[nagdu] Going Downhill

Sheila Leigland sleigland at bresnan.net
Sat Apr 23 05:02:37 UTC 2011

That's true we hear alot of stuff that is worth absolutely nothing.

-----Original Message-----
From: Tamara Smith-Kinney <tamara.8024 at comcast.net>
Sent: Friday, April 22, 2011 1:22 PM
To: 'NAGDU Mailing List,	the National Association of Guide Dog Users' <nagdu at nfbnet.org>
Subject: Re: [nagdu] Going Downhill


Yes, but no.  Does that help?  /lol/  As near as I understand what's
actually happening in the correlation between blindness and vertigo is that
it's not the blindness that causes the problem but the neurological stuff
that processes vision into the sense of sight and doesn't quite know what to
do without the information it's used to getting from the optic nerve through
the eyes themselves.  For those of us who have probably been told quite a
lot that blind people can't keep their balance because they can't see, the
good news is that its really just all in our heads.  /smile/  The brain's
natural ability to adapt will take care of a lot of the problem all by
itself over time, so long as we don't believe that we're supposed to avoid
walking because we're just dizzy blind people now and shouldn't put
ourselves in danger by standing up.  If you're really lucky, you can hear
this for the first time while being handed your first-ever white cane!
After which you will be told that you need to leave home for a few months to
learn to use it.  Only, at least in my state, you need to know how to use it
before you are qualified to come over to the big city to get lessons in how
to use it.  You will need to sit down at that point because for some reason
you're feeling a bit dizzy.  /smile/  Further inquiry, as I can tell you,
will reveal that in fact this is how things are in reality, except for the
part where blindness causes dizziness so blind people shouldn't be trying to
walk around all the time like they do.  The only people for whom that part
is true is the people who are in the business of handing out long white
canes and promising to provide lessons in how to use it to walk around.
They believe that this and other similar arcane and special knowledge gives
them the obligation to say these sorts of things to you as if you are the
one who is stupid and possible even soft in the head.  /evil grin/  If
you're not used to this sort of thing, it can be very weird.  It keeps being
weird even when you get used to that sort of thing, in my opinion.

Anyway, based on your statement about your lifelong lack of vertigo, let me
see if I just learned something else about you:  You've been blind from
birth or childhood.  Am I close?  /lol/  I'm guessing that's the case
because if it is, your brain would never have used vision as an aid to
balance, or it would have still been early enough in its development and
still plastic enough to adapt to losing that part of the balance equation.

Er...  That's a somewhat educated guess on my part, but I have done the
background reading to think I'm close to what's going on and have heard
about imaging studies since that add to my belief that I'm on the right
track.  I try to use that to help myself over the humps and bumps and even
sometimes trips of my own adaptation process.  Sometimes it even helps.

Then you go from cane to guide dog while you're still not fully adapted and
suddenly have to learn to walk all over again.  Well, you do if you're me at
least.  /grin/

Tami Smith-Kinney

-----Original Message-----
From: nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
Of Mark J. Cadigan
Sent: Friday, April 22, 2011 7:14 AM
To: NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users
Subject: Re: [nagdu] Going Downhill

Having been completely immune to motion sickness and vertigo proof my entire

life, I don't understand exactly what is happening here. Is it just your 
vision playing tricks on you?


----- 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 11:43 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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