The Perfect Focus

Finding focus in a blurry world…

Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

From a Friend to a Friend

My pen-pal friend Cole and Skilled Companion Ilia have recently updated there web site for Christmas, and posted about there exploits of the past year. Cole is truly one amazing kid, and his update is worth a read, or visit Cole’s website!

From surgery to help him walk better releasing tightness in his legs from Cerebral Palsy, to attending the Grand Opening of the L.A. Orthopaedic Hospital’s new universally accessible playground, to traveling to Vail, CO so that Cole could be the guest speaker for a Canine Companions fundraiser; and to the biggest news of 2008… Ilia, Cole’s service dog was awarded the 2008 ASPCA Dog of the Year, one of the highest animal awards presented by ASPCA.

Nothing stops this kid… And we’re proud to have him and his family as good friends.

Here is the photo we sent to Cole, along with the pencils, in a nice case, along with a christmas card signed by the class. (Cole collects unique pencils.)

Pencils for Cole

With Brandon’s mom, along with Matt and myself we sent over 50 unique pencils to Cole to add to his collection. In addition, Pottstown Little League will be running an ad in the 2009 roster booklet for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) at my request, for no charge. Yea! Merry Christmas Cole…

You rock lil’ dude!

Ilia’s 2008 Christmas Retrospective

YouTube Preview Image

Please help support Canine Companions for Independence and your local ASPCA

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Orientation and Mobility: Basic Cane Training

Well, I finished my first official Orientation and Mobility lesson. Simple really… Learn how to use the White Cane. Simple enough, you think? Well, yes, and no…

First off, let me remind you all again, I am NOT totally blind. I’m “Legally Blind”. I can see objects in my path and for the most part avoid them. I choose to start using the White Cane, to help me get around better in public places; places where other people may not know I have poor eyesight; like crossing a street, reading a menu, or basic crowed control.

Folding White Cane

Folding White Cane from AmbuTech

I feel like Moses parting the Red Sea some times, so the White Cane is useful, it does tend to make people move out of the way (most of the time) that is kind of cool.

In any case, my instructor Elaine took me to a local church to use their building for training. (Too damn cold outside!)… We used a long hallway to do basic skills, the first of which is to learn to walk in step with the cane…

With a little work, we got this down OK, with only a few mistakes. But you say, why, who cares? Walking in step is important… If I were totally blind I’d want the cane to have swept where my foot is goingto be  first. before I step.

The basic walking is: Right Foot – Cane Left, Left Foot – Care Right… or, the cane is always to the side of the trailing foot. Got it? good…

After this, we did door work… Again a technique… You bump the door with the cane; fine you know it is there, then what? Holding your cane as you normally would (like a golf club grip)… you rotate the wrist up and out to point the thumb down, and walk the cane flat to the door. Doing this allows you to flush the cane across the door to locate handles.

We did some other training in a large room, where she places some blinding glasses on me so I could not see any thing… She places some objects in my path, and it was my job to find them with the cane, and avoid them.

I must say, it’s NOT easy, and IS scary… Only you and a stick from walking head long into a chare or table. But I managed OK, and the drill was designed to show that you can trust the cane and what it tells you.

That’s it, that’s cane use 101… Stay tuned for more, but my next O&M won’t be till January and the new year. Thank you all for your support.

Tap, tap, tap, tap… Left, right, left right… Can you stay in step? 🙂

Do you know what the White Cane really means, and it’s history? Do you know why the White Cane is, white? You can learn more here

A white cane is used by many people who are blind or visually impaired, both as a mobility tool and as a courtesy to others. Not all modern white canes are designed to fulfill the same primary function, however: There are at least five different varieties of this tool, each serving a slightly different need. Learn more…

As a driver, do you know the White Cane Law? You should…
Do you know that October 15th is National White Cane Safety Day

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Blindsided by the big C…

Well I had hoped to update this blog more often, and I do hope to do that. I have not updated in the past week or so, because, well when your world goes to shit every thing is a blur. That is the way I feel.

October 31st, 2008 – that’s right Halloween, of all days. I received a phone call from Ruth, my dads wife at around 9PM. (Dad divorced my mom when I was about 7, no ill will, we’re cool). But as mom handed me the phone, I knew something was up, it was never normal for her or my dad to call this late.

Rich, I have some bad news about your dad… (Rich Sr.) he’s in the hospital… your dad has lung cancer…

We spent the next 30 minutes or so talking, and she was telling me what was going on. I knew dad was sick for the past 3 months or so, but we thought it was simply pneumonia or COPD. Dad’s 62, and has been a smoker all his life, coughing and hacking was nothing new.

He had went to the doctor for trouble breathing… Doctor advised him to go to the ER, and the ER admitted him. They took a chest x-ray and that is when they found the large mass and two smaller masses in his left lung.

Sunday, November 2nd, they drained a large amount of fluid from his lung to make it easier for him to breath.

Monday, November 3rd, they preformed a body scan, and CAT scan. – This confirmed it all. It was lung cancer, and fairly advanced.

Monday, November 10th, they started Chemotherapy and Radiation treatments. We know little more then that for now.

So… that’s my week from hell. I’m getting over the shock of it all I guess. I’ll try to keep updates going of any progress.

Thank you every one for your support and prayers.

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