[nabs-l] Could someone lend me a hand, please? (Question about juggling multiple items)

Joe Orozco jsorozco at gmail.com
Thu Aug 5 15:46:29 UTC 2010


Jewel,

My eyes often have difficulty adjusting to sunlight.  I've thought of
wearing sunglasses to minimize the discomfort, but I've always hesitated
partly because I felt I would be fitting the blind stereotype.  So, I slow
down my speed, wait for the adjustment to happen going outside or coming in,
but I think you'd agree that the people around me probably wouldn't notice.
In the end, the only person at a disadvantage is myself.

It's a matter of relativity.  People are already going to naturally look at
me for using a cane or handling my guide dog.  People's curiosity would not
dramatically increase by my wearing sunglasses.  By the same token, people
are not staring at me less for not wearing them.  People are going to look
regardless.  I mean, damn me for being a handsome Latino, right?  I kid, but
I believe that part of accepting your disability, any disability, is
learning how to keep control of how the disability is perceived in your
hands rather than in the hands of the general public.

Granted, sunglasses are far more portable than a wheelchair.  Yet, you will
never fully appreciate the comfort you might derive from using a wheelchair
until you put yourself in a real world scenario where you put a wheelchair
through its paces.  You can pick and choose where you take it, and if you
ever felt worried about whether you might be growing too dependent on it,
hit the gym and exercise your muscles.

To me, it is almost like the partially sighted person who refuses to use
blindness tools and techniques because they want to continue using their
vision as long as they have it.  There's nothing wrong with this position,
but could it not be argued that using some blindness techniques might
actually help prolong the person's vision because they aren't having to
strain it so often?

The issue is much more complicated.  My little rambling post is not going to
change your mind about this when there are so many issues of self-confidence
and self-esteem to work through.  It's easy for me to say you should take
advantage of a wheelchair, when I myself do not have to face this prospect,
but reading your response, I feel you are putting up your own obstacles.  I
think we all have to come to a point where we stop challenging ourselves.
There are enough challenges in life, and those tend to be far more
interesting than the ones we create all on our own.

Now, if I happen to join the convention in Orlando next summer, I'll put on
a pair of sunglasses, and maybe you'll let me volunteer to push you around
the hotel.  I can't promise we won't run over a person or three, nor can I
promise that we won't go flying out over a stair landing ET style, but you
can choose to see this as a collection of risks, or you can choose to think
of it as one crazy adventure you're not likely to forget anytime soon.
After all, it's all a matter of perception.  If we crash, it's probably
going to hurt no matter how you look at it, but as with most things, you'll
get up and move on.

Best,

Joe

"Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves,
some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all."--Sam Ewing 

-----Original Message-----
From: nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org 
[mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Jewel S.
Sent: Wednesday, August 04, 2010 9:46 PM
To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Could someone lend me a hand,please? 
(Question about juggling multiple items)

Hi all,

The thing that follows you around sounds really cool, like a motorized
pack mule!

As for my reluctance to use a wheelchair...I don't know. It's one of
those things. I had absolutely no problem using a white cane or
learning Braille (not that I had much choice if I wanted to not fall
and wanted to read!), but I am very reluctant to use a wheelchair. I
was reluctant to use a support cane for awhile, because I felt I was
simply too young to need a cane. I'm only 25 years old! But I finally
had to just accept the need because I found that it took me a whole
lot longer to walk somewhere on my bad days if I had a cane, and I was
veering and stumbling all over the place.

I do walk, it's just very difficult at times. My chiropractor told me
that I should stay away from using a wheelchair for as long as
possible, because once I start using a wheelchair part-time, my body
will deteriorate faster and I will have to use a wheelchair more and
more until it is full-time. I want to be able to walk. I don't want to
be a wheelchair-user full-time. I want to walk and jog and dance and
participate in sports like goalball and fencing. It's so hard to think
of myself being unable to do all these thing when I'm "a baby" as
everyone calls me (I look 16 instead of 25).

I guess it really is the stigmatism of the wheelchair, like white
canes or Braille. I feel that using a wheelchair more than at the mall
or for long distances will mean people pity me, think I can't walk,
that I am helpless. I already seem pitiful and helpless to people.
People already look at me strange because I ask them not to touch me
(patting my arm, holding my arm, patting my back or anything like that
is very painful). People already look at me weird and already pity
me...I feel a wheelchair would just make it worse. And when I stand up
from that wheelchair, people will tell me "You can stand, you can
walk. You don't need that chair!" They'll say I'm faking to get free
rides so to speak.

And then there is the practical side...when I'm not suing that
wheelchair, where does it go? When I'm not using my support cane, it
folds up and goes in my bag (it's a folding support cane from the NFB
center). But you can't fold up a motorized wheelchair. You can't stick
it in your backpack when you aren't using it. I'll end up using it
when I don't need it.

Further, there is the worry about mobility and orientation. I get so
confused when I'm walking...I can't imagine how confused I'd get when
in a chair! I'd have to learn O&M all over again, and the instructors
around here don't know how to work with a person in a wheelchair, so
I'd have to go away for it, and that would take me from my friends and
my boyfriend and my kitty cat...

I guess it's just that "scared" factor. I don't want things to change,
and I don't want to be helpless. I know I need to accept that it's
getting worse, that I'm having more tremors and the bad days are
outweighing the good these days, but I don't. want. to. Would you? If
you were 25 years old and had your entire life ahead of you, would you
want to have to accept that you'll never be able to run again (I
haven't been able to run since junior high school)? Would you want to
have to accept that you could never fence again (I used oto do
medieval fencing...about 7 years ago, before it got realy.ly bad)?
Would you want to have to accept that you can't walk without pain,
that you can't do things for yourself, that you need people to guide
you around because otherwise you fall over? It's just...well, it's
just not fair, though I know life's not fair.

And t hat's my rant about my physical condition, which is still of yet
diagnosed. It just keeps getting worse, and I'm constantly on pain
meds, but they still haven't figured it out. They just can't figure it
out, though several have suggested fibromyalgia.

It's...just so dang frustrating. Now, I am going to go take a bath and
mpe about my problems and leave you guys out of it

Hugs all around,
Jewel


On 8/4/10, sarah.jevnikar at utoronto.ca 
<sarah.jevnikar at utoronto.ca> wrote:
> Jewel,
> Try writing to the blind rollers mailing list; perhaps they have
> life-tested solutions.
> Your reluctance to use a wheelchair has come up before and I
> completely understand why you wouldn't want one, but if it can improve
> life in some ways perhaps it could be a temporary solution?
>
>
> Quoting Robert Jaquiss <rjaquiss at earthlink.net>:
>
>> Hello Jewel:
>>
>>     Some years ago, I heard of an electric golf cart that 
would follow
>> a golfer around. The golfer wore a small device attached to his/her
>> belt and the cart followed it. I have no clue if this type 
of device is
>> still on the market. I'll check.
>>
>> Regards,
>>
>> Robert
>>
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jewel S." 
<herekittykat2 at gmail.com>
>> To: <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
>> Sent: Wednesday, August 04, 2010 3:47 PM
>> Subject: [nabs-l] Could someone lend me a hand,please? 
(Question about
>> juggling multiple items)
>>
>>
>>> Hi everyone,
>>>
>>> As the title suggests, I need a bit of help...some advice, 
really. But
>>> I sure wish someone could literally lend me a hand. I need 
that third
>>> hand something fierce!
>>>
>>> Here's my dilemma. I will be starting school at the local community
>>> college in two weeks. I have a very nice High Sierra 
rolling backpack.
>>> It has a retractable handle with a T-grip which makes it 
easy to pull.
>>> However, I also have a long white cane and a T-grip support 
cane. One
>>> hand for the white cane, one hand for the support cane (I have tried
>>> carrying things in my right hand while using the support cane and I
>>> simply can't put enough weight on the cane to use it properly if I'm
>>> holding something...if it can hang on my wrist, and is not 
too heavy,
>>> I can do that, but it must be very light, such as a bag of light
>>> groceries {a bag of papertwoels, a bag with shampoo and conditiner,
>>> some small grocery items, etc.}, and one hand for the rolling
>>> backpack. That just doesn't add up to two!
>>>
>>> My primary doctor and my chiropractor have warned me 
several times not
>>> to put anything more than a few pounds on my shoulders or back, and
>>> definitely not a backpack full of books, so carrying the bag on my
>>> back when I use my support cane is out of the question. I 
have several
>>> slipped discs in my neck and severe misalignment in my back 
and hips,
>>> so I have to be careful not to carry too much. I also have problems
>>> with my arms and wrists; if I carry something heavy on my wrist or
>>> forearm, it will start tingling and sending lightning bolts 
of pain up
>>> and down my arm. Further, with my bad hips and knees, using a waist
>>> harness of some sort to pull the backpack seems out of the 
question as
>>> well.
>>>
>>> I brought this concern up to the Disability office at the 
college and
>>> they and I together could not think of anything to solve my 
problem. I
>>> suggested a volunteer pulling my bag from class to class, but they
>>> said they do not have the means to find someone or schedule such a
>>> volunteer's time. I am going to ask my VR counselor and my O&M
>>> instructor about it tomorrow, but I wanted to ask here. 
Surely I'm not
>>> the only one who has had this dilemma? Are there any of you 
out there
>>> who use both a white cane and a support cane with no hands 
for rolling
>>> backpack or other items?
>>>
>>> Any advice, suggestions, or ideas would be invaluable to me, as I'm
>>> truly at a loss. I didn't even think of it until yesterday 
when I was
>>> at the college and tried to do it and couldn't, and was in no
>>> condition to walk without my support cane without stumbling and/or
>>> falling often.
>>>
>>> ~Jewel
>>> Check out my blog about accessibility for the blind!
>>> Treasure Chest for the Blind: http://blindtreasurechest.blogspot.com
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
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>>
>>
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-- 
~Jewel
Check out my blog about accessibility for the blind!
Treasure Chest for the Blind: http://blindtreasurechest.blogspot.com

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