Friday, April 29, 2016


Could it Be True?!
It's April 28, 2016 and just as we mentioned a few days ago, Sunrise Medical returned Craig's 2nd set of Xtender wheels yesterday morning - motors replaced and checked over, we were told, they are now reinstalled. Upon arrival of the wheels, we inspected them, the dealer and technician who installed them, looked too and the spokes do look pretty good. Not at all like the last 3rd set did. More than just us said the spokes were clearly improperly installed, which was a relief to know. Just hope the manufacturer sees the problem. Then no one in the future will have the same issue Craig did.

Here is the video Below for that previous article on what happened
As of now, Craig has officially been using them again, for about 30 hours, except for sleeping, and so far, so good!! No clicking. And we were concerned because the Sunrise contact who reached us a few weeks ago, said the motors were replaced  on Craig's 2nd set and everything else was checked over. and fine, no mention of the spokes. So yay,
No clicking SO Far!. Could it be true? Is it gone for ever, or until actual time wears out his wheels? We've been here before, and then....well, let's pray this is it. After all the replacements and such, we'll do what is right... trust God!
Just A Few Thoughts...
Sorry, I just need to keep it real and share a few thoughts and questions.
I'm wondering why they would change the motors when there was nothing wrong with them that we could tell. Based on what Craig had experienced, it made no sense.
Because the Sunrise contact never mentioned the spokes or clicking issue, the very reason for the clicking, changing just the motors doesn't compute. But that's just my brain. In our opinion, in all 3 sets, the 3rd set for sure, broken. faulty installation of them was the issue for sure. (See the last few "Spoke Too Soon" articles). We are a tad nervous about trusting that that sound won't come back. When the troubles started, we recorded everything, to document it, but also so those technicians and even our dealer near by, could hopefully see and hear the problem and then it might help them all to problem solve.
It's why everything from day one,was documented, especially that super happy first day of using his awesome new PA Wheels!! A great day! All documented, for those reasons and as a scrap book sort of for us, friends, family and anyone else interested in these wheels. Sharing with others we know and even those we don't know. Thinking they may inspire others to get them or recommend them to people they care about.
Glad we have it all documented.
Craig BEFORE Xtender Wheels. Now, he can do hills and ramps like a breeze!
Even though the warranty runs out from the first day, Craig got the very first pair installed - meaning, May 20, 2016! That's only in three weeks!
We've asked these kinds of questions to those places involved, but so far no answers. So I have to put this out "there..." Would someone, please explain to us, why his warranty would be all over based on wheel set number one, even though up until April 2016, he has been having the same problem after problem. It makes no sense... Right?
And then a few weeks ago, after waiting and waiting to find out what Sunrise was going to do with Craig's breaking spokes/faulty spoke installation. We were told the spokes were considered a wear and tear item (by our Twitter Quickie Sunrise person, who always tried to get the answers for us), we suddenly found out that  because of that, they aren't covered under warranty. But that Sunrise was  making an exception for Craig by sending 36 replacement spokes, for him to keep once the others were replaced, for future use.
 I asked them to find out  how the company, can say that to Craig, when he discovered broken spokes on day one of using them, and then what about the 3 more that broke within days and weeks? No, he didn't get to wear and tear down the spokes. How can ones that are faulty from the beginning, be considered a wear and tear problem?? Discouraging. No answers have come so far about these questions.
Sorry, I know all is fine at this moment, it's just going to take some time to trust that he will be keeping wheels that he paid for, assuming they will finally work well for more than a week or a whole year at least.
Yes, I can be an over thinker. It's just after all I have witnessed and written about, it is a challenge to just trust that all of a sudden it will stay silent, spokes staying true and strong.
I am sure all will be swell. :o) Good thing, I held back far more thoughts and questions, than I actually have, assuming it wasn't wise to just pour it all out there if it won't help Craig.
Quickie 2 Quality History
Like we said before, he has a Quickie 2 wheelchair that is seven years old and no spoke has ever broken or bent, none! Including his previous 3 other Quickie 2's! Except when once, there was a hub recall, a recall! Something that maybe, should have been done with this particular series of Xtender wheels. Just a thought, Maybe there has been, we'll find out in time I suppose. Sunrise sounded like they wanted to take care of things.  We'll trust that. So far so good.
It is why, like we mentioned before, he is getting the paper work ready (the salesperson is) to purchase his 5th QUICKIE 2 wheelchair that he can install these Xtender wheels onto. Quickie 2 chairs are sturdy and this one lasted him 8 years!Xt

Communication And Word Of Mouth
Communication, is so valuable to customer service with a company, they know that.  When a customer makes a purchase, especially something that impacts your daily life, trust in that product and the company that makes it and sells it,  is critical. If any questions or concerns arise about it and no one at the company seems to be listening to the customer, or communicates with you about it, that can cause some stress and fear. And if nothing changes, the anxiety snow balls along with fear of being stuck with a product that is faulty. Thankfully we believe this experience will end well.

But we have to be open and forthright with people who ask us about how things have gone. We don't know about you, but when someone wants your opinion on a device or product that they are interested in, that you own, you take your words seriously.
We are both VERY influenced by the advice and feedback of others. We have bought many products over life, because of what we discovered through research and the words of those we trust. Especially others like us. If a fellow wheelchair user has good things to say about say, their wheels, then we would be sold on their brand. Just like Craig's positive, raving words about his Xtender wheels actually have had people buying the same ones. Recently another friend mentioned that they suggested to a friend, they need Power Assist wheels. We had to tell them about our experience, but we both definitely say P.A. wheels are a valuable device to help anyone who is wanting to avoid long term pushing injuries. Or like Craig, get relief from injuries already sustained from half of a life, of using a manual chair.

If something happens to you regarding a product you have bought from any where, disability related or not, we do contact the social media site for the company. We assumed when we did it, it was the right thing to do because that's when we heard something back quickly. They were wonderful and made out experience the best it could have been. The source company in the beginning, didn't responded to our first emails and calls, but since Social media for us got answers and consistent communication, we figured that must be the way to reach the source company. It helped a lot.
 to get  help and reassurance.
Thanks again to the work done through whoever is on the receiving end  Quickie Twitter feed. Otherwise, the attempts at communication...well, let's not keep looking back. What matters is how this all ends!
Of course our experience is just one out of many. Always research well. Don't go by one experience, that's up to you of course. We only can say the good with the not so good. Because I am truly exhausted trying to cover so many details,writing and making video, not wanting to miss anything incase it will help Craig and the companies problem solve or take action, and I am going to stop now, assuming all will be okay. And because the Bible talks about pushing ahead and not looking back, since Craig seems "taken care of" at this moment,  my intent is to abide by that. To be quiet on the Xtender wheel warranty/clicking topic. Of course that is assuming all stays quiet and working well.

Sharing the great times and other thoughts, will still happen at any time, because that is always more fun to do!! Besides, that's my husband, happy and positive.

All I know is as of this moment, if we don't look back....Craig is out there in the world right now shopping. Using these super useful assist wheels that make his life  much easier!

I saw a Quickie/Sunrise Video on YouTube and the representative said that Sunrise is totally into using customer input and such. Take a look below:

Questions? Experiences? We'd love to hear from you. Comment below. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

CRAIG'S QUICKIE XTENDER WHEELS - What's New As Of Right Now With Craig's Xtender Wheels....

Watch The Video right below- What's New As Of Right Now With Craig's Xtender Wheels....

So far, Sunrise Medical/Quickie, has been doing pretty well in addressing the ongoing troubles Craig has had with all three sets of Xtender wheels. The best communication has been my exchanges with Quickie's Twitter site. It has helped a lot to know that I have someone I can communicate with when I have questions or concerns. We did receive our first personal communication from someone at Sunrise Medical a couple of weeks ago, outside of Twitter. And we want to say that our intent in documenting everything about Craig's Xtender experience publicly, was never intended to say anything negative about any of the companies involved with these wheels. If we presented anything that way, please know we didn't mean to.
What's New?
To know the history, you would need to check out the Xtender Wheel articles on this blog. So I don't sound repetitive, I will say what's new. Watch the video above, that pretty much covers the last two weeks. I said just look back at the articles. Sunrise Quickie sent a set of replacement spokes. On April 15th, 2016 the dealer tried to replace the broken ones but they just kept breaking. (The night before, a 3rd spoke just snapped in the exact same way.) So, Craig was given the demo pair of wheels by the dealer.  As you will see in the above video, the demo wheels looked like improvements had been made to the spoke installation and quality. All a good thing.

I was hoping that he might then get this new and improved set of wheels or his would be made to be like these ones, minus then rubber coated hand rims. .n fact the whole two weeks that he had the demo pair, there was no clicking. When he first tried a demo pair almost 2 years ago, for two whole weeks, there was no clicking either. All has been perfect with demo wheels. Makes sense, because it's clear how the spokes are crossed over in a better way and are more flush in the hub, looking much better. We let the companies involved, including the dealer know about the improvements and how we assumed Craig would be getting the improvements.
Well, no so far...
We were told a couple of days ago that Sunrise replaced the motors in set number two and there was no clicking when they checked them over, that all looks and sounds good.  We pray that they are right and all will be well. We are concerned that nothing was mentioned about spokes. But, we will trust that Sunrise has it taken care of.

Stay Tuned.
Hopefully, our next article will be another "Woo Hoo!" all is working and quiet!increased his pain. So even though we are not sure how all this will end up, he loves using P.A. wheels.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

CRAIG FINISHES HIS DIP: Revlon's Wax Therapy Spa For Arthritis. Part #2

Okay, time for Craig to complete his dip in the wax therapy bath. (Watch the video above) If anyone else wants to try this great device, it does take some planning. It takes about two hours to completely let the paraffin wax melt down into liquid form. And then you definitely may want to reduce the heat slightly, prior to using. If you watched Part #1, (click here.) you will know that just as he was about to begin dipping his hand in, Craig noticed that a layer of cooled wax formed on the surface. Just like pudding skin! Make sure you test the wax prior to dunking your hand in. And then, as you will see in the video in part #1, how many times you should dip. When done, make sure you let the wax solidify before you slip your hand into the plastic baggie and then quickly into the insulated mitten. Revlon provides the wax, a pair of these cool mittens and a supply of baggies. Which is pretty good for the price.
Re-Using The Wax?
Remember to keep the wax from getting contaminated too fast, make sure you wash your hands well prior to dipping. And we chose to place the peeled off wax into a separate baggie and re-melt it all together in the future. The whole amount can be re-melted and used about ten times or more. We found a person in our research who said to keep using it. But, when it gets clouded and a bit smelly, clean it out. That is a whole other process.
We do not recommend letting it actually get cloudy and smelly first. That would not be sanitary and could cause infections.
The spa was Craig's birthday gift!
Did you see the sweet surprise in the video?
We Learned...
1. Heat therapy in any form is definitely beneficial to arthritis and some other pain.
2. Wax Baths definitely help provide comfort to osteoarthritis sufferers.
3. Plan at least two hours ahead and you won't be disappointed.
4. Make sure to have the baggies and mitt close by your therapy bath. Ot else it could get messy trying to reach everything.
5. It not only relieves pain in your hands for a while, it softens rough dry skin.
6. It can be used on feet as well. Remember to wash your feet meticulously PRIOR to dipping!

Friday, April 22, 2016


Craig celebrated his 64th birthday this month. Not sure what to get him, I decided he might benefit from a hot wax bath device. It was easy to find one on in Canada. It may be dusted rose in colour, but pink doesn't make him any less masculine than he already is :o)
We made a short two part video in case anyone else is interested in these products. Not so he can have pretty fingernails but to provide relief to his poor, bent up fingers. Osteoarthritis has been wreaking havoc on Craig's well worn hands. Not only does using a wheelchair for thirty or so years crack and dry out his skin, but it means arthritis doesn't help when he still needs to use his hands to propel his legs.

Did the wax bath work? 
Watch Part one Below....
There is a Nummy surprise, keep your eye peeled.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


drawing by me, Anita - That is supposed
to be me hanging in the hoyer lift.
For about 20 years now, due to my physical disability, I have been a Direct Funding,  Self Manager. Hiring and training people without and with, previous experience to be my “arms and legs,” Personal Care Attendants, giving me a hand with the physical aspects of daily living.
What I require help with is getting into and out of bed, getting dressed, transferring to my wheelchair with a mechanical lift, range of motion physio (training provided), assistance with personal care, hygiene, various aspects of housekeeping, yard work, errands and other tasks as needed.


If you are interested in knowing more about the PCA position in Thunder Bay, (for me) just click the video above to learn more. :o)

-Be willing to be trained 
- Able to follow detailed directions well.
-Be a non-smoker (I am severely allergic)
-Because I am a female, I prefer female PCAs
-Must have valid drivers license, vehicle
-If no vehicle, must live very close to Dufferin Street, Thunder Bay
-Must be physically strong, caring, flexible, trustworthy and understanding.

Due to the personal nature of a PCA, thought it would help if those interested wanted to know more about the position and me, the person in need of a hand. I have had some PCAs work for us as long as 8 years! It is a great job for someone who is seeking something with short shifts to work around another position, classes or make some extra money and receive great pay, $19.00 an hour. 

Applicants, don't require any diplomas or certificates. What matters most to me (aside from the basic requirements) is someone who wants meaningful employment, willing to be trained on the job, is caring, and able to follow directions. Without the assistance from my PCAs, I wouldn't be able to go to or get out of bed. Super important role.


 This video is a great, meaningful interview with Lucy Wedemeyer, wife of Charlie Wedemeyer. Her husband miraculously lived with ALS for over thirty years. 
Click this link to here to watch her interview with one of my heroes, Joni Eareckson Tada, as they discuss the role of caregiving and what that means when you spouse or loved one depends on your care. 



Click this link here for part one of a very inspiring story.

YES INDEPENDENTLY...A Few More Thoughts On That

Living Independently?  You just said folks like you require assistance from others in order to live out your physical life. How can that be living independently? Okay, maybe you, yourself, didn't ask that, but I am imagining someone reading this might have. It's a valid question after all.
How can, I say that I and others similar to me, live independently, when we require assistance every single day and night, no holidays?  Requiring a hand with all or some daily living tasks, such as, getting out of and into bed, personal hygiene,  bowel and bladder routines, all kinds of housekeeping, shopping, pet care, cooking... all aspects of running a home, as well as assistance with employment? Trust me, that question is out there.
So let me clarify what some, I said, some people misunderstand. When someone says they live independently, many picture living without the help of anyone else.  The answer is and always will be from many of us is...We live independently because of the arms and legs or assistance of others, helping us with what  we can not do on our own, we are able to live independently.
That assistance, for me, is made possible by the PCAs, that God blesses me with each day and night, decade after decade.  I was blessed with a bonus, thankfully my husband, who also uses a wheelchair, has what I call "regular muscles." He also takes care of my physical tasks where he can. You should see all the wrinkles he smooths out for me so I can sleep. Not to mention, moving strands of hair out of my eye, and all the other tasks I can no longer do where he can. Cooking is great fun, he is awesome at taking my directions, made possible by all the teaching I received in my four years of high school home economics cooking classes, dear Mrs. Agombar.
I lived on my own since I was seventeen, those classes helped me to not just eat Kraft Dinner, (I actually preferred No Name mac and cheese) Independent living was possible back then, thanks to PCAs and my family.
It is a wonderful thing to be able to live on your own single or married. Yes, we clearly depend on others to carry out the physical aspects of life, but it is as if we are doing it on our own, thanks to the arms and legs of other, who help us to do things the way we like them to be done.

A beautiful thing in my life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Living with a physical disability often means hiring someone to be our "arms and legs." Depending on our abilities and level of care needs, are what determine just how much assistance we may need....
I am one of those individuals. In my situation, living with a neuromuscular disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 3, means progression of my muscle weakness.  That means as the years have clicked by, my level of care needs increase. My hands can still type this article, albeit slowly, but my arms can't be raised. I can sort of  try to move my right forearm to reach something on the table, by "walking" my fingers across the table surface. Can you picture that? :o) It is amazing how we can come up with ways to figure out how to do things in a different or new way, on our own, when your abilities are changing.
For me, it has been  a blessing, to know that my muscles were/are going to slowly stop cooperating over the course of my life. It is one of the reasons that this blog is called Walking, Way Overrated. I did walk and for me, that ability slowly crept away. It wasn't a huge loss, because I had been prepared for it.
Mind you, these days, I must confess, that in spite of knowing what may happen next, I am a bit nervous. As long as I had the basic the use of my hands and forearms, I could still create, cook, shop,  knit, sew, garden, sort of hug and things like that. As of this moment, fifty percent of that isn't possible anymore. But thanks to my dear husband, I get to direct his hard working hands to shop, prepare and cook, not mention the many other ways he helps me out.
As for being a visual artist,  I find myself trying to get all I can done.  (my recent passion has been working in polymer clay) Working steadily whenever I have the energy and health to.  My thinking being, work while you still can. Just incase, the day comes, my hands decide to not work with me anymore! My dominant hand is the right one, the left one's job is to drive my power chair :o) So far, so good. CLICK HERE if you want to check out my artistic side!
It's all in God's hands. Ha, my hands are happily in HIS Hands!  I trust His provision. It's just the one function that I didn't really plan on losing before He takes me to my Home in Heaven!
These changes lead to automatically problem solving, as  many of us go. There's always a way,  if not with our own limbs, especially with the assistance of friends, family and PCAs!
Craig didn't always use a wheelchair. When he faced pretty much sudden changes in his lower limbs, he ended up having to live in the hospital for about three months in rehabilitation. At that point, in total, he had already been in hospitals a total of about six months. Anxious to breathe the fresh air at his home on the lake, he asked to go home. Turned out, it was too soon. In spite of the fact that he had to remain a rehab out-patient for aa total of two years. When he talks about it now, he says that he definitely should have lived a bit longer in the hospital. But he did it on his own, with a bit of assistance from an outside homemaker program. He lived on his own, with no one to call on for help. He happily shares how called on God's help daily! Craig has many amazing stories, miracles really, of how he was clearly helped physically many many times by God's ministering angels. No, he doesn't worship angels, we know though that the Bible says they are ministering spirits sent to help God's people. I too have incredible stories about God's protection, provision, and just overall help in every day life.
A good lesson to learn from Craig is, if you are facing changes to your body like that.  As anxious as you may be to get out of the hospital setting, make sure you feel completely comfortable, fully equipped to live your new life, having all the physical supports you need.
Over the course of our lives, Craig and I, have admired so many who have embraced sudden life altering injuries and illnesses. Not meaning they were happy about the changes, but they worked through it all with the help of family, friends, programs like rehabilitation, occupational therapy, physical therapy, independent living classes, problem solving, learning new ways to live their changed life. And many of us would say, nothing would have been possible without Jesus Christ being our strength (Craig and I "amen" that!)
The many people we admire, are lives that were changed suddenly, from able bodied, to paralyzed from the neck or waist down, diagnosed with progressive Multiple Sclerosis, or Neuromuscular Disorders such as ALS, and other issues,  they may not have welcomed the life altering events with open arms. In fact, I don't know too many who would. In fact, there are countless stories of those who asked to be removed from life support or have something done to end their life on purpose.  (One huge reason why the recent discussions in Canada, about the legalization of euthanasia, deeply saddens me and many of my peers)  One friend we know was in a motorcycle accident, receiving a serious head injuring, leaving him paralized on one side of his body. He told me once that he was on life support and wanted to be unplugged to die, believing life wouldn't be worth living. This dear fellow continued to share with me how thankful he was that no one pulled the plug. His life was a blessing. In fact, he fell in love and has been happily married for years now. They live together, with the assistance of Personal Care Attendants like I do.
Life has taken on a whole new meaning to so many of us.
I remember a neighbour once that told me in his broken communication that he once was so depressed that he tried to take his own life with a shotgun. Left with a severe head injury, he would never be able to walk without a cane, or speak clearly and smoothly, nor would he be able to write and spell like he did as an adult. But, he told me that he was so thankful that God saved him from his really wrong choice. Yes, his case was unusual and self inflicted but, if you ever faced depression, it can swallow you up if you let it, leaving you unable to think clearly and wisely. Personally, Craig and I believe depression that intense, is a spiritual battle in most cases. I remember feeling it myself as a teen, but thankfully was too terrified of dying. My point is, our friend made it through a tragic, life altering event and was happy to be alive. He too spent time in rehabilitation learning new ways to carry out daily life.
My Heroine...
 Joni Eareckson Tada, broke her neck in a diving accident in 1967. As she faced quadriplegia, never walking or feeling from the chest down, this side of Heaven, she too asked a friend to cut her wrists. Believing the lie that her life was no longer worth living. Thankfully, her friend didn't carry out Joni's request and the entire life altering event, changed her entire life, body, soul and spirit. Her life has
been incredible. Click here to meet Joni and her husband Ken. It was her story that inspired me more than a few time through my own life. It was all she went through that caused her, to depend more and more on her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Her life has been a testimony for millions of us. Yes, she is an exception to our everyday lives,  she is an artist, advocate, has an entire organization called JONI AND FRIENDS, sings, collects and manages sending refurbished mobility equipment to many in other countries (Wheels for The World), is married, travels the world, is a public figure, author of many many books, has a radio program....Click her to see JAF. But think about it, if we go through "bad" times, get through it with a whole new way of living, and it helps to encourage even one person, it is so worth that one life. In God's eyes, one person is worth everything. One person Matters.
Meaningful Work...
And all these lives, Joni's included, like mine too, are able to be lived out fully, joyfully, even through pain, on this earth, made possible by God. Blessing us with not just friends and family, but trustworthy, compassionate, reliable individuals, PCAs, willing and able to give us a hand so we can live Independently.  What a meaningful way to be employed. Our friends and family do it out of love, for no remuneration. But there have been many who have chosen out of love for helping others, to become PCAs, as a career. Doing what they love, and as a bonus getting paid to do it. These employees matter to me so much, I wish I could pay them even more. (I am restricted by provincial funds). Sure, I have encountered some over these last four decades or so who clearly do not "love" what they do, it's only a jobber a stepping stone to something they believe is "bigger," BUT, the majority I have been supported by, give others a hand because they want to. It matters to them, it matters myself and countless others like me, more than they will ever know. The fact that they happen to be paid for doing something that matters to them, is meaningful, what a great career. No, it will never yield the dollars of a lawyer, Registered Nurse, Doctor...Movie Star or Hockey Player...Thankfully, there are so many out there, who are humble, willing to be "behind the scenes" so to speak. To think when I get to hang out with a bunch of friends, say something like getting married, I was able to show up dressed beautifully (wearing the custom fitted dress made by my loving aunt), because one of my PCAs got me up that morning, helped me get all cleaned up, putting on my wedding dress, putting me in my wheelchair just the way I need to sit...meeting all of my physical needs so I could show up to the church on time. Sitting upright, comfortable and well cared for because someone who isn't into being in the spotlight - made that possible. And each day of my life, made possible by wonderful ladies, who chooses to work for me, knowing that without one of these girls, I would have to live in a hospital. Thank You God!

Just Wanted To Share This Video Link
I Just watched this great interview with Joni Eareckson Tada and Lucy Wedemeyer where they talk about caregiving, especially when the one being cared for is your spouse or family member. Click here to watch a meaningful video.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

CRAIG NEEDS NEW LEGS! Thus Begins Part One of The Quickie 2 Adventure!

Watch The Video Above...
If you have read/watched any of our articles and videos on Walking, Way Overrated,  you know that my husband Craig has used a manual wheelchair for almost 30 years and I have used a power chair since I was about seventeen, my first manual chair, an old Everest and Jennings, Lilac colour upholstery one, when I was about eight or so. I am fifty now, you do the math :o)
Needless to say, we have a pretty good grasp on wheelchairs, what's available, what works for folks with needs similar to ours and such.
 Of course, we can only speak from our experiences and what we have witnessed over these many years, with our fellow users, of wheelchairs.

In Need Of New "Legs"
In our province, we are blessed with a program funded by the Ministry of Health, called the Assistive Devices Program. As mentioned in a previous article, they help fund 75% of wheelchairs, manual and power, every five years. As well, one of the other most important pieces of equipment that has to go with every wheelchair...the seat cushion. It can not be just any cushion. The proper seat cushion is meant to support the areas of our fanny that has the most pressure points. The purpose is not just comfort, but, to avoid horrible health events, like pressure sores. Look up pressure sores or pressure ulcers and you will take your cushion type VERY seriously.
Thank You Lord, that because Craig and I have feeling, we are able to make sure our backsides are well supported. We will talk more about cushion types, uses, prices and all that along this Quickie 2 Adventure, in the future. Just do not ever rely on the cheap "come with" piece of foam, that is sent along with some wheelchair purchases. Yes, they are fine if you are say my mom, who had brittle bones from osteoporosis and the chemo, who then fell,  and shattered her ankle and needed surgery and a cast and a wheelchair, for short sitting stints. She seemed fine, but if she had to permanently use a wheelchair, she definitely would have required a medical quality wheelchair cushion.
Back to Craig's New Legs...
Step #1: Seating Assessment: 
As I just mentioned, we are blessed with being eligible to get new wheelchairs every five years. In Craig's case, he has actually been using his for seven years. Mine, is about nine to ten years old. My  new "legs" adventure, may begin next year. For now, it's Craig's turn...
As we have been covering for almost a year, because of Craig's long term using of his wheelchair, he has rotator/shoulder problems. It happens when your arms are your "legs" for long periods of time. So, he was blessed with being able to purchase the Quickie Xtender Power Assist Wheels. Want to learn more about that adventure, click here and for updates through the year, click here.)

If you are interested in hearing more about the beginning steps to getting a new wheelchair in our province, watch the video we made above. Starring the man of the hour, my husband Craig :o)

We'd love to hear if you have any questions or comments, ideas and tips. Write them down below! Subscribe if you don't want to miss the next article/blog/vlog!!
Just wanted to share the wonderful experience Craig had on his first day when he got his new Xtender Wheels, powered by Yamaha. Next week I will have more information to share updates on all that has been happening. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

CRAIG'S QUICKIE XTENDER WHEELS- Spoke Too Soon Continued Pt #3

April 23, 2016
We have been waiting to share what has happened since April 15th and now we can. A week ago when they took Craig's wheels into replace the spokes, April 15th, the new spokes that were sent just kept breaking even when they tightened them only a little. Not to mention the night before servicing, a 3rd spoke snapped off in the same spot!
Needless to say, I will be writing a full new article about how the demo wheels he was given to use temporarily, clearly have been improved regarding spoke installation and have not clicked the whole first week of use.
More on all that in the next Spoke Too Soon Article #4 

April 14, 2016 
GOOD NEWS UPDATE: Just now, an hour or so from writing this post, the Quickie folks said the spokes were shipped yesterday and should arrive tomorrow. They said they are still waiting for answers to our other questions. We feel bad for the person answering my lengthy messages!

Okay, it is now April 13, 2016. We are still waiting for some "action" on Craig's Xtender Wheels. It has taken longer to get responses from Quickie/Sunrise, it seems. We want to give them the benefit of the doubt. From what we understand, they had to contact the manufacturer and engineer. We do not know who that is. We now have been told that the spokes are not covered under warranty because they are a wear and tear parts. But, they said, an accommodation is being made. I will paste exactly what they said in their twitter message so I don't misrepresent anyone. (Whoever is responding for Quickie's social media,  the person we have been in communication with via  has been helpful and friendly.  it's out of their hands)
From: April 5, 2016
"Hi Anita and Craig, we apologize for the delay but had to consult with the manufacturer and engineering. Sunrise Medical has been able to source the spokes needed for this particular Xtender wheel. We will order some at N/C and send them to #### to use in the repair of the broken spokes. The remainder should be given to Craig for future needs. This is a one-time accommodation since "wear and tear" items and consumables are not covered under warranty. Hope this helps!"

What is frustrating is that Craig hasn't had any of the three pairs of wheels long enough to give them any wear and tear. In fact, it was the third pair, where the clicking happened again almost right away and he discovered the first semi broken spoke. It was repaired and then in only 2-3 months, two spokes broke completely and are hanging on literally, but the bend in the tip. So as thankful as we are that they are making an exception, providing new spokes, it wasn't his fault to begin with. Why would they even tell us that in light of all the clicking and spoke discovery. It tends to make you feel like you need to plead your case even though whoever made the wheels is at fault or is responsible. My husband doesn't exceed the weight limit. We found out when the problems happened, that there is a 250 pound weight limit on these wheels. My husband is 5'11" and isn't small. But thankfully, he weighs under that by more than a  few pounds. However, to be told they aren't under warranty if he was over 250, after the purchase was made is very bothersome. We now recommend, to ask as many questions as possible when considering buying any expensive devices. It would have caused us to possibly change our minds. 

However,  he does love the wheels in principle, when all is okay, but has been forced to wait regarding recommending them anymore UNTIL he knows for sure, what is being done by the manufacturer, about inspecting each spoke on the previous 2 pairs of returned wheels.  As well new ones, so future customers will not have clicking/spoke issues. Not to mention, to make sure, he is all fixed up. He/we would feel bad recommending them, if the same thing happens. Just looking for reassurance from the companies involved. We are now waiting for a response about that.

Today, April 13, we did contact the vendor and no one has received anything so far in the line of new/extra  spokes. The clicking is increasing because of the 2 broken spokes. Like we showed previously, CLICK HERE, if Craig fiddles with the correct spoke, the clicking temporarily goes away. But the spokes are still broken. It is difficult to trust when things are called into question, such as a wear and tear on spokes, even if they choose to replace them. It wasn't his fault from day one, wheel set #1, #2 and #3.  

Because someone asked us if the clicking issue had been resolved, that they want to buy wheels like these for someone but won't buy these ones if the issue isn't rectified. Wanting to give the company a fair chance, I did just send another message to Quickie to inquire about a more definite time of delivery of these spokes. As well asking them, what is being or has been done, to investigate the last two pair that were returned. 
Clearly, the clicking sounds then, matches what is going on now, so there must have been spoke issues all along, since pair one. But, we want to know for sure, if they found that out and if it will all be taken care of. Whoever the manufacturer is, they must be the ones to take responsibility. Hope it all goes well, so Craig can keep recommending these power assist wheels. Remember to ask lots of questions regarding any purchases like this. We never did, we trusted folks when we should have asked about all that at the time of inquiry/purchase.
On that note, until we know beyond all doubt, that this issue is going to be corrected we have to hold off recommending these wheels to anyone. 

Maybe our expectations are too hight. You decide. We have documented everything, dates included so others can make informed choices. We trust the source company will be able to give us satisfactory answers.
Just understand that it matters to us, what we recommend. And of course making sure my husband's wheels are working they way they are supposed to, we will post what we learn. We trust they will take care of things. They have so far...just taking longer this time.

He still recommends Quickie 2  brand manual wheelchairs, because he is about to get his 5th one and he's never had a problem with them.

Hope this helps anyone out there, seeking information on Xtender Wheels and hopefully, the company who constructs these wheels so they can correct the spoke issue.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


If You Are interested in applying for the Posted HRDC Job Bank PERSONAL CARE ASSISTANT POSITIONS, information is at the bottom of this article. To learn more, feel free to read this article and meet my past/present PCAs.

Another great PCA we had, as will all these ladies,
we miss her too :o(
What Is Most Important When Hiring a Personal Care Assistant:
So many wonderful PCAs who became
friends. A blessing to our lives.
Yes, I am presently hiring new Personal Care Assistant/s. I thought it would be a great thing to share the process to some degree, in hope that might help anyone else, who is considering hiring their own care providers for themselves or for others. And at the same time, make this a tribute and thank you in honour of the many wonderful PCAs I have been blessed by hiring over the last 20 years! Hard to believe it has been almost 2 decade of being able to manage my own care.
First A Huge Dedication To My Past and Present PCAs.... 
For the past twenty years or so, finding girls with the right heart and attitude have been a blessing beyond words. Those of you who wanted employment that has great value and purpose, a position that involved/s, assisting someone whose daily physical life couldn't happen, without your arms and legs. Being able to accept, learn and take specific
Smiles and warms hearts, blesses my life :o)
directions on how that someone, say me, would like certain things done. In essence, filling in where my arms and legs, don't want to cooperate with me anymore :o) Thus enabling me to live in my/our own home, no more institution or being at the mercy of people I had never chosen.  Can't get much more meaningful than that. It is why I want so much for all of you to know how much you meant and those of you who are still with me at present and those who will be,
mean to me. We pray always to find the "right" girl when I am hiring. Time and time again, it is clear
that God blesses us at the right time with the right person. When it happens, I can't begin to express what it means to me. My heart is lighter and I get to meet another new person who has a willing and caring heart. A gift indeed.
Smiles and warms hearts :o)
Thank you, you guys, you have no idea how much I appreciate having such great people giving me a hand with little things to ginormous things. God takes care of me through your hands. May God bless each one of you and your families, moment by moment, day by day.  For those of you no longer here, we miss you smiling faces and are thankful for the great memories....
Without my wonderful PCAs I can't get in or out of bed!  Leon, is tired after helping me out, ha ha!:o)
A Daily Necessity:
As Leon (not our cat, use to visit)  can show you, without my PCAs I can not get into or out of bed. Because of my disability, I depend on the arms and legs of others, to assist me every single day of my life.
I will share some basic fundamentals when it comes to recruiting employees. This again, is what works for me.

Wanted to share some great photo/memories we have from over the years. To respect their privacy, I hearted out there faces unless, I thought it was okay. We miss ALL of these ladies and the many who we don't have shown here. :o)
Often we have some fun (that's me with the crazy hair!)
Smiles and warms hearts, make my
life so much easier :o) Leon's too (sadly he
passed away.)

We love this record long Employee, 8 years!  Smiles and warms hearts, make my life so much easier :o)

Confidentiality is important - the masked PCA! LOL
A Meaningful Experience
Before I share the biggest quality I seek, aside from the basics about having their own vehicle, be a non-smoker, live in our city and such. I wasn't to share this....
What is very important to me is that my PCAs have an enjoyable work experience. Never would I want them to feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or unsure about their work. Open door communication matters. If they know where my head is at, or what I am dealing with physically, then they can know better how to meet my needs. Hopefully, in some way aside from this being a job, I can meet their needs to make this a satisfying job.
So thankful for my "arms and legs."
The best end result to employing my PCAs, is if we become friends. Years ago, a well meaning family member told me regarding hiring, "They can't be your friends." They sadly didn't seem to understand.
In no way do I seek to hire "friends," but, due to the personal nature of what a PCA is all about and how valuable they are to my life, friendships can develop. No, i don't seek it, but it a welcome bonus of the entire experience for me and my husband, if it happens.

(Click here to see the previous article featuring one of my first and favourite PCAs!)   (And click here for the article the other day about my history regarding my PCAs.)

A pic of the dedicated PCA we had years ago too. We miss this lady a lot as we do all these great ladies who've blessed our home over these 20 years.

My #1 Tip On Hiring Personal Care Assistants/Care Givers
Finding that person with the heart to assist me as asked, in a kind, compassionate manner, able to listen (as talked about the other day), is an invaluable PCA to me.

Smiles and warms hearts, blesses my life
#1: Attitude, Ability To Listen, And Follow Directions Well.
Again, I can only speak from my personal experience regarding my 20 years of hiring my own PCAs. The number one quality I look for in a great PCA, is not a certificate or diploma. Experience can be an asset, but what matters most is finding someone who listens, who wants to learn, able to take directions well. 
All of my PCAs over the past two decades, who worked out great, were/are those with the right attitude.
Being my "arms and legs" involves daily living living tasks as
well  as p/c and other duties as needed.
Sure experience can be asset, but I have hired those with experience in the healthcare field, and I must say, if the applicant is not good at listening and following directions, their experience doesn't help.
All of my PCAs who do a wonderful job with a great attitude, have been those with a heart for it but mostly, with ZERO experience. is all about the person's heart and attitude, not about a piece of paper.

Why is listening important? 
The ability to listen and follow direction well, is key to others carrying out tasks the way you want them done. Hence, they are being like my arms and legs. Enabling my independence, caring out daily life tasks the way I would,  if I could physically do it myself.
30 years ago when my then, best friend  was helping me one day.
How can I Know They Listen Well?
1. A Manner Of Application:
A tip I learned from a contractor years ago was that, he said he posted detailed directions on how to apply in the job advertisement.
He said that if they could not follow those few directions at the get go,  then odds are they would never be able to follow the much more detailed, important directions while performing the actual job. I have tried to follow that guideline ever since. For sure, there have been times when I felt lead to make an exception. I take it on a case by case basis. We all make mistakes. But, it is a good tip regarding the ability to discern if someone can follow directions well.
Also check to see if the application was completed as requested. That helps to see if someone is good at following directions well.
2. Phone call Matters:
A phone call is often the first contact made by an interested applicant. Just be mindful if they are listening to what you are saying, and if they talk without waiting for you to finish, or assume things without hearing you first. Those may be some clues.
3. Interview Matters: If you've reached the interview stage or if you do what I do, if I really was impressed with a phone call, I skip the application sometimes, and arrange an interview maybe, have them complete an application then. if that is what you want to do  then. You can tell when someone is a good listener. We all can really. Some of us are bad listeners and some of us are great at it. I am not the best listener, more of a talker really. But that kind of listening is important in a friendship.
The kind of listening we are looking for, is the kind that means your future PCA will be able to hear you and follow through with the directions they were given.
Keep in mind, some people get nervous in interviews, so be sensitive to that. When I talk about people not listening and therefore not able to follow directions, I means seriously not listening. Trust me, when you witness it, you will know. This isn't nervousness typical in any interview setting, when we meet someone for the first time and all that.
Watch for these clues, during the interview for example, if the applicant has a daydreamy look, they seem distracted looking all around, not really paying attention to the actual interview (trust me it has happened), that can be disconcerting. Once someone kept glancing below the table to look at their cell phone that kep ringing. This is a good sign for anyone hiring anywhere, if an applicant is interested in the position they have applied for, they will care enough to make sure their mobile phone is muted or turned off. Of course, sometimes people mean well and just plum forgot to do that. So be merciful if it rings or buzzes once and they rectify the problem and they are sorry. No problem.
Like I said, you will know what I am talking about when it happens. It is an obvious characteristic.
Without my PCAs, I wouldn't be able to  go to or get out of bed
3. Training Matters: If you had concerns from day one, by this time, once in the training process,  you will know for sure about their ability to listen well. Of course, I don't expect anyone to remember every detail. But based on past experience, we know when someone isn't paying attention to the directions they are receiving. I always make sure enough training time is given to be sure. But, there are those times when it is beyond obvious. You will know when the trainee isn't even watching what you are doing. You know, clues like that.
 In fact to give them the fairest opportunity.
Never Assume...
Never assume that the person will know what you want, or what you mean. You can never give too many directions. It is also why I also write a lot down prior to employment, to help the candidate make an informed decision and  once hired, to know what my expectations are and how to do some basic tasks and such. I want it to go well for both of us.
But, if they after repeated training sessions and lessons, and if it isn't coming together. It may not work out. How can you have someone you hired as a PCA help you out if they can't listen well, do the tasks. Some of us may have great personalities, skills in other areas that would make them great employees, but then some of us do not have strong listening skills. It isn't easy having to let the person know, but be sure to share their strengths so they can be encouraged. And then perhaps, maybe someone one other than me, may be totally fine with someone who doesn't follow directions well. Hiring someone to assist yourself or for someone else is a very personal decision. It all depends on what your needs are, what matters to you in a PCA. I just hope by sharing what I experience and value regarding this subject might helps someone else "out there" in a similar position. If you have any questions or insight of your own, please feel fee to comment below. :o)
The best end result to employing my PCAs, is if we become friends, a bonus. This great lady has been giving me a hand for more than 8 years so far. We love her. 

If you are here because you saw the job bank ad, the information on applying is at the bottom of the page.please keep reading below...
Interested in a meaningful career as a PCA, please know that, what you need most of all is the heart to give folks like me, a hand. Aside from the basic qualifications below, if you read the above portion, you will have a strong sense of what is important in a PCA for me.
For other employers, they may have a different focus, so treat private home hires on an individual basis.
Someone who has a heart to help out someone, being my "arms and legs," able to let me basically be the "brain" to direct things the way I would like them to go. Always in a safe manner of course!  A great candidate for a PCA is someone who has no problem being given directions on how to do things.
But I have No Experience in Healthcare...
Yes it may help to have  experience, but in 20 years or so, I would say the majority of my past/present PCAs had no experience in healthcare/homecare/cleaning for others, etc.
On the job training, having the ability to follow detailed directions well, flexibility, common sense, compassion, a positive outlook on life, having the heart to care, a willingness to give me a hand - that is what I seek and that has worked out perfectly for two decades!
You have options, you can opt to work for someone like me, on Direct Funding - Self Manager, where you can receive training and get paid a very decent wage $19.00/hour in Ontario. Without having to pay for any schooling. It is a life long career, because folks like me require assistance through out life. It works out well with those who are in school (depending on their schedule availability), same with those who have other employment elsewhere.
As well, there are others who seek to hire folks to give their aging family members a hand. They too are seeking someone they can trust, who has the right heart toward caring
It is normal, for my PCAs to either work casual hours, to supplement income, raising kids, or those who have other positions or even private home hires like me, and have some availability that can be worked around to meet my needs and your's.
Other than a criminal record check, and other courses like First Aid, (options you can take on your own time and money but not required).
How About FOR ME?:
I am hiring right now!!
WHAT A GREAT PCA! WE miss her!

Applicants Must Be:
Willing to listen and learn, able to follow detailed directions.
-Be A female.
-A Non-Smoker.
-Have their own vehicle.
-Be trustworthy.
-Be kind.
-Be Caring and understanding.
-Physically able to assist me where my physical ability has diminished.
-Must be willing to provide a criminal record check if asked.

$19.00 an hour 
Total hours to be determined - depending on availability- 20-30 every two weeks.
Mostly Morning shifts, some evenings and weekends.
Must live in Thunder Bay, Ontario

INTERESTED please Email:

Send a resume, references and a letter telling me about yourself.
Then I send a short application. Once all information is collected, I will arrange interviews for potential candidates.
Being my "arms and legs" involves daily living living tasks as well
as p/c and other duties as needed.

Being my "arms and legs" involves daily living living tasks as well
as p/c and other duties as needed.

Being my "arms and legs" involves daily living living tasks as well
as p/c and other duties as needed.

Being my "arms and legs!" So meaningful to me. I am getting to do 
what I can not do physically on my own, I am doing it through their hands.

Being my "arms and legs!" So meaningful to me. I am getting to do 
what I can not do physically on my own, I am doing it through their hands.