Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Moorfields, Paralympics and Braille

I WENT TO Moorfields eye Hospital yesterday for my regular check up. There's nothing that can be done for me now, but it's good to check that my eye is still the same bomb site! I did go a couple of months ago and my consultant wasn't there, which was very irritating as to be honest nobody else understands my eye.

I got there and did the usual eye test with the nurse. It's always a good start when I can see the super powerful torch light that' blinds me! They never go on and test if I can see hand movement though, which I just don't know if I can!

Mr Alewood seemed pleased to see me and immediately started going on about Zack who produced a documentary I featured in last year. Part of the documentary showed me having my final eye operation. Anyway, apparently Zack had made a new doc that was on last week. I was asked how my eye was and I mentioned the slight photophobia I've been having.

Did the usual look up, down, left and right. Measured the pressure, which I forgot to ask what it was and then I was surprised with what he said. 'Well your eye is better, as there was some detachment before'. My eye better?! That never happens! Why has it taken my eye so damn long to learn how to reattach my retina. That would have been useful a few years ago and saved me loads of operations!

Anyway, I can't say I've noticed an improvement in my vision, but I have good days where I can tell the difference between black and white, see the painted lines on the road and on a really good day I think I can see colours. He also mentioned that I had some inflammation that might be causing the photophobia. So I've been given eye drops to put in twice a day. My mum's immediate reaction was that I need to try and see if I can read under a CCTV again, but to be honest I very much doubt I will be able to. I go back in 6 months.

I still haven't heard from them, but I'm quite frustrated as Amear who plays Goalball for GB already got a call to say he's been accepted on to the programme. Found this out as Jack was training with him at the weekend. So I'm guessing I've not been chosen, but they best contact me soon, as I want to know about coaching and where I can progress from here.

Remember a while back I wrote to RNIB with my Braille story? Well I got an email from a Caroline White who is a freelance journalist. She's been asked to write a piece for RNIB's New beacon magazine. She said we could do the interview by phone or email, but I said email, as this way I can think through my answers.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Interview 2

Today I had an interview at an organisation called The Rowan who offers support and advice to disabled people. The job was to be a HR Assistant for 24 hours per week based in Nuneaton.

Unfortunately the sat nav didn’t work straight away and my mum and I got lost on the motorway. Eventually we got there in a rush, but I was already 10mins late and pretty stressed out. I was taken in immediately and didn’t have time to calm myself and relax.

The questions they were asking weren’t overly difficult, but I found myself waffling on about god knows what! For the life of me I couldn’t think of what skills I had except great communication skills at the time! Grrr, stupid me I have an excellent memory, numerical, creative, team player, computer literate, argh the list is endless! I just couldn’t think!

So in short I don’t think I will get the job, but it’s something I would really enjoy. HR and disability is exactly what interests me and throw in sport it would be perfect!

A few hours later I got a call regarding the interview I went to on Wednesday. Surprise surprise I didn’t get the job and off the record I came 3rd. Gutted! I was told my tests were excellent, which is frustrating in a way as I know I am more than capable of doing the job. However, my examples to questions weren’t in-depth enough. The guy was really nice and said he would arrange to go through it all with me question by question to help me in the future. I guess you just don’t know what type of competition you’re going to get on the day.

Anyway, although I’m pretty miffed tonight, all hope isn’t lost yet, as I’ve applied for 3 more jobs at the Council. 1 of the closing dates was last week and the other 2 today and yesterday. So I should hear from them next week.

All I want is a job! Surely that’s not too much to ask, is it…?

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Interview 1

I had an interview today in Adult Social Care to become an Admin assistant. It is still based at County hall and full-time too.

I felt that the interview went ok and I answered the questions fluently. However, on reflection maybe I could have answered them a little better. There were some troubles with getting hal to work on the computer, but I came and did the tests in my office.

The tests were fairly simple to be honest. First I had to put some information in to excel, calculate the total with a formula and then the total for each course. The second part of the test was to write a standard letter to confirm to participants that they have a place on a course.

I think the only thing that will let me down is my lack of experience overall. Fingers crossed though and I will hear from them on Friday.

I also have another interview on Friday that I will let you know all about after the event.

Monday, 17 November 2008

My Jack

Considering jack is my boyfriend I don't think I talk about him much on here! So I thought I would make an effort. Jack currently works at RNIB as a Trainee resource Centre Assistant, but has a strong background in sport. However, today he's really pleased as he's just been offered a job at Lindon lodge school, which is a special school to be a support assistant. He used to go to the school and knows the students and staff very well. He's been volunteering there for the past 6 months to help with Goalball training and other activities.

Jack lost his eye sight when he was 13 as he was hit by a van on his paper round. He's lucky to be alive. He has a prosthetic right eye and limited vision in his left. Without his glasses he has finger counting vision and with 6/60. Over the last month he's been having problems with his sight and has experienced blurry vision. Basically his transplanted cornea has protein growing on it and it will continue to grow making Jack's eye sight worse. They said once it gets to an extent where he can no longer see they will give him laser treatment to burn some of it away. However, it will grow back again and his vision will deteriorate as they can only offer laser treatment so many times before they burn the entire cornea away.

Normally, another cornea transplant could be made, but due to his accident his eyes were squashed and as a result he has very low eye pressure making it near impossible to operate. I hope they can do something in the long term though, as I know all too well how horrible it is to gradually watch your sight slip away.

On a brighter note Jack will soon be on the GB Goalball team! No eye sight required for that at least! It's likely that he will be called up for a GB training session next month.

Don't think I have anything else to report about Jack, but I hope I've created a good picture of him now.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Final Selection Weekend

So I couldn’t go to Teignmouth and have a fun, but relaxing weekend. Instead I went to the second selection weekend, which was also the final selection for the Paralympic Fast Track Power Programme.

It was held in Loughborough again and I arrived with Courtney at 9.45am on Saturday. It appeared that they had asked 12 athletes back, which was a little confusing as there are 12 places on the programme. However, a new group emerged who were doing the same tests that I had to do previously.

In the morning they seemed a bit unorganised and we were meant to be watching the professional train in order to get an idea of what it involves. Obviously this was quite boring for me and I just shivered in the freezing cold!

Next it was lunchtime and I found that most people knew each other. Nobody really made an effort to talk to me and I felt like an outcast. At this point I was thinking that being a below the knee amputee would be much better than being blind! They can run fast, drive and generally don’t need any help. Unlike me who needed guiding around everywhere, one to one demonstrations and unable to strike up a conversation with anyone.

Anyway, in the afternoon we did a little technical work, but I can’t say I broke in to a sweat. After that some people did discus, but they told me I could go. Quite a rubbish day really!

Today was better and I took jack along to help me, as Courtney has football matches on Sundays. We did some more technical work and were timed over 20m after a power start. I did well to be fair running at about 15.5secs 100m pace.

After the session I spoke to Brian, the coach who I believe used to be the chair of IBSA (International Blind sport Association). I wanted to know where I could get a good coach in order to progress. He suggested Sheila who used to coach me, but unfortunately as she’s connected with Exhol Grange School her priority lies with them. Basically the students don’t get the most out of the track and so haven’t been going to Pingles for a while now. He said he’d be willing to coach me, but it’s up to UK athletics where he gets based and he’s not sure yet. He comes down to Loughborough monthly for coach meetings and explained that he would be more than willing to coach afterwards. He commented that he’s not sure the programme is right for me, as I’m already involved in athletics and just need good coaching.

This afternoon we were put in to 3 teams and had a mini competition over several events. I did the 30m sprint, standing long jump, overhead shot, cricket ball throw and leg press. Oh yeah and the relay. We came second overall. My usual silver place finish!

In the round up they said that they will devise a plan for each individual and will be in contact in a couple of weeks. Honestly, I don’t think they’ll accept me on to the programme, but I hope they offer a suitable alternative. I gave it my best shot as ever and still determined to succeed in the sport.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Pampering Day

I treated my mum to a Pampering day voucher for Mother's Day this year and we finally went yesterday. We had massages booked in for 2.30pm, but got there about 11am to take advantage of the other facilities.

It was at the Bannentine Health Club, but I can't say I was that impressed. We went in the steam room first and I just couldn't hack the heat. This is coming from someone who loves the sun, but it was just too hot! Think I managed half an hour.

We wanted to go in the Jacuzzi, however, it was full and one was out of order. I didn't fancy a swim as have a phobia when too many people are in the pool!

So we went in search of some lunch. Ended up in a pub and got a roast, which was quite tasty. Then we were killing some time and I ended up buying a pair of swade boots with fur on. Don't think I described them very well!

We went back to the Health Club and waited for our massages. Typical they were running late. We eventually got called and I kindly let my mum go first, as I'd never had one before and wanted to observe how much it hurt!

It was then my turn and it was relaxing to a certain extent. I had loads of knots in my left shoulder blade and around my neck. God it hurt when she was popping them out and my shoulder is still sore today! I think the knots are from using my cane as they occur due to stress, poor posture and lactic acid build up.

I would like to get massages more regularly and will look in to it. Finally my mum had her nails done and by that time I was shattered. Glad to get home and was tucked up in bed by 8.40pm!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

F1: Grrrrr

I wrote this post straight after the grand prix last Sunday, but was too traumatised to publish it at the time!

I am lost for words…speechless…devastated! I am a through and through Ferrari supporter and have been for a good 10 years. Today’s race has to have been the most stressful time of my life ever! Massa did everything he needed to in order to win the World Championship and Venn when he had crossed the line it looked as though he had clinched it.

Evil Lewis was in 6th with 2 corners to go, but had to finish 5th. Gloc had stayed on dry tyres in the pouring rain and was so close to the finish line. Somehow I don’t know how Hamilton over took him and that was it.

My heart sank along with the 100,000 Massa fans in the Brazilian circuit. Hamilton did not deserve to win. He has always been a reckless driver and gets away with murder! Most of the other drivers despise him too.

Next year will be different! Ferrari won the constructors title, which just goes to show they have the better car.

Overall it was a dramatic season of F1 driving Cubica was impressive along with Alonso to be honest. Raikanan was just unlucky like Massa, but they both have the skill and talent.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

One Step Closer

I got a voicemail on my mobile this morning and have been told that I have been chosen for the second selection weekend. So basically if I get through this I will be put on the Paralympic Fast Track Power Programme. However, the camp is running from November 14th – 16th, which is when I was meant to be going to Teignmouth with some VI friends. I’m really really gutted that I can’t go. I don’t have a social life as it is and the weekend would have been really enjoyable for me.

Anyway, getting on a Paralympic Programme is something that is very important to me. I would love to have a proper coach and training regime. I’ve found already that I’m struggling to do it myself at the moment. I have no idea about technical stuff, such as posture; stride length and what exactly I should do to improve.

Fingers crossed that I get through!