Well, we arrived about 12:30 pm after getting up and leaving 3:30 a. m. Of course, it wasn’t bad for me. I slept most of the way. Mr. Scott had to drive. His dad came along so he could keep Scott awake on the return trip.
We arrived to almost overwhelming hospitality. They escorted me to my room and gave me the grand wall around walk tour. Basically, we started at the door and went in the direction of the most logical direction based on what order the room is in. We went left. She took my hand and placed on the chair and then showed me how to bend down to find the tie down for the new dog. We then proceeded and touched everything in the room and basthroom. After bringing in my stuff and hooking up my X-box (yes, I brought my x-box. 26 days is a long time to go without an addiction fix. :D) in the computer room. When my family left, I received the facility tour. We did the same thing, but I had to go with out my cane. She promplty put it away for me in my room. I was not to use my cane which had become my “eyes” at all during my stay here. I was very nervous, but now I can walk the entire building and find my way to the fire escape area outside.
The other students are nice, but I find it hard to believe that all that talk is about blindness. What caused it? How much can you see? Most people think that blind means total darkness. That isn’t true. Fewer than 10% see nothing but blackness. Some here see fairly ok, but they keep falling and hurting themselves. Only one sees total black. Let’s see. There is Walter who is 82 and very hard of hearing. He is very sad because he lost his wife Monday was a week ago, but finally decided to come on because he now needs the dog even more without his love to help him. We are keeping him cheered up, I hope. Next is Wayne. He is hilarious. He sees alot more than most of us, so he guides us around when we get disoriented. Nancy is our youngest. She just turned twenty and graduated from high school. She stayed a year longer because she lost a good deal of sight at once and wanted to learn braille and other stuff to help in college. Crystal is extremely quiet. She only speaks when spoken to, but she is very nice. She also has fiery red hair. I can easily find her. Anthony is a little older than Nancy, but he constantly begs for the spotlight. I love his attempts, He has had a dog before who he retired after 9 years. Wayne is the loud one. You know he is around. He owns and operates a restaurant. He is also a big book of knowledge that he shares with us curtly. I don’t think he has smiled since I have been here. Leah and Misty just joined us this morning. Their flights were delayed. They are here for refresher courses. They brought their dogs with them to practice more of the techniques with the trainers. They are confident and talkers. We get along nicely. The last is Jerry who is very quiet too. He stays alone in his room alot. We will find out more about him as time goes on.
After introductions, we were given our “dog”. Well part of the whole entourage any way. We received our leather leash that we have to keep with us at all times and keep “petting” to make him a soft, friendly doggie instead of hard and snippy. In other words, we have to break in the leather so that when we work our dogs it will not cut up our hands. If we go somewhere without it they fuss at us and make us go get it. You can never leave your dog unattended.
We then had supper at 5:00 which for some of us was like Mel’s cooking in the Boy Scout Camp dining hall. Others would call it army cooking I guess. However, they serve us here and clean up. I can certainly get used to that. I hope Scott takes note.
After supper it was lecture time. This wasn’t much fun because we just talked about safety procedures, rules, etc. We did learn some more about each other after.
I finished the day by playing X-box with Scott and my son, Brian. That certainly helps the feeling of loneliness and home sickness. Quiet time starts at 10:00 pm. I played a little longer trying to be very, very quiet. The building tends to echo since it has a lot of cement block. Jonathan, my on-site student, played with me some until I lagged out due to the poor connection settings here. (Well, he was stomping me badly, so we are going to call it lag. 😉
I trailed my way back to my room to prepare for bed. Oh, trailing I should explain. Blind people keep themselves oriented by following the walls with their fingertips. This place is very user friendly for that. They have carpet up halfway on the walls, and some walls have it all the way up in case you run into it. Less pain that way, you see… Well, I will give you more tomorrow. Good night. Don’t forget your prayers.