The Third Time’s The Charm!

I want to thank everyone who has purchased my first book, Views From My Chariot: A Wheelchair Oddity, and send a special SHOUT OUT to those of you who have contacted me with your kind comments. It’s been a fun reunion, of sorts, catching up with old friends and classmates, as well as making new friends!

Writing Views… was a cathartic experience and the impetus for writing this second book, HOW TO BE THE BEST YOU-from A to Z.

My original goal was to finish the novel I began several years back. But, I began writing a short 10-15 page eBook. When the idea of writing it in color came to me, having never seen one before, it was like receiving a blood doping transfusion. Talk about a performance-enhancing drug!

Then came the downer: somehow, I deleted it at seven thousand words! (In the “Prologue,” I relate how I declared writing war one (WWI) and became “Wheelchair Warrior” the next day.) Amazingly, one month and seventy-five pages later, I stopped to reassess: It would have to be a book.

I learned from my first book that the printing process can add fifteen or more pages. I also knew that color books price higher due to their exorbitant publishing expenses. Therefore, I wanted to stay under one hundred pages for a retail price of $24.

For anyone considering a writing career, pay close attention.

I shot it off to the editor, down under. Three weeks-worth of ping-pong emails—rethinking and rewriting—is arduous work. Then, I sent my edited manuscript back to the publisher for book formatting.

DING! Round two of my writing war (WWII): I’m told I owe an additional $225.

What! For what?

It was now an estimated 110 pages.


After a half dozen email volleys, inquiring and arguing that I kept it under 100 pages, I found out that my editor had enlarged the font, to ease her read, and forgot to return it to its original size. A larger font increases the number of pages. Duh!

I PAID for her mistake, because I didn’t discriminate the size difference. Now, it was off to the graphic artist for fancy formatting and fun fonts.

This is another couple of weeks of intense eagle-eyed comparisons, assuring that all my bullet lists, graphics, and colored text have been entered and colored correctly.

Once this task is completed, and I approve it, it goes to the printer. Within the week, a sample ‘galley print’ (book) is mailed directly to me for the final approval before it’s listed for sale.

Aside from writing it, I’ve also read it umpteen times by now. I’m a speed-reader! I can spot an undotted “i” and uncrossed “t” lickety-split; even faster.

I spy a misspelled name. SHOOT! Why didn’t the editor catch that? I choose to let it go.

I see a one-letter color bleed that had previously been corrected after I called attention to it. DARN! Will anyone else see it; hopefully not.

Then, the deal breaker: I had noticed a color change the graphic artist had made to some subtitles. I reasoned that it didn’t matter and dismissed it. BUT upon reading the physical book, the color change caused even me, the author, confusion.

Pay $100 to pass GO!

WWIII: Back it went to the graphic artist for a handful of correction; then boomeranged on to the printer and back to me. FINALLY!

Within the three days to list it with all the book stores, two friends read it. It was when directing my second friend to a specific section that I realized it wasn’t there.

I scrolled through a gazillion email attachments to discover that the designer had accidently deleted it midway through our collaborations. Neither of us caught it. Sale freeze!

WWIV: It went back to the graphic artist (pro bono), the publisher (who extended grace and charged me half the ‘new file’ fee, $98), the printer, and on to me—for the third time, and the third sample book.

The third time’s charm; the paperback is READY to read! Glory, glory hallelujah!


P.S. I’m weighing the conversions. The only way to replicate the colored fun fonts and fancy formating is to make graphics of each, then manually insert those graphics! That’s conversion cost plus the added labor expense. And, only the iPad, Kindle Fire, and Color Nook read in color. Most people have the basic Kindle. What to do!


Daydreaming-A Poem

Healing is on its way;
Maybe, in one more day.

But while you wait
Make no mistake,

Daydreams can come true.
Let me tell you what to do:

With smiling face,
Go to your happy place.

Close your eyes and make a wish.
Did you go somewhere to fish?

Did you consume your favorite fare
Or splurge at a spa for your body’s care?

Did you try something you’ve dreamed about
Or enjoy a leisure day around the house?

Until you realize the hope in your heart,
Daydreams are the place to start.

Make it a good one that seems out of reach,
Like lolling around on a distant beach.

A mountain cabin nestled in pristine snow
Could also be the place to go.

Mentally go there to quell your stress
Or to run away and be by yourself.

Your mind should be a healing balm of peace.
Don’t waste its power to disgruntle disease.

(Go here for daydreaming examples–…elchair-needed/)

GPS For Barriers

Today’s conversation is about barriers–wheelchair accessibility. Realistically, they’ll always be there; it’s important to have an alternate plan when you are confronted by one. I’m prescribing two do-s.

The first do is to b-r-e-a-t-h, not react.

You represent all disabilities. Huffy behavior and hateful words maim our name. If you must show your fanny, moon yourself before addressing the powers that be. Remember: They most probably had no say in accessibility regulations; and, you may be the only disabled person they ever met. Please, make it a pleasant experience.

The second do is: connect to your GPS, Good Problem-solving Skills. Here are a few of my peeves, along with their solutions.

Parking spaces: I know all landscapes can’t be leveled, but at least handicapped parking spaces SHOULD be on level ground. I wouldn’t mind wheeling a block just to avoid a teetering transfer. I love the look of charming cobblestone streets and brick sidewalks, but just like the measured lines in concrete sidewalks, rolling over them ushers in rat-a-tat-tat spasms for me.

Sometimes, this is unavoidable. But, when I have the choice of a handicap park on an incline or a level regular parking space, I choose level and wheel a little further. No big deal.

Air-pump hinge doors into restrooms: I bulldoze through these difficult doors that I otherwise can’t push or pull open. After my first entrapment, I patiently waited for a savior to enter. I now ask assistance from someone behind the sign-in desk or waiting room to listen for my, “Help!” to come rescue me.

When I’m in an auditorium or conference center, I remind a friend or person sitting next to me, “If I’m not back from the restroom in fifteen minutes, PLEASE come release me.”

Commode seats: What’s with the open-ended, horseshoe-shaped commode seats! Good luck? They trap my skirt tails, and their sharp molded edges are painful!

I have a GPS, but it’s a “Girls only.” (“Comment” me for my solution.) For you guys, it appears to be an anatomically obliging feature.

Hotel rooms: Traveling is always a roll-of-the-dice. I’ve figured out the places where I travel regularly, but for overnight or extended stays, hotel accessibility is like interpretive dance: “You mean what?”

Most hotels are accessible to the letter of the law—national regulations. When I request a roll-in shower, the floor is slanted toward the drain causing me to, literally, spin-a-wheel in my turns, sort of like an out-of-control dance. Then, there are the hotel beds that Jack (in the beanstalk) couldn’t climb into. What are the designers thinking!

Since I always have a travel companion, we call housekeeping for someone to assist them in heaving me into bed at night. Thankfully, I can slide out in the morning.

For those metal-encased glass doors I can’t budge when shopping, I yell to the first eyeball contact: “Can you please help me?” Please and help are good words. I use them often, with gainful returns.

What GPS assist you in circumventing physical barriers?


Pressure Mapping

In my March article, “Conditional Pause” (, I relate the tail of why my pressure mapping was delayed. Now that it has been done, I want to explain my experience so that you will know what to expect at your appointment.

Pressure mapping should be done in a SCI rehabilitation facility in the PT department. The room where I was evaluated looked much like a small warehouse with shelves stacked to the ceiling piled high with sample cushions, wheelchair backs, and whatever to insure the perfect product for each individual. I was met by an out-patient PT and my DME representative, a wheelchair pressure specialist.

While in my wheelchair, I sat on a thin rubber mat that they placed over my cushion. Sensors within the mat measured my bottom’s pressure points on the seating surface. These points, represented by a color continuum of sorts, were projected onto a computer screen. The diagnostician explained my readings, as seen on the screen.

She explained that my low profile ROHO was good for me, but my wheelchair back didn’t provide sufficient back support for my SCI.

As we discussed the pros and cons of several attachable back rests, I reminded them that I shower in my chair and asked if these back supports were waterproof. They weren’t. As well, it would require someone else’s assistance to attach and detach it with each shower. I was given a lumbar support, a small elongated pad, that I can slide behind my back for all-day support then, remove before my shower.

Whatever your problem, it is diagnosed and immediately rectified with the appropriate cushion, back support or new wheelchair while you’re there. A corrective prescription is written and ordered, and a report sent to your physician.

In my humble opinion, pressure mapping should be done every 5 to 10 years. Our bodies change, we gain, and we lose weight. If you haven’t been pressure mapped, request it.

I don’t believe my spinal misalignment is a result of not having been pressure mapped, but it assures there is no undue pressure on the ischium or tailbone. It is also for wheelchair evaluation to ensure optimal spinal alignment and posture. My fee was $98.

Here is a site, SCIRE (Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Evidence), which further explains pressure mapping and many other aspects of SCI: