Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Amercians w/ Disabilities Act

Forewarning - long post, but a very important one.

My friend Becky (crusinwithcricket.blogspot.com) and her guide dog Cricket were nearly denied their seat on board a Delta Airlines flight this past Saturday. What happened was nothing short of appalling and represents a real lack of training regarding access for service animals on the part of Delta. In support of Becky and all others out there who utilize service animals, I wrote this letter to Delta.

My name is Nicole Paloney, and I am a customer of Delta Airlines and a friend of XXXXX, a passenger on Flight 4693 from Portland, Oregon to Salt Lake City, Utah. The incident I am contacting you about occurred on Saturday, April 25 in Portland.

Becky has a medical condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). RP refers to a group of inherited diseases causing retinal degeneration, which ultimately leads to complete loss of vision. Currently, Becky has very limited vision in one eye. As her declining vision began to impact her independence and mobility, Becky opted to obtain the services of a guide dog through Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB). GDB’s Mission Statement is as follows:


“Guide Dogs for the Blind provides enhanced mobility to qualified individuals through partnership with dogs whose unique skills are developed and nurtured by dedicated volunteers and a professional staff.”

Public access laws for Guide Dogs are governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The ADA states the following:

“The ADA prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity and access for persons with disabilities.”

I have also attached the following ADA brief regarding Service Animals I obtained from the government’s website.

“Service animals are animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks. Service animals are working animals, not pets.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses and organizations that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. This federal law applies to all businesses open to the public, including restaurants, hotels, taxis and shuttles, grocery and department stores, hospitals and medical offices, theaters, health clubs, parks, and zoos.”

On Saturday, April 25, in Portland, Oregon, while waiting to board her flight to Salt Lake City, Becky and her guide dog Cricket were approached by a representative of Delta who informed her she would need to move from her bulkhead seat because the flight attendant was afraid of dogs. As the plane was a small plane, Becky informed the representative that for the safety of herself and her dog, she needed to keep the seat she was given. The representative then approached the flight attendant about meeting Cricket prior to getting on the plane. Whatever transpired in that conversation caused the representative to come back and tell Becky she would not be allowed on the plane. Ultimately, Becky and Cricket were allowed on the plane, as a CRO officer finally intervened and informed the flight attendant that Becky and Cricket were indeed permitted to be on this plane. Cricket’s behavior on her way home was nothing short of expected behavior from a service animal – near perfect. The only offense she committed on her way home was having her tail in the foot space of the empty seat next to her – which was rudely pointed out to Becky by the flight attendant.

While I realize there are people out there who inappropriately take their animals to public places, Becky possessed the proper identification to show that Cricket was indeed a service animal, whose public access was defined under the ADA. At no time during this encounter was such identification requested, which a vendor is permitted to do under the act.

I urge you to evaluate your Diversity Initiatives as a company, and ensure your training program is adequate to educate your employees on the ADA. Lack of training in this case nearly led to an egregious and clear violation of the law, which could have resulted in fines and embarrassment to the airline. The conversation about whether or not Becky had to move her seat or not get on the plane at all should have ceased as soon as it started; that it continued in the manner in which it did should be an embarrassment to the employees at that counter on Saturday night in Portland and the airline’s executive management. I could hardly imagine what your Legal department would think of this.

In making you aware of this situation, it is my hope that another person using a service animal will avoid a confrontation similar to Becky’s. Sadly, this is not the first encounter of this type Becky has had with your airline. Both encounters resulted in completely unprofessional behavior from your employees and demonstrated a clear lack of understanding of the ADA. Ultimately, the situation was resolved so that Becky and Cricket were accommodated for their safety needs, but the manner is which the situation was resolved resulted in a lot of heartache and frustration for my friend.

Your time and consideration of my letter is greatly appreciated. I hope that the proper action to train your employees is taken and that ultimately, Delta is able to gain a reputation of being a user friendly airline for people with service animals. For our part, Becky’s friends continue to educate the public every chance we get about the role of service animals in their partner’s life.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

When in doubt...

...get your hair cut and colored, then go get a mani and a pedi. Guaranteed to make you feel like a million bucks!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Circle of Life

Today, my cousin John, his wife Karla and their daughter Kaitlyn welcomed baby Conor Ephriam. Conor was born at 12:58 pm by c-section and came it at 8 1/2 lbs and 17 inches long (we don't think they stretched him out!) All are doing well.

Conor was supposed to make his appearance next Monday, however, Karla appeared to be retaining fluid and the decision was made to "get him out" - today, 7 years to the day after my grandma's passing.

Hard to believe that middle of the night phone call came 7 years ago - I remember it like it was yesterday. Although her passing was sudden and unexpected, over time I have become greatful that this is the manner in which this happened. It would have been very hard on us to have it any other way.

As many of my readers know, I possess some form of OCD about certain things. Oddly enough, many of them were engrained in me by my grandmother. Examples include, but are not limited to:

1. Making my bed - she always told me that even if my room looked like "the wrath of God with a door knob on it" (which she said it frequently did - often with a "dear god, child" in front of it) that making my bed would make it look tidier.

2. Folding my laundry - very particular about how I do that, as evidenced by the organizers in my sock and underwear drawer.

3. Spreading peanut butter (or any other condiment/spread) to the edge of the bread - according to her, it was not a sandwich unless the spread went all the way to the edges.

4. Cleaning my glasses - every time I saw her, she took them off my face, cleaned them and remarked about how she didn't understand how I could see out them, they were so dirty. I have Lens crafters wipes everywhere.

I am sure the list goes on and on, but these were the examples that quickly came to mind. Some days, I am still surprised at how much I miss her.

So, with the ending of one life comes the beginning of another. Welcome Conor, I can't wait to meet you - your daddy says you have been crying since you came out!!! (your sister doesn't do that!!!)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Some Agility Photos and a Shout out to my Softball Buckeyes

Today, my friend Mike came with us to our competition. He usually runs his dogs, but was not entered this weekend. One of his hobbies is taking photos, and he shot photos of the big dogs today on their Std runs. The weaves were a great place to take photos, as the puppies ran straight at where he was sitting. He gave me sneak preview of of couple he had of Chel..love them, because I can see she is having fun.

It should be noted we Q'ed in this run, but that she DID NOT SPOT on her dogwalk. We practiced that for her run tomorrow. We did not Q on he jumpers course...mom got lost for a second right before the most difficult part of the course, and well, we were done after that. Error on the handler. But I was very, very proud of her...and we will try again tomorrow.




Ripping her entry into the weaves....actually, a very difficult entry. This was a straight entry with a lot of speed and we were using 22 inch distance poles this weekend. We have been using 24 distance poles, and for the big dogs, that 2 inches between the poles can make a difference, especially on this type of entry when the dogs are approaching the weaves with a ton of speed. They really have to "collect" to negotiate their way through . She did a great job on the entry and exit in this run - we had a straight line to the A frame (off to the right) when she finished her poles.




Absolutely love this photo...very focused on her last 2 poles, but having so much fun.

Also, congratulations to my Softball Buckeyes on a 10-0 win over Wisconsin. They were on the Big 10 network today and will also be on tomorrow. These girls take their cuts and don't get cheated. It is so wonderful to see them doing well - they are really playing well. They still have some big, big conference games left - Michigan and Northwestern, so let the "playing well" streak continue. What I see as the biggest difference in this team is that they are really capitalizing on opportunities given to them by their opponents and are winning the games they should win. GO BUCKS!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Crazy, Sassy, HECTIC Life

What a whirlwind week this has been...I can't believe tomorrow is Thursday. I have literally been in various meetings/trainings all week, hence I am up sending some emails just to get stuff crossed off my list. My first conference call tomorrow is at 8AM.

Thank god for my parents....my dad literally dropped everything when I called him at 7:30 Monday morning to be here for the solar tube installation. I was supposed to have it done on Friday, but the weather did not cooperate - and almost did not cooperate on Monday either. I was home on Friday, but could not be home Monday. They are again helping out tomorrow night - I am going to a charity event that starts at 6PM on campus...they will be up tomorrow and have agreed to take Chelsie home with them and bring her home on Friday morning - when my dad comes at 8AM for the sprinkler guys. I had a couple of meetings come on to my calendar on Friday even though it was blocked off (sort of at the mercy of those with more seniority than me!) and again, my parents are bailing me out. I am sure little Chel, who is already dreaming on the bed next to me, will be thrilled to spend the night with grammie and grampie. She will survive.

We will be up at the crack of dawn on Saturday for an agility competition in Zanesville, and then will run back to Marysville for Kaitlyn's first birthday party at 3:30. I will then go home, collapse and get up and do it again on Sunday....

Tonight was Dodd night...only 17 patients in the house. As usual, she was outstanding. I think she is growing up - she was very, very mellow tonight and just ultra content to stand and be petted. Maybe she was still tired from last night??? Tonight, we saw a young man we saw last week - he had some sort of brain surgery and was having difficulty speaking last week, but tonight, he sort of talked to me! It was very exciting. He had some Steelers garb in his room, and I asked him if he was a Steeler fan (um, duh, yes, I know) and he was quite excited to tell me he was. He also said thank you for stopping in. I said something to the nurses and they said his progress was far beyond what they expected. It was super encouraging.

On another note, I saw someone I knew in there tonight. I don't know you could say I know him, but I know who he is. It was very obvious he was quite ill, and indeed he is. It was very shocking to see him as he is, when thinking of him as he was. I will say an extra prayer for him and his family, they need it. I will also say an additional prayer of thanks for my own good health and the health of those around me.

We hope everyone has a great rest of the week and a great weekend. Looks like the rain will go away for a few days but come back Sunday night. I had my lawn fertilized right before this rain started, so it is very, very green and makes me very happy when I pull into my driveway...

Love,

Nicole and the snoring, dreaming lab

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chelsie's House Guest

My coworker has a 14 week old beagle/shephard mix puppy. The weather here has been less than stellar, and Sadie had some energy to burn off, so we got the girls together for a play date tonight. I don't always have the most tolerant child, so I was a little concerned about how she would do. She did great...but was still glad to see Sadie leave. No, we are not ready for another puppy...either of us.








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Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday's Top 10

Well, despite the fact it rained all day here, here is our day's top 10:

1. The solar lighting was installed in the pantry. In Big Bill's words, it is "exceptionally excellent" light. For those of us that know Big Bill, we know he reserves such compliments for truly exceptional results...

2. I got $120 worth of hair products for $60. (spring mailer for Beauty First)

3. While getting $120 worth of hair products for $60, I became green - you bought this bag for $4, and everything that went in it was 20% off...bring it back and everything in it is 10% off. Green in both the environmental and dollar sense!

4. While I was getting $120 of hair products for $60, I ran into none other than Erin Mabee, who is now Erin Mabee Halvorson Mattis (she was married to some dude in Norway) Now she is married and has 2 kids and plays a lot of tennis. We plan on getting together soon.

5. I officially became a "Phat B" for the spring session at OSU. They were down a girl, so I said I would play. They are probably the only other team in the league I would play for besides my own...the Free Agents.

6. The schedule came out for Monday nights today! Woo hoo! We play at 6:15 next Monday night! Put me in coach, I am ready to play! Nat, we need to hit the cages! (even if you are the enemy on Monday nights!)

7. I made an exceptionally excellent and colorful dinner tonight...stir fry with sausage, peppers, broccoli and mushrooms...YUMMY!

8. I got all my lunch stuff organized this weekend...and making lunch took 5 minutes tonight.

9. I learned how to use my company's new procurement system today and am taking comfort in the fact it will take me 3 min instead of three hrs to buy office supplies.

10. I have re-established yard waste collection services. Recall the City of Cols (I still have Cols City services even tho I live in Dublin) cancelled its yard waste contract, so now the residents have to pay. $50 well spent in my mind ($50 for 6 mos)

All in all, it was a great day....I hope this is a sign of things to come for the rest of the week! Assuming I get some good rest tonight, it will be an awesome day!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Finally Getting Somewhere...

Yesterday went a long way into overall life improvement.

First, I was fitted for my bite guards - I will have to wear these at night (yes, anonymous, very sexy, I know). They should have a significant impact on the clenching and grinding that is causing discomfort in my jaw - extreme discomfort. I was a little concerned about the trip to the dentist yesterday. I have had several impressions in my life - they jam those trays into your jaws, and it is any one's guess how much pain I will or will not be in come morning. I was sure to load up on Ibuprofen the night before and the morning of. It also appears my jaw is structurally out of alignment as well, based on this "bite registration" I had done. They put this paste on my teeth and I had to bite, and you could see a difference in my front 2 teeth on the right vs the left.

On to the sinus doctor - whatever sinus infection I had is gone. Scan nice and clear. However, the scan also showed my nasal airway is close to 100% blocked. I forget what they are called, but they are for sure blocked. As we were talking, he went back to 2 questions I had answered about sleep in my history - whether I snored and whether I woke up at night, and I answered both of those yes. Apparently, those symptoms, along with the clenching/grinding are symptoms of sleep apnea. SLEEP APNEA? Um, isn't that for people who have a little different health traits than I do????

Based on everything so far, he feels the main issue is sleep apnea caused by the fact I can't breathe through my nose. Sleep apnea is essentially when you can't get enough oxygen while you sleep, essentially forcing you to wake up so you can breathe. This can be very debilitating and very dangerous - my doctor said in extreme cases he has had people fall asleep while he is talking to them. Guess what? These are the same people that get in their cars and drive away...endangering themselves and others on the road. I am nowhere near that extreme, thankfully.

Based on how I slept last night, I can't reasonably argue. (I needed Candace's spanking spoon for myself to try and get to sleep) So, on May 15th, I will have a minor procedure done to open up my airways and we will see if that helps my sleeping. If not, he wants me to have a sleep study - which I am completely open to at this point. I told him I knew my sleeping habits needed to improve - I too am a "miserable sleeper", not because I want to be, that is for sure. I have been trying to improve my sleeping habits for some time now...it in very frustrating to be exhausted and wake up 2-3 times a night - which is what has been happening for longer than I care to remember. However, I never would have thought that sleep apnea was the issue, but based on what I have learned about it in the last day, it seems reasonable based on what has been happening. I have also learned that no detail is too big or small to share with your medical provider when trying to get to the bottom of your issue. While I am not "sick" in physical sense, sleep apnea is very dangerous - had I not answered the questions honestly and truthfully, I probably would not be headed down the path of feeling better. I also feel very fortunate to have found this doctor - after seeing him once, I felt confident he committed to finding out what the problem was, and that feeling was reinforced again yesterday. Same for my dentist, who was baffled and concerned as well. It is also important to be persitent and your own advocate in your health care - you know when something is not right and it is important to keep going until you have gotten an answer you are comfortable with. I almost did not go the sinus doctor....

Overall, I am comfortable with the plan, and am relieved to know that sometime in the not too distant future, I will be getting better sleep. I never would have thought that when all of this started it was related to sleep, but I have to think that better sleep = better life. So I am on the road to recovery, thankfully. Still have another week before I get my mouthguards, so I will probably have to continue the ibuprofen. It has helped the sensitivity in my teeth, and while they are still sensitive, I don't get tears in my eyes when something cold hits the left side of my mouth. I was freed from the antibiotics, so my little tummy should be happier as well.

We have a busy weekend...softball stadium dedication and Easter...Happy Easter to everyone and I hope to see all you yocal locals tomorrow!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Trippin'....

So yesterday I had my scan of my sinuses. No big deal - it was 3 min long..perfect! The only problem was that my jaw was INCREDIBLY sore yesterday morning...and I had to lay on my stomach for the scan The antibiotic and the ibuprofen have been wreaking havoc on my poor little tummy, so I took a break from both on Monday night. Let's just say until the jaw pain issue is resolved completely, I will not be "taking a break" from the ibuprofen again. When she told me I had to lay on my stomach, a moment of panic ensued...the sheet said the scan would be 20 min, and there was no way I would have been able to lay there for 20 min. Thankfully, it was only 3....

Anyway, so I was laying there, on my stomach when about a minute into it, my eyelids start twitching and I start seeing circles flashing around me...reminiscent of some sort of trip I would expect Fez from That 70's Show to describe. I was a bit freaked out by it, but more concerned than anything I would move and wreck the scans. Thankfully, it was only temporary and the tech said the pictures were good. I told the tech about the circles and she laughed...I guess that is very common. So I think I officially hallucinated yesterday. :)

Follow up appt to read said photos is tomorrow. I also get fitted for the mouth guard tomorrow...you can bet I will pump as much ibuprofen in me as the bottle will allow for that. For those of you that have had impressions before, you know what I am talking about...the thought of having to open my mouth that wide for them to jam those things in there in my current state is clearly not something I am excited about...at all. But it is a short term problem, with a long term solution....I hope..and a quick solution at that. I did sleep much better last night, but it is amazing what little movement is takes to aggravate your jaw joint...

I will keep you posted.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Looking Good

Chel has really picked up her agility...we were one run away from 2 trials in a row with 2 Dbl q's. Mom made a bad choice when handling the opening of the jumpers run today...tried to run with (for more speed) and the jumps were not quite in a straight line. I had to move right to avoid jump 2, and was shocked when she ran in front of me and took jump 4...um, sweetheart, we forgot jump three. We recovered ok and I pushed her a little, and we ended up missing another jump - which did not matter at that point. I was so very proud of her this weekend - our first run today was amazing! She had so much fun and was ready to go! I have some photos for the weekend coming, and got some great shots! My very favorite one is of us at the start line...I bend down and nuzzle her face (usually filled with dirt from her eating it) before we run, and he got some shots of that. He also got some great ones of the table, so stay tuned!

Good job Chelsie Belle, I am very, very proud of you. We are at about 12 dbl Q's and 260 MACH points...maybe 12 mos from now we will MACH...

Friday, April 3, 2009

It has a name!

I am happy to report my teeth pain has a name..."Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder", otherwise know as TMJ. One Tuesday morning, I woke up with what I can best describe as muscle pain in my jaw, a tell tale sign of TMJ. That, along with the fact I had sensitivity to cold on the top jaw only, was a pretty good indicator this is what the problem is. Also, I grind my teeth and clench my jaws at night, which only aggravates the situation. I had also seen an increase in the number of headaches I had been experiencing - not bad ones, but enough that I noticed them - which is also a side effect of this.

As far as we can tell, it appears all was aggravated by the filling...that my bite was just far enough out of alignment enough for the grinding and clenching to become an issue. As I thought, there is not a darn thing wrong with any of the teeth up there (but I am loving the KILLER mouthwash my dentist gave me to make sure there was no yuckies up there). I still do have a sinus infection, and my ENT appears to be correct in his assessment that the facial pain and the teeth pain were not related.

So for now, I am taking ridiculous doses of Ibuprofen to get the inflammation down in my teeth and help with the pain in my jaw (like 800 mg 4 times a day). I will also continue on the antibiotic to get rid of the sinus infection. Long term, I will have to wear a mouthguard type of device at night to help with the clenching and grinding.

Yeah...at least now I know I was not crazy..at least about this. I was starting to feel like I was a hypochondriac. I really am not excited about the amount of medicine I am swallowing at this point...I don't take this much medicine at once in 4 years, let alone in a day! But hopefully it will help.

Hope everyone is well!