Sunday, May 27, 2012

Q&A Regarding Braille Labels

The other day, one of my Facebook friends posted the following as her status update.
"Can someone explain how braille works? Does a person with visual impairment need assistance to find braille? Are signs generally in a standard location? Does anyone know anyone who reads/uses braille? Do they find it to be helpful in asserting their independence? Just curious."

Here's my response to her initial inquiry.

"If traveling alone, I absolutely rely on the braille markers in buildings to navigate and confirm that I've arrived at the right place in the building. Furthermore, I use the braille labels in elevators to select which floor I would like to go to. When staying in a hotel by myself, I rely on the braille label outside of my room to make sure I'm trying to enter the right suite. There is no doubt that the braille labels create more accessibility for the person who is blind.
BTW: While technology has made amazing strides in the world of the blind and visually impaired, braille literacy is still critically important.
My microwave, washer and dryer, and oven timer has braille labels. I use braille notecards when I'm giving a speech.
Of course, I probably use technology 90% of the time as it pertains to my independence. However, the 10% of the time I use braille, I'm glad that I have the skill and access to such a wonderful tool."

My response sparked more questions from my friend.

"Angie, when you are out, how do you know where to find the braille markers? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you use braille. Is the placement standard? Are there national guidelines as to the dimensions and placement of the markers so you know how/where to find them? You can make your own braille notecards? So a braille writer is like a word processor? Angie, you already answered my next question, which was about what % of the time would you say that you use braille? Are the braille labels in the house custom?"

My response...

"I don't know if there is an ADA guideline that is used to mandate where the braille labels must be placed. To be quite honest, I've noticed the braille labels in different spots. Sometimes, they are to the side of the door. Other times, the labels are on the door, right above the door handle. I guess it all depends on the facilities manager and/or engineer.
I very seldom travel within buildings that I haven't been introduced to by a sighted person for the first go round. I always ask the sighted person who is introducing me if there are braille labels that I can use to help me navigate if or when I may be alone. If you've noticed, many of the braille labels are also accompanied by large, embossed, print letters. I also feel those labels to help me navigate, being that I still remember what print looks like.
Do I go around feeling all of the braille labels posted in buildings? Absolutely not. More often than not, I count doors, openings in hallways, listen for the sound of open space, air condition units, and vending machines to help me navigate. But if I'm trying to make sure that my orientation has landed me in the right place, I like to have a braille label there to make sure I'm entering the right room.
Blind or sighted, it's not cool to barge in the wrong gender specific bathroom. Know what I mean?
Answer to your next question...
I have two manual braille writers here at my house. I also have a braille printer that works conjointly with special software on my computer. That software converts print into braille code. And the braille printer spits out what was once print in a form that is accessible to the blind. YAY BRAILLE!
I do not use my manual braille writer or the braille printer often. I have found that the speech on my computer systems is more convenient. However, there are some special instances that I prefer braille.
Part of the reason why I prefer speech over braille in most situations is because my Braille reading speed is slower than I need it to be. I can type it fast as lightening. But I read it slow as a snail.
Since I'm a person that has to do things fast, I use the tool that is the fastest for me.
Remember, this is my unique stance on the aforementioned. Every blind person is different.
Here's the answer to your last question... No, the braille labels in my house are not custom. I have a hand-held braille machine that I use to make braille labels. I type what I want the label to say, and post the label where I want it to be."

**If any of you have questions like the above for me, post them here. I'll be glad to answer! That's what NuVision for a NuDay is all about!!!!!!**

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Preparing for the 18th Time

Next Friday, I'll be exchanging my easy, breezy, summer outfit for a thin, hospital gown that has been worn by countless other people that are sick enough that they need to actually be in the hospital. **I certainly hope they use hot, hot, hot water and bleach to wash the towels, linen, and gowns in the hospital.** Let me move on before I stall here. LOL

While this will be the 18th time I'll be having a surgical procedure, this surgery will be the first time I will have this particular part of my body cut on. Honestly, I'm not looking forward to being forcibly put to sleep by the doctors, just so they can poke, probe, and cut on me, all without me sensing anything at all. My only comfort is that I won't feel the pain that they'll be causing me during the surgery. Likewise, I take comfort in knowing that the end result of the surgery means that I'll be free of the pain this medical condition is causing me.

The docs have informed me that I'll have about a week of recovery time. I guess I'll be in my bed catching up on sleep, and for sure catching up on my reading. The Texas State Library has updated their digital book catalog.
So, I'll be cozying up with a few John Sandford books and the latest from John Grisham. Yay!

Perhaps I'll post another entry before my surgery. But just in case I don't, go ahead and wish me well now!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Final Status Update

It has just dawned on me that when I die, my various homes on the web will be the place my friends and family will come to memorialize me as soon as they hear of my passing. That's exactly what I've done for a few of the people I know. As soon as I get word of their departure, I go to their FB page and spend a few moments with their status updates they left behind as tiny treasures. I even read some of the kind words people post on their walls.

Perhaps it may be strange to some, spending a little time on their social network pages helps me feel like I'm getting a chance to spend a few more moments with that person. I believe that in a way, FB immortalizes our thoughts, ideas, and even expressions of our personalities.

I don't know why it never dawned on me that people would one day visit my social netowrking sites after I'm gone. I guess it's because we seldom give "real" energy to the fact that we will all pass from this life to somewhere else. But the truth is that we all will leave here one day. And most of us will not get a chance to change our FB status or post a new blog entry to whatever we want our final words to be.

At this point, I've asked my family to leave my FB page up for a year after I die, but to leave my blog up for as long as Blogger allows it to stay up.

I leave you with this question.... What does your presence on the web say about the life you've lived?

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

42 Things I really Hate

Of course, this is not all the things I hate. This is just a quick list of things that just popped in my brain this morning.

1. Bullies
2. Bugs
3. Rats
4. The way many sighted people. perceive blind people
5. A rocky airplane ride
6. Cancer
7. Stroke
8. Glaucoma
9. Overly Priced Consumer Goods
10. Feeling void of control.
11. Not being able to see the people I love.
12. Whatever gene that makes a body prone to holding on to fat!
13. Not being able to be as mobile as I would like.
14. Betrayal
15. Mental Illness
16. The pots lack of empathy and sensitivity for the skillet. **The nerve of the pot!**
17. The taste of coconut
18. 08/02/2002 **The night Mama had her stroke**
19. My inability to say no when I need to not just say it, but scream it.
20. Not having enough money to frequently manufacture moments of happiness and bliss.
21. Not having enough money to change the lives of the people I love.
22. That I never learned how to swim.
23. That they still haven't found a way to reverse my blindness.
24. Dealing with people with explosive personalities.
25. My lack of will power. **If only I could stay on track...**
26. Racism, Xenophobia, Sexism, and Disabilityism
27. Not having a magic wand, a crystal ball, and/or supernatural powers.
28. Not having the ability to time travel.
29. Feeling like I need to pretend to be happy, strong, or at peace curing those many moments when I'm not.
30. Stepping in puddles or mud, whether I'm barefot or with shoes on.
31. The smell of a soiled diaper
32. Green Peppermints
33. Touching Spiderwebs
34. Not knowing how the story is going to end.
35. Nasty Public Restrooms!
36. Eye Pain
37. That the info-guide on my television is not accessible to the blind.
38. Ridiculous storylines on the Young and the Restless
39. Raw Onions
40. SPAM
41. The smell of a decomposing body
42. that I have a strong fear of rejection.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Random Reflections About Very Specific Things (?th Edition)

Since I've been blogging here at NuVision, I've published collections of my random thoughts from time to time. I always title it with the above title. However, as the title suggest, my thoughts are quite random and never similar to prior posts that have the same title. This post will be no different. Today, I thought I would write and publish a post about the random thoughts that are floating in my head. And just so you know... While these thoughts are quite random on some level, they are actually quite specific. So, here goes...

1. I have a triple minority status in this great country we call the United States of America. I'm African American. I am a woman. And I am disabled. All of those labels represent experiences that have introduced me to a laundry list of isms that have a wide range of social challenges.

Perhaps some will be offended by what I'm about to say. So, allow me to apologize now. And I invite you to read beyond the part that may offend you. There's a point to the thought I'm having on this issue.

I'm glad I'm not gay.

Okay... Here's the part when you continue to read so that you can understand why I said the above. No point in you clicking away from this post with anger or disgust, without giving me a chance to explain myself.

The reason why I say I'm glad I'm not gay is not because I think gay is immoral, sinful, or void of the possibilities of real love. I'm glad I'm not gay because of the way people that are not gay look at gay people. I hear all the things that heterosexuals say about homosexuals. I won't repeat it here. I'm sure that many of you already know the opinions that are commonly spouted off by those that are not gay. And I'm also sure you already know how often people that are not gay shun and excommunicate people that are gay.

If I was gay, it would further complicate my life. The skin I live in is already bruised and battered by the social experiences that are unique to people that are black, female, and blind. If gay was added to my list of minority labels, I think that would be just too much for me to handle.

My heart goes out to all of my friends and family that are living in that skin. May you experience peace and strength as you live in a world that is not accepting and understanding of your reality.

2. If I could see to drive, I cannot number the places I would go. I would probably always be in the street visiting loved ones, shopping, and just enjoying the outdoors. These blind eyes of mine really keep me grounded in the house way more than I appreciate. I'm hoping that one day, I'll meet someone that loves to enjoy life outside of the four walls of the house, the same way I like to.

3. Two weeks ago, I traveled to Atlanta, GA. I had a fabulous time! The last day I was there, my friend took me to the CNN Center. For the first time in my life, I got a chance to know how the CNN logo looks. He allowed me to feel a metal construction of the logo that was mounted inside the building. He was shocked that I didn't know what the logo looked like. But the truth is that I've been blind almost as long as CNN has been around. So, it is not farfetched that I wouldn't know what the logo looks like. I plan to blog more about my trip later.

4. Someone I love has cancer. While I was in ATL, I dreamt about this person and their cancer. Tears slid from my eyes after I woke up and contemplated my dream. I've never had a dream that has brought me to tears. That's how much I'm impacted by all of this. I pray that everything will be okay. Perhaps I'll blog about this later too.

5. I wish I could be taken care of for a while. Taking care of others for the last ten years has left me exhausted. I wish I could win the lotto or convince some moderately wealthy man to love me. Pathetic, right? I know. You would never expect a proactive, strong sista, like myself, to admit that she wishes she had a man to take care of her. Well, the truth is that I do. That's how tired I am. But if you'd notice, I wished for the lotto ticket before I wished for the rich man. I'll leave you to think about why I wished in that order. LOL

6. I'm starting another work-out and diet regiment today. Wish me well as I make my one millionth attempt to lose this weight for good. Say so long to the overweight, unhealthy girl that has taken over my life. Say hello to the healthy girl that's been crying to come out of the closet for so many years.

Have a fantastic day!