Happy Wednesday everyone! I am back with a new Where’d I Leave It Wednesday post and today it is all about the braille lessons that I’ve started taking.
So, a little bit of background might be helpful to you. I am registered as Severely Sight Impaired (Blind) but I still have a little bit of sight. Then September 2020 I was sitting in my living room and I got a pain in my left eye, a few minutes later I could only see colours out of that eye. Which is rather terrifying but I’m used to how that eye is now. As this blog is mainly a book blog I’m sure it is pretty obvious that I love to read, and I struggle sometimes with e-books because of looking at a screen for any length of time so I read physical books mainly and I have worried about if I might lose the sight in the right eye as well so I decided it was time to learn braille, just in case.
The day of the first session it absolutely poured it down with rain, the lovely British weather, I had my umbrella with me but it didn’t give me that much protection. Mainly because I’m useless with umbrellas and it was swaying above me without the help of any wind. One half of me would be under the umbrella and the next second the other side of me would be. It was a nightmare. I turned up at the place leaving a trail of raindrops on the carpet. If I’d worn white or grey I could have looked like one of those ghosts of drowned people that I’ve seen on television. But I didn’t.
I went up to the reception, trying to peer underneath my hood. My head is so small that if I wasn’t wearing my glasses the hood would cover up to the bottom of my nose. I was wearing my glasses so my hood perched precariously on the top of those. I had to wait there, rainwater still dripping off me, for the receptionist to notice me before being told to wait in one of the chairs. I sat in the chair with my cane in one hand and my umbrella in the other. This is all before I’d even started the session.
Then I did start the session and it was like I had walked into another world and growing back down a couple of years – and by a couple I mean a lot.
We started by talking about why I wanted to do braille and then she got me to trace patterns on strips of wallpaper…. I assure you it felt as strange as it sounds. And my finger got lost, or I got lost with my finger, I’m not sure which but I got confused anyway. Then the session got weirder.
The woman took out an egg carton from a box she had beside her. At this point I had no idea what was happening but I did assume it was empty. It wasn’t. It was full of ping pong balls. I had to use them to create the braille shapes for some of the letters of the alphabet. I felt like I was inside the memory game of the brain training game my sister used to have for her Nintendo. If it secretly was a game like that – I passed.
Then the real work started. I learnt I’m a left handed braille reader. The fingertips on my left hand are more sensitive than the fingertips of my right hand. Did anyone else ever realise that one hand would be more sensitive to things it touches than the other? I certainly didn’t. It’s also pretty hard to read braille with your left hand, other than the obvious learning a new language thing I also have to take my hand across a piece of paper in a line – but I’m used to using my right hand for everything because I’m right handed so it feels like retraining my own hands.
I enjoy the sessions, as I said I’ve only had two so far but they are very good and I’m learning quickly. The amount of concentration it takes though makes my head hurt. The funniest thing is the sessions are an hour long, and about halfway through that some of the dots of the braille just stop being felt. Fingertips stop feeling things if they’ve been used too long that’s what I was told and it is a very unusual feeling.
That’s the end of this Where’d I Leave It Wednesday, I hope you all enjoyed it!