?  I've had lots of butts in my face 
over the past 28 years, but have never goosed
any of them.  Santa really should have been my
first.  I'm mad at myself for chickening out at a 
once in a lifetime opportunity.  Sigh.

But seriously...  next Christmas I'll have my iBOT 
and I'll make sure to have it in balance mode 
anytime Mr. Claus is around.  :D

Sunday, December 17, 2006

When I'll Be Getting My iBOT                                                                                            

Sometime in January I have to spend a 
day in Seattle and have an evaluation.  
4 to 6 weeks after that, I'll have my iBOT!
I'm thinking I should get it sometime in 
February or March.  

The picture I'm posting today has nothing
to do with the iBOT.  I'm just going to try
to post a picture everyday to help keep 
things interesting. 

Saturday, December 16, 2006

iBOT, Allowing Me Improved Access for More Photographing Opportunities                                                                                                            

I have a passion for being outside, taking
macro photographs in nature.  Above are two
of my photographs.  Many times I have
seen something that I would like to shoot
but I'm unable to get to it in my manual  
chair.  The 4-wheel drive function of the
iBOT is going to allow me to go places
I haven't gone before, such as certain
hiking trails, anywhere on the beach,
friend's gardens, etc.  

Friday, December 15, 2006

iBOT Limitations                                                                                                                                        

I was thinking some more about the railing
extending beyond the top step (see yesterday's
post), and I realized that it wouldn't be easy
to put a railing beyond that last step of the 
2nd group of steps because there isn't a wall 
there.  It wouldn't be safe to have a railing
sticking out in the hallway beyond the steps.
:(   The good news is that I'll still be able
to get up and down the steps, I just won't be
able to do it myself.  Someone will have to
assist, which won't be a real big deal because
it's an easy thing to do, but it would be nice
to be able to do it completely on my own.

I was also thinking about how when I'm in 
balance mode, I probably won't be able to 
pick up things off the floor.  Not a major
problem, but it takes a bit of time to go
from balance mode to regular.  Like maybe
a minute.  Luckily I have Gus!  Gus is my
3 year old lab mix.  When he was young, I
taught him to pick up things for me.  He
loves to do it (treats are involved), and so
now if he hears me drop something, he comes
right over and picks it up for me.  He's a very 
good boy!

I have another dog, Trudy.  I adopted her
when she was around 10 years old.  I found
out that teaching an old dog new tricks is 
not an easy task.  She won't do a thing for
me, which is fine, but, she can also be a very
naughty girl.  For example,  last night my 
neighbor brought over a plate piled high 
with home baked Christmas cookies.  This 
afternoon, when I got home from picking 
up my daughter at school, the plate of
cookies, which had been left on the table, 
was now on the floor, empty, licked clean.
Not a crumb remained.  I love her anyway!
:)  When I asked them who did it, Gus
looked at me sheepishly while wagging his 
tail and then he burped.  I'm sure Trudy was
the one to get the cookies off the table, but
I'm pretty certain Gus helped with the eating
part.  It's times like this that I wished I set
up a video camera to record them when
they are home alone.  

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Accessibility in Public Schools                                                

I took this photograph in my daughter's
elementary school today.  Next year, her
classroom will be up these stairs.   There
is no elevator in the building and definitely
no money to have one built.  I'm not going
to name names, but when I asked someone
in authority how I would get to her classroom
next year, he flippantly responded, "Oh, we'll
just put you on a forklift and put you through
a window, or something".  No, he was not

Contrary to popular belief, not all public places
need to be wheelchair accessible.  When asking
people if a certain place is wheelchair accessible,
I often receive this response, "Well of course
it is.  It has to be!"  Not true.  In the case of my
daughter's public school, "reasonable accomodations
need to be made".  (And even that is a gray area
since I am only a parent and not a student.)
The only solution to this problem was that her
classroom would be moved to the lower level,
which is wheelchair accessible.  The problem is,
both the teachers of the grade she'll be in next
year have been there for many, many years.
They've been in the same classroom for I don't
even know how long.  Who wants to be a pain
in the ass and make one of these teachers move
their classroom to the main level?  Not me.

I thought the iBOT was going to solve this dilema.
However, I was just looking at this photograph 
and I see that the railing does not extend beyond
the top step.  In order to get up the steps by
myself, the railing needs to extend a bit beyond
the last step.   Surely the school district will add
a railing???  We'll see...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My First Wheelchair                                                                   

I was injured right before I started 3rd grade.  This
photo was taken on the last day of 3rd grade.  Note the
wheelchair I'm sitting in.  That thing was a monster.  It
was way too big for me.  I don't think kid size wheelchairs
were even made back then.  The beast was also very
heavy.  Pushing myself around in it with my weak 8
year old arms was not an easy thing to do.   I can't
remember exactly when I got a lightweight chair,
but I'm guessing it was when I was 13 or 14.  I
remember protesting about getting one.  It was new
and therefore weird to me, (I was a teenager), and I
really didn't want one.  But I had no choice in the matter.
I got one and wasn't allowed to use the beast anymore,
and I was mad!  But I quickly realized how much better
the new wheelchair was.

I found this on the web and thought it was interesting:

6th century - this is the earliest found image of a
        wheelchair. It is incised in stone on a Chinese
16th century - King Philip II of Spain used an
        elaborate rolling chair with movable arm and leg rests.
1700 - King Louis XIV used a "roulette" for moving about
        while recovering from an operation.
18th century - the first wheelchair that resembles today's
        design. It had two large front wooden wheels and one
        caster in rear.
19th and 20th centuries - following the American Civil war
         and World War I, the first wheelchairs were built with
         wooden frames, wicker seats, adjustable arm rests,
         footrests, and large spoked wheels.
1894 - a U.S. patent was filed for a wheelchair with a fixed
          frame, adjustable surfaces, firm wicker seats, and
          large rear wheels for self-propulsion.
1932 - Herbert Everest (an injured mining engineer) and
         Harold Jennings (a mechanical engineer) collaborated
         to design the first folding frame wheelchair. They
         went on to form the company that is today known
         as Everest & Jennings or E&J.
1937 - a patent was filed for the x-folding frame wheelchair.
        Sam Duke also marketed a folding wheelchair at same
1950s - Everest & Jennings developed the first powered
       wheelchair. They followed the development of transistor-
       controlled motors and adapted it to their interest by
       adding a motor to their manual wheelchair design.
1952 - the beginning of wheelchair sports occurred with    
       the first games held at the Stoke Mandeville
       Rehabilitation Center in England.
1964 - the first Paralympic games were held in Tokyo,   
1975 - Bob Hall competed in Boston Marathon.
1970/80 - revolution in lighter weight manual chairs  
        driven by the need and desires of wheelchair athletes.
1980s - microprocessor-controlled powered wheelchairs
        were developed, which allowed customization of
        controls to meet the needs of more user needs.
1980-90s - the revolution in powered wheelchair design,
        control, styles, range or travel distance, suspension,
        maneuverability, seating and other user options.

Added by me:
August 2003 - the revolutionary iBOT wheelchair became
         available to wheelchair users.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I live in a small 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom house that was
built in the 1920s.  It has old electrical and plumbing.
I've been here for about 4 years, and I've been to the
basement once.  A friend carried me down so I could
have a look.  I use the basement for storage only, and
when I need something, which is seldom,  I have to ask
a friend to get it for me.  The breaker box is down there
though as is the water shut off.

Every winter I forget to ask someone to turn off the
water connection to the garden.  One day last year
I went out my back door and discovered pipes had
burst and there was water gushing out and flooding
my backyard.  As much as I would love to have a
swimming pool in my backyard, this wasn't what I 
had dreamed of.  I didn't want to call a plumber or a
friend and sit around and wait for them to show up
to turn off the water in the basement, so I went to a
neighbor's house.  I couldn't knock on their front door
because all my neighbors have steps leading to their
doors.  Luckily, my daughter was with me and she
knocked on doors for me.  At the 4th house we tried,
we finally found someone home.  They came over, 
went to my basement, and turned off the water for me.

Once I get an iBOT, I should be able to do this sort of
thing by myself.  Yippee!  I'll also be able to get things 
out of storage by myself.  Maybe someday after I get
my iBOT, I'll go down there and have a cup of tea, 
just because I can.  :D   

My iBOT will come in handy in instances like this.  Yay
for the iBOT!  

Monday, December 11, 2006

History of the iBOT                                                        

1982 - Dean Kamen founded DEKA, a small group
             of people with a whole lot of innovative ideas.
1995 - DEKA teamed up with Johnson & Johnson to
             develop and market the Independence iBOT
             Mobility System.
          - J & J organized a group to assess the disability
             market and focus on unmet needs.
1996 - J & J conducted market research with people
             with mobility disabilities and healthcare
             professionals to determine opportunities.
1997 - Completed the concept phase for the prototype
             of the iBOT.   (Also the year my daughter was
1998 - World headquarters were established in
             Warren, NJ.
1999 - DEKA engineers took the iBOT into their homes
             to simulate real world use.
          - In a controlled environment, the first clinical
             study was completed in which current
             wheelchair users were allowed to compare
             their wheelchair against the iBOT.
June 30, 1999 - The iBOT was introduced on
              Dateline NBC.  (A friend of mine who lives
              in an  earlier time zone called me during the
              broadcast and excitedly told me I had to 
              watch the program that night.  I did, and 
              I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  I
              was thrilled.  This was the beginning 
              of my near obsession to get an iBOT.)
2001 - In-home safety clinical trials were conducted,
             which allowed wheelchair users to replace their
             current chair with the iBOT.
2002 - Completion of the iBOT 3000 Mobility System
             Clinical Trials.
November 20th, 2002 - An FDA advisory panel
              unanimously recommended approval for 
              the iBOT.
August 2003 - Received FDA approval for the 
              iBOT 3000.  (That was a long 4 years  for
              me from when I first heard about the iBOT 
              to approval from the FDA.)                 
2005 - Received FDA approval for the iBOT 4000.
              Johnson & Johnson gave all iBOT 3000 
              users the new iBOT 4000.

Late 2006 - I am unable to wait any longer!  I know with 
time, the price will go down, and they will make improvements.
How long until those changes occur is unknown.  It could be 
5, 10, 20 years.  10 years from now, my daughter is going to 
be grown and out on her own.  In only 4 short years she'll
be a teenager and I'll probably hardly ever see her!  I feel
like I really need to do this now. 

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Words From an iBOT User                                                                                       

Pete in New Hampshire has had his iBOT since last
February.  He gave me his permission to quote him
"I have an iBot. I've had it since February. I love it.
I get the most use of it outdoors in 4wd mode but
indoors I use the balance mode a lot to reach things
and to have the perspective from standing height.
It's definitely an uplifting(no pun intended) experience
to use the balance mode.  My "everyday" chair is a tiLite
ZRa.  As for the price... The support from J&J is
phenomenal!  I mean Stellar!"

(J&J is Johnson & Johnson, the company marketing
the iBOT.)

Thank you Pete!  I'd love to hear from other iBOT users
as well.  

Saturday, December 9, 2006

My Story                                                                                                    

Today's entry is about how I became paralyzed.

August, 1978, rural Wisconsin.  I was a passenger in
my neighbor's Subaru station wagon.  We were driving
home with our neighbors after an evening in town at 
the tennis courts.   My dad and the neighbor dad
were in the front seats.  My mom and the neighbor
mom were in the seats behind them.  My neighbor
friends, Debbie and Patti, as well as my sister and
I were riding in the back.

I have no memories of the event, but I've been told
that we were either slowing down for a stop sign, or
stopped for a stop sign.  Traveling at a high speed
behind us was a drunk driver.  He didn't slow down
for the stop sign.  He crashed into the back of the car
I was riding in.  Debbie, Patti and I were thrown out
of the car.  Everyone was injured, except for the drunk
driver.  Debbie and Patti died at the scene.  They were
only 7 and 9 years old.  I was conscious and walking
around at the scene and the only obvious injury I had
was a broken arm.  A day later, my legs started to
feel funny.  The next thing I knew, I was paralyzed
from the chest down.  Unbeknownst to the doctors, I
had broken bones in my spine in the crash.  The broken
bones caused swelling and the swelling crushed my
spinal cord, leaving me a T4/5 complete paraplegic.

I share with you a photograph of my sister and I with
Debbie and Patti.  This photo was taken on my 8th
birthday, just a few months before the car accident.
Debbie is on the left, next is me, then Patti, and then
my sister and our dog.  Debbie and Patti were great
kids.  They came from a family who loved them very
much.  Debbie was so smart and so kind.  Patti was
outgoing and  funny and she loved everyone and
everyone loved her.  They are both missed tremendously.
Even today, more than 28 years later, I cry when I think
about their death.  They made a positive impact in this
world during their brief lives, and I know they would have
grown to be respectable members of our society.  RIP my


Friday, December 8, 2006

Cost of the iBOT                                                                                                                       

The current price of the iBOT is $23,900.00.  Seem high?  
It isn't surprising if you are familiar with the cost of other
medical goods.  There are wheelchairs that cost more than
the iBOT, and they don't even climb stairs.

Many wheelchair users would love to have an iBOT.  The
only reason they do not have one is because they cannot
afford one.  I wish every person who wanted an iBOT could
have one.  

Some insurance companies are paying for iBOTs.  Most are not.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

A photo from the iBOT test drive 

I had the test drive today. I need to let it all sink in before I write
about it. I will say one thing though. I was there with my daughter
and 3 friends, and the most incredible, undescribably fantastic
part was being raised up, in balance mode, and I was having a
conversation with the rep and my friends and we were all about
the same height. I didn't have to strain to hear what everyone
was saying, and I didn't feel left out of the conversation. Because
I was only 8 years old when I was injured, I've been at a much
lower level than the average standing adult for my entire
life. Tonight, being the same height as everyone else, was...

I didn't get many good photos to share. There will be plenty in
the future. In the above photo, I am going up the stairs by myself.
It was a bit harder than I expected it to be, and the body position I
was in felt a little awkward. After 5 or so steps, my arms were
feeling it, but I know that it's something that will become much
easier with practice.
More tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

A Brief Introduction                               

Thank you for coming to my blog. I'm Shannon. 28 years ago, when I was
8 years old, I was in a car accident, which left me paralyzed from the
chest down. I've been using a manual wheelchair since.

There is a fairly new wheelchair on the market. It's called an iBOT. This
wheelchair is unlike any other chair. If you aren't familiar with it, go here
for more information:

I am going to be getting an iBOT, and I am so excited! The purpose of this
blog is to share this life-changing event with my family and friends, and
also to help other people who may be interested in getting an iBOT
themselves. I will make one journal entry every day. I expect it to cover
everything from the history of the wheelchair, to information about the
inventor of the iBOT, to the process of getting an iBOT, to possible
problems I have once I am using the iBOT, to the joy of the first time
I take my iBOT to the beach, to people's reactions when they see me
going up and down stairs. Honestly, I don't know what all will be here,
or how long I'll being doing this. You'll have to come back to find out!

I will be test driving an iBOT tomorrow. Photos will be posted tomorrow