Sunday, January 28, 2007

Helena Highlights

Last Tuesday with a full packed van and our old Pug in tow, we took off for Helena to spend the week. We had some legislative duties at the Capitol and Dustin had a MAP board meeting. We had a really good week and here's a somewhat brief rundown I'd like to share.

When we got into Helena we headed over to the state Capitol. We arrived a little late for the legislative luncheon but Dustin needed to find and talk to Senator Squires about a bill he wanted introduced this session. I got a brief look around the Capitol after Dustin got his business done. We then went over to the hotel to check in and get settled in a bit. Our Pug Prince was pretty pooped out after a long day as the picture shows. We finished off the night by having supper over at Applebee's.

We took our time getting ready Wednesday morning and enjoyed a really nice breakfast. There was a few things to do at the Capitol before we took Dustin to his evening meeting. After we dropped Dustin off at his meeting, Theresa and I thought we'd head over to the Capitol to catch Gov. Schweitzer's State of the State address. We found out the address is by invitation only so we decided to grab some food and watch the speech from our hotel room. While watching the Governor, I got a very nice surprise. My uncle Randy was in Helena and he stopped in for a visit. We had a great visit and it was very nice to see some family.

Thursday was our busy day of the trip. We got up early so we could testify in front of the Health and Human Services Committee about expanding Montana Home and Community Services. I was really impressed with how many caregivers and people with disabilities showed up to testify. It was very moving to see my fellow Montanans testify on how community based services enrich their lives and keep them out of the dreaded nursing home. There were so many people testifying that by the time I got my turn I was given 30 seconds to speak. It was a great first for me and I look forward to getting another chance.

We finished off Thursday by attending the Montana Advocacy Program awards banquet. There were some incredible award winners and the personal stories shared were awesome.

This wraps up our week in Helena and it was nice to get home to the Pugs and my bed. Take care and I'll be back soon with another update.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Fiber Optic Fun

It's been a little bit since I've posted but you know how the days have a way of slipping away on a person. Here's a few things that I have been doing.

Monday I went with Theresa to the Hilton to visit with Mary (my OT) and representatives from Invacare. We got together to discuss what different options are on the market for me to control my new chair. They had a fiber optic system for me to try and it went pretty well. The fiber optic controls are two very small sensors that require the operator to cover the beam of light emitted by the sensors. The movement of the chair depends on what sensors are covered by the user. I was able to drive pretty well with the fiber optics and they are a good possibility for me. We have another style of controller to possibly try before any final decisions are made. It really amazes me at how far wheelchair technology has developed over the years.

We had planned on spending two days in Helena this week but we had to spend Wednesday afternoon at the dealership getting the van worked on. Next week we will be staying in Helena from Tuesday-Friday to do some testifying at the state legislature, attending meetings and going to some social functions. I'll return with another update after I get back next week.

I thought I'd share another pug pic. This one is of Ugga sitting on the top of my mattress awaiting a dropped bit of food. She will sometimes even rest her chin on my forehead :-) Our Pugs are quite the entertaining bunch and they are always up to something.

Take care until next week!


Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

This morning was a sunny start to 2007 here in Missoula. 2006 is in the books and I'm very excited for the new opportunities that lie ahead in the new year. I look forward to continuing my advocacy work, meeting more people, traveling next summer, and hopefully attending the university next fall.

Theresa, Dustin, and I all had a wonderful Christmas weekend together. We spent Christmas Eve here at the house and we had a honey glazed ham for dinner which was so good. After dinner we gathered in the living room to open our gifts. We gave the Pugs their new toys first and they got pretty excited. Ugga got a stuffed alligator, which she immediately started to chew. Ripley got a Christmas frog and our old guy Princey got a pacifier toy. Daisy and Harley each got a toy too but they were much more reserved than the others. It was great entertainment to see the Pugs get so wound up and before long they were all tuckered out. The rest of the evening was great and it was fun exchanging gifts with each other.

On Christmas Day we drove out to spend the day with Dustin's family. We had more good food and we sat around visiting with other. Dustin's family has been so gracious to me and they have made me feel very much at home which helps when being away from my family during the holidays.

I went to the ENT last Thursday for my trach procedure follow up and things are going just fine. It sure is nice not having a cuffed trach and I look forward to my January change going smoothly.

Well that's about it for this week's update. Take care and I want to wish everyone a very HAPPY NEW YEAR. Stay tuned during the next several weeks for news of our travels to Helena during the 2007 Montana legislative session.