[nabs-l] some more questions...

Kerri Kosten kerrik2006 at gmail.com
Sat Aug 14 23:28:30 UTC 2010

Hi All!!

I have some more questions!

First, I have decided to get a braille watch. My friend has a Seko
watch which she says is very good, but I can't find it in the NFB
Independence market. She told me that they have stopped making this
kind of watch. When I looked at the watches online in the independence
market there were like three different ones ranging in price from $45
to like $60-something. I am pretty sure they were all in the Quartz
brand...so I was wondering what the differences between different
braille watches are and which one you recomend I get that is still
being made today lol! I looked at my friends watch at convention and
she told me how to read time on it so I should do fine in that area.

How do you know when your cane tip needs changed? I've been told when
the ring falls off. What does this mean? What ring? I got a free white
cane from the NFB in January so it came with a tip already on it. I
bought five tips during convention and have been told how to put them
on. The reason I am asking about this is I am noticing my tip is
scratched. It is still on but it's scratched. It's starting to
stick...it doesn't feel as smooth when I tap...it feels more rough
somehow...if that makes sense! Does this mean it's wearing down? If
so, how much should you let it wear down before changing it?

Also I want to make sure I know how to change properly...you basically
twist the tip off where the rubber is...and then to put the new tip on
you just stick the hole of the new tip onto the cane...is that right?
Is it pretty easy/straightforward or is there anything else I should
know? Is it hard to get the new tip on or does it fit onto the cane
easily? Is the old tip hard to twist off? When putting the new tip on,
do you have to twist it or anything like that? I just want to make
sure so I'm not left with a cane I can't put a new tip on lol!

A few weeks ago, I posted about navigating outside, getting lost, and
going through parking lots. Last week, I decided to try going to the
dumpster. It went okay, but not the best. When I got to the open
driveway you have to cross, I tried to center my cane and go straight.
I must've really veered horribly because I ended up hitting either a
gate or fence that I had never seen before. Someone helped me to the
trash (I was going the right way but was on the wrong side), and I
just had them guide me back to my building but I want to try it again
and to improve so had some questions. First, is there anything more I
could do to correct my veering? I tried to center my cane and walked
faster though I know I could've walked faster than I was. I've read
that an arc that is even from side to side keeps a person from veering
to one side or the other. I read how you can measure your arc by
standing at a doorjamb and tapping the cane from side to side making
sure the cane hits each side of the doorjamb. I also read that it
needs to be about shoulder to shoulder. So, I stood at my doorjamb and
tried tapping my cane from one side to the other. Then, I put my cane
in front of my right shoulder, tapped it, then tried tapping in front
of my other shoulder. I noticed that in both instances my arc became
much much wider. I also noticed I had to kind of strain...like it felt
as if it was too wide. Basically, it didn't feel natural somehow...Is
this feeling normal when first starting out? The reason I am asking
these questions is because the more practice I get with my cane, the
better, faster, and more efficient I will become. Is there anything
else I can try to maybe keep from veering so much?

Since I am not yet in training, and haven't had much practice with a
cane and am very slow and clearly need all the practice I can get,
when going out when should I take an arm and when should I use the
cane? I know this question always brings up much debate and I've been
told it's up to me, but when you haven't had training what's up to me
isn't always the best because I need practice, practice, practice. I
know that if I am in a very very noisy place or I want to talk to
someone/carry on a conversation taking an arm is probably better but
other than those situations should I be using the cane on my own? Ever
since convention, when taking someones arm, I always use my cane on
the other side which is nice but that isn't helping me gain
confidence, gain trust, and walk faster with the cane. Is it hard from
the sighted persons perspective to follow or walk beside them? The
main reason I end up taking an arm so much is I don't want to put the
sighted person in an uncomfortable situation or irritate them...

Also,when I am trying to go somewhere, such as the dumpster,and I end
up getting lost, when a sighted person asks if I need help, should I
either follow/walk beside them, or get directions and use my cane or
let them guide me? The reason I am asking this is because too many
times I have gotten lost when trying to go somewhere. When someone
assists me, I end up letting them guide me, and then the next time I
have no idea where to go because I was just guided. At convention, by
the end of the week, I still had no idea of even which direction to go
because I was pretty much just guided all the time and I have a very
hard time of knowing where to go if I don't use my cane on my own.

I am very sorry to bring this up, or if I offend anyone. I think once
you've had training, you just know you can do whatever, so this kind
of thing doesn't matter but for someone just starting out...I need
practice, practice, practice. And what is always easiest or just
leaving it up to me isn't always the best for me because I don't want
to put the sighted person in an uncomfortable situation. But, if I am
guided all the time I don't get that practice I need!

The few times I have used my cane on my own and either gotten
directions, or followed someone, I have done very very well. It gives
me a little sense of pride, motivates me to use my cane more, and
makes it so I actually like using my cane! For example, my apartment
complex has a pool. You have to walk a little to get to the pool. My
parents live nearby, and like to come to the pool sometimes. They
called me, and I walked to the pool using my cane all on my own. My
parents were sitting all the way across the pool from the gate at a
picnic table. Instead of getting up to guide me, my mothers fiancae
just gave me directions. He told me to keep these poles on my left
side, and soon enough I came to the picnic table where they were
sitting. Because of how I used my cane, I successfully told him just
like that how to reverse and get back to the gate all the way across
the pool! I wouldn't have been able to do that if I had been guided.

I know this is a very long, detailed message and I know I've rambled a
bit...but I wanted to give an example of what I am trying to ask and
why I am asking these questions!

Thanks so much!

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