Tuesday, June 29, 2010

To Glen Beck

Note: This email was sent to Glen Beck. Mr. Beck’s comment reflects the greatest challenge to blindness, perceptions.

Yesterday, June 28th,part of your show’s conversation centered on an unusual topic: If you had to choose one of the body’s senses to lose, which would it be. You mentioned that losing your sight would be the least desirable as you love to read. Like you, I share your passion for reading despite being legally blind. However, I have read almost 20 books this year, so far, by using audio books from the National Library for the Blind. However, I am not limited to reading what the NLB provides. I can use a screen-reading program (JAWS) to read information from my computer, such as your website, or I can scan pages into the computer and use another program that performs Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and then reads the entire file audibly. One advantage of using JAWS or Open Book is I can change the reading rate to fit my needs. I usually read at 300 words per minute. Can you do that? Additionally, if I am out and about I can use my cell phone (KNFB Reader phone) to read a menu or other item. The phone takes the picture and then performs OCR on the document and then it reads it audibly.

My blog, blynkofaneye.blogspot.com may interest you. I am losing my residual vision and the blog is my therapy. It describes my journey into blindness, the good, the bad, and sometimes, the funny.

Thomas Taylor

P.S. I imagine some of your listeners might have been offended by the “Goldline” fake eye comment. I thought it was funny but a reference to the James Bond movie, “Golden Eye” would have been more appropriate.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Thoughts from Teri

Our friends took us to see” Toy Story 3” today. It was bitter sweet as I sat by Tom, and realized that he could not see the screen as well as he used to. I try to imagine being him sometimes, and the emotions he must feel. My heart has ached thinking that he may not see his grandchildren, or see the beautiful sunsets that he loves. I imagine my world getting darker, and I just can’t imagine….. This has been a difficult week emotionally for the whole family, as we all see changes in Tom’s sight. One thought I keep thinking is that we are truly blessed as Tom is not dealing with cancer, or any life threatening illness (and we have friends and family that are). Though an incredible challenge at times, Tom will learn to be successful in whatever lies ahead. I wish you could know him as I do, and know of his greatness. I have no doubt that through his life experiences he will be able to strengthen those who know him and show love and compassion where others cannot.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Inner Nebula

Nebulae are some of the most spectacular images found in the universe. They are clouds of ionized hydrogen gas that reflect light from nearby stars. They are also the most accurate way to visually depict part of the distortion I experience every minute of my life, even when my eyes are closed and I am trying to sleep. Imagine this image inside of your minds eye. Now imagine the image constantly fluctuating in shape and intensity. Unfortunately my inner nebula has become larger in the last few days. But the nebula is not the only distortion I see. Every couple of days another distortion occurs in addition to the ever-present nebula. Imagine a translucent, amber colored waviness set behind the nebula, on the top part of my field of vision. This is where my eyesight has completely gone. The waviness typically lasts for a couple of days, subsides and then returns.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stress Relief, Martial Arts and Long Curly Hair

When I decided to create my blog, I wanted to have a blog that was unique, candid and interesting. So this post will include a short video clip of me showing off.


I have been practicing nunchaku for over 20 years. Generally speaking, if you stick with anything that long you are bound to get fairly good. But I must give credit where credit is due. I owe my expertise to Teri. (If you know my wife Teri, you are probably scratching your head right now!) When we were first married, she had long curly hair- high maintenance hair and it was not uncommon for her to take an hour and a half to get ready to go out. I took advantage of this time by practicing my martial arts and over the years have used it as an outlet for stress relief.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lost Treasure

Words are inadequate to describe the grandeur of the changing hues of the early morning sky, a majestic backdrop to the passing, scattered clouds. As the sun ascends to take its place, the darkness has no choice but to relinquish its hold and give way to the greater power of the ruling light. I never grow tired of watching the waxing and waning of our solar system’s star. If my eyesight fades completely, I will consider not being able to witness the rising and setting of the sun as a lost treasure. Note- This is not the sunrise I saw this morning in OKC.

Monday, June 21, 2010

To the Circus!

Going to Wal-Mart is always an interesting experience even when vision is normal. I like to think of Wal-Mart as a human circus. There is always someone with an outlandish hairdo, someone on the verge of beating their small child in public or the individual who feels compelled to leave their cart blocking the aisle and totally oblivious that others might need to pass. Occasionally there is the lady who wants everyone to know she is the next singing sensation and shares her talent with everyone in the store. And my personal favorite is the person driving the electric scooter who nearly runs me down. This morning I had a new experience. My good eye was almost impaled by a fishing rod that was left in a cart. A cart in the middle of the checkout aisle used to hold items that needed to be returned to their proper location. Can you imagine the lawsuit? Blind man sues WalMart after having eye impaled by misplaced fishing rod. Later, I will share with you some interesting phenomena that I have noticed as I travel to various places.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Reality Check

Recently I had lunch with a (sighted) friend who asked me what I was doing to prepare for the loss of my eyesight. I told him that I was working on improving my proficiency with some computer skills and needed to get better at braille. But the truth is I am not doing much at all. In reality, I'm doing nothing. I am slowly but surely going blind and I'm doing almost nothing. And as Teri pointed out, I am not prepared. I owe it to my family and myself to face the challenge and not avoid it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fading Out

I don't want to go blind. But then again, who would want to? My eyesight is deteriorating because of fluid seeping into my retina. Now I know what you are thinking. At least you have your other eye. But that is not true. My other eye is totally blind. In essence, I am blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other. In addition to going blind, I don't sleep well. Those who are visually impaired or blind suffer from disrupted sleep cycles and my situation is compounded by the distortions that I see 24/7 and even when my eyes are closed. The most frustrating aspect of my current situation is that I cannot really function as I would like. But as I told my father, it could be worse. I could be smitten with a condition that makes life unbearable. Since I enjoy writing and need a positive way to deal with going blind, I decided to share my experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly. I hope you will find value in reading my blog just as I will be strengthened in sharing my life with you. In short, this is my therapy.