[ivie] Braille Forum
abazyn at bazyncommunications.com
Thu Jan 5 12:23:14 EST 2012
Hi all, As a member of the American Council of the Blind, you should be receiving the Braille Forum. If you are not, please let your president or Secretary know so they can subscribe you. (They are available in email, large print, cd, Braille, and podcast.I bring this to your attention since the first two articles are particularly enlightening at this time- Mitch's president's message and the article on the upcoming midyear meetings with the legislative seminar. I've copied them below.
There Truly Is an ACB Family
by Mitch Pomerantz
This is not the President's Column I intended writing to begin 2012.
I had another topic in mind based on a recent small difference of opinion between
the NFB president and myself. And while I may get back to the underlying philosophical
disagreement in a subsequent column, circumstances have changed over the past few
months such that a more personal commentary seems appropriate.
In late September and early October, I had three consecutive weekends
of cross-country travel: to the Oklahoma Council of the Blind convention in Oklahoma
City with Donna; to the ACB fall board of directors meeting in Louisville; and finally
to the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired convention in Lansing.
At the end of the month I also was attending the fall convention of the California
Council of the Blind where I would get my first opportunity to see Donna preside
as affiliate president. More on that weekend shortly.
By the time I boarded my flight for Kentucky
I began thinking that I was coming down with a cold, something I do perhaps once
or twice a year. Things went downhill from there and by the time I arrived home
, I had a fairly serious cough. During that week I began experiencing significant
pain in my neck and shoulders which radiated down through my arms and all the way
to my knees. Making matters worse was a loss of strength and mobility in my right
arm, along with some neuropathy which thankfully did not affect my braille-reading
finger. Early in the week prior to the CCB convention and after several days on
a general antibiotic, I was told things were improving, although I didn't feel much
On Oct. 28th, I went to the convention hotel where I immediately ensconced
myself in our room. I attended the Thursday evening CCB board meeting, an access
and transportation committee meeting on Friday morning, and the opening general session
on Friday afternoon where I did get to see Donna serve as presiding officer. I then
went back to our room to rest until we were scheduled to attend a dinner for local
Around 5 p.m.
I received a call from my treating physician ordering me into the hospital for tests.
She had finally gotten the results of an MRI I'd taken the previous Sunday evening.
There was evidence of a serious infection in my neck and I needed immediate treatment.
Donna's parents, who were serving as convention volunteers and who are two of the
most wonderful people anywhere, drove Donna and me to the Kaiser Hospital in Los
Angeles. Among the highlights of that night were 12 hours in the E.R. because there
were no beds available in the neurosurgery ward, and a visit from the neurosurgeon
in charge of my case who informed me that in his opinion I should immediately undergo
neck surgery to clear out the infection. After hearing him tell me there was no
guarantee that the surgery would ameliorate the symptoms, I declined surgery and
chose a multi-week treatment with antibiotics through an infusion pump.
To make a long story a bit shorter, I was in the hospital for six days.
I spent a lot of time training two shifts of nurses about the capabilities of blind
people. Most of them got it, I think. I spent nearly 90 minutes in an MRI chamber,
and had a needle biopsy under a very local anesthetic. By the way, the marathon
MRI is not recommended for anyone who is slightly hyperactive or has excellent hearing.
The doctors did find an antibiotic which does an excellent job dealing with what
turned out to be a staph infection. And no, we haven't a clue as to how I picked
it up. At this writing - the weekend after Thanksgiving - the infection is improving,
although my back and neck are still very stiff and sore (something I may end up living
with indefinitely). I should have a more definitive idea of the long-term prognosis
after meeting with that aforementioned surgeon in early December.
The real reason for the above narrative isn't to evoke sympathy. During
my hospital stay and since returning home, I have received calls and e-mails from
literally scores of ACB members; yes, many of them close friends and colleagues,
but many more folks whom I'd only met once or twice at various functions. Those
calls and e-mails have made it abundantly clear to me that the American Council of
the Blind is far more than an advocacy organization; it is -- we are -- a family.
On occasion that family is dysfunctional; the more active members of that family
sometimes become frustrated with the more passive ones. There is gossip, sniping
and many of the other less positive endeavors encountered within families. Anyone
reading this who is subscribed to either of ACB's general-interest lists is more
than aware that the Kumbaya spirit is occasionally absent from the discussions despite
the best efforts of the list moderator.
However, like most families, we honestly and sincerely care about one
another. Since September, three other ACB leaders, Berl Colley, Marlaina Lieberg
and Paul Edwards, have experienced health-related setbacks. They are all improving,
but the outpouring of support for their individual recoveries has further demonstrated
that we truly care about the welfare of each member of the ACB family. The same
is true when we learn about the illness of a rank-and-file member of our organization.
Their status doesn't matter; what matters is that they are a part of ACB.
Donna and I are tremendously appreciative of the expressions of love
and support we've received since October and I am incredibly proud to be serving
as president of an organization whose members see themselves as part of a large and
diverse family, warts and all. It is far easier to fight in the legislative and
advocacy trenches on a daily basis if you believe that you're doing what you're doing
for your family. From now on, that's how I'm going to view the work I've still to
get done as your president.
A REMINDER ABOUT THE 2012 MIDYEAR MEETINGS
by Melanie Brunson
I'd like to begin my article this month by wishing all of you a happy
2012! The new year promises to be a busy one for ACB and its affiliates. We are
expecting significant activity this year on issues such as accessible prescription
drug labeling, special education, vocational rehabilitation, and a wide range of
transportation issues. In addition, our work on audio description and other telecommunication
issues will continue, and legislative activities are only a part of what's in store
for ACB in the year ahead. If you are interested in knowing more about what else
is on our agenda, I hope you are planning to attend the midyear meetings in February.
It's not too late to make plans to join us, but you need to act soon. The hotel
is filling up fast, and rooms must be reserved by January 31.
In addition to the legislative seminar, there will be meetings of both
the ACB board of directors and the board of publications, as well as a meeting for
affiliate presidents or their representatives. Any ACB member can attend these meetings,
and I urge members to do so. A number of exciting new activities will be discussed,
and lots of information shared that touches on all aspects of life within our ACB
family. For example, the ACB board will be meeting for two days this year in order
to devote one day to a strategic planning session. Their aim will be to try to set
goals for ACB over several years.
We will be meeting again this year at the Holiday Inn National Airport
in Arlington, Va.
Here are the dates:
? The ACB board meeting will be held on Thursday, Feb. 23 and Friday,
? The affiliate presidents' meeting will be on Saturday, Feb. 25 and
Sunday, Feb. 26.
? The legislative seminar will begin in the afternoon of Feb. 26, continue
through Monday, Feb. 27, and conclude on Tuesday, Feb. 28 with visits to Congressional
offices by participants.
Room rates at the hotel are $119 per night plus tax, and reservations
can be made by either calling 1-800-HOLIDAY, (1-800-465-4329) or online at www.ichotelsgroup.com/redirect?path=rates&brandCode=HI&GPC=ACB&hotelCode=WASDC&_PMID=99801505.
Be sure to note the group code ACB when you make your reservation. This rate is
available beginning on Feb. 22, the evening before the board meeting, and will apply
through the 29th, the day after the legislative seminar.
You can register for these events online by going to the ACB web site,
www.acb.org, and looking for the link to the registration form, or you can register
by phone by calling the
office. There is a $35 registration fee for the legislative seminar, which covers
the cost of two lunches and your materials. Attendees of the affiliate presidents'
meeting will be asked to pay $15 if they want a lunch during the full-day portion
on Saturday. It is strongly suggested that participants order a lunch because there
will be a speaker during lunchtime.
Don't procrastinate. Make your plans while there's still time. Join
us for a fun and informative weekend, and start your new year off by making a difference
for your affiliate, for ACB, and for the entire community of people who have vision
loss. I look forward to seeing you!
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