[nabs-l] Grabbing Etc.

Jewel herekittykat2 at gmail.com
Tue Nov 8 13:36:00 UTC 2011


Add to that my situation, where touching me can sometimes shoot severe
pain up and down my body (I have fibromyalgia), and you have a recipe
for disaster. When someone grabs me, I stop everything I'm doing and
say "Please don't grab me." If they don't let go, I wrench my arm away
or if they are touching my back (which is a super big no-no with me,
since my spine is super-sensitive thanks to two slipped discs along
with fibromyalgia), I arch my back whether it's painful or not, to
show them that it's not all right to touch. I'll tell you one story of
when grabbing me caused a problem...

I was walking from the library and my cane was sweeping back and
forth. Suddenly someone came over and grabbed my cane arm and wrenched
me sideways. I shouted in alarm and wrenched my arm away, but my arc
had already been interrupted and I didn't realize that there was a
pole right in front of me. This was one of those metal poles to hold
up a handicapped sign. I hit it full on becaus emy cane's arc had been
interrupted and didn't catch the pole, and now I have a dent in the
upper part of my forehead from that pole. It didn't break the skin,
but I can always feel the dent if I rub my forehead.  Plus it caused a
minor concussion. I was soooo embarrassed by it, but realized later
that it wasn't my fault, that it was caused by this person grabbing my
cane arm. Sheessh!

~Jewel

On 11/8/11, Joshua Lester <jlester8462 at students.pccua.edu> wrote:
> LOL!
> My brother guides me all around Walmart, and he likes to go faster
> than I can go.
> He doesn't understand that I can't walk at a normal pace, because of a
> Syatic Nerve problem.
> Blessings, Joshua
>
> On 11/7/11, Sam Hogle <hogle.sam at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Actually, I've had the opposite problem. For some reason, guides think
>> they have to go slower. The funny thing is they think I can't walk at a
>> normal pace, but they also think I can see the curbs we walk up or down.
>> I will never understand people.
>> On 11/7/2011 11:50 PM, Joshua Lester wrote:
>>> Wow!
>>> Arielle, you've been through it!
>>> That's not necessary, that they do those things!
>>> I've been through alot of stuff regarding this, as well.
>>> I've also had guides go faster than I'm accustomed to, and I've
>>> fallen, because they didn't go at my pace.
>>> I always tell people, if they guide me, that they must go at my pace.
>>> Blessings, Joshua
>>>
>>> On 11/7/11, Arielle Silverman<arielle71 at gmail.com>  wrote:
>>>> Hi all,
>>>> I don't know if any of you can relate to this, but for me, being
>>>> grabbed or pulled by the arm or back is more than just a dignity
>>>> issue; it's a safety issue as well. I have always had poor balance,
>>>> and when someone is putting pressure on one side of my body, or
>>>> propelling me from behind, I feel unsafe and unbalanced. If I were to
>>>> bump into an obstacle or trip while being pulled this way, I feel I
>>>> would have a much harder time regaining my balance. For some reason,
>>>> many sighted people think leading me this way is helpful, but in fact
>>>> it's not only unnecessary, but makes safe and efficient travel more
>>>> challenging for me. For example, I went on a white-water rafting trip
>>>> in high school and one of the river guides tried to pull me up into
>>>> the boat by my arm. I felt unbalanced and asked him to let go of my
>>>> arm and let me get into the raft by myself. The guide told me to stop
>>>> arguing with him and pulled me up into the boat. As I was getting in,
>>>> my foot slipped and I wasn't able to stabilize myself because of the
>>>> one-sided pressure on my body. I fell and bruised my leg, and was
>>>> incredibly annoyed that the guide didn't listen to me. I also feel
>>>> very unsafe when people attempt to grab my left arm because I am a
>>>> left-handed cane user and my cane arc is impaired when they do this.
>>>> The absolute worst is when someone grabs me without any verbal
>>>> communication at all, such as a bus driver who grabbed me by both
>>>> shoulders without saying a word because he thought I was going to run
>>>> into a pole that my cane had just barely cleared. Needless to say, the
>>>> silent grab scares me to death!
>>>> Because of these experiences, I have learned to dig my feet in and
>>>> will not follow someone who is grabbing or pulling me, especially if
>>>> they are holding on to my cane arm. I will politely ask them to let
>>>> go, and most people are just shocked that I don't want them to do
>>>> that, especially if I have asked them for verbal directions.
>>>> Unfortunately, many people think the only way to "help" a blind person
>>>> is through this kind of physical maneuvering. Sometimes if I ask
>>>> someone for information or directions, they will answer my question
>>>> and then say, "Do you want me to help you?" I guess implying they are
>>>> offering to physically lead me there. I will of course tell them they
>>>> have already helped me a lot with the directions and that I really
>>>> appreciate their help and don't need any more. If someone does the
>>>> silent grab, or if they refuse to let go after a polite request to do
>>>> so, then I will gently but firmly disengage my arm. Fortunately this
>>>> has been very effective. If time allows I will give a simple
>>>> explanation for not wanting to be grabbed, such as "Please don't grab
>>>> me-it makes me feel off-balance" or "Please don't grab me-it's easier
>>>> for me if you just walk beside me" etc. I do think that most people
>>>> are just very ignorant and don't necessarily grab out of pity, but
>>>> because they believe that grabbing is the most effective way to
>>>> provide guidance to the blind. I try to educate them and some
>>>> definitely do understand. I do feel guilty about times when I have
>>>> snapped at people and not had the time to explain, such as when
>>>> crossing a street or getting on a bus. But even though I feel bad, I
>>>> don't regret my action because to me, it's a matter of safety above
>>>> all else. I've also found that in some circumstances it's actually
>>>> more efficient to do things independently than to be "helped". For
>>>> instance, I went to get a pedicure a few weeks ago and the pedicurist
>>>> insisted on putting my shoes and coat back on me after the pedicure
>>>> was over. I tried to politely refuse, but she wouldn't hear it. Thing
>>>> is, for whatever reason she was very methodical in putting my shoes
>>>> on, and it took her about twice as long to do it as it would have if I
>>>> had done it myself.
>>>> Incidentally, I've never understood why some people get confused about
>>>> sighted guide and think the technique is for them to grab my elbow and
>>>> walk a step behind me. Even when I teach people the proper way, they
>>>> will occasionally "get it backwards" and want to grab my elbow
>>>> instead. Isn't it a lot harder to lead or guide someone if you're
>>>> behind them than if you're in front of them?
>>>> Best,
>>>> Arielle
>>>>
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