Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Question from a reader

phmooney said...

I'm about to to start the process of jousting
with my company insurance to get an iBot, which
I test drove and fell in love with. I've always
used a manual (59 years) but my shoulders have
begun bothering me, so . . . .
Anyway, I was impressed with the Dragon line, but
as I toured their website, I realized that it
doesn't seem to climb stairs or even curbs. Am
I missing something? The Dragon's not an option
for me; I don't meet the weight max (at 200, I'm
50 pounds under the iBot, though), but I am curious
about the curb/stair capability for the Dragon, if any.

December 24, 2007 9:58 PM

59 years in a manual, I'm surprised your arms
haven't fallen off. :D

The Dragon does not climb stairs. As far as I know,
the iBOT is the only chair that climbs stairs. Since
you did a test drive, you are familiar with the iBOT
stair climbing limitations. Also, if you are like me,
as well as many other iBOTters, you might not really
use the stair function much, because it's limitted and
unnerving. For me, doing the stair function with the
rep right there wasn't all that scary. Doing it without
the rep there is something I haven't been able to bring
myself to do. Plus, as I wrote in a previous blog entry,
there are too many limitations. For me, the iBOT's
stair function is pretty much useless.

One feature the Dragon has that the iBOT doesn't is that
it can lower the person to the floor. I think this is a
very important feature for a young kid. Another feature
the Dragon has that the iBOT doesn't is that it can move
the user into a standing position. By standing, I mean
actually standing, not just elevating. This is also an
important feature because it helps keeps bones strong.

As for curb climbing, I asked Liam's dad about that. He
said it does go up and down curbs. I don't know details
on this though such as the height it can handle. Perhaps
if Liam's parents read this, they can answer this question.

I think that the iBOT is better for adults and the Dragon
is better for kids (in general of course). The iBOT isn't
even available for kids. I've been thinking about how
different my childhood would have been if I would have
had a Dragon. The Dragon wasn't available back then.
I'm really glad it's available now. Sad though that
a lot of kids who could benefit from having one can't have
one due to insurance not allowing it and/or parents being
unaware of it and/or not having the finances to purchase one.

It seems to me that the technology to build a chair even
more awesome than the iBOT is there. I hope we see some
really great chairs becoming available in the near future.
Although.... I don't know how I'll be able to afford to
buy one.

Okay, rambling over. Best wishes to you in getting your
insurance to purchase an iBOT for you. I do know that
some insurance companies are paying for at least part
of it for some people. I'll keep my fingers crossed
for you! Please let me know what happens.

Monday, December 24, 2007


I have a couple of neighbors who always bring over a plate
of cookies. This is a good thing considering I'm baking-
challenged. The first plate of cookies were pretty good.
The second plate, the ones we got today, were, um, well
lets just say there was a big serving of fruitcake.

G hasn't ever had fruitcake before today.

The following pictures need no captions.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Link to video of the little boy with the Dragon powerchair

He's so cute! There was a piece on Good Morning America
regarding their fight with their insurance company. You
can read the article here:

If you want to watch the video, type in "Liam Russell" in
search on the GMA page.

To see Liam's mom's beautiful stationery, click here:
Satsuma Press

Friday, December 21, 2007

DRAGON powerchair

While browsing at the library today, a guy asked
me about my iBOT. He has a young son who uses a
wheelchair. His chair is called a SnapDragon. It
travels easily over rough terrain, it raises the
user, it goes up and down curbs, and it even
lowers the user to the ground. They had to
travel to England to get the chair. No surprise
here - the airline dropped it off the ramp and
broke it. Why the hell do airlines break power-
chairs all the time? That infuriates me. I've
never traveled with a powerchair, but I've heard
so many stories about them destroying powerchairs.
I have traveled numerous times with a manual chair
and it almost always comes back with new scratches
and dings. I'll be traveling with my iBOT in Feb
and I'm nervous.

Here is the website for Dragon Mobility.
Dragon Mobility
It makes me so happy to see there are people
working on making better wheelchairs. And it
warms my heart to know there are parents like
the guy I met today who don't simply accept what
they are told to get for their child. I know
from personal experience that what doctors,
therapists, and certainly insurance companies,
say is often NOT the best thing to do. Good
for his parents for looking at other options.
Good for them for working so hard to get what
is best for their son. I've no clue as to what
their financial situation is, but I do know
that insurance did not pay for the chair.
Good for them for doing whatever it was they
had to do to make this purchase.

Monday, December 17, 2007


IT (Independence Technology) is so awesome!!!

I had some trouble with my charger yesterday. I couldn't
get it plugged in. Somehow the little pins in the
plug-in part of it got bent. I called them thinking
that I would have to buy a new charger (which is
$500), but due to crappy design and the fact that other
iBOT users have had problems, they are sending me a new
one at no cost to me. Hurray! They are also sending it
Federal Express so that I have it tomorrow. How cool is

Yay, yay, yay! I was majorly stressing about this.

I have to say, IT Customer Service has been very good
throughout my entire iBOT experience.

A very satisfied customer (again)

I am iBOTless

for at least a few days.

I am sad.

Details later.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

I'm not kidding.

I grew up in Minnesota and Wisconsin. I just
googled the average snowfall for MN. It's 36
to 70 inches. So as you can imagine, I know
snow. I know sledding, building snowmen, making
snow angels, snow ball fights, digging out snow
forts, and a little bit of skiing. All that fun
snow stuff ended for me when I had my accident.
Snow became nothing but a huge pain in the ass.

When I was 21, I decided I needed to run away
from a few things, snow being one of them.

I ran away to Portland. We get snow here once in
a while. Like once or twice a year I'd guess. And
when it does snow, it doesn't amount to much. And it
almost always melts within a day or so.

Now that I've got my BOT, I want it to snow. I can't
wait to plow through it, pulling my daughter in a sled
behind me. I've never gotten to pull her in a sled.

This photo was taken when my daughter was about 6 months

Her dad is pulling her in her cute little sled in the
driveway. I took the photo from the front porch. I
remember being sad that I couldn't be out there pulling
her around.

We had a snow tease on Sunday. It didn't stick. :(
I'll be so disappointed if it doesn't snow and stick
this year at least once.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Fighting with the Freezer Door

I was at the grocery store on Friday, getting something
out of the freezer. I had the freezer door open all the
way. The item I was getting was as far away from the
opening as possible. So I opened the door (all this was
while I was in balance) and I had to lean forward to
get the item. Although I'm not quite sure what happened,
I believe leaning forward caused my footrest to tilt
down a bit, and the iBOT to move forward. I grabbed
the item and when I tried to move backward, I was stuck.
I'm pretty sure that the footrest was caught on the
bottom of the freezer door. This was a bit scary
because I was afraid that either the freezer door
would come off (the iBOT is really powerful), or I
was afraid that my feet were going to get crushed.
I was unable to transition from balance to 4-wheel
because that would make the iBOT tilt back, which
was the last thing I wanted. It wouldn't let me
turn to the side. I was totally stuck. Suddenly,
with no alarm warning, it dropped me from balance to
4-wheel. It was jarring, but it didn't hurt. I was
relieved to be out of that sticky situation. :D
An employee working at the store saw it happen and I
think he just about peed his pants. I assured him
that I was okay.

I called IT Tech today to tell them about it and to find
out if I could/should have handled the situation differently.
They documented it. I asked if there was some way to
*make* it drop from balance to 4-wheel. She said no. I
suggested that they make this an option. I have no idea
if this is something they will consider.

She said there wasn't anything I could have done to get
myself out of the situation and that in the future I
should make sure there is enough clearance.

Incidents like this sort of make me stop and think, geez,
do I really want to risk possibly getting seriously
hurt by this powerful machine that is still very new?
But then I think of how much I would lose if I wimped
out and stop using the iBOT. I can't do that. Honestly,
I'd be devastated if it were taken away from me.

There are 3 safety issues that concern me about the iBOT.
1. Going through a theft detector while in Balance
Function and having it tip over forward.
2. Crushing my feet. The BOT is so powerful. I
think I should have some kind of foot protecter made.
3. Stair function. It's just plain scary.

1. I wish IT would figure out some sort of shield so
that I didn't have to worry about going through theft
detectors. I talked to someone in Tech Support last
week regarding this. He said as far as he knew, there
were no plans on possibly fixing this issue. : (
2. Have some sort of foot protecter made. Not sure
how something like that could be made without it being
incredibly ugly. I suppose ugly is better than crushed
feet though.
3. Just don't use the stair function. Which is basically
what I've done.

Don't get me wrong. I love my iBOT. I wouldn't ever
want to not have an iBOT. There are definite risks
though. I suppose it's like driving a car. Risky? Yes.
Hard to live without? Yes.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I'm alive. And well. Sorry I haven't been here. I've
been insanely busy.

I had a little iBOT incident on Friday which was somewhat
scary. I didn't get hurt though. I'll probaby write about
it tomorrow after I talk to IT Tech Support.

Check out my new messenger bag for my BOT...

I love it so much that I might marry it.

Isn't the bird flying out of the cage perfect for the BOT?
I found it on Etsy. Etsy is my new addiction. I don't buy
much there, although I would if I had a ton of money, but I
browse... often. When I came across this bag, I had to have it.
BTW, the bag is 100% vegan and it is really well-made. Here's
a little plug for the person who made it: kittyempire3.etsy.com.
Check out this etsy store too: marsbarn.etsy.com. She makes
fantastic bags as well! I'll be opening my own etsy store soon.
I'll be sure to post a link when it happens!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Check out this article!

I'm in it!

Sorry, I'm forgetting how to post a link right now. Just
copy and paste it!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Question/comment from a reader

Anonymous said...

When you went through the detector did the ibot just
drop straight down or what?? Just to let you know I am
on the 6th appeal with insurance. I just can't get
through to them that this is a great chair inside
and out. Even with letters from doctors stating that
this is the right chair. The last denial was that this
is more of a community chair that for home use.


The iBOT didn't do anything when I went through the
detector. I don't know why. Maybe because it was
only on one side. My daughter thought that maybe it
was because I went through it so fast. Perhaps it
happens in some detectors and not others. What I've
heard is that one person went through one once at the
mall when she was in Balance Function. The iBOT tipped
over forward. She wasn't wearing the seatbelt and so
she fell out of the chair. Good thing she wasn't wearing
the seatbelt, otherwise the chair would have landed
on top of her. BTW, I never wear my iBOT seatbelt.
If it tips over, I want to fall OUT of the chair.
When I was a kid I had something happen which caused
my manual chair to tip over forward. I was wearing
a seatbelt back then, because my parents made me, and
so instead of falling out of the chair, I stayed with
the chair and I landed on my face with the wheelchair
on top of me. Next thing I knew, blood was gushing
out of my head. Then I was in the ER with a doctor
sticking his finger in my head to clean out the gravel.
Then came the stitches. I have a scar between my
eyebrows now because of it. On the other hand, I
always wear my car seatbelt. I wasn't wearing a
seatbelt when I became paralyzed 29 years ago. If I
had been wearing one, I wouldn't be paralyzed
today. The makers of the iBOT say the seatbelt should
be worn, but I disagree.

Where was I? Oh yeah, this is what the iBOT manual

I've never had the iBOT tip over. When I was at my
parent's house on Thanksgiving, my dad was watching me
from inside the house. I was about to go up a hill
covered in big chunks of rock. My dad thought I'd for
sure tip over, but the BOT went right up the hill (in
4-Wheel Drive) with no problem. The thing is like a tank.

I have had it drop from Balance to 4-Wheel once. I
was in the bathroom at the library with my hands under
the warm water trying to warm them up. All of a
sudden an alarm sounded and then bam, it fell to
4-Wheel Drive. Although the sudden drop surprised me,
it didn't hurt or knock the breath out of me or
anything like that.

Regarding your appeals to your insurance, keep at it!
I know a guy who should be getting his iBOT any day
now. His insurance company is paying for $20,000 of
it!!! That's all I will say about it right
now because I don't want to jinx it, but after he
gets it I'll see if he'll share how he went about
getting his insurance company to help.

From what I hear, most insurance companies follow
whatever Medicare does. Medicare says the iBOT is
a luxury. Medicare sucks. Our health care system
sucks. George Bush sucks. Kucinich for President!


My parents are building a house in the country. I spent
the day there for Thanksgiving. It was only the second
time I've been there since I got the BOT. The first time
I was there I didn't get to explore outside because it was
pouring rain. Before my iBOT, I never got to explore because
their property is impossible to wheel myself around in
my manual chair. Even with someone pushing me, it is
nearly impossible to get around. Not anymore! I actually
went outside on my own and cruised around in 4-Wheel Drive
in my BOT. It was awesome! When I was done, I went back
inside with no assistance. It's amazing to be able to
go out and explore places I've never been able to explore
before. And it's such a great feeling to be able to do
it without relying on someone else for help.

Here are a few photos from their place.

Mt St Helens

Huge ships from all over the world pass by their place daily.
It's pretty neat!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It happened

I went through a store theft detector while in
Balance Function. There is a warning in the iBOT
manual about this. It says to never go through
one while in balance. It says doing so could
result in serious injury or death. My rep told
me that someone went through one once while in
balance. It threw her forward and out of the
chair. She wasn't seriously injured though.

I'm always careful about looking out for them.
And now after having the BOT for less than 2 months,
I've already messed up. Luckily for me, nothing
happened. I don't know why. There was only
one detector instead of one on each side of
the door like you usually see. Maybe that is
the reason nothing happened. I don't know. It
scared me though.

I've said this before, but I'm going to say it
again - they need to fix this issue!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thank you Dean Kamen!

Dean Kamen is one of the world's all-time greatest
inventors. He is most famous for the invention of the
Segway. While the Segway is, in my opinion, a cool toy,
it's some of his other inventions which have dramatically
changed people's lives that I find so outstanding.

Kamen invented the first portable insulin pump and the
first portable dialysis machine. This meant that people
who had to be hospitalized for treatment could now get
their treatment in the comfort of their own homes.

Over a billion people do not have access to clean drinking
water. Over a billion people do not have electricity. Kamen
has invented two devices, each one about the size of a washing
machine that can provide power and clean water in rural villages.

And then there is the iBOT. Although it hasn't changed the lives
of billions of people, it has changed my life. For that, I am
extremely grateful.

How has the iBOT changed my life? The following is an account
of some of what has happened in the past 24 hrs that have made
me stop and think, "I am so thankful for the iBOT!"

1. Yesterday I went downtown to meet up with some friends for
lunch. I parked in a ramp, next to the elevator. After un-
loading, I went to use the elevator only to find it was out
of order. I had to go clear to the other side of the parking
ramp to use the other elevator. While I could have done this
in my manual chair, it would've been a killer on my shoulders.

2. The restaurant wasn't a sit down and get served kind of
restaurant. It was a look through the clear plastic at the
food and pick out what you want kind of place. Had I been in
my manual, I wouldn't have been able to see very well what
was available. Also, I would have had to yell to the person
on the other side of the plastic. With the iBOT in Balance
Function, I could easily see what was available and I could
easily communicate with the restaurant workers.

3. The eating tables were high tables. The kind where you
have to sit on barstool type chairs. I just left the BOT in
Balance Function and pulled up comfortably under the high table.
In my manual chair, or in any other wheelchair, I would have had
to eat with the plate on my lap, and I would have had an eye to
butt conversation with my friends.

4. I had some time to waste after lunch so I went by the
library. The iBOT in Balance Function came in handy
when reaching for books on the upper shevles.

5. My daughter had a small performance she was participating
in. Once again, the Balance Function was utilized so that
I could see her performance clearly. No fat asses obstructing
my view like at her last performance.

6. After the performance I conversed with other parents for
a bit. As always, having an eye to eye conversation with them
is always preferable to the eye to butt conversation I would
have had in any other wheelchair.

7. Rain. It kinda rains A LOT this time of the year in
Portland. Not a problem in the BOT. In my manual chair
I cannot hold an umbrella and push myself at the same time.
In the BOT I can hold an umbrella. Also, in my manual
chair, the wheels pick up the water and then my sleeves
drag on the wet wheels - soaking my arm sleeves. Not fun.
I arrived back home that day dry and not frustrated, all
thanks to the iBOT!

Those were yesterday's events. With it being cold and rainy,
I didn't do a whole lot outside of the house. Inside the
house I don't use my iBOT. It's too big for my little house
and I've found my manual chair much easier to use when inside.
Today being a weekend and another cold and wet day, I've
been home most of the day. I did use the iBOT when I took
the dogs to the dog park though.

8. The dog park is pretty much a mud pit these days.
Totally impossible to get around in in my manual chair,
but completely manageable in the BOT. The dogs love to
go down to the river beach. I love going there as well.
It's peaceful and lovely and it is one of my top 2
favorite places here in Portland. To get there I had
to go through a muddy path covered with wet fallen
leaves. My daughter was walking ahead of me and at one
point when we were going downhill, she slipped on some
wet leaves. She turned around and said, "Careful, it's
slippery there". The BOT had no problem. No slippage
occured! After the muddy path we had to go through a
rocky area and then soft sand. The iBOT handled all of
it with ease. None of it would have been possible in
any other wheelchair.

Mr. Dean Kamen, thank you SO much. You have a brilliant
mind, and I am so thankful that you use it to help
make this a better world. I've read lots of interviews
and articles about you. I remember one interview where
you were asked which of your inventions you are most
proud of. You said it hasn't been invented yet. I
can't wait to see what else you come up with.

You've said that your epitaph might read, "He left the
world a better place than he found it. He gave more than
he took out—and he took out a lot." Although you haven't
left the world yet, you've certainly already made it a
better place. As for giving more than you've taken, I'd
say your safe there. You have given more than you've taken.
So much more.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thanks to Johnson and Johnson, Independence Technology, and Jerry

Dean Kamen and the team at DEKA designed the iBOT. Knowing
they didn't have the resources to put it into production, as
well as do sales and service, they took it to Johnson and
Johnson, the world's largest medical products company.
Believing in the product and believing that people needed
it, Johnson and Johnson agreed to take it on. A division
of Johnson and Johnson was created, called Independence
Technology (IT).

The above information I obtained over the internet. The
rest of this is my opinion. I think that when J&J took
it on, they thought that insurance companies would at
least help cover the cost of the iBOT. Because most
insurance companies are not covering the cost, only about
400 iBOTs are currently in use. Let's say 200 iBOTs
were sold at the original price of approx. $30,000, and
200 iBOTs were sold at approx. $25,000. That would
generate $11 million. Between production costs, staff,
sales, etc, they must be losing money. My biggest fear
is that they'll go out of business. And another bad
thing about that is that they have no competition. There
are no companies wanting to start their own amazing
wheelchair yet money losing business.

But I digress. What I want to say is thank you to
Johnson and Johnson for taking on this project. And
thank you to IT for continuing with their wonderful
support, even though they must be losing money.

Thank you also to Jerry. Jerry is the representative
who showed me the iBOT, answered my questions, and
helped me get my iBOT. Thanks Jerry!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thank you to the team at DEKA

DEKA is the company Dean Kamen (inventor of the iBOT) founded
in 1982. According to their website, www.dekaresearch.com,
they are a company "where the questioning of conventional
thinking is encouraged and practiced by everyone - engineers
and non-engineers alike - because open minds are more likely to
arrive at workable solutions. This has been our formula for
success since we began, and it will continue to drive our
success in the future".

And... "DEKA's technologies, and the products which incorporate
these technologies, are improving lives around the world". As
a person who makes use of one of their products daily, I say,
"Ain't that the truth!"

To the people at DEKA, thank you! You ARE making a huge
difference in people's lives around the world. The iBOT
is brilliant in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your
innovative minds to help make this a better world! I put
my iBOT in the highest setting in Balance Function and
applaud you!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thank you to the man who sold me his iBOT

Knowing that you are a private guy, I won't mention your
name or give details. I will say though that I cannot
thank you enough for selling me your iBOT. I know I
wouldn't have an iBOT right now if it weren't for you.

The iBOT has been wonderful for me in so many ways.
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about
how grateful I am to you.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Giving thanks to Amy, Bill, Heather, Jeni, and Lise

Amy - It's been a long road to iBOThood, hasn't it?
I first heard about the iBOT from you. When was
that? 8 years ago? Thank you for calling me that night
and telling me about the iBOT. Thanks for being so
excited about it for me. Thanks for understanding
how wonderful the iBOT would be for me. Thanks for
the many years of support and encouragement. Thank you
for sharing in my excitement. I hope you can come out
to visit soon! We'll go to the beach and go on hiking
trails, as well as other things we've never been able
to do together before!

Bill - Thank you for sharing your iBOT knowledge and
experiences with me. You've always been there for my
millions of questions (and continue to be there).
Thanks for helping me stay grounded so that I could
make sane decisions. Without you, I'm afraid I would
have made some very bad decisions.

Heather - Thank you for listening to me when I needed
someone to talk to, and for helping me figure things out.
Thank you for sharing your insightfulness. Thanks for
sharing in my excitement.

Jeni - Thank you for the push. I needed someone to light
that fire under my butt and tell me to "just do it". You
lit the fire. Thanks also for understanding the impact the
iBOT would have on my life. Thank you for being there at
the test drive. Going into balance mode and being eye
level with you was incredible, and something I'll never forget.

Lise - Thank you for your support. Thanks for being
there at the test drive. You were the first person to
give me a hug while in Balance Function - the first person
who didn't have to lean over to hug me. Thanks also for
listening to me when I was trying to make decisions. Thanks
for sharing your thoughts and ideas with me. Like Amy and
Heather, thank you for sharing in my excitement. The 3 of
you were my biggest supporters and that meant a lot to me!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Giving Thanks

No, this isn't an early Turkey Murder Day post. It's
something that I should have done weeks ago, but like
nearly everything else in my life, I'm late.

So here's the deal. I am so SO grateful for my iBOT.
It has improved my quality of life so much. Over the
next few days I will be thanking the following people
who all played a major role in my life with an iBOT.

(In no particular order)
The man who sold his iBOT to me.
Dean Kamen.
The engineers at Deka.
Johnson and Johnson/Independence Technology

Details to follow...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Stair Function is pretty much useless

At least to me it is. If I had an assistant with me
all, or most, of the time, stair function would be nice.
The thing is, I'm usually by myself. To do stair climbing
independently, there needs to be a railing and that railing
needs to extend at least 6 inches beyond the top step.
Most places don't have that, making the stair function
useless to me.

The stair function has been the biggest disappointment for
me regarding the iBOT. I haven't used it at all.

With that said, I'm very very happy with the iBOT. There
has not been a single day that has gone by since I got it
that I've done something and stopped and thought to myself,
Oh wow, I wouldn't be doing this if it weren't for the iBOT.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

iBOT in Balance Function Battles Large Man

And the Bot won!

I was in the grocery checkout line and I was in
Balance Function. I was very slowly moving forward
when this dude barrels infront of me. He got all
tripped up in my foot rest and he nearly fell, but
the Bot didn't. I think he was embarassed since
he didn't turn around and apologize, or yell at me.
I think he just wanted to get out of there asap.

People ask me all the time if I feel safe when in
Balance. Yep, I do.

Stair Function I'm not quite comfortable with.

In other news, I sold a bunch of my photography
yesterday and today. This photo was hugely popular...

I had 4 or 5 framed prints of it - all of them sold.
I had about 9 of them in cards - all sold.
And I had one made into a notebook - it sold.

BTW, it's a passion fruit vine. Lise, if you are
reading this, it was taken in your garden. I'll have
to give you a print. : )

Oh, oh, oh... I keep forgetting about this because it
doesn't seem real... as of this past Thursday it's also
for sale (plus 4 other photos) at a place in downtown.
It's in a nice frame and I used nice glass for it. They
put a $175.00 pricetag on it. $175.00! I told them I was
uncomfortable with that price and so I got them to lower
it to $125.00. Actually, I wanted to go even lower than
that, but I was talked into 125.00.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

iBOT: Helps deal with suits

I've never worn a suit. I'm not a suit person. I don't
particularily like dealing with people who wear suits. Not
that I don't like people who wear suits. Some suit people
are fantastic people. Generally though, I often find them
a bit uptight... And self-centered... And, well, it seems
to me that their lives pretty much revolve around making

But again, I don't think all suits are like that.

So anyway, I was invited to schmooze with a bunch of
suits last Thursday. The event was located in a boardroom
of a bank in downtown. There were lots of suits. The
mayor and the governor were invited, and although they
didn't show, they had suits representing them. There were
also suits representing the bank, and honestly, I don't know
who all the other suits were. Basically it was a bunch
of suits saying they want to help gimps start their small
business. I was invited to be one their token gimps. Yeah,
I felt out of place in my corduroy pants and black sweater.
I knew I would feel uncomfortable. I pretty much dreaded
going, but I went because it's all part of the business.
And I did okay. I know I wouldn't have done it without the
iBOT though. For one, I had to display some of my work,
and there's no way I could have carried my pieces while
pushing a manual chair at the same time. Sure, I could have
asked someone to help, but I didn't want to. More importantly
though, there is just no way that I would have put myself in
a situation where I would be surrounded by suits and be at
everyone's butt level as oppossed to eye level.

My point is, the iBOT is undoubtedly helping in my career.
Because of attending the event, I made contact with someone
who is going to display 3 of my pieces for the months of
November and December. Hopefully they will sell. If they
don't, I'll never force myself to schmooze with suits again!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I'm feeling completely overwhelmed. I've had a bunch
of stuff I've wanted to write about but it's just too
much, and it's all so jumbled up in my head that I can't
seem to sort it all out.

Therefore... I'm letting it go so that now (hopefully) I
can get back on track.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thursday's schmooze event went well...

Here's a photo of my little display area.

Life's been stupid busy, but I might get a chance to write
about it tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Sorry I haven't been posting recently. I've
been so busy preparing for a show I have tomorrow.
I'll be showing some of my photography and wowza,
I'm a nervous wreck about it. The mayor and
the governor might even be there. Gulp. I
really don't know if I can do this. I've never
mingled with those kind of people!

The Bot has been good. I found out this morning
that I can reach the top shelf in the frozen
section at the grocery store. This is a good
thing. I had a craving for veggie sausages and
sure enough they were on the top shelf. It was
so nice to not have to ask anyone for help.

Here is, IMO, the best photo I will be showing

Saturday, October 20, 2007

And another thing about insurance!

I think in the long run, purchasing iBOTs for people
would *save* insurance companies money. For example,
after pushing a manual chair for years and years, a
person often suffers from shoulder problems... leading
to rotator cuff surgery. The surgery and recovery is
very expensive. The iBOT can (and hopefully will in
my case) prevent the need for this extremely painful
and expensive surgery.

Another thing is that the iBOT can help a person
live a happier, more active life. A happier and
more active life = better health.

Thinking about it more, I think insurance companies
ought to make all wheelchair users have an iBOT. LOL!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Recurring Dreams/The Importance of Balance Function

For at least the past 15 years I've had a recurring dream
in that I am back in high school and I cannot find my
locker. There's more to the dream than that, but that's
basically it. Eventually I start to feel a bit panicky
because I cannot find my locker and I've looked and looked
all over the entire school for it. Just as I feel I'm
about to panic (which actually is something I've never
even felt in real life), I wake up.

The 2nd recurring dream I have has been happening for
about the past 8 years. I used to be extremely near-
sighted. About eight years ago I had Lasik surgery
and now my vision is better than 20/20. In the dream
that I keep having, I wake up in the morning and my
vision has gone back to the way it was before my surgery.
At first I'm fairly calm but then I start to realize
the gravity of the situation. When I start to feel
panicky, I wake up.

My 3rd recurring dream has just recently developed.
I enter my local grocery store and I'm in my manual
wheelchair. I immediately feel uncomfortable because
everyone is so much taller than me. I think to myself
"Where's my iBOT so that I can go into Balance?" My
body and my wheelchair start to shrink until I'm about
2 feet tall. I start to feel panicky because people
aren't seeing me because I'm so little. I'm afraid
everyone is going to trip over me. For some reason I
cannot leave the store and I when I feel like I'm about
to panic, I wake up.

I know why I have these dreams. I don't know if I'll
ever be able to rid myself of them. My point in
blogging about them here is to reiterate that the
Balance Function has had a huge impact in my life.
I'm scared that someday it will be taken away from

It's funny how some people have no empathy about being
an adult person but living it at the level of less than
4 feet tall, while other people totally get it. That
stupid jerk, or jerks, at Medicare who say the iBOT
is a luxury, don't get it. Dean Kamen obviously gets
it. Most of my friends get it. When I first got my
iBOT, my friends would say things like, "That's so
awesome that you and I are eye level now!" Then there
are other people, who are by no means bad people, who
don't get it. Like at the party on Saturday, a friend
of a friend said to me, "It's neat that it balances
like that, but what is the purpose of it?" I told her
that mainly it is so I can have conversations with
an average standing adult eye to eye. I told her that
if I was in a regular wheelchair, I'd have everyone's
butts in my face right now. She said, "Oh" and still
had a confused look on her face. Two days ago I was at
the grocery store (in Balance) and a really nice older
man approached me and wanted to know how it was balancing.
After I explained it to him the best I could, he asked,
"And why would you want to be balancing on two wheels like
that?" I told him that it was partly so that I could reach
things better, but mostly it is so I can have a
conversation with him eye to eye. I saw a lightbulb
turn on in his head and he got a big smile and he said,
"I never thought about that before!"

Lets say that a person breaks into someone else's house
with the intention of robbing them. The owner of the
house has a baseball bat and decides to smash the robbers
knees with the bat. Will insurance pay for the robber to
have knee reconstructive surgery so that the man can go
back to his normal life eventually? Of course!!! Now
lets say a little girl gets run over by a drunk driver.
Her spinal cord is injured so badly that there is
absolutely no chance she will ever walk again. Does
insurance buy her a wheelchair that will allow her
to go up and down stairs and curbs, allow her to do
things like go on the beach, and allow her the ability
to put herself at a level that is much the same as the
rest of the world? No chance - being able to do those
things are considered a LUXURY.

I hope I don't come across as bitter. I'm really not
a bitter person. Or at least by my definition of the
word. Pissed off would be a better word to describe
the way I feel about insurance companies. This is
where you might be saying, "Yeah, well, lots of things
in life aren't fair." That's very true. But I'm not
going to just sit here quietly and let it happen. I
was raised to accept whatever life throws at me. That's
bullshit. Although I don't know what I can do to change
the current iBOT/insurance situation, at least I'm trying
to do something. True, it's only ranting about it right
now. Hopefully I will soon come up with a better plan.

Monday, October 15, 2007

My first party as a tall person

On Saturday night I went to the first party in my life
where everyone's butts weren't in my face (excluding kid
parties). I stayed in Balance Mode the entire time I was
at the party, and wow, it was so much nicer to look at
people eye to eye rather than looking up to everyone,
straining to hear what they were saying, and yelling so
that they could hear me.

I'm never comfortable at parties. I'm not a very social
person. But I was more comfortable at this party than
any other party I've ever been to.

iBOT at the Oregon Coast

Whew, the past few days have been very busy. Here is
my report of how the iBOT did on the beach at the Oregon

First off, I wasn't the only one rolling on the beach. :D

Nor was I the only one sticking my nose in the sand.

While I would have preferred to make these tracks,

at least I got to make tracks.

Getting on the beach was a breeze. The iBOT plowed right
through the sand.

Getting OFF the beach wasn't so easy. There was a slight incline
to get off the beach, and THE BOT couldn't manange it.

I tried and tried to get through the sand on my own.
Finally at about 5 feet from the gravel, I became
completely stuck. I couldn't go forward or backward.
A lady came by and asked if I needed help. She gave me
a tiny push, and it went through the rest of the sand

What I learned is that I should find an access place that
is as level as I can find.

Overall, it was a great day. I do have one complaint though.
4-Wheel Drive sucks the batteries. I was in 4-Wheel the entire
time I was on the beach, which was only a couple of hours, and
it totally sucked the batteries. We actually were not ready to
leave, but we had to because I was running out of power.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Yup, I am stuck in the sand. I don't feel like writing
about it tonight. I will sometime tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Curb video

The iBOT can go up and down curbs that are no higher
than 5 inches. Actually, it can handle higher ones,
but IT recommends no higher than 5 inches.

BTW, you can see my new tires in this video. Apparently
a lot of iBOT users complained about the tires wearing out
really fast. These new ones just became available. They
are supposed to last longer, which is good considering
some people were having to replace their tires every
couple months.

I don't really notice any difference in them regarding
performance. They're definitely thicker though.

I didn't attempt to put them on myself. I took them
to the local bike shop and had them do it. It took
the guy probably 45 minutes to take the old ones off
and put the new ones on.

Monday, October 8, 2007

I just can't get enough

beach time.

I've been asked what would be the very first thing
I would do if I were given the ability to walk. My
answer has always been that I would go for a walk on
the beach. Getting the iBOT and going for "walks" on
the beach is the most amazing thing.

(My apologies to my readers if you are getting tired of
me going on and on about the beach, but I can't help it!
It brings me so much happiness. Now if I could actually walk
barefoot and feel the sand on my feet, I'd probably fall over

I haven't had the chance to go on the ocean beach yet
because our weekends have been full and the kid has
school during the week. I told my daughter that I
wanted to take her out of school for one day so that we
could go to the ocean. She says she doesn't want to
miss a day of school. What the?! I think I'm just
going to have to force her to play hookie!

She and I went to the river beach yesterday. BTW, the
ocean beach is an hour and half drive from our house
while the river beach is only a 5 minute drive.

This is downtown Portland.

You know, I should probably just get myself a house boat.

Er, wait a minute. I don't have 5 bazillion dollars.

The following photos are from this morning. The little
dog is Gus' friend Annie. This series of photos makes me

La la la, I have a ball and I know you want it.

Bet you can't get it!

Yay, here he comes!

He'll never catch me!

Victory is mine once again!

Wanna do it again?

I could catch you if I wanted to. I just feel like rolling
in the sand.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Face on a Bug

While exploring today, G and I came across this bug.

How cool is that?! I've never seen a bug like this
before and I have no idea what kind of bug it is.

Anyone know?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

iBOT and the sand

Just a little video from the beach last night...

So much fun on the beach

My daughter and I, along with our dogs, went down to
the river last night. We had so much fun. Without
the iBOT, this would have been impossible.

Check out how happy they all are:

Friday, October 5, 2007

Bottin' around the neighborhood

I spent most of today cruising around the neighborhood.
I went by the bike shop and they gave me the name and
number of a guy who can maybe do the mods I want done
to the Bot.

Found out that I probably won't tip over if I'm in Balance
Function and I have a flat. I was showing the Balance
Function to the mailman and he noticed that one of the
wheels was practically flat.

I had some trouble with a curb. I can't figure out what
went wrong, but it really bounced me around. Gave me a
big headache even.

Took a bunch of pictures while exploring. All of these
are from today. I dedicate them to the cute guys in
Pizzicato! Wanna teach me photoshop? ;D

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Does the iBOT make my neighbor's homes accessible?

No. : ( At least not the majority of them. While the
sun peeked out from behind the clouds for a few minutes,
I went around my neighborhood a bit and this is what
I found:

I looked at 43 houses. With assistance I'd be able to get
into the majority of them. But I don't have an assistant
with me ever really. And it's not so simple that I can just
tell a person how to assist. The assistant needs to be
trained by a representative from IT.

22 of the homes I looked at had no railing at all.
To do the stair climbing on my own, there has to be
a railing.

13 of the homes did have a railing, but the railing
did not extend beyond the top step which is needed
for me to do stair climbing.

2 homes did have railings, and the railing did extend
beyond the top step, but the landings were too small.

There were only 6 houses that I would be able to
get into on my own. That is 6 more than I can get into
before I got my iBOT, but still, that's a pretty low
and disappointing number. Hopefully engineers are
working to make it so the iBOT user wouldn't need a
railing. The way it is now, it's absolutely necessary.
There's no getting around it. I'm sure someday someone
will come up with something genuis that does not require
a railing.

I have to admit that the stair climbing function on the
iBOT has turned out to be a bit of a disappointment.
However, the 4-Wheel Drive and the Balance Function have
exceeded my expectations!

Responses to my poll question

As of right now, there are 13 people who answered my poll
question regrading insurance companies paying for the iBOT
or not. 12 said yes, 1 said no. I'd love to hear from
the person who said no. You can leave an anonymous comment!

Yay, the sun just came out. Gotta go!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

New poll question

There is a new poll question near the bottom of this page.
Check it out!

Name it

On the way to school this morning my daughter said, "I really think
you should name the iBOT. It's so special and it deserves a name."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Please note: this video is very graphic.

Not afraid

I had a little freak out about the iBOT
yesterday, but I'm back to normal today.
I didn't have a bad iBOT experience or
anything. I just started to worry about
things. Things like tipping over.

I have to say that I feel like the iBOT is
competely safe as long as I follow the
guidelines. Provided I don't do anything
stupid, I'm sure that the iBOT will never
tip over.

I enjoyed another wonderful stroll down
the beach today.

It's so wonderful to be able to do that.
Without the iBOT, there is no way I could
do it. It makes me and my dogs very happy.
: )

Some people had seen my tracks in the sand
last week and they were trying to figure out
what made the tracks. They decided it must
have been a Segway!

Monday, October 1, 2007

My Fears

Oops, nevermind. Deleting this entry so
that it doesn't come back and bite me in
the butt.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Introducing the Bot to the family

I moved out of my parent's house when I was 18.
Since that time, they have lived in a few
different houses. I've never been able to
just show up at their front door when I've gone
to visit. There have always been accessibility
issues, resulting in them needing to assist me.
No more of that baloney! Today I was able
to knock on their front door, completely
with no assistance from them, thanks to the
iBOT! It was great!

Before today they didn't know that I had the
Bot... so today was a surprise. Since I've
been talking about it for years, they figured
I'd eventually get one, but they didn't know
that I had one. My mom said, "When did you
get that?!". My dad said, "Holy cow, you got
one!" My sister said, "You're tall!"

They live in the country. I was looking
forward to exploring a bit on their property,
but the weather was too yucky to do anything

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Making the Balance to Standard Transition (part 2)

In this video I'm leaving the bookstore. I have
to stop and transition back to Standard Function
because whenever I go through any sort of theft
detector, I have to be in Standard Function. If
I'm not, I might tip over. From what I hear,
one person was in her iBOT at the mall and she
was in Balance Function. She went through a
theft detector and the iBOT tipped over forward.
Luckily it dumped her out instead of the chair
falling on top of her. I tipped forward once
and the chair fell on top of me, but that was
only in my manual chair. I ended up with a fat
lip, a cracked tooth, and a trip to the ER to get
a 1 1/2 inch tear in my forehead stitched up.
I really hope IT can fix this problem because
spacing out and going through a theft detector
while in Balance Function sounds like something
I might do. :D

Here is the warning in the iBOT manual:

Standard Function vs Balance Function in a bookstore (Part 1)

I started out in Standard Function in this
video. I held the camera directly in front
of my face to show the view I get when I am
at regular wheelchair level. Notice all the
butts? I then transition to Balance Function.
Notice that I'm eye level with standing adults?


Ah come on people! No one wants to tell me
their opinion regarding the 3000 vs the 4000?
I know the 4000 is way uglier, but I'm curious
to know what other people think.

Although I cannot see who has visited my page,
I can see how many times it has been viewed.
It's been viewed over 200 times in the past 24
hours. Surely someone will give me their

I did some video downtown today. I haven't
downloaded it yet though.

Tomorrow I'm going to get together with my
parents and sister and her husband. They
have no idea that I have an iBOT. They're
going to be surprised!

Friday, September 28, 2007


Is it just me, or is the old 3000 iBOT
better looking than the newer 4000?
3000: (This is not me!)


The Honeymoon is Over : (

I'm depressed. Rainy season started today
and I'm really unhappy about it. My one
week honeymoon with the Bot was not long

7 day weather forecast ---> rain. Lots of

At least this winter I don't have to get
my sleeves soaking wet anymore from pushing
myself around in a manual chair. And, for
the first time since I was 8 years old, I
can make use of an umbrella!

Still, I think this is going to be the longest,
most depressing winter of my life. I never
even had the chance to go the the ocean
beaches with it. : (

Thursday, September 27, 2007

More bottin' fun

Spent lots of time bottin' today. I guess the
rain is supposed to start tomorrow, so I best
enjoy it while I can.

I started the day with the usual dog park woods/
beach thing.

As per Stephanie's request, here are some pictures
from the woods. :)

I love making tracks in the sand!

Happy dog on the beach.

After the dog park, I took the dogs home and then
botted up to a friend's doggie day care place. There
were probably about 20 curb corners and about six of
them had no ramps. No problem with the Bot!

Here are some doggies from the doggie day care (posted
just because they're so cute).

Then I picked up the kid from school and we went to
a Wildlife Refuge.

'Twas a beautiful day!