After 25 years of using the same model of ventilator, I’ve completely switched to the newer and smaller Trilogy. It feels a bit different than what I’m used to, but I’m sure I’ll adapt soon enough. But I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the sturdy old LP-10. It accompanied me from early adolescence to middle age without failing me once. It even survived being dropped a few times. When I build my panic room to keep out the rampaging zombie hordes, I’ll stock it with a few LP-10s.
I am one spoiled cripple. I was reminded of this again today when I had to take the local paratransit service to and from work. What’s normally a twenty-minute commute in my own van became a sixty or ninety-minute journey into aggravation. I respect anyone who uses the service on a daily basis; it requires patience and fortitude. I’ll have my van back in a few days, but I get ulcers just thinking about having to depend on paratransit on a daily basis.
Like I said, spoiled cripple here.
My ventilator alarmed unexpectedly during a packed meeting today. It was nothing serious and it’s happened before, but it’s a bit awkward to be the sudden focus of attention in the room. My co-workers weren’t fazed (they’ve heard my alarms before), but others probably wondered why I was in a conference room instead of the ICU. Afterwards, one of my colleagues joked that I was bored and wanted a break. And now I must confess: during high school, I would sometimes slip out of a particularly boring class under the pretense that I needed suctioning or some other medical intervention. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I still somehow managed to avoid a life of total slackerdom. Now, I’m more inclined to gasp for breath than miss part of a meeting.
Somebody had better figure out a way to upload my consciousness into a much better-looking robotic body because I ain’t getting any younger. But aside from a little more graying at the temples and an inability to stay awake past one in the morning, I seem to be holding up remarkably well with nary a mid-life crisis in sight. Let’s hope the final year of my thirties continues that trend and delivers a few pleasant surprises as I make the final approach to forty. And I hope you’ll stick around to see what happens next.
Someone recently said to me, “You’re pretty normal, except for being an atheist.” And so I was reminded yet again that most Americans still believe that atheists are kind of icky. While I can appreciate that the lack of belief in God is deeply foreign to many people, I’m still struck how much emphasis people place on it as a defining characteristic. Nurses have introduced me to their friends as “my boss, the atheist I told you about.” A girlfriend once pleaded with me to not mention my lack of belief to her parents. If asked to list my most interesting qualities, I don’t think my metaphysical views would crack the top twenty. But others seem to regard it with a weird mix of fascination, fear, and pity. It’s eerily similar to how many respond to my disability.
I certainly don’t try to inhabit the margins of Americans’ comfort zones, but it seems to be something I do with ease.
I’m going to spend the weekend clicking monsters to death in Diablo III and testing Comcast’s commitment to suspending its broadband cap. See you on the Monday side of things.
This morning, I dropped off my van at a local garage for some expensive but fairly routine repairs and maintenance. When I returned this afternoon to pick it up, I discovered that the sliding door and ramp were completely inoperable. The fact that it stopped working while in the shop may be a huge coincidence, but I’m skeptical. Of course, the staff pled ignorance, but they did agree to try to fix it tomorrow in consultation with the dealer’s mechanics. Perhaps it’s something as simple as a disconnected wire (at least, that’s what I’m hoping). I’ve had plenty of shops work on my van and never had a problem like this before. Typically, they leave the modifications alone. But after this incident, I can’t assume that will always be the case.
I’ll be starting a new position in a couple weeks that focuses m0re exclusively on health care reform. While the future of the Affordable Care Act may be uncertain, I’m reasonably certain that Minnesota will continue on the path to reform and I’m looking forward to being involved in those efforts. Of course, this means that you can look forward to even more frequent wonkish commentary on this blog. But don’t worry; all things geek and fishnetted will still be featured prominently. I’m not one to forget my roots.
I thought I’d write something about my unreasonable level of excitement upon receiving my new work computer, but that just seems like a sad commentary on the state of my life. More tomorrow.