Boy oh boy…  sometimes I get involved with something new and it consumes more of my time and attention than I had planned.

It’s been quite a while since I added a new posting —  I want to update y’all on the birthday gifts my sister brought to me on May 27th.   First, a list of the classic cartoon DVDs:

  1. Rocky & Bullwinkle & friends — 4dvd set of the complete season 1
  2. The Yogi Bear Show — The Complete Series, all 33 episodes plus bonuses
  3. Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines — The Complete Series, all 17 episodes plus extras
  4. The Best of Tennessee Tuxedo and his tales — 15 adventures
  5. The Best of Mr. Peabody & Sherman — Volume 1
  6. The Best of Boris & Natasha — Volume 1
  7. The Best of Dudley Do-Right — Volume 1

Hours and hours and hours of some of the best cartoons ever to appear on TV — my personal opinion.

Tee also brought the comicbook which she had purchased as one of my birthday gifts.  She had specifically requested something with Eugene the Jeep.  However, Eugene is not present in the comic she was sold — Popeye, volume 1, number 31, Jan-Mar 1955.  It does contain Swee’Pea, Olive Oyl and other usual characters.  It also contains an episode of Axle and Cam (robots) — I don’t recall seeing them before.

Tee asked me if I wanted her to try to return the comicbook and I told her NO —  it was the thought that counted and I’d keep it.

I can surely say that I hadn’t had this many birthday gifts for a very long time — and totally unexpected!  After all, 63 years isn’t typically significant.  But, I am grateful for each new mark I add to my birthday calendar.

Perhaps some of you reading this post will comment about your favorite TV cartoon characters or your best ever comicbook heroes — or whatever you feel like adding to the mix.

I look forward to reading what you have to say.  😎

And, a very Happy Birthday it was…

My sister, Tee, had taken a day of vacation on the 20th so she could visit me without being time-constrained — she had called the day before and asked me what I’d like for lunch.  I told her I’d have to think about it a while.  After we had ended our phone conversation, I went on line to see the menus for several of my nearby restaurants.

I found grilled boneless rainbow trout at Bugaboo Creek — we had both enjoyed Bugaboo’s food in the past.  And, it had been several years since I remember eating rainbow trout.  The trout came with steamed veggies, smashed potatoes, and was available with Lemon Pepper or Cajun seasoning.  I’m a big fan of Cajun music and spicy Cajun food —  I decided on the Cajun!

I had known that Tee would be running around early on the morning of the 20th, and was not available for me to call after I had made-up my mind on the 19th, so I sent her an email with my selection and the restaurant phone number so she could order for takeout whenever she wanted to.  As it turned-out, since we weren’t in a hurry to eat, she decided to visit with me before ordering.

When she arrived at my apartment she was well prepared

Tee had brought a funny Birthday Card, a Birthday Cake with butter creme icing and glazed strawberries, 2 sodas, 2 mylar balloons, a new card table, and a plastic table-cover with Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck on it!  She also had her folding chair — the kind with the over-the-shoulder bag you take to outdoor events and family gatherings.  The weather was ideal for sitting outside in the shade and that is what we did.

I read the card and Tee told me she had bought a 1953 Popeye & Eugene The Jeep comic book for me — but she left it hanging on her bedroom door.  Tee promised to bring it to me next week.  (I’ve bought many t-shirts on eBay during the last 15-20yrs with Eugene on them — other items also.  In fact, I had a Eugene t-shirt on as we partied.  But, very few people I’ve met ever heard of Eugene The Jeep.)

We jabbered until nearly 2pm — by then we were becoming hungry, so Tee decided to order and pick-up our food before they quit serving lunch items.  Since I hadn’t spoken with my daughter, Mimi, for at least a week Tee phoned to see what her plans were.  Fortunately, Mimi had just been finishing-up with a company meeting and had been planning to grab some Arby’s roast beef or something before coming to see me.  So, Tee took another order, phoned Bugaboo’s and left.

Let the Party Begin

When Tee returned with meals for the three of us we got busy chewing — and chatting!  Mimi had ordered a salad with chicken tenders and Tee had gotten a full-rack of ribs.  Enough ribs for everyone to have some — Lola, Mimi’s pit bull, got a taste and the left-overs went into my refrigerator!  Next came the cake… and it was yummmy  Actually, everything had been yummy!  😎

Tee told me she had another surprise for me.  She had bought something she knew I wanted because she saw it on a Wish List I had written.  That kinda surprised me… I didn’t remember making such a list.  Then she said she had seen it on my blog — I still didn’t remember writing a Birthday Gift Wish List.  So, Mimi put her fancy new Android cellphone in browser-mode and started searching through The Handicapper’s Journey trying to locate the list.

Lo and Behold there it was

Within the post dated March 6th and titled Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, I had been mentioning many old cartoons I used to watch on TV — I had even created links to Amazon where some of them could be purchased on DVD.  And, near the end of the posting was: “Now I have some items to start building my Birthday Wish List” — I had no idea that sentence would move anyone to purchase most of what I had mentioned.

Tee had never purchased anything online before.  But, when she tried unsuccessfully on her own she got her husband to help her place an order.  The delivery didn’t arrive when she expected.  So, I’ll have a large collection of Cartoon DVDs and my Popeye & Eugene comic book in a week or so… absolutely amazed I am!

Then it was time to relax — Tee had a blanket in the back of her SUV which she gave to Mimi to stretch-out on the grass and lay with Lola.  I tilted my wheelchair back and did the best I could do to get comfortable.  Tee had her sport-style folding chair.  We laughed and joked ’til about 6pm when Tee said it was time to go home and see her husband.

Mimi stayed maybe an hour longer as I helped get her Yahoo email set to feed into her Android, and loaded some files onto a thumb drive for her to take back home.  Then she and Lola left.

I was very tired…  happily fatigued!

I’m going to start a Wish List for my 64th birthday right now — and I’m gonna put a day like today at the top of the list!

A disturbing CBS News Report link was recently sent to me by a family member.  The report describes the dangers to you and your confidential information which is being stored in copy machines since about 2002.

Whenever a document containing your information was placed on these newer digital machines to be copied or faxed it is now on the hard-drive! Your photograph and social security number, as well as other sensitive data, may have been placed in a leased machine which is no longer under the control of your employer, doctor or health insurance company.

Due to the financial crisis of the last few years, many companies have closed their doors or sold some of their equipment. Regardless of the reason, large numbers of previously used digital copy machines are now being sold-off cheaply which have hard-drive storage. Where will it end-up — page after page of your data on the hard-drive can easily be printed and distributed.

I encourage everyone to view the short video to learn more:

CBS News video

I wrote a posting in January, entitled Pain in the Butt,  and described some of my earlier experiences with manual and electric wheelchairs.  I also commented on my newer pain experiences and how I hoped that a technology I was unfamiliar with (pressure mapping) might help me.

Well, after many failed attempts to get a prescription via my family-practice Nurse Practitioner, I was able to get the required document from my heart doc and scheduled the pressure testing.

Yesterday was the Big Day!

The pressure mapping was a little “unnerving” to me, because I needed to be lifted off my wheelchair so that the technician could place the sensor mat under my bottom.  My anxiety level was rising as the sling was being positioned for the lifting.  You see, since my release from the hospital in June 2004, my wife lifts me a minimum twice a day — once getting me out of bed and once getting me into the bed.  Occasionally its more than once each way per day.  So, to say that I have experience with the sensation and positional relationship of the sling would be an understatement.  And, I have had bad experiences in the past.

When I raised my concern with the staff that my body was being shifted and spun while the sling was being tugged/pulled into position and that I felt the sling was not what I had hoped for, I sensed a bit of hostility — and a feeling they felt questioning their skill or experience was offensive to them.

After I stated my case in a long and detailed manner

An attempt was made to find a sling of a slightly different design and assigned to the new person in the department.  Following a period of uneventful waiting, the young man who had been positioning the sling and I began working with what we had at hand.

Eventually, through our joint team work, the sling was in a more acceptable place and I was prepared to make an attempt.  However, it needed to be stopped before the pressure mat was positioned — I felt as if I was slipping out of the sling and my slacks were sliding-off.

After being return to my wheelchair and the sling underwent another readjustment, to a position more beneath my hips, we finally had a successful lift-off!  The mat was positioned upon my old wheelchair cushion, I was lowered upon it, and the pressure mapping was performed.

I was shown a display which looked a lot like the thermal imaging you may have seen which shows heat or cooling loss from a building — reds, yellows and greens.  As the technician explained what I was looking at, I was not surprised where she indicated the worst pressure points were located — I feel them pretty much constantly.

The next step got me excited about the likelihood of future pain relief

A number of different seat cushions had been placed on a physical-therapy table and the tech asked me if I’d like to try any of the different types — I was going to sample some seat cushions before they were purchased…  Woo hoo!  In my 50+ years as a wheelchair user, I have never been given the opportunity to sit on any seat cushions prior to owning them.

  • First one which I sampled was air-filled — it had a series of bladders (for want of a better term) a little larger than a man’s thumb covering the whole of the seat cushion.  It felt a little bit unstable to me — even after some of the air was removed.  But, the pressure points on my behind were experiencing some new found comfort.
  • Next came a gel cushion — it had two sections which were  placed side-by-side, so that each hip would have its own gel cushioning.  After the seat cushion was placed in my wheelchair the pressure mat was laid on and I was deposited on top.  Mapping results were clearly different than when I was on my original seat cushion — a lot smaller area of red.  And, I was surprised at how pleasant the gel seat cushion felt.
  • Lastly, another gel seat cushion.  This one had a large gel cushion section in a “reservoir” as the tech described it.  After everything was in place, mapping and I were both in agreement — this was the best gel cushion for me.  And, a huge improvement over any prior seat cushions I have ever used!

While all this activity was occurring

I noticed there appeared to be a weight gauge on the lift, which I asked about.  Soon I was weighed and the result was 63.3 kilograms.  Since I have not become a metric user they converted it for me — 139.552 pounds.  So,  I will be 140 when anyone asks how much my bony-self weighs.  😎

Every wheelchair user will have a slightly different posture and feel comfortable according to their own needs.  One thing to keep in mind, however — without a sense of feeling below waist level, the pressure points experienced while on their seat cushions are more likely to produce pressure sores, known as decubiti.  If the sore is not cared for and the pressure points not addressed, a serious health threat exists.  I’ve known paraplegic wheelchair users who developed an infection of a bone due to inadequately cared for pressure sores.

So, I’ve been fortunate in my life.  Even while I have been dealing with more pain in the last couple of years, my sense of feeling has saved me from a significant danger experienced by many wheelchair users — an infected open-wound.

Those of you reading this blog who have family members using a wheelchair — please look after their best interest and see that they have seat cushions which protect them from shearing in the area of the bony pressure points.

Live long and prosper.

Prescription drugs are now the second most commonly abused category of drugs, behind marijuana and ahead of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and other drugs.

Some of the abuse occurs when the prescription holder uses a drug for a purpose other than why it was prescribed.  Another aspect of the prescription drug abuse problem is because large numbers of teenage children are stealing drugs from a parent or other family member and then using, or selling, the drugs.  An additional, although smaller, aspect of this drug abuse problem develops from poor or improper disposal of prescription drugs.

The American Public Health Association (APHA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say just three small steps can make a huge difference:

1. DO NOT FLUSH unused medications — Consumers were once advised to flush their expired or unused medications.  However, recent environmental impact studies report that this could be having an adverse impact on the environment because waste treatment systems are unable to remove the drug before discharging into waterways.

While the rule of thumb is not to flush, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that certain medications should be flushed due to their abuse potential — those drugs are:

  • Actiq (fentanyl citrate)
  • Daytrana Transdermal Patch (methylphenidate)
  • Duragesic Transdermal System (fentanyl)
  • OxyContin Tablets (oxycodone)
  • Avinza Capsules (morphine sulfate)
  • Baraclude Tablets (entecavir)
  • Reyataz Capsules (atazanavir sulfate)
  • Tequin Tablets (gatifloxacin)
  • Zerit for Oral Solution (stavudine)
  • Meperidine HCl Tablets
  • Percocet (Oxycodone and Acetaminophen)
  • Xyrem (Sodium Oxybate)
  • Fentora (fentanyl buccal tablet)

2. When tossing unused medications, protect children and pets from potentially harmful effects.  APHA recommends that consumers:

  • Crush solid medications or dissolve them in water (this applies for liquid medications as well) and mix with kitty litter or sawdust (or any material that absorbs the dissolved medication and makes it less appealing for pets or children to eat), then place in a sealed plastic bag BEFORE tossing in the trash.
  • Remove and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription label) from the medication container.
  • Check for approved state and local collection programs or with area hazardous waste facilities. In certain states, you may be able to take your unused medications to your community pharmacy.

3.  Talk To Your Pharmacist —  Pharmacists are one of the most accessible healthcare professionals.  As the medication experts on your healthcare team, pharmacists are available to guide you on safe prescription drug disposal for expired or items you no longer need.

Following the above simple steps can help protect your family and community, minimize a potential negative impact on the environment, and prevent the illegal diversion of unused medications.

This morning, a 10 foot-wide steel water pipe ruptured in the metropolitan Boston area which caused the loss of an estimated 8 million gallons of water. 

In order to maintain the flow of water for fire fighting and other critical uses, it was necessary to add untreated water to the pipes in the area.  As a result, people are being warned to bring any water that will be used for drinking or food preparation to a boil and maintain it at a rolling-boil for at least 1 full minute.  Failure to take appropriate precautions could result in serious illness.  However, the untreated water may be used for bathing, flushing and fire protection.

The rupture occurred in a custom made steel pipe which is less than 8 years old.  Cause of the break is unknown at this time.  Governor Deval Patrick has declared a state of emergency.  He has requested that people avoid all unnecessary water usage until repairs are completed.  A total of 30 communities are reportedly effected.

This significant non-weather-related event, and its impact, should be a warning that you need to store drinking water in your home/apartment  — emergencies often happen without warning!

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) says the following:

You should have at least a three-day supply of water and you should store at least one gallon of water per person per day. A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking.

Additionally, in determining adequate quantities, take the following into account:

  • Individual needs vary, depending on age, physical condition, activity, diet, and climate.
  • Children, nursing mothers, and ill people need more water.
  • Very hot temperatures can double the amount of water needed.
  • A medical emergency might require additional water.

How Should You Store Water?

To prepare safest and most reliable emergency supply of water, it is recommended you purchase commercially bottled water. Keep bottled water in its original container and do not open it until you need to use it.

Observe the expiration or “use by” date.

There are six basic categories of things you should stock in your home:

  • Water.
  • Food.
  • First Aid Supplies.
  • Clothing, Bedding and Sanitation Supplies.
  • Tools.
  • Special Items.

  Follow this link to the FEMA site to read their preparation guidelines.

Baseball season is in full-swing again, and my fantasy sports buddy John and I are making serious attempts to beat each other.  I got out of the gate slowly this year and after spending almost 2 weeks stuck in last place (12th of 12), I’ve finally begun to slowly climb in the standings.

This morning when I looked, I was in 10th and John was in 6th — yesterday I was 9th and John tied for 7th.

I have a lot of good starters — but only Neftali Feliz has any saves for me.  Oh well, that’s what I get for being lucky enough to acquire Albert Pujols in the draft!

As Big John likes to tell me, “Its early in the season!”