Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Random things

My friend Scott down in Florida has tagged me to participate in his 8 random things game. I'm going to change up the rules a little bit but I still think this will be rather interesting. Basically I'm going to list 8 random things about myself and you're invited to e-mail back with 8 random things about yourself. You can send them to me at nodakwheeler@yahoo.com Here goes:

* I'm a really big Frank Sinatra fan and I think he's one of the finest vocalists to ever grace a studio.

* My favorite movie format is definitely the documentary. I love the telling of the story and I think Ken Burns is a genius in this genre of film making. Kinda explains my interest in journalism.

* Government Mule is most definitely my favorite band and hopefully they will play around Missoula in the near future.

* the last two concerts I have been to are Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones.

* I've been to the ocean (hey I'm from North Dakota and were not famous for our bodies of water).

* I'm a die hard Chicago Cubs fan and I've been to Wrigley Field.

* Public speaking does not frighten me.

* I hate math with a passion. Isn't that what calculators are for ; -)

Hope that didn't bore you too much and I hope to hear from at least some of you.

We didn't make it up to Whitefish because Dustin wasn't feeling very well but we did make it up around the Arlee area and I got to see the Mission Mts. The Missions are absolutely beautiful as this week's picture shows but there isn't snow on them right now. After seeing them we went to the Arlee Grill for dinner before coming back home. The food was fantastic and it's definitely on the list for a return visit.

My new ventilator has arrived in Missoula and I should get transitioned to it in the next week or so. The respiratory therapist needs a little time with the machine before they can bring it out. I'm very excited and hopefully things will go just fine. I'm also hoping to hear on my new chair very soon.

We went to a wedding Saturday night for one of our former nurse's. It was a really beautiful ceremony and we all enjoyed ourselves a lot. I'd like congratulate Johanna & Ed and we wish them all the very best. Was so very nice that they asked us to share their day with them.

Here ends this week's update and I'm happy that we will get a little relief from our heat wave. July went on record as the hottest in Missoula's history. Unfortunately there are several fires in our area and there has been some evacuations. Hopefully these can get brought under control and the weather conditions will get better.



Monday, July 23, 2007

The tour continues...

I can hardly believe that here it is Sunday and I'm at work on another update! Let's get on with it shall we.

My tour of Montana continues this week as we're going north to Whitefish on Thursday. Dustin has a MAP meeting and we will be staying overnight and coming back sometime Friday. It's absolutely gorgeous up there and I can't wait to see it. The Flathead cherries are in full season and I'm sure we will be picking some up on our way north. I'll be sure to take my camera along and hopefully next week I'll have some pictures to share.

We went downtown last night and had dinner at the Dinosaur Cafe. It's located in a neighborhood style bar and they serve up all kinds of Cajun fare. They serve everything from jambalaya to catfish and the prices were very reasonable compared to most places these days. The French fries I had were totally amazing but my sandwich didn't set well with my stomach. It was kind of on the spicy side and Theresa was teasing me saying that it's what happens when a Midwestern boy gets exotic : -)

The weather continues to be pretty hot and now some of the smoke from the forest fires has entered the Missoula valley. On the news tonight they were talking about the air quality deteriorating as fire season rolls on. When I was outside yesterday, I could really smell the smoke. I'm posting a picture off today's Missoula web cam to show how smoky it is. Hopefully this week we will get some precipitation but that's probably wishful thinking.

Tomorrow our nurse will be returning after she has been off with her broken arm. She won't be able to do any lifting but it will be so nice to see her. I'm sure the Pugs will do their crazy antics when she comes to the door in the morning.

I heard last week from our respiratory vendor and my new LTV ventilator has been ordered and should be here in a few weeks. I'm sure there will be some transition but I'm so excited for the benefits it will add to my life.

That's all for now but I'll be back sometime next weekend with more from Big Sky country.



Wednesday, July 18, 2007


This above number may be a random one to you, but for many people it's a sad reminder of a very dark chapter in American history. It's the number of Americans that gave their lives in the Vietnam War.

To my generation, this war is almost something of an ancient history to us. I'm 31 years old and I wasn't even born when this war ended. Even though we, as a younger generation didn't experience this turbulent time, we can today still realize the magnitude of the sacrifice that was given. I had this opportunity last Sunday evening.

The Vietnam Moving Wall made a stop here in Missoula and it was set up out at Fort Missoula. When I read about the Wall in the Missoulian, I really wanted to go see it and pay my respects.

Sunday evening was gorgeous and it had cooled off after being a very hot day. There was a pretty decent crowd out at the Fort and that was very nice to see. The Moving Wall is half the size of the one in Washington, DC, but I was really surprised at how big it still was. I was reading that the Moving Wall would be about the length of a football field if it was totally stretched out.

The crowd visiting the Wall that night had folks of all ages. Some of us visiting the memorial had no direct connection to any of the names inscribed, but clearly there were many there who did. A young family found the name of a relative and took a rubbing of it from the Wall. There was another gentleman that looked like he was searching out the name of a buddy. When we left, there was an older veteran in a wheelchair that was making his way up to the Wall. I just kept thinking about all the connections that people had to this endless roster of names.

As we were leaving I commented to Theresa at how sad war really is. You would think that the human race would tire of killing each other and want to end the sorrow that all war brings. I guess the current situation in the Middle East proves otherwise.

If the Wall stops in your community, please take advantage of the opportunity and go see it. You'll be glad that you did.

There's not much else news for this week except that the heat wave continues. The first fires of the season have started but so far they have been able to be contained. We are expected to keep seeing highs around or above 100° for the next week or so.

See you soon with another update.



Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hot Hot Hot!

Summertime is in full swing here in Western Montana and the mercury is set to keep on going upward. The temperatures will be above or near the 100° mark for the next week at least. We are in a very dry time of the year and unfortunately this will accelerate the severity of fire season. It will be nice just to sit in the air conditioning.

Mary and Kurt otherwise affectionately known as my wheelchair gurus, paid me a visit on Monday. We're still working on my new orthotic and they came up with doing a kind of swing away adaptation for my chair. The exciting news is that my new wheelchair has been ordered and has left Invacare. My chair will then be destined for Motion Concepts. Motion Concepts has some very innovative designs and they can do some pretty incredible things. They are handling the lateral tilt system for my chair.

The biggest thing I'm looking forward to is having a different ventilator for my new chair. The bulky 40 pound dinosaur that's been with me since I got my trach, will be replaced by a thin 12 pound vent. This will make so many things easier and traveling with this new setup will be so much easier. Hopefully in a few weeks I'll be on my new vent and in my chair.

I've now passed the 10 month mark here in Montana and it's full speed ahead to my one year anniversary. The past 10 months has been filled with so many good things and it excites me to think about what lies ahead. Going down this road has been great for me and its empowered me to keep reaching higher than ever.

This week's snapshot is a view over where I live in East Missoula. I believe that shot was taken from the top of Mount Sentinel.

Here ends another Missoula update. Before ending I'd like to wish a speedy recovery to our nurse Kimbra. She took a tumble off her ladder and severely broke her arm. We've (Pugs included) all missed her a lot this past week and hope to have her back real soon.



Thursday, July 05, 2007

Introducing Miss Cari

The 4th of July is here and gone. Today's weather remains hot as a firecracker and as I write this, the mercury has broken the century mark. Good old summertime in Western Montana.

Independence Day this year has a lot of special meaning as this was the first 4th since I escaped the nursing home. I'm very fortunate to be free and my heart aches for my brothers and sisters that are still incarcerated in institutions all over this country. How can a disability of any kind keep people from living life the way they want? Institutional life is no way for anybody to have to spend any significant portion of their life! Today I emailed Montana's congressional delegation in regards to passing a piece of legislation that could potentially free tens of thousands of people in nursing homes. To learn more about the Community Care Act you can visit the ADAPT web site.

We had an enjoyable and relaxing 4th of July holiday. Since it was going to be a hot afternoon, we decided to go to the movies and sit in the confines of the air conditioned theater. We saw the Transformers and I must say it was a lot better than I was expecting. The special effects were awesome and the storyline was pretty decent. After the movie, we went out to eat at a nice local restaurant. I had the pork tenderloin and it was very good. The evening was ended over at the Southgate Mall where we watched the city fireworks display. It was cool to have them go off right above us. Couldn't think of a better way to spend the day.

There is a new edition to our family that I would like to introduce you to. Her name is Cari and as the picture shows, she is the cutest little five year old fawn Pug. Last week our vet called us and said there was a Pug that was most likely going to the pound. Course we couldn't let that happen so she has come to live with us. She is an absolute sweetheart and she already has taken to cuddling with me.

I got a new laptop computer for school and it has really been working out well for me. It has a built in speech recognition program that allows me to type by voice. What a freedom it is to be able to type much faster. That will really be nice when I have a long college paper to hammer out. Today's computer technology just blows my mind.

It's time to go grab something cool to drink and kickback and watch some movies. Stay cool everybody and I'll return next week.