Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blindness After Central Retinal Vein Oclusion (CRVO)

Welcome,  to this my first vlog. I talk here about how I became blind from a series of Central Retinal Vein Oclusions (CRVO).


New VLog on its Way.

As I write a new addition for this blog is on its way.

I have invested in a web cam and have spent the morning creating my first vlog to add to this blog.

The vlog will take some time to upload to YouTube and should go live in a few hours.

I hope you like the addition of a vlog to this arena.

Watch out for the link to appear in the near future.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Children Always Ask the Right Question

I spent last weekend at the coast in Santa Cruz, CA.

It is always a nice change of scenary to go to the coast. The smell of the Pacific Ocean, roar of waves, shouts of surfers and children and the honk of Sea Lions under the pier.

There is also a lovely walk from Rio Del Mar beach past the old sunken concrete ship. Yes they did build ships of concrete during the Second World War. This ship however sank in a storm and now lies yards from the beach. A home for fish, seals and Sea Lions. OOOPs! going off topic.

Well there is a long paved walkway between the beach and cliffs at Rio Del Mar. I often walk back and forth along the two or three mile long path.

On Sunday I was tapping my wway along, passing joggers and power walkers. Suddenly a loud, high pitched voice of a very young child cried out.

"Mommy. What's that man doing with that stick?"

There was a brief pause then a womans voice answered. "You shouldn't ask such questions."

I would whole heartedly disagree. That little boy or girl asked a great question. There are so few blind people about. We are invisible as well as being shy of crowds ourselves.

This child saw something strange, a man with a white stick tapping his way down a footpath. Why should they not ask why?

The womans reply was possibly infuenced by embarrasment. I could have heard her childs question and to her it was not an easy question. Sort of  "Mommy. Where do babies come from?"

People are just not used to blindness. They don't see us about much. They fear us when they do see us as if blindness is contagious.

Adults and children should ask more often. "What is that man/ Woman doing with that stick?" Then maybe we would all find comfort in the world.

What do you think?  Share your views in comments.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Guide Dog IV

This morning I received a call from my advisor from the California Department of Rehabilitation.

She had received a request from the Guide Dogs for the Blind charoty requesting details of my participation in training in the use of a white cane. The purpose of the call was to confirm that I knew of the application for a guide dog.

If you are applying for a guide dog or are considering such an application, remember that in the United States, Guide Dogs for the Blind require that you have had training in thew use of a white cane.

This is because if you have been trained in the use of a white cane you are more likely to be mobile. Therefore more likely to use a guide dog properly.

It may seem harsh to say that first of all a guide dog is a tool for the blind to use. It is not a pet, the dog will have undertaken two full years of training and selective testing before you even meet the dog.

You will be first and foremost a working team.

As it stands I am now about four months into the application.

I have been through the telephone interview, my eye doctor has been contacted as of today I know the California Department of Rehabilitattion have been contacted.

Procedures still left are a home visit appointment, the Guide Dog home visitor makes an assessment of my abilities to use a dog effectively and if both of us would benefit from the service. That home visit should take place within the next eight weeks or so.

Following that, if my home visit goes well, I should be placed on the list for training and being given a dog.

I guessed that if my home visit does go well and the waiting list is still about six months in length it could be October before a class and dog come available.

For the First of my Guide Dog posts Click HERE.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Meet Eponine

This is Eponine.
I am a sucker for small animals. This small black cat began to hang around the yard last Fall, at about the same time as Polly, my 18 year old  German Shepherd Dog was put to sleep.
The cat had made friends with the orange cat that had been rescued by our neighbors from a dumpster. The orange cat appears in my Youtube video, "Cat attacks a blind man".
This little black cat would not allow me anywhere near her. She would run away and hide at the slightest noise and was to my mind completely wild.
As I was off work sick for three months, the orange cat often kept me company in the day and this little black cat would steal food from the dish of food I'd put out.
Over the winter as it got really cold outside, freezing for several nights last month both cats took to sleeping in my  garage. They now come and go pretty much as they please. Often spending the night out on the tiles and the day tucked up warm in the garage.
Last night it rained pretty heavily here. This morning there was a pitiful meowing from outside the front door.
I opened the door in mid meow, and I'd swear this little black cat moved so fast that there was a doplar effect on the sound. MMMMOOooowwww.
She ran into the garage, gulping at her food as this picture shows.
Then went to bed and slept the day away, snug and warm.
Now she has a name too. Eponine, and the orange cat is Gavroche. The two street wise youngsters from Les Miserables.

Monday, February 4, 2013

My Week-end

This last week-end was a fun time.

Saturday my wife and I went to "Olive Garden". OK so it is a restaurant chain, but as our closest is nearly one hundred miles away it is a treat when we do go there.

I had the gnocchi and chicken soup followed by roasted chicken and rissotto. My wife had a salad and four cheese ravioli. We really enjoyed the day out.

Sunday was of course Superbowl Sunday, but the game didn't air here until 3pm, so a long morning to wait.

I actually spent the morning playing with the Picasa movie maker software that I downloaded to process my photographs for my eBay and Etsy sales.

Mt little movie, well it is a series of still images that pass over the screen in a powerpoint style is now on Youtube.

It is an advertisement for my Etsy store, the music that plays over the video is an English Folk Tune "The Girl with the Flaxen Hair", quite apt if one thinks of flaxen as a material for making yarn, of course the flaxen hair referral is talking about the straw color of her hair.

It took several attempts to get the formula right.

I ran a How to create a Picasa movie on Youtube as I tried each part. My screen reader doesn't read all the drop down nwenus or controls so I am sure I could have used some better techniques. But I did create a movie and it seemed to say what I wanted.

Anyone care to take a look?

If anyone out there can point me to some tips as to making this first attempt work better, please let me know.
Then after the busyorning it was off to watch the game.
What a nail-biting Superbowl. As an impartial observer, my favorite teams not playing, I was still glued to the television. My wife, a Denver fan, was totally impartial. I knew this because of the screams of "My God! I can't believe they just did that." and other such calls.
These followed by a chirp of "What happened?" from me.
In the end it was nice to have such a well fought contest go down to the last few seconds. Someone has to win and I am fine with the Ravens victory, though sad for San Francisco.
But then San Francisco did get the World Series in spectacular fashion.
When does baseball season start anyone? LOL

Friday, February 1, 2013

Scholarships Available for Children of Disabled Parents

If you are the disabled parent of a High School Senior or Student undertaking a course which will begin or continue in the Fall of 2013. then this scholarship program may be of interest to

The scholarship is from Through the Looking Glass Foundation and is available to any child of a disabled parent. There are several $1,000 scholarships available.  Closing date for applications is March 11, 2013 for the Academic year beginning Fall 2013.

Your child is eligible if they will be attending a 2 or 4 year College or Vocational or Technical School with a plan to graduate with a Certificate, Associate Degree or Bachelors Degree or any other recognized vocational qualification.

The link below is to the San Francisco Lighthouse description of the scholarship and includes details of qualifications and also where to send the application.

Since there are only a few scholarships avvailable it  would be a good idea to use this week end to begin the application process.

Closing date is March 11, 2013.

.Scholarship Details Click HERE