Tag Archives: change

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.

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Priorities

It’s been a while since I’ve written any blogs, and just tonight I posted one in my other blog, Moving and All it’s Adventures. I wrote about our recent adventure with all the inconveniences of plumbing in the middle of Snowstorm Kayla. It was good to write again, and I recently made some changes in my life to make room for things I love.

As much as how good Facebook can be, I had come to find that I was on it way too much. With being a Grad student and less than a year away from graduation, and being a mom, I had to make some choices to what was really important to me. To top it all off, I wasn’t taking good care of myself. I had to remember the rule of thumb: To take care of those you love, you have to take care of yourself first.

A week and a half ago, I deactivated my account. That was a tough thing to do. I had been on Facebook since 2008, and I was going cold turkey from all that “connection”.  Yet, I know it’s going to be good for me.

I am going to work on getting my health back on track, do well in school, and be there for my kids and my husband. I’m also going to be working on making true connections with people by writing emails and meeting people face to face. The latter is going to be a challenge as I’m such an introvert!

But… I am not made to be alone. God said so.

Sure, I have my husband and my kids, but I also need to cultivate friendships with others around me. In the fact that I’m working towards becoming a teacher, I definitely need to step outside my comfort zone and learn to approach people instead of waiting for them to approach me.

Okay… I’m going to quickly go off point to say that just reminded me of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (Only those who have read and/or seen the movie would probably know what I mean).

Back on point… For the next 6 months, this is what I’ll be doing.

The one thing I wish I had done, before deactivating my Facebook account, was to have collected emails of friends so I could write to them during this hiatus. Guess they’re just going to have to hear from me when I return to that world.


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!


I Did it!

This may sound a little mundane, but I’m actually excited about this… 

I can bend over and touch my toes comfortably now!

Now, you have to understand my history to know why I’m so excited about this. 

I’ll take you back to when I was around 10 years old or so, and I was so excited about a Synchronized Swimming camp my mom had signed me up for. A friend of the family was a coach and told my mom about it and thought I could give it a try, despite being the only deaf person there. So I did. 

I LOVED IT. Until some woman ruined it for me. 

The sport requires a lot of flexibility, and, sadly, I didn’t inherit that gift. I loved to dance, but I had bad feet (can’t point my toes right), couldn’t do splits, and COULD NOT touch my toes! 

As I tried to stretch and practice some of the flexible moves some of the other girls were doing just fine, a coach came over to help me and gave me this look of hopelessness for my case. “You are one tight girl!” 

I was crushed. My dreams of dancing in the water were thrown down the drain. 

I did finish the camp with a performance with my friend/coach that summer, and I had so much fun despite the cloud lingering over my head of my own inability to be flexible.

I never went back. 

I went on through the rest of my youth being the inactive, forever labeling myself the non-athlete. “I’m not meant to be an athlete.” I would tell myself. 

But, my heart warred with my head for a LONG time. 

I tried running in college, and then my knees began to hurt. A lot. I gave up again. 

“I’m just not meant to be an athlete!” I would almost literally yell at myself, hoping for once, my heart would finally accept it. 

Oh no… It refused to let it go. 

I still dreamed of dancing while I listened to music. I’d dream of running a long distance. To do something THAT incredible, was something I felt I could dream of, but never achieve. Watching Biggest Loser kind of gave me some inspiration, but I never went after it. But at the age of 28, after the birth of my son, I realized my body was suffering badly from the lack of activity. 

The scale screamed at me… I was at my heaviest. I knew then I had to do something. My head reasoned with my heart, ‘I may not be an athlete, but I got to start somewhere.” After six months of working out with Jillian Michaels, running on the treadmill, walking, and various exercises, my body began to change. I lost the weight I had gained and got down to a healthy weight, and I then noticed something… I was a little more flexible than I used to be. I still couldn’t touch my toes, but I was closer to my feet than I used to be. 

I’m 33 now, and I’ve had quite a lot of ups and downs in the years of figuring out this “not so young” body with a completely different metabolism than I used to have. I don’t have it down to an art, but I’m almost there, but I have to say I am becoming an athlete and found a love of running. With the help of my doctor I was able to find a way to strengthen my runner’s knees. I developed tendinitis in my ankles, and now I’m working on that. 

Being a Beachbody coach has helped me a lot this year, as I’ve been drinking shakeology and using some of their exercises DVDs, and last night, I happened to be doing a new favorite – “Hip Hop Abs” and I discovered my new found flexibility. (Yes, this white chick loves to dance hip hop!).  I was doing cool down and was stretching towards my toes and found myself able to wrap my hands around my feet easily. It felt so good!!!  I felt like going back 23 years back to that very woman and say, “IN YOUR FACE!”.  It’s probably a good thing God doesn’t allow us to travel back into time. The past belongs back there, and now I can face the future knowing that 

I CAN CHANGE THIS BODY!

As for my feet, I don’t know if I can ever change the way they are, but I’m pretty happy with the fact that I’ve gotten some flexibility in my life. 

As for dancing… I’ll dance like no one is watching. 😉