Monday, June 27, 2011


My robo-call post was actually a digression. When the phone rang, I was actually just about to write THIS post.

You might notice that i didn't blog during deaf-blind camp. As much as I enjoyed it, it caused me some dilemmas because there are some things I just didn't know how to say. I first worked with this particular camper just over 20 years ago, and let's just say that the passage of time has been a mixed blessing. Yes, there has been substantial knowledge and experience added in those two decades. I wouldn't trade that part of the equation. But there has been a physical toll that is painful to witness, such as the progression of obviously painful arthritis. My osteoarthritis is largely under control. My camper's, not so much. I hate to see this person in pain, but that issue cropped up time and again.

Worst of all, though, was seeing probably the most brilliant individual I have ever met, or most likely ever will meet, suffering from classic signs of age-related short term memory issues. That's genuinely painful. I don't think the words exist that could adequately describe just how that hurts. Wow. Just... wow.

But I will say that we got as much out of camp as we could, all things considered, and if my camper opts to attend next year, I'll be more than glad to fill the same role for them again. Having an interpreter/guide who knows the person's backstory is probably a beneficial thing in a case like this.

Time, you farging bastage. Why do you have to be such a vandal to the body and mind? Isn't the fact that you pass irretrievably enough for you? :-(


The Large Teaching Hospital that did my surgery just gave me an automated appointment reminder. The robo-voice opens with, "This call is from Large Teaching Hospital for :Donna: to remind you that you have an appointment on :date: at :time: with :Doctor X: at :address:." Robo-lady rattles all this very specific data off without even verifying who has answered the telephone.

The next sentence she utters is, ironically, "In order to ensure our patients' privacy, we ask that you bring all your insurance information with you to your appointment." Privacy? Um, I hate to tell you, robo-lady, but you blew my privacy out of the water when you recited every atom of my appointment data without first confirming, via a check such as "if this is :Donna:, press 1", that the person answering the phone is the actual patient who has the appointment.

Thank God I have no medical secrets from Mark. But what about people who are trying to keep their relationship with a particular doctor quiet? Maybe they don't want to worry their spouse, kids, parents, etc. about their visit with, say, an oncologist until they have a concrete diagnosis of what's going on. I can easily see where a robo-call would throw a big monkey-wrench into the ability to keep such an appointment quiet. There has got to be a better way.

Friday, June 10, 2011


A pox on whoever devised low-rise waistlines in women's clothes! It's hard enough to find flattering clothes WITHOUT having to weed through stuff that only looks good on Barbie dolls. &$@%#¥!!!

I just wanted some darn shorts that fit, look right on me, and feel comfortable. Who knew it'd devolve into a major treasure hunt? I finally did find something, fortunately. Thank you, Walmart.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Airline update

Here's the latest on my deaf-blind friend JJ's attempt to get a reasonable accommodation from the airline. They are requiring him to be accompanied by an assistant when he flies, but are also prepared to charge the assistant a full fare.

The issue has been escalated via some disabled advocacy groups and has reached the desk of an attorney who works for the Department of Transportation. The attorney has this to say: "The bottom line is in cases where carriers disagree with a passengers self-assessment that he or she can travel alone, we require that the carrier transport the safety assistant without charge."

So it IS illegal for the airlines to attempt to line their pockets at the expense of disabled travelers or their assistants. I thought as much. I hope the airline sees this and does the right thing, and just comps the assistant's fare.

Because if they don't make a move to that effect ASAP, I'm going to start looking up the consumer advocacy reporters at local TV stations. Man, where's Herb Denenberg when we need him?


A haiku for my former classmates:

It doesn't feel like
We graduated high school
Thirty years ago.

But we did. Happy 30th to my fellow alumnae!

Friday, June 03, 2011

50th Anniversary

Happy 50th Anniversary to my parents! I just got off the phone with my mom a little while ago. Dad was taking a nap, but she'll tell him I called.

I'm pleased to mention that Mark and I come from a background that's full of long marriages. His parents have been married over 60 years. And both my sets of grandparents were married over 40 years, and each case it would've been longer if not for poor health claiming the life of one spouse relatively young.

Mark and I have a lot of catching up to do to reach those landmarks. We'd better get to it. :-)

Thursday, June 02, 2011

JJ and travel

My deaf-blind friend JJ will be attending AADB's convention (or, as they're calling it this year, "symposium") later this month. I will be missing AADB for the first time since 1989, and that disappoints me, but the reality is that I can't afford it. I haven't worked full-time in quite a while, and the air fare would be a killer.

JJ is going, but as he's not only deaf-blind, but uses a wheelchair and -- this is the obstacle the airline is most concerned about -- has no way to communicate with the airline staff on the plane, the airline is requiring him to bring a traveling companion to assist with communication. I can't dispute that. What I DO dispute is that the airlines are trying to charge the assistant, who is there at THEIR insistence, full fare for both round-trips, both to help him get to the convention and a week later to help him come home.

Excuse me? I understand that they are insisting on a companion to be with JJ because in this specific case, that's the best way to ensure communication with a person who hasn't got clear speech, and whose neuropathy prevents him from reading Braille or print-on-palm. This concept, I get. But I DON'T get the attempt to force the companion, whose presence they are requiring, to pay full fare for two round trips. I'm sorry, but that smacks of an attempt by the airlines to line their own pockets.

This can't be legal. There has got to be some part of ADA that sets down guidelines for this particular Reasonable Accomodation. JJ's mom sent an email with an excerpt from something called DHHCANN, which states that the airlines are not to charge the companion a fare; but I don't know what DHHCANN is. Is it a law? A guideline? I'll have to look it up.

But it would make life a whole lot easier if the freaking airlines would just do the right thing without being forced to, and just offer the free companion ticket. Sheesh. One would think they'd WANT to make nice to potential customers these days, as they're all hurting for business in this rotten economy. But noooo, that makes too much sense. :-P

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Been quiet lately

It's been relatively quiet in these parts lately, which is a good thing. I've been prepping for this year's Deaf-Blind Camp in MD, where I'm looking forward to working with KC again. I haven't seen her in almost two years. It's been WAY too long. One of my additional duties at camp will be to mentor some less-experienced interpreter-guides, which I'm also looking forward to.

I'm still awaiting approval for the application I filled out to be the "personal assistant" of my deaf-blind friend JJ. He's received a grant from a local agency to have people come in and interact with him, keep him caught up on current events, help him with emailing since his neuropathy has largely robbed him of the ability to read braille, and so on. I told JJ's mom that I also want to do some tasks for them that aren't listed in the very open-ended description of job duties. For one, I want to help compile his medical records, which are comprised of a huge amount of complex information, into computer files that can be printed or burned onto a CD every time he goes to a new doctor (a regular occurrence). And I want to mentor the local interpreting students who are in their practicum class. This last item will have benefits for both JJ and the students -- he will get to chat with new people, and the students will get experience working with deaf-blind consumers. That's huge, as there are a lot of interpreters who refuse to take deaf-blind jobs because they THINK they can't do tactile signing. If we can get the student interpreters on board with signing into a deaf-blind person's hands, they won't be intimidated by the prospect when an actual job comes up, so this is a case where everybody wins.

In other news, I downloaded an interesting scanner app for my iPod Touch, and I've found an intriguing way to use it in conjunction with If I see severe weather warnings on for a particular county, I take a look on the scanner app (5-0 Radio) to see if that county's emergency services have a stream. If they do, I listen in and find out just what's going on in said county. Though with the Tornado Watch and Severe T-Storm Warnings that we're currently operating under even as I type, I might as well listen to my own city's police and fire radio streams. Doggone, but Mother Nature's in a grumpy mood today.

5-0 Radio has also got some streams for ham radio repeaters and railroad radios. I can't help but think how I'd have LOVED to have had access to these things when I was a kid. I used to tune in to distant AM stations when I was in grade school. I made a whole list of stations by call letters, frequency, and city of origin, as well as a map where I could look up said cities. I used to love it. So my grandpop got me a multi-band radio including shortwave, weather, aircraft, and others, and I used to love THAT, too. Honestly, I think I'd have run this 5-0 Radio app 24/7 if I'd had access to it 30+ years ago.

Yeah, I was a nerd. Still am. And darn proud of it. :-)