I was on the phone last night when Cuppa handed me this note.
At the time, I wasn't feeling that I was actually close to achieving Sainthood, but I was trying my darnedest to be patient and understanding.
You see, Val called for the second time this week. For quite a long time I tried to walk her around her computer looking for Outlook Express, so that she could try to write an email. Eventually, I had to throw in the towel. I didn't want to; I wanted to help, but we were getting nowhere.
You see, Val is legally blind and what she wants to do — which is use the computer — is extremely difficult for her, even with accessibility options enabled and a very expensive voice recognition program installed. Extremely difficult. About as difficult as it can possibly be.
Before her stroke, seven years ago (I think it was), she was a typing wiz and also spent a lot of time on her computer and helping others on theirs. Then the stroke occurred. It affected her brain and her sight. She desperately wants to be able to use the computer again, but she is constantly thwarted and has been for seven years. At first she tried to work with and then update her old system by purchasing a new large monitor, but she still couldn't make it work. Then, she bought another new system but had it taken away again after more frustration. Now she is trying again with yet another new system.
I have tried to help in the past when we were somewhat closer and could visit on occasion, but I could never help enough. What she needs is someone with a fair bit of knowledge on how to meet her particular and significant needs to sit with her for however long it takes. She requires a knowledgeable person in both computers and her handicap to patiently mentor her through all of the hurdles, but that kind of help just doesn't seem to exist. I don't think anyone near her meets both sets of qualifications or else they don't have the time and/or patience. And then Val gets impatient and starts fiddling with the machine on her own trying to sort through the foggy maze and quite possibly messes things up even more.
I try to be patient when she calls because I really want to help her but I get frustrated not by her but my inability to truly aid her. We spend a good long time going round in circles trying this solution and that, but in the end we have nothing to show for our efforts. I need to at least try to do this for her, though. She has been a good friend and would have been the first to help me if the situation had been reversed. But we're quite a geographical distance from Val now, not just two short hours as we used to be and we haven't seen her in more than two years. The thing is, even if I were there, it would be difficult for me to work with her special accessibility requirements and the programs that she has to assist her (but which don't actually seem to help her much at all) because I am simply not familiar with these options and programs.
Sigh. I really hope that someone can help her. I wish I could do better. She must be so darn frustrated, and I feel for her.