New Guide Dog Journals Day 1

Last Updated on: 25th March 2013, 09:21 am

Well I’m on the plane. And I complained last time about having to be up at 4. Try getting up at 2:30. It was an interesting experience. Like I said, Steve’s mom was nice enough to drive me to the airport. But she had to go to another terminal than me. So I had made lots of calls to the airport assistance line to make sure I could get help from her terminal. Yes yes yes. Just go to a special assistance desk with a blue wheelchair sign and ask for help. Oky Doky.

Well I didn’t count on the first special assistance desk being unoccupied with a sign saying be back shortly. My definition of shortly is different from theirs. I finally called the assistance line and said I was waiting for help at a desk but no one was there.
they asked me where I was, and told me someone would be there soon.

Sound the crickets…

Eventually some lady came charging over and asked if i was…how did she put it…the lady with the vision problem. When i said I was, she said I was being expected over at kiosk 3 or kiosk 2 or something. When I told her i called and told them where I was, she grudgimgly took me to this other mystical kiosk, not before nearly having me do a face plant over a suitcase.

I asked her if the kiosks were numbered and she said no, only agents know the kiosk numbers. So, um, how would I know to go to kiosk 3?

When we got to the other desk, this other woman didn’t want to take me either because she was going home. So after playing a nice game of who wants to help me less, the first woman was told to take me.

After getting to the right terminal, things got better, although it was mildly amusing to be guided by a deaf lady who refused to acknowledge she had a hearing issue. Ah well, we got to the molestation zone, er, security. oh boy did I beep today. Thankfully I didn’t have to go through the naked scanners.

After being felt all over by security, I got paired up with a really nice guy. He was definitely the coolest of the bunch. He helped me get breakfast, and damn me I managed to splatter yogourt on my white shirt. But he then went and brought over another lady in a wheelchair. Woohoo company.

Since we were both there early, we did a lot of thumb twiddling. But I’ll take that any day over stressing out over missing the flight. In fact we got there so early that our gate wasn’t even available for us. Very very odd.

I got on the plane and discovered that Air Canada has braille safety features cards. But for some strange reason, the card was cut off at a random place. I get the feeling that they only completed one side in English and one side in French, regardless of whether that was the complete document. So if you’re offered the braille wrapped in plastic, it’s incomplete. They found a double sided english only copy that was complete. Yes, that means it required both sides to complete the card. No word on whether there’s a complete French braille copy around.

oh, something else new. They have a demo kit with oxygem mask and life vest that blind folks get to feel. Kinda neat.

I’m sitting next to a nice man who is headed back to San Francisco. He thought the braille fail was pretty amusing and disturbing.

So I’m headed to guide dog school. By the hour, oh who am I kidding, by the minute, my feelings shift from happy to sad to nervous to excited to worried to uneasy. What a total difference from when I went for Trixie. I had no idea how complex a set of feelings I would go through. And this is before I’ve even seen a dog. Good lord I’m going to be an absolute mess.

This class experience is going to be so different in so many ways. When I went for Trix, I had no communication with the guide dog community whatsoever. I wanted to get my dog and get on with life. Now I know so many raisers and realize just how interconnected everybody is.

And about that. I feel I have to apologize for some things I did wrong last time. I was a little naive and didn’t think there was any harm in mentioning my classmates and their dogs by name. In retrospect, that was a kind of prickish thing to do. I’ll try to make this one just as fun without the giant confidentiality violations all over the place.

I was looking over my day 1 of Trix’s journal, mostly to figure out if they fed me on that flight, which they didn’t. But I couldn’t help but notice that on day 1, I mentioned having a headache. Spooky, because yesterday I had a headache too. Thankfully, today it’s much better.

How much technology has changed. When I did this last time, I had a braille display that wouldn’t know a wireless connection if it came up and smacked it. Phone calls were made by calling the person collect, having them refuse the charges and then they called back. If I wanted to check email, I had to go to the computer room. Now I can do it all from this little phone.

I keep hoping I haven’t forgotten anything, and also hoping there will be enough room in the suitcase for doggie things.

Oh my. I’m really tired all of a sudden. I should nap.
That was a short nap. God I’m hungry, but if I want something I have to order it off a menu. Lord what is chompling my phone’s battery? Maybe I should cram it for a while.

Other things of note. Has anyone seen the singing baggage checker guy at Pearson? He seriously was singing the lord’s prayer this morning as he checked bags. At first I thought the singing guy was just an odd fellow passenger, but no. I had it confirmed by cool guy that the guy just sings all the time and does work for the airport.

Holy crap my head my head ow ow ow.

Rest of flight was uneventful. Got taken to baggage claim and met by a canine welfare technician guy. He seemed really nice. He gave me a bag lunch but since I did eat a sandwich on the plane, I wasn’t super hungry. Now my body doesn’t know what time it is. I feel like total crap.

My classmates seem nice. we’re from all over. there are 4 women and 2 guys. And there are 4 retraims and 2 newbies. Apparently I’m famous for…something. I think I had at least 3 classmates say “So you’re the one from Toronto.I don’t think I can write anymore. Am completely exhausted. Will try and put this up.

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  1. You didn’t do too bad typing on that cute little keyboard you bought for the phone, especially with a headache while on a plane and having been awake essentially forever. I only fixed something like 4 little mistakes. Now what am I supposed to do with the rest of my time? Hahahaha. Technology has changed, indeed.

    I wonder what you’re famous for. It could be simply for being from somewhere else. In my experience it seems like a lot of Americans find anybody from another country interesting an exotic, even if we’re pretty much them just with more maple syrup and less gun violence.

  2. #CarinOfTheWin! I can’t wait to find out what you’re famous for! Man that class seems so small. I just remembered the dining room at school and I think we had three tables of students. You guys are gonna have what, one table? Though you won’t be in the dining hall. How weird is that. It doesn’t sound like your airport experience was very fun at all. I hope it’s better going back with Insert. Hey, we’re on the exact same time zone now! So I know it’s only just after 8 there. Are you guys preparing to get your dogs? Maybe this afternoon? wow!

  3. The best of luck to you. Anxiously awaiting your announcement and feel exhausted for you.

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