Sunday, December 18, 2011

Vocational Testing - Results Meeting

I met with the guy that did my aptitude testing, along with my vocational rehab counselor, to discuss the results of all that testing I did.

The testing was not as helpful in narrowing down my interests and possible work options as we had hoped. It was still a valuable experience. Basically it was clear that I had trouble with endurance and that environmental things like lighting and sound had a major impact on how well I was able to work.

A very positive thing to me was that, all things considered, I actually scored phenomenally well on the intellectual tasks. The things that should have taken one day of testing took me much much longer to complete but given enough time I did just fine. The next objective will be to work my way up to part-time employment in some type of job that I might find satisfying. I am not looking for a job with a huge income but I do need to wake up and have some purpose in my day with somewhere to go. Sitting alone at home is not good for me.

I must tell you that I was originally really scared that all my cognitive and intellectual issues were going to be permanent.  
 I was going to be stuck with a lot of glitches, particularly in math and anything involving spatial orientation, and that those  memory issues would prevent me from ever learning anything new. This testing showed that I can do almost anything, but now I do it slower and it takes a lot of my energy.

Like anything where you don't have baseline tests, this process simply gives a snapshot of where you are in that moment. It doesn't reflect where you were and what you have lost or where you will be in the future but it does give you somewhere to start.
An example would be that the tests showed that I have some issues with manual dexterity so that knocked out certain categories of jobs. It doesn't show all the years of playing piano or rapid typing when I considered myself to have really good manual dexterity.  Part of my job depended on good hand-eye coordination. It doesn't show the months of trying  to hang onto an object and move it from one spot to another or trying to even remembering that I have a left hand that I should try to use.

My counselor and I talked about what to do next. I am going to start with a 6 week computer course at the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities (SMD). It starts at the beginning of January and will go every afternoon for 3 hours. There is no question that I have some computer skills but I am mainly a MAC user. This will get me some experience with a variety of Microsoft programs and give me documentation that I have  computer experience. The other big objective is to try and build up my stamina with time.  The hope is that, like so many other issues, I can gradually learn to cope with the challenges ahead.

Friday, December 9, 2011

We are Home

I had a very good time on our vacation in Hawaii, but I must admit I don't feel rested----- I feel exhausted. I need to take it easier when I go on these adventures.

I strained my back on our trip home but fortunately my back is already getting better. I think it was just helping with my carry-on luggage or perhaps it was just sitting in the plane that long but I am sure not ready to jump straight into Christmas decorating and shopping. Life does go on and I do need to get back to all of my regular activities.

I had a guitar lesson last Tuesday --- after 3 weeks without practice. Wow it was bad. (My teacher is the most patient person you ever met!) I guess two little ukulele lessons don't make up for weeks without touching the guitar. I have been getting better at the guitar and the difference it had made to my weak hand is phenomenal, but it does take me a long time to get the hang of any of the mental or physical skills involved in playing. It seems that I forget what I learn much faster than the amount of time it takes me to learn it in the first place. Practice, practice,  practice.  Maybe I should start practicing the ukulele too.

Winnipeggers usually wind up talking about the weather, so maybe that is a good fall back topic to ease me back into the blogging world. When we left it was pretty darn cool in Manitoba, but we didn't have any snow on the ground. We flew off to Hawaii and despite the fact that it was 80 degrees and warm at night I wanted to carry my jacket around like a security blanket. By the end of the two weeks I was just starting to trust the easy weather conditions and then it was time to come home.

People .. it is darn cold here and it is just going to get colder!

There isn't a lot of deep snow, but the sidewalks are icy and slippery and I need to have a metal spike gripper thing on the bottom of my cane to keep me from slipping. My winter parka from last year is having zipper problems.

I have switched from pretty glasses of fruity beverages decorated with pineapple slices and fresh flowers to mugs of tea or hot cocoa decorated with Santa and reindeer.

I must admit that I do sleep better curled up in my own bed under 2 fluffy quilts.

Ahhhh ----  Home Sweet Home.
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