This is from an email to some people about rehab and my frustrations.
My life history is full of meetings in which no one explained to my parents or me what was really going on. Case files were opened without my parents ever knowing what a case file was. In the rehab system, there is something called an IWRP which is supposed to provide direction for what services you get. I never knew what it was. I just knew that I had one and it needed to be signed every year. I even saw it. But I had never had discussions with the rehab counselor about this plan, what it was for, what it meant, etc. I was just supposed to provide copies of my grades every semester, copies of forms that I used to record how much time I had people reading for me so the rehab agency could reimburse me for paying them. (Yes, I paid it out of pocket and often waited six to eight weeks for that couple hundred bucks to come back to me. That's a major expense when your monthly income's under $500.)
When I left Texas, I was approaching graduation and realizing that rehab was not doing much to help me find a job. I didn't really know what they were supposed to do if anything. So I decided to take the same course that just anybody would take. I started job hunting on the Net, asking around, having Mom and Dad read the papers, etc. I figured since I had my scanner and my parents to read for me for free, I could handle taking these last two classes ok. I'd just be out $5 whenever I had a test someone needed to read for me. Actually, I'll get to take my tests on line, so I won't be out money at all! School is actually pretty much taken care of. Mom got the exception for me to have remitted tuition, so I am set to go next week.
This leaves only the issue of upgrading my computer. It's not a dire emergency. I am doing ok for now. However, I'm running on a system which has not been the norm since something like 1993. There have been three operating system standards implemented since I bought this thing. If you've never heard of DOS, then you know how out of date I am. There are many things more important than Instant Messenger that I cannot access because of this problem. So I thought that I would approach rehab about helping me fix it. Well, it's easier said than done.
When I moved here last July, I called and asked for information about what services they provided and how the system worked. To this question, the response was "What do you need? What are you asking?" It's not that difficult. I need some info. Well, they told me I'd have to come in and open a case. I went in even though I doubted they could do much for me at this point in the game that I could not do for myself. My plan was to ask for help in learning to navigate around Anderson, but I have to admit that for me this is a piece of cake. I find me somebody who likes to drive. We get in the car and go. My driving friend does a bit of narration about what streets we're getting on, what's around, etc. I make me some notes, and I'm pretty much set to go. If I want to get more in depth, then we go for a walk instead. It doesn't take someone with a Master's degree to show me around town. Save their time for helping people learn travel skills who are terrified because they've recently lost their vision.
I went in and found out they hadn't hired a rehab counselor to work with blind people yet. The one they'd had had quit or something. So I was stuck dealing with the supervisor. He had me sign a bunch of release forms. We discussed career options. At that point, Iwas thinking of returning to AU for my Christian ministries degree, which I had started in 1990. He shot it down, first telling me that it was very silly to go back to school for another 30 credits when I only needed six to graduate and then quizzing me about how much money I thought ministers made and telling me how poorly blind ministers would be received by the church and that he could put me in touch with people who had tried it and would back him up.
I was torn between crying hysterically, punching the living daylights out of him, or getting up and walking out of the room. Despite having eye reports from both my optometrist (in which my recent vision loss would have been documented) and my ophthalmologist (in which the need for surgery was noted), and despite having the report from Dr. Trese stating that he felt the surgery would be of benefit, this man wanted me to go and get another opinion before he would consider "using state funds for something that might not help". He never mentioned that this couldn't be done anyway because I did not have an IWRP. I didn't know that I didn't have an IWRP. At that point, I didn't know what was involved in getting an IWRP!
Since the surgery was scheduled for December, I decided to forget rehab and just go on without them. They were wearing me out worse than school. Then came the financial aid issue, which brings us to today. I now have a rehab counselor, but today I find out there is no IWRP and I should have had one months ago. Good grief! To top it off, if I am employed full-time and only taking a course or two, then I'm not considered to be working toward a real goal.
I told her a bit about my situation. She says there are plenty of issues to discuss, but I'm still finding myself questioning whether rehab is a route I want to mess with. If the Ohio thing works out, I'll be dealing with an entirely different state with different laws and different rehab and educational system. I did set up a meeting with the counselor, but I have no idea if I'll get any technology out of this deal either. Oh, well, old faithful will just have to keep on serving for a little while.