Thursday, November 29, 2007

let's save WSD!

There is still a good chance the Wyoming School for the Deaf building can be SAVED! The local school district are wanting to tear down good buildings for no good reason at all, except maybe to waste money. The WSD building is still in excellent shape, and is frequently used on a daily basis. There are plenty of office spaces and there is also the library and resource center for the deaf which is VERY well used not only locally, but throughout the entire state of Wyoming. The school district wants to tear down and rebuild Pineview Elementary, which is understandable as Pineview has been condemned. But there is absolutely no need for them to take down the Deaf School building too (which is conjoined to Pineview). If they tear down the WSD building, it'll probably be replaced with a parking lot. We can't let that happen! So let's take action against the School District and fight them to keep the building up.

You can send letters to
Casper Star Tribune
Letters Editor
170 Star Lane
Casper, WY 82609

or email your letters to the editor at:

If you want to know more information about the situation, read the article that I wrote for the Casper Star Tribune: Deaf alumni saddened by school's fate

In June of 2007 during the WSD's 50th anniversary and reunion, it was the alumni's wish to have a small archives museum to be created in this building, as there would be historical meaning. If the archives museum is placed in another building (should the library/resource center be moved), there wouldn't be the historical connection. Let's achieve the alumni's dream!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

what to do hmm

Am still trying to find options. Contacted the local Department of Family Services about Medicaid, from my description to them, they don't believe I'll be eligible for Medicaid. But they told me to try contacting the Resource Center as they usually are able to help people find different options and whatnot. So I'll try this resource center and see what they can do. I don't have a number for them, but the Medicaid office did give me their location. I don't how how long this office is open during the day, but after work I'll see if I can find the center, and go from there.

La de dah. This is nuts, trying to find coverage of some sort. But I'm still working on it!

I'm also on the search for a new webspace host for my Deaf School website. I have given up all hope on ever functioning again. The new owner of hasn't done a single thing in regards to fixing problems, and this has been going on since September. I'm tired of waiting around and not hearing any words or updates of what is going on with the host, so I'll just find a new one. I really do want to get the archives website up and going, but let's find a reliable host first.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

new CI surgery method?

New, less-invasive approach eases cochlear implant surgery
November 9, 2007
by Nicole Majoras

Treating deafness might just get a little easier.
Robert Labadie, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have come up with an image-guided, minimally invasive approach to cochlear implant surgery they believe will make it faster, less invasive and more precise.
This spring they received a $3 million, four-year grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to test their
“We envision such a minimally invasive technique to become the LASIK procedure of the ear,” said Labadie, associate professor of Otolaryngology and Biomedical Engineering.
In order to accurately implant an electrode in the cochlea without damaging the critical facial nerve, surgeons currently have to excavate a large section of bone from the lateral skull base, a process that takes approximately two hours to complete in the operating room with patients under general anesthesia.
Labadie said that with his group's software and frame design, surgeons will be able to plan a specific trajectory by putting anchors into the skull, and then having a customized frame built to guide a drill along a safe path from the lateral skull base to the cochlea.
This process may reduce operating time from hours to minutes, and could eliminate the need for general anesthesia, he said. Labadie's partner in the Vanderbilt Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, J. Michael Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., has written software that automatically identifies the anchor positions.
Others in the department, Benoit Dawant, Ph.D., and Rui Li, have developed planning software that allows the surgeon to identify an entry point in the skull, and then verify a path to the cochlea that does not injure any vital anatomy such as the facial nerve. To do this, the surgeon can “fly” down the proposed trajectory in the CT scan, looking at adjacent structures as they pass by.
Jack Noble, a former Vanderbilt undergrad now pursuing his Ph.D. here, has automated the planning software using an atlas-based method developed by Dawant for neurosurgical applications. The surgeon need only verify that this automated path is safe before ordering the frame. Information is sent electronically to a manufacturing company, which makes the frame using rapid-prototyping with a turnaround time of 48 hours.
After the frameis mounted to anchors in the patient's skull, a drill is inserted through it and guided down the planned trajectory.
Jason Mitchell, a machinist in the Vanderbilt Department of Mechanical Engineering, is co-inventor of another innovation, the Posi-Seat anchor driver, which allows surgeons to place bone-implanted anchors more securely.
During the first two years of the grant, the team will be validating the accuracy of drill guidance on patients who are undergoing the traditional wide-field surgery. Wendy Lipscomb is the research nurse coordinator.
Three other centers — the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Texas Southwestern, and Case Western Reserve University — will join the study this fall. The researchers anticipate performing the first percutaneous cochlear implant surgery in April 2009.
Labadie estimates that the time required for this new procedure will initially be on the order of one hour, and that it will ultimately be performed outside the operating room.
“Currently the patient needs to recover for two to three weeks before we can activate the device, but with our design the patient could activate the device the same day,” Labadie said.

I thought this was a very interesting read. Hmm! And yeah I know the formatting looks goofy here, I dunno what I did ha. Oh well.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

insurance update

Well, after talking with Human Resource last week, it's possible I won't be able to get any of the benefits as apparently the prepress job is still temporary. Come on now, exactly how long is "temporary" now? Last time I was told the job would be temporary, it would last through October and that was it.... Well I'm still working in prepress. Now for how much longer? And they're not sure if they'll have anything I could work on AFTER prepress, to keep my 30+ hours a week, since I can't use the phone and all.

I did call BlueCross BlueShield to get a quote from them. If I were to get insurance through them for cochlear implant coverage, I'd have to get insurance with the health pool... whatever, as the implant coverage would come from the pool thing... and that insurance is pretty pricy. I'll look into other insurances, but honestly, the cheapest way I can get insurance is if I get it through employment. No such luck right now.

So, I am hoping my mom's $5 million lottery thing is actually real and she gets that money. She said if she had that money, she would get her lasik eye surgery, she would pay for my cochlear implant, get her business paid off, help out some people with some of that money. Yeah. Her lawyer is looking into this thing. My mom did some research, found out it would be coming from a REAL bank and all. And when contacting them via email (they haven't asked for any private info such as bank accounts or anything like that), they said they would be more than happy to send a certified letter to her lawyer. So hopefully this deal is real, but who knows. We both know there are a lot of scams online and to be leery of them. She's really hopeful this thing is real.

Oh, life just sucks at times. Can't apply for SSI, I'm making more money than is the limit per month. Can't ask DVR for help, they have been of NO help whatsoever in the last few years, and believe me, I've tried. I have asked them for help with insurance and whatnot, and they haven't done a single thing, so forget them. What else can I possibly do, beside continue looking into different insurance companies? Hm. I know I could try fundraisers and what not, but $105,000 is a LOT of money to try to raise. Hm.