profile

A brief description of you or your weblog!

pages
archives
blog watch

  • blog watch

  • Education Blogs

  • tech

    WordPress
    Valid XHTML
    XFN
    wholinkstome.com
    weblogalot.com
    blo.gs
    pingomatic

    Syndicate this site:
    Entries (RSS)
    Comments (RSS)

    28th July 2007

    Three shameless plugs…

    Alright, the first shameless plug is that Nick and I are playing music again this week, this time at Coal Creek Coffee House in Fort Collins (north of Harmony on Timberline, see a map here). We’re playing on Wednesday evening between 6 and 8, so if you’re in the area, stop by, check us out, get some coffee or a milkshake or a delicious sandwhich…

    The second shameless plug is that my two brothers are currently hard at work in filming for The Next Internet Millionaire, an internet based reality show set to start airing August 15th. The premise is a little bit like The Apprentice in that the contestants learn about different business techniques (here it’s all about marketing, especially internet marketing) and then test themselves on what they learned by having competitions. The winner gets $25000 and a chance to work with Eric’s partner on the project, Joel Comm. Joel is a multi-millionaire, have earned a fortune on the net over the last 10 or so years. The show is going to be really cool, and there’s already a ton of stuff up on the site: Find out who the contestants are, who the the different marketing teachers are and whatnot – and get ready for the first episode to air in a couple of weeks!!! Check out nextinternetmillionaire.com.

    And finally, the third shameless plug – and this one might be my favorite! My friend Ryan has created a beta site called Where Is Your Line? and it has the potential to be a pretty cool social research tool. It deals with ethical/moral issues and where you draw the line for yourself on those issues. Choose an category such as “Finders Keepers”, and the site asks you whether you think it’s ok to keep less than $5 if you find it on the street. If you click yes, it will ask if you think it’s ok to keep more than $5 if you find it on the street. If you click yes again, it asks if you think it’s ok to keep a giftcard you find in the street, and so on. After you find your line, you get an opportunity to write in your reasoning for drawing the line where you do and then leave basic demographic information. Maybe someday there will be enough responses to have a semi-useful data set. Anyways, check it out. I have recorded responses and reasons for all of the questions, so you could at least try to guess which ones are mine…

    Have a wonderful summer day (that is, if you’re in the northern hemisphere – otherwise, have a wonderful winter day!).

    16th July 2007

    Nick and Daryl Live and Starbucks in Loveland this Friday!!!

    Nick and I are playing music from 6 to 8 pm this Friday at the Starbucks in Loveland on 287, by Blockbuster and Hobby Lobby!!!

    It’s going to be awesome!!!

    If you’re in northern Colorado you should come check us out!!!

    It’s going to be so awesome!!!

    Find directions here!!!

    Hope to see you this Friday between 6 and 8 at Starbucks in Loveland!!!

    It’s going to be so totally awesome!!!

    11th July 2007

    Ode to Pilgrim Pines

    Pilgrim Pines they call you – and certainly there are pine trees
    But trees of many kinds you have, with many kinds of leaves
    And big grey rocks clothed in moss long ago rolled down
    And in this very spot they stopped for us to take pictures on
    I love how much you haven’t changed these 9 years I’ve been gone
    People lounging on the beach and playing frisbee on the lawn
    Morning mist over the lake gives way to noontime sun
    Eating at the snackshack comes before all other fun
    Now it will a little while before I can return
    But I’ll be back – sooner than later – of that much I am sure

    I went to a wedding in Springfield, Mass last weekend. My cousin Karen was married to a great guy named Jake. The wedding was beautiful, the reception was fun, and the cousining (our verb for what we do when we cousins get together) was spectacular. The “reception” lasted much longer than it was supposed to because we were all hanging out – it was in my aunt and uncle’s amazing backyard – and after the bride and groom and most of the guests had left we sat around a campfire for a while.

    Then on Sunday we went up to Pilgrim Pines, a camp in New Hampshire where we had family reunions when we were younger. We stayed overnight and Monday afternoon when we had to leave to catch our flight in Hartfore it was terribly hard to go. Sigh…

    3 comments

    3rd July 2007

    Frustration (part two)…

    I know it’s a little soon for a sequel, but I think most of you who have already read part 1 (which will be 5 or 6 of you out there) will be thankful for it. And if you haven’t read Frustration… below, and you desire to understand this post – well, scroll down or click the link, its only 1700 words or so. Or, if you wish to skip my frustration because it could cause feelings of angst in you yourself (if I wrote the way I intended it very well could) and skip straight to the upshot, here it is:

    Even in seasons of frustration there is joy. Not every moment of this summer has been frustrating – there have just been some frustrating aspects to it. If you read the lyrics that I posted a week or so ago you can feel another moment from the last 6 weeks of summer: The feeling of infinite potential. Perhaps that’s part of why a season like this can be so frustrating for me; I expect life to be so good and the hiccups can be annoying.

    But by far the lion’s share of the reason I have written about these frustrations publicly like this is to solicit the prayers of those of you who are praying people – both for my physical issues, like my bladder, and as I try to figure out the direction my life ought to be heading right now.

    It’s funny, whenever I go to a church or Christian group that I haven’t been to before people want to pray for me; at times this can be wearying, but I’m never one to turn away prayer and I often comment that I must be one of the most prayed for people in the world… And here I am requesting more. Let me share with you a few paragraphs from the New Testament that have encouraged me in situations where people are praying for me:

    At the beginning of 2 Corinthians Paul wrote a word of encouragement for the very likely discouraged and frustrated Corinthians:

    Blessed be our God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we maybe able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. (2 Cor. 1:3-7)

    Both Paul and the Corinthians have experienced frustration and suffering and they have both also received comfort from God. Now just as Paul is encouraging the Corinthians he is also showing them that they can become a source of encouragment to others. Next he shows them another positive outcome of suffering as a Christian:

    For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ouselves buy on God who raises the dead. (2 Cor. 1:8-9)

    Paul and Timothy’s affliction forced them to rely on God – reminded them who the prime mover of creation was, the ultimate decision maker. This despair and dependance allowed them to see the true situation when things improved – and built up their faith in God’s deliverance:

    He delivered us from such a deadly peril and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. (2 Cor. 1:10-11)

    Paul and Timothy recognized that God was and is the prime mover, the ultimate decision maker in their situations and encouraged the Corinthians to do the same. But did you catch the last sentence there?

    You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

    Paul asked the Corinthians to pray so that many would give thanks for the blessings granted!

    Perhaps this is a grace given to me: To see many rejoice at the work of God in my own life and continued healing, which really has been nothing short of miraculous. I saw my doctor this week to get some prescriptions filled, and he was amazed that my sensory levels and motor abilities have continued to improve this long after initial injury. Dr. Schmitt is a Christian and so he realizes the possibility of the impossible – but he was still blown away.

    Many have been praying, and many are rejoicing and blessing God on account of the miracles in my life – why shouldn’t there be more people praying and thus more people blessing God for what he does. This is true of many situations and not just my own (if you want to get involved with an online prayer ministry, check out www.prayway.com) – but I guess I’m a little partial to my own causes.

    So if you pray for me this week, pray for direction; pray for healing; but also pray that these frustrations will also be turned into comfort and encouragment for others who are frustrated, and into opportunities to speak the name of Jesus to people who are longing to hear it.

    Frustration…

    I haven’t written much here for a while, and I said that it was because I’ve been busy with work and whatnot… and I was busy with work and everything else, but for me being busy doesn’t always mean that there’s that much to do as much as it means that I’m going at it all in a way that neither fully utilizes the time for work nor fully utilizes the time available for play. I’m not talking about my performance grading tests – each day while I was at Measured Progress I was a good employee (especially after I was promoted to a more active position so I couldn’t ever space out anymore). I’m talking about the different “business items” I was trying to take care of at home – things like: Looking for another job (long or short term); going to weddings and planning to go to other weddings; figuring out my medical insurance/medicare situation (which I now know is impossible); pay some bills; get some doctor appointments in; etc, etc.

    I simply don’t get that stuff done in a timely fashion. I go to work on something and end up reading something that I’m not interested in/making no progress because I’m working at it in the wrong way/daydreaming – and then I end up with less time to do the recreational activities that I enjoy. But instead of getting to do those activitites that I enjoy – like hanging out with friends, handcycling, making music, reading, sleeping (is sleeping a rec activity?) – I end up wasting time just like when I trying to get those “business items” done.

    It’s very frustrating.

    Like trying to sleep on a hot and humid night* when you’re sheets are sticking to you and you wake up every few minutes realizing how wet your pillow/sheets are. Like being wide awake at 1 am and wishing you were asleep but knowing that it will be hours before your mind/body settles down. Like waking up at 1 am and being wide awake and wet from the heat and humidity.
    *It’s been unusually humid in Colorado this last week – and above 90 degrees 12 out of the last 17 days (above 80 the other days).

    Like trying to break an old and bad habit or beat Solitaire. Like listening to a friend who complains about the same things every time you get together – and you can tell him/her what he/she needs to do but you can’t make him/her do it (yeah, that is a multiple person metaphor for a single person situation).

    Like being out of work and knowing that there is a need for money. Or even more like being out of work and feeling like there isn’t much use for the skills and experiences you bring to the table.

    Folks, I have been frustrated in a number of ways lately, and it’s starting to wear me a little thin in some places. I’m going to describe them to you at the risk of sounding like a whiner.

    As much as I love school, I’m a little tired of it and so I have looked around a little for more long term jobs. I’m not sure what exactly I’m looking for, but mostly I’ve been looking for teaching jobs because I’m interested in finding out if teaching is something I really want to do for many years. (It’s why I’m in grad school, I think).

    So when a friend passed my information on to a college that needed someone to teach a few Greek classes for a semester or a year, I was ecstatic. When I actually heard from a professor from the school, I was way out of my mind. So I sent some info and expressed my great interest – and imagine my delight when they replied expressing mutual interest.

    I was a little pumped up, even if the position didn’t promise to be at all lucrative. So the dissappointment was also fairly great when I was told that they needed to find someone who could also teach a few Latin classes in the spring when another professor goes on sabbatical.

    The job search is inherently frustrating for all, but added to that in my case are a number of jobs that I would have been able to do pre-spinal-cord-injury that I am now almost automatically disqualified from. All manor of manual labor jobs of course, but also many that require only a bit of “lifting” – like the job taking care of developmentally disabled adults that I worked for two summers past. I can stand, but my position makes it seem like it would be significantly harder to obtain a job that required standing at a desk or something of the like. And I didn’t exactly help myself out by getting a bachelor’s degree in Greek.

    During this same period of time I was also on a rollercoaster regarding a certain physical problem that I have been struggling with over the past couple years. It is not something that I like to talk about at all, but I’m going to do it right now. Many of you know that I have a certain amount of spasticity below my level of injury. In some ways my spasms are useful – I can voluntarily trigger some of them to work with other completely voluntary muscles to help me stand and take some steps (among other things); but in other ways they can be seriously annoying – like how my feet occasionally tighten and shake as I lay here typing on my laptop.

    By far, the most annoying problem that I have with my spasticity is that I have some rather powerful bladder spasms. They happen when my bladder fills to a certain point and they have been the bane of my paraplegic life; a cause of great embarrassment for me. They complicate my life in a whole number of ways that I won’t describe right now, both for the sake of my embarrassment and yours. One thing that I will note is that when my bladder spasms, it often triggers a spasm throughout all of my muscles below my level of injury, resulting in a rigor mortis like state in my legs/lower abs.

    There have been a number of possible solutions suggested to me over the past two and half years. The first was to try various medications, which I did; I maxed most of them out and still didn’t see positive results. The next suggestion was that of a sacral neurectomy, that is, to cut the motor nerve to the bladder, essentially leaving those muscles completely paralyzed (like if my spinal cord injury had resulted in a severed spinal cord and I wouldn’t have had any sensation or motor abilities below the level of injury). I looked around for a doctor that would perform such a procedure, but it seems to be something frequently done in the past but rarely done now.

    I consulted with a doc who was doing a procedure to implant a sort of “pacemaker” for the bladder – an electrical stim pack attached to the bladder nerve with leads that could try to correct/stymy the nerve impulses causing the spasm. This was a fairly “experimental” procedure (read: pricy , not endorsed by the insurace companies, and spotty as far as results went) and having the stim pack implanted would also mean problems with doing MRI’s in the future (which folks with SCI are likely to need at some point). All in all it didn’t seem like a good return for the investment.

    Then I consulted with a doc that was doing botox injections for bladder spasticity and it seemed like a fairly risk free, economical, and promising possibility. Botox works by paralyzing muscles – it makes people look youthful by paralyzing the muscles that cause wrinkling. In the bladder it had done well in helping people with some spasticity to no longer have problems with spasticity. Botox injections are safe and simple. The downsides are that the injections only last for 3-6 months for most people, though in bladder procedures the injections often lasted much longer – and with the need for frequent injections can come a decent cost.

    Still, the cost isn’t that much (the expense is primarily from the botox itself) – and if successful, decreased need for medications/medical supplies can easily offset the cost of the botox. So I decided to go for it.

    I had the injections done during my last week of school. It was an unpleasant but short procedure – not anything close to the worst for me. For the first several days I didn’t notice any difference… But then, bit by bit the spasticity became less – much more controllable. My bladder capacity increased until it was all the way to normal. It was amazing – four weeks of bliss! It’s hard to describe what it meant to me… but to be able to go for a bike ride without having to deal with those spasms; living more boldy and trying things I wouldn’t have previously; to be able to drink aplenty and be happily hydrated instead of secretly maintaining a little dehydration to avoid those spasms… It was glorious.

    But then, just like the spasms went away, they started to come back. My bladder capacity decreased again and I had to return to living much like I did before – a way that has gotten my through two and a half good years. Of course I was frustrated by those spasms before this whole thing, but I dealt with them like I dealt with everything else. I had to.

    Now that I’ve known what it is to live without them, though – I’m not sure I can take going back.

    It
    ……………………is

    ……………………………………………extremely

    ………………………………………………………………………………..frustrating.

    For many of you, this might be more than you want to know – for others, much less than you want to know – but here it is, raw experience in my own raw words. And usually I try to tie in things that I’ve been learning when I write for this long, but right now I’m not going to. It’s not that I haven’t learned anything through this. I have, and I might get to share some of those things at some point.

    But right now I’m tired. It’s now 2:46 am. It’s still hot and my back is wet and the sheets underneath my back are wet and even with the air conditioning on and a fan blowing on me I’m still sweating. I wanted to be asleep 3 hours ago. Of course, I don’t have a job to go to tomorrow morning anyway so it doesn’t matter if I sleep in, but you know what they say: The early bird gets the worm – but if I get up early tomorrow I know I’ll be a pretty tired bird and have trouble getting the worm anyway.

    5 comments

    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.