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,,
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.