Saturday, October 31, 2015

The last day!

It's the last day of October! I do have a question, BethAnne from Beth Anne's Best left a comment and asked what kind of things my caregiver does for me. Mostly it's laundry and cleaning kind of things. She also helps with errands, like picking up perscriptions, and going to the bank for quarters when we run out, (my laundry facility is coin-operated.) She also does grocery shopping, (I go with her of course,) we make a list and plan out what I want for a 3 week cycle. She does the cooking once a week, and I usually buy frozen meals and other things for lunches.
Since today is the very last day of the challenge, you'd think I wouldn't want to do the blogging challenge thing for a while right? Hah! I've decided to take both this blog and my linkblog, through NaBloPoMo, which starts tomorrow. This is in an effort to prepare myself for blog365 next year. Blog365 used to actually be an official thing, but I did it on my own in 2011, (because it doesn't really exist anymore, that I know of.)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Strange questions.

So I was going to make this a Thursday lister post, but I'm not sure if I can think of enough things to actually make a list. I was also going to call this post "questions I don't particularly like answering," then I realized these are just obvious questions. These are strange "how do you" type questions, like "how do you wash your hands?" Someone has actually asked me that question, (although it was a long time ago.) Lol come to think of it, I think someone asked me something like, "how do you put on underwear?" once. Lol I hate to state the obvious, but ya know...
Then there are the ASL? type questions you get when live streaming. Oh man do I hate answering those questions! I keep my profile fairly anonymous for a reason, and that's because there are people I know, (hint hint, family!) who don't approve of me live streaming in the first place, so I have to be careful what kind of information I give out. No, I'm not going to give you my Skype/Facebook/messenger information just because we started following each other on Twitter, and we've exchanged a few messages here and there. Lol I probably get asked for that information more than you think.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Day 28: misconceptions.

What are misconceptions sighted people often have about blind people?

I think the biggest misconception right now is that we all have non-24 in some shape or form. I know someone that has it, and I know a blind person that doesn't have it, so I think it's about 50-50. Even when I went to the doctor, he thought I had non-24, it turned out to be the antidepressants that his brother put me on because my mother thought I was depressed.
Another big one is that we all want to see some kind of cure. There are some who do, but there are a lot of us who are fine just the way we are. Yet another one is that we're all extraordinary people, who do extraordinary things. Don't get me wrong, a few of us have done extraordinary things, (Erik Weihenmayer climbed Mount Everest for instance, (Wikipedia link) but most of us are ordinary, everyday people. Lol don't get me wrong, I've had my share of adventures, (I've been skydiving twice!) However, that just means I like to have some fun once in a while.
Despite not having anymore questions prepared, I do have a post planned for tomorrow, expect a list post!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Delaying the question.

I was supposed to answer my last question tonight but it's one of those questions that needs a really long answer! I've been dealing with the passage of CISA all day, (I'm still in the middle of posting things to my linkblog about that,) so I'll get back to posting things tomorrow. CISA= Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Day 26: picturing things.

When you imagine things, do you picture them?

If someone describes an image well enough, I can usually picture it. This tends to happen mostly when I'm reading though, , (it happens a lot when reading revilations, for instance.) It can also happen if I'm reading a very detailed legal document/brief, if the document is written with enough detail, I can usually picture certain things, (this especially happens with transcripts.) If you've ever gotten the feeling like you're reading a movie script, and you can just imagine being there while everything's happening, that's what it's like.
Just a bit of a side note, I'll be reaching the end of my prepared questions tomorrow night. I have a post planned for the next day, after that I really don't have any plans.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Day 25: support groups.

Are you a member of any support groups dealing with blindness/vision loss?

I've never actually been a member of any blindness-related support groups, but I know they exist. We have one here locally, (or at least we did a few years ago.) I suppose I'm the kind of person that finds bible studies and home fellowships more interesting, (I've participated in a couple of them.) Lol, I remember when the person from my church asked me this question, he said, "why not?" I suppose the answer is I guess I've never felt the need to sit for hours and talk about being blind. There are people who want to do that, and that's perfectly fine with me!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Day 24: anger/depression.

Have you ever been angry and/or depressed about being blind?

Another question that came from my Voat AMA! Since I was born blind, and I've been this way all my life, I haven't been majorly angry or depressed about it. Have I had days when I've asked God why I've had to go through certain experiences? Of course I have, I think everyone does that! I'm not sure if the experience is different for others who are born blind, or if it's different for those who loos their sight later in life. I've actually talked to some people who say that they do go through a time of depression while adjusting.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Day 23: Echolocation.

Can you Echolocate?

Someone asked me this question when I did my AMA on Voat. I've never really used the actual technique that you see on TV, but I can offer a bit of an explanation as to how the technique works. Air bounces off things, and if you really listen you can hear that, (yeah, even without the strange tongue clicking sound.) I know my computer screen is sitting in front of me without having to reach up and touch it for instance, because of the way the air bounces off of it, (it creates a sensation of sitting behind something big.) Of course things are different in different rooms and/or areas, if you've ever heard someone do an audio recording using an internal laptop microphone for instance, it might sound like they're in the bathroom. That's actually what it sounds like when I'm in my bathroom, (big and open.)
By the way, if you have any questions for me please leave them in the comments of any post, (Disqus emails me every time so I'll get them.) You can also tweet me at: Webgurl

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Day 22: balance.

Today my counselor asked me an interesting question that I'm not asked very often, so I thought I'd address it here.
Do you find it hard to keep your balance?

Not usually, unless I have a really bad headache, then I tend to get slightly off-balance. When I'm attempting yoga poses or ballet steps, (something I don't do regularly,) my balance can also be a bit off. This can also happen when doing my 24 hour events, it tends to happen around 2-3 in the morning. I think it comes down to practice, like I said last night. I've been doing it all my life, so I'm just used to it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Day 21: senses.

Do you have sharper or heightened senses because of your blindness?

A lot of people ask me this question, in several different ways. "Is your hearing better than all your other senses?" Actually, I'd have to say that my long-term memory is better than anything! I'm just good at remembering things, but not good at remembering what I had for lunch a week ago yesterday. My caregiver and I have a running joke, well, I have better hearing, and she has better smell.
I wouldn't say that my hearing is better as a direct result of my blindness. I'd say it's just simply a result of a lot of practice, (well-training.) If you practice a lot at anything you're going to get to be an expert in that area. If you get the chance to practice from birth, it just becomes natural after a while.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Day 20: medical cures.

If there were a medical cure for your blindness, would you take advantage of it?

The answer is no, no way! I don't have one of those conditions that's easily cured, they can't just replace my cornea, or remove a couple cataracts, and be done with it. I have the type of condition where the optic nerve, and the parts of my brain that control vision, didn't exactly develop all the way. They're still there, but they just didn't develop correctly. So perhaps a medical cure might involve some kind of stem cell therapy, (or implanting some kind of chip into my brain,) at which point I say no to both things! We all weren't created to have the same experience from birth, we all weren't created to live the exact same life. However, that's what the world wants. It's said that in the future, potential parents will be able to genetically select exactly what kind of child they want before the baby is born. They'll be able to find out if a baby has a certain gene, (a higher risk for cancer, for instance,) and either select not to have the child with that gene, or maybe further along in the process of research and development, simply not to have that gene included. All this to say that what it will result in is a world with many of the same people living mostly the same lives, (if this is ever allowed to go forward.) I hope it's far beyond my lifetime although in following the tech industry, they say that the beginnings of this will start to happen in 10-20 years. So I was supposed to answer the question, and I wrote something else entirely, (but the answer is no, because to be honest, I quite like my life as it is now.) Not only that, but I suppose I like being different from everyone else.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Day 19: Healing.

Why hasn't God healed you yet? Do you believe you will receive a healing on earth?

I've actually gotten this question, (maybe not in those exact words.) Let me start by quoting a bit of scripture, (one of my favorite bible passages!)
Via Bible Gateway

9 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

This is one of my favorite passages because Jesus actually answers the question, "who sinned?" Of course the answer is right there, no one, (neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.) I really like that last part! I believe that God has a plan for each and every one of us! I hold fast to the belief that it's his will to heal me, whenever he has planned. Whether that's on earth or in heaven, it isn't up to me or anyone else to decide.
Have I prayed for healing? Sure I have! Have I had others pray for me? Oh, you bet, (when I first started going to my church, I think I had people come up to me for about 8 months or so.) That's because I go to a Pentecostal church, where signs and wonders are more emphasized, (I'm not here to get into the Pentecostal verses non-Pentecostal debate.) However I'll say one thing, in certain circles, if people pray for you and you aren't healed, the implication is that you somehow don't have enough faith, or something else is wrong. That isn't a correct assessment of the situation! Perhaps it's not supposed to happen that day, or even on this side of heaven.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Day 18: a place for everything, and everything in it's place.

Do you have a place for everything, and everything in it's place?

Lol I'm probably one of the most disorganized people you'll ever meet! OK OK, some things have their places, (my clothes, for instance, are fairly organized so that I can easily pick them out.) I always have crap all over my desk though! You should see the inside of my purse, it can often get very cluttered. Sometimes, in an effort to put something somewhere, I just set things in strange places, then never remember where I set them, (my mother does this all the time, so I think I take after her!) So the answer to that question is that yes some things have their place, (especially clothes and dishes,) when it comes to everything else though, well... who it really depends on the day.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Day 17: blindness organizations.

Are you a member of a blindness organization?

There are two major blindness organizations in the US, ACB, (American Counsel of the Blind,) and NFB, (National Federation of the Blind.) They both have different beliefs and different ways of doing things, and I'm not going to get into that debate here tonight because well... I'd like to go to bed sometime!
I'm not a member of any of them. However I do follow the ACB conventions every year, (they live stream their conventions online, and have since like 1996 or 1997, (the year is escaping me right now.)
On an unrelated note, I only have 27 of the 31 questions prepared for the series, (in case you started following late, I prepared the questions ahead of time,) so if anyone wants to ask me some questions in the comments or tweet @webgurl<, I know I'll need extra questions, so I'll definitely do my best to answer them in a post or two!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Day 16: taking pictures.

Do you or can you take pictures?

I can't remember where I got this question, I did an AMA on Voat, and it could have come from there, or someone could have asked on Meerkat. I absolutely suck at taking pictures, in fact my camera aim is very bad for streaming as well, (but I've gotten used to it with practice!) There are some blind people who have Instagram accounts, but I'm definitely not one of them, because I would never use Instagram for anything! There are mobile apps that can tell you what something is if you take a picture of it, but I'm so bad at taking pictures, that I doubt they would be the best thing for me to use.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Answering mom's questions.

Yeah, this one's a bit late, I got distracted by Twitter and various other things and am just getting to blogging! I'm going to cheat a bit in this post, and answer multiple questions that will only need 2-3 sentence answers. They're questions that my mom seems to ask over and over again, and she doesn't seem to understand the answers, so I thought I'd put them here in a post.

24. Why do you blog?

I've attempted to answer this question a couple other times This blog is not having an identity crisis is one of those times, and I started blogging 10 years ago today that post summarizes more of my history with blogging, instead of giving my reasons for it. I blog for fun, and to keep an archive of what's going on in life at the time. I suppose you could say that I blog for blogging's sake, but I also enjoy writing, (although I wouldn't want to write a book, because books take way too long to write!

Why do you live stream?

I started using Meerkat to live stream as an experiment, just to see if it would work, and to see if I could get it to work with VoiceOver. I found it fun, and decided to continue, that is until Meerkat stopped working for me.
Why do you participate in challenges like 31 days and Audiomo?

Well, to challenge myself and see what I can come up with for the duration of the challenge, obviously! Also because who says recording audio every day for 30 days isn't fun, (mom actually did say that!)

Day 14: having fun!

What do you do for fun?

Well, I surf the web a lot, like almost all day. I listen to a lot of podcasts and watch a lot of video streams. I'm very fortunate that I do get to go to church once a week, and I really enjoy that! I also consider blogging a lot of fun! I really enjoy doing things like Write31days!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Day 13: working.

Do you work?

Regular readers to the blog will probably know that I'm an SSA recipient, so no I don't work. That doesn't mean that I haven't done my share of job searching, or had my fair share of internships and volunteer opportunities. I ended up doing the job search thing for about 9 years, (give or take,) without finding anyone who wanted to hire me. I thought I came close a several times. The state agency in charge of placing people in jobs just closed my case this year because of the whole noncompete situation, (although I've been with them since 2001, and nothing substantive has gotten done.) It was a running joke inside the agency that I had a file that was extremely thick, that it needed two files!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Day 12: dogs and my cat.

Do you have a guide dog?

I'm one of those people that's actually really, really bad with cardinal directions! Apparently, a dog doesn't help with that, so I'm not a good candidate for one. On top of that, I live in a place with a lot of concrete and very little grassy area. So no I don't have a guide dog, and I don't have plans to get one. I do however have a cat, which seems to be enough for me right now. He likes to do things like wake me up at 3 in the morning, simply because I have to kick him out of my room so that he'll actually let me get some sleep! This means I actually have to shut the door to my room, well MR. Prince as my caregiver likes to call him decided that it would be fun to meow at the door at 3 this morning!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Day 11: money.

How do you differentiate between denominations of currency?

I usually don't carry cash, (that way I don't have to end up dealing with all different amounts of change, having to dig it out etc.) When I do, I fold the bills different ways. It's a bit different with coins though. Coins are all different sizes and textures, (at least here in the US.) I really only have to carry quarters for my laundry, and cash when I'm on trips, so I don't deal with it that much!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Day 10: colors and clothes.

Since I skipped day 7, and I don't particularly want to write a post for it, (since it's already passed,) I'm going to answer 2 questions in a single post.

How do people explain colors to you?

This is actually done by association. What I mean by that is equating colors with something I already understand. I know that grass is green in spring for instance, and that's how green was explained, (and trees as well.)

How do you make sure your clothes match?

I buy clothes that go with each other when I shop. Lol I know that's an easy answer, but that's how it's done. OK OK so I'm sure there are times I've been less than color coordinated when I went somewhere, but I usually don't go places that are very important, so I'm not too worried about it.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Day 9: sleeping and sleep schedules.

How do you sleep? Can you keep a sleep schedule?

People ask me this a lot now because of the commercials they see on TV about Non-24-hour sleep–wake disorder, (Wikipedia.) I could try and explain it, but it's easier to quote the article, so that I don't get any facts wrong.

Non-24-hour sleep–wake disorder (non-24), is one of several types of chronic circadian rhythm sleep disorders (CRSDs). It is defined as a "complaint of insomnia or excessive sleepiness related to abnormal synchronization between the 24-hour light–dark cycle and the endogenous circadian rhythms of sleep and wake propensity."[1] Symptoms result when the non-entrained (free-running) endogenous circadian rhythm drifts out of alignment with the desired or conventional sleep–wake schedule. However, the sleep pattern can be quite variable; some individuals adopt a sleep pattern that is congruent with their free-running circadian clock, shifting their sleep times daily, thereby often obtaining satisfactory sleep but suffering major social and occupational consequences. People with non-24 "resemble free-running, normal individuals living in a time-isolation facility with no external time cues",[2] while using artificial lighting at will.
The majority of patients with non-24 are totally blind, and the failure of entrainment is explained by an absence of photic input to the circadian clock. However, the disorder can also occur in sighted people for reasons that are not well understood.
The internal circadian clock, located in the hypothalamus of the brain, generates a signal that is slightly longer (occasionally shorter) than 24 hours. Normally, this slight deviation is corrected by exposure to environmental time cues, especially the solar light-dark cycle, which reset the clock and synchronize (entrain) it to the 24-hour day. Morning light exposure resets the clock earlier, and evening exposure resets it later, thereby bracketing the rhythm to an average 24-hour period. If normal people are deprived of external time cues (living in a cave or artificial time-isolated environment with no light), their circadian rhythms will "free-run" with a cycle of more (occasionally less) than 24 hours, expressing the intrinsic period of the circadian clock. The circadian rhythms of individuals with non-24 can resemble those of experimental subjects living in a time-isolated environment, even though they are living in normal society.
The circadian clock modulates many physiological rhythms. The most easily observed of these is the propensity for sleep and wake; thus, patients with non-24 experience symptoms of insomnia and daytime sleepiness (similar to "jet lag") when their endogenous circadian rhythms drift out of synchrony with the social/solar 24-hour day and they attempt to conform to a conventional schedule. Eventually, their circadian rhythms will drift back into normal alignment, and symptoms temporarily resolve, only to recur as their clock drifts out of alignment again. Thus the overall pattern involves recurring symptoms on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on the length of the internal circadian cycle. For example, an individual with a circadian period of 24.5 hours would drift 30 minutes later each day and would be maximally misaligned every 48 days. If patients set their own schedule for sleep and wake, aligned to their endogenous non-24 period (as is the case for most sighted patients with this disorder), symptoms of insomnia and wake-time sleepiness are much reduced. However, such a schedule is incompatible with most occupations and social relationships.

That was a really long way to answer the question! The answer is I set my own sleep schedule, and I don't free-run my cycles, (unless the definition of free-running is getting distracted by Reddit and putting off going to bed!) I've found that I only need about 7 hours of sleep a night, and that seems to work for me. The only time I wake up in the middle of the night is when I have extremely bad headaches, or the cat is meowing at the door wanting to come into the room! I had to kick him out of the room, because he kept me awake by jumping off and on the bed every 5 -10 seconds! So yeah I do keep a sleep schedule, that is unless I'm staying up for
24 hours, (of course,) although I do take over-the-counter medication, (melatonin.) I have this problem where as soon as I hit the pillow, I have racing thoughts about everything! it seems to work, and I don't think I'll need any prescriptions anytime soon, although my primary doctor does think I have non-24.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Day 8: living arrangements.

Before I get to the question yeah, I did skip last night's post, (woops!) I fell asleep until like 11, and then decided that it was too late for answering questions, (and I just wanted to go to bed anyway,) so I'll be answering two questions sometime in the next couple days to make that up. So now I'll get to the question.

How do you live on your own?

I do live alone, but I know of other blind people who don't, and others like me who do as well. I'm a section 8 renter, so when I talk about annual inspections and recertifications, that's what I'm referring to. I also have a caregiver who comes in 3 times a week. In fact I just had my annual assessment yesterday.
The caregiver is paid by the state, and every year the state does an assessment to determine your ongoing need for services. In our state we have a couple different programs, (state plan personal care, and the regular program, which is what I'm on.) The regular program qualifies you for as many hours as you and your caseworker think is needed, but state plan personal care is only 20 hours. After my caregiver left the home care agency she was working for, and signed up for the state registry back in January, she was accused by the agency of noncompete breach of contract.. My old caseworker told the agency she was leaving to become my caregiver on the state registry, when he specifically told me he wasn't supposed to do that and that it was my responsibility to do so. In other words a violation of confidentiality. He admitted that if he hadn't done that, there probably wouldn't have been any legal orders sent are way. Anyway all this to say that I had to get a new caseworker, and the new caseworker doesn't know how to make me eligible for the amount of hours that I've been getting since 2010. She said she'd find a way to make me eligible, but I'm not sure if she's going to be able to do it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Day 6: web access.

How accessible are websites to you? What can developers do to make their sites more accessible?

Let me just start out by saying that accessibility is completely relative! It might be accessible to me, but inaccessible to someone who's only been using a screen reader for a few months, I've been using them since about 2000, and I use multiple screen readers and web browsers, just in case one setup doesn't get the job done.
I think I can answer the first part of the question by saying that I consider most websites to be fairly accessible. That doesn't mean that I won't have problems here and there, (elements that won't open with a simulated mouse click, for instance.) There's also the occasional captcha image that still doesn't have an audio captcha attached to it, (which is very strange, because if you're implementing a captcha now without using re-captcha, well... just stop using captcha... OK?
I have to say that I prefer the web-based way of navigation, and I'm not a huge fan of using what's called "application mode," which makes the site look more like a desktop application. Personally I don't like to use it, so I might even be getting the name wrong. Application mode is part of a standard called "ARIA," which stands for "accessible rich internet applications." It's just a long name for well... giving developers permission to make pretty sites, and still make them accessible. I don't like it, because it gets in the way. Those fancy looking menus that Facebook uses? That's an example of ARIA, and I absolutely hate those things, (don't get me wrong, I hate Facebook for other reasons.)
As for the second part of the question, "what can developers do to make websites more accessible?" Well, never implement drag-and-drop of any kind! Or at least don't do it without some sort of setting, so that there's always a way to use the manual form. It took me 2 years to find an RSs reader that doesn't use drag-and-drop for adding feeds to folders. Besides that, I subscribe to the theory of universal design. If it's optimized for a mobile device, it will most likely work for a screen reader, (but you have to keep in mind that there are people using all kinds of mobile devices, yeah... even feature phones!) Also, don't worry if it doesn't validate 100%! I know there are liberals who are going to freak out about this! I'm a blind person, and I'm saying don't meet the standards. Use the standards for what they are, (guidelines,) but don't freak out if your site isn't perfect. I usually say that if I can navigate a site, it's probably fine. You should however make sure your RSS feed validates, because if it doesn't, some feed readers won't fetch it.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Day 5: reading.

So I was actually going to answer a question that would have went nicely with yesterday's post. However it would have taken a much longer answer from me, instead I'll answer this question, and save that one for another day, (probably tomorrow.)

Do you read braille?

People often ask how I read etc. I'm able to read braille, (I did learn it in school starting at a very young age.) However, I have a retention issue in other words, I turn the page and I forget what I just read. This caused issues in school, and I remember certain times where mom would actually have to read the homework out loud, (especially if it was multiple things for multiple classes.)
These days I prefer the digital format, I try to have things emailed to me as much as I can, if not for my own records. I keep extremely detailed records and backups of things. As for books, I did download the Kindle for PC with accessibility plugin, and that seems to work well. There are a couple small issues with it, but it seems to work fine for me.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Day 4: using computers/the internet etc.

How do you use technology?

Probably one of the most common questions I get asked, (besides how I dream and how I watch TV,) is how I use the internet. I use software that reads the screen out loud to me on both my computer, and my iPhone, (the iPhone has it built-in.) Some people use a braille display that can also be used for this purpose, but I don't because I never coordinate between both the braille display and the screen reader.
The questions people always ask are do you use speech recognition? I didn't used to until I started using Siri on my phone. Also they'll ask something like do you have a braille keyboard? I learned to type when I was like 6, so I know how to touch type, however this does not transfer to a touch screen for me. I have to use a Bluetooth keyboard for my phone. When I'm navigating anything, I never use the mouse, (except in certain very rare situations,) using a screen reader on a computer is keyboard only navigation.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Day 3: watching TV.

One of the most common questions people ask, besides the first 2 is the following:

How do you watch TV?

Let's get the obvious answer out of the way first. I listen, so I can watch TV when I'm in bed etc, without a problem. Although I don't watch much TV these days, (using the actual TV, because I don't have cable.)
I listen, but say "watch," because that's how everyone else says it. I don't find it "ablist," or offensive to do so, (as some ridiculous liberals might think.) I also say "look" and "see." It actually bothers me that semantics offend people, but they do.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Day 2: we all have dreams.

Do you dtream? How do you dtream?

First of all I don't know anyone who doesn't dream, but maybe there are people who don't. So yeah, I do have dreams. I don't see in my dreams though, so I dream in words. In other words, I hear everything that's going on around me, (just like I do in everyday life.) I don't smell or taste in my dreams. However I did dream about eating once, (I knewe I was eating, but couldn't taste what I was eating.)
It was a very strange dream, I was eating French fries in a van. I don't remember where we were going, (this was in like 1995.) They say everyone dreams, but I rarely have dreams that I remember. If I'm following a legal case, or reading a lot about a certain thing, I tend to have dreams about it, and those ones I do tend to remember.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Day 1: what exactly can I see?

So let's start with the written question in it's entirety

What can you see? Is it like seeing black all the time? Do you have any light perception? Can you see shadows?

It's a multi-part question because I wanted to get this one done all at once, so that I didn't have to come back to it over multiple days. I suppose I need to start by explaining blindness/visual impairment, and what that actually means. The easiest way for me to do this is to quote from this Wikipedia article. I'm quoting from the section that deals with the US, since I'm from the US, but there are also sections that refer to the UK etc.

In the United States, any person with vision that cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in the best eye, or who has 20 degrees (diameter) or less of visual field remaining, is considered legally blind or eligible for disability classification and possible inclusion in certain government sponsored programs.
In the United States, the terms partially sighted, low vision, legally blind and totally blind are used by schools, colleges, and other educational institutions to describe students with visual impairments. They are defined as follows:
Partially sighted indicates some type of visual problem, with a need of person to receive special education in some cases.
• Low vision generally refers to a severe visual impairment, not necessarily limited to distance vision. Low vision applies to all individuals with sight who are unable to read the newspaper at a normal viewing distance, even with the aid of eyeglasses or contact lenses. They use a combination of vision and other senses to learn, although they may require adaptations in lighting or the size of print, and, sometimes, Braille.
• Myopic - unable to see distant objects clearly, commonly called near-sighted or short-sighted.
• Hyperopic - unable to see close objects clearly, commonly called far-sighted or long-sighted.
• Legally blind indicates that a person has less than 20/200 vision in the better eye after best correction (contact lenses or glasses), or a field of vision of less than 20 degrees in the better eye.
• Totally blind students learn via Braille or other non-visual media.
In 1934, the American Medical Association adopted the following definition of blindness:
Central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with corrective glasses or central visual acuity of more than 20/200 if there is a visual field defect in which the peripheral field is contracted to such an extent that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees in the better eye.

I fall into the totally blind category. In other words, I can't see anything. I think it was less than 20/200 when I was last evaluated, but I can't remember what it was, (if there's even anything less than that.) Now I'll get to the other parts of the question. People often ask if it's just black when I open my eyes. The answer to that question is no. There is literally nothing there. I'm not sure how to explain that in terms that someone who has sight can understand, but there's just nothing there. People also often ask if I see shadows or have light perception, and the answer is no to both of those. There are some totally blind people who do have light perception, but I'm not one of those people.