Reader’s Forum – Week of December 16, 2013

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

Lucia wrote:

I wish to comment on something mentioned in a Reader’s Forum quite a while ago, but this is of paramount importance. This has to do with the title change from Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic to Learning Ally.

The reason for this change is due to the fact that dyslexia is not the only learning disability wherein people cannot read print. A friend who is knowledgeable informed me of this and I had a feeling all along that this friend was correct. There are other learning disabilities which prevent a person from accessing printed material. Hence, the new name “Learning Ally.”

Unfortunately, two individuals, who shall be nameless, ranted and raved, claiming that this change in name is due to “shame” with reference to blindness. This is a fallacy. These nameless individuals do not have a right to an opinion. We do!

People must never judge, criticize or make assumptions before verifying and learning the facts. People say that “it is the blind speaking for themselves.” I think not.

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Danni wrote in response to: Feature Writer John Christie – Man Decides to Take Himself Off of Life Support:

Before Bowers made a decision to live or die, he should have met with other people who were in a similar situation. In this way, he would have made a more educated decision.

I have to absolutely disagree with this whole statement! Who says he didn’t make a very educated decision? His own sister, a nurse, was there and supported his decision and for all any of us know he could have already expressed such a decision long before this happened!

Imagine if someone became blind and they saw no hope in life and didn’t know of other people who were already blind and this person, like Tim, decided to die. The blind person who decided to die could have lived a better quality of life with rehabilitation and other people as role models.

I really do not understand at all how blindness in any way shape or form compares to being paralyzed and trapped to machines??? I am appalled that this comparison has even been made!

How do you feel about Tim Bowers?

I feel that he made the best decision for himself and no matter how selfish some may think it was, it was and always will be his decision and I am so glad he was able to make it and relieved his family from such a difficult decision!

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Bob Branco wrote:

Dear Readers,

I was wrong about the number of members in the Blind and Visually Impaired Professionals LinkedIn group. There are a total of 1,464 members as of today.

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Ann Chiapetta wrote:

I’d like to respond to John Christie’s article in the December 9, 2013 issue titled Man Decides to Take Himself off Life Support.

In it, John writes: “Before Bowers made a decision to live or die, he should have met with other people who were in a similar situation. In this way, he would have made a more educated decision. Imagine if someone became blind and they saw no hope in life and didn’t know of other people who were already blind and this person, like Tim, decided to die. The blind person who decided to die could have lived a better quality of life with rehabilitation and other people as role models. How do you feel about Tim Bowers?”

First, I think comparing a person who cannot breathe or move independently to someone who has suddenly become blind is like comparing apples to oranges. Yes, they are both devastating, tragic and life changing events but someone who is blind is still functioning at a much higher level. If I were this man, faced with living on the edge of life and death, completely dependent on machines, I would consider pressing the button. I have met with other quadriplegics and some have said they think about suicide all the time. I also realize that folks can become horrified if they even entertain the idea of being blind. There is no easy answer to this situation and that is what makes it a tragedy. End of life issues are never neatly packaged into what ifs, and while I think this story is both poignant and tragic, I also understand and accept this man’s choice to end his life, which many would say is no life at all, being on life support is merely existing.

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Regina wrote:

I wish to comment on John Christie’s story about a man deciding to take himself off of life-support machine. Tim Bower was hurt in a car accident which left him paralyzed severely almost throughout the body. We hear that doctors have confirmed that his life will not be the same again, and that he will remain on the wheelchair for the rest of his life. Life is a God-given precious gift; hence, no one here on earth is supposed to overrule taking it away from you apart from God Himself who gave it to you. Being disabled in any form is not the end of the road; the only medicine is to accept yourself in every situation you are found in and remain positive about it, and life goes on.

I would like to thank all those people from different countries world-over that are mourning with us in Africa the death of a great man and a Father of Africa, Mr. Nelson Mandela who passed on last week Thursday. He is one out very few leaders not only in Africa but the World as the whole who showed the true leadership qualities. I just hope that other leaders will emulate Mandela’s examples and put them in practice for the better world.

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Stanley wrote:

Tim Bowers was given terrible support and awful advice. Instead of being asked difficult and impossible questions to answer shortly after his traumatic and devastating accident, he could have been given a chance to recover with loving and tender support around him. He could have been introduced to and told about the hundreds of people who are quadriplegics who live satisfying and rewarding lives as spouses, parents and grandparents. He could have been introduced to many individuals whom I know personally who would tell him that parenting is among the most joyous activities of their lives. He could have been encouraged to wait, recover as much as possible, experience his life and become a fulfilled person with a disability, which, while having limitations, can also be handled with love and caring support. By the way, as blind people, we are very sensitive when anyone questions our quality of life. We should be at least as careful as we want others to be.

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Abbie wrote:

This is in response to John Christie’s article about the man who decided to take himself off life support. For six years, my late husband Bill lived with partial paralysis as a result of two strokes. The only things he could do independently were breathe, eat, and operate his computer, radio, and talking book players. It sounds like Tim Bowers couldn’t do even that.

I wonder. Did John Christie ever meet anyone in Tim Bowers’ condition who had a good quality of life? I doubt it. It’s true that people who are blind, deaf, or suffering from other physical disabilities can still have a good quality of life.

As for Tim Bowers, I applaud his family for allowing him to make his own decision. I’m sure it was hard for them. It wasn’t easy for me when I finally had to move Bill to a nursing home after caring for him for six years. About a month later, after a downhill battle, he stopped eating. He died three days after that. I could have insisted the staff use whatever drastic measures were available to keep him alive, but I knew he was tired of living with the use of only one arm and leg so I let him go. He and Tim Bowers are both in a better place. I have to believe that.

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Roy wrote:

I think the decision Tim Bowers made was very courageous. Comparing Tim’s situation to someone who has lost his/her sight is like comparing apples to televisions. Nothing in common at all. The person who has lost their sight is not on a ventilator and is able to function in every other way except the eyes do not work anymore. Deciding to let oneself die is not easy. I’m sure many readers have thought of ending their life at one time or another but couldn’t go through with it and I’m glad they didn’t. This was a man who obviously lived a vibrant, fruitful life and that came to a total end. Rest in peace, Tim Bowers.

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David wrote:

Concerning LinkedIn and Bob’s article: I’d be curious to know who is teaching the class to access LinkedIn. I can visit there, but don’t really understand the website. It’s like Facebook in that it’s elaborate, with lots of bells and whistles. I become easily mentally fatigued trying to sort it all out. I am fascinated to hear of the over 14,000 blind professionals on there. Some blind people are obviously very gainfully employed.

I’d skin any kitty that snatched my turkey. Bad Aleksander.


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