Training Begins

If you were to imagine the perfect day to start walking routes, I’m guessing you would not choose torrential rain, debris flying around and 15-20 mph winds. Yeah, me neigher. But Mother Nature loves to mess with people’s plans so we opted for working in the apartment complex. With a new guide it’s important mark the targetted destinations (mark as in practice reaching each destination repeatedly NOT using permanent markers and defininitely not marking like a dog does). Seemd easy enough: find both elevators, find apartment door from both elevators, find the office, find the mailboxes. We did all those easy ones. And then there were the stairs.

I moved to a building with elevators after my limited sight led me to believe I was on the ground but I was actually two steps above it and I fell rupturing the tendons around an ankle. So why, you ask, would I need to practice stairs? Two words–fire drills. I have four flights of stairs in order to exit the building. Three of them have 19 steps each and the last one has 18 (they couldn’t put in one more to keep them all the same for blind people who need to count steps so they don’t fall and rupture tendons?) So we spent almost 90 minutes going up and down, marking the railings I need to hold. Can you say sore insteps?

By 3 PM the skies were still gloomy but no rain so we ventured out As part of the complex, there are four townhouses next to the driveway to the apartment building. The sidewalk in front of them leads you to the main road. Either the builders were totally drunk and created the walkway the way they were walking, or the guy with the cement truck was paid by the foot because that sidewalk has four switchbacks to get to the road and the whole distance is only about 50 yards! And it’s all uphill like a 3% incline on a treadmill. Then we continued up the road, also a 3% incline for a block. The only thing goodpart about walking uphill is that going home, it’s all downhill!

I know you youngins out there are scoffing at walking a block+ uphill. Try it when you’re 70ish and haven’t walked it in two years because your previous guide dog didn’t want to work. Oh, and throw in losing sight to the point you only see light and shapes. Not so easy, huh! Even my 3+ year Guide Girl needed a nap when we got home.

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