Loom Knitting for Independence

Jaco Robotic Arm Demonstration Day

March 27, 2015 was a pretty amazing, cool, exciting, and whatever other positive words you can think of day!

Ron Borgschulte from Partners in Medicine LLC in St. Louis, MO was here so that I could actually use the Jaco robotic arm for myself. He got to my house around 11:00 a.m. and was enthusiastically greeted by the dogs! After talking for a little, he started installing Jaco on my wheelchair. Since both Jaco and my IKAN Bowler mount on the side of my chair, Ron was careful to ensure that I would still be able to bowl when I have raised the funds to purchase my own Jaco.

Ron asked me what do I want to be able to do using Jaco. I just laughed and said, “Everything!” OK so maybe everything is a bit much to ask for, but I just wanted to try whatever I could. I probably drove him crazy because I was playing and moving it around before he even finished installing it…I couldn’t resist the temptation!

In the middle of installing it, my Mom showed up with lunch from McDonald’s, but I tried to be patient and wait for Ron to finish. That worked for a little while, but I soon found myself in the kitchen intent on feeding myself a fish sandwich and french fries. It has been at least seven years or so since I last had the muscle strength to raise my arms and feed myself. I remember how I would sometimes avoid eating just so I wouldn’t have to have help. I must admit that I still have days when I think things like “What good am I if I can’t even feed myself?” So you can’t imagine how much I was jumping for joy on the inside when I took my first bite!

After that, Jeff Hardison, a local reporter for HardisonInk, came by to do an article about me and Jaco so I had to get serious and allow Ron to start teaching me how to do things with the robotic arm. Here is a list of the things I could do in one day.

  • Feed myself a fish sandwich, french fries, ad some M&Ms.
  • Lift and pour water from a pitcher into a glass, set the pitcher down, and pick up the glass to take a drink.
  • Set the timer and run the microwave.
  • Turn the water faucet on and off.
  • Hold the telephone to talk without being on speakerphone.
  • Open and close the front door.
  • Pick something up off the floor.
  • Get in and out of the van with Jaco attached to my wheelchair.
  • Go to the grocery store and pick up a can.

All of this may not seem like much, but 10 hours later my body was so ready to lie down and rest! When I go to sleep at night, I usually wake up every two to three hours to change position as my body gets uncomfortable. Well last night I slept soundly for six hours straight before waking up to move! All that concentrating on learning how to do things for myself just wore me out or maybe I was just blissfully content with all that I could do and was off running around in dreamland or maybe a bit of both.

We took several videos, and I will end this post with two of them. Be patient as I was still learning so it took time to accomplish things. Thanks to everyone who has donated to my cause or made a knitting purchase from me to go towards my fund raising efforts. Your love and support are greatly appreciated!