Tuesday, August 23, 2011


As I have reported previously, sleep has been a major problem for the past 18 months. Last month I was taking FIVE separate meds to help me sleep. I would take my meds as prescribed after dinner and then not fall asleep until about 7:00 AM. I was taking all these meds, enduring the side effects and still not sleeping like a normal human being. So last week I stopped taking the most powerful of the meds. Surprisingly, I am sleeping better and the adverse side effects are almost gone. I feel like a new man and Teri remarked that her Tom is back. (He was abducted by aliens.)
But the problem was two-fold; First, the meds were no longer effective. Second, I realized the real problem was not sleeping, it was being scared of going blind and not having the skills necessary for independence. I have been re-reading “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and began to understand the root of my problem. I was focusing on what I was losing, my eyesight, instead of considering the positive aspect of this trial; true independence. When a blind individual relies on residual vision, as I have, the person cannot be truly independent, much less effective in accomplishing what is necessary. However when a blind person masters available technology and Braille, the person can often times out perform sighted people.
In the interest of becoming truly independent and achieving my potential, I have decided to attend the Colorado Center for the Blind as soon as possible. I do not know how long my training will take. The required classes are Braille, technology, mobility, independent living and philosophy of blindness. (This is kind of a group therapy class.) There may be some obstacles in securing funding so I ask for your prayers and will keep you posted as events progress.

Monday, August 1, 2011


About two weeks ago I attended scout camp as a volunteer “adult” leader. I had also attended scout camp the previous two years but was not looking forward to this year’s expedition since the troop was going to a camp that did not have good bathroom facilities. (Fortunately, they had been somewhat upgraded from nasty to only disgusting.) The so-called trails weren’t really trails but paths of pain. The pain was provided by the rocks that inundated the rising and falling paths. The size of these rocks ranged from the size of a quarter to that of a box. After three days of traversing the paths of pain, my fiberglass cane got caught between two boulders and as I moved forward with the cane still stuck, it shattered. This was a problem for one who had no depth perception, poor eyesight compounded by the shadows of trees falling across the paths of pain.

Additionally, my right ankle was succumbing to the rigorous terrain and the pain was becoming considerable. (The disease that messed up my eyes also affects my ligaments. Aren’t I lucky !)
I asked the camp director if there was a walking staff left from previous weeks, two hours later he gave it to me at the Scoutmaster meeting. Unfortunately it was too short and I could not use it effectively or safely. I realized the more I walked around the more likely I was to slip, trip and fall while on the “trails”. With disappointment, I informed the real adult leaders that I would not be able to remain because I was concerned for my own safety. (HadI stayed, it was very possible I’d end up with a compound fracture from slipping, tripping and falling on the rocks.) Usually, I can overcome most obstacles and my mobility is fairly good but I also know my limitations and the chances of injuring myself were high. Moral of the story: Don’t go to Tom Hale scout camp in Oklahoma!