Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Van, Garage & Home Wheelchair Access

Proper Vehicle & Transportation

This was something I had to “learn” and by that, I mean, “the hard way”! See my post about what can happen HERE!

Getting’ out and having fun…

We were able to borrow a nicely outfitted Permobil C300 for about 1 1/2 yrs. from ALSA. It worked great and we used it at the mall, out to dinners and to walk the dog even though I could still walk. It ensured I would save my energy and wouldn’t fall. Even now I can still get around and do stairs (down being steadied and up without help). But, we still didn’t have a way to get it in the house and it leaked oil.  I felt much safer in the house on carpet or near couches, but even this was becoming slow, more difficult and dangerous.

I hated the thought of needing a chair, but by being a burden for someone to hold up, fear of falls and people starring thinking I was drunk, I quickly began to love the chair. People really don’t give me a second look. Winking smile

2012-07-21 11.29.43

Even though the chair was transportable, it was too much work and I knew one day the transitions wouldn’t work anyway. I heard stories of it taking 20 minutes getting ready to go anywhere…. that would NOT work for me!

We knew a ramp van was needed, but at $68,000 new, $22,000-$42,000 used, cost was an issue! http://www.braunability.com/wheelchair-minivans/

http://www.themobilityvanstore.com/2011_Honda_Odyssey_Lakeland_FL_135142468.veh2013-01-09 16.16.44

We got lucky and found a nice Dodge Caravan with Braun mobility ramp for only $11,600. I used to own new cars, Porsche & Audi… but now life is different …. I finally don’t give a shit about 108,000 miles. Open-mouthed smile  It’s insured as a recreational use <5000 mi./yr and added only $18/mo. in insurance. (+ I’ll drive million dollar Ferraris upstairs)

Now I roll out of the house, remotely opening the door and ramp, get latched in and on the road in under 4 minutes. when we arrive, I’m 2013-01-09 16.17.34usually out of the van and already headed into the store before it’s locked and the rest of the family is following behind me.  No falls and total independence.  I can usually stay out & about with less fatigue than anyone around me.



New Permobil M300

We also recently took delivery on an awesome new Permobil M300. I chose silver, height adjustments, easy triggered “hands-free” wheelchair 1power and mode, customized 4 profiles, air cushioned 22” seat, attendant controls, increased torque, wrap around head rest, ventilation fabrics throughout, concaved/swivel arm rest and softer suspension. We added the dog walking leas and cup holder.

wheelchair 5   wheelchair 2  

wheelchair 4  wheelchair 3

Home Access

At first I was going to use our same 8’ ramp to get into the house but quickly realized that it would be too steep and unsafe. I also didn’t want a ramp to stick out into the driveway (unsightly and in the weather) or to be taking up an entire side of the garage. We found a used Bruno lift on Craig’s List that was a fraction of a new one. It was a top of the line model with battery backup for power outages and complete with extra safety interlock gate and dual switch controls.

chair lift photo 2

The lift is very quiet, cushioned door closure with foam,  magnetic latch -almost no force to open -auto closing with a spring ... I use foot, elbow or head to push the 4" x 5 " rocker switch up & down... so far no help needed.photo 4photo 2

photo 3

check out all the options at http://bruno.com/index.html – Get out! Don’t sit around the house all day!  LFTM !


Why not?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Meteors and Asteroids (hash-tag #theend ?)

Asteroid DA 14, which flew past Earth today, has no connection to the meteorites that struck Russia yesterday, experts say…. 


Falling meteor prompts panic in central Russia

Nearly 1,000 people reportedly injured by sharp explosions and broken glass as meteor smashes into zinc factory. Some residents thought "the world was ending." The 11 ton meteor hit the day before asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass 17, 200 miles above Earth TODAY!


Hundreds of people were injured in central Russia after a meteor slammed into the region.

MOSCOW  — A meteor that scientists estimate weighed 11 tons streaked at supersonic speed over Russia's Ural Mountains on Friday, setting off blasts that injured nearly 1,000 people and frightened countless more.clip_image001

The Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement that the meteor over the Chelyabinsk region entered the Earth's atmosphere at a speed of at least 33,000 mph and shattered about 18-32 miles above ground.

The fall caused explosions that broke glass over a wide area. Russian health official Marina Moskvicheva, said Friday that 985 people in her city had asked for medical assistance and 43 were hospitalized.

"There was panic. People had no idea what was happening. Everyone was going around to people's houses to check if they were OK," said Sergey Hametov, a resident of Chelyabinsk, about 930 miles east of Moscow, the biggest city in the affected region.clip_image007

“We saw a big burst of light then went outside to see what it was and we heard a really loud thundering sound," he told The Associated Press by telephone.

Rescue servRescue servicemen work at the site of a collapsed wall and roof of a warehouse of the zinc plant in Chelyabinsk, Urals, Russia.icemen work at the site of a collapsed wall and roof of a warehouse of the zinc plant in Chelyabinsk, Urals, Russia.

Another Chelyabinsk resident, Valya Kazakov, said some elderly women in his neighborhood started crying out that the world was ending.

Some fragments fell in a reservoir outside the town of Cherbakul, the regional governor's office said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. It was not immediately clear if any people were struck by fragments.  The agency also cited military spokesman Yarslavl Roshupkin as saying that a 20-foot-wide crater was found in the same area which could be the result of fragments striking the ground.

Meteors typically cause sizeable sonic booms when they enter the atmosphere because they are traveling much faster than the speed of sound. Injuries on the scale reported Friday, however, are extraordinarily rare.

Interior Ministry spokesman Vadim Kolesnikov said that about 6000 square feet of a roof at a zinc factory had collapsed. There was no immediate clarification of whether the collapse was caused by meteorites or by a shock wave from one of the explosions.

Reports conflicted on what exactly happened in the clear skies. A spokeswoman for the Emergency Ministry, Irina Rossius, told The Associated Press that there was a meteor shower, but another ministry spokeswoman, Elena Smirnikh, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying it was a single meteor.

Amateur video broadcast on Russian television showed an object speeding across the sky about 9:20 a.m. local time (0320 GMT), leaving a thick white contrail and an intense flash.

Donald Yeomans, manager of U.S. Near Earth Object Program in California, said he thought the event was probably "an exploding fireball event."

"If the reports of ground damage can be verified, it might suggest an object whose original size was several meters in extent before entering the atmosphere, fragmenting and exploding due to the unequal pressure on the leading side vs. the trailing side (it pancaked and exploded)," Yeoman said in an email to The Associated Press.


A woman cleans away glass debris from a window after the meteorite explosion.

"It is far too early to provide estimates of the energy released or provide a reliable estimate of the original size," Yeomans added.

Russian news reports noted that the meteor hit less than a day before the asteroid 2012 DA14 is to make the closest recorded pass of an asteroid -- about 17,150 miles.clip_image004

But the European Space Agency, in a post on its Twitter account, said its experts had determined there was no connection.


A man walks past a building with shattered windows after a meteorite shock wave in Chelyabinsk, Urals, Russia.

clip_image005Small pieces of space debris - usually parts of comets or asteroids - that are on a collision course with the Earth are called meteoroids. When meteoroids enter the Earth's atmosphere they are called meteors. Most meteors burn up in the atmosphere, but if they survive the frictional heating and strike the surface of the Earth they are called meteorites.

The dramatic events prompted an array of reactions from prominent Russian political figures. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, speaking at an economic forum in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, said the meteor could be a symbol for the forum, showing that "not only the economy is vulnerable, but the whole planet."

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the nationalist leader noted for vehement statements, said "It's not meteors falling, it's the test of a new weapon by the Americans," the RIA Novosti news agency reported.


Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the incident showed the need for leading world powers to develop a system to intercept objects falling from space.

"At the moment, neither we nor the Americans have such technologies" to shoot down meteors or asteroids, he said, according to the Interfax news agency.


It's no Armageddon, but the planet will have a close encounter with an asteroid on Friday. Luckily it will miss the earth by about 17,200 miles. Still, that's considered close by many astronomers.Diagram depicting the passage of asteroid 2012 DA14 through the Earth-moon system on Feb. 15, 2013. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

But how concerning is this event and what would happen if the unthinkable should occur? Dr. Bruce Betts of the Planetary Society, the world's largest space interest group, says this could be more common than most might think:

[3:15] "2012 DA14 [the Asteroid] is a close reminder that we do live in this cosmic shooting gallery."

According to NASA, 9,672 objects have been classified as Near Earth Objects. But Bill Nye the Science Guy says there are more out there. Nye is the CEO of the Planetary Society which provides grants to astronomers around the world to help find these asteroids:

[1:01] "We've been doing it over 15 years. The thing about this is that it takes a long time, it takes very diligent people to find these things. They're very small compared to, say, the earth. And they're like pieces of charcoal – they don't reflect very much light."

Although the timing of the asteroid fly by and the meteoric explosion that happened in Russia Friday morning is eerie, NASA says the two events are unrelated.