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BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011

03 Sep 11 - 12:06 PM (#3217596)
Subject: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: Bat Goddess

As many of you know, Tom has been experiencing vision problems for going on two years. Since this past February he has been pretty much unable to drive (unless it's a very gray day, the light is flat, and he's going somewhere close and familiar) and I have to drive him everywhere.

After a confusing bunch of testing by ophthalmologists, more tests by vascular surgeons, etc. the most recent conclusion has been that the damage in one eye is probably permanent and the result of a stroke Tom didn't know he had. But he's also not getting enough blood to his eyes. Unfortunately, his arteries are heavily calcified, which might make a carotid stent (to bring more blood to his head and eyes) iffy -- both as far as how dangerous the procedure would be as well as how much good it might do.

Tom saw his primary care doctor yesterday, who is making appointments for him with a neurologist who has experience with stroke victims and with another vascular doc for a second opinion.

Yesterday, which was the second anniversary of Tom's biopsy and vocal cord cancer diagnosis, Tom's primary care physician pronounced him officially legally blind.

AFGO...

Linn


03 Sep 11 - 12:14 PM (#3217601)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: GUEST,999 -- to DG

Sorry to hear this, Linn. Please give Tom my warmest regards.

BM


03 Sep 11 - 12:40 PM (#3217609)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: John MacKenzie

Gee whiz, that's a bummer. Tom keep the faith my friend, and remember you have good folk around you.


03 Sep 11 - 01:17 PM (#3217626)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: Micca

My thoughts are with you guys!!


03 Sep 11 - 01:35 PM (#3217631)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: gnu

Ditto, ditto, ditto... I hope the docs can help in some way.


03 Sep 11 - 01:57 PM (#3217640)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: katlaughing

I hope they can do more to help, too. I've been wondering about both of you, Linn. Thanks for letting us know and Tom, we love you and wish you the best.

My sister has macular degeneration from getting too much O2 as a preemie in an incubator. She is legally blind, but has found many ways to cope. There are a lot of aids out there, now, for low vision, etc. She cannot drive, though, so our other sister, her twin, does all of that.

luvyakat


03 Sep 11 - 02:11 PM (#3217652)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: catspaw49

As always...........best thoughts...................

Spaw


03 Sep 11 - 03:08 PM (#3217673)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: kendall

Damn! Life is just one damn thing after another. I'm so sorry to hear this old buddy; you have surely done your time on the cross.


03 Sep 11 - 03:11 PM (#3217674)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: Bat Goddess

Him being unable to drive is one of the biggies...I have to drive him everywhere. That also means I HAVE to have a day off on a week day so he can schedule medical appointments. Not a problem while at my current job ("old" job, not the "new" one I worked for 2 months before getting laid off last week -- fortunately I had been still at the original job on Sundays, so I was able to get my old hours back -- for the time being, at least -- since they hadn't replaced me).

Something we're trying to work out is a system for us to collaborate on writing. We write very well together, but now he has problems seeing the computer. We're investigating workarounds as well as aids for computer use for vision-limited people.

Linn


03 Sep 11 - 03:27 PM (#3217680)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: ranger1

Aw geez! Not the news I wanted to hear. I don't know if this is a Maine-only organization, but The Iris Network has been a huge help to my friend Kathy, who has also recently been declared legally blind. Everything from tech support for her computer to legal assistance so she can't lose her job. And I'm sure that even if they are Maine-only, they probably could help you find resources in NH.


03 Sep 11 - 03:30 PM (#3217685)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: ranger1

Linn, we cross-posted. Zoom Text works wonders for Kathy.


03 Sep 11 - 04:54 PM (#3217720)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: Bat Goddess

Yeah, Tom uses zoom text, too, but still has problems. "Glare" is what he calls it. If I could figure out how to dim the screen (the buttons don't seem to actually DO anything...), that might help him at times.

Now he can't work at all -- even if he could drive to and from work (which he can't), his vision can't be counted on from moment to moment on the computer and that's where his work IS at the test factory.

Linn


03 Sep 11 - 05:59 PM (#3217741)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: Crowhugger

If not already tried, you/he might experiment with different colours of thin, evenly- and finely-woven cloth placed over the screen as a way to alter contrast and brightness. It may or may not be worth mixing that with trying different fonts; text-to-voice technology may be the better answer, but dimming methods can make it easier to get such software open and running. I knew of someone with eyesight problems who did this sometimes; I forget exactly what colour(s) worked best for him; a layer of black (chiffon or something like that) together with a layer of another colour helped, also that method was much easier to put on and off a shared computer than using the display settings, which also didn't help as much.

Someone stapled the cloths onto a frame for him (like a picture frame or canvas stretcher) to keep it taut instead of draped; latter made it more difficult to see, not less. I think the distance between screen and cloth was a factor, but it was a while ago and I wasn't closely involved so I don't have more specifics like the exact eye problem it helped, and whether part of the colour mix was from the computer or all was done by cloth. Also I'm just now recalling that in the early days of computers, there were anti-glare screens designed to put over monitors to counteract the glare from overhead fluorescent lights, so it's not a new approach.

Doesn't it suck to have a fallible body...best of luck to you and Curmudgeon to regain some computer functionality one way or another.


03 Sep 11 - 06:00 PM (#3217742)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: saulgoldie

Linn,
All the best to the two of you.

Saul


03 Sep 11 - 06:16 PM (#3217746)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: Stilly River Sage

I'm sorry to read of Tom's difficulties. I hope some of the medical folks will have a few helpful things to suggest.

There are lots of ways to set computer browsers and monitors to lessen the brightness. Make the desktop background black, to start with, and look at the browsers that allow you to control settings to do with font size and such. I know IE and Firefox have that (I was looking at them recently as I looked for the way to do something unrelated to those settings, but notice they are there.)

SRS


03 Sep 11 - 06:28 PM (#3217752)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: SINSULL

This is definitely not good news, Tom. They make anti-glare coatings for eyeglasses. Maybe that will work.
Meantime, be VERY careful around the house. Falling down is not an option.
This getting old is not for sissies.
Mary


03 Sep 11 - 07:05 PM (#3217767)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: Bat Goddess

Nope. Alas, standard anti-reflective coating isn't good enough. Neither is polarization. But both can help up to a point (especially outside).

Linn


03 Sep 11 - 08:15 PM (#3217798)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: Jeri

I have a laptop. The screen is very anti-glare and the brightness is controlled by keyboard buttons. I think if laptops can do this, desktops with LCD/LED monitors ought to do it too.

The diagnosis (and the label) is a pain in the ass, and I'm sorry. Because of it, though, there may be aid for special devices such as large screen monitors. I don't know because I've never "been there". It's always a pain not to have public transportation, but it's so much worse if you CAN'T drive.


04 Sep 11 - 12:05 AM (#3217854)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: katlaughing

There seems to be some helpful suggestions on THIS PAGE.

And, more HERE.

Also, Amazon seems to have a variety of Privacy Screens which might help with the glare?

I'll ask my sister what she used. I remember her saying something about what colours worked best for her on her monitor.

Best to you both.

kat


04 Sep 11 - 12:35 AM (#3217859)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: ChanteyLass

I am sorry to read about Tom's vision problems. I hope you are able to find solutions to some of his problems, starting with a definitive medical diagnosis and treatment so that his condition stabilizes. I don't know what services are available in your area, but I hope you are able to find out. Here in RI he could be driven to doctors' appointments on vans provide by the RI Dept. of Elderly Affairs (I don't think age matters if the passenger has a handicap) and InSight, a nonprofit organization provides other services. I hope similar things are available for Tom.


04 Sep 11 - 02:15 AM (#3217870)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: Sandra in Sydney

wot a bummer & wot a lot of useful advice & contacts.

good luck!

sandra (who had forgotten abou brightness screens!)


04 Sep 11 - 05:58 PM (#3218217)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)

Oh, SH#T!! Sending love and hugs your way- and hoping you can indeed find out where the help is in NH. There's got to be some!


04 Sep 11 - 06:04 PM (#3218221)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)

OK, you've probably already found some of these, but when you have time, you can look
here New Hampshire Association for the Blind
here State of NH Benefits for People With Disabilities
here NH Dept. of Education Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (you never know- they may have books on cd, etc.)
possibly here National Federation of the Blind, NH Chapter

I'm going to be home for 3 more days before we go away for about a week, but if you want me to do some investigating before I leave or after I return, PM me and we'll figure something out! Hang in there!


04 Sep 11 - 06:11 PM (#3218223)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: John MacKenzie

Can offer some talking books on cassette, if you still have the technology


04 Sep 11 - 06:42 PM (#3218238)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: Bat Goddess

Thanks, John. We've still got cassette players -- and I recently discovered I've got a Flashman book on tape. Not to mention all of our Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and a bunch of Sherlock Holmes, Fourth Tower of Inverness, Moon Over Morocco, etc.

Alas, we live in the middle of the woods in New Hampshire, so free rides by governmental or volunteer agencies are few and far between. There are benefits to coming under the "legal" discription of blindness -- assistance (including property taxes) that can be applied for.

The impairment in one eye is probably permanent. The result of a stroke Tom didn't know he had. The other is caused by lack of blood to the eyes which could possibly be recovered with a carotid stent. Unfortunately, Tom's arteries are heavily calcified. He will be seeing a neurologist, though, and another vascular guy for a second opinion.

Linn


05 Sep 11 - 10:57 AM (#3218492)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: Charley Noble

Second opinions can be very useful.

The doctors thought my father at the age of 90 had hardening of the carotid arteries, and a second opinion and further testing proved that they were running free and clear. He was still pissed off, though...

Charley Noble


05 Sep 11 - 12:55 PM (#3218552)
Subject: RE: BS: Curmudgeon Health Update / Sept. 2011
From: Crowhugger

The mention of audio books reminds me about Project Gutenberg. This is a link to their free audio-books site.