Thursday, April 28, 2011

the bird is the word

This morning, I participated in a Skype Q&A session with some of the fine students at UNMC, moderated by the brilliant Dr. Zimmerman. Talking with med students was a lot of fun, and I'd gladly do it again. It was a serious & scholarly discussion about diagnosing and dealing with ALS.

Until I flipped off the class.

I was in the process of explaining how I use the computer — typing with the on-screen keyboard and clicking the mouse with my middle finger. I stated that I use my middle finger because it's the strongest. That prompted Dr. Z to say, "That must come in handy when someone parks in multiple handicapped spots." (see previous post for reference)

I, without thinking it through, said "Well, I can flex my finger fine, but I can't really extend it." And then, for reasons unknown even to me, I decided to demonstrate my finger extension.

Which is how I flipped the bird to a lecture hall full of people at 9:30 this morning.

Fortunately, my single finger salute got some laughs. Like, a lot of laughs. For posterity, I'll try to recreate my moment of triumph with my webcam.

Hopefully the class learned a thing or two from me that will prove useful in their careers. If not, at least we had a few laughs.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

people are idiots

Check out what we found on our way to pick up dinner:

That would be a Chevy sedan, parked across three handicap parking spaces. No one was waiting in the car, the hazards weren't blinking, the engine wasn't running... it was just parked. In the van accessible spot. In front of Darque Tan.

While Marney picked up dinner, I kept an eye on the Chevy. Seven minutes went by.

Before we left, I asked Marney to take a picture of the car. As soon as she took the camera out, two Darque Tan employees (one man, one woman, both slutty-looking) bolted out of the store. The following exchange took place;

slutty girl, “Hey!”
Marney looks up.
slutty boy, “We are unloading inventory. We’re just unloading inventory.”
Marney, “We have a handicapped van and you are parked in handicapped parking.”
slutty boy, “We were just unloading inventory. I’ll move the car. You can erase that photo.”

Inventory? Do you have a duffle bag full of UV light in your trunk?

South Dakota's 48X 160 — the skeeziest Darque Tan delivery man in the upper Mid-West.

Monday, April 25, 2011

back to school

No, not that back to school.

I'll being doing a Q&A session via Skype with 150-ish first year medical students at the University of Nebraska this Thursday. The students will get to ask me questions about diagnosing ALS. I'll get to try to not embarrass myself or the professor who invited me. I'm fairly certain I know more about The Simpsons than ALS, but I shall try my best.

So, if you are a doctor-in-training at UNMC, go to your 9:00 lecture and I promise I'll be as entertaining as I can be without swearing.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Once again, it's time for tales from Ye Olde ALS clinic. Last time I visited, I endured this trauma. My recent visit was just as entertaining.

The first highlight was weighing my wheelchair. They did this so weighing me will be easier in the future. I'll just drive on to the scale (instead of stepping on it) and they'll subtract the weight of the chair. The chair is 391 pounds. Apparently it is made of lead and concrete. The chair and I combined weigh nearly 600 pounds — and that's why I'm now afraid of driving across wooden bridges. I might fall through.

Highlight number two was meeting with the Speech Pathologist. I haven't seen much of her in past visits, but now my voice is getting noticeably weak. She starts off the testing by having me repeat sounds like "pa pa pa pa" or "tipy, tipy, tipy, tipy." Next, I stick out my tongue and say "la, la, la" a few times.

Then it gets interesting.

The Pathologist puts a little mirror up to my nose and has me repeat the phrase "please put the potatoes in the refrigerator" several times. She's checking a muscle at the back of my pallet — if it's weak, air will pass through my nose and fog up the mirror. Every time she administers this test, I have to fight to not laugh my ass off. I never make it through without cracking up for two reasons.

First, I can't say "please put the potatoes in the refrigerator" without thinking about putting potatoes in the refrigerator. What kind of jackass refrigerates spuds?!? There is no reason whatsoever to keep a potato on ice. If I ever caught someone placing a potato in my fridge, I'd be all like, "You son of a bitch. How'd they get to you? I can not believe the refrigerated potato plot has made it this far. It's time to round up a potato posse. We need to invade Idaho before it's too late!"

The second reason I always laugh during potato time is, she's putting a mirror up to my nose... all I want to do is crack jokes about cocaine. (Crack jokes about cocaine - see what I did there?) What little I know about coke I learned from Rolling Stones songs and watching Blow, but I think I could come up with a few booger sugar punchlines. Last time I took the potato test, I planned on giving the mirror a quizzical look and saying, "Sorry, I'm not used to the mirror being empty." But then I chickened out.

Next time, I'll take a huge sniff just as the mirror reaches my face, then say, "Sorry. Old habits die hard." I may also reference 'disco biscuits' at some point. I think disco biscuits are actually Quaaludes, but I don't care. It's fun as hell to say disco biscuit.

Anyway, as a result of my voice getting weak, the doctors recommended I do something called 'voice banking.' More on that later this week.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

is my friend Doss more metal than you?

Yes. Yes he is. Mostly due to his right shoulder.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Hey Colin, are you a good wheel chair driver?

Well... define good.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

the april fools that could have been

I intended to write some sort of zany April Fools Day post, but rebranding a web site or two at work and launching a new site for our accessibility remodelers took up most of my free time. If I had the time, I would have posted about one of the following (completely bogus) topics.
  • Researchers discover that speedballs slow the progress of ALS.
  • I modify my wheel chair so it runs on a 250cc dirt bike engine.
  • I appear on Mythbusters to test the myth that a power chair can tow a semi trailer.
  • I install Mac OS in my chair's computer an use it as a web server.
  • I mount a stripper pole on my chair for some reason. (There would have been a great Photoshopped picture with this one.)