Monday, July 20, 2009


I wasn't sure whether or not to post this. I mean, it took me longer than it should have to admit I needed to call her anyway. Not because I didn't want to do it as such, but because I didn't want to admit that I needed to. I always managed to get along without any more than the bit I was taught while still in school after all. But I'd had enough of alternating between feeling like a prisoner in my own home, and feeling like a little kid who has to be babysat all the time. I needed some freedom. I needed to breathe. I needed to accept that I couldn't do this particular thing on my own.

I'm talking - as you may have figured out from the title - about mobility. For the benifit of those not familiar with the workings of such things (which is probably at least most of you) I'll explain.

Mobility - or "rehabilitation" as it's now called - is when a person with a disability is given help to learn how to do something that's difficult for them to do because of said disability. In my case this refers to getting out and about without being atatched to someone's arm. In other words... Cane use.

For the benifit of anyone who doesn't know and is interested, there used to be three types of cane, but I think there are only two now. There are still three ways of using them though. And, unfortunately, the way I was originally taught doesn't work for me now that circumstances have changed.

The first cane is the symbol cane, which sort of speaks for itself. It's there to be held more as a symbol to others that you may need a bit of assistance due to poor sight than anything.

The second is the guide cane, and this is the one that doesn't seem to be available any more. People seem to just be given a long cane instead, since there's not much difference in them. Anyway, this one is for when you just need assistance with judging distance to obsticles, judging heights of steps, etc. It's sort of an aid to your sight, kind of like a walking stick is an aid to someone who needs a bit of help with walking. Like I said though, there's not a lot of difference between this one and the long cane, it's just the way it's used that differs for the most part.

The long cane, which is the one I have, is the standard cane that blind people generally use. However, there are two ways to use it. The first is in the way I described with the guide cane, the second is as a tool to find obsticles, find landmarks, etc. And there are several types of tips available depending on how you use the cane, and whether you prefer to keep contact with the ground or not.

Anyway, I was taught to use my long cane like a guide cane. At the time it was all I needed since I had decent-ish eyesight. This was fine right up until last year. When I still had light perception I could just about manage using the cane in this way, and was even able to get myself to town without help. But then I had my other eye out last July and things changed. Without the light perception I couldn't use the shadows things cast to help me with the cane use, and the only attempt I've made at going further than along the path by the river where I walk Kero on my own was a disaster. I never managed to get up the courage to try again.

Then, as I said, I was starting to feel like a prisoner and like a little kid who needed to be babysat. Eventually I had enough, and I decided it was time to admit that I needed help. So, I contacted the rehabilitation officer that had been assigned to me a few years back (OK, at the time I didn't know it would be the same one) and arranged for her to come and see me. She came two weeks ago.

At first I wasn't sure I was happy about it. I knew I needed to do it, because I need to be able to get out on my own, but it was only the thought of the end result that stopped me cancelling. It was better than I thought though, and when last week's lesson was cancelled due to fear of drrowning I was actually really disappointed. I know, I know, I didn't even want the lessons in the first place, and now I'm saying I was disappointed my lesson got cancelled. LOL!

We managed to have this week's lesson though, but the next one probably wont be until the first Monday in September, because she's not sure what's happening with her kids during the school holidays. If she finds herself free though she'll be calling to see if I'm free for a lesson.

She gave me a new tip for my cane. It glides over the ground better because of being bigger. Plus, the extra inch in size between it and my old tip gives me the extra inch of cane length I could have done with (which I couldn't have because the next cane size up is too long for me... It's one of the problems with being short, and with the way they do cane measurements now).

And in September (I think she said September 14th) she's taking me to go and meet a group of people who also have eyesight issues. It sounds like a nice group. They go on outings together sometimes, and have guest speakers come in sometimes, and I think she said they sometimes do crafts and such too. Most of them are a fair few years older than me, but I know at least one of them is around my sort of age bracket, and she'll be new to the group in September too.

All we did today was practice a bit of the walk to town. I'm not sure how much of it I really remember though. But it's OK, because we'll just keep practicing it until we get to the point where she's just following me, then I'll try it on my own. It's not so much knowing the route that's my problem, it's finding the few landmarks available to find with my cane that's the tricky part. Partly because it's not the easiest of tasks anyway, partly because I'm not used to doing it.

So, that's what I did today. What Did you do?



MarmiteToasty said...

Wow ToriZ this all sounds so good, the group thing especially I like, you will make new maties and you might even end up teaching them how to knit :)

The cane lessons I know to start must of been difficult for you, cos you are such an independant cow LOL, but think how much more independant you will become....

Shame the next lesson aint until September though, tell her you know of a great childminder in the south where she can drop her kids off for a few hours so you can have your lessons in the school holidays LOL

Hoping you will join the group, it will be fun...

know you are loved..


Intense Guy said...

Today I read this blog and admired a determined young woman who will soon be free to come and go as she pleases.

I hope that group thing is as fun as it is educational and social.

Laughs at Toasty - and are YOU ready to be minding a few (more) kids?

:) *Hugs*

AliceKay said...

I'm really happy you've decided to take these lessons. I think it will enhance what life has to offer for you, and you'll be more independent. The group sounds like a great idea. Keep us updated on your progress. *hugs*

The Wife O Riley said...

Even though it might be a pain, freedom win everytime. And I think it's wonderful that you will have a group. Think of all the new friends and the places you can go! It will be fabulous!

LadyStyx said...


Fantastic! I am so proud of you. Just taking that first step and admitting you needed the a big one. It's hard too, when you are so used to doing for yourself!

Wendyburd1 said...

Nothing as great as you!! That is brave to admit you need help and go and get it! This is the kind of thing my sister is going to school for. She is going to be an occupational therapy assistant and they teach or re-teach things. It is all sorts of different things. So I think that is kind of like what your...I can't remember what you called her....does. I hope you get another lesson before SEPTEMBER!! That is a lot of time to ask someone to wait for, This is her job, to HELP you!! Oy! ((HUGS))

jewelzmomof4 said...

Tori you are such an inspiration to me. I love going to your blog because you are so independent and striving to become more independent is just awsome. I hope your lessons keep going well and you learn everything there is to know about the cane. Good luck and I can't wait to hear your update when you conquer the new methods.

Deanna said...

You are amazing Tori. As determined as you are about everything you do, I know you will master this beautifully. Joining the group sounds like a great idea.

It is difficult to admit needing help, but once that step is taken, you reap the benefits 100 times over. Great job.

Celticspirit said...

You never cease to amaze me Tori. I don't know if I could do half as well as you do if I were in your situation.
The groups sounds really fun and I hope you enjoy it.

Tori_z said...

Thanks all. *Blushes*