Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Disabled Access Day at Barclays Bank in Sheffield - Gail

Gail
One Friday in March I went to Barclays Bank on the corner of Pinstone Street and Barkers Pool with Jane from SRSB as part of their Disabled Access Day.

We were warmly greeted by Stuart the Manager who introduced us to several members of staff. After an introduction by Jane she told them about SRSB and their role in supporting people with sight problems. I then spoke about what SRSB meant to me as a client.

The staff then all tried on the 'Sim Specs' which demonstrate what it is like to be visually impaired and asked lots of questions. The staff were very friendly and the atmosphere was very relaxed.

Next, Jane set up her stall, I volunteered for balloon blowing and Jane had also taken some equipment from the shop at SRSB.

Stuart spoke about their talking cash machines and as I have never tried one I quickly volunteered in trying this out. After a brief orientation of the cash machine Stuart handed me a pair of headphones and I was ready to start. After plugging the headphones in I was asked to press 5 to begin, asked to put my pin number in then asked to press 1 for a receipt or 2 if not needed, then asked to press 1 for £10, 2 for £20 etc.

After pressing the amount required to my great amazement the money popped out. I have not used a cash machine for 30 years and it was quite exhilarating. This simple task that sighted people take for granted really does seem like a great mystery to me as a blind person. I now feel confident in using this branch taking along my headphones and drawing out cash independently.

Monday, 24 April 2017

What is beautiful - Carol

CarolThe birds singing in the morning
 The owls hooting at night
When you are warm in your bed
Snug and tight
Children laughing and playing
But it is all beautiful without visual eye
It’s a different beautiful
Involving sound and not using an eye
You can't see it in a mirror
And the owls are always out of sight
So is it much different when you don't have your own sight
I feel when it's beautiful
I feel in the morning and night
The world is beautiful if you want it to be
It doesn't matter not being able to see
I am beautiful just like you

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Life after sight loss - June

JuneI’m one of the lucky ones. I am partially sighted.

When I first became type 2 diabetic when I was 59 years old, I was told that eventually I would go blind but fingers crossed, at 74 I can still read large clear print.

I had to give up my big choir and my knitting but manage to do my writing and am in the choir at the SRSB.

I am a bit scared at crossing busy roads but have found since I reluctantly started using my white stick a lot of people try to help. Especially giving you the priority seats on the tram.

I watch TV but can’t manage anything with subtitles. I’ve had laser treatment and horrid injections in my eyes but luckily at the moment only have to put one drop in each eye every night. And I only go to the hospital every six months.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Weather - Amy

Amy
The weather, some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it wet, some like it dry, some like it dull, some like it bright. I like it just right.

On a dull, drizzly day, everything seems gray. I look into the distance and the gray pavements, gray roads and gray sky all merge into one. This makes it harder to focus on where I am going. Then it starts raining and that’s when things get complicated.

If I take a brolly then I’m likely to knock somebody with it by accident, plus I have my cane to hold. If I use my hood then it gets in the way of what I can see to the side of me. My peripheral vision isn’t good anyway, never mind with a hood in the way.

If it is windy I am holding my hood up instead of concentrating on where I am going and my glasses get spots of rain on them. Somebody rushes past me from behind. This always makes me jump and startles me as they seem to appear from nowhere. I usually have to stop and make sure everybody is well out of my way before I start walking again.

Finally I get to where I am going. I walk into the nice warm building and my glasses steam up! I think to myself, I can’t wait for a sunny day.

It’s a nice sunny day, clear blue skies, feeling good because it’s sunny at last. The colours are brighter, I can make out more objects in the distance. I can see where I’m going and where I’ve been. Still not great, but better.

Then I turn the corner and I’m walking towards the sun. it’s really bright and dazzling, I sometimes have to stop and get my bearings. I head towards a shaded area to have a break from the sun. Because the sun is so bright the shadows seem so dark. I can’t keep looking into the sun in front of me so I look down.

On the pavement there are shadows of trees, walls, cars and me. Even the shadows on the pavement are really dark compared to the bright pavement around them. Looking at these while I am walking makes me feel a little disorientated and dizzy. All I can see is moving shapes on the floor, not a safe, solid pavement for me to walk on.

When I eventually make it into the shade it seems really really dark. My eyes take a long time to adjust to the light, so even in the shade I can’t focus for a while. It can take five or ten minutes for me to adjust to the light.
For me the weather isn’t just something to talk about, or what to wear. It affects my mood and my independence. If the weather isn’t just right, I find it extremely hard when I am out. For me, the perfect weather is sunny, with clouds!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Charles Bonnet Syndrome Poem: An Optical Illusion - Mike


MikeNow then, an optical illusion
Is when your eyes don’t reason
They tend to play tricks on you.
Show you things others don’t view
Some see something that isn’t there
Others trying to see it, stare and stare
Now take an abstract painting,
Then take a closer look, it will bring
All different kinds of objects there
Your mind can make them all appear
Try watching as the clouds roll overhead
Then look at the different shapes uncoloured
Take note, observe what is created there
Next time you look at an object, just be aware
It could be you’re seeing an optical illusion there


About Charles Bonnet Syndrome

A note from SRSB

Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) or ‘Phantom Visions’ as the syndrome is often called, can be a very worrying side effect of sight loss, where the brain tries to compensate for not seeing by creating visual hallucinations or sees things which are not really there.

They may be simple images such as grids and patterns, or elaborate, complex images of objects including animals, people or landscapes.

Charles Bonnet hallucinations are not a sign of dementia or any other sort of mental illness. They are a normal response of the brain to the loss of vision.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

The Wheelie Bin - a poem by Carol

CarolIt isn’t just one, they all get in the way
It was always on a college day
When Anna and I walked there and back
Anna thought she might get the sack
Some were easy to get around
And Anna had the gaps to find
Sometimes we ended up a bit on the road
Mum would often give us a ride
She knew how difficult it could get for us
When we got around the bins
Anna and I would sigh
They were moved all over by the time we returned
Mine would have disappeared
It would be in the neighbours' garden
And with their own
Probably thought as I couldn't see
So I wouldn’t moan
So Fridays weren't great
Thanks to those wheeley bins
They may get rid of the rubbish
But on Fridays they made me want to sin

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Adventures of a blind person - June

JuneI of course don’t know what it’s like to be blind as I am only partially sighted. But even then you have to learn to adjust. It can still be frustrating.

Since I was 14 I had to wear glasses for being short-sighted. I had to wear them all the time. I loved to read, and I needed them for that. I struggled a bit when I went swimming and of course for my music and words at my choir.

This lasted until the day before I was 59 when I went to have my eyes tested for some new glasses. They found something not right which led to months of tests at the hospital until I was finally diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

I’ve had laser treatment and injections and am on a load of tablets every day. I also have to put eye drops in at night. Unless I have any problems I only have to go for a check-up every six months. I just have glasses and a magnifying glass now for reading with. I struggle with bright sunlight and the dark and don’t go out much on my own, never at night.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Life After Sight Loss - a poem by Carol

Carol
I've never had any sight
So I can’t say what's wrong or right
When I was little I pretended a lot
I wanted to be just like the other lot
I tried not to show my pain
It was hard then to accept my fate
Sometimes alone I would cry
In their own way my family would try
Eventually I coped pretty well
Being total wasn't the same
A little sight made such a difference
Even if it was a pittance
Magnifiers and strange looking things
For us totals anything that talks or sings
To be like the others I craved so much
Anything around me I loved to touch
Now I am used to being like this
For me with no sight
There's nothing to miss

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Buying a new phone - Amy

Amy
One day you hear about a new phone that you love the sound of. It has all these amazing apps and features and you can't wait to get one. You save up, and eventually you have enough money to buy it. You go into town one day and buy it. As soon as you get home you set it up and start playing with it. Easy right? Not so easy when you've got a sight problem.

Here's how it really goes...

You don't want a new phone because there's a cool, new one out. You want a new phone because you need one, so that everybody knows you are safe when you are out on your own. You hear about all these new gadgets and phones, but none of them really matter because you probably can't see them or read them properly anyway.

One day you decide you need a new phone and you go to the phone shop. You need a phone shop where you can actually play on the phones, not just look at a dead one hung on a wall.

When you're looking through the phones they all look the same these days, they are all just a screen. You find a screen you like the look of and you start to play around on it. The first place you go to is the settings icon, and then accessibility. That's if you can read the phone to get that far. My Mum had to do that bit for me and change the colours so that I could read it.

I looked through all the accessibility options, the font type, the font size, the colours and themes you could change the phone to, to make sure I can actually read it. People with worse sight than me would find out what speaking options there are, if your phone will read the text to you, and if you can give verbal instructions to your phone.

You're not going to waste your money on a phone if you don't know you can actually use it. These are the things it doesn't tell you on the phone description or specifications. These are the things partially sighted and blind people need to know. Then you might move onto all the fancy things. The things that some sighted people take for granted.

You also need to be able to get to the phone shop in the first place. This brings on a whole new challenge...

Help with smartphones and tablets

A note from SRSB

If you are reading this and understand some of the comments that Amy has made, please note that we have been holding regular O2 Guru Days and there is another coming up on 28 March 2017 at SRSB.

We also hold ongoing Online Today courses with the next one happening on 27 February 2017 at SRSB.

Both of these courses are designed to help you with exactly these sort of issues. If you are interested in either, please contact us on 0114 272 2757 to book your place.

The blog is back!

It's amazing how time flies, and we didn't realise quite how long it has been since our last blog post!

We're delighted therefore that we have a new volunteer on board to get the blog back on track. Our client Amy will be writing her own blog posts and talking to other clients about their experiences of living with visual impairment. These are then passed to Anne, another volunteer, who uploads the posts for us.

You can read Amy's first post here.