Sunday, April 27, 2014

How the Blind See Beauty

It is an interesting concept. Most people would consider beauty to be a visual perception, but beauty can also be a feeling.

In this fascinating video from YouTube several blind people describe their conceptions of beauty.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Visit to the Retinologist

Last Monday was my first visit to the retinologist this year.

It came as a shock to realise that I hadn't seen my retinologist since a few days before Christmas. Bear in mind that I had been seeing her every four weeks before last July when she stopped the avastin and Lucentis injections.

This visit was very pleasant, it's nice when you know that you are not going to get a needle in your eye in a few moments.

I did have some explaining to one of my doctor's assistants who insisted that I needed to look directly at the eye chart to read it. Eventually she accepted that I cannot see anything directly in front of me, and the only way to even find the chart was to use my peripheral vision in my right eye.

That done. My retinologist examined my eyes. The news was in part good.

The swelling in my left eye can now be classified as chronic, rather than acute.

Chronic being the medical term for long standing and the problem no longer reacts to treatment. Acute meaning that it is treatable  and reacts to treatment.

Anyway, that was it. Leaving I had to make my next appointment. Believe it or not, it will be the week of Thanksgiving, November, before I see my retinologist again.

Do you know how many times I wished for such a long wait in the past?

As the old adage goes, "Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it." Well I sure did, and went blind to get it!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Do Uber Taxi Drivers Refuse to Carry Passengers with Guide Dogs?

I was reading an article on the San Francisco Lighthouse blog about complaints against Uber Taxi drivers who have refused to carry blind passengers with their guide dogs. Read "Have you been Refused Service?

In this day and age it just seems counter productive to refuse services to any person for whatever reason, as long as their request is legal of course.

In general service dogs such as guide dogs are well mannered, they are groomed regularly, kept clear of parasites such as fleas. Guide Dogs for the Blind even provide their graduates with a free supply of anti-Tick and Flea treatments  every year for the service life of their dog.

I have travelled on public transport many times with Leif, my Black Labrador Guide Dog, the greatest problem we generally cause is the clamour of oo's and ahhh's as people reach to praise and stroke him. The one time we travelled in a taxi, the driver was great, he made sure of taking corners gently and helped us both in and out of his taxi. Of course he  rewarded with a healthy tip and a thank you lick from Leif.

Come on Uber Taxi drivers, think of all those well paid blind people out their, grateful to have a driver who is honestly helpful, courtious and willing to carry them to a destination.

So you may have to roller over the back seat occasionally with a lint roller. But think of your bottom line, the cash, the tips and proving you are decent.

Did you know Guide Dogs are not required to sit on the seat, in fact they are trained to sit  on the floor, beside the handler or between the handlers legs.

If you enjoyed this post you may enjoy Time to get Rude? where I encounter a passenger on an Amtrak train who thought her luggage required a seat in the disabled section of a packed train.

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's Sometimes Like Blindness is a Contagious Disease

Some days blindness is like having a contagious disease.

I am not completely blind, I can see shadows moving around me. I see the outline of a table or counter that people shuffle their way around. More than that people are not as quiet as they think, tip toeing around is still noisy. And why did Leif suddenly just sniff at something? Oh yes you thought you would sneak by with a bacon sandwich did you?

It can be hurtful to be sat there, at a party, all the others going around chatting and enjoying themselves, but to find yourself in a cone of not so silent movement.

Strangers are actually better at dealing with blindness, I find. You can't always know when a stranger is blind.

Relatives and so called friends however, know your blindness, they are often ok with it, but on some occassions it seemss they collude to deceive.

You walk into a room, they move slowly away. You sit at the table and they move to another room. Some don't speak until they leave the room and supposing the new room must be sound-proof, speak. You sit by the drinks, they go the long way around to pour, or get some brave soul to get drinks for all.

Edging by like some terrified peasant, moving silently by a sleeping dragon, you know they are there. But you know thet don't want you to recognize them.

So what? To hell with it. Play along with the stupidity of it all.

Being blind is not really a contagious disease, but it sure lets you SEE who your friends are.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Three Wishes ...

What would you wish for if you had three wishes?

Wish # 1.

I would wish for a regular supply of Cumberland Sausage. One of the foods I miss most from home in England. For those who are not familiar with Cumberland Sausage, it is a long sausage, not made into links and has a very distinctive spicy flavor. It is delicious on some nice fresh bread.

Wish #2.

To have the ability to help others see what I see, or don't see, whichever way you look at it. I often tire of people saying to me w What's this? Or looking for things that I need and put in a regular place, where I know it is, only to have it moved by someone else.

I maybe hold a false belief that if people could just see through my eyes, they might understand how they frustrate me with their antics. But the cynic in me tells me that is not going to be the case even for the moment.


My final wish is that I could learn to draw as a blind person. I did used to draw. I was never a brilliant artist, but I could draw a picture which looked reasonable.

I even made my own Christmas card one year. It was on black card and was little more than blobs of white and colored paints, but when you looked at it from a distance it was a snow scene, a cottage by a road  and a lamp-post, all edged out with snow. It looked pretty good even if I say so myself.

So if you could have three wishes. What would you wish for?

Well over Memorial Day week-end 2014 one of my three wishes came true, or bore sausage you might say. See me and my family making Real Cumberland Sausages ourselves here.