It’s been a while

We were diagnosed with Covid on November 10, had to figure a way home, Miami instead of Fort Lauderdale, get to Miami, get on the plane, get to Seattle and then get pulled from our Seattle to Bellingham flight because my power chair was 20 pounds over the 399 pound weight limit.

They were very sorry but we still had to take a wheelchair taxi home and did not get home until 4:30 am.

Every complex rehab power chair is probably at risk of not being allowed to fly on Alaska due to the weight limit.

I spent six days in the hospital with pneumonia and am home now.

Folks, Covid is real. It still infects people and is dangerous to those of us with compromised immune systems.

We had to cut our cruising short and have spent hours working with the insurance company to get reimbursed.

Please be careful. Cruise ships are dangerous.

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Well, gosh!

We both tested positive for Covid and have been in isolation for three days.

After some serious thinking we have decided to not continue cruising.

We have been fully vaccinated and have both boosters yet we get Covid. Are we ever going to beat this virus?

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Cartagena, Colombia

The port has built a beautiful restaurant, store and wildlife sanctuary right at the entrance and no more than a quarter of a mile from the ship.

Today’s ramps were the best yet and a pleasure to use. I’m going to share photos now. When visiting this port make sure you visit the birds and animals.

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Half Moon Cay, Oranjestad and Willemstad

Half moon cay looked beautiful…..from the ship. This was a tendered port where only those passengers who could walk several steps and negotiate a step were able (allowed) to use the tender.

But, like I said it was beautiful.

Half Moon Cay

Oranjestad was much easier this time. The ramp was nice and the little bit of wind helped cool us off.

Aruba

Willemstad, Curaçao ramp was a little steep going out so I suggested they lift the ramp and extend it. They did and getting back on the ship was much better.

Willemstad is a cute town with a pontoon bridge that swings open for boats and closed for pedestrians. We enjoyed our visit and the sights were beautiful.

Willemstad
Did I mention there was a fort?

Our next stop is Cartagena, Colombia and a short walk from the ship is a small salt water aquarium fed by the sea as well as wild macaws in the trees. I’ll let you know how it is and what we encounter.

Our room, an ambulatory accessible room, continues to be the best fully accessible room we’ve been in.

Since showering is a problem, a chair was provided but is unstable, I had a haircut and a sea salt exfoliation. They gave me a $50 voucher so I think a pedicure is next. Ruby is also going to have a pedicure. I may also have a manicure.

This cruising life is great.

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Hello Fort Lauderdale

We stayed on Eurodam, had to change cabins but no problems experienced.

I’m sitting on the top deck looking out a window, sitting in the sun and enjoying Florida.

Pardon the knees, best I can do.

We leave in just a bit for our western Caribbean and partial Panama Canal cruise. New place, new faces, lots of fun.

We just learned a tour group of disabled individuals are on board. We’ve been invited to their first meeting. It’ll be nice to have more support as we navigate the barriers placed in front of us.

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Aruba and beyond

We were able to get of and back on the ship without any difficulty. The crew did a great job.

Aruba is a friendly country and bills itself as “One friendly Island”

Keller Williams let us use their Wi-Fi. This was great since the ship has blocked the ISP for my email.

Now comes a customs visit in Fort Lauderdale, a room move, our third, and the second leg of our adventure- the western Caribbean with a foray into the Panama Canal with cruising around Lake Gatun. This cruise is 11 days and ends with two nights in a nice Hilton Hotel after which we go on our third cruise to Key West, Bahamas, Dominican Republic and a couple other places before ending up in Fort Lauderdale on November after which we begin the Amazon River cruise which ends December 17th. We come home the next day.

Our excellent neighbors are taking very good care of our home despite the storms.

More to come in a couple days.

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Well, it happened!

We got off the ship in Puerto Quetzal, toured the town (vendors) and saw some iguanas.

As we came down the ramp into town I commented on how steep it was.

On the way back to the ship I encountered difficulties with the steep ramp. There was a carpet to make it easier. It did not. Then they thought turning the carpet over would make it easier. It did not. Then they thought carpet further up the ramp would make it easier. It did no but I did crinkle it up nicely.

I tried five or six times. And I said the ramp is too steep. They wanted to carry me and push the chair up in freewheel mode. I said no.

They wanted to transfer me to a manual chair, push me up and freewheel my chair up. Nope.

After each suggestion I said they needed to bring their spare portable ramps down and lengthen the ramp to make it less steep.

The staff said they had no other ramps. I said we’ve seen them. They are portable and about six feet long and will work perfectly.

We don’t have one. Finally a more senior staff person and another more senior staff person showed up and told the deck staff to go get the Alaska ramp.

Then I went up the ramp.

I also spoke with the senior officer in charge of ramps and he agree that the extension will be used anytime the ramp is as steep as it was today.

It took almost an hour to resolve what could have been taken care of in ten minutes.

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Necessities

Toilets in handicap bathroom and staterooms.

It would seem that designers don’t ask the ADA community what is necessary to transfer to a toilet. For example, our stateroom toilet has no space on the side where the wall is and the toilet is not ADA height. We have to use a toilet seat riser that leaves me perched up high. Then, the handicap bar on the left is too high. Transferring and cleaning requires acrobatic contortions.

The toilets on deck are taller but they have fold up hand rails that, while useful for a lot of people, stick out from the wall eight inches preventing us in power chairs from backing up to the wall and transferring easily.

Notice the bars and how far away the emergency button is, who could reach that?

So, a necessary function becomes an adventure. But I am learning to be a contortionist.

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Oh, Manzanilla!

Yesterday’s gangplank was very nice. I did have to stop and tell a staff person to not push and that I had plenty of power.

Pushing can cause the power chair to stop. So, no time to educate yesterday but I’m sure I will have more opportunities.

Right now, I am sitting on the balcony just watching the harbor. Temperature is about 80f with a bit of humidity.

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Things we use to make life easier

Time out bench, mattress genie, RAM Mount cup holder, stainless steel straws with rubber tips so I can recline my chair and get back up.

We use the time out bench to ear at normal height tables. I can’t lift my arms well and this helps.

We also use a bed genie to raise me to a sitting position. My core muscles have become weaker.

Here’s the tool we created so I can operate the joystick after reclining and raise myself back up. This helps me be a bit more independent.

It’s a 15 inch stainless steel straw. The rubber pieces are used on pencils by arthritics and others who need a better grip on their pencil.

RAM mounts makes all kinds of mounts for just about anything. Here’s my cup holder. it’s on a gimbal mount.

Like I said in another post, we adapt and change so we can live life better.

This post is from Puerto Vallarta. Cruising gives me a lot of independence but I can never be shy about asking for help.

Choose happiness and choose to be kind. My disease could depress me (well, sometimes it does) but a good attitude beats being angry all the time. I don’t ask WHY because I will never know. But I can control my attitude.

Hope this helps.

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