Anatomy of an Audio-Described Blind Man’s Binge

I’ll bet you’ve done it before. Bounced onto your couch or recliner, bowl of popcorn or snack of choice in lap, you tap your smartphone or use another tv-connected device to access a series you’ve desired to watch. Then you allow yourself to sink in, emerging occasionally for bathroom breaks and the like.

I have never really been inclined to participate in such activity, given the difficulty involved in keeping track of programming and even the challenge of making a choice on which to watch.

For me anyway, this has begun to change with the introduction of Apple TV+. They seem to have a relatively small amount of content, but I’ve found myself liking nearly all that is available via the app so far.

Naturally, I signed up to check out the series “SEE,” which takes place in a society where blindness prevails and sight is seen as a curse. I confess though that I have not been as able to get into this series, personal preference, but I highly recommend that you watch for yourself as you may like it, and especially if you’re into stuff like Game of Thrones. I do think it’s cool that this sort of programming is getting into the mainstream while giving actors with blindness or low vision a chance to perform on-screen.

I have, however, enjoyed other programming therein. Some of my favorites are The Morning Show, which examines the world of broadcast journalism and how it has been effected by the Me Too movement, and Servant, a show I admittedly don’t entirely understand but enjoy for its strangeness.

But my favorite thus far is For All Mankind, which imagines that the Soviets have beaten the United States to the Moon, thus causing the Space race to continue. Apollo 11 does make it there, sort of, but the nation’s mood continues to spiral down as the Soviets one-up NASA out as far as I have seen in the series, which is episode 4. The story arc is pretty good, but at points they try to address so many elements at once that it becomes a bit clustered. But as a Space junkie I am intrigued by the concept. They certainly assume a level of knowledge by the viewer, so I suspect that this, as with other programs, will have a subset of really interested individuals.

Without question, I would not be able to get into any of these shows if not for audio description, the essence of which I have chronicled in a prior entry. I think we really have rounded that bin where mass media companies are starting to understand the importance of bringing in those with blindness, even while confessing that initially I thought that activism herein would largely be fruitless. I applaud those who charged ahead anyway, and thank them as I now benefit from such progress. I also think that the mixing of audio-described tracks has vastly improved, so that they no longer have to aggressively turn down the movie’s sound in order to convey what is happening. This makes it immensely more enjoyable. So here’s to the (described) future, and continuing to suck us in to these online networks as with the rest of the population.

Just What The Doctor Ordered

I have meant to write this post for the longest time, but life and things keep getting in the way. And I don’t really expect that to change at the holidays, but I really need to go ahead and get this said.

“Just because you don’t know, doesn’t mean it’s not happening”.

This quote brought to you by my wise cousin, and while it can of course cover a vast array of life issues, he and I were specifically referring to medical maladies.

That’s right, we (putting myself firmly in this statement) need to do more about fear of confronting possible issues with our bodies, those that we can see through clear changes and those that might need to be diagnosed by a specialist. Remember when I last wrote about acquiring my first real primary care physician? As the whole blood pressure saga, for which a solution is still being sought, began? Well as I prepared to transition into marriage in mid 2017, I was forced to relocate to Charlotte. This, along with the fact that my awesome doctor, really a resident, was about to leave the practice with which I was associated anyway, caused me to lose contact with her.

Long story kind of short, I didn’t bother re-establishing another physician until my employer, or more specifically its insurer, forced me to do so at threat of rising premiums. I visited this new doctor in December, almost to the date of this posting, and found him to be relatively friendly but…

Now let me preface this by noting that most medical professionals, even those who do not work out for me individually, are doing the best they know how in their field. I know that every day they make difficult, life-changing decisions on the fly, and I give them all the respect for that. But it must be said that some are, shall we say better at really listening to the patient? than others. Bedside manner, they call it. When this does not happen, it can compound the fear and nervousness one already feels when dealing with changes that may or may not be occurring for various reasons.

“NOTE: Ellipses mark redacted information). I would speak to him stating that “lately my …”. “Oh, well this is normal, I would say” was his reply. “Ok? But I’m also experiencing …”. “Yep, that happens in most people under your circumstances.”

“Well can you administer tests at least?” *silence*

(Internal thought) Ok then, why am I even here!

Now, another mistake I had admittedly made here was scheduling my appointment for late in the day, sometime after 4:30 PM on a Friday. But I’m a working man with not a whole lot of time to take off, and this office makes those hours available. So as a patient, I figured all should be ok.

I went to visit this doctor a couple more times, each with the same result. So just before my birthday, I kind of made the decision that I would not bother anymore. But life has a way of showing us when ideas we may harbor are not the best ideas, and due to some sad occurrences in my own family I was compelled to return to the office and ask for a different physician. And my goodness, how much of a difference it makes. She immediately rolled her chair over and sat in front of me, listening carefully to my needs and explanations of what I felt was happening to me. She examined me closely, took thorough notes that she reproduced for me to take home, wrote up a couple of prescriptions, and had the lab run tests. And I realized at that instant that all the anxiety I was feeling had been generated by the responses I had received over prior months. Of course all this medical stuff still scares me some, but when I feel like I have someone who is going to get down there and battle with me to figure out what may or may not be going on, I also feel empowered. So I leave you with this nugget: if you feel you are not getting or have not gotten what you want from your physician, please ask for a change. On a basic level, it will help you to seek that preventative care we all should seek. At a deeper level, it just might save your life.