Friday, December 27, 2013

Review of Sony's Captioning Glasses - Part 2

In the previous blog post Review of Sony's Captioning Glasses, I tried using the Sony Captioning Glasses for the first time. Then flash forward to recently, when I watched Frozen with the glasses.

This time, I found I missed something from the first time I used them. I didn't make an effort to adjust the noserests. Thus, the way the noserests were at the time, no wonder they caused me so much pain. I managed to adjust them just far enough so I wouldn't have the same problem as before, and it worked. I went the entire movie without the glasses hurting me too much, adjusting them here and there.

Still some room for improvements as I mentioned before. One additional suggestion would be adjustable captions color and font size. I'm wondering if this sort of thing would work with Google Glass with the right adjustments and programming.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Nelson Mandela's funeral interpreter fiasco

Sometimes I wonder about interpreters and their skills. Then we saw the one at Nelson Mandela's funeral. I took a quick look and thought I was seeing some South African sign language, but a second look and a closer watch had me thinking differently. No facial expressions? Just about every sign language, no matter where you go, uses facial expressions. It's an important part of signing.

Next, just one? For an event that went 3-4 hours with multiple speakers? We've seen terps that have difficulty going more than 1-2 hours in an educational setting, even if the instructor doesn't talk fast. With the funeral, at least two terps, more like 3-4, would work well if one can't continue or people have an issue with understanding the signing.

Someone failed majorly out there when they picked this guy. Seriously, a mental illness keeping him from doing clear signs? We've heard this before, and even a person who knows sign with a mental illness can still sign well. Kind of reminds me of an episode of Spin City (Deaf Becomes Her - season 1, episode 20) where they have an terp for the mayor's address. YouTube has a clip. In this case, the guy had no skills, said he was a terp on his resume, and it was a comedy show.

But the lesson is still there. Check out the terps more carefully and have more than one.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Recipe: Emeril's Christmas Bread

Imagine someone who doubled a bread recipe and the results nearly took over the kitchen with a lot of rising bread dough. If anyone's familiar with the classic I Love Lucy show when she was cornered by a huge loaf of bread coming out of the oven, this is kinda like this. The bread went BAM back...

But of course, Jamie and I had a good laugh reading this. We'll have to make it sometime.

Emeril's Christmas Bread: A story of 2 loaves, 3 colors, and 1 frightened baker

The recipe is at the end of the article.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Surgery and the Hips - Part 5

Back in mid-November, I had surgery to remove that wrecking ball of an antibiotic spacer and put in new joint hardware. I was only in the hospital for 3 days, and did well in my physical therapy tests, allowing me to go home sooner. This time, I don't quite remember being in the recovery room, only waking up in my hospital room.

Interestingly enough, it was the same room I had back in July, room 403.

I started again with in-home physical therapy the day after I got home. I'm still using the walker, with a restriction of 10% weightbearing on the left leg. I've been able to do things I wasn't able to do when I had the spacer in me. My house has a wall that separates the living room and foyer from the dining room and kitchen, allowing me to walk around it. I couldn't go more than 4 times around with the spacer. Now I've been able to get 6 times around and was able to get up on the exercise bed and do some exercises I wasn't able to do before. Another is that I'm able to sleep better. Of course, there's still some swelling in the leg and I have to keep them elevated, but the swelling's improved. Sleeping on my side I can do, but not for too long.

I was taking some antibiotics for a few weeks after discharge with pain meds. I've had the staples removed as well. Interestingly enough, the first surgery used Dermabond to close the incision, and the second used stitches. With this third surgery, the surgeon didn't reuse the anterior incisions due to the condition of the skin due to the infection, but used the lateral approach.

Still got a ways to go in terms of going from walker to cane. Next surgery could easily be late 2014.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Surgery and the Hips - Part 4

A week after I was in Acute Rehab, I was moved to a nearby nursing home, where I stayed for 6 weeks. I wasn't able to return home due to the house not quite being set up for my needs.

Enduring 6-7 weeks of IV antibiotics via the PICC line wasn't too bad, but it definitely made things easier with the blood draws.

Physical and occupational therapy in the nursing home helped out in getting me back to being able to do things. It got easier to walk and do other necessary things. At one point, my hearing aid's earhook and tubing decided to go bad. This required me to make quick work in ordering replacements from the audiologist and replacing them on my own. That meant I had a week of not being able to use my hearing aid.

Jamie helped out in bringing clean clothes every week including some other things I needed.

The nursing home had daily activities, but I missed a lot of them due to PT and OT. They had these practice stairs which I couldn't use at first, then finally able to use it. But the spacer prevented me from using them effectively due to the weight limitation. After a bit of research and therapist recommendations, I picked up on a stairlift and had it installed the day after I got home.

Apparently the spacer has other ideas in terms of being able to sleep at times...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Surgery and the Hips - Part 3

Surgery on the right hip will definitely be delayed, possibly til possibly mid-2014.

As it turns out, I returned to my doctor's office to have some discharge from the incision checked out a little over a month after the initial left hip replacement surgery. When the doc took out fluid from my joint and I saw what was aspirated, no one had to tell me it was infected. Fortunately, the doctor's office was within the same hospital I had the surgery, so it was a simple matter of being readmitted.

It was pretty funny when the nurses on the floor said "weren't you just here a few weeks ago?" Yep, and I'm back due to the joint being infected. Even the physical therapist doesn't look worse for wear after my telling and showing her previously how I use the walker on the steps.

After some talking with the surgeon and his fellow, it turns out that the joint definitely was infected. Two days later, I have surgery to replace the infected hardware with an antibiotic spacer. They have to give me painkillers in recovery as I'm in quite a bit of pain. I don't quite remember the trip from recovery to my room.

It was difficult enough getting out of the hospital bed. Their giving me a strap with a loop on the other end for my foot helped out in getting me in and out of bed.

I had a blood drain which creates a vacuum when compressed. I couldn't resist.

"Somewhere out there, a vampire's going to be very happy."

A few days later, I'm told I'm going to be moved upstairs to Acute Rehab, and had to agree to 3 hours worth of therapy daily. I have a PICC line put in for the IV antibiotics and blood draws. Using pain meds helps out in controlling the pain while I go through physical and occupational therapy. They've got this monster of a platform walker that's helped me out in getting back to walking.

When going through physical therapy, remember that they also specialize in wedgies...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hospitals and the Deaf Patient

Before I had my knee surgeries, one of the first things I did was go to the hospital where I was to have the first surgery and visit the Patient Relations office. I talked with them about interpreters and passed on to them my surgery date, my surgeon, and how long I will be there. This was probably my most important contact.

From there, let them know to pass on to other medical people that they will be dealing with a deaf person via the relay. In my case, email was used with the Patient Relations contact as well as the surgical scheduler in the surgeon's office. With the scheduler, when it came to surgery dates, I did it in person since there was some paperwork such as patient instructions and hospital information.

While you're doing all this, visit the financial office of the hospital to pass on your medical insurance information if possible. This may save a little time with checking in.

The next important thing to have is an advocate. What this person does is make your medical decisions when you are unable to do so. Filling out an Advanced Directive is the next best thing to do. While the chances for death or complications are small, it still helps to have both advocate and the directives if something arises.

When I went to the rehab facility after the first knee surgery, there were a few problems (More on the Knees and Surgery - Part 3, Part 4). At first, the people didn't believe there was such a thing as the ADA. They had never heard of captioning. When one of the coordinators talked with Jamie about interpreters with me in the room, one of the first things the coordinator said blew my mind.

"We're here to make money."

Is that something you want to hear when you're recovering from surgery and need some rehab and therapy to regain at least some use of what was operated on? I didn't get an interpreter for a few days. The business office had to compliment Jamie when I went there by myself saying that she was a good advocate.

Sure, they're there to earn money to pay the staff and to take care of their patients, but that kind of comment is pretty cold and uncaring. This is when the advocate is most needed since this person can more easily give the facility more information about these unknown things.

When I had inpatient therapy, which included in-home nursing support and physical therapy, we arranged our appointments ahead of time, and I watched for the person. Then we went from there.

With outpatient physical therapy, it's important for the patient and therapist(s) to find a way to communicate, since not all physical therapy offices will be able to provide interpreters. In my case, I made sure the therapists in the office knew about me. One thing that helped was a paper showing all the exercises I would be doing and watching others do their exercises at times if I was to do what they were doing.

Before I had the hip surgery, I had a contact in the first hospital related to a joint class, which told about what to expect pre- and post-surgery. This person was my contact who arranged for the interpreter for pre-surgical testing and the joint class at the second hospital before the first hip surgery.

Fortunately, I didn't need to do as much footwork as I did before since the contact I mentioned above took care of everything and it was also the 2010 legal case mentioned in Surgery and the Hips - Part 1.

Remember that it is the initial communications between the patient and the health provider(s) in the beginning that can go a long way.

In this day of high tech and the Internet, there's no excuse for anyone to claim it's difficult to contact the deaf person when there's also email, texting, and instant messaging besides the relay. A little low tech like keeping paper and pen around goes a long way as well.

Next - Part 2

Monday, July 8, 2013

Funny Moment 12: Imploding TVs

Back when I was moving from KY to VA, I had this storage room that required me to go up a flight of steps. I managed to clean up the space, tossing at least half the stuff in there, leaving just a small neat pile. One of the things that went down the steps was a TV. I wasn't in much of a mood to carry the thing down. So, I pushed it down the steps.

*crunch* *pop* *crash* *thud* *bounce* then *BOOM!* when it hit the bottom, landing front side down.

Impressive. The noise was amplified by the wooden stairway walls, sounding somewhat like when a fluorescent tube hits the ground but a more deeper boom. It wasn't even much of a mess since the back of the TV tube imploded inwards.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Teamwork in classes and on the job - Part 2

Continued from Part 1

That plus the instructor emailed us saying our report and presentation were never uploaded to Blackboard. I take one look at what those two girls finally uploaded and I knew we weren't going to get a good grade, and we didn't.

What totally floored me was meeting up with them and the instructor after class in the instructor's office. One girl kept giving excuses such as she was overwhelmed, didn't do well with teamwork, etc. Well, I'm overwhelmed, too, but I'm dealing with a lot more. I told her that as an older student, I couldn't wait til the last minute anymore, all my assignments were turned in/uploaded the night before, and that I can't do all-nighters anymore. I may live 20 miles away from the campus, but I have access to the same resources they do.

Had those two asked, I'd have made that report and presentation look a whole lot better. Even the instructor was backing me up on just about everything I said and then some. This girl took a look at my part of the report like she'd never seen it before and she had to agree my part looked good.

In short, sometimes if necessary, do the project by yourself.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Teamwork in classes and on the job - Part 1

We know that teamwork is probably the most important thing on the job. The old cliche of "there is no I in team" is pretty much true. It's multiple people working together. In classes, it's even more important.

When doing a class project, it's how well the entire team does. If one person does badly, the entire team suffers. I had this one team project and I kept telling the other two teammates that I didn't want to wait til the last minute. I had given them my contact info and class schedule a few times, and even then only one of the two gave me her text number. The other girl I never heard from until 10 hours before due time.

Apparently these two waited til the absolute last minute while I had my part already in the report with instructor's specs and questions to answer for them. My "don't wait til the last minute" was a common theme for the next three weeks before the due date. I told them I could make the report a good one but not if it was at the last minute. Come the due date, we had our presentation, and I was thinking it looked OK, though could have used some improvements. But the actual report I never saw til later.

What got me was that they kept claiming that I didn't say anything. Really? Like my many times of saying "no last minute" wasn't saying anything? That plus "we were aggressively working on project in classroom." If that were true, we'd have finished this long ago. Hardly "aggressive." And I was right there in the classroom and in the Commuter Lounge if they needed me.

Next - Part 2

Monday, June 24, 2013

Surgery and the Hips - Part 2

Physical therapy started the next day for me, twice a day. I was barely able to make a circuit around the nurses station, going only 1/4 of the way around with the help of a walker. Next day, I made a full circuit before heading into the physical therapy room. Then the day before I was to leave, in two physical therapy sessions, did the equivalent of two circuits. I even scared the physical therapist and may have given her more gray hair showing how I use the walker to go up and down steps, doing it in the fire exit stairwell.

One of the things I had to do post-surgery that day was to sit on the edge of the bed. Just doing that beforehand would have been painful. In this case, it wasn't. But I wasn't able to stand due to my having low blood pressure and the concern I could pass out.

Before heading home, I had to ask questions of the surgeon, his fellow (he learns from the surgeon), the physical therapist, and others. I couldn't resist when one thing that came to mind was on roller coasters. I asked if I could ride them, maybe at least a year after surgeries are done. The answer I got was that I could. Personally, I'd see how the ride was built and go from there, knowing how fast and bumpy they can be. I've got almost no driving limitations except that I not be under influence of the pain medications. The way I am now, probably won't be for a bit.

Most important was the restrictions. Seems I have almost none. Only thing I need to be careful of is that I not have extreme ranges of movement. The fellow said I'd also know if I dislocated the hip and to call 911 to take me to thoe hospital for getting it back in place.  It's also around this time I find that there's not two approaches to hip surgery, but three. Anterior, posterior, and lateral. Seems lateral is approximately between anterior and posterior. Another webpage shows more approaches. I also found out earlier that my incision was closed by stitches under the skin, but the skin is closed via not stitches nor staples, but something called Dermabond.

As usual, I used humor here and there when the time was right.

Other than all that, the second surgery should go just as well as this one. I've got the same people from a home health care agency coming in for nursing support and physical therapy from when I had the knee surgeries.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Surgery and the Hips - Part 1

Finally, I got the call saying that my surgery time was 11:30am and I had to be there by 9:30am. Going through Registration, I find that there's been some changes in the way ASL interpreter requests are handled. According to the Registration person and interpreter, there was a case in 2010 that was settled in 2011.

Hospital fined for failure to accommodate
Inova Health System settles with Justice Department

Definitely an improvement there. I had interpreters the entire time I was there, even at night. One nurse I talked with briefly mentioned what they went through in the training classes related to this. I half expected him to show one of his test papers, after talking with him about how the classes went.

Going through prep, it was painful enough having someone lift my left leg onto the wheelchair footrest and prep bed. One of the people I talked with was the anesthesiologist. He tried learning some sign and got everyone in the room laughing a bit when he got a couple signs wrong, then right. We talked about what he was going to give me and so on. The surgeon came in briefly and we wrote in the area where the incision was to be. Other people came in as well. I also had an epidural, or spinal block, right before heading into the operating room.

Going into the operating room, I wasn't able to make note of the room number like last time. I was awake just long enough to take a quick look around the room before going under. What made things different here was the fact that I was requested to leave my hearing aids on as they were going to talk with me some before the actual surgery started. Only thing is that they said I wouldn't remember it and they were right. I didn't wake up in the recovery room, rather, in the operating room. My arms were out on my sides and there was a sheet blocking my view from the stomach down. All that was taken down just before going to the recovery room where I spent about an hour. Total time going through both was about 4 hours.

Then my bed was wheeled to where I would be for the next few days. Interestingly enough, it was room 404. You may recognize 404 as being a "not found" error on a website.

Next - Part 2

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Researching My Hip Surgery

Like I said in my Researching Your Knee Replacement (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), it helps to research and ask questions. I started like I did with the knees, looking on YouTube and other webpages. But of course, I went back over to Booktoots' Healing blog, but if she had something on that, I may have missed it. However, Robin's site had some info.

After much research, I knew that there were two approaches to this procedure, the anterior and the posterior. What sealed it for me in getting the anterior approach over the posterior was an article in the Washington Post. As it turns out, it was one of the referrals my rheumatologist gave me, and was also mentioned in the article. I made an appointment with one doctor there. Then when I saw him, we talked about the surgery and I asked him if he does the anterior approach. He didn't, but he passed me along that same day to another doctor who did, and from there I had my surgery date.

About three weeks before the surgery date, I went to the hospital for presurgical testing and met up with a case manager and a physical therapist. I was cleared for surgery. Later that evening, I had a "joint class," meaning they cover what I'm to expect before and after surgery. I was the only person in the class.

It was difficult enough after the first knee surgery when the surgeon had to cut the muscle due to the muscle contractures I had, but after seeing the laundry list of restrictions in effect for 6 weeks...

The surgeon who did the knees does the posterior approach. My surgery date with him was cancelled and went with the current surgeon.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Graduation... Finally...

I haven't been posting much in the last year, and for good reason. I went back to school. The knees were repaired and I was ready to head back to classes. After much looking around of where to go, I found I had three more years of classes with GMU. I wanted a place that would allow me to graduate in less time than that, maybe two years. Gallaudet University had their Adult Degree Program. One of the requirements was that I have 120 credits, and I had 151 transferrable credits. My classes would be on campus and online. I declared my major of Info Tech and started my first semester with two classes while I went through the approval process.

The approval process was more of an up and down argument process among the dean and other people. I was accepted for various reasons and a technicality, that the Undergraduate Catalog wasn't clear on what kind of classes I would take, in terms of online, on campus, etc. Finally I was accepted about 3 weeks before the end of the semester. That next semester had me enrolled in five classes, two online 8 week classes and three normal classes on campus.

But what a crazy final year it's been...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hip Surgeries (was Post-surgery knees)

Awhile ago, I came back from the doctor awhile ago and it's just as I figured. I need a left total hip replacement. It's getting more and more difficult to get around. I had to go from cane to walker around the house and wheelchair when I'm out and about.

...and if that ain't bad enough, I need it on the RIGHT hip also...

The good thing is that I graduated from college and will have surgery without interfering with classes. Surgery date is June 17 in the morning. In this case, it's a different doctor than who did the knees. Next posting will have more on the research I did.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Funny Moment 11: Human vs Elevator

Another time when I attended NTID, there were many of us who were a bit on the nutty side. Various students managed to find ways to abuse and confuse the elevators in the Ellingson dorm building, known as Tower A. I managed to make it think it was opening up on 7th floor when it was actually on the 6th. A trip down to the basement reset its floor identity crisis.

There was this one day I said bye to my friend as the elevator door was closing. Then I ran down 10 floors and made it right in front of the elevator on the ground floor just as it was opening. I couldn't resist.

"What took so long?"

The looks of some of the people getting off the elevator were priceless.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Post-surgery Knees - Part 9


Double and triple crap...

Just when I've been improving like I said in Post-surgery Knees - Part 8, something else comes up and it's a nice setback.

Seems I may need hip surgery since my left hip's giving me trouble. I'm figuring it's a fall I had in a parking lot that did it while going to an event in the early summer. I was doing good all through the summer up til a couple months ago. Then my ability to walk started getting worse, even using the cane. I just started using the walker for extra stability and it's paid off in less pain.

I had xrays done, and even a radiology friend doesn't like what he sees. I should know more soon with this doc appointment in a couple weeks.

And I was so looking forward to actually walking with the cane to get my degree...

And if this isn't bad enough, I need one more internship to graduate.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Growing Up Deaf - Update 6

Earlier in my Growing Up Deaf - Update 3 post, I talked about MSSD. I was out at MSSD all day during their academic bowl as I mentioned in the previous post, MSSD's Academic Bowl.

One of the first things I realized from back then while talking with a couple parents is that my signing skills weren't exactly that great. So if I had gone to MSSD:
- I'd be more oral than signing, but I'd still be learning sign.
- would I have fit in regardless of my signing ability?
- would I have a learning experience like I had with being mainstreamed?
- would I have had more of a social life than with the hearing school mainstreaming?
   (Growing Up Deaf - parts 18, 19, 20, 21 - Teasing and Mistreatment and serial label)
- would I have had better friends than with the hearing school mainstreaming?

Even after considering all this, what was the best thing for me to do? Probably mainstreaming was the better choice.

Friday, January 18, 2013

MSSD's Academic Bowl

On January 10-13, MSSD hosted an academic bowl. Jamie Berke and I went to the January 12 events.

It was quite an event. Her son's events with Woodson were done well and they managed to go pretty far. They had some good questions posed to the students.

I had the feeling after taking a look at the stats posted on the wall that it would be interesting if MSD and MSSD competed. Turns out they did and it was quite a competition.

MSD won 61-39.

Good job to all teams!