“Good morning! You are featured in the Star papers” Harry, a dear friend, shouted excitedly over the phone. He unknowingly woke me up on that Monday morning, following the Charity walk which I participated the day earlier. Well, I thought I could pamper myself with a good rest and a lazy ‘lie in bed’ after the good outing, and more importantly, it was for a good cause. My body and especially, the leg muscles were aching all over. Must be the lack of exercise or age catching up? I prefer the former!
“Gosh! Everyone throughout the country would by now, know about my status concerning my loss of sight” I said to my dear wife. This too, could mean that friends, i.e. former colleagues and associates who were not aware then, would now learn about my status when they read the newspaper that morning. Yes, since losing my sight a year ago, I have not had the opportunity to inform many about my loss of sight or perhaps, I should rightly say, I did not know or not knowing what to say or how to ‘break’ the news to them. Thanks to the media report now the news was out.
True to my expectations, I received phone calls and emails from many friends who learnt about my status from the news media over the next couple of days. I was deeply touched and had mixed emotions. Though it was a total shock to my friends, their concerns and caring attitude clearly demonstrated the kindness and goodness in their hearts. They were glad to note my cheerfulness, positive spirit in moving forward and re learning all the living and independent skills enabling me to be self reliant. If they had spoken to me several months ago, I would have sounded depressed, and terribly miserable. Likewise, I could have made them feel miserable too. Reflecting back to those early days of losing my sight, I certainly had a traumatic and painful time. I sincerely hope that none of my friends or family members will have to endure such painful experiences ever.
A common curious question thrown at me was pertaining to my IT skills. “How do you communicate via emails and write blogs when you cannot see”. Well, they were pleasantly surprised to learn from me about the various assisted IT resources available to the blind community. Of course, lots of patience, determination and hard work required in the re learning process before I could become competent in using the computer again and to get myself back into circulation, so to speak. Here, allow me to recap briefly about some of the IT skills employed by me in IT communication with you guys and others too.
As mentioned and highlighted in my earlier postings, I had the opportunity to attend some IT programs specially designed for the blind community, conducted by the blind IT instructors at MAB, Malaysian Association for the Blind. We were taught in the use and application of the JAWS screen reader software program, most commonly used by the blind community worldwide. “No more Mouse!” was another posting about learning and operating the computer without the mouse but relying solely on various keystroke commands, etc. The screen reader has the ability to ‘talk’ when I access mails, compose mails and blogs, surf the net. Other than that, it is quite the normal standard operating procedure, like you, in accessing and working on the desktop computers or laptops. For the blog, it could be a bit tricky as it involved several ‘steps’ and I had to check and edit several times before posting with minimum errors. So, do excuse me if there were any mistakes made. Another alternative which I discovered in terms of composing and posting my blog articles was via email from the Microsoft Outlook directly to my blog posting. Unfortunately, I am not able to post pictures yet. There is still a lot more to learn. Slowly but surely, I know I will be able to improve my blog at a latter date.
More challenging times ahead!