Sunday, July 31, 2011

Today is not good.

for a couple of days now my sensitivity to light has been increasing.

Today I had planned as a full day of research and writing, but I find my vision an almost total white-out.

As it seems this is the end of my latest Lucentis injection. I was given Lucentis almost five weeks ago now. I have an appointment with my retinologist on Tuesday, we were hoping the overlap of my last two injections would mean my vision would not decline as it usially does after a few weeks.

I am just guessing that this sensitivity and severe blurring is just the regular return of swelling behind the retina. It is how it usually manifests itself, but there is always the worry that it may be another central retinal vein oclusion. (CRVO).

As with all aspects of this form of blindness there is often a waiting period. I might call the doctor tomorrow for an emergency appointment, then maybe go to find no obvious cause, if I had waited 24 hours I could find there is noticable swelling for her to treat. It is all a question of how to act and when.

If this were a new symptom however I would call and get in to see the doctor tomorrow if not even today. 

Ah! the frustration of being blind.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Free Entree.

As part of my policy to keep you informed about almost everything here is a little freebie.

Famous Dave's Barbecue Restaurants are giving you a free entree on August 14th 2011, the only requirement is to receive the free entree your first name must be David or Dave.

Don't despair if you have the middle name David or Dave. You get a half price entree.

To read more Click HERE!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Limerick: This Five Line Verse

Well as you probably recognize by now I have a lot of varied interests. Writing is possibly my great creative passion nowadays.

One of my vents for this creative passion is to write poetry and one of my favorite forms of poem is the Limerick.

In my HubPages posting to some of my Limericks I talk a little of the history of the Limerick as a Music Hall and Vaudeville joke and talk about the form and meter of the Limerick form.

Limericks are also great stress relievers, because they are created to make you smile, or Blush depending on your style you cannot long remain tense and irritated about day to day irritations.

I hope you will follow the link to my page, maybe leave some comments, and try a few Limericks for yourself. They are fun and quick to write in your head as you wait in the line at the checkout.

Limerick: This Five Line Verse

Friday, July 22, 2011

What do you think of when I say I'm Blind?

Today my wife was talking to someone about my being blind.

As part of the conversation the other person said, "But he can watch television, Can't he?"

Well actually no, not even a 62 inch plasma screen from three feet away. I see a light where the screen is, usually a bright blue light. Occasionally there is some movement but mostly a steady bluish light.

Even my wife was surprised at how little understanding this person showed. It was like they saw blindness as being cured by making things bigger.

Of course before I became blind myself,  I had little concept of the reality of things. 

The persons next question was just as shocking, "How does he function?"  As well as I can really.  Today that was not as good as usual.

The reason, I was in a place which has recently changed its layout.  Some familiar items which I had used as guides in the past were moved. Luckily there was an assistant nearby whom I could ask for help.

But for a moment, until I was able to find my way past the new obstacles I was paralyzed.

Ironically the new obstacles erected in this place were part of their renovations to comply with the Americans with Disabillities Act. Making their building more accessible to the disabled.

But obviously no one asked what it is like to be blind. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stem Cell Research Begins Human Trials in California this week.

Today Technology Review published the announcement by Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) that they have begun the first round of human stem cell trials for the treatment of blindness in California.

The first two trial patients, who have Macular Degeneration, were treated with stem cell procedures last Tuesday. The patients remain unnamed and it is of course too soon to tell if the treatment works.

The main thing is that with human trials, treatments for blindness from various circumstances may be that little closer.

ACT has faced many problems getting this far, it has several times laid off staff as protestors scared away investors, by threatening its business because of their anti abortion stance. Protestors claimed the company used aborted fetal stem cells in their research. Such scares caused the company to reduce its research programs to concentrate on niche areas. Retinal blindness being a core area for research.

Many people will be looking toward Southern California in the hope that the research has paid dividends  in the next few months and years.

Full Story CLICK HERE!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Story Teller: A Modern Homer

In Ancient times many blind people took up the occupation of storytelling. They would sit by the city gates and tell their tales and poems to weary travellers for a few coins.

In recent weeks it seems I have followed a similar course. I have taken up writing online quite seriously. I think given the hours I put in it could be a fifty hours per week business. I have also done some public speaking. First to the student body at my alma mater Community College. That addressed how disabled students can successfully graduate to their desired levels of education.

Yesterday, July 13,2011. I did two talks to childdren and their parents and grandparents on Cats in English Folklore. It was a fun presentation at two local libraries as part of their summer reading program.

At the first presentation the library provided a lady from the local drama group to appear as H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, It was a fun day. The children enjoyed see the queen then I told the story of Dick Whittington and his cat. then we saw a piece from Alice in Wonderland with the appearance of the Cheshire Cat, and his smiling disappearance too.

Following the stories, we allowed the children to create their own cat masks and followed all of it with a Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

The second presentation later in the day was almost identical in format except for the presence of the queen.

All around it seemed yto go well, many people didn't actually realize that I was blind until after the events. But for me the big part was putting something back into the community. Many good people gave up their time willingly to create a special day for the children of the two communities. That to me shows that community spirit is something that even we as blind people can share in.

We all can play a part even if it is as a modern Homer.

To read my poem A Modern Homer CLICK HERE!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gadgets For the Visually Impaired

So often when we think of technologies to help the blind or visually impaired, we think of high tech and expensive things such as text to speech scanners, electronic magnifiers and such.

This is not to say such items are not important or useful, they are and do help. They are also very expensive purchases. In my article, link below) I point you to some of the more basic, less high tech tools and gadgets which help build self confidence, increase mobility, improve self esteem and allow you as a visually impaired person to enjoy day to day life.

    Read my Squiidoo article CLICK HERE

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Moon's a Piece of Cheese

For years I have toyed with writing poetry. It usually consisted of a few rhymes and was often about love and such.

A few months ago a friend told me of the Yahoo Associated Content Program. Yahoo run a program where you submit work to an editor and they then scrutinize the work. If it is good enough they publish it and pay either cash up front or a residual income for the work.

Over the last few months I have submitted several pieces, and for one reason or another received a dreaded rejection e-mail.

Well last week and as a bit of a last act I set about writing another poem, based on a photograph. The photograph was of the large full Moon earlier this year. My first attempt was waxing lyrical on a lover's moon. It was not looking good, when a little nonsense poem came into my head.

The poem reflected the old story of the moon being a piece of cheese, which a giant would take a bite from, hence the phases.

I scribbled down my poem and sent it off to Yahoo, pretty quickly.

Today to my surprise I received a congratulatory e-mail. The Poem "The Moon is a Piece of Cheese" was accepted and published.

So here I am 49 and three quarters, and in the last decade I have gone blind, toured most of the Western Hemisphere, married, moved to a new country, received a Bachelors degree and now am a published, bone fide poet, with rejection e-mails and a payment in my pocket.

Can we say that blindness is not a disability in itself, only our reaction to it is the truly disabling factor?

To Read Poem Click Here

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Inspiration or Just Stubborn Selfishness

One of the things which has struck me since I have become blind is how people now say I am an inspiration.

They praise my achievement of gaining a BA degree with a 4.0 GPA. They praise that I go out and talk about my blindness. They acclaim my attempts to design clothing (tee-shirts) online as wonderful.

To me, non of these things are inspirational.

I was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA before I went blind, I was damned if I was going to let my standards slip, just because I could no longer see properly. To me maintaining that 4.0 became a matter of pride in myself, not at all inspirational.

People have praised my talking about my blindness, both in meetings and online, here and at HubPages. But it is vanity that makes me talk. The vanity that my words will be read by someone else.

The opening of online businesses, designing on and is merely my attempt to remain productive. I used to love painting miniature model soldiers. It was doing such crafts that raised my interest in history. I used to use the models in wargames. But the creation of grand armies was a creative act in itself. The colors of uniforms and seeing the transformation from silver lead to brightly painted miniature warrior was something I enjoyed.

Today I use my computer software to draw pictures that go into designs. Someone may buy them, but people still look at them and say. "Wow and you're blind?"

So inspirational and virtuous or selfish and stubborn and full of vice?

You call it!

Polly the GSD One of my Simple Cartoons.