Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Trying ...

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.


Anonymous said...

it is the very best of human nature, wanting to help and feeling so frustrated with the distance and perhaps the lack of ability to explain, or express yourself freely so that she can understand. I also think that Val we know you are doing all you can to help.
You are indeed a saint, there are plenty who wouldn't even bother to try!
I hope there is a solution out there and that you can manage to get Val up and running.
(P.s. Don't be too hard on yourself!!)

Donna said...

There Must be a computer repair stores that specializes in helping the handicapped and would send a tech out to fix the problems and tutor her. Some Where, this service Must exist. I understand how it feels to Want to help so badly and can't.
I guess this is Not a good day to tell you that I've tagged you..?!!!...oh

Janet said...

At the risk of dooming you to martyrdom (because it seems like to become a saint, that is one's final destiny), I would call you a saint as well. Patience personified. Like Daffy ad Donna said, don't be too hard on yourself. Probably just listening is helping her to an extent. As you say, no one else is.

Ruth said...

We refer our legally blind patients to the CNIB. They have many useful resources and gadgets including special screens that help people see things better. They may even offer personal assistance.

KGMom said...

You know, after reading of your efforts, I almost started to write--did you try. . .I am sure you did.
Actually, I just recently bought a wireless mouse, and one of its features is a button you click that enlarges a portion of the screen--sort of the way a magnifying glass would look.
Good of you to try. Sorry for your frustrations.

Coll said...

I too believe you have a touch of saint in you. How very frustrating this situation must be for Val. Bless your kind heart for your attempts and your patience. Just wondering.. is she in touch with her local Occupational Department at her local hospital. With the computer age so much a part of our lives.. one would think that they may be able to help her or know of people that can. I understand her frustration and think I would be the same. She does seem determined which may work in her favour.

Pearl said...

Frustrating situation to be in. Dragon voice and voice activated software can help. Glad you can lend what hand and ear you can.