Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wheelchair cane system -- It works!!!

For years I've been trying to figure out a good design for a white cane system that can be used by blind people in wheelchairs, so we have our hands free for doing other stuff.  Yeah, I know there may not be many of us out there, but there are definitely more of us than you might think.  In my power wheelchair I use one hand to control the joystick and the other to sweep my cane back and forth, and I wanted an alternative to my standard white cane because my hand gets numb from constantly sweeping the cane.  I'd also like to use a manual chair (if I can ever get the funding) so I can get more arm exercise by pushing myself in the chair, and I'd need both hands free to do this.  Well, I finally came up with a design I thought would work, and brought my design to Tetra to see if someone could make it for me.  One of our volunteers did just that, and he did a great job!  He even made a few improvements to my design where I went wrong, and got some parts donated.

I just got the finished product Wednesday night.  After putting the red and white reflective tape on it (so people will hopefully recognize it as a cane for blind people), and tinkering with it a little, it was ready for a full trial run.  It worked pretty good, but there were still a few kinks to work out.  I thought and tinkered some more, and gave it another try.  Even better, but still a couple problems.  A neighbor helped me fix one problem, and I fixed another one.  Now it's almost perfect, and ready to go again!  Whoo-hoo!

I don't have any pictures to put here, but basically the cane system is made of two upside-down T shapes connected together at the bottom.  The vertical tubes of the T's sit on my seat and lay against the outside of each leg.  The horizontal tubes (or what would be the tops of the T's) have wheels and roll along the ground a few feet in front of me, across the width of my chair.  The system lets me feel what's coming up ahead of me (obstacles, curbs, steps, changes in ground texture, etc.) through the vibrations that travel up the tubing from the ground, while leaving my hands free for other stuff.  It is pretty noisy, but I hope it won't bother people too much.  In fact, the noise actually seems to warn people that I'm coming so they get out of the way faster.

Anyway, I'm hoping that once I can put the finishing touch on this baby it'll work perfectly for me, and that a device like mine will help other people like me too.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Response letter to Brenda Millson's neighbor

Brenda Millson is the grandmother of an autistic boy named Max, and last week her lousy excuse for a neighbor put a hateful letter in Brenda's mailbox just because she didn't like the noise Max was making when he played outside.  I'm sure this noise, by the way, is much more tolerable than construction noise, really loud music blaring, the loud, high-pitched screaming a lot of non-disabled kids do, or any number of other "normal" noises we hear on a daily basis.  When my attendant read me this woman's letter in the paper this morning I had to release all my pent-up anger by responding to this woman's hateful spew.  So yes, there's a lot of cussing in this letter, but my brain doesn't have all the words to compose a letter like this without some cussing.  To find out more about the letter I'm referring to, visit  Here goes:

Dear Nasty, Evil, Small-Minded Slimeball (Nessie for short),

First of all, you call yourself "one pissed-off mother" but what you really are is a piss-poor excuse for a human being, and a mother-fucker rather than a mother.  I hope your so-called "normal children" haven't been permanently warped by your mind-polluting garbage.  Yeah, I understand that if you didn't spew your hateful crap all over the place you'd either explode or self-combust, but I'd much rather you burned your own rotten self up with your hatred than have you spread your horrible disease to everyone else.

Yeah, I know you're angry Nessie.  I really do know what it feels like to be eaten up inside with lots of pent-up anger, believe me!  I was born both blind and physically disabled, and I'm far from what you'd call "normal".  I've always wanted to do something good with my life and help people even though I've never had money and never had the help I really need, but I've never been able to do the things I really want and need to do because assholes like you think people like me don't deserve any help.  There are unfortunately a lot of people like you out there, Nessie, who think people with disabilities shouldn't get the help we deserve because we won't make much of a contribution to "society".  But given the right assistance, equipment, encouragement, and yes even love, there are a lot of people with disabilities like Max, myself and others who would contribute a whole fuck of a lot more to this world than you ever did.  For that matter, the world can be made a better place even by those of us who didn't get the help we needed and grew up surrounded by cretins like you.

Yeah, maybe your mama didn't love you, and maybe even dropped you on your head a couple of times when she realized what an ugly piece of work she gave birth to, but that's no excuse to make other people feel like crap.  Who the hell is going to care for your nasty ass when you get old -- or get a crippling stroke or illness -- and can't take care of yourself anymore, especially when everyone around you realizes what an evil scumbag you really are???  Personally, I think the police should take you into custody and let scientists study what passes for your "mind", and in your case ma'am I use that term loosely.  You call your neighbor's autistic grandson "retarded", but I say you're the one who's retarded, since you're too lazy to use the brain you were supposedly born with!

Do the entire world a favor and euthanize yourself, or at least have the courtesy to crawl back into whatever hell-hole you oozed your way out of at birth.  MOVE!!!  VAMOSE!!!  SCRAM!!!  And if your so-called "normal kids are as rotten as you are, please take them with you!  Go live in the zoo or the wilderness with the rest of the beasts -- wait, I'm sorry all you guys in the zoo and wilderness, you animals aren't nearly as mean-minded as this bitch!  I'd love to meet you soon ma'am, so I can release some of that pent-up anger I mentioned earlier in this letter, and ram your hateful, disgusting butt into a wall with my power wheelchair!  Maybe once you become disabled yourself you might be a little more sensitive to people like Max.

I'm not perfect either Nessie, I have my own pet hates I need to deal with too.  For example, I really can't stand lazy people, most of whom have never worked as hard in their entire lives as I've had to work just to accomplish small things.  I also hate abusers of all kinds, including people who deliberately make life hard for people just because they enjoy seeing other people suffer.  I've sometimes thought, wrongly, that maybe they should be euthanized.  I'm sure it's wrong to kill anyone, even evil scumbags.  They should be put away where they can't hurt anyone, and maybe studied (as long as this doesn't pollute the minds of the people studying them).  So yeah, Nessie, I have to deal with my own share of hatred just like you do.  But I at least will try as hard as I can to not let that hatred and anger eat my insides up, so I won't become a despicable specimen like you.


Maria Cruz (one pissed-off human being)