Mobility and work

So I found out on Monday my mobility lessons are on hold for a month. My instructor has a couple of Mondays off, and Monday is the only day I can do due to other time constraints. So she said it would be april sixth before we have another lesson. Not ideal but it is what it is. There’s really nothing I can do about it. I’m disappointed about it, but there you go. We havent had much luck with it, only having one lesson since I started the long cane training. I’m sure by the time April sixth comes around, I’ll have forgotten what she taught me and we’ll probably have to go over it all again.

In other news, my supervisor from friendly call rang me this morning, and she said that because I am in the vulnerable category for getting Coronavirus, due to me having asthma that I could work from home if I wanted to. I said that yes, I’d prefer to do that, but not because I am scared of picking up coronavirus, its more about my mental health and how unstable I feel some days at the moment, and if I work from home it just feels safer to me. I can still do my job, still make calls, but I can do it from the comfort of my house. She told me to ring her in the morning on Friday, and she’d send me on a list to work on. She also said that they may be getting some new referrals if we have to go on lock down, because people will be on their own, at home, and wont be going to day care centres, out and about etc. So she was just warning me that I may have to call people I havent spoken to before, which is fine with me.

My worry, more than contracting the coronavirus, is being able to stock up onf food and stuff, as I heard that shops were starting to run out of food, so now its not just toilet paper and hand sanitiser they are running out of sigh. I hope if it comes to it, and if we do need to go into self isolation for 14 days, that they’ll give us ample warning, so we can stock up properly. I was thinking if it did come to that, that I may just go to my parents house and spend the self isolation time there. I’m not sure yet but will see what happens.


First mobility lesson

So I had my first mobility lesson this afternoon. It was good. But it was hard! I am so out of practice at using the cane. I made a ton of mistakes. I think it is going to take me a while to get up to speed again. Today we went to a store near where I live, a convenience store. Its only about a 5 minute walk from my house. But boy do you have to concentrate on what your doing. It literally took all of my energy and focus to get there. You cant take your focus off of the task at hand for one second. Also its quite scary for me to be out on a street, with traffic all around me. I am just so not used to it. I mean you’d think after working a guide dog for all these years I’d be so used to it. But using a cane is a whole different ball game entirely. With a dog, the dog will guide you around objects, so you dont even know they are there. With the cane, you literally have to guide yourself. Plus my arm kept getting sore. By the time I was finished it was killing me. The motion of sweeping the cane from left to right made my arm cramp up. Again, I am not used to having to do it for a long period of time. The instructor was lovely though. I thought she was a good teacher. She said I did really well for my first lesson. Getting the feedback from her was nice. We were out for over an hour. When I got home I napped for a little while. We’ll have another lesson next week. I’ll be working for a while on this particular route I think. Even she said its not as straight forward as she first thought. She said some parts of it are tricky. I agree with her on that. There are two road crossings and one of them is very busy. But I think in time I should be successfully able to manage to go to the store alone. Thats my goal anyway.

Therapy and long cane training

I go back to therapy tomorrow morning, after a 2 week break. It wasn’t a break I chose, I couldn’t go to my session last week because of having to take Nitro to the vets. Eileen was very understanding. I could have asked her if she could have fitted me in on another day, but I chose not to ask her. I chose to just go a week without seeing her instead.

I am happy I get to see her tomorrow morning. I feel like I really need to see her. I feel like I need to connect with her. I’ve been missing her a lot over this past week. We’ve texted a few times, and one day I sent her a nice quote via text, which she responded to.

After therapy tomorrow I have my first mobility lesson. Its at 2 PM. Again, we were meant to have a lesson last week, and the week before. But the first week the weather was too bad, and last week I canceled due to having Nitro at the vets. This week nothing will get in my way. The weather is meant to be bad again tomorrow, but my instructor has said if it is we’ll go to a local shopping centre and do some work there.

I haven’t used a white cane in years. I am a little nervous about using it. I am not good with the cane. My cane skills are really lacking.

I like my instructor though. I’ve known her for 20 years, as she used to be a social worker and she’s been my social worker with the blindness agency in the past.

Now she does mobility full time. I think she’ll be a good instructor. I think we’re going to get along great and do some great work together.

Up at weigh in and mobility lessons!

I was up half a pound at weigh in this morning! I’m not worried though because I’ve been exercising a lot, so its probably muscle. I didnt stay for group today, instead I went to the store to get the ingredients to make a shepherds pie tomorrow evening with my PA. I’m hopeful I’ll be down next week. Fingers crossed for me!

A mobility instructor just rang me and she wants to meet me today to go over what I want to learn, what routes I want to do around my home area etc. So she’s coming out to visit me at 2 PM. I am excited but nervous at the same time! I havent used a long cane in years. I hope it goes well for me! We arent going out or anything today, we’re just going to chat and see what we’ll do when we start the lessons. This will be a whole new chapter for me! I hate the long cane and would prefer a dog, but for now, I’ll have to use the long cane.

Aftercare visit with Nitro!

I just got a phone call from the guide dogs school, someone is coming out next Tuesday morning, to do an aftercare visit with me and Nitro!
It is time for Nitro to retire! I’m not exactly sure if it will happen next week, but it will definitely be happening soon!
He’s 9 this coming Friday!
He’s at that age where they retire!
The trainer whose coming out, I dont know him. I sorta wish it was Nitros trainer Nathalie who was coming out to visit me, but you dont get a choice in who does the aftercare with you.
I am really nervous about this visit! I just hope things go well.
Please keep us in your thoughts, its happening next Tuesday at 11 AM!


Mobility assessment

Well, just got off the phone, had a mobility assessment, I need to brush up on my cane skills, and I had an assessment to see where I’m at, and how the NCBI which is the organisation here for people with sight loss could best meet my needs.

Turns out I have a new resource worker, I had one for years, but now she’s working with ageing adults, and this new girl is working with 18 to 65’s. So I will have to get acquainted with her. She seems nice, which is good. She’s young too which I like.

Anyway, she asked me a bazillion questions, all about my life, my mobility skills, my dog, my independence, my emotional wellbeing etc. She’s going to email the mobility officer now and tell her I need some training, she said there is a waiting list, but hopefully I wont be waiting for too long.

I have to do this, as Nitro is retiring at the end of the year. I’m not getting another dog, mainly because I want to keep Nitro until he passes away, and I dont have room for two dogs. I wouldnt manage two of them. Also I do want to brush up on my cane skills, learn some new routes, etc. So I hope that can happen soon. I was hoping that it would happen over the summer.

It was a good phone call though that we had. I think it was positive. Looks like it will work out for me which I’m very glad about.


Aftercare with Nitro!

Nitro’s trainer just left. We just had our aftercare visit. It went really well. She was very pleased with him. She said he looks good, she said he looks really healthy, and that I have been looking after him well. His ears are a problem, he has had a lot of ear issues. She told me to change his food, I am to change him from hills dog food to royal cannon. She said there is a special one for skin allergies, she told me to put him on that one to see if it makes any difference. She said hopefully his ear issues will subside a little if his food is changed. We didnt go on a walk today, I told her that I hadnt been working him a lot lately, due to his age, and him being easily stressed out. She said its normal for him to be stressed, he’s 8 now, so an older dog. His age is starting to show. The good news is he doesnt have to retire yet. She said I could continue to work him, minimally for now. She said they’d see me in a year and we’d talk about retiring him then. The age of retirement has gone up from 9 to 10 now. So I am happy that I dont have to retire him yet. I told her I wasnt bringing him to college, I told her my parents look after him on the days when I have to go. She said thats probably for the best. She said that if I want another dog, I’d have to learn some routes, as I dont have a lot of work for a dog to do right now, and when they interview people to see if they are eligible for a dog, you have to prove you have work for the dog to do, you have to know some routes, she said minimum work load for a dog is 3 times a week for a half hour a day, so over the next few months I will get in touch with a mobility instructor in the national council for the blind, and learn some routes using my cane, so that when the time comes which wont be for another few years yet, but when it does come I will be able to get another dog. I told her I was keeping Nitro, and when he retires I’d keep him and wouldnt get another dog until he passes. She seemed happy enough with my decision. So I am very happy with how things went with her today. I feel relieved to know Nitro doesnt have to retire yet. Thats a huge relief to me.