My little red tether is my anchor in running with my friends. A beautiful guide dog has been my tether/anchor in mobility and independence for 17 years: 1. Pantera 2. Cricket, and now my beautiful 3. Georgina (Georgie). A life of family and friends is my joy and anchor in life.

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. CC Scott

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Be Prepared

Part of our day today will include eight Webelos and two leaders coming to our office for a visit.  Cricket and I will help them earn their Communicator Badge.  When my children were younger, it seemed I had an opportunity to visit the schools and speak to many youth groups.  Often now, our groups are adults.  I look forward to this time. They will ask fun questions.  I thought in preparation we would answer the questions that were emailed to me by their leader.  She indicates they will have notebooks and will take notes on the following questions. 

* How old you were when you began losing your eyesight?

Well, I think the answer would be at birth.  I was born with limited vision that has continued to decrease over the years.  It became significant in my 20's and I was legally blind by age 23.   Legal blindness is less than 20 degrees of peripheral vision or 20/200 or worse (not able to be corrected).

* Can you see anything?

Yes, I have a pinhole of vision in the center in my left eye.  A normal eye sees 180 degrees and I have approximately 3 degrees.  Hold a tube the circumference of about a dime and that is what I can see -- between a papertowel holder and a straw.  I'll take goggles that simulate it fairly well.

* How does Cricket help you?

Cricket basically keeps me safe by avoiding and alerting me of obstacles and crossing the street safely.  We will create an obstacle course in the upstairs office and if there is time go for a walk outside with them.  A demonstration speaks louder than many words on this one. 

* Are you ever afraid because you can't see?

Do I do things that scare me?  Yes.  For instance, being in a large crowd or big social gathering is not my favorite.  The mingling is sometimes overwhelming.    (This sounds like a great topic for a future post)  Am I afraid?  No.  Does that seem like a contradiction? 
* How can you walk without bumping into things?

I walk with a guide dog, cane, or sighted guide.  I do bump into many things and people -mostly in my home and office when I am preoccupied and not paying attention to my surroundings.

* How long have you had Retinitis Pigmentosa?

Since birth.  I was diagnosed at age 18. 

In answering these questions, it seems I need to figure out a way to make this presentation a little more exciting.  Oh yes, Cricket is with me ... that will cover the fun and excitement for these boys.

Update:  We had a fun time with these boys.  They came to my office and had some great questions.  Special treat:  Shannon and Layla were able to stop in and share our tether and running stories with them.  Cricket greeted them off harness wagging and happy and then showed how when her harness is pulled out she can get in focus.  We printed off the great crossword puzzle and true/false pages on Guide Dogs from - their GDB 101.  A great resource. 

Yoga:  Letting go of any fear, anger, sadness we might have and filling our hearts with love.  Busy day at the office had my mind bouncing around during the meditation.  The teachers soothing words warmed my heart and helped me leave calm and energized.  Steve joined me tonight for yoga.  He tells me not to buy him his own mat yet ...  


Myrna R. said...

Thanks for sharing this. It increases my sensitivity to someone who is legally blind. It is wonderful that you are so open to teaching us about your experiences. I love how you haven't allowed anything to stand in the way of your living, and instead you fill your life with meaning.

DCHY said...

When I worked with a woman who had vision problems due to diabetes complications, she showed me some stuff like specially designed glasses that mimic the vision of a RP eye, glaucoma eye, and so forth.

Then a blind co-worker tried to stump me on the coins while I was blindfolded. I knew that the dimes were ridged and I could tell the difference. She was impressed with my knowledge. However, she got me on the dollar bills. ;)

jennohara said...

I learn from you every day, Becky. Thanks for continuing to share stories of your inspirational life!

Mimi and CC Cabana said...

I think the kids will just be excited to meet a rock star. Yes, you Becky, are that rock star!!