Reader’s Forum – Week of January 6, 2013

For your convenience, all Reader’s Forum submissions are separated by the ## symbol.

Rodney wrote:

My name is Rodney Neely. I am a reader of the Matilda Ziegler magazine, who was born prematurely. I am totally blind as a result of Retinopathy of Prematurity. In order to keep me alive the hospital staff gave me a lot of oxygen, and they didn’t cover my eyes while I was in the incubator.

I am writing this letter to the Matilda Ziegler magazine in hopes of stimulating a discussion about the prevalence of allergies and other breathing related developments in people with Retinopathy of Prematurity. I have had allergies for the past ten years and I have always hated running because I could never breathe properly when I was running. I used to think that this was because I was uncoordinated. But after having some discussions with some friends who also have Retinopathy of Prematurity, I have discovered that these friends also experienced similar difficulties.

I would appreciate any research that you could provide on this topic. Perhaps you might consider asking a doctor, who specializes in treating visually impaired people about this topic. I have done some preliminary research on the internet, but I have only been able to locate articles that suggest that there might be a link between Retinopathy of Prematurity and decreased lung capacity in adults with Retinopathy of Prematurity.

Any studies that you could locate that discuss this topic would be appreciated.

If other readers wish to discuss this topic, they may contact me at blindlion@verizon.net

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Ann wrote:

I’d like to respond to a few of last week’s articles. First, to Steve regarding other graduates and their guide dogs: yes, our class had four dogs from the same litter and all are still working. I keep in touch with the woman who has Verona’s sister. It’s fun and rewarding to interact with other handlers and I encourage all dog guide handlers to do it often.

To Terry about Muffs: I would be interested to try them out, however, I am the type of handler who won’t put my dog’s well being at risk unnecessarily. Taking my dog to a rock concert, for instance, is doing this, in my opinion. I have taken her to musicals and classical music shows, however. My thoughts are, take the white cane and leave the pooch at home if you are going to a location that is potentially dangerous to their well being. Loud concerts are chaotic and can cause dogs pain. Plus, the throbbing bass sound that makes the floor shake can be distressing to them if they aren’t accustomed to it.

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James R. Campbell wrote:

Today is January 6, 2014. We have 359 days left in this year. No doubt, many of us have made New Year’s resolutions. We have resolved to lose weight, stop smoking, or do a million other things.

The word resolution comes from the word resolve, meaning will or determination. We may be determined to spend more time with our families, for instance. But what are resolutions?

Resolutions are promises that are made at the first of the year, all too quickly, however, they are forgotten. A goal would serve us better. A goal is something that we wish to achieve by the end of the year.

Goals are attained in incremental steps. Decide what the goal is, and write down a list of steps needed to get there. As each item is met, mark it, and proceed down the list.

I have found that visualizing the end result and the process involved is helpful. Before I bought my laptop at Target, I visualized the steps that would be involved in learning to use it. I did this during meditation sessions, and began this process before we even went to look at a computer.

Present day peace activist and philosopher Daisaku Ikeda reminds us that those who wake up in the morning with work to do and a mission to fulfill are the happiest people of all. A sense of fulfillment is vital for our well-being and development. Keep this in mind when setting your goals for 2014.

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Maria wrote:

I was very interested to hear about mutt muffs. We went to a club for New Year’s Eve and gosh I wish I had a pair of mutt muffs for my guide dog and a pair for myself. The music was incredibly loud to me. I love music and listen to it quite a lot, but I don’t enjoy not being able to control the volume. Karly, my guide dog, didn’t seem bothered but I certainly was. I will have to check out the web sites and see if they will ship to Australia.
Blessings!

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James wrote:

I am James R. Campbell. I am writing to respond to the op-ed piece in the December 23, issue. Let me begin by pointing out what has been learned from the latest research. The act of showing affection releases hormones and other neurotransmitters that help with the healing processes. These chemicals help to elevate mood, and even boost the immune system. Oxytocin, for instance, is the hormone that aids in the bonding of mothers and infants. It works the same way for the rest of us. It helps develop trust, and aids in the lifting of depression, for example.

Thank you Bob. I agree that the good guys are being punished for the actions of those whose only interest is in tearing down the social fabric of our society. We need more people to take up the cause, and speak out, as you have done.

It is my firm belief that the isolation in our society is the reason the overall mental health of our society is so bad. Well meaning doctors treat those of us who suffer with medicine, and while medication has its place, science has shown that those who have a social support system find their medication is more effective. Add a hug to your prescription, things will go better. I have found that to be true. When my cherished Aunt and I have a difference of opinion, or I make a mistake, I will not go without giving her a hug. It sure helps.

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Lucia wrote:

I would like to respond to those who did not understand why I am so appalled at the fact that Cecil Williams fell from the subway platform. I am glad he will be well.

Here’s the problem! First of all, the dog is supposed to guide its handler safely! That is first and foremost and cannot be overstated. Schools that train dogs to work as guides must train the dogs on double-sided platforms! Dogs must be trained not to treat the platform edge as a curb, but to walk between the pillars on the platform. Yes, I did donate to a school, but then, they used to train the dogs on double-sided platforms. Note that schools change, and this training had occurred years ago. Yes, I did raise “mucho bucks” but I can only believe in a school if they are training dogs on double-sided platforms.
Of course I am questioning the integrity. It is mandatory that handlers visually impaired and blind be safe with our dogs! My standards are high! I don’t know that the schools are doing training on double-sided platforms. When are the dogs first exposed to the platforms? This must occur prior to a student receiving his dog at the school!
People who do not see the situation, the way I see it, should “write a new book!”

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Wesley wrote in response to Bob Branco’s op-ed on affection:

While I generally agree that the pendulum has swung too far away from affection and physical contact, I also support and understand why such affection can be labeled as offensive. As innocent as a six year old boy may be, what about the young girl? Did the boy ask to kiss her hand? Did she offer her hand to him to kiss? I have seen plenty of so called acts of affection which are not wanted by the receiver, and it is the receiver who defines whether the affection is acceptable or actually an intrusion of their personal space. Regardless of a person’s age, innocent or not, boundaries are critical. Thus while in his mind he simply wanted to share affection, in her mind she didn’t desire his affection. No, means no, and what one person may deem as perfectly acceptable is not acceptable for another.

I will provide an interesting alternate example of this: recently I attended a workshop, where I introduced myself to the speaker. When I went to shake their hand, they refused. Instead they bowed. I was a bit shocked by this, as it was totally out of the norm. However, I fully respect this person’s custom of bowing versus shaking hands. I could feel insulted, or I could simply accept that their manner of greeting is different than my own.

Now, I will add an additional thought for consideration. In some European countries it is common to kiss a person on each cheek when greeting and parting. This is regardless of their sex, whereas in America it is common to kiss only between a man and a woman, woman to woman, but not between a man and a man. I have no idea how these various customs diverged, but it is clear to me that these are moving targets.

So by today’s standards, from my perspective, even a six year old kissing a girls hand may very well be an intrusion and deserve punishment. At some point we must all learn that each of us is unique and each of us has our own set of boundaries. While these may not match yours or mine, they are still rational and must be observed by others.

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Gerardo wrote:

Responding to Mike’s December 30 Readers Forum in which he briefly states how an iPhone apart from blind-friendly, changes lives, I’d like to share my experience: Yes since the 3GS came out in July 2009 with Voiceover, I was hooked! I listened to podcasts as they came out and through iOS’s updates, thus I kind of was versed on what to expect when in July of 2012, I debuted with an iPhone 3GS! It’s totally one thing to listen to podcast and visualize like I did, on a surface, my Nokia phone or other flat items, how to move through the iPhone’s gestures, but having the iPhone in your hand? It’s totally different! It took me several months to start feeling confident and flowing with workings of the touch screen on my iPhone, but now nearly a year and a half later, I wouldn’t change my iPhone for anything! Aside from Whatsapp, Twitter and other activities that sighted people use, thus permitting me joining them to be in the Social network craze, I listen to radio via TuneIn, use my iPhone for Emails apart from the general phone functions. So any of you still a bit hesitant? Take the plunge!

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John wrote:

Greetings,

I beg to differ with the writer in Reader’s Forum who stated the history of Christmas is found in the Bible. It is not. The birth of Jesus Christ is described, but He was not born on December 25th. Nor is there anywhere in Scripture where the word Christmas appears. Christians are nowhere encouraged or commanded to celebrate Christ’s birth. While it is a momentous event, Christians are instead exhorted to commemorate Christ’s death and burial through what is traditionally called communion or the Lord’s supper.

John Wesley Smith
Hallsville, MO

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Gerardo wrote:

Responding to Feature Writer Alena Roberts – The Year of the Book, as a new Bookshare member, it’d be awesome to have all the access you guys in the US have! Yes the number of books now available is great (nearly 67,000), more than I’d dreamed having at my fingertips before, especially for continuing both practicing my English and enriching myself both personally and professionally (I’m a Psychologist). My question is who would need to ratify the treaty so we international Bookshare members have total access to Bookshare’s collection, the US or in my case, Mexico? It’s certainly an indescribable feeling of being a part of humanity to have equal access to books! Great job Bookshare!

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