[nagdu] Going Downhill

Tamara Smith-Kinney tamara.8024 at comcast.net
Fri Apr 22 19:30:55 UTC 2011


Oh, been there that done that.  Glad it's not just me.  I think we'd lived
in this house for over a year before I realized that the reason I felt a
little funky and dizzy whenever I headed out to go somewhere with my guide
was that I just needed to get myself sorted out because I really shouldn't
be having this problem.  Then I'd really worry coming home, because that
last hundred yards or so were exhausting!  And why did it make my leg
muscles hurt like that when I pushed myself to keep going at a normal walk?
Oh, my heavens!  I need to go to do a doctor, because this is *serious*!

Or it could be that there's just a bit of a hill there.  /lol/  Yup!  That's
what's wrong with me on that one.  This is why I'm glad our dogs can't talk
or use computers.  Mine could tell way too many stories about what a ditz
she has to lead around by the hand.  Oh, and she happens to need a little
extra help because she's blind on top of being such a dingbat that she
probably couldn't get out the door by herself with the help of a dog.

Tami Smith-Kinney

-----Original Message-----
From: nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
Of Sheila Leigland
Sent: Friday, April 22, 2011 8:49 AM
To: NAGDU Mailing List, the National Association of Guide Dog Users
Subject: Re: [nagdu] Going Downhill

Hi, after we moved in to our apartment last summer, I thought I was loosing
it there is a part of the floor in the hallway that slants a little and I
felt dizzy. I thought it was my imagination or a loss of balance due to
something gooffy with my hearing aides and then i found out that it isn't
quite level. I was relieved to know that. I was beginning to get freaked
out.I thought that maybe there was something really wrong.

-----Original Message-----
From: Tamara Smith-Kinney <tamara.8024 at comcast.net>
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2011 3:46 PM
To: 'NAGDU Mailing List,	the National Association of Guide Dog Users'
<nagdu at nfbnet.org>
Subject: Re: [nagdu] Going Downhill


Yeah, I have the problem of looking down on stairs, too.  Every time I think
I have that bad habit licked, there I go again.  How great it will be, I
thought to myself for quite awhile, when I'm blind enough I can't keep doing
this myself...

Then I noticed that I stopped at the head of staircase in what was to me a
pitch-black stairwell, absent-mindedly glanced down and utterly rocked my
own world.  On, no!  It's not my vision that's the problem!  It's me!  I've
discovered that I can do the same thing to myself in sleepshade.  I can
catch it with stairs now, but I still do it to myself if I'm not paying
attention.  Good grief!  When will I ever learn.

I tried dark sunglasses on a cloudy day to see if blocking my vision would
help on the hill.  Nope.  I still can't resist the urge to look down, and I
still go reeling around in a circle to try to keep my balance while the
world rocks like a small boat in a big storm beneath me.  So the adventure
continues.  /grin/

I have managed to figure out that the contact of the cane tip with the
ground prevents the vertigo from ever happening at all, which is why I
didn't notice any such thing until I started working Mitzi and happened to
turn around to go back down a small incline...  /lol/

I keep thinking that if I could figure out how to teach my brain to hold
that sense of balance without the actual third point of contact (2 feet plus
1 cane equals 3), I can hold onto it long enough to put in some real
practice and get it set so I don't always have to worry about falling on my
face at an inconvenient time...

Do you ever get that falling off a cliff feeling when you're standing on a
level floor just because a breeze blew a bit of your hair in front of your
face or something like that?  What a hoot!  Every now and then I can still
manage to trip over a patch of sunlight on the living room carpet.  My
roommates find this very amusing indeed.  Life, eh?

Tami Smith-Kinney

-----Original Message-----
From: nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
Of Julie J
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2011 11:30 AM
To: NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users
Subject: Re: [nagdu] Going Downhill

If the grade is really steep it might help to lean back a bit.  No other 
real helpfulness though. *smile*

I do experience some serious vertigo on stairs though.  I can empathize. 
the thing that helped me the most was not to look.  My vertigo is triggered 
by the visual effect of standing at the edge of a cliff, or so it looks to 
me! *smile* If I don't look, no vertigo.  After a few years of not looking 
going down stairs I seem to be mostly past my dizzy issues.  Every now and 
then it will cause me problems, but usually it's only when I look over the 
railing or the stairs are the open sort.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tamara Smith-Kinney" <tamara.8024 at comcast.net>
To: "'NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users'" 
<nagdu at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2011 10:43 AM
Subject: [nagdu] Going Downhill

> Hey!  How do all of you go down hills with your dogs without getting, you
> know, seasick?  Or is that just me?  /lol/
> Now that I don't have rain as much for an excuse not to get my lazy 
> backside
> out with my dog, I'm looking for a route to walk on this side of the Road 
> of
> Certain Doom.  The best and safest route to get some decent walking 
> exercise
> -- with sidewalks part of the way! -- is up a fairly steep hill.  Good
> exercise for the dog, too, since she has to drag me up the thing once I 
> wear
> out.  There's even a little spot where I can let her have some run play
> before we turn around to come back down...  Supposing I don't break my 
> neck
> falling on my nose.  /lol/  How I didn't literally fall on my nose the 
> first
> time -- when the effect was a real surprise -- is beyond me.  I  had to 
> sit
> down right where I was while the whirling sensation just kept building and
> building...  So I couldn't get up.  I've experienced the minor version of
> that on gentle downslopes, but never like that!  The only reason I didn't
> end up calling DD to come pick me up because I was too seasick to get home
> is because I am just too dang stubborn and have way, way too much pride.
> So.  By this spring, it seems I can think about taking the hill on again
> with getting seasick in advance, and I think this time I'll have a 
> strategy.
> /grin/
> So here's my plan, in general:
> 1.  Take dog on leash, use cane going up and coming down for added 
> reference
> point for balance to learn to maintain balance and proprioception on steep
> grades.
> 2.  When ready, use guide dog to go up the hill.  Take cane out before
> turning around, to use as reference point to judge grade.  Use cane to 
> come
> down.
> 3.  Repeat as necessary, removing cane tip from ground periodically to 
> build
> up number of steps to walk without reference point before falling on nose
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