Tag Archives: blindness

Denver Comic Con: A Deaf/Blind Perspective

It’s a Sunday evening, and we arrived home from walking roughly a mile from the light rail to our home. It was a blazing 99 degrees outside, and it had reached 100 as a high in the city of Denver. It was definitely a very hot day for being out and about in the city.

Where were we? Well, if you haven’t figured it out from the title of the blog, then let me tell you – We went to Denver’s Comic Con!

I had the blessing of receiving passes for my family and I for all three days of the Comic Con event this year. I had not expected to be so generously blessed, and I was extremely thankful and grateful for the gift. What can I say?  I’m a geek and proud of it.

When we had heard we were having this opportunity, which was in January of this year, my son, who is 8 years old, immediately jumped into action and began to work on a Minecraft Creeper costume out of cardboard boxes and duct tape. I kept telling him, “The Comic Con isn’t until June! You have plenty of time to work on it!” The reason I was telling him this was because he was asking constantly for green and black duct tape for his project.

He had the right idea to start that early… I chose to make a dress two days before the weekend of Comic Con. It was fortunate we were able to find what we needed for my daughter’s Doctor Who costume at the thrift store, but I was, in no way, ready. A whole lot of the reason for this was because we have been without a car for the past three weeks, but that’s a whole different story to tell.

With a few hiccups in our schedule and a couple of late nighters, I managed to make a nice Doctor Who themed dress… Which ended up not fitting me the way I had wanted it to, but it mattered not. I wore it anyway and made it work! (I’m hearing Tim Gunn in my head as I typed that phrase.)

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The kids and I made it there in time to venture around and see some pretty cool costumes all around us. There was also a wide variety of props propped up for picture moments. I happened to grab some pictures of my kids and myself around a couple of them. My picture was naturally with a TARDIS. We also found a R2D2 that looked and moved like the one in the movie. I can’t tell you if it made any of it’s sounds as I couldn’t hear it.

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My husband had to work for a couple of hours while we were at the Convention, and it just happened his office was not too far from where we were. We met up for lunch and then headed back all together.

It was after this when things really got fun.

I had been anxiously wanting to watch a couple of panels for that day. I was also elated to find out that there were to be interpreters there as well. The first was with Cary Elwes, who is every woman and girl’s dream hero as his role of the Farm Boy/ Man in Black in Princess Bride. The stories he shared of his time on the set of the movie as well as a few others he had the privilage to be apart of. His stories of Andre the Giant taunting Cary to go ATV riding, which resulted in Cary breaking his toe right before the filming was to begin. He limped and improvised with this injury throughout most of the filming of the movie, and now I want to go back and watch it again to see if I can tell or not.

He even shared of his  moments of wanting to ride along a real storm chaser for the role he had in “Twister”, and his encounter of the F-3 that gave him the sudden realization of the stark dangers of Mother Nature and told the driver, “REVERSE!” In other words, he wanted the hell out of there and was done with his “research” for his role in the movie.

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The interpreters were amazing in expressing the story, and I was even able to capture some really awesome facial expressions from them.

The next panel was the one and only John Barrowman, a.k.a. Captian Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood, and Malcom from Arrow (The latter I am not familar with, to be honest).

Now, for those who don’t know him very well, I will say he is a very loud and flamboyant character. At first, I was a little surprised by him, but I found that I actually love his loud personality.

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He came out in a dress, black high heels, and a black wig and danced around the stage. He saw the interpreters and immediately began to become more interactive with them. He made farting noises. He gave a long one, and watched the interpreter sign “fart” with the expression of how long it was. “Oh, I’m going to have fun with this!” He gave a small high pitch fart sound, and the interpreter showed the expression for it. I was dying. “Oh! Lets try this!” He gave a really interesting one and watched the interpreter recipicate it through sign. “Oh, that’s how we fart at home.” he added.  I was laughing so hard. I looked over to see my kids howling, especially my son who loves to do the same thing John was doing.

He then introduced his husband as he asked for some regular clothes. I will tell you, John is skilled at changing his clothes on stage without making it look awkward.

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At this point, he was taking questions from the audience, and my husband, who loved him as Captain Jack Harkness and had been watching Doctor Who with me before his sight had grown worse, went up to ask him a question. It was his turn, and he said, “Hello, John. I just want to say you’re probably one of the few actors I have been able to see before losing so much of my vision.” The audience reacted to this, and it made my heart break, as he has not been able to watch anything on TV or any movies since his vision had gotten worse around two years ago. “My question is, what was it like dancing with Billie Piper in that episode you did with her?”  John came across the stage and asked my husband to come closer. “How much time do you have left before it’s completely gone?”

“It’s probably between five to ten years, give or take.”

“Oh, you have plenty of time, but just in case…” John grabbed my husband’s hand and guided it across his face and, in a joking way, to his butt. There was roaring laughter as John went, “Oops! Well, you won’t forget that, right?”

(BELIEVE ME… I so wish I had a picture of this moment!)

I had tears in my eyes. Not from laughter. It was from pure joy that my husband was having an amazing experience.

At that moment, I remembered a question I had for him. When I finally had a chance, I went up with my interpreter. I asked him, “Hi. I am deaf, and I wanted to ask you about what, with the fact you had that opportunity to experience being deaf for a day, took from it as an actor? What kind of impact did it have on you afterwards?”

He was able to, from a hearing person’s perspective, of what it was like for him. He even shared how isolating it was and how he understood that it was very common for deaf people to struggle with this. He he also said he learned that it was so important to look at a deaf person to make sure they understand what is being said, just in case they can lip-read. “Is that right?” I nodded and signed loudly, “YES!” He then added an amazing piece of news, “In fact, my sister and I have been writing a series of books, “Hollow Earth”, and one of the main characters is deaf.” My interpreter and I were elated! I signed, “YES! Finally!”  Deaf characters are hardly written about, from my experience, in the fiction world.

The rest of his panel was filled with laughter, and I left there with a headache from all the laughing I had done.

The next day, we went back to venture around the convention floor and see about going to one more panel. On the convention floor, there was an area where you could get in line for an autograph of a wide variety of celebrities. There was a fee for it, which some of the money went for raising funds for raising literacy through using pop culture. My daughter had saved some of her money she had earned to be able to get her favorite actress’, Jenna Coleman, who plays Clara Oswald in Doctor Who, autograph on a drawing she did of a TARDIS. “That is very good!” Jenna said in a thick British accent, as my daughter told me later. I couldn’t hear her voice very well. It made her little 11 year old heart jump with excitment.

 

My husband then signed to me, “Hey, since you’re going to go get John Barrowman’s autograph, why don’t we let our daughter get his autograph on her drawing, too?” I thought that was a great idea. We got in line and waited for a while until he and his troupe finally did show up. Once we got up to seeing him, John recognized my husband and shook his hand again. He asked my daughter, “Do you sign for your mom?”  “Yeah, I do, but I don’t for my dad since he can’t see.” He laughed and smiled. “Of course not!” He told me when I told him I was planning on getting his books, “You can get a link to a website from the book to learn BSL.” “Oh, that’s awesome!” I said, “I want to learn BSL since I want to go to London some day and meet some deaf people there.  I only know how to sign ‘Doctor who’ in BSL.”  “What is it?”  I showed him what I knew. I then showed him how to sign it in ASL. He loved it and copied me before finishing signing my poster. I signed, “Thank you.” and walked away.

We went to the “Women of Doctor Who” panel, featuring Jenna Coleman and Alex Kingston, which was something my little girl was anxious to see. It was so good, but it wasn’t as funny as Cary and John. Sorry, ladies.

Our day ended on a high note as we walked out of the main stage to an area where some displays were, including a row of vehicles from movies. One was of the truck from Twister. I told my husband and he was elated to know it was there.

“Its the the truck that crashed in front of the red truck, freaking out the therapist.”

“Oh, wow. I wish I could feel it, since I can’t see it.”

I didn’t even hesitate as I told him, “Wait here.”  I walked over to the table for the vehicle display and asked the gentleman sitting there, “My husband is blind, and I was wondering if there was any way he could be able to touch the Twister truck. Could he?”  To my surprise, the man immediately starting to get up with a huge smile on his face, “Yes! Of course! That’s my truck!”  He came over and took the chain down and let me lead my husband to the truck. The gentleman came to my husband and introduced himself and began to explain what my husband was touching. “Oh, let me show you where Dorothy is.” He led my husband to the great device that was a key part of the Twister story. There was a huge smile across my husband’s face.  “I can see it in my head as I’m touching it. I can remember what I had seen in the movie.”

There’s so many little things that happened during the Comic Con, but these were the highlights… I have a feeling this geeky and nerdy family is going to be returning next year.

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Moving at His Own Pace

Lately, I have been so amazed at my husband.

I struggle with my own monsters in life – Anxiety, Depression, Deafness, and other little things.

But, I look at my husband, and his resilience amazes me. He doesn’t always have a positive outlook on his growing blindness, but he still fights through.

Yesterday, as we walked three miles to our favorite shopping center, he walked along side me, laughing and teasing me as he held my hand while using his other hand to feel the path before him with his cane. He didn’t depend on me completely, but my eyes and words of what was going on around us just supplemented what he had sensually.

Before we had begun the walk,  I noticed him focusing intently as he stepped down the stairs of our apartment. I thought, “He must be counting the steps.” I counted as well. When we reached the ground level, I shared my discovery of each flight being 6 steps. He then shared, “Yes, and the very bottom one in the back flight of stairs has 7.” I never knew that.

An ambulance siren went off by us, I couldn’t hear it, but he did. I could see it, and I told him what direction it went and guessed which hospital it was probably heading. He agreed and hoped it was not a serious situation.

He signed to me, as I had left my hearing aids out. The warm day and the sweat that would likely come makes it hard to keep my loose ear molds in, thus making it even harder to hear. “Leave them out,” he encouraged, before we headed out for our hike. “I can sign, and the kids can, too. You can put them in your backpack and put them in once we get to the mall.”

He wasn’t afraid of my Deafness, and it was fortunate that I could speak clearly enough despite it. That was a huge asset for us, although, he kindly informed me in a tease, “You sound a bit like a pirate when you talk without your hearing aids.”

“Argh!” I teased back. “Now I just need to dress like one!”

My kids loved the idea… Maybe one day, I will.

An overgrown bush edged the sidewalk, and his hand was on my shoulder as I guided him through the narrow passage way. “Duck!” I ducked down to let him feel just how far down he needed to go to avoid the overgrown branches. We cleared it. “They really need to trim those branches on that bush!” I exclaimed.  His exasperated expression showed his agreement. Running into branches unaware is not something he liked doing.

We walked and I shared with him of the scene around us. He was having a good vision day and could see bright colors, but no definite shape. “The sky is so blue! I’m loving it! I haven’t seen such a blue sky in so long.” It’s moments like this where I remember to appreciate my sight.

I notice horse manure on the sidewalk, and I tell him. It wasn’t too surprising to see this, as there was a horse showing arena not far where we were. He laughs, I didn’t know why. I was chuckling for a different reason, though I don’t remember what for. He later told me of something the kids had said of the discovery of the horse manure on the sidewalk. “Who pooped in the middle of the sidewalk!?” one of them had said. It was my turn to laugh.  I tell them, “It’s horse poop!” My daughter looks at me precariously, and signs, “A horse walked this way?  Why?” I reminded her of the Rodeo/show grounds now far from us. “Oooh.” She signed. “That makes sense.”

My husband then signs to me that my eight year old son is cracking jokes about poop. I rolled my eyes. He’s being such a typical boy.

We get to the shopping mall, and I tell him of a new Italian pizza place that opened up. “Want to try it?” I ask. He signs back, “Sure!”

At the restaurant, I described to him what the place looked like, and we shared an amazing pizza, which the kids each had their own opinion of the Italian flair of their American favorite. My husband and I loved it. His sense of taste and smell had heightened since he lost his vision. He signs to me of what he can taste and can smell. I smiled. My sense of smell had long been muted to many sinus infections, and I appreciated his perspective.

At home, he can’t do a whole lot, but he does try.

He helps by doing his laundry, which he has a system to doing. He washes his shirts and pants separately. I help him fold his clothes in the way he likes it. He wears only black and white shirts and has only five to six button up shirts for work. His shirts are alternated black and white, and I tell him which one is on the top so he knows. When he hangs up his shirts, I tell him which one I give him, and he hangs them in order of the days he likes to wear them.

Lately, he has also been exploring his Scottish heritage, and he will ask me to search for something online. I will find a site and share with him in what I find. I read out loud to him, and if there is a picture, I try to describe it to him.

This is one thing he struggles with. He wishes he could see pictures. Even when he inverts the color, which works well for him when he wants to read something enlarged, the pictures don’t look like something he can recognize. Even a picture I took of him, he struggles to see. “Do I look good?” He asks. “Of course, you do!” He had lost a tremendous amount of weight over the past year. I was proud of him for doing so. I explained this to him. “Even my hat looks good on me?” I can tell he struggles with his image. How can you not when you can’t even see yourself?

Another thing about him that I admire –  He is still working. He has kept his job for the past ten years, even despite his gradual vision loss. They’ve, thankfully, been accommodating.

Yet… He’s facing another mountain now. He might have to look for another job, which scares him. He is fighting despite it. He is also now accepting the truth. “I am going blind.” He shudders at the thought of not finding something he can do with his blindness. He hates the thought of going on Disability, but he’s now realizing that might be a reality.

Despite all he’s facing, I still admire and love him. He is trying, and there are people out there who won’t try as much as he does while having a disability.

As I end this… I ask you to please pray for him. Keep him in your thoughts. Ask that God will lift him up and give him hope. He has yet to experience that.

Thank you.


To My Mother: She Heard Me and Held Me

In the 6 years I’ve had this blog, I’ve not once written anything in honor of my amazing mother. Well, today that’s what I’m doing. It’s to be a perfect tribute to a woman who took on the extra mile of being a mother to a deaf and partially blind child… And it’s Mother’s Day.

To start, my mom was a very young woman, just in her first year of her marriage to my dad, when she became pregnant with me. To top it off, she became sick with German Measles in the first trimester.

It is also called Reubella, and if you know about it, you can understand that it is a terrifying situation for a woman that early in her pregnancy. She could have chosen to terminate it, knowing there would be a good chance I would be severely disabled, but she didn’t. My mom had faith that God would protect me and things would be fine. She trusted God’s will, no matter what that would mean.

I’m glad she did.

When I was born, my mom was thrilled to find me healthy and whole. She didn’t know of my deafness or of the weak retinas I gained from Reubella. I grew, cried, and ate like any baby. I babbled and played, which didn’t reveal any of my disablities, until I was around three years old. I was still babbling, and a friend of my mom hinted, “I think your daughter is deaf. Maybe you should get her hearing tested?”

That meant my family, which now included my little brother, would need to drive down to a bigger city hours away from home for me to have the test done. If I remember correctly, from what my mom had shared with me, it was in Tucson, Arizona, at the University of Arizona, where I got my hearing tested.  They were able to confirm what everyone was wondering.

“Yes, your daughter is deaf.  She has a severe to profound hearing loss.”

That shook my family’s world, and we all moved down to Tucson to give me the best access to services to help me get hearing aids, an education, and family support.

I went to a school in Tucson called “Clinic for Hearing Impaired Children.” Now, the term “hearing impaired” went out years ago as it was considered not “politically correct”, but it was the ’80’s, and people were still learning how to help deaf and hard of hearing people gain a better quality of life and education.  I learned “Total Communication,” which is the method of teaching sign language while teaching how to speak and understand the English language.

While I was going there, my mom came every day and watched me in my classes through a one way window. She took the time to learn the signs and continue what I learned in school at home.

I wish I could say that was common with deaf children, but sadly, it isn’t. Most of the time, parents send their deaf children to a residental state school for the deaf and let the dorm parents take care of them. A few of them took the time and effort to learn sign so they could communicate with their children, and I do know a few of them.

As I grew up, my mom was there being my “coach” on the swim team, my interpreter at church, and my advocate as I was mainstreamed in the public schools. She even became my teacher as she homeschooled me for a couple of years. She taught me to stand up for myself. She ingrained Philippians 4:13 in to my head. “Just because you are deaf, it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything.”

At 11 years old, I lost partial vision in my right eye. I went to eye doctors and specialists and found out that I had a tear in my retina in the central part of my vision. Once it healed, it left a permanent scar in the center of my vision. My eye became lazy and permanently shifted to the right, giving me the ability to use the remaining of my vision to see some things around me.

That didn’t stop me.

I went to Hawaii with my Girl Scout troop, and my mom was my offical interpreter for the trip. What a blast! She encouraged me when I found my love for signing songs. When it came to deciding college, she was all for me going 2000 miles from home to Gallaudet University. What mom would do that?! She knew it was the right school for me.

Now as a mom, she has been a huge support and friend when I went through rough patches, and in turn, I was able to be there for her when she went through hers.  We are miles away from each other, but thanks to technology, we visit online almost every day, and we do video chats to share how we’re doing.

All of that…. Is my Mom. God blessed me in having an amazing Mom, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.


A Surprise so Subtle…

This sighted woman had a bit of a rude awakening of how far gone my husband’s sight has gotten…

I had been thinking of cutting my hair really short for a long time, and my husband had always argued against it, saying how much he loved me having long hair. I liked it too, but I had gotten into a bad habit of dying my hair in different colors as a way of “changing my shoes”. I had been doing this for almost twenty years, and now that I’ve gotten older and soon going into a teaching profession, I realized it was time to stop mutilating my hair. I needed to embrace the true color that I am – Dark mousey blond. It is part of who I am, I figured. It’s about time I let me be me without trying to alter it.

But I was not willing to be patient with watching it grow out and constantly pulling my medium length hair into a ponytail when I was in a hurry to get out the door. I remembered the days, in the 80’s, of being a kid with spunky short blond hair. Before I turned 15, my hair was a bright flax color. I loved it! It would be even lighter in the summer as I swam in the pool nearly every day (a part of the survival code in Tucson, Arizona). As I grew into a woman, my hair became darker, thus bringing me into the dying world and lightening it to keep it bright. I did that for a long time.

After my daughter was born, I noticed my roots were even darker as I had continued the blond dying, and I began to think, “Why not another color?”  I tried red, brown, black, and combinations of the colors with highlights and color blocking. I even went to the extreme of hot pink color blocking with black hair. My recent craze had been dark brown with purple bangs.

I think its time to move on from this constant abuse of my hair.

In the beginning of my color craze, my husband could see the colors I would pick. He loved the blond the most, as that was the color he met me with. He laughed when I got the hot pink. “You’re a nut, you know that, sweetie?” He would say. I would nod and love the attention.

Of the past couple of years, I would get a haircut or dye my hair a different color, and I would have to tell him what I had done. He would have me stand in a bright light for him to see it. He would always compliment me on how it looked, but I had always kept my hair with some length to it. He liked that.

Last year, I joked that I was going to shave my hair completely and be bald.  “No! Don’t do that!” He would say with a bit of authority. I asked him why, and he came back with how much he liked me with long hair. I told him how I was tired of dying it, always resorting to putting it in a ponytail, and knowing how bad the health of my hair was. “Just stop dying it and let it grow out.”  That’s easy for him to say when he didn’t dye his hair for almost 20 years!

I tried for almost 6 months of not dying my hair after dying “one last time” with a color I thought might be what my natural color was. I had it cut into a bob, hoping that was just long enough to make my husband happy while also being short for myself. It was okay. I didn’t really care for it, as my curly/wavy hair wasn’t very obedient in staying in a style I wanted it to be.  The nagging idea of cutting my hair really short was always at the back of my mind. “Cut it ALL off and start completely fresh!” It was something that went over and over in my mind.

Well… After much deliberation, and Pinterest searching. I found the cut I wanted and said, “That’s it. I’m doing it.” I ran the idea past my mom, as she is my best friend and would be honest with me. She gave me the message, “Go for it.”

I didn’t tell my husband. I thought I’d surprise him. I just wondered how long it would take for him to notice. I giggled at the idea of him seeing me in the bathroom, which has the best lighting for him in the past, and going, “What happened to your hair?!”

The next day, with my kids in tow, I went to the hair salon with the picture on my phone, ready to show the stylist what I wanted. I had even gotten my kids approval on what I picked, even though I had thought of going shorter than what I showed the stylist. “You really want to go that short?” The lady asked me with an eyebrow arched. “Yes. I want to get rid of all this frazzled and dyed hair and let it grow out naturally, but I think it’ll do it better with short hair.”  The woman nodded and agreed.

I sat there, ready to go, and she pulled out the buzz clipper with an attachment on it and started shaving the back of my head. I smiled as I saw my long locks fall to the floor. My daughter’s, who was watching, eyes grew wider and wider as more hair fell to the ground.  I saw her say, “Wow.”  The stylist then turned to the scissors to shape the rest of the hair to fit with the style I had showed her. It was finally short! There was still quite a bit of the dyed hair to grow out, but with the right care and eating the right foods, it would grow out quickly and be healthy.

Back to my husband.. I went home and got everything ready for dinner before he came home. My daughter brought me his lunch bag, which told me he had arrived, so I called out, “Hi, Honey!”  I hear him respond, though I can remember not really understanding what he said.  I came around to him, with the dining room light shining very brightly, and greeted him. He kissed me and appeared to look at me. I didn’t hint anything as I asked him how he was doing.  “I’m hungry. How long do you think until dinner is ready?” I told him it would be roughly another 10 minutes. He still didn’t notice.  I figured the light wasn’t bright enough. The bathroom light might be better, I mused.

He still didn’t notice anything when I stood in the bathroom light. I was going to be patient.

The next day, with the sun shining brightly into our room, he still didn’t notice.

“Could he not be able to see me? At all?” I wondered.

Finally, that afternoon, I told him what I had done. “No! You didn’t really?!”  I moved closer to let him touch my hair, and I see his face drop with shock. “Why?” he wailed. I explained what I was trying to do. “You might as well shave it all off, if thats what you want to do.” I had to laugh as that was my initial idea.

Who knows… I might.

“You couldn’t see me?” I asked.  He shook his head and explained that he doesn’t see faces anymore. It was my turn to feel a drop, but only it was in my heart. Not even in the bathroom could he see me. I just wanted to cry. It was definitely diminishing. It’s amazing that he’s still working… But I thank God that I’m a year away from graduating from Grad school and will be hopefully employed as a teacher by then (Or, I hope, sooner). I am realizing now that it won’t be much longer, but hopefully not before I graduate, he won’t be able to see the computer screen and be able to work again.

With this in mind… I am beginning to wish I could win the lottery and take my husband somewhere special before he loses it completely. I just don’t know how I could do that with such a limited income. I’d be open to any ideas from my readers.


A Dog is His Eyes

It’s been a while since I have written in here, but, no thanks to a computer not working, I wasn’t able to write until now.

But here I am!

Lately, since moving to Denver, my husband’s life has been changing all for the better. I should start the story when we first got word we were to move out here from our home in Northern Virginia…

It was March when we got word that we were to transfer to Denver, and we were all excited about the new prospects of living in Colorado. For one, we would be much closer to my side of the family, and it would give us a better chance to visit during the Holidays. Yet, prior to this, my husband had applied to get a guide dog to help him around in Washington, D.C. where was working. We had already gone through the interviews and such, and now we knew we needed to tell them about the move. We weren’t sure what was going to happen because of that, and when they knew of the change, we found out that they would wait until we were settled in Denver before making the decision of training a dog for my husband.

Now lets jump forward to July – We were just moved into our new apartment. Boxes were still piled here and there, and the living room was bare of furniture (we had to sell all our living room furniture and bedroom furniture to pay for part of the move), and we get a call that a representative of the agency was in town and would interview him again.

“Again?” I thought, but then it was explained to me that they needed to see my husband’s route to work to see if a dog would work for him. He showed the interviewer the path to the light rail (which is an above ground version of a metro system), and she was very “to-the-book” about what was expected of him and of the dog when it came to paths. Some of my husband’s path wasn’t what she thought was appropriate for a dog, which was walking through a parking lot to get to the sidewalk. When she left, we weren’t sure we would be approved.

We didn’t receive word until November from the first interviewer, who we met in Virginia, that we had been approved. She remembered us well, and was very excited for us. She even hoped she would be the one to bring the dog out to us. We were excited, yet didn’t know what to expect.

We wouldn’t know until this past week…

Just two weeks ago, we were told that the dog was selected and was to be brought out to us in a couple of weeks. Talk about a short notice! But that didn’t matter…. We were excited about having a guide dog for my husband. I was nervous, however, for my cats. I have two cats, and they both have very little exposure to dogs. It was going to be a very interesting experience.

Friday morning, just yesterday, I got up and got my kids ready for school. I was very tired, as I had been up the night before cleaning and preparing for the dog’s arrival. I had to work, and I was grateful for it, as I wasn’t sure I could deal with meeting the dog and know I couldn’t interact with it for a long time. My husband was anxious himself and acted as if he had several cups of coffee under his belt. I, for one, was working on getting those cups of coffee to keep me going through the day!

When I came home, I was pleasantly surprised to see my husband sitting by the couch with a beautiful female German Shepherd dog sitting obediently by his side. Her handler happened to be the very same woman who interviewed us the first time around!  We were ecstatic to see each other again, to say the least!  I just looked at the dog and talked a little bit with my husband and the handler before going to look for my cats, who I knew would be very nervous about having a dog in their domain. It took me ten minutes to find them! They were very nervous and wanted to hide, which I let them. At least, I knew where they were.

My husband and the new dog spent all day getting to know each other, and my husband had to learn to care for her – including taking her out for the bathroom and cleaning up after her. That is, obviously, his least favorite part of the whole deal.

The kids had to learn to respect the relationship between my husband and the dog. When they came home, they were allowed to greet the dog, pat her on the head, and then go to do their homework. I was really proud of them for following the rules on that.

When night came, the cats gave me a surprise. They came out of their hiding place to see who this new visitor was. I was not expecting them to do that on the first day!  One was a little more brave than the other, and she, a long haired black and white cat, came within 10 feet of the dog and stared at her. The dog stared back with curiosity, but she didn’t make any moves towards the cat. We were then told that she was trained around cats, which made her a perfect match for us.

At bed time, we had to have the dog in a crate, and we put it in our bedroom. Eventually, we were told, she will be able to sleep wherever she decides, but for the time being, the crate was best. The crate, I strongly believe, provided a great way for the cats to comfortably get to know their new “roommate”. My brave one actually climbed on top of the crate to see the dog closer. She even put her little white paw into the crate to say “hello” . The dog didn’t do anything but look to see what the cat was doing. Needless to say, I was pretty surprised. My orange tabby, a very timid and anxious cat, eventually braved up to sit about four feet away from the crate and stare at the dog. Eventually, he chose to lay beside me than to check out the new resident.

As for my husband, he was exhausted from all the changes he was undergoing. “Overwhelmed” was a bit of an understatement for him.

As I am writing this, it is the end of the second day for dog and man in their bonding and learning from each other. The harness came into play more today, and my husband is learning how to read his dogs movements as he walks with her. He even mentioned that he feels he needs to re-learn how to walk fast, as with a cane, you have to walk slower to know where you’re going.

The cats are still hiding most of the time, but my brave one still peeks around to check the dog out from time to time. My other one is still undecided on how he feels of the other furry addition. It may take him longer to come around. We will see.

The training will take a week’s time, and we have hopes that by the end of the week, my husband will be more comfortable in working with his dog. I am also looking forward to learning what my role will be in all this, as I was told that I do have one.

I hope you have found this a good read, and I look forward to sharing more of our adventures!


Eyes are the Windows to the Soul?

Eyes.
You would never suspect that one little thing is a big issue for me. Personally, at least.
Sure, my husband is blind, but I’m sure no one would suspect that I am, too. Well, not by reading my blog, at least.
Yes. I do have a degree of blindness in my right eye, and it has caused a very odd look to my face – a lazy eye.
I deal with scars of years of dealing with acne, and I still deal with those cursed zits from time to time… and to add on a pair of odd looking eyes, I know I look peculiar.
For a long time, I’ve hated it. I’ve silently just put up with it, knowing there was no way I could fix it. For a while I was able to forget about it. I wasn’t working. People weren’t taking close up pictures of me. No one mentioned it…. Then that all changed a little over a year ago.
I went back to work, and it was at a daycare. A four year old stared at me, and asked a question I knew was in avoidable. “Why do your eyes look funny?” I simply explained, “I am blind in that eye.” A few more questions came up, and I allowed it to be educational. I was okay with it even though it kind of unsettled me. My eye was noticeable. It’s hard enough being Hard of Hearing to almost Deaf in a hearing world, and then to add a weird looking eye is sometimes tough.
I sometimes fear that my eye turns people off. Do I scare off people? I don’t know. I know I shouldn’t care, but a part of me does. I know there are people out there who flipping don’t care what people think of them, and I am for the most part; except when it comes to my eyes. I want to be taken seriously, and there are times when people stop talking and ask, “Are you looking at me?” It’s either the case of them looking at my blind eye looking away from the speaker or someone on the side thinking I’m looking at them. Talk about embarrassing.
I sometimes think I need a patch over my eye. Argh. That will be quite a fashion statement.
But I do have peripheral vision left, and it is very helpful. My kids forget that I can see fairly well out the sides of that eye and I catch them trying to do something they aren’t supposed to. My kids are so used to it, and when they see it wander even further, they know their mama is very tired.
Having a lazy eye doesn’t define me, but I believe it enhances me. It makes me unique. Maybe one day there will be technology that will repair the damage in my right eye and give me a chance to regain my vision, but until that miracle comes, my eyes will be what they are- unique in their own way. I have benefits to it, and people do get used to my wayward look. I may never be photogenic, but those who love me think I’m beautiful. That’s good enough for me.


Blindness isn’t Stopping Him

This morning, as I am staying home to take care of my feverish son and asthmatic daughter, I am taking advantage of the time to write. I’ve got quite a few blogs in my head that I want to share.

Today is my husband’s second day back to work, and I am thankful that he has a job where they’re willing to work with him despite his degenerative vision loss. It is amazing to see all the new technologies out there that gives him the ability to work, and he’s taking advantage of them.

It would be easy for him to just give up and just say there’s no way he can work with his vision loss, but after a couple of months of not working, he has realized the value of having a job. He also has realized how hard it was to function at home. It’s not impossible, but it was definitely not what he was comfortable to do. Plus, we weren’t making ends meet with the small amount of the disability benefits from his job on top of my meager pay from the day care center as a sub teacher. I also have to be mom and a wife, so there are days where I can’t go to work as it is dependant for me to take care of the kids and the home.

Yesterday we both got up early and I made us some shakes to drink for our breakfast. We’ve decided with us both working, we are going to take much better care of ourselves with what we eat. With a new addition to our kitchen, the Nutribullet, we’ve made our veggie/fruit concoctions for breakfast for the past couple of days. They’re really surprisingly delicous!

He left for work first, and I got the rest of us ready for the day. We piled into the car and drove up to the bus stop, and as soon as they got on the bus, I left to go to work.

When I came home to take my break, it was quiet, minus a couple of meowing cats wanting my attention. I took advantage of the time to prep up the crockpot for some chili and clean up a little bit before the kids came home. Once they did, I had them get a snack and get them ready to go back to work with me.

It wasn’t long before the day was practically over and time for me to head home with the kids. Once we did, I had gotten a text from him saying he was stuck on the highway… From his blind friendly phone. He can talk into it, and it types the words out for him. Granted, it isn’t perfect, as some of the words didn’t exactly make sense with the autocorrect feature. I have to play detective sometimes to figure out what he’s trying to tell me. It doesn’t take much to do that, though.

As wonderful as it is for him to be returning to work, I know that I need to prepare myself for when the time comes for when he’s completely blind. I’m not quite sure what I will be doing, but hopefully by then I will have a job that will help us get through any time when Paul cannot work anymore… or when he’s in the middle of transitioning to a different job; one that is blind friendy.

He’s told me that his day was really good as his first. They gave him time to get himself acculimated back into his role there. I didn’t hear from him until it was time for him to come home, and it was very encouraging to hear how good it was, and that they’re resepcting Paul’s needs as they are.

Today is his second day, and he has gotten into a rythm of how the mornings go. With the kids being sick, I’m not going to be able to go to work for the next two days. When one has a fever, they don’t let you come back to school until you’ve had one full day without a fever. I hope his fever isn’t a long lasting one, since the money would come in handy.

We are in the middle of discussing our housing situation, and we are hoping to find a house that we can afford. I will be taking Paul to the bus stop if we find a house that isn’t near one. I am hoping we find one soon.

With his blindness, it hasn’t been easy , but we’ve had a lot ofwonderful blessings We just pray his job place will continue to work with this when he losses off ofhis sight.