Where does my JOY come from? (Part 2)

I have said before that the joy I experience is not my own. It does sound enigmatic, so it does need explaining through my life story.

My father told me, once upon a time, that as a baby, after my polio episodes, he would often cover my head with his hand. He did that to all the babies (siblings & cousins) in our family at least one time each. Infants would squirm and try to wriggle out of my father’s firm but gentle grip. My father was not being cruel and abusive. I believe he was assessing what kind of personalities we’d grow into. He confided with me that when he gripped my head, I didnot squirm nor struggled. And when he released his hand, I gave him a gurgling laugh. He was amased. He said, I was the only baby that he repeated the process because I was such a happy baby. It is funny what memories floats up to help illustrate a point.

Anyway, in my last posting I mentioned a dark cloud had been infringing at the borders of my happiness. You probably thought that the dark cloud was the opposite of my happiness. You are right. However, sadness and depression is not the culprit. It is just the by-product. The true culprit was not emotional but spiritual: SIN. Now, at that time, I didn’t know it was sin that was dampening my life.

From college to my early married days, I was getting farther and farther from the knowledge of God and was focusing more in my self interest. Then in 1990, God took a hand. It was just when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and the height of Operation Desert Shield, a build-up of the US-led coalation of military forces. It was Easter Week and the NEWS was talking about Iraq starting a nuclear war which will destroy the world. For the first time in my life, I was thinking more on my mortality. It was when I was watching an old favorite religious TV movie that I was confronted with a disturbing question. If I was to stand before God on that very day, would He let me into heaven? The answer was way to obvious in my heart. God would not let me in, for I suddenly knew I was not deserving. As soon as I came to this… let us say, frame of mind… the Lord changed me.

My story, of course, does not end there. It actually started there because something in me became new (not of my doing). But I will continue this story on my next post.

Until the next post,

Johann Q

Please help me go mobile, donate at or share this link to others: https://www.gofundme.com/quadriplegic-needs-mobility

Where does my JOY come from? (Part 1)

By every right, I should be a bitter and a miserable person. At my first birthday, I was struck down by polio which almost killed me. Instead, it had rendered me visibly crippled. I remembered as a child being ridiculed and teased by street children because of my limp. At school I was refered to as a walking living skeleton because I was all skin and bones. Bullies in school always targeted me as an easy prey. I struggled doing the things that many take for granted. I have missed out on a lot of things because of disability. Then, on the twilight of my years, I have again been struck down with a disabilitating condition that had left me a quadriplegic for the rest of my life. Yes, I should be wretchedly unhappy and should be pitied. But yet, I am far from being wretched. In fact, my thoughts are always joyful even as I lay in my bed paralyzed.

How could this be? My whole life, I was always happy. Of course, I take no credit for this. It may have been because my brothers and sisters always treated me like I (and my sister who also caught polio) were normal. Today, I believe that my family has always been an important factor in something bigger. My grandmother (in my mother’s side) had repeatedly told me that my happiness was from God and that He had a plan for me. Now, I was still young and the thought that God had a plan for me was beyond my understanding. I have to admit that in my youth, my thoughts of God was often fleeting. By the time I reached adulthood, my attitude toward God was almost that of a modern skeptic. In college, I would argue with Christians, not about God’s existence, but of their convictions on other things. (I’ll talk about this in another post.) As the thought of God waned in the recesses of my mind, my unusual bubbly attitude in life undeservingly was still strong in me. It carried me through my 20s and 30s. However, a dark cloud had been infringing at the borders of my happiness. Yet still, my happy go lucky attitude was still there through my early married life. Then my life took an interesting turn and God came back into the picture. If you think I was such a happy person in the past, that is nothing compared to the kind of joy… a heavenly JOY that the Lord had magnified in my life today. It is this JOY that sustains me regardless my situation.

I’ll leave it there for now. Again, I really want to thank everyone for their support and ecouragements. Here is an update: I got a quotation from my elec. wheelchair dealer which was painfully high. I had to increase my original $10T target to $15T. I am, however, still canvasing for better prices.

Until the next post,

Johann Q

Please help me go mobile, donate at or share this link to others: https://www.gofundme.com/quadriplegic-needs-mobility

Hopes on going independently mobile

I’ve always been a people person. ‘Shy’ is not a word that for anybody who knew me would use to describe me. When I was a kid, the family joke was I was always the one introducing my two big brothers to the girls. Of course, that is an exaggeration… almost. When I became a quadriplegic, I thought I was done because I thought I would not be able to drive my electric wheelchair because my hands didn’t work. I knew there were specialized controllers in the market and that they were extremely expensive. So expensive that, it seem unattainable and I almost gave into the thought that for the rest of my life I would be dependent on someone to push me around in a wheelchair. To some, they can live with it, but, for some reason, the Lord had put a stubborn streak on me. I felt it would be a sin to not even try to be more independent.

First, I focused on trying to generate income online by promoting my graphic art skills. I haven’t earned a cent yet, but it is still an ongoing process. I’ve also written my first ebook, The Centurion’s Gospel, and self-published it in Amazon. So far, I sold 15 ebooks about $1.99/book. My royalty earnings to date is less than $10. I have researched on other online moneymaking schemes but found them questionable. Then my sister (visiting from the States) introduced me to the Go-Fund-Me website.

According to Wikipedia, GoFundMe is a crowdfunding platform that allows people to raise money for things like life events such as celebrations and graduations to challenging circumstances like accidents and illnesses. How it works is that the user is allowed to create a web page where they can relate their story. They provide service to utilize the user’s email, facebook and twitter contact listing and automatically send notices about their campaign page. GoFundMe is also where the donations are safely collected until it is withdrawned by the beneficiary.

For weeks, I hesitated going down this route. My pride was a factor in pleading for help. But I have yet to generate income. So, I swallowed my pride and created my GoFundMe campaign page. I did this with the conviction that this is just to raise the money so I can become more independent and self sufficient. My hopes are that, as I become more mobile, I’ll be out there to be among people. Then I can make connections and build up my network. This opens the opportunity to return the favor of everyone who donated for me to pay-it-forward.

Again, I want to thank everyone for their support and ecouragements.

Until the next post,

Johann Q

Please help me go mobile, donate at or share this link to others: https://www.gofundme.com/quadriplegic-needs-mobility

Prolonged bed rest often leads to Vertigo

Since I am bedridden most of the time, I have been experiencing a lot more vertigo. I mean roller-coaster up and down type dizziness. This usually occurs when my caregiver turns me on my side, sits me up and lifts me to my chair. Frankly, I kinda enjoy it a little. It is like being in a thrill ride. However, there are times when the room start to spin a little too violently that I feel like throwing up. By God’s grace, that does not happen very often. Lately, though, vertigo had invaded my dream world. Of course, my wife told me because I’ve been watching TV shows of extreme rollercoaster with steep gutt-dropping drops.

In some ways, going mobile on my own will probably get me more out of the extended prone position and into an active living condition. For now though, I actually depend on a tiny gadget that I got through Amazon. Oh, how I love my gadgets.

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While I was in my hospital room, I learned to hate constantly staring up at the stark ceiling. Even upto today, staring at the ceiling can be dizzying especially when I wake up. Then I purchased a set of prism glasses online for less than $5. From a prone position, I can watch TV. It’s like I’m sitting down. So, every night I sleep with these glasses on.

Again, I want to thank everyone for their support and encouragements.

Until the next post,

Johann Q

Please help me go mobile, donate at or share this link to others: https://www.gofundme.com/quadriplegic-needs-mobility

What I use to control my computer with no hands?

After my 4 months stay in the hospital (which, by the way, had no WiFi), my mind was already taking on stock on how I can get back into my computer without the use of my hands. I had a bunch of really wild ideas that required some homespun inginuity. One idea came from when I was a puppeteers. Marionettes (string puppets) were my specialty. I conceptualized stringing my hand over a touch-pad tablet. Control strings attached to my head would manipulate my hand. But in the long run, I threw it out. The rig would have been cumbersome and too elaborate. Oh, my mind raced away with even crazier ideas.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to re-invent the wheel. With technology today, well minded engineers have considered the plights of quadriplegics and have already come up with incredible solutions. Many of them required extra hardwares and was a little expensive. Now, at that time, I didn’t want to be a continious burden to my family and friends. So, I kept looking. (Oh, by the way, my caregiver was the one typing for me at that time.) Anyway, again, by God’s grace, there were some FREE options that were put together by conscientious people. I discovered the CAMERA MOUSE.

The Camera Mouse was developed by the graduate students of Boston University to aid quadriplegics. It required no specialized hardware except what you should already have, a computer and a webcam. It is software, that is, a program that first utilizes your webcam to identify and track a spot on your face. Then, it will actively execute mouse functions, so that when you move face left/right or up/down, the curser arrow will follow. It also has a function to automatically execute the ‘clicking’ every 3-5 seconds. It is an optional convenience for those who are totally paralyzed, but I still had some miniscule control in my hands, in this case, my left thumb. So, I have managed to strap an old mouse on my hand where my thumb can press down on the mouse button [see image].

for-JQ-blog-1-w.jpg

AQ-ARCTIC-workarea-w.jpgNow, this gave me greater control on my computer, so that I am able to work on computer graphic projects again. If you send me a high resolution picture of yourself, I can photoshop you into another background [see image]. By the way, I am still available for projects (hint, hint). The camera mouse, together with an onscreen keyboard, actually made it possible for me to complete my first ebook which can be purchased in Amazon (again, hint hint).

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Anyway, Camera Mouse is available for everyone for FREE (link below).

Again, I want to thank everyone for their support and ecouragements.

Until the next post,

Johann Q

Please help me go mobile, donate at or share this link to others: https://www.gofundme.com/quadriplegic-needs-mobility

Camera Mouse
http://www.cameramouse.org/

Check out my other graphic work at JQGraphix:  https://jqgraphix.page4.me/

The Centurion’s Gospel [Kindle Ebook] only $1.99

How can independent mobility be good for mental health?

Imagine this scenario – You were going through a park and meeting a man who recently suffered a stroke. He was being pushed around on a wheelchair by a hired caregiver. In that first meeting, his demeanor was light and friendly. Some months later, you ran into the same man. He was sitting by himself in his wheelchair under a tree. His caregiver was talking to someone else about 40 feet away. At first, you thought he was a different person, but then you recognized him as the same guy. Unfortunately, his appearance was of someone whose demeanor was totally opposite from when you first met him. He was slouching to one side with his head drooping. His face was sullen, skin blotchy, drawn in close to the bone and deep bags under the eyes. Then, there are the eyes that can only be described as sad… unhappy… bereaved of joy.

Of course, that is just a scenario. However, I have seen these eyes many many times. I have seen it in the eyes of the poor who gave up hope. I have seen it in the eyes of the abandoned paralyzed patients of an undermanned charity hospital waiting just to die. I have seen this in the eyes of our senior citizens doomed to waste away knowing they have lost control of their most basic independence… mobility under their own control.

28945002_10155927344076351_1194703167_o.jpgAt first, I could not understand how frustrating it can be to be totally dependent on someone to push me around in a wheelchair. Until I found myself in similar situation. Now, I am usually a good-natured guy but lately whenever my caregiver take me out, I always end up being a tiny tyrant of a ‘backseat-driver’. I’m constantly telling my caregiver to go here, to angle there, to suddenly stop and back up because I just spotted something. One thing I hate the most, is whenever something neat is happening I am facing the wrong way and the caregiver is always late to respond. It has gotten to a point where I enjoy staying in bed more where at least I have some control of my computer. (Of course, that is for another story.) In the long run, I really hate being ‘pushed around’, so to speak. Who does?

Depression and self-pity are things quadriplegics have to face and battle with everyday. But by God’s grace, technology has come a long way to provide us ways to improve the quality of life. In Youtube, I have viewed other quadries like myself living happilly and with renewed vigor on their hi-tech wheelchairs. I have a choice. I either wallow in self-pity and eventually succomb to depression. Or I use my God-given gift and do my very best to improve my current state of things. The draw-back is the very high prices of the equipment needed.

My challenge is to raise the funding so that I too can become useful and productive not just for myself but for others. So, I again plea for help to raise the money so that I can be independently mobile. Thank you.

Until the next post,

Johann Q

Please help me go mobile, donate at or share this link to others: https://www.gofundme.com/quadriplegic-needs-mobility