This week was pretty frustrating at rehab. Monday and Friday were good, and so was most of Tuesday, but Tuesday evening and Wednesday and Thursday were bad. I had something called an “experience trip” on Wednesday and Thursday, but none of the activities were particularly new or challenging. All we did was having to travel to a particular bakery in a nearby village by public transit. When we found it, we had coffee and a spiced biscuit. Then we had to find a particular farm, where all we did was cuddling cows and having lunch. The walking trip that followed wasn’t particularly difficult and that was the end of the day, except for chatting which we do each evening. On Thursday, we did horseback riding, eating pancakes and abseiling or tandem biking, all of which I’d done before. I wasn’t the only one who found this: all of us did. The only “challenge” was that all of it had to be a surprise and for the folks who hadn’t attended the summer programme last year, most of it probably was. Of course, some blind people, especially those with additional conditions, find it challenging to even walk such a distance, and for some I think that travelling by public transit was a challenge, cause not everyone is as far through the programme as I am or has the same experience using public transportation I do. I mean, of course, as a congenitally blind person, I might have an advantage, though I got some questions that implied that I had very limited experience, like if I’d ever been to a farm – of course I have. Others got those same stupid questions though, so it’s not that they assume that as a blind person you won’t go to farms, while as a sighted person you will.
While having lunch on Wednesday, I resolved not to think about what I could’ve done at the centre had it been a normal week. I couldn’t. It’s my fifteenth week and I felt as if I were wasting my time cuddling cows and eating spiced biscuit. Maartje, one of the mobility instructors who went with us, said that I’d had my mobility instruction for this week by getting to the bakery, the farm and the sleeping place. Well, it was nothing more than following the other students, and finding out that one person had used a portable tape recorder to record the route, which is a useful technique I hadn’t thought about before. In short, I feel that the surprise effect does not at all outweigh all the far too easy activities. Team three folks (partially sighted people) do far more challenging activities, and it just can’t be the greater amount of vision, cause I did many at the summer programme. We found it better to prepare for it in advance, like having to shop for dinner, etc. Oh, Maartje also commented that I’d already had my Occuptional Therapy cause of going to make fried eggs on Thursday morning. Well, that used to be my only cooking skill before I got OT classes, and its only novelty was frying them in the microwave. Now the folks are thinking of preparing for the trip in the OT workshops – I hope they’ll follow through with the plan.
I was pretty grouchy throughout Tuesday evening, Wednesday and Thursday. It all had to do with a very bad discussion with my counsellor on Tuesday afternoon. I didn’t get to speak to the rehab workers on Monday cause they give classes then and of course all my classes were cancelled cause of that stupid trip. I do realize that I have a responsibility in discussing my concerns and goals with the folks and I eagerly admitted that to my counsellor, but it’s frustrating when all of your classes are being cancelled so you have difficulty speaking to the folks. Besides, I find it utterly annoying that I just don’t get any reaction beyond: “Then you’ll do it next week,” followed by the question if I had news about “De Boomgaard”. “Is he nagging about ‘De Boomgaard’ again, huh?” the folk commented. Well, I felt like: apparently he realizes that he’s nagging about it each week, so why on Earth not quit it for a change, especially cause he asked me if I had any news and I said I didn’t. Of course I didn’t have news, cause I’d said last week that I’d talk to Ellen, and I couldn’t cause she was on holiday and my classes were cancelled this week – besides, Ellen hardly ever attends them and they are on Wednesday and Thursday. The counsellor would tell her about my wanting to talk with her about “De Boomgaard”, so I hope she’ll finally attend my OT next week. Still, I felt like: what does this all mean? It was six weeks ago that I first expressed my concern about OT and mobility. The reaction then was that everyone has limitations to what they can and can’t do and a conclusion that it was going well, and I wanted to agree cause apparently the folk had not heard negative comments about me. Two weeks later, he asked me if I had enough mobility instruction, and I said I didn’t know cause I had nearly as many classes as I’d already had. Maybe at that time I should’ve been clearer about what I was concerned about, but I felt I did learn some things and couldn’t guess at the time what could still be learnt in seven more lessons – after having had eight. Three more weeks later, so last week, I was really seriously concerned and expressed it, and was told to discuss my concern with the workers. So I wanted to but didn’t. Then this week I was told that then it would be next week. It’s my fifteenth week! I have only three more weeks and feel sincerely that I’m going to be kicked out of the centre by December 22. That’s also what I expressed, in somewhat more subtle terms, when the folk commented about “De Boomgaard” as if it were no problem at all that I hadn’t yet had a chance of discussing my concenrs with Ellen so to make a decision: I don’t want to leave on December 22 without any plans for what to do next except for studying. The folk likely understood.
In the evening, another student told me that after nine weeks or so, the rehab workers should’ve evaluated my case and this should’ve been discussed with me. Either the evaluation wasn’t done or it wasn’t discussed with me, and this made me really pissed off, especially since I rarely get any feedback, from either my counsellor or the workers, beyond “We’re almost done” or the like. I feel that the mobility instructor agrees with me about what I still have to do – I’m just scared I don’t have enough time -, but the OT trainee apparently doesn’t. Oh well, maybe he does but my expressing my concerns a couple of weeks ago was just not clear enough. Clarity is not among my strengths when addressing this stuff, and I realize therefore that it’s as much my responsibility to make sure we evaluate the process appropriately as it is anyone else’s, if not more mine. The other students I spoke with on Tuesday didn’t agree, but I do think it’s reasonable for my counsellor and the other workers to expect it from me. After all, it’s my rehabilitation, not anyone else’s.