Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Other Activities of Interest

Hey, come on down to Muskogee this Saturday, April 20, starting at 2 pm for the Muskogee Council of the Blind annual celebration at the park right across the Oklahoma School for the Blind, 3300 Gibson Street! All are invited! Don't have to bring a thing except your smiling faces! If you want to bringfood, that's fine! Lots of chicken, baked beans, Cole slaw, and potato salad and all kinds of desserts are waiting for you! Please call Tommy and let him know to set a plate for you! 918-682-2629.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

When Your Partner Becomes Visually Impaired

As the wife of someone who became visually impaired late in life, I found myself experiencing a range of emotions including sadness, fear, frustration, even anger; and I felt terribly guilty for having those feelings. I've since discovered that this is "normal" and, over time, these feelings are fading.

One of my goals in helping TCB with this website was to find resources that would not only help those who had visual impairment, but also the spouses. Thus far, I've had a difficult time finding resources aimed specifically to the spouse. Today, however, I discovered this document, entitled, When Your Partner Becomes Visually Impaired. It was published by and appears to have been a brochure at one time; therefore, it does not read straight through like an article. What follows below are some excerpts from the article that I found especially helpful. At the end of the excerpts, I have included a link to the original document. I hope you will find it as helpful as I did.
Cindy Downes

When Your Partner Becomes Visually Impaired …Helpful Insights and Tips for Coping
by Carol J. Sussman-Skalka, CSW, MBA

When your spouse or partner becomes visually impaired, both of you are likely to feel overwhelmed. You also may experience a range of feelings, from sadness to guilt, and there are many day-to-day adjustments to make. It's hard to know where to begin — or how to access information about vision conditions, treatment options, help and resources. Vision rehabilitation services — which include techniques for accomplishing daily tasks and resuming leisure activities, as well as emotional support — can make an important difference in the lives of people with vision loss, particularly in their ability to regain independence. Encouragement from family and friends also can be vital in supporting their participation in these training programs. While you can play a key role during the rehabilitation process, you undoubtedly have many adjustments and concerns of your own. You may find yourself putting aside your feelings and needs to focus on helping your partner cope. Yet, in many cases, you may feel alone and at a loss about what to do or how to help. As one couple shared, "Vision loss happened to us." You also can benefit from programs to better understand your situation, get support for your own emotional needs, and learn about relevant resources and services. Although your specific concerns may differ based on the extent of your partner's vision loss — and how long you've been dealing with it — you have many common issues with other sighted partners. Some of the most frequently expressed concerns and feelings are discussed on the following pages. They include: understanding what your partner can see and do, communicating successfully, relating to family and friends, dealing with independence and dependence issues, appreciating the benefits of vision rehabilitation and handling stress.  

Share Your Feelings: You're Not Alone
When your partner becomes visually impaired, you may experience many different emotions, including fear, guilt, anger and frustration. These feelings can be hard to admit or accept, because they are commonly perceived as negative. It may help to keep in mind that feelings are neither right nor wrong. However, feelings can get in the way of your relationship with your partner if they are not recognized or understood. 

One of the most commonly expressed emotions, guilt can appear in many forms. It may drive you to take on unwanted responsibilities. As one partner reluctantly admitted, "I don't like reading financial statements, but I do it because I feel guilty." Others experience guilt when they forget that their partners can't see things or expect that they should be able to see something because they saw it before. You also may feel guilty about taking time for yourself. And guilt may arise when you can't meet an immediate need or have to refuse a request. One wife said poignantly, "If I can't take him somewhere, I feel guilty because he depends on me to get out." Remember that you're not alone. Your partner probably feels guilt as well — most likely about the additional burdens and responsibilities being placed on you. It is interesting to note that guilt is defined as remorse for doing something wrong. Therefore, people may say they feel guilty, when actually they are experiencing regret, wishing that the situation in which they find themselves was different (Schmall et al., 2000). Talking with your partner about "guilt" may bring some relief. By learning that you both have similar emotions, you can each develop a better appreciation for the other's position.
Fear, another frequently expressed feeling, often stems from wondering whether vision loss will get worse: "Will my partner become totally blind?" You also may fear for your partner's safety while performing tasks such as cooking, or getting around at home or in the community: "Can my wife be left alone?" Inevitably, there are questions about the future: "What happens if I become disabled or die? How will my spouse manage?" This issue is particularly difficult when your partner has other conditions aside from vision impairment, such as physical limitations or memory problems. While there are no easy answers, encouraging as much independence as possible, and talking about alternatives for future living arrangements, can be good first steps.

Frustration is common, particularly when you're trying to figure out when to offer help — and how much. It's hard to encourage someone to exercise his/her independence if there is reluctance to try new techniques. You may do more for your partner than you think you should due to safety concerns. Others admit that they sometimes find it faster and easier "to get the job done," rather than let partners do it themselves. But keep in mind that taking over can affect your partner's progress toward independence, causing feelings of uselessness and loss of control. Further, if you "take over," you may feel even more frustrated and angry, as you're now managing even more responsibilities that may not be necessary.

Many people reluctantly admit feeling angry about the whole situation. Like you, they struggle with their own loss of independence, as they take their partners everywhere or adjust their schedules to meet their needs. You may feel irritated by having to stop what you're doing to meet a request, and then feel badly about your reaction. One woman stated, "I know if he could see to do it, he would do it himself." Resentment also arises when you feel that your partner could be more active and independent, or if you're not much-needed time for yourself. As one partner shared, "I have a life, but it's not my own."  

Feeling sad — even depressed — especially at the beginning, is common for both people in the relationship. While counseling often is available for the person experiencing vision loss, you, too, can benefit from the same kind of support. As one sighted partner reported, "There's a tremendous, overwhelming sadness. It's a loss of plans and a loss of what you thought [retirement] would be." Another shared, "I was so worried about his being depressed, that I couldn't [let myself] get depressed, but I felt I needed therapy." Sighted partners who sought professional counseling found it very helpful to acknowledge, and validate, their feelings. It may not be easy for you to talk about emotional issues with your partner. As one spouse shared, "I keep everything inside and that is not good for me." As your partner struggles
with the adjustment to life with impaired vision, he/she may not always recognize the impact it has on you. At the same time, you may not want to add to that burden by sharing your own feelings.  
The rest of the article offers tips for handling these emotions and information about getting involved in a support group, which I highly recommend. Here is a link to the original article: When Your Partner Becomes Legally Impaired.

TCB Minutes of Meeting - April 12, 2013

TCB April 12, 2013 Minutes

Vice President Fallin called the meeting to order at approximately 6:10 pm. She welcomed everyone present and requested each announce who was there. 18 were present.

Vice President Fallin thanked Pastor Russell for his wonderful meal. She then congratulated Commissioner Sanders for his being appointed to fulfill Commissioner Ray Kirk's place. We are pleased to have Perry Sanders in this great position.

Darla announced the passing of Doug Stone the previous week for those who may not have heard.

Treasurer report was accepted as distributed to all the members.

Secretary report was accepted as distributed to all the members.

Vice President Fallin stated she and Joe were not able to attend this year's Disability Awareness Day and asked if anyone had any comments. Commissioner Sanders reported almost 800 people attended and this was a great turn out especially with the rainy weather that day. Vice President Fallin reported that President Bailey had reported she was inspired to be at our State Capitol and to be a part of such an event. Diane asked how many OCB members were present and although the exact numbers are not known it was estimated at least 10 or more. It was also reported that 6 Deaf-Blind individuals attended, too.

Vice President Fallin asked for a motion to approve the expenses incurred by David Bailey when he drove several members to the Capitol in response to Bill #858 which was concerning the closing of the School for the Deaf and initially was also to close the School for the Blind. OSB, however, was removed from the Bill but our presence was still needed to support OSD and to keep our name in front of the committee. It was seconded and approved to refund David Bailey.

Bowlathon update by Jeri as David was not present. Date is June 15, Saturday, at Sheridan Lanes. Cost is $15 per person which includes two games and shoes. A flier and sponsor letter were to be handed out to each person present but for whatever reason this was overlooked. Members were encouraged to participate as this is a fundraiser. Questions were brought up about whether it was doggy eared for OCB dues and it was stated each year it could be voted on as to how to spend the money raised by the bowlathon. Also, questions were asked about t-shirts. It was decided t-shirts would be purchased for those who did not have one from our previous oblations. Jeri will check on the price but in the past they have been $8 each.

Activities were reported by Bill Self for future events which included a tour of the winery and aquarium. Jesse was not present so more details were not available at this time.

Vice President Fallin requested ideas from the members for White Cane Awareness Day. Different  ones stated to possibly visit various restaurants in the downtown area to expose awareness and to possibly walk around the OneOaks baseball stadium. TV stations need to be involved as well. An idea was mentioned to bring in different groups to join us and we have tried this in the past but it never seemed to work out for whatever reason. Vice President Fallin encouraged everyone to keep thinking of ideas.

Marion reminded members about Rooster Day Parade and clarified it will be free if we wanted to participate again this year. It was pretty successful a few years ago when we walked in the parade.

An email had been sent out to everyone with all the committees and who was on each one with their respective duties. Jeri clarified that David Cooper is not co-chair of the activities committee but only in charge of the

bowlathon. Committees were encouraged to contact each other to get started
on their particular responsibilities.

Dan raised the question about the pastor providing food every month. Vice President Fallin stated she remembered the members voting on every third month the pastor would provide food. A discussion was held on whether it's every other month or every third month. This will be researched in the

previous minutes.

Vice President Fallin informed the members the May speaker would be John Dessauer from the Credit Consumer Counseling.

Meeting adjourned at 7 pm.

Submitted by,

Jeri Cooper


Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Vision Track - App

Photo of myVisionTrack app test results.
myVisionTrack is a new app, approved by the FDA, that allows patients with degenerative eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and Age Related Macular Degeneration to monitor their own vision function at home. Test results are stored and compared to previous results and may be sent to a physician directly from the app. Early detection results in more effective treatment of these diseases.

myVisionTrack app will not be available until 4th quarter 2013. To learn more about the app, see the myVisionTrack website.

TCB Minutes from March 2013

TCB March 2013 Meeting Minutes

The meeting was called to order by President Julie Bailey. Everyone announced themselves in turn. Julie welcomed all and acknowledged those having birthdays and anniversaries during the month of March.

Allison Fallin announced our guest speaker Markus Makar. Mr. Makar spoke
about how he got started with the trapeze and informed all about his school
he is attempting to get started in Tulsa. He invited TCB members and friends
to come for a tour of his facility and a lesson free of charge when the school is opened.

Jesse Martinez gave a treasurer's report. A motion and a second were given to approve the report as given. The report was approved.

Allison gave everyone an update on Joe.

Members were reminded about Disability Awareness Day at the capital coming
up on April 3rd. Members were asked to contact Julie Bailey or Jeri Cooper if they were in need of transportation so that it could be arranged.

A recap of the trip to the capital to be present when the Bill 858 was presented was given by Julie Bailey. Members making the trip were Marion McFadden, Jeri Cooper, Darla Cook and Julie and David Bailey. The Bill was defeated and Julie described how empowered she felt to be a part of the blind presence in the room during the proceedings.

David Bailey provided transportation to the capital and requested compensation for expenses. Because a quorum was not present at this meeting, a vote could not be taken at this time and will be presented again at the April meeting.

Julie Bailey had a list of the newly created committees and proposed chairs. She asked for confirmation from those present and all present were confirmed.

Allison Fallin, Speaker Committee chair informed all about the speaker for May from Consumer Credit Counseling.

Jesse Martinez, Activities Chair gave an update on some of the activities planned for the next few months for TCB members and friends.

The meeting was adjourned.

Jeri Cooper


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

TCB Meeting, April 12

April showers, and weird weather! Sounds like Oklahoma? Also, it's time for another TCB meeting which sounds like Oklahoma! Come join us this Friday April 12 from 6 to 7:30 pm for another great time with fellow TCBers. 

We're having hot dogs and hamburgers so if you want to eat, be there no later than 5:30 so we can be finished eating and get the meeting started at 6. Remember, let Darla or Marion know you plan on coming and eating so they can make sure we have enough for everyone. $8 per person and it's well worth it!

An agenda will be coming out soon so look for it and see you Friday night!

Jeri, Secretary 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Going BLIND - Coming out of the dark about vision loss

Photo of Pat William with magnifying glass trying
to read a paper.
Going BLIND is a film that increases public awareness of sight loss and low vision, issues that affect more than 25 million Americans who are blind or visually impaired. The director, Joseph Lovett, has glaucoma, a disease that robs 4.5 million people worldwide of their vision. After years of losing his sight, Joe used his filmmaking skills to tell his story and the story of other people who have or are experiencing vision loss.

Some of the people you will meet are: Emmet Teran, an 11 year old who has low vision due to albinism; Steve Baskis who lost his vision in Baghdad when he was hit by a roadside bomb; an 85-year old architect, Peter D'Ella, who is suffering from macular degeneration; Pat Williams, a legally blind woman who struggled with balance between relying on family and remaining independent, and Ray Kronman, who at age 29 while getting a routine eye exam learned that he had retinitis pigments and would be blind by age 40.

Going BLIND is available for rent AND is being distributed free of charge to over 300 public television stations around the country. Check your local listings.


Learn more about the film on the Going BLIND website.