Hello! My name is Heidi Good Swiacki. I have been married to Steve for 25 years, which has been filled with laughter, trust and love. We have 2 great kids, Ashton 22 and Chris 16. I have ALS, aka Lou Gehrigs Disease. I was officially diagnosed March '05, I was just turning 45. This blog will be about a myriad of topics. I will share my ALS story which will hopefully encourage others. It will show that quality of life comes in many forms. I have to tell you up front that there will be some spiritual references. Don't be afraid or turned off by that. Since I have had ALS I have seen many miracles. Let's be realistic, who can be a happy, non-verbal,ventilated quadriplegic without Faith? I hope you will join me and make this an interesting, educational, inspirational forum. Humor and the ability to enjoy life is required! :)

Heidi passed away 3-25-13 :(

August 4, 2013

Hello, Steve here. To help with the healing process, I am going to continue on with Heidi's blog, primarily talking about our lives and how we as a family are learning to live on with Heidi's memories pushing us forward. Topics covered will be geared towards the affects ALS has on loved ones.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Technology is a gift - phase 1

There was a day I was climbing up the back steps to my office The front starcase was too public and it took some time for me to get up . I had 4-5 steps to go. I sat on the steps and cried, my left leg and left arm  had no more umph. I certainly did not want anyone to see me crawling (foolish pide). It was Yosemite all over again. It was then I realized that the stairs were not for me anymore. The owners of L&L were trying to figure out where I could work from a single story. Unfortunately that meant bumping someone from their office or renting an office and wiring it to the main office. They were very empathetic and the extent they were going to accommodate was above and beyond. After weighing the options we agreed that I should conduct business from my already established home office. With the technology available and the fact that my handicap would progress, this seemed like a good solution.

This proved to work out well. Lynne brought me files, etc. daily, I used software , Gotomypc, that allowed me to run my office computer as if I was sitting at my desk. Absolutely amazing! A little unsettling if you happened to be in my office and see my computer working by itself.

My body was behaving consistently, a new area weakening every 3 months with cramps and involuntary muscle spasms preceeding. What a wonderful feature of ALS, no pain and a warning system that allows you to prepare for the next change. I started using Dragon Software which gave me the ability to use my voice instead of my hands. Most Smart Phones can get the Dragon app now, but then I felt very cutting edge. I used my right hand to move the mouse. As that arm weakened I found a hands - free mouse by SmartNav. This is an optical device that is placed on top of the computer screen. It has a built-in infared. A receiver in the form of a  self sticking small grey dot. I wore this on the nose rim of my glasses. It will stick on a hat, your forehead, pretty much anything as long as it lines up with the device. This system worked incredibly well as long as you have a voice  .

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