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!