As you may recall from a previous post, I have been losing a lot of vision lately and struggling with it. However, after I went through that “initial grieving,” I have been doing a lot better.
I’m working with a really great counselor with the Division for Blind Services (DBS). She is helping me figure out a lot of things from the psychosocial aspects to losing my vision, to the adaptive technology necessary to continue with my job, to the tasks that I need to relearn to continue to live independently at home, to figuring out how much vision really I have lost.
I did an Adaptive Technology evaluation on Saturday and learned a lot. I left feeling optimistic but also a little overwhelmed – what of this technology that is recommended will I really use? When will I really use it? How can I use it to its greatest capacity?
My job is unique because I do not have one office that I always work out of. I do have an office but I also serve 13 different high schools that I am constantly at. I have to sit in on ARD meetings and I have to have individual appointments at these schools and I need the technology to be portable and accessible in these environments. We’re working on this! The really cool thing about my counselor at DBS is that she is blind due to RP herself, so I look forward to talking to her to figure out what of this I really will need and how to bet use it.
We’re working on the adjusting to blindness aspect together. I’m getting there. I have a lot of support that makes this so much easier. I have a wonderful guide dog and best friend. She makes all of these obstacles easier. She too is adjusting though to what I can’t see anymore that I could previously and the level of care she has to give now to watching out for things that she might not have had to before. We might be having a follow-up from GDB to help with this transition. We shall see. My boyfriend and my Mom are also huge rocks. Steven is so gracious in helping me navigate social situations. We had two parties this weekend and he really helped me feel comfortable. Of course, he goes off and does his own thing with his friends but he always comes back to see how things are going, and for that I am very grateful. Mom has helped me figure out different organizational systems that I need to start using to be efficient at home. She also takes me all over the metroplex for all of my appointments and helps a ton with everything. Sometimes on Fridays I am just so exhausted from all the work that week, it’s nice to just “go home to Mommy,” and be in a safe environment where I don’t have try quite so hard.
I’m still working on scheduling my Low Vision Evaluation. I’m a little nervous to see what it says, but I already know I’ve lost a lot of vision.. so that helps a bit… but still, seeing the number of how much you DONT see is a little scary sometimes.
I’ll also be having an Independent Living teacher come out to my apartment within the next few weeks to start working on some of the things I’ll have to learn over again with this vision loss, such as how to make sure something’s fully cooked, or how to identify cans or bottles in the refrigerator that I’m not able to before. I’m not really sure what this all entails because I haven’t really done it before. I did have a teacher that came out several years ago for like a few hours but then she never came back for some reason. She did bring me oven mitts that go up most of my arm so I feel safe using the oven and this black/white cutting board.. so if I’m cutting an onion, I would put it on the black side for contrast, as opposed to the white side, but if I was cutting something dark, I would put it on the white side. I still use these ALL the time so I’m looking forward to what other tricks or things they have that could help me.
Also, we are going to work on Orientation and Mobility a little bit. Makiko and I are solid but there are two crossings that we would like an O&M Specialist’s help with to see what other safe ways we can cross the street or what else I need to do to advocate. I am hoping to use my previous O&M, Micha Moore. We’ll see if we can make that happen.
Last, but not least, I am going to make an attempt at Braille. I do not know how often I will use it, or if I will even be able to learn it. However, it is a tool that could potentially go in my toolkit and therefore I want to give it a shot. I do not foresee myself ever using it to read large documents, etc., but just to help find locations of rooms or identify objects, I think it might be useful. I am going through Hadley School for the Blind. It’s an online course.. yes, an online course. I told someone at work about that and they looked at me like I was a little coo coo. I don’t blame them, it does sound a little strange. The way it works is I had to order (free) this equipment through the Talking Book Library that plays these audio cartridges. Hadley School for the Blind sends these cartridges with the lessons along with books that I read, learn, do the assignment and send it back to the instructor. She then grades it and sends me the next lesson. I’m looking forward to seeing how this all goes.
Above all, my boss has been super wonderful. She is the one that reached out to others to figure out what SHE needs to do to help accommodate me and make my job accessible. She is always willing talk when I’m having a particularly bad day and she never acts like accommodating me or helping me is a burden. She is such a wonderful boss and I am so lucky to have her as I go through this transition.
So, we’re adjusting. We’re doing okay, we’re optimistic, and we got this.. just going to be a bit exhausting while we go through all of these evaluations and figure out all what is needed.
Good night. 🙂