Friday, February 29, 2008

HA HA HA HA

This fan has a referee's jersey with "BLIND" where the name would go.

I saw a fascinating article about the improvements in cochlear implant technology that are allowing deaf cochlear implant users to discern music for the first time.

Now, cochlear implants are a volatile topic at best in the culturally Deaf (note the capital D) community. So can music be, if the implication is that the dominant (hearing) culture is treating the Deaf community like its members are somehow broken, inferior, etc. So I will tread lightly on both topics, other than to say that I support every competent adult who makes the decision to do what's right for them personally: if they want a cochlear implant, I say fine, go and have the surgery. If they dont want one, then I say fine, nobody should have any kind of medical procedure they neither want nor need, and that goes double for a treatment as invasive as major surgery.

But once a person decides to get a cochlear implant, I can't help but hope that the best possible technology is available to them. That's why I'm ecstatic that Cis are improving to the point where the users are gaining the ability to discern between musical tones. It's not just for the sake of the music, but for the increased precision in the capability of the CI devices themselves.

I hope that the new, improved technology becomes the standard ASAP, if it isn't the norm already. Heck, if someone is going to take a step as dramatic as having cochlear implant surgery, they should get the most possible "bang for their buck" out of the device. Here's to ever-more precise discernment between different tones.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Blogger is beta-testing a new freebie feature that allows voice mails to be sent by clicking a button on a web page. (Actually, it could permit phone calls as well, but I don't have it set up that way -- I set everything to go directly to voice mail.)

So go ahead and click away. When you do, you enter info so the automated thingy will call YOU (so there are no long-distance charges to you) and you can leave a recording. No fuss, no muss.

Have fun! :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

That was quick. I've had to rearrange my SuperShuttle reservation already. Actually, what I did was cancel the return trip to the airport, as we're now going to be attending a talk on Saturday morning on technology and the deaf-blind. (Figures that they'd schedule that particular topic for the final day of the conference, grrrr...)

Long story short: instead of leaving from KC's to go directly to the airport, now we'll be attending the talk on Saturday morning and I will be able to get a shuttle from the hotel (where the talk will be) to the airport. LA's version of paratransit is, allegedly, not over-fond of having people carry luggage onto a ride, but OH WELL. This one time, when KC and I travel to the conference from her apartment and my next destination will be the airport, I'll have no choice but to bring a suitcase. Such is life.

I'm psyched about this conference. :)
Boy, did everything fall into place quickly for this Tech conference!

I found a surprisingly reasonable fare (once I switched airports from Burbank, which is close to where KC lives, to LAX), and as an added bonus, both of the flights are nonstop. Then I checked out SuperShuttle for door-to-door service to and from the airport to KC's apartment complex. We'll be staying at the apartment complex, rather than at the hotel where the convention is, to save money. LA's version of paratransit can get us to and from the conference sites. KC reserved a guest apartment for me in her complex, so we'll be staying in the same building.

11 hours ago, I didn't even know this conference EXISTED, and now everything's set for me to be in attendance. Now if THAT isn't the proverbial Sign From Above, what is?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Boy, today has been one for the books.

It started when I found out that the Phantom whom I am making the Phan Club scrapbook for is going to the San Jose Sharks. I learned this from a fellow fan, whose ticket agent called him. I couldn't find confirmation online, but I did get it verified in a different way. I texted a friend of mine who has known someone else on our roster since his college days. She texted HIM, and his response, regarding his erstwhile teammate, was, "Ya, he's gone now". Arrrrrgh...

So, though I am still awaiting confirmation from any "official" sources like the Phantoms or Sharks sites, I have no reason to doubt the fellow fan and LESS-than-no reason to doubt the friend-of-my-friend. So I have decidedly mixed feelings here.

For Brian Boucher, I'm ecstatic, since he has been a particular favorite of mine since he turned pro ten years ago, because he really does belong on an NHL team and not in the minor leagues. He has been superb for us and he is reaping the benefits of that. GOOD for him.

For the Phantoms, I'm frustrated, because we have had the best goalie tandem in the league all season long, and I was looking forward to a LONG playoff run with Boucher and Munroe as our goalies. Both of them have been outstanding and the Phantoms fan in me is frustrated that we won't see that pair of goalies on our roster in the postseason.

For me, personally, I'm all kinds of aggravated because I really was looking forward to presenting my player with his scrapbook, in person, at the Phan Club banquet. All three years that I've done this, something has come up to prevent me from giving a book to the person I chose at the start of the season. I have had guys sent down to the Phantoms farm team in the ECHL, I have had guys called up to the Flyers (at least that's a happy reason for a player to miss the banquet), I have had players get loaned out to another team, and now this. FARGITY FARG FARG, can't I make ONE scrapbook for a guy I pick, and actually get to hand it to him myself?

Well, anyway... on to the next couple of things.

I got a registered mail package from England. This caught me totally off guard, as I was absolutely NOT expecting anything in the mail from anywhere, let alone registered mail or from another country.

I opened it and laughed my head off. It's mini AM and FM radios I ordered well over a year ago, probably closer to two years ago, and completely forgot about. They were inexpensive, and they were meant to replace a couple of mini radios I had gotten online eons ago that were ruined when they got wet. (Washing machines and mini radios in pants pockets are a bad combination. Just so you know.) I absitively, posolutley, 100% forgot I ever ordered these -- that's how long it's been since I sent the check. (A check, mind you -- who requires payment by checks anymore?) So for them to show up today was a nice little boon.

But these things aren't even the biggest news of the day. I heard from KC. She asked me to interpret for her at an assistive technology convention in March. So I will be in California for a few days in March, seeing all the latest assistive tech. And bet your RUMP I will have a stack of contact cards to hand out because if THESE people can't tell me how to train to be a trainer, no one can.

Oh, and plans are under way to attend the NFB (National Federation of the Blind) convention in Louisville, too. That's around the first week of july; I'll have to have a look at their website for more details.

What a day. And it's not even 4 PM yet. The way things have progressed so far, I can't imagine what's next.

Monday, February 25, 2008

So it's been a productive couple of days...

For those whom we spoke to offline on Saturday, I'm glad to report that the signatures we were waiting for have come through. Contingent on the Other Individual's loan being approved, everything should proceed smoothly from here on out. In a few weeks, we can add one more item to the "One Less Thing to Worry About" file.

Yesterday was the Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Carnival, and Mark and I went. I love the Carnival. :) I always enjoy getting to have a word with the players, particularly the Phantoms and Phantoms alumni on the Flyers who know us by sight (and, depending on which individual we're talking about, sometimes by name as well). It's pretty gratifying to give back a little thanks to some people who not only work their tails off, but occasionally end up injured (yikes), all in the name of trying to win some games and entertain the fans. So I got to welcome a few people who are recently returned from injury back into the lineup, tell one Phantom that he should have the fans sign the cast on his wrist since he's busy signing autographs for all of us :), congratulate a few people on some excellent performance they've had (such as our captain who had two goals and two assists the night before the Carnival), and -- highlight of the afternoon -- congratulate Riley Cote on his first-ever NHL goal. I can't begin to describe how happy I am when I see someone like him, a genuinely nice and down-to-earth person who has had to work his tail off in spades for the achievements he's had, have a dream come true and make it to the NHL. I love to see the Good Guys of the Universe have their hard work rewarded with real success.

So, all in all, we had a good weekend, to say the least. :)

Apparently even good "stress" can result in a migraine, however -- I took the last of the Imitrex this afternoon and have a call in for the prescription to be renewed, as it had no refills left on it. But you know what? For THIS kind of stress, I'll just deal with the headache and not gripe too much. ;) With luck, it'll be entirely gone by the time I have to take minutes at the Phan Club meeting tonight.

Friday, February 22, 2008

OMG!!!

The BBC has FREE Doctor Who EBOOKS!

If you thought I used my XO a lot before,as the song says, "you ain't seen NOTHIN' yet!" Now, between surfing and reading ebooks, I might NEVER put it down. :o)
If these charges are true, this is obscene beyond description and I hope the corporate thieves responsible for this FRY.

Health Net sued for insurance cancellations

Health Net Inc. is being sued by Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo for promising medical coverage and then dropping patients if they needed expensive treatment.

In a suit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the City Attorney accuses Health Net (NYSE: HNT) of using "misleading information" to gain members in the individual market and then using the information against them to delay coverage.

The suit states that Woodland Hills insurer used untrained salespeople to collect people's medical histories, used purposefully misleading forms and did not review the information until after they filed claims.

"The application is essentially a trap for the unwary that maximizes the possibility that it will contain errors or omissions that defendants can later use as a purported basis for rescission," the suit states.

The city attorney says Health Net went as far as to create a secret unit in its organization to cancel policies, and that it provided benchmarks -- including goals for numbers of rescissions per year and dollars in claims denied -- and bonus payments to employees for reaching company goals.

"The division met or exceeded its goals every year, denying more than $35 million in claims between 2003 and 2006," according to the city attorney's news release.

Delgadillo also said Thursday that in addition to seeking civil penalties, he is initiating a criminal investigation of individuals associated with Health Net's bonus payment program for cancellations, and he is examining statements made to the California Department of Managed Healthcare regarding these payments.

"This is a matter that Health Net takes very seriously," the insurer responded in a prepared statement. "We have a long-standing tradition of providing health care coverage to people in need." The company said it paid nearly $200 million in claims for its 110,000 individual members in 2007 and that state regulators are already reviewing the claims made by Delgadillo in the filing.


If they really did intentionally skew the odds toward incorrect data collection, then use that as an excuse to drop coverage of subscribers requesting health care, and especially if they set goals for and rewarded employes for denied claims, they deserve to be raked over the coals for the miserable thieving scumbags that they are.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

SWEEET! I just installed software called accessx on the XO.

It allows a disabled user to adjust the way the keyboard behaves. For example, if someone can only hit one key at a time, they can enable the StickyKeys feature and then to get a capital letter, first they can press the SHIFT key by itself, then they can press the letter they want capitalized.

There are also ways to use accessx to control things like whether or not a letter will be repeatedly entered when its key is held down.

On an XO-accessibility mailing list I belong to, there is discussion about a text-to-speech synthesizer (so that everything a person types is pronounced audibly by the computer). I think the XO's version of this software is not quite ready for prime time, so I will hold off on installing it. But I'm all happy that I've taken one baby step toward setting up an accessible XO.
I've made some tweaks to the appearance of the blog page. If anything is displaying strangely, do let me know. My email address is on the left-hand side of the page. (You'll have to manually tweak the address to get it to work... I have a bit of anti-spam defense in there so I don't get junk mail from every automated spambot in the universe.)

Thanks.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Got a song stuck in your head? Want to get rid of the earworm? The best way to do so is to listen to said song from start to finish.

Here are a few online jukebox sites that can help you accomplish that. Type in the name of the song and the artist, and have at it:

Songerize.com
Seeqpod.com
Songza.com

Have fun! :)

Rest stop. Guess where? ;o)

We are about an hour from home.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

LOL

A bus just passed ours on the highway. In the dark, it was easy to see that their TVs had a hockey game on.

It was the team bus. I see they do homework like review game video while they travel.

Have a safe trip home, guys -- we'll see you on Monday.
NUTS! The linesman got in the way of the puck in OT and caused Albany to get an odd-man rush. The River Rats scored and won. Fargity farg farg... #%&$!!!

Time to head home.

A nice clean sheet of ice, ready for the Phantoms to come out and kick some posterior. :o)

We're at the Times Union Center.

Miracle is the movie for the ride to Albany. Great film! :o)

And... we're off!

Provisions for the Phantoms Phan Club's bus trip to Albany.

Everyone's here but the bus.

OK, 'splain this to me.

We got this remote for my father-in-law for his birthday.



As you can see, the remote control itself is humongous.

So WHY is the print in the instruction manual so freaking miniscule that you need to use an electron microscope to read it? Good GRIEF! If the font had been any tinier, the entire instruction booklet could have been printed on the head of a pin. It's ridiculous.

Of course, that's no more ridiculous than the time when we tried out KC's brand-new braille compass and discovered that the only instructions enclosed in the package were in print. Um, hello? Did I mention that it's a BRAILLE compass? Ya think maybe the person who just purchased it is BLIND and would need the instructions to also be in braille? BTW, *that* instruction pamphlet was printed in a miniscule font, too. Someone needs to explain to that manufacturer that "equal accessibility for all" does NOT mean that they should be producing instruction pamphlets that are equally illegible to the blind AND the sighted.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mark and I visited my mother-in-law today. She's doing a lot better with her physical therapy and is able to get around using the walker now. They now think that her pain and other symptoms are the result of issues with her hips, both of which were replaced at least 15 years ago. She actually used the word "sciatica" for the first time. Ugh. So it doesn't sound like there are many steps that they can take that will alleviate the symptoms of pain and numbness outright.

However, the walker, the therapy, and some in-home sessons once she's discharged will go a long way to helping her manage the condition. They did some sessions to help her learn how to get into and out of a bathtub, and she already owns a shower chair from her hip surgeries years ago, so she's ahead of the curve there.

She's hoping that if all goes well, she might even be discharged late next week. I hope so. I think she's looking forward to going home and I *know* my father-in-law is looking forward to having her come home. He visits her every day, but that's not the same thing.

So, thank God for giant favors. There's finally been some good news to report.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Boy, if you aren't in the Philadelphia area, I really hope the weather you're having is better than the mess we've had here for the past couple of days!

Yesterday evening, we had an ice storm. It was so bad that even though we don't live particularly far from the Spectrum, I refused to go out in it, not on foot and not behind the wheel. Not even the prospect of attending my first live hockey game in three weeks was enough to pry me out of the house. And believe me, if I don't get to see some hockey in person SOON, I'm going to go into freaking withdrawal.

I didn't realize the weather was as nasty as all that until I exited the house. Then I nearly slipped on the front steps, braced myself by grabbing the railing, and discovered that the railing was entirely coated in ice. As was every other solid surface.

"OK," I thought, "hold it right there. Last time I went out in weather that turned into this, I dislocated a kneecap. And that day, it wasn't this bad when I left -- it TURNED this bad by the time I was on my way home, which was when I had the mishap."

This time, it was ALREADY as bad as the weather I got injured in. I decided that under no circumstances was I going to risk putting myself back on crutches. I hate to waste time repeating my mistakes, since there are so many new ones I haven't made yet. Back into the house I went, cursing ice storms to up to high heaven and down to low h€ll.

The good news is, today's temperatures warmed up enough that the ice melted. The bad news is, we had rain all day long, alternating from monsoons to drizzles and back again. And the additional bad news is that the temperatures are slated to drop back below freezing tonight, so the rain will turn back into snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Phooey.

You know, LAST year on Valentine's Day we had an ice storm. This year, we might have cruddy weather on that day again, and we certainly are having cruddy weather in the days leading up to it. We might have to change that day's symbols from hearts and Cupids to snowflakes and icicles if this keeps up.

In other news, Joe M. and I visited FD, the friend we've known since we were in high school who is now battling bladder and cervical cancer. (She's slightly older than we are -- WE were in high school when we met her, but she had aleady graduated a few years prior to that.) She looked good, all things considered, but her energy levels are low so we kept the visit short. She's on a mess of medication, along with the chemo treatments she's been on and the radiation, which if I understand right is slated for three days in March. I hope she beats this *%$^#& thing and beats it in record time. And I hope the several people from Back in the Day who haven't been in touch yet find the time to send an email or a card or make a phone call. Especially since this IS an aggressive disease she's fighting, and chances are there will be times during the treatment when she might not be up to taking calls or reading email.

Some good news: my mother-in-law has been able to use a walker. That's quite an improvement. So is the fact that the pain appears to be subsiding. I hope she continues to make progress so she can be discharged before long. I know my father-in-law will be immensely relieved when she comes home.

OK, that's all the news that's fit to print, I think. :) Later!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Man, don't you hate when you do a contract job for a foreign government, then they make you wait so long for payment that you totally forgot you did the darn job? Or that they owed you anything? Or even what the heck you did?

Yeah, I hate that, too. Apparently, it happened to me, though. This morning, I got not one, but TWO letters apologizing for the lengthy delay in payment for the contract work I'd performed.

That must have been some delay, because I just plumb forgot I even did any work with the Nigerian government. Darn. I need to start writing these things down, and I mean in a real copybook instead of on any little scraps of paper that are handy.

You know, they could have gotten away with not paying me at all, if they'd wanted to. I didn't even remember that they owed me anything, so I'd have been none the wiser. It just restores my faith in the human race to see that people are honest enough to pay when they could have kept their money to themselves. Don't you agree? In fact, to salute their altruistic ways, here's the letter they sent me:

CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA
WIRE TRANSFER DEPARTMENT
MARINA AVENUE-LAGOS
NIGERIA.

OUR REF: CBN/WTD/AU/11/02/08

ATTN: HONOURABLE CONTRACTOR / NEXT OF KIN CLAIMS.
RE: REMITTANCE OF YOUR CONTRACT SUM WITH THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.

With due respect sir, we sincerely apologize for the delay of the
transfer of your contract sum into your nominated bank account. Several
foreign contractors have gone through several problems receiving their
contract payments from our country.
I sincerely apologize for this problems.Henceforth,We have gone through
your files and documents and I must say they are highly satisfactory
and we have decided to transfer your funds into your account
immediately we hear from you.
To make things clear and to prevent fraudulent activities, we would
advice you to re-send your personal data
1. Names in full: --------------
2. Address: ------------------
3. Nationality: ----------------
4. Age: ----------------------
5. Occupation: ----------------
6. Phone/Fax: -----------------
7. Present Country: ------------
8. Banking details: --------------
9. Contract amount: ------------
And all other relevant documents that approve your claim of this
contract sum.Please we would advice that you contact us on
(draliu_usman@excite.com)so that we could talk this over.
As soon as we receive the aforementioned information, we would commence
with the transfer of your funds into your account immediately.
We are doing this to make sure we erase all terrible names our country
has over the past.
We hope to serve you better.
Regards,
DR ALIU USMAN
MANAGER,
WIRE TRANSFER DEPT.(CBN).

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Argh. It's past 5 AM, and not only have I not fallen asleep yet, I haven't even been sleepy yet. AT ALL.

I really should take a trip to somewhere like New Zealand or Australia. My circadian rhythm is already set to the time zones of the opposite side of the world. I wouldn't have any jet lag until I came home.

Either that or if I stayed there long enough, maybe I'd become nocturnal in THEIR time zone, then come home with my circadian rhythm reset to THIS time zone.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Here's a device I'd love to see in general use: a knee-brace power generator.

Where was THIS a few years ago when I was recovering from the knee injury? Imagine all the batteries I could have charged, just by walking around with the brace I would've been wearing anyway.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Here's a post from the OLPC News forums. This supports my feeling that these little ruggedized, portable devices are a great fit for uses as assistive technology. My first thought, on reading about them, was to look into ways that deaf-blind users could benefit from them, but there are a lot of different types of special-needs users that could employ the XO to their benefit. The user described in this post is a special-ed student. "Frank" is the person who donated the XO laptop that the student will be using.

One Laptop for Joey

Check out a few picture of the OLPC at my school.
http://computerkiddoswiki.pbwiki.com/Read+More+About+It

I was surprised by how many kids came down and played with it. Now these are kids who have a 30 station brand new Dell Lab. I teach them CAD Programming with Logo, Squeak, Scratch, Alice... I figure the little ones would love it and the big kids dismiss it out of hand. Instead- they all loved it. And they all wanted one- They were sad when I explained you could not but any retail. I saw 7 classes today and had a packed lab before school, during lunch and after school-even though we had a blizzard.

Favorites from their limited play time?? Tam Tam, Paint the of course, and the Video camera. The 6th grade boys at lunch made a litlte video about teeth-I have no idea where the idea came from... Joey got to meet his laptop and is willing to share it and let the rest of the kids play with it this week. On Friday we write into his IEPC the ability to use it during classtime. When you see Joey's picture at the bottom of the screen it says it all. I told Joey because he showed a real talent for using computer he was going to be the one to use it. He just glowed! The other kids in his class really rallyed around him- Joey you are good with computer I bet you are smart using them, Now this is a child who really struggles-and today-he was the most popular boy in 5th grade.

Frank today you made a HUGE difference in the life of a child Joey. Today he goes home feeling smart! his teacher and I had to turn away because we had tears in our eyes.

I am thinking that the OLPC could make a huge different in special education.
The Chicken. The Egg. Which came first?

Having had varying levels of pain for the past week, though THANK GOD nothing anywhere near as bad as how I felt last Friday, I've been looking online at migraine information.

What's interesting is that if you look at the list of (non-food) migraine triggers, and if you read the list of symptoms that occur in advance of/in the wake of a migraine episode, you would notice that most items on either list occur on BOTH lists. Depression. Stress. Fatigue. Disturbed sleep patterns. Digestive upset.

Did the symptoms cause the migraine, or did the migraine cause the symptoms? Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

Either way, it's enough to make a person want to swear off poultry.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hospitals. I haven't spent this much time in them or thinking about them since Joan was alive.There were a few weeks when she was in the cardiac unit after bypass surgery, and a few floors down one of our friends from prayer meeting, JV, was being treated in the oncology unit. :( For at least a month, the Joes (Joe M. and Joey D.) and I would spend Saturday afternoons visiting them both. Plus, on Joan's no-dialysis days, Joe M. and I had a schedule going where he'd visit Joan in the afternoon, and then go to night classes, and I would stop by and see her after work.

Now it's my mother-in-law who is still in the rehab facility after spending nearly a week in a hospital. She is still getting physical therapy but unfortunately, there has not been improvement in her condiiton; she still can't use her leg.

Also, Joe M's and my friend FD, whom I posted about a couple weeks ago when she was diagnosed with cancer, is apparently receiving inpatient treatment at the moment including chemo and radiation. We haven't been able to visit her yet, but we'd like to when she's up to having a visit. I hope she'll soon be well enough to resume ouptatient treatment, but if a visit means a hospital visit, then that's what we'll do.

And soon, probably in the next week or two, Joe J. will spend three days in an infusion center getting IV meds for the unspeakably bad chronic headaches that have plagued him for 7 months. Getting there via SEPTA will be easy, so I told them I'd make my way up there while he's getting the treatment.

I hope I'm reporting good news about all these people ASAP. They all deserve good things to happen for them. In the meantime, would everyone ELSE I know please stay hale and hearty and in one piece? Thank you for your cooperation.
Rats.

I thought that Joe J's braille terminal had a USB connection. That meant that I could have tested it with my XO, provided that I got some Linux screen-reading software on the XO.

No such luck. It needs either a parallel port or a serial port, neither of which is available on the XO. Phooey.

Time to look around online and see if there are USB adapters for parallel or serial ports.

Darn darn darn darn darn...!

Darn.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Eeeeee. Mark and these FREAKING links that he insists on adding to our computer desktop screen.

"Don't put links on the desktop", I said. "Put them in your favorite places", I said. And still the icons for webpages sprout up on our desktop on a regular basis.

Well, it's a good thing that I already have tinnitus 24/7, because if I didn't, I'd have it now. I just clicked on a link on the desktop that I knew was Flyers-related, even though I didn't know what the page itself was. It's a myspace page called "Back with a Vengeance", which is the team's advertising slogan this season.

What I *didn't* know is that when you click on it, you hear the Flyers goal foghorn at about 99999 decibels. Good GRIEF. The noise level that just emanated from my computer speakers would have drowned out a jet engine. My poor freaking ears.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Wow. This has not been an ideal day for the people named Mrs. M. My mother-in-law and I both had separate bouts of feeling awful.

As it's his mom's birthday today, and his dad's birthday was on Tuesday, Mark took a half day off from work so we could go see them this afternoon. When Mark and I arrived arrived at the rehab facility, she was asleep in bed with the blanket pulled up and a cold compress on her forehead. I thought, "This can't be good." :( My father-in-law was with her, and explained that she'd gotten a bit sick from some of her pain medication.

It turns out that when she finished her morning session of physical therapy, she was in pain, so she was offered the option of one or two percocets. Having taken that particular med before without incident, she said, "Two". It turns out that two was too much for her and it threw her stomach into rebellion. So we arrived as she was sleeping off the after-effects of the dose. I have a feeling that the digestive upset was a blessing in disguise, though, if it jettisoned at least some of the excess medication. The less of the darn stuff went into her system, the sooner it would wear off and the symptoms would clear up.

We left at about 4:30, to try and drive home while it was still a bit light out (as the weather in the Philly area is miserable -- foggy and rainy). She was more alert by the time we left, chatting with us and taking a couple of phone calls.

What I didn't let Mark know until after we'd left the room was that I was having a migraine. I'd been having one all day, and I was darned if I was going to let it stop me from going on this visit. I've gone to work and done other things in the past, migraine or not, so I wasn't about to miss my mother-in-law's birthday over a migraine.

Well. The migraine escalated like I've never experienced before during the drive home. We had to pull over because I was carsick -- that's not particularly unusual. One of my criteria for differentiating a migraine from an ordinary headache is nausea. Another of my migraine ID symptoms is light sensitivity, which was also present this time around. But after we resumed driving home, some additional symptoms appeared that I have never, NEVER had before. It wasn't just that the pain was severe in all four quadrants (left and right, front and back). On a scale of 1-10, this would have been about an 18. But did you know that numbness in the extremities can be part of a migraine? I didn't know that. I know it now, having looked it up online as soon as I got home. I had numbness and tingling in both legs from the knees down, and in my right hand.

The other symptom I had was more of a mercy than anything. I think I blacked out. All I know is that when I closed my eyes shortly after we pulled onto Roosevelt Blvd., I was in blinding pain. When I opened my eyes again, I was astonished to find that we were on the Schuylkill Expressway near 30th Street and my headache was much less than it had been. The numbness was also gone.

But I feel like death warmed over. It's bad enough that I'm missing the Phantoms home game tonight -- you KNOW I'm deathly ill if I stay home when there's a game. I'm watching the game online, so I'll hit SEND on this post.
In other news, we're going to see my mother-in-law today, which is her birthday. It appears that her own estimate, to my mom, that she'd only be at the rehab place for a couple of days was probably a bit optimistic. She's probably going to be there longer than that, but we're not sure HOW long. At least it'll be long enough to actually provide some sort of benefit, I hope.

We talked to my sister-in-law last night, and got some additional info. My mother-in-law did have an MRI last year. On the surface, this might explain some of the Greedy Corporate @#*($#@$ insurance company's rejection of another MRI now. However, I still would like to see their decision challenged, because the symptoms LAST YEAR are very different from the symptoms of THIS PAST WEEK. She went from "able to function independently, with pain" to "unable to stand or walk". I don't care if they did the freaking MRI the DAY before the onset of these new symptoms, something has drastically changed and IMO that's enough to warrant another test.

Remember when it was DOCTORS making our medical decisions, and not corporate bean counters?
I had a pleasant surprise yesterday when I checked out the OLPCnews.com site. Yesterday's post was about using the XO as assistive technology. I had seen the posts from LesleyT, who is using an XO with a class of special-needs kids, on the olpcnews.com forums, so I was happy to see the info repeated on the main OLPC news site.

But what I didn't expect was seeing my own userID make an appearance in the article as well. I was the person who started a discussion on using the XO as assistive tech on the forums, and it attracted enough interest from others that we wound up with our own forum. :) Technically, I don't feel like I've DONE anything yet, other than get people talking, but on the other hand I guess even a small "something" is still something.

Here's a direct link to the article from yesterday: One Assistive Technology Laptop Per Child. The stories LesleyT shared are great! :)