Tag Archives: blindness

Facts about the guide dog process

People often ask how much does a guide dog cost? Well typically a guide dog costs $50000 to train, however the blind person pays way less than that. Some schools are free, but the caveat is the school may maintain ownership of the dog. I go to the Seeing-Eye where the first dog was $150, and then the second dog or anything after that is $50. I chose them, because I wanted full ownership of the dog. This price includes your travel and lodging. As my friend Joe says it’s a smoking deal. I’m so grateful about the price I try and donate when I can. A lot of people and volunteers make it a great time. It’s hard work for us, but rewarding.

It’s time away from home, and now that I’m working it’s different. When I got Robin I got her on summer break of my last year in college. I find myself now with bills and things, but I am using my tax return to fund my house payment and things while I am gone. I just started working 6 months ago at my new job, so I don’t have much vacation time saved but I have to roll through that then the rest is unpaid. I had pneumonia earlier this year, and I used some up then or I’d have more time saved, but that’s life. I could wait, but I really want to get my dog for when I travel to Vegas for the CES show. I’d also like to get out and do some exploring downtown again, and would feel way more comfortable traveling with a dog than my cane.
Basically a puppy will go live in a temporary home usually for about a year. They will learn basic commands, and things like going to the bathroom outside. At about 12 months old they go in for training and it’s about 6 to 8 months depending on the dog. Here they learn how to watch for cars and traffic checks. They also learn how to navigate around obstacles. Not all dogs pass the tests the instructors have set up for them. For example, say a dog likes to chase squirrels, or is easily distracted that can be a problem for the blind person. More than likely my new dog would be between 17 to 21 months. Robin was just over 2 21 months old when I got her.

I’ll never forget one question I got when I was out at the store once. A guy came up and asked me did you pick out your dog? I said no we were matched by pace and personality. He goes I thought before you went blind you might have gotten to pick her out, so you would know what she looked like. Lol oh man that would be like the most depressing thing ever! Hey Joe you’re going blind, but the great news here is you can go pick out a beautiful dog.

It’ll be interesting what I think the second time around, because I’m more understanding what will happen. The first time I wanted a dog, but not having a cane and receiving that feedback was so foreign to me. I will keep y’all posted!

One of my friends posted that she was taking her dogs to the same vet where Robin went at the end called Plantation Animal Clinic in Louisville. They were so kind, and made that so comforting. When Robin had cancer the doctor would call and talk to me for like a half an hour answering all of my questions. I remember her telling me she will start to vomit along with the diarrhea, and sure enough she did. Once I saw that I couldn’t watch her suffer like that anymore it was too painful. I’ll never forget I was laying with her and she got up and nudged me with her nose which meant she had to go out. We got to the door and she started putting her head down. I got her out, but she was really good about communicating with me.

Anyway I got off track a bit I’m excited to take my new dog there and see dr. K again. I am going to braille a letter and also print a thank you letter for taking care of Robin and giving her the attention she needed. I had been to other vets that Robin was just a number, and it wasn’t personal. I’m happy to go back, and have them being the doctor from the start for my second dog.

Abby and I will be celebrating are 2-year anniversary on the 27th. The first time we went out we went to that Mexican restaurant where everyone got sick damn it I can’t think of the name. Hang on hey Google search for that Mexican restaurant that gave everyone diarrhea? Response to many to list. Haha Actually The answer is Chipotle! Oh Chipotle that’s it! Damn Google is so smart. Anyway we ate dinner, and then Abby and I went home on the same bus, and when she was getting off Robin didn’t want her to go. Abby would say good bye, and Robin would start to make a crying noise. So I had to make date number two since Robin loved her. Abby also gave Robin some treats that I gave her later.

Hopefully this post taught you some things about guide dogs, and that Mexican restaurants are great to clean you out!

The Seeing-Eye called

Last week the Seeing-Eye called me and told me that they had a dog for me and that I could come to class. I’m so excited. I wasn’t sure if I was ready until last weekend where Abby and I went out walking. We had gone to some baseball games where I missed having a dog, but I miss how a dog can keep you walking in a straight line. Something I cannot do with my cane, and I miss it. I’ve been nervous a bit honestly thinking about its name, what it will feel like, and just that investment and bond we will share.

I was asked to be in a wedding a few months ago which I excepted, because I really enjoyed the groom and bride. We hung out with them a lot. They’re Abby’s neighbors, so I enjoyed how easy it was to see them and such. I advised the groom that I might be getting a dog, and he was happy. However, on Sunday he responded with an awful text message. I’ve never received anything quite like it. At first it shocked me, then it angered me, and finally I just wanted to be done with it all. I will paste in the message at the bottom of this, but I want to say something first.

He states getting a dog is a trivial thing and a privilege. Now this is someone who can see mind you. Oh really a privilege? Yes, sir it was a privilege to have cancer and lose my eyes. It was a privilege to never know what the sun looks like, stars, or anything else for that matter. It’s a privilege to wait for the bus and be soaking wet while all of the rest of the world passes you in a car with their windows up and heat on. It’s a privilege to be able to not walk a straight line or fumble for the walk button, because sighted people decide where the best place is for the polls for the walk signs. It’s a privilege not to be able to see the traffic sign that says walk. Don’t you ever tell me being blind or getting a dog is a privilege, because that’s a world you know nothing about. I understand this is the most important day in your life, and until you sent me this I thought we were close, but you also have to understand things happen. This is not like I am blowing off your wedding to go see a movie. I am going out to NJ for 2 weeks without pay, and using up all of my vacation time to get a Seeing-Eye dog not just a dog. Guide dogs provide a tool for me that make me feel more independent, and confident. Yes, I can get around with my cane, but it isn’t as easy as having a dog. Have you had to cross Shelbyville road or West port road blindfolded with a cane? You should try it since it’s such a privilege, and let me know how it goes if you live. Blind people advised me I should educate you, but the fact of the matter is if you don’t understand Robin was more than a dog to me then you’ll never understand. I am not angry for you calling them animals, but I did think of Robin and it made me so angry that you took that tone. I will be at your wedding, because I made a commitment, and it will work out with the Eye, but it’s to be a bigger person than you, and then I’m done with the friendship. The next time you want to go to dinner and Abby and I bring are dogs I’ll think of how you spoke about them, and I just can’t be cool with you.

Your iMessage, Your iMessage, Ryan Hey Joe. In light of the revelation that you are considering skipping standing up with me at the wedding, I've done a lot of thinking. Our wedding is a very big deal to us. We were very careful who we chose to be in the wedding. We wanted people who exemplified the love and trust that makes us the happiest. Asking someone to stand up at their wedding is considered an honor. When you committed to this months ago, I thought you were completely on board with fulfilling your commitment. I am completely disappointed that you are so quick to turn your back on this commitment. Not only are you turning your back, but you are doing it for a reason that is trivial. Getting a dog is not an emergency. Getting a dog is a luxury. The selfishness of pulling yourself away from a commitment that holds so much meaning let's me know that you didn't hold this commitment in the same high level of honor that I did when I asked you to stand with me. I thought the friendship that we had developed warranted including you. Clearly I was wrong. I tried to ease the process of standing with us by lifting the burden of having to pay for the clothes. This luxury is ALWAYS gladfully paid by groomsmen. I cannot recall a single wedding where the groomsmen had their clothes paid for. Even this is not enough. I am deeply hurt that you're even considering dumping your commitment for an animal. I won't wait until Friday Link Link Link to hear what your decision will be. I won't wait until Friday Link Link Link to see if I play second fiddle to a fucking dog. You have until 7 PM tonight Link to tell me whether you will be in the wedding or not. If you choose not to respond then I will assume you will choose the dog. If you choose the dog be prepared to pay in full the amount of your suit, tie, shoes, socks and belt. The cost will be $455. You will need to pay this by the end of the week. Being that you've already had the suit altered, you've wasted the gift card. I need you to understand, I'm not angry, I'm just crushed that something as ignorant as a dog would be the reason we even have to have this conversation. Let me know by 7 PM Link Link Link what you are going to do., 10:35 AM Link Link Actions available, 11:46 AM Link Swipe up or down to select a custom action, then double tap to activate., 8:11 PM Swipe up or down to select a custom action, then double tap to activate.

AirPods and Robins birthday!

Time gets away, and I don’t blog as much as I’d like. Abby and I are doing well. I’m excited to take her to her first MLB game in a few weeks. Pretty soon we will be celebrating 2 years together which is pretty cool. It’s gone by so fast. I had pneumonia two weeks ago, and that wasn’t any fun. Abby came over and helped take care of things. I tell you what when you have that you can’t do anything but sleep. I’d try to stay up, but couldn’t. I am feeling better, but it’s taken awhile.
Abby and I both got a pair of AirPods recently. I tell you what they are some pretty cool technology. Basically what they are is a wireless earbud. You don’t even know you need them until you start using them. I have Bluetooth headphones, but sometimes you just want to wear something smaller. As a blind person traveling on the street an earbud is easier to deal with than an over the ear headphone, because it allows you to hear more. With my Iphone they pair so seamlessly! Then once paired it’s connected to my Icloud for pairing on any other Apple device. For my Mac all I have to do is click on Bluetooth and then Joes AirPods and sound comes through them.
 
Battery Life is decent for a little earbud they get 5 hours music playback, and 2 hours for talk time. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but they also come with a charging case you drop them in there and with in 15 minutes they have 3 more hours of charge. They do well, and battery hasn’t been an issue in my wee trial. For comparison the Samsung Earbuds only get 1.5 hours of battery life when using them to play music from your phone. With those however they do have onboard storage where you can play music without a phone however battery life playback is still only 3.5 hours of play time. They also cost more than the AirPods,.
 
I am really enjoying my new job it’s fun being able to test new applications, and also see new tech. I honestly can’t believe they pay me for it. Lol Larry and I are going to be starting a website for Android TV soon, so I am excited to be involved with that. I don’t think I’ve talked about it here, but I bought a Sony Bravia® TV recently which for the first time I could set it up entirely myself, because it has speech on it. Even just being able to play with the picture settings is so neat. Before I had no idea what my tv offered as far as picture settings, because it didn’t talk. I honestly have no idea why or how it’s not required that every tv at this point doesn’t have to have some sort of screen reader built in. I am happy to see Amazon is going to make the new 4k fire tv they’re selling with Alexa also have Voiceview on it so a totally blind user should be able to set it up from scratch themselves also.
 
This month would have been Robin’s 11th birthday! Also it is 6 months from her passing. I think about her in some way every day. I did apply for a new dog, but It will probably be next year until I can do it. The pneumonia wiped out any chance I’d have enough vacation time to be able to go out and get a new dog if they had one to offer me. The school has to first have a dog that matches your speed and personality first you can’t just use any dog. I’m going to Vegas for a tech show, and really wish I had Robin, because there is tons and tons of people at this thing, and using a cane will be a nightmare. I know I’ve posted this sentiment before, but the way a dog can weave you in and out while in a large crowd is just breathtaking. I don’t give a damn how good of a cane user you are or think you can be you just can’t have that same freedom in an event like that.
 
I just want to say happy birthday to Robin on the 18th. Thank you for being the best Seeing-eye dog you could be. Thanks for the service you provided, and wanting to do it until the end. Thanks for being my friend and partner moving from Muncie to Louisville and several apartments to eventually my house. I know I wasn’t always easy to live with, but no matter what you never seemed to mind. I’m glad I had those 8 years with you, and we created lots of memories. I’ll never forget one time I had to leave her to go to a camp for work. I was gone 4 days, and when I walked out to the parking lot to get her she jumped out of the window of the car to get to me. When I was sick I thought a lot about how she would come lay on my legs, or on the floor by the bed. I miss that companionship a lot! I’ll probably have some desert for her day, and make the best of it.
 
 
 

A few stories to add!

I’m nervous Tomorrow I go back to work, but today I found doing things difficult. I woke up at 6 or so on the couch. I feel a connection there since I held Robin the day before. I also find it easier to have her collar near me. I’m sure these things will pass, but for now it helps me. I just now took out the trash something I’ve been meaning to do all day, but that was something Robin would walk out stand at the gate and watch me roll the can to the end of the drive. When I would come back to the gate she’d always give my hand a lick. If I was in a hurry I’d leave the front door open so she could see out, and it would be the same result. Something so simple made me cry.
I made spaghetti and listened to Kentucky Sports radio like I stated and that helped. Once that went off I felt tired and I needed to sleep. I slept from 1-4 and then woke up and spoke to a long time friend. Abby got me a pizza, so I ate on that for dinner. the house is so empty now it’s haunting.
I thought of 2 stories that should have been in the tribute. I know there are so many which is why she is so special. For my first job at Future Choices in Muncie I had to go to a kids camp in Columbus Ohio. I decided not knowing how mature the kids were I’d leave Robin with a friend Dina. I think the camp was 4 days, and man I missed my girl. Anyway I came home and Dina brought her buy and she had the window halfway down and Robin got stuck in the window, because when she saw me standing in the parking lot she wasn’t going to wait for the door to be opened.. She was okay, but I got so many kisses. She did not let me out of her sight for a bit after that. My friend Sue was staying there assisting Dina who was recovering from surgery, and I would call and check in or text. Yes I am that guy, but I missed my girl. Sue told me I know your schedule now. I said what do you mean? Well Sue said she cry at 6 to go outside then I got nicely back to sleep and at 7:15 she cried again for food. I said you have it down.
The second story Abby loves to hear so I thought I would mention it. I decided to dog sit for my friend Carlos;s Seeing-Eye dog Derek. It happened to be the night of my friend Ethan’s Bachelor party. I decided I’d take the dogs out before we left that would give us time. Well I may have had a little to much to drink. I wrote a blog about this incident called something like Braille and strip club. Anyway they dropped me off and I got Derek out just fine. However for Robin I remember her going to the bathroom and then I decided I was tired and I would go to sleep under a tree. I went over and laid down instead of Robin panicking or being alarmed she let me hold her in my arms. Ethan happened to come back and got me up apparently we had a bit of a crowd around us so we got back inside. I just thought it was funny that Robin was like I’m with my dad everything’s fine move along.
She taught me responsibility for something, and helped me mature so I’m thankful for her. Not saying I didn’t do anything else stupid, but I did far less than I would have. I’m just waiting now on her ashes, and will post a link at that time for the company as well. Since Robin was a service animal they will cremate her for free. It is such a great feeling that people and companies give thanks for her work. I’m off to sleep and will post once I get her back. I plan to keep her in a nice spot in my house. Finally last time I checked her post had around 230 views today. Thank you for sharing it, and reading. I felt like it helped me a little to write all of that, and people were able to pay there respect. Sorry about all the errors I’m dictating, because it’s just easier. 

Sorry for the long wait but I was parking my car

I haven’t written in a long time. Let me get you up to speed where things are. Also Happy Thanksgiving y’all.
 
Abby and I have been together more than a year now. Every day we get closer, with us and the two dogs we have are little family. One of my favorite trips we did so far is we went to Lexington to watch a Cats basketball game together. It was last year and they were playing LSU. I’ve gone before but usually with someone sighted who would drive me. We caught the bus here in Louisville and got to Lexington. Once there we caught a Uber to the game. We left the dogs with Jerry and Lee because we didn’t have accessible seating and I didn’t want them to get stepped on.
 
The funniest thing happened in Lexington. After the game we waited for the usher to help us out to the front. In Louisville usually you get one person, but there they are mainly volunteers so you get handed from one person to another until you get to your destination. Once we were in the elevator heading out the guy asked us where we parked? We advised him we took Uber and would catch it in the front. We went to a restaurant that was a former church made in to a pasta place. The bar was actually where the preacher would have stood. Anyway when we were leaving a guy grabbed my hand and helped me down the stairs being over protecting making sure I wouldn’t fall. He then goes where did you guys park? In my head I’m thinking seriously you registered I was blind, but now you’re going to help me to my car to drive Abby home? No wonder are streets are so scary. We left dinner with a few hours to wait for the return bus to Louisville and we learned they lock the station so we went over to a Burger King. I called a Lyft to go to the bus station when time and the driver showed up but we couldn’t find him so I called him. I advised I and my girlfriend are blind and we couldn’t see him. He said what? I repeated I’m blind and can’t see him. You’re BLIND? He yelled it or had a weird sounding voice. I said yes sir he was really cool actually once we were in the car. It turns out the Burger king was about 500 feet from the bus station so I tipped him nicely for his troubles. Lexington was fun just watch out they think blind people can drive which when you think about it is I guess cool we can do anything else I guess.
 
Robin has had a rough year. I took her to the vet last weekend and she either has Irritable bowel disease or cancer of the intestine. If she has the cancer she has a year roughly to live. If it is the IBD then not so serious, but it is still so hard to watch her age. She has lost 16 pounds since last November which scares me. Now that it is getting colder I will wake up in the night and she will jump up on my bed and cuddle against my legs. I cherish every moment like this. One morning I had a hard time getting up and she raised her head up and gave me a lick on the cheek that got me moving it was like she was saying hey daddy stop being lazy. I have her on a new food that she is eating every ounce of so I’m hoping it will put some weight back on her. When I touch her back and go towards her tail it just makes me so sad to see how much she has thinned out. We still play but only certain times. She likes to get on my couch when I’m in the chair and she is 10 so I’m okay with that. We’ve been through so many battles together. Trying to get gigs on radio and TV going from city to city in the last year or so we’ve really settled down. I know she can’t travel and do the things we once did and I’m excepting that for her. We don’t do a lot of street crossing right now because my work isn’t in a walking friendly area so it works out that she still comes with me If that changes I will retire her. She has stayed home more than normal and she has begun chewing the hair off her legs the vet told me it’s a behavioral thing acting out because of changes so truthfully I know she would be right beside me if she could be. I’ll never forget we were crossing an alley when I lived downtown and she stopped and backed up suddenly, and that’s when I heard a car backing out. A second later and I would have been hit. When you are a team it is so rough and so hard to see them getting older. To some she is a dog, but for me it’s more than that we have this bond that I’ve never shared with anything else. Robin you’re the best and thanks for your years of work, and also thank you to the Seeing-Eye for matching us.
 
Next year on the docket is Abby would like to go to Chicago to see the World Series champs!!! Yes I can say that the Chicago Cubs!!!! I cannot believe they did it. It was a really emotional night my grandpa Hoyer got me in to the Cubs, and listening all those years baseball is unlike any other sport. I’m hoping to take Abby to Wrigley. This year we went to a lot of Bats games they were fun except one which the radio was on a delay so people are cheering and were 2 pitches behind. Thankfully they fixed it for the final game. I miss baseball already. Were also going to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill here in Louisville. Finally so far we have tickets to see Aaron Lewis in Feb which I am so excited for. I will try to write more things are just really busy.

Going to the doctors

It’s been awhile sorry life’s been crazy. I also have got through a point where I didn’t feel like sharing. Things have been good. My girlfriend Abby has met my family and fits in well. I’ve been sick, and it’s nice to have someone that can take the dog out or just be there. I felt bad because I wanted to start the new year out right instead I started it out sick. I have a double ear infection and let me tell you what being blind plus my ears out of whack it’s not fun. I can’t really even stand to have the tv on. I mainly listen to my IPad or iPhone on a low setting. Even typing this is a struggle, but I wanted to put something out there that I went through today.
I went to the doctors today, and I found a place that is real good about helping me fill out paper work, and at least communicating to me like I am human. However the nurse today just all the sudden made me say aww and then put a tip in my throat to do a swab without telling me. I hate that please let me know what’s coming I don’t like to be taken by surprise. That’s why I hate going to doctors they get so fascinated with my artificial eyes or the fact I’m there to even freakin diagnose me it seems. Once the nurse left my doctor was really pleasant she said I want to be careful getting between you and your dog. I asked what do you mean? She said I don’t want her to think I’m hurting you. I advised she is okay.
After my appointment I took a Lyft home and waited an hour called an Uber to run by my Walgreens close by. I got a guy named City and I’ve had a guy named that before so I was excited. I didn’t even take my cane since I figured he’d know me and we could hit the drive up. Turns out there are two people named City and god I was nervous for a few minutes like I’m sick, can’t hear well, plus now I don’t have my cane with a stranger. I explained to him I was blind and could we use the drive up and him take me home. He then told me a story about a Youtube video about a guy who was blind who was asking people to make change, and when one person ripped him off he said no I’m not blind you ripped me off. He said it was a peace on how you just can’t trust people today. I’m not sure if he thought I was faking or what but he was cool. I’m just wondering what other blind peoples experiences are with doctors? I will be going to a consistent doctor starting this year so maybe things will change since it won’t be random people.

I haven’t had an epic rant for a while so here you go

I want to first off by stating RIP to jenelle a guide dog for my friend Matt. She Died on Sunday. She was 14 and a great dog. I have so many stories, and I can’t even begin to understand what he is going through. I understand it but I’ve never lost one yet. She went peacefully though which is good. Anyway if you could put Matt and Amanda in your thoughts. I remember her she’d wag her tail any chance she got. One night when I was going home Robin tried to steal her toys because I guess humping her all the time wasn’t enough. Haha Robin is quite the dominating girl. Anyway when I stepped outside the house I heard this thump thump as the toy went down the stairs. I got it and took it back in. Anyway I know you’ll be missed by Robin and myself.
What I want to talk about today is why blindness is viewed as this helplessness agenda. I am watching this video of this soldier who went blind, and no disrespect but what his fucking wife said really set me off. She said in a CBS video was she could either say were done he can’t do anything anymore or she could become his biggest cheerleader. I know obviously he went through some depression, and maybe even had thoughts of killing himself, but her notion that he couldn’t do anything where does that come from? Maybe again I’m digging at something she didn’t mean, but sighted people in general look at a blind person and say I couldn’t live if that happened to me. Being blind isn’t that bad. Yes you can’t see shit, but you can still do shit. I might not see cake baking in the oven rising to that beautiful doughy perfection, but I can taste it. I was talking to my friend Linda and Reggie this week about how summer bombs the fuck out of me sometimes. I know it’s stupid right, but I miss all the fashion women show off. I always hear from women I hang out with or dudes who stop paying attention to me because there watching someone all most be naked. Before I started watching described video again I didn’t realize how much sexual persuasion is always there. When your blind unless someones rubbing on you it’s not as stimulating. You can be ab oblivious to what is going on. As I get older my appearance becomes more important as I try to meet people or find new jobs. I walked around with a fucking stain on my shirt all day Friday. Thankfully I was in a place most others were to but still.
I think I offended my dad the other day, because I went home over the weekend and stated I wasn’t used to that long of a car ride. He said sorry I don’t own an airplane and can’t fly you home. That wasn’t what I met at all, but okay. Maybe again he doesn’t think about my situation because he doesn’t have to, but I would love to get in a fucking car and drive to Washington on a roadtrip, but the fact is I can’t. I guess I could maybe find a friend who wanted to go somewhere and tag along, but most of the time that means you lose a lot of freedom. I’m not in a relationship so at this point I don’t have that connection to share with. For me flying or cabs or busses is what I get. I don’t have the luxury of just getting in a car in my drive way and drive where I want. Most things I do I have to plan out or pay for a cab or Lyft. Yes I have a pilot friend and things work out, but it’s not always easy. When I was in Toronto do you know how tiring that really was? I mean I have just my phone, with GPS anything could have happened. I would love the security of just having a car christ.
Anyway back to the soldier. I think it is great what he did, but his wife pissed me off a little. I guess I can love you but if you go blind then I got a real fucking choice to make. Never mind you lost your sight fighting for my right to be a complete bitch. I’m just taking out some anger I have, but seriously man divorce her now. I just don’t know where this logic comes from that because your eyes stop working things constantly suck. Yes his situation is way crazier than mine I don’t remember anything, but life goes on. Is he still the man he was before the war probably not, but seeing his motivation by finishing the ironman shows he has a heart of a champion. I know sighted people as a whole really don’t know how to deal with blind people, and at times it’s weird. I’ve stated before I can go to a restaurant, and the waitress might open my straw for me which okay is nice right but does she do that to the sighted person? I’ve been on dates or hell even out with friends and they will look at the person and say what does he want? I’m a grown man just please ask me. Again my eyes and brain are completely different organs. My penis works too. I probably should have skipped writing tonight.
My final thought is I went home as I said earlier. I sat at the Finucanes house remembering the olden days. Before Ball state, before Louisville, and before Robin. I remember being just stuck in the country with no transportation other than my family. My brother would take me to school, and bring me home or I would ride the bus. If I was at wrestling someone would pick me up after that. I was so different back then, because I had to depend on others which is probably why I had being having to depend on people now. Hanging out at Brandons house helped me in ways I don’t really want to get in to here, but they helped me get out of bad situations at times. His family pretty much excepted me. I love them still. I’m sitting in there living room remembering my dreams of wanting to live in the big city, and work, and it’s somewhat weird it came true. I remembered struggling after college when no one would hire me. It’s just weird how things work out. I’m learning to just take things in strive and pick my battles. I can’t win them all. I will just say this. Why do we focus on the amazing accomplishments still of the blind, and rather not look at the struggles they face today? It’s easy for me to Google blind in the news and see a thousand feel good peaces, but I don’t see the poverty or the technology challenges we face. For that matter I have to read about how gay people are discriminated on at a job, but yet when I go to an interview and we talk about the dog rather than my accomplishments somehow this is executable and not wrong. I can’t hide my dog or my cane I am what I am. Not saying it’s unfair for gay people to face there problems at the end of the day it’s your choice what you display. I’m okay with you being you, but why can’t we ever get to a place where your fine with me being me? I find myself not being to religious, but one thing that’s always bothered me is people will tell me I’ll be perfect again when I get to heaven because everyone is. Why in theory then aren’t we all perfect in gods eyes for the way were made? I find myself watching people who can maybe get there sight back and even if it is just a sliver put themselves through major operations just to say they can see light again. Is it really worth it? I hear about these people who talk about using cameras possibly strapped to there heads and then that could somehow stimulate your brain in to seeing immages. Call me crazy, but you walking with cameras on your face is that going to make sighted people respect you more? I just wonder when will blind people start getting covered fairly? I know we are out numbered but in theory isn’t it crazy when I have to hear about a transgendered kid figure out which bathroom they want to use or can use and yet I hear nothing about blind struggles. I said to Linda I think there are more transgendered people in the country than blind people and that’s just weird to me sorry. Do I think science or god or whatever you believe can mess up sure, but not to the extent your seeing it in are country. Furthermore most of my friends on Facebook get all obsessed with gay rights something that affects none of them personally. Yet when it comes to blind people they have no clue. Do they get upset that i can’t tell apart a dollar bill from a five dollar bill without an Iphone? Do they get mad that the United States basically paid the National Federation of the Blind money to say that wasn’t important? Funny how they fought that cause in the 1990’s isn’t it? know one asked me or any blind people I know what are thoughts were on having accessible money. Again I see no support from my friends on trying to fix it, but if I were gay I’m sure you’d fucking march at my parade. I’m not being mean or trying to offend but rather just ask why people get involved with certain issues that don’t pertain to them, but then others just completely block it out? 

It was a long night in Canada

This will be a pretty long update so strap in. Yesterday was day 2 of my Toronto adventure. One thing I didn’t talk about in my first post was that I was really worried about traffic. I knew it would probably be about the same, but I was worried I’d encounter something I wasn’t familiar with in the states. That hasn’t happened thankfully. The traffic sound normal it’s really busy most of the day I’ve seen, so it’s easy to tell the traffic serge.
Yesterday where do I start it was a full day. I got to piss in a shark urinal I guess I will start there. I went to this bar, and went to use the bathroom, and was told the Journal was shaped like a sharks head. Now one thing I will say when I got Robin urinals a harder, because I used to use my cane and bump it, so now I have to use my leg which I do not like. I was for the life of me trying to see what it looked like but I couldn’t touch it so I just pissed and hoped for no splash back thankfully there wasn’t. It was not trough thankfully.
The Jays game again was great another hell of a game. The Jays had the bases loaded and with no outs and couldn’t score so they lost. That was the biggest inning of the game. Monica came and sat by me during some of the game and I learned about her. We decided to go out to eat together for dinner. I asked her if she liked thai I saw a few places near by, and she said she loved it. I left her and went to the aquarium since she had to finish up working.
At the aquarium I got to touch a stingray. That was pretty neat other than that though like my friend Kim said it was a bunch of fish behind glass. haha I did learn some things though.
I walked to the thai place which was pretty far or at least further than I was participating. I wasn’t sure if this place would give me trouble with Robin, but I was surprised how open they were. I used to live next to a Thai place in Muncie when I lived downtown. I would take long walks and then stop by for dinner. The owner would give me a neighbor discount which I thought was nice. I really miss that small-town atmosphere. Anyway Nute I think her name was came out and asked me what I wanted I found out she was the owner. Monica ordered hers and then I got something spicy. I love the heat. It didn’t dissapoint. It was noodles and shrimp and peppers.
Monica told me she had a blind sister, and so when she met me on Friday I inspired her. She told me her sister lost complete sight a year ago when she was 16. I told her I thought that would be tougher, because she’ll remember things where I can’t. My friend Denny tells me storries of how he used to take off running when he lost his sight, because in his head he could still see and he would smack right in to a wall. We started talking about her and her studies. She is 25, and studying at Toronto University working in cancer research.
Eventually things got to me, and she asked me some tough questions. I told her about radio and things I’ve been through with it. I told her about turning down Detroit, and New York once. She asked me why I did that? I was honest about it I think I was nervous to fail. If I had moved to Detroit and got fired in the first month where wouldd I be? Plus I was honest at that time I was dating Lex and she was doing well on tv and her family was close so I knew she wouldn’t go. things fell apart for us after I turned the job down, but it is what it is. New York is great to visit, but I feel trapped there. People aren’t friendly either I just never liked it. Louisville has this big city feel, but where I live know one just drives down the road and it’s quiet. For me I need that. I said to it’s hard to walk away from making money to take a chance where I won’t. It’s not like blind people are not having trouble finding work. She laughed and asked if I would like to go on a walk with her? I decided well if I get mugged or set up I’m only crying my phone and a few dollars now. I took her elbow so I didn’t have to constantly follow her. At times while walking with someone it’s easier to do that also so your dog doesn’t get confused. We walked streets, and she explained to me about the landscaping bigger buildings, and how much things have grown or changed. I asked her a lot about the different providences, because I’ve always ben interested.
We walked around for about 2 hours just talking, and learning about each other. It was nice. She asked me at one point why I loved baseball? I simply said because I’m American. She laughed, and said seriously why would you fly in to mainly watch baseball? I told her I want to get back involved in some way. Out of everything in my life it’s been the most consistent thing over the years. I saw my grandpa after my grandma died just watch a lot of it to pass time. For me in my teen years it helped me cope with sight loss, or if I was feeling really depressed it gave me an outlet to get lost in. Why the fuck am I always so deep with my responses? Denny is right I like writing novels. You’d think college courses would have taught me something. She told me she wants to do a lot of research on breast cancer, because her mom died about 10 years ago from it.
Anyway we got back to my hotel, and I took Robin off duty. Her and Monica played for a bit until Robin got really sick. I ran her outside and she started puking. It was not pretty at all. Once she settled down I took her inside and got her some water. I get really nervous when Robin gets sick I just want to help her. She curled up on the bed and didn’t move for the rest of the night. Monica and I talked until about 4 this morning so she stayed over. I’m beat, but I guess I can sleep on the airplane home. I’m really glad Monica walked around with me yesterday. I engaged more with locals, but her explaining what was around us visually was great, and gave me a greater understanding. I’d definitely come back to visit. Robin seems to be okay today she ate breakfast, so I will take that as a good sign.

A few thoughts on blindness cancer and the Ronald McDonald house

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about the reason I’m blind. When I was a year old I was diagnosed with a cancer of the eye called Retnal Blastoma. Which after hearing the other names of eye diseases if I must say Blastoma sounds kind of spacey oriented. Pigmatosa or however you spell that just sounds horrible. Usually rental blastoma only takes one eye, but mine was caught late, so it took both. My mom and dad noticed me crawling in to walls or not looking at my food before I ate it, and decided to take me to Fort Wayne for a doctor to look at it. They were then sent on to Riley Children’s Hospital where I was the seventy fifth case in Indiana.
The doctors for the most part wanted to just use me for studies, and thought there wasn’t much chance to save my life. One doctor in particular said lets remove them, and try. They did and I made it. For the next 8 years of my life every 6 months I had to go to Indy for check ups. I remember the long ass drives to Indy when your a kid those things stick out. I felt like I spent more time there than most places. My childhood was really normal I climbed trees, chased goats around and tried to ride them like horses, played a ton of basketball. Being from Indiana that’s a requirement. I’ve often said I don’t remember being blind as being a problem until around puberty. Which is interesting. Maybe it’s the innocents of bing a kid I’m really not sure. That may have been a question as well, but I’m tired so forgive me we will just pretend it’s retorical.
When I first went to Riley my dad was farming pretty much full-time, and my mom might have been at the bank still, but was mainly a stay at home mom for the first few years of my life. They stayed  at the Ronald McDonald house while  I was going to my cancer treatment and they said that it was a really great place. They had enough worries not to have to worry about how they could afford a hotel on top of things. I’ve always been grateful for things that happened back then.
For being blind I’ve gone back and forth on emotions. I used to think one day I’d just get it, and I’d be 100% fine. I think being blind is for me easy most of the times. On a windy day, and I have a headache it’s a bit challenging to focus clearly. At work I hear a screen reader talking all day, and then people on the other side, so sometimes at night I come home and need a few minutes without noise. I used to think I could work really hard and make people understand I’m just like them I just can’t see. I’ve given up on that thought awhile ago. I think blindness is something most can’t get unless they’re faced with it. I wrote something a few years ago I liked, so I will share it now about cancer.
The myth is about cancer is that somehow you beat it, and life is magically better. the reality is usually cancer takes something from you, and then your hopefully left to deal with the aftermath. For example when people look at me I survived cancer, but they offen don’t even know that or would even focus on that they focus on the fact I’m blind. I can’t hide that it sticks out anywhere I go. A job interview it’s there. I’d love to be able to hide it when possible but Robin just won’t disappear for those interviews. Maybe I have a different perspective I haven’t really talked to a lot of survivors, so this is just my longwinded thoughts. I imagine anyone who survives breast cancer or something along those lines are still left with the scars. My thoughts on cancer really is yes you can win, but it leaves it’s marks.
That’s a little peace I found I wrote from a few years ago. Blind people are like anyone else we all are on are own levels, and we all have a different skill set. Like I said earlier I’ve gon through a lot of different struggles. My teen years I was probably depressed living in the country and I couldn’t drive like my friends. My friend/brother Brandon or Sean would pick me up a lot, but it wasn’t the same of having that freedom. I think right now I’m probably the healthiest I’ve been, because I realize the  positives and negatives. Look being blind I’m truly an individual you can stand out easier if your upbeat. You can only play the cards you were delt and just move on. I think rather than being down and sad about things that aren’t going to change is pointless move on and make a difference. I think I will still struggle at times with not being able to see. I think a lot at nights when I can’t see the sky or stars that part kind of blows. I’ve never been married, but I feel a little weird about not being able to see my wife walking down the isle. I don’t know why that sticks out so much, but it does. I think it’s because in that moment your focusing on one beautiful woman coming to join you I jus think somewhere I’d be a bit sad but who knows. I think maybe just feeling  her in her dress before hand might fix that but it’s something I’ve thought about over the years. I think in a weird way rather than face that I’ve pushed people away somewhat afraid to face that. Again did I mention I feel pretty healthy right now? You never stop learning in life, and you hopefully grow from mistakes if not you may want to start there. Haha that’s my advice.
Anyway christ that was long. Tonight I went to the Ronald McDonald house which is something I’ve been working on for awhile. I took some Derby pie that I got from a great place, and I worked with a catering company for the food so it was homemade Look I can cook certain things like burgers and crab legs but honestly I’m not the best at it. I make some mean  Ramen noodles. Anyway my crab legs are amazing. Being blind doesn’t hamper me being able to cook it’s mainly laziness, and cooking for one sucks honestly. Why do I want leftovers? Anyway Everything came together very nicely. I also let Robin off work for a few people to play with. They loved it so did she. When we got home she was wound up and wanted to play ball a little more than normal. For a Bachelor I thought everything went off well! At first I was a little nervous, because the people I was working with hadn’t really ever interacted with a blind person, but thats pretty normal for me to work with these days. After a brief description of myself and explaining why I wanted to get involved it was fine. I met a little boy who I am going to try to take to a Bats game. No one likes to go to the Bats games with me my friends mainly hate baseball, so I usually go by myself because it’s my therapy. Also I realize how long the Reds are going to suck and that makes me smile somewhere inside if it were only the Cardinals instead. I can stomach Cincinnati but St. Louis just rubs me the wrong way being a Cubs fan. Anyway he knew a lot about the game, and so I will check with my Bats contact to see if we can make something happen. I asked him if he’d ever gone to a game and had a stadium hotdog? He said no, so we’ll have to change that. Again I don’t know why I feel this way, but nothings better than ballpark hotdogs. Milwaukee has sausages that are out of this world good literally. If I had to pick my favorite park for a hotdog it would be Miller hands down. 

The today show raising a puppy for guiding eyes

Today my friend Kim on Facebook posted an article I saw where the today show is going to raise a puppy for a guide dog school. I think that is really cool, and maybe a good learning opportunity for the public. Then I decided to read some of the comments underneath that topic. I don’t think my feelings hurt too easily I just get angry that some people are allowed to have vision and yet cancer robbed me of mine. I just take you through how my mind works I read the article that they are going to be raising a puppy and I just go that’s nice. Apparently when people on Facebook read that they go who’s going to take care of it after the show is off? Are they just going to leave it in the studio after they leave? Who is going to clean up after it poops? Why can’t people just be happy about something and go oh that’s a nice cause? Maybe I’m losing touch with reality or maybe its isolation which I struggle with I just find people pretty damn annoying for the most part. Maybe it’s the fact I have a dog myself, and I see the good that they do where most people don’t have to worry about it. I just wish people would actually think before they speak we’re right on the Internet. That being said I guess I’m for freedom of speech so they can do what they want but it just shows the Ignorance that’s around guide dogs. Wouldn’t it be funny if Matt had to clean up poop? What are you four? It’s the same logic I posted about when it came to blind people with guns I mean I haven’t seen a blind school shooting yet or blind people killing a bunch of random strangers but I digress. I don’t know why get worked up about a segment of the population who mainly focus on who Kim Kardashian is fucking and what styles are popular but it just works me up sometimes.