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.