May 2, 2014

Scottsdale Gun Club

Written by derekherrera

Just got into my hotel room here in Scottsdale, AZ.  I’m here for one night to support the MARSOC Foundation Fundraiser at the Scottsdale Gun Club.  This year we are taking the auction online so that even if you cannot attend in person you can bid on and win items that we are selling to raise money for the MARSOC Foundation.  Please check out the auction items, or stop by the Gun Club tonight at 6 PM.  There will also be free food and drinks.  Hopefully I will see some of you tonight.  We also have the legendary Colonel George Bristol, USMC (Ret) coming out as a guest speaker.Derek at Bahrain Royal Camel Farm @2x The second half of my trip abroad was great, until I got to the airport to come home.  I got to stay with my friend Brett and his family and I had an incredible time catching up with them.  Brett took me to see all of Bahrain’s glory, including the Tree of Life and the King’s Camel Farm.  I also attended an event where I randomly ran into some people that I haven’t seen a long time from California.  The past month I have found my personal network getting larger and larger, and somehow realizing that I am less degrees of separation from most people than I previously thought. Once I got to the airport my flight was delayed for two hours, which only gave me 45 minutes to transfer flights in Amsterdam.  I addressed this with the staff and went round for a while, until I realized I was not going to convince them to switch me to another carrier and they made the compromise of offering me free club access.  Although they guaranteed me I would make my connecting flight, which was also the only direct flight to LAX, I was surprised to find that I did make it to the flight with about ten minutes to spare.  When I presented my boarding pass, the attendant said, ‘Oh, we gave your seat away and the flight is full.  You had less than an hour to transfer planes so it is our policy to rebook you if you have less than an hour.  You have been rebooked on the next flight to LAX.’  The next flight to LAX turned out to be 12 hours later, and for my troubles they placated me with an upgrade to first class. After my slumber on the flight to Minneapolis I got off the plane and the attendant asked me where my wheelchair was.  Turns out, Delta didn’t gate check anything in Amsterdam and even though my wheelchair was touching the plane with a gate check sticker on it, they failed to load it.  This was enough drama with the trip but to top it all off, I had food poisoning as well during the last few days of my trip.  Anyways, I got home and five days later my wheelchair arrived from Amsterdam.  Horrible end to an incredible trip, but I have recovered now and am back at fighting strength. The new wheelchair I ordered months ago was finally built and delivered and is absolutely incredible.  It is truly a feat of engineering and, in my opinion, a work of art.  It is hand-made by a company called Panthera in Sweden of Carbon Fiber and weighs less than half of what my previous titanium and carbon fiber wheelchair did.  It has been great thus far and I would highly recommend the product to highly-active, independent wheelchair users. Maura and I had a great time at Easter and spent it with our friends Jackie and Sal.  Jackie took the plunge and became Catholic and Maura sponsored her throughout the process.  The ceremony was nice and we had a great night celebrating. Maura and Derek at Easter Confirmation @2x I got my first Botox Injections for my spasticity in my legs.  I am still uncertain of how well it will work, since it takes a few weeks to affect the muscles.  If it works well then I will continue getting the shots at 3-month intervals.  Also, if you are considering Botox make sure you are comfortable with large needles.  The needle used in this procedure is probably the longest one I have ever seen. A lot of people have sent me the link to the Spinal Cord Stimulator study that has received a lot of publicity recently.  It is truly groundbreaking research and was pioneered here at UCLA.  I have been intermittently participating in a similar study (with the same leading researchers) designed to use the same technology to train the bladder.  The study has been progressing, but there are still significant limitations for any doctor who is attempting to implant a Spinal Cord Stimulator for use in this manner.  I have been asking the doctor for almost a year now, with no real progress and I don’t foresee it happening anytime soon.  This treatment, like almost all others, will take years to gain FDA approval and make it’s way into mainstream use.  That being said, it is pretty incredible to see the things that they have done with the four people in the world who have the implanted devices.  I certainly hope that the treatment gets processed as soon as possible so that it can help people suffering from the same conditions I am. Business has been good.  I have been working on a lot of projects that I plan on sharing with you all sometime soon, but for now, have to keep under wraps.  I have been busy and will be traveling for the next few weeks so if you are in Phoenix, Bethesda or NYC you may see me cruising around.