Sunday, August 02, 2009

Let's Roll

I’ve been going for walks to the waterpark, library, nearby stores, and just walking the dogs. I’m not regularly doing these things, but they add up. I just grab the cane and roll.

About a week ago, I was walking Onyx and I usually, by habit, look ahead as I walk to make sure nothing’s in my path. But I was distracted by Onyx’s constant stops to sniff at something. (I really don’t WANT to know what she’s sniffing.) Anyway, as I rolled the cane, I hit something. It was an empty garbage can that was tipped over, with its lid lying on the sidewalk. Had I not bumped into it with the cane, I’d have been sprawled all over that lid, cursing and everything, not to mention getting scraped up.

Another incident: I was at Staples. I was looking at some school supplies and I turned away from a display and proceeded to walk forward. A mother quickly grabbed her toddler who was in front of me, muttering “sorry” to me.

To ME. ad I not had the cane with me, I’d be the one saying “sorry” to her as she gave me a nasty glare.

I've had to 'roll with the punches", too. The cane can hit a rut or an uneven tile of sidewalk (even a thick growth of grass growing between the tiles) and I get jabbed in the stomach. I can't Teflon coat my stomach. I got a few bruises on my stomach. So, since other caners tend to hold the cane farther off the side by the hip to avoid the rut-gut incidents. I've been trying it that way while sweeping more to the right to make up for it.

Coming out with the cane, using it, was a very scary thing. I didn’t want pity or people staring at me. But the more I use it, the more I ignore the stares and let the cane do the talking.

I might be able to go around things, like in my neighborhood, without the cane okay, because it’s familiar to me and get by. But I think about the unexpected things, like the garbage can, and the cane comes to my rescue.

It’s funny how it’s becoming a part of me, like my hearing aid. I don’t leave home without it. Well, except for going to church. I did take it with me a few times, all folded up, but the kids pretty much guide me through the sea of people standing around talking. This morning I didn’t take it with me, though. The Hubbymobile dropped us off in front of the church and he picked us up in front, too. There wasn’t a whole lot to look out for. The crowd of people thinned down as we waited.

I’ve been taking the bus with the kids, taking them to the dentist and the mall. Sometimes the Hubbymobile takes us, too. Lately, when he has time and nothing planned, Hubby will offer to drive. (It’s still hard, even three years after hanging up the car keys, to ask for rides.)

Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet a fellow blogger. She picked us up (the girls and me). along with her three boys, and took us to the theater. We watched G-force. This theater isn’t open captioned and while I knew this, I wanted to see how much I’d get with the cochlear implant. I didn’t realize how much I depend on my closed captioning. They kind of work together…with me listening, reading, and watching the shows on TV.

This show was animated. It had talking guinea pigs. I was getting some of it, but not all. We made the mistake of sitting closer to the screen. So I was looking at less than half of the screen at one time, missing some action in the other areas. (The TV screen is much smaller, so I don’t miss as much action.)

To explain how I’m seeing, I’ll compare it to a flashlight. You aim the flashlight at a tile of sidewalk. You aren’t going to light up the whole tile when you are holding it one foot away from it. Back up a bit, about five feet, and you will get more “light” on that tile of sidewalk. My tunnel vision, or rather, “funnel” vision that I have works about the same way, I can see more of things when I am farther away from it. The closer I am to something, the less I can see of it.

This is why I prefer to have people sign to me farther away and closer to their face. So much of sign language is visual and the hand(s) can be “out there” and I’m missing things. I pretty much watch the face (facial expressions, lip movements, etc) while they sign to me.

Sorenson VP 2oo

On a last note, I got a VP (video phone). It is connected to my TV and I have my own number. When I get a call/make a call, a deaf person is on TV (similar to the web cam on a computer) and we can communicate in sign language. Sometimes I have a hard time seeing signs on the screen, though, because it might be too bright and/or too shadowy. I try, though.

I've noticed that the TTY isn't really used that much anymore. The VP calls are free and much more cost-efficient. Makes sense (cents) to me.

On the home front, Flare is all done with her color guard stuff. Summer is winding down. It’s been an unusual summer. Some days were too cool followed by a few hot days. It seemed like Mother Nature was blowing hot and cold all the time. But lately, the weather’s been great, not too hot, and not too cold. Just right. Like a Goldilocks kind of summer.

I can’t believe that in three weeks, the kids will be starting school again. Soon books and backpacks will be the norm again. And lots of paper!!! Notes from the teachers and weekly updates will be crowding the refrigerator door again.

Angel has been keeping herself busy (and sometimes me, too) with swimming and playing. Two new kids moved in the area, both girls, both around her age. So she has a handful of kids she can choose to play with when one can’t.

Well, that’s all for now. HUGS.


At Mon Aug 03, 10:07:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How cool! I had no idea that's what a VP looks like. Thanks for showing the picture! :)

I said the exact same thing recently about our summer weather...except for a few very hot or very cold days, it's really been like a Goldilocks summer. Great way to describe it!

I also loved the analogy of the flashlight shining on a tile. That really helps me understand how things can look for you if you are too close or far away.

I really depend on closed captioning too, most especially if it's an animated movie or TV show. There are no lips to really read, LOL.



At Mon Aug 03, 10:44:00 AM , Anonymous Kila said...

I'm proud of you and your progress.

Was a pleasure to "meet" you and your girls. You did great at the theater, and the girls helped so nicely without being obvious.

Sitting up close made it hard even for me to follow the movie! (I don't get to movies too often, so didn't know that.) Now we know to sit further back next time!

At Fri Aug 07, 06:18:00 PM , Blogger Becky said...

It is hard to believe that school is just around the corner! Whew...summer flys by, doesn't it?

I love that the cane has been so beneficial to you and that you're much more comfortable with it now. This proves that it's all about having the right tools to make any task safer and easier on a person. That cane is a valuable tool.

We have several legally blind folks in our community, and I've seen them out with instructors who are teaching them how to use the cane, navigate the sidewalks, listen for the chirps of the street signals, etc., and it's great to see them getting around quite well on their own in the following months. One was even a child, and was attending a school near my sons, able to walk there on his own.

It's always good to hear from you via the blog...don't be a stranger in posting, missy!

At Wed Aug 19, 09:47:00 AM , Blogger Beth said...

Sounds like you are doing very well with the cane - aside from the few jabs to the stomach!
Enjoy these last few days of summer.


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