Hey, I’m doin alright….

I woke up this morning in a bit of a panic thinking,  “Que dia es hoy”?

I’m not sure why I always ask that in Spanish, but I do.

What day is today?!?!?!?

My brain raced through all the things I have or had to do this week.

Check Check Check.

Deep sigh of relief…

Ah It’s Friday!  I don’t have to be anywhere until 3:15 pm!!!!

I closed my eyes, prepared to go back to sleep, but then it hit me.

Today’s a GREAT DAY TO BE ALIVE!!!!!

I quickly got out of bed and into the wheelchair to head to the bathroom. Next, I wheeled to the kitchen to hit the button on the coffee maker, and finally to the porch to let D.O.G. out.  As I sat staring at the coffee maker urging it to produce faster, another thought popped into my mind.  At yesterday’s appointment with the orthopedic surgeon, I was given the go ahead to begin taking steps as tolerated while in the CAM boot.  I  jumped up and down!!!! (figuratively not literally)

I quickly raced back into my bedroom and took off the surgical shoe that I sleep in, and donned the knee high cam boot that I used to abhor.  THEN

I STOOD UP and took a step  WOW that hurt!!!

I sat back down in the wheelchair and headed back to the kitchen for Coffee.  (That was two hours ago and I’m still on a It’s a Great Day to be Alive High)

Yes the foot thing is great news, but to be honest it’s not the reason for the high.  My non drug induced High is because I survived a really rough week and lived to tell about it.

I almost thought about turning on the video camera to tell you about the week I have had, because I can talk so much faster than I can type,  But 1 I need a shower badly and 2 I think I am so Happy the words would come out too fast and they wouldn’t be comprehensible anyway.  So instead, I would like to give a brief summary of the week and go into more detail in the future.

Monday

I had surgery for Botox injections in my bladder.  For the first time ever, the anesthesiologist let me stay awake while they finished setting up in the OR.  I have had this surgery at least 2 times a year for the last 10 years, and although I have asked repeatedly not to be put out, I’ve never made it awake longer than a few minutes in the Operating Room.  Spoiler Alert…this MAY be the last time I have to have this surgery!!!!! (More about this next week?)

Tuesday

I woke up on time for my scheduled hearing with the IL Dept of Public Aide!  (That in itself was impressive considering I didn’t get home from the hospital until 9:30 p.m. Monday night)  I have been FIGHTING with the state for many years and finally requested a hearing to resolve the issues.  Spoiler Alert… MAYBE it worked out in my favor?

Wednesday

This was Not my day.  I mean I was not the patient on this day.  I think I have said numerous times that I would rather “take the hit or the pain” than to have my loved ones have to feel it.  Today was my Dad’s day.  I’m still not sure what is appropriate to share about my father’s condition so I will be brief.  Over the last year and a half, my father has been having numerous issues with his vision.  Together we have seen more than 10 specialists looking for help and answers.  While the ‘mystery’ is not solved, Wednesday we received some hope.  I’m gonna leave it there and hold onto the hope awhile longer.

Thursday

I mentioned that above.  I can begin walking!  Since I began writing this post I have taken a few steps.  I’m weak and wobbly, but a step forward is good one so I will take it.  BABY STEPS!!!!

Completely random subject change here… My grandsons have begun taking their first steps while holding onto or pushing things!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Super exciting!!!!!

Friday (Today)

2 MRI’s at 3 :15.  Although I’m not looking forward to the tube, Thing 2 will be taking me and it will give me more answers to what my next step (see the funny) with my MS will be.

So yay! Today is Friday and it’s a GREAT DAY TO BE ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For the off chance that anyone is NOT having a Great day, give this song a listen to, and see if it perks you up a bit.  (It’s actually my Not having a great day song, but it does pump me up.) It’s a great day to whoop somebody’s ass!

Happy Friday Everyone!  See you next week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bathroom issues of a new variety…

If you have spent ANY time around me, you know that I have many, many bathroom issues/stories.

I ALWAYS have to know where all the bathrooms are everywhere.

I may not be able to tell you the name of the street we are on, but I can almost guarantee you that I can tell you the names of most of the businesses that have a public restroom AND where it is located.

I’ve made friends in bathrooms.

I’ve been in a couple of fights in bathrooms.

I’ve also broken up fights in bathrooms.

I’ve ….maybe you don’t need to know EVERYTHING I’ve done in the bathroom.

Anyway,  I’d like to tell you about my latest ‘bathroom adventure’ for no reason other than I hope to make you smile, maybe even chuckle a little.

Setting the stage:

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As you may know I am current in a wheelchair.

Because it is hopefully not a permanent situation, I have been lax about buying or building a Ramp to cross the 3 inch drop into my bathroom.

 

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As you can see, the toilet is a long long way from the door.

In the beginning of my “adaptation”, I would park my wheelchair at the door, then use crutches to make it across the floor to the toilet.

That worked fine until the one day, I slipped….

(I’ve fallen and I  can’t get up)

So NOW I have a second wheelchair parked IN the bathroom.

 

 

To recap, I wheel my primary chair to the door.

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I Carefully put on the wheelchair brakes and switch to the 2nd wheelchair, and go from there.  ( Yes there is a story in there too, but I digress)

Simple enough right?

 

Sure……….. until you add more characters to the story.

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The other day, I was playing with my grandsons in the living room, when my body decided it URGENTLY needed to use the facilities.  I quickly wheeled to the bathroom, did the quick wheelchair swap, and made it to the toilet, JUST IN TIME.

As I let out the breath I had been holding I hear 2 sets of pitter patter coming my way.  Oh shit, the boys don’t know how to do steps yet and I know from past experience NOTHING will keep them away from Grandma.

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Danny was the first to navigate around the wheelchair and promptly FACE PLANT onto the floor.  OH the SCREAMING!  Which immediately caused Joey to begin Wailing as well, even though he hadn’t even attempted he step yet.

From where I was sitting, (literally) there did not appear to be any blood, but I couldn’t move to be sure.  I needed to coax them both into coming in further.

Travel size Kleenex packages to the rescue!  I quickly tore open an 8 pack that lives in a box next to my “throne”, and began crinkling the packages.  Thankfully THAT, and a drawer full of pads did it!

While I was examining Danny’s face for injury, he decided that he also wanted to be on the throne, as did his brother.

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Quite the family affair, don’t you think?

As we all SAT there, I was so grateful that my bathroom was one of the first rooms I baby-proofed. Although it wasn’t the most thorough cleaning ever, I was able to swifer the bathroom floor before the boys came.

I feel like I should put in a disclaimer here that unlike my story So I did a thing, where I glued myself to the bathroom floor, no one was actually injured during the making of this story.  SMH

Thank you for taking the time to stop by today.  Hopefully I made you chuckle a bit, or at the very least smile.

 

I do all my own stunts, though not intentionally

I would tell you to grab a bowl of popcorn before reading my latest drama, but if you are anything like me, you would choke on it from laughing too much.   I would suggest kleenex if you’re the sympathetic type, but to be honest I have done enough crying for all of us in the past few days.  Instead, I ask that you find humor in my latest  WTF story. If you’re willing to, please share one of your wtf’s with me.  I could really use a laugh.

I mentioned briefly in my last post, It’s certainly been a minute huh?, that I had been taking more of the caretaker role lately and that although I had had a couple more falls, they really hadn’t been anything out of the norm.  For some reason my brain translated this information into, “You should go big or go home Grace”, or “let’s really create some damage”.  As it happens, I now have quite the story of my own to tell…..SMH

Where to begin though……….

In the middle!  Let’s jump right in the middle.

So hey guess what…. I’m not pregnant!!!!!  Yay me?

I’m actually kind of sad about that, not because I want anymore children, but because after the lawsuit or news stories, I would be as rich as midas.  Are you confused yet?  So am I.  Maybe this story would be better told with less sarcasm?  Let’s go back to December 4, 2019.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

I am sitting up on a hospital bed answering the 1000 pre op questions I have been asked before, like it’s just another day. ( After more than 50 surgeries, it does feel just like any other day).

Nurse: I’m going to need a urine sample, and then we will get your IV started.

Grace:  For a pregnancy test?  No need, I had a hysterectomy over 15 years ago.

Nurse:  Was it a total hysterectomy?  I mean did they remove your ovaries also.

Grace: Um no but……

Nurse:  Then we still need to do the test.  While the chances are like 1 in a million, it can still happen.

As I am thinking, “Have you met me?!?!?!?  I am the queen of being 1 in a million”, it dawns on me that next Friday is Friday the 13th, and I start to feel sick.  Not because I am superstitious, but because I have two children. I found out I was pregnant with both of them on Friday, December 13th.  ( 1990 and 1996)

It really doesn’t matter that multiple nurses blew my veins multiple times trying to start an IV.  (I have a port for that reason)  It doesn’t matter that the anesthesia they were trying to use didn’t knock me out for 15 mins.  (Burned like hell, but wouldn’t put me out)  It doesn’t even matter that although the doctor was able to repair a lot of the damage in my knee, I am still going to need a partial knee replacement…..

At least I wasn’t pregnant.  SMH

Want to take a break and come back in a minute?  Believe it or not, I’m not even halfway done with this WTF story.

I spent the rest of the week in bed with my knee above my head attached to an ice machine.  I was able to walk (slowly) within a couple days and the pain was minimal.  I was even able to drive to Einstein’s within the week.

Friday the 13th came and went.   I am still not pregnant!!!  So life is good right?

HA HA HA HA

Saturday, Friday the 14th

Maybe I am a little superstitious, but not about the 13th.  I have had several bad experiences on Saturday the 14th (any month) that have even included being arrested.  Yes I have been arrested before, but that’s a whole different story, which ironically does have to do with me getting pregnant.  :O  Let’s stick with this Saturday the 14th though.

I am leaving the kitchen at Einstein’s and I kick or trip over the 1 inch lip at the bottom of the dog gate.  Oh Fuck, I know I am going down…. NOT MY KNEE NOT MY KNEE!!!!!!

The good news….. I didn’t land on my knee.

The not so good news ……I can’t get up.

While going to get my wheelchair from the other room, Einstein jokes, “why did you put this away already?”  NOT FUNNY!  I am in so much pain, I start to cry.  I really can’t stand up.  Einstein had to pick me up to put my in the chair.

High Ho, High Ho, off to the doctor we go……. smh

Before scrolling down, care to guess the diagnosis?

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While waiting for the xrays to come back, I am imagining the worst.  foot-top

Did I fuck up last years surgery on this foot?

(You know the one where they put a plate and screws in my right foot?)

Earlier this year, I fell while holding my grandson and broke the lag bolt while trying not to hurt him…

BREAKER OF TITANIUM….

not quite as cool as Mother of Dragons, but applicable nonetheless.

 

Ready for the verdict?

I broke the 3rd and 4th metatarsals.  (the long bones in the middle of your foot)  I don’t remember the terminology  “the breaks appear to be clean”.  With luck I am in a non weight bearing cast for a couple of months and that is it.  I see the orthopedic doctor on Thursday to see if the swelling has gone down enough for a hard cast and hear his opinion about surgery.

Please keep your fingers crossed for me.  I am truly feeling that if it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all.  But hey at least I’m not pregnant?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving your phone in a Lyft driver’s car

I walked into the hotel room at 12:30 am to drop off my bags and to park the wheelchair.

How do you reach your Lyft driver if you forgot something in their car?

When I walked into the room, “T” was awake, and still fuming about the height of the bed.  I unburied my tablet and asked T to use her phone.  Actually, I don’t think I asked, I think I just said I was taking it.  She  continued to complain about the hotel saying I needed to talk to the manager.  I put my hand up and said,  “we need to be awake at 4:30″, I can’t do this now.  I have to find my phone, or I won’t be going anywhere tomorrow”.

I headed back outside with phone and tablet in hand.  I sent several text messages to my phone hoping the driver might see them on a pop up.  I called Thing One to tell her that I had lost the phone and maybe I needed her to put a hold on it.  (My family each pays her $50.00 a month and we share unlimited everything on her account) I asked her to find a phone number for Lyft to report the loss.

She responded with the following screenshots:

This is all good in theory,   If you know your passwords.  I don’t!  My niece set up the Lyft app on my phone during my Boston trip over a year ago.  Crap ! Crap! Crap!

I filled out the Contact Lyft form using the hotel’s phone number and my email address for which I also don’t know the password.

ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I suspended myself from most of my accounts trying to guess the passwords.  Those that didn’t suspend me, sent a verification email to my LOST cell phone. SMH!!!!!

Just as I was going to surrender… I remembered that my neighbor works nights…maybe I could call her?   IF only I actually knew her phone number instead of only having it stored in my phone?!?!?!?

Ah but wait a minute…we are friends on Facebook..and that is the one password I remember.  I sent her a message on Facebook messenger asking for her phone number and then called her from “T’s” phone.  It’s probably a sad thing that she wasn’t surprised in the least that I needed “bailing out”.  I asked her to go to my house with her key, and I would tell her where to find my list of passwords.

When I logged into my email account there was a message from Lyft that the driver had found my phone.  Somehow I was able to contact him and beg him to bring my phone back to me.  Lyft charges a $15.00 returned item fee.  I paid that and tipped him $20.00.

At 3:15 a.m. I finally crawled into bed.  Exhausted

At 4:45a.m, there was a knock on the door.  It was the front desk guy Brent.  He had spent most of the night/morning outside smoking with me while I tried to get my phone back.  He promised that if he didn’t see me surface from the room by 4:45 he would “bang” on the door.  He had also set up coffee and set out some of the cold breakfast items even though they don’t start breakfast until 6.  Yes I wrote an outstanding review for him and the hotel.

Grace: “T” We need to get going

“T” (from the bathroom), I’m working on it.  I’m gonna need you to help carry some of my bags.

Grace:  Growl….BAGS?!?! As in multiple?!??!?! How am I supposed to carry anything while I’m in a wheelchair?!?!

LOTS of cuss words

probably even a few more

I don’t even remember her response.  I loaded all 3 of her bags and my one bag onto the wheelchair and headed to the lobby to arrange the LYFT.

I’m going to insert a copy of the review that I left for Rosebud Taxi Service which explains in more detail how we ALMOST missed our train.

I am from the Chicagoland area, where Lyft’s are frequently used and also usually readily available. I made the poor assumption that they would also be readily available in Holland, MI. While I was able to use their services from the Amtrak Station in Holland to my hotel where I was staying, I was unable to locate a driver to get to the station at 5:30 in the morning. My companion and I were both traveling in wheelchairs, so I began requesting a ride using the lyft app at 5 am even though we did not need to be at the train station until 6:30. From 5 to 5:45am I could not find anything. At 5:45, our hotel receptionist had found the number for Rosebud Taxi Service. I called and explained our situation to a very nice gentleman, who not only apologized profusely that they wouldn’t be able to help with both chairs on so short of notice, but also gave me a phone number for a competitor who might be able to help. Who does that?!?! Wow! After speaking with his competition, I don’t think they are any competition at all, their response to my dilemma was, “sorry nope nothing we can do.” I went back to trying to obtain a ride from lyft, only to have the one driver cancel the ride because in his words, “I’m 20 mins out for a 4 minute ride, not worth my time.” I did explain that we would tip very well and would probably have to be transported separately. He said, “ no I’m cancelling.”
I think I literally cried to my companion to please call rosebud back while I continued to try to use the Lyft app with no luck. After explaining our tale of woe again, the owner of the company stopped what she was doing in her personal life and came to pick us up herself with a vehicle large enough to hold both of our wheelchairs. I have to ask again, “Who does that?” I am so grateful that there are people in the world who will still go the extra mile to help “rescue” someone in trouble. I truly feel that she “saved” us. It is also important to note that she didn’t charge us any extra for our additional “luggage or needs”. I wholeheartedly give Rosebud Taxi Service 5 stars and would recommend them to anyone!

I didn’t feel it necessary to add that the owner and T could/did not help me load the wheelchairs or luggage into the SUV.  BUT that’s when the BREAK happened. Everything happened in such a rush, I honestly don’t remember the exact point it happened.  Maybe I dropped one chair on top of the other?  Maybe I closed the seat on my finger?  In fact I am sure I did both of those things.

In the short 10 minute ride to the train station, my finger turned black.  Oh shit…. The ONE thing Einstein said before I left, “DON’T BREAK ANYTHING!!!”.  There was no doubt that it was broken :(.  Didn’t matter though, we had a train to catch.

I didn’t even try to use the wheelchair other than for baggage on the way home.  The fact that “T” was able to though without the use of her legs also supports that it is doable.

In closing, other suggestions I have for traveling alone in a wheelchair are:

  • pack as light as possible
  • print your tickets etc Do NOT rely on your phone
  • TRY to get some sleep.  (I’m pretty sure the 1 hour I got is what lead me to getting sick when I got home)
  • Plan for back up options should your original plans fall through.  (multiple transportation and hotel options.)
  • Know your limitations
  • Call your hotel or transportation method to check heights, dimensions etc.  It would not be unheard of to ask for pictures of your accommodations before committing.

As a side note, while the ADA suggests a bed height of 20-23 inches in handicap accessible rooms, although, it is NOT a requirement.

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It’s the principle … Tenacious Grace

I have had a very difficult time coming up with a title for this one.  I have had to repeat the story in my head several times, all the while SHAKING IT side to side repeatedly,  to make sure I am not overlooking something.  I have also had to discuss it with a couple close friends that could handle the exorbitant amount of swearing that came out of my mouth as I told yet another, “I’m getting screwed” story.

Now that I have “tamed” my vocabulary a bit, I feel that I NEED to share this story.  I need others to know that the way I am being treated isn’t right, and that I am going to Fight for myself.  I hope if you find yourself in a similar situation you fight for yourself too.

Here’s the story…

At the beginning of April, I received the  annual email from the IL Secretary of State’s office stating  “you have not yet renewed your Illinois license plate registration which expires 4/30/2019″… yeah yeah I know, more bills.

On April 7th, I decided I might as well get it over with and send my payment.  ( Two things you can’t avoid Death and Taxes Right?)  and hey……They even let you pay it online for a $3.00 convenience fee…whoopy!  I clicked the link in the email and was directed to their website.  While I was there I learned about the state’s Benefit Access Program, which they say  “allows for the Secretary of State’s office to provide for a reduced-fee license plates aimed toward senior citizens and persons with disabilities with specific qualifications.”   Ok THIS part did excite me.  (If your sole income is from Social Security disability, you really know what I am talking about).

I attempted to apply for the BAP, but kept receiving error messages.  It appeared that that part of their website was down.  (How convenient?)  Shrug, well I had to renew my plates anyway and the website said,

If you have already renewed your license plate sticker and paid full price, and are now part of the Benefit Access Program, you may be eligible to request a refund. Call the Secretary of State’s Office at 800-252-8980 for more information.

so I went ahead and paid for my plates.

On Monday, I went back to the BAP’s website, jumped through their hopes and surprise, surprise…. I qualified.  (not surprised at all). page 1

Next step ask for a refund.

I tried to apply for a refund online.  For some reason that didn’t work….website down again?….hmmmm? So I called the number listed above.  The woman I talked with said, it must just be too soon, give it a couple days and try again.  Ok did that.  Same problem.  SO, I called again.  I talked to the same person (yes I do keep track of dates, times, and names of people I talk to after learning the hard way it is a necessity).  During this second call she said that she would submit the information for review for me.  I thanked her and assumed the matter was closed.

IT wasn’t.

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HUH?!?!?!?!?

Remember this statement…..

If you have already renewed your license plate sticker and paid full price, and are now part of the Benefit Access Program, you may be eligible to request a refund. Call the Secretary of State’s Office at 800-252-8980 for more information.

This statement is from their website!!!!!

I feel like they should have included the free “how to keep an idiot busy keychain”

idiots busy

 

 

You know the one that has

<– written on both sides….

 

 

Ok so ANOTHER phone call.

This time the person I spoke with said, ” Oh you will have to download the required forms and send your sticker back to be reviewed”  Huh?!?!  I said…

  • HUH?!?!?
  • I have to return this sticker to buy this same sticker again?!?!?!
  • You can’t just issue a credit?
  • You do realize that it is almost the end of the month and I need to have a sticker on my car to avoid a ticket or penalty right?!?!?!?
  • Can I go to the DMV and return the sticker to buy another sticker?
  • @#%$#^#%&#^%&&&&&

Her response was, ” Um yeah it is a bad system.  Would you like me to send you the forms?”

ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

…………………..  Uh, yes please?

Since that call, I have been to the DMV…they can’t help.  I have received and filled out these forms

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The forms, along with my sticker, are going in the mail today.  I can not purchase another sticker for my car (believe me I have tried) yet the only way I MIGHT get a refund is if I sent my sticker back and hope they have mercy on me?!?!?!?

So what do you think will happen next?  Will I be arrested or ticketed for not having a current sticker?  Will they refund me?  Will this game of cat and mouse ever end?

Just for shits and grins I googled why we have laws and this is what I found….

Laws protect our general safety, and ensure our rights as citizens against abuses by other people, by organizations, and by the government itself. We have laws to help provide for our general safety.

So who protects you when your government is the ones screwing you?

Have you ever experienced similar red tape?  I would love to hear about it!