Monday, December 31, 2012

Not this time, Homer

Some people will tell you The Simpsons is no good anymore. I disagree. Not an episode goes by that doesn't leave me laughing out loud ... and it almost killed me.

I saw an episode recently where the family visits the house Marge grew up in. The woman who lives there now invites them in and Marge says something like, Are you sure? The woman replies, As long as I don't have to feed this one, looking at Homer, who stage-whispers to Marge, 'Tell her no deal."

This little exchange had me rolling.

This morning, after I welcomed my sister home by waking her up to help me off the floor, I showered and was getting dressed. You can't wear a seat belt when getting dressed. Normally. that is fine. Normally, though, I don't think of Homer and his whispers.

Today I did.

Fortunately, I reached a bar and a shelf as I started falling out of my chair laughing.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Don't get your hopes up

I have sort of been looking for a new handcycle, so a few months ago I asked my wheelchair guy if he sold any. He pointed me to AmTryke,  a company that sells them online.

I looked and got a little giddy: The company also sells foot-powered cycles and has a bunch of adaptive equipment that seems like it would enable me to ride again. Even better, they work with physical therapists to get you the right trike.

Since then, I have been in touch with the company trying to find a therapist. There are chapters nationwide, but none real near me. And the contacts at the evaluation sites sort of nearby were out of date. The company suggested I contact chapters to find a therapist.

I sent a bunch of emails out, and the chapter in southern Virginia answered and said they could help.

I am trying to keep my expectations low, but ... At least they'll hook me up with a better handcycle, right?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sorry, polar bears

Whenever I am showering, I think of our director.

Wait, I better explain that real quick.

He tells a story about being on vacation with his extended family, and as he says:
Several years ago, my middle brother's wife was yelling at her teenage son for doing what teenage sons do, staying in the shower for about 40 minutes. After several episodes of yelling at him, she just screamed, "Matthew, polar bears are swimming in the Arctic because of you!"
He goes on to explain why the United States wants to prohibit commercial trade of polar bears, arguing that while a changing climate is the greatest threat to polar bears it is not the only one.

 Whenever I am in  the shower, I think about that story. I am damning polar bears to swim in the Arctic. Even my director's nephew's name is right.

But it is the Friedreich's ataxia really! I can't take fast showers, at least not if I hope to get clean. I could take cool showers, I suppose, but since I am cold most days this seems like a bad idea.

Maybe I could say, "I think of polar bears while showering," but really does that sound less weird?

Monday, December 24, 2012


I told Mom Thursday night that it is no fun coming home to a quiet house as I have been doing because my sister and family went to Maine for Christmas.

The next day I set about proving how dangerous it is, too. (Why is everything getting dangerous? )

Every day I have been alone I have had to call Mom for help.

The first day I fell shutting the door. I learned that bathroom tile is harder than slate because I smacked my forehead on the mudroom floor, but it wasn't as bad as when I fell in the shower. Technically it is my fault because I did not fasten my seat belt, thinking I'd be in my chair just briefly.

The next day I called her from the bathroom floor. I had showered and dried off and all. As I transferred to my chair, my knee nicked a piece of the chair and spasmed. Down I went. I called Mom and said, I am fine but might be on the floor when you come up. She just put my slippers on and then I was able to stand OK.

Last night was the worst. I was about to get on my chaise, so I wanted to empty my bladder first. I got to the bathroom in time, but slipped and wound up crouched in front of the toilet. I tried to get back up but succeeded only in trapping my leg between the transfer pole and the wall. Oh, and my bladder decided to empty itself while I was on the floor.

The real trouble was my phone was on the table by my chaise. I did not want to get into my chair since I was unclean. So I backed my chair up, then laid out on the floor and pulled myself using the chair toward the phone. I also pushed with my legs. I finally got to my table and could not reach the phone, so I pulled the table over until the phone slid off. Then I called Mom and suggested she bring Dad because there was a lot to do.

I am pretty sure that left to my own devices, I could have recovered from all of these falls. I had shoes on or nearby. I was near poles or something I could use to stand. But ...

I am guessing I won't fall tonight, in part because Dad is over here watching TV. Not sure if he or Mom thought that up. Can't really blame them.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Moby Dick, emphasis on dick

The Urinator went from really gross and annoying to somewhat dangerous Friday, and I am not sure what I am going to do.

I went to the bathroom Friday morning, and there was pee on the seat. I had to go, so going downstairs was not an option. Neither was going back to my office for Clorox wipes. So I wiped the pee off with toilet paper and sat down.

It was then that I noticed that he had left a little puddle of pee on the floor and my foot was in it.

When I was finished using the toilet, I learned that pee is kind of slick. I stood to clean myself off ... or tried to. My foot slid on the pee. Luckily I was holding on. I finally managed to clean myself and pull up my boxers. I then transferred to my chair and moved to a dry area to pull up my pants.

I talked to the woman in the office who uses a chair, and she said I have to tell people. I agreed, although I still doubt anything can be done.

I told my boss, and he gave me a harsher note he had already written based on this speech (transcript). It was quite good. He also suggested I talk to the building services manager.

He liked my boss's note but thought it went a little far. He promised, however, to do something.

Not fast enough, though. No new signs appeared yesterday, and every time I used the bathroom I had to clean the seat off.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Today marks the first day my back was not a significant pain. It also marks the day I admitted defeat at the hands of the Urinator. Well, not his hands exactly, rather his leaky penis.

Here is how I spent a good half-hour or more this morning:

  • Go to bathroom on our floor.
  • Shut stall door.
  • See pee all over back of seat and paper towels all over floor of stall.
  • Leave bathroom.
  • Return to office an get Claren.
  • Go to elevator and get on car that said up but really went down, so I went from 3 to 1.
  • Get off at 2 and go to bathroom on floor.
  • Barrel through door because button was broken.
  • Go to bathroom.
  • Wait for other bathroom user to help  me leave since button was broken.
  • Return to my floor.
  • Tell building manager about the messiness.
  • Return to office.

And that wasn't the end. There was goddamned pee all over in the afternoon.

I am seriously considering standing at the toilet from now on, just waiting to fall and bleed. Then I take a photo, put it in the stall and say: "Clean your pee; don't make me bleed."

Not that that would work. I don't think anything will, short of me falling and dying. But if I am deadm who cares if he pees?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas is a-coming

Without a totally irresponsible but totally awesome action figure shopping spree, this will be the first year in many that I have fewer figures now than I did at the beginning of the year. Not only that, but I think this year may go down in Matt Trott history as the first year in many I have not added any figures to my collection. (Not really, I'll buy something between Christmas and New Year's if need be.)

I am still able to set up a Nativity, though I know there are a few repeats. Mom, my photographer, saved me from a humiliating faux-paus earlier when she saw Plastic Man and said, Wasn't he in last year's? I looked and was horrified to see Plas and Beast were duplicates. I quickly removed them.

The  Big Three are there, though without their Peanuts understudies. Charlie Brown, Lucy and Woodstock are going to work to help me win the festive door/office contest.

Yes, that is Speed Racer and his Mach 5 ready to spirit Jesus away to Egypt and out of the way of Herod. Spritle and Chim-Chim are in the trunk of the Mach 5 to facilitate the Jesus transfer. They also have a picnic basket in case anyone gets hungry. And let's face it: Everything is better with a monkey.

If they decide not to flee toEgypt, Batman will ward off any of Herod's soldiers. I'm not saying he could beat the whole army, but ... This figure also makes me think of a lounge singer, like he is holding a mike and just belting out a tune. So, lullabies are taken care of.

The Humble-Bumble and Yukon Cornelius are not new figures -- my older sister gave them to me years ago -- but this is the first year out of the box. My niece has a nice but totally unsupported  theory on the Bumble. She said he was just mean because he had a toothache and once Hermey pulled his teeth, he was good. A lovely idea, but I believe the Bumble was a bully a la Buddy Hinton. And when he is defanged, like Buddy, he becomes OK.

Santa is another regular but he doesn't quite merit Big Three status.

The Canadian Mountie would help Batman.

The Rocketeer is one of my favorite superheroes, not just because Jennifer Connelly is his girlfriend. And who better to serve as an angel and to go tell it on the mountain.

The Spirit was created by Will Eisner and he wrote wonderful stories. There was a story called like "What's 15 minutes in a man's life?" and it has a clock in each panel. This guy robs his employer, kills him by mistake, flees, sees the Spirit (the Spirit's only appearance), panics and gets killed running away even though the Spirit did not know he did anything. It is way cool.

Mom claims that Baby Jesus would be scared by my Gorilla Grodd knockoff. But the animals in the manger wer super-intelligent animals like Grodd if stories can be believed. Maybe they weren't super-villains like Grodd.

Last but not least is a little wind-up robot, who is in charge of teaching the Lord to dance.

Here are the ones from 2007,  200820092010 and 2011. These posts also have some background. And God must be amused by this because I have not been struck down yet.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Back to my old chair

I am back in my old wheelchair because of my back.

The new wheelchair offers my back a lot of support but forces it straight. That is good but I don't think my back needs to be straight. It needs to slouch into whatever shape feels good ... at least until whatever  I did to it improves.

This means I need to work from home because my old chair is shorter than my new one.

 At least my back is feeling better.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Saint Bond, James Bond

I always liked James Bond, both books and movies, but I never considered him a saint ... until last night.

My back has been bothering me for a while. It is not excruciating, but it is pretty debilitating. Bending over, stretching, transferring -- anything can cause a twinge, which in turn can cause issues.

The doctor, well nurse practitioner, said she thought it was muscular and hypothesized that my new chair has been bothering my back since I got it and that my back "finally said enough."

I suspect the pain is chair-related, but I am not sure the back is wrong for me. Unfortunately, my wheelchair person is out till next year, which I realize is only a few weeks but still is longer than I want to be in pain.

Which brings us back to Bond.

I sat down last night in my chaise and watched Casino Royale  and when it was over, my back didn't hurt.

It hurt again today, so 007 is not perfect but not bad.

Monday, December 10, 2012


My boss agree some people there are slobs and suggested something harsher.

The head of building services just laughed and put it up.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


My older sister was in town last week and said she was glad not to have to think about fingers for a day -- although she probably was. Her husband broke his finger just after Thanksgiving, so they are thinking about fingers a lot.

She then said that several years ago, when he was going through a real brutal and successful cancer treatment, she had to go out of town and told him that she felt guilty she felt relieved to not have to deal with cancer for a bit.

He replied that she should not feel guilty, he wished he could leave himself.

I wish that almost every day.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The note goes up Monday

If you get urine on the seat of the toilet, please clean it off or contact maintenance. Thanks.

I was ready to post this note in the wheelchair stall at work earlier this week, but things got too busy. It's been an issue since October or earlier.

This afternoon, I regretted not posting. There was pee on the seat, I stood, I fell, I got back to my chair OK, I get ready to pee standing up again, I took a little too long, and I had to get help to change my pants when I got home.

I am still embarrassed that I have to put up this note, and it makes me feel like I am being unreasonable. I know I am not, but having to ask adults not to do something they should know not to do makes me feel a bit silly.

I am also trying to avoid adding anything snarky, including but not limited to the following:
  • Because not all of us can stand, asshole.
  • Thanks to your pee, I fell the other day, jerkwad.
  • It's a wheelchair stall, not a stall for slobs.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Slip-sliding away

Today I paid a woman to touch me in places that have not been touched in years, if ever. I got a massage. It was awesome.

The massage itself was awesome; slipping off the table as I was getting up and sliding to the floor was less awesome. It was pretty funny -- I never thought someone would say to me "you're too slippery" -- but not so awesome.

The masseuse helped me get on the table, took off my shoes, pants and shirt and massaged me good, put my pants and shoes on, but then I swung my legs off the table.

My feet hit my chair and stayed on the seat. Then my butt started slipping off the table and next thing I knew I was on the floor.

The masseuse was a small woman and she started freaking out -- maybe because I kept laughing. She kept trying to help me up, but the soles of my feet weren't on the floor. Plus, I was slippery.

She kept opening the door and calling for another masseuse, but he didn't hear, I guess.

Eventually, she put one of my feet on the floor sole-down, stepped on it to keep it that way and heaved me up. Doing my part, I lunged into the chair.

She tried not to charge me because of the fall, but hell if a fall meant I didn't have to pay, I'd be real rich.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Even on moderately good days, I am frustrated by minor aches that serve to leave me grouchy.

My right shoulder has been bothering me off and on for years. My lower back is sore, maybe from using my chair more than usual. My hands are chapped. ...

Just annoying.

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