BBC NEWS | Wales | Parking dispute blind man arrest

BBC NEWS | Wales | Parking dispute blind man arrest.

This is what blind people face every time they leave there front doors, drivers parking on pavements, people leaving there bikes on the pavement, overhanging branches, roadwork’s, and street furniture not to mention other pedestrians and road users.

The sad thing is this is a common story all over the country, I have had the same problem near my parents house and even worse in Southampton, it put the safety of guide dog owners at risk and threatens our independence.

It also causes problems for people with pushchairs and wheelchair users.

Car drivers please don’t park on the pavement.


The slug chronicles

Now think about this have you ever stepped on a slug? The answer is probably yes, but then have you stepped on a slug whilst wearing nothing but socks and whilst carrying 30Kg of guide dog? I thought not!

This was the scene last Monday night, Ian my mums 9 year old guide dog had just had a big operation on his mouth, he had been allowed home but was very, very sleepy. He had not been to the toilet (of any variety) for about 10 hours -based on this we were sure he needed to go.

His legs however would not carry him, he was like a very, very drunk old man he got a few paces and then simply collapsed.

Slowly with a lot of my help we were edging towards the back door.

There are however 3 steps to negotiate before making it onto the grass area, I had to make a call I was concerned he would not make it down the steps without landing on his face.

That was it then I had to carry him.

Now lets have a little reality check here, this is me Jemma Brown  –  the girl who can’t see a thing in the dark and who does not posses any balance, carrying 30Kg of dog down some steps in the dark!

Well I did and Ian and I both survived… just!

It was almost close for a moment, as I took the last step onto the grass still carrying Ian I stepped on a slug and my foot slipped forward under the slimy mess I had just created.

Luckily it did not slide far but it left me with dead slug entrails the entire length of my sock.

My socks has now gone to the landfill heaven in the ground.

There is a moral to this story, if you are a little on the blind side and ever have the need to carry your guide dog or as in this case someone else’s guide dog outside apply shoes first!

Just Giving!

Good evening to you all dear readers, I am forever thankful that you actually look at this stuff and at least some of you apparently like it and come to visit time and time again!

I am however about to beg… In September I am going to be rescued from drowning by a Newfoundland dog.

I’m hoping I won’t actually be drowning but saying that I have not been swimming in  a long time, anyway I digress, I am after sponsorship for this event to raise money for The Guide Dogs For The Blind Association (UK).

As you should by now be aware I benefit from having a Guide Dog (Gus) so this is a charity very close to my heart. Having Gus has boosted my confidence and made me so much more independent, we go everywhere together and are very rarely apart. There are also the benefits that Gus is my companion, I am never alone because he is always their, at hospital appointments, at uni, at Guide Meetings, at cricket… The list would be endless.

Please help me to raise money to insure that Guide Dogs can continue there vital work for years to come.

Click on the button on the right to sponsor me or visit

Facebook | The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (UK)’s notes

Facebook | The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (UK)’s notes.

(The above link takes you to a Facebook page where you can listen to the audio leaflet)


I am the living proof of this, I’m registered as partially sighted although it is commonly assumed that I must be compleatly blind to have a guide dog – WRONG!

The Eye Unit Continues to Amaze

On Thursday of this week I got a interesting letter through from the eye unit appointments,  it contained 3 letters one saying my appointment was at 1 o’clock on Tuesday another saying it was at 2 o’clock and another saying it was at 3 o’clock now put that into context that I already had an appointment booked for this morning I was rather confused.

So I phoned the appointments line and was told that it was an error on the system, I needed to keep my Saturday appointment and that the appointment on Tuesday is actually at 1 o’clock.

So I got up at 6:30 Saturday morning,  fed Gus Got us both ready and headed out to get the 8:05 bus to Southampton General Eye Unit. Those of you that know me well will be aware that I am not a morning person at the best of times but on a Saturday, getting to the hospital for 8:45 was very difficult. My Bus was unfortunately late so I was about 5 minutes late for my appointment but the receptionist was very nice about it and because it was  a really small clinic with 30 patients and 3 doctors seeing them all they simply swapped me around so I was not late at all!

I’m getting to know the nurses quite well on the eye unit now, we are on first name terms in most cases they all love my dog and we have a bit of a laugh when I read out the lowest line of the eye chart I can see and they have no idea what I am going on about! (Due to the fact that all the letters are wrong)

So I did the distance vision test which is a laugh then went to have drops put in my eyes as normal in a attempt to dilate my pupils, I normally have to have 2 different kinds which normally don’t work to well anyway I told the nurse that I needed 2 different types and she assured me that I did not.

10 minutes later and I am approached and told I was right all along and that I need another lot of eye drops!

Anyhow I went in to see the doctor who was confused as to why I was there on the Saturday when I am going next Tuesday anyway, there where no consultants around because it was a Saturday so the doctor did all the usual checks and discovered that my Glaucoma was sky high in my left eye, the pressure is supposed to be around the 18 mark, my left eye was scoring 30. The doctor then got a bit worried and asked me a million questions and told me not to panic, I was very chilled out about it because I know eye pressures is all ways higher in the morning and after all the eye drops they had put in my eye must have had some effect on the pressure. Quite frankly the Doctor was telling me not to panic but she was more than me she then looked through my notes and pondered.

At the end of the day unfortunately my combination of eye conditions is both rather rare and complicated for this reason these days I all ways see a consultant so poor little registrar was evidently feeling rather out of her depth and did not know what to do. 

So I got a sorry I really don’t get why you are here right now and make sure you keep your appointment on Tuesday because I have no idea what to do!


So I got up at 6:30 AM on a Saturday to go to the hospital for no reason, I remain unimpressed!

Seriously the appointments system is both fragile and ridiculously inefficient, 2 appointments in 4 days at the same place, now that’s just bizarre.

Also I used to get my appointment letters in large print,  but since moving to a new appointments system they are no longer able to produce the letters in large print, this is the eye unit the place where pretty much every patient could do with an accessible letter! I asked if my letters could in that instance be emailed through to me and was told that the system would not allow that either.

BBC NEWS -Airport security ‘humiliated’ man

BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Airport security ‘humiliated’ man.

My own experence at airports and various other places with tight security has been interesting. Security staff simply don’t know what to do if you are disabled and as a result don’t know how to help.

At Berlin airport I was asked to remove my supportive boots compleate with orthosoles, stood on one leg. I explained that I could not stand on one leg  let alone stand on one leg and remove my boot at the same time. I asked if I could get someone to take my boot off for me, this was not allowed, I asked if they minded me sitting on the floor this was not allowed. In the end the person I was travelling with had to physically hold me up whilst I removed my boots and orthosoles, A very humiliating experence, when the time came to put my boots and orthosoles back on,  I was given a chair!

That’s the only really negative experience I have had other than being accused of being drunk and the walking through the gates with no cane or guide dog taking a leap of faith.

Interestingly Gus has never been security searched however my long cane has been, I was asked to fold it down so a security guard on the London Eye could check there was nothing illegal inside!

Society does not understand : The Bus Journey

Public transport is something that interests me a lot, possibly a little too much as you are about to discover. The reason for it is like many disabled people I can’t drive, well you would not want a guide dog owner driving now would you?

So anyway parts of my life, the activities I can take part in, the way I spend my time and to an extent my choice of where I live relies heavily on a mixture of public transport links and timetables, if there is no bus or train I can’t get there. (Unless I beg a friend or my long suffering father to take me)

I have been home from university for a few weeks now for Easter, however last Wednesday I had to go back for a few appointments and more importantly work.

This means catching a bus from Gosport to Southampton, the number 72 it runs once an hour somewhere between 25 past and 25 to the hour, its not a precise science.

I got on the bus which was not a modern fully accessible one, it was a noisy old banger.

This presents me with a problem, there is only one decent guide dog parking space on this type of bus, right at tbe back next to the emergancy exit door. It has more dog room due to the presence of the door so there is plenty of space for Gus and lets not forget he is a big dog!

Surprise surprise this seat was taken.

The next option is to sit in the regular seat, put Gus in first (closest to the window)get him to lay down then I sit right on the edge of the seat. This method is not very comfortable for either of us but is survivable.

On Wednesday the bus was rather busy so there was one said free double seat, we hopped into it and I thought no more of it.

Then the bus started to fill up and eventually the seat by the window next to me was the only seat left, but Gus was laid in a small ball in the footwell, even the smalles person in the world could not have sat there.

I then got asked by somone if I could move up, I explained that my guide dog was under the seat and all was well.

Then as the journey progressed more people asked… and the mood on the bs started to turn hostile.

People got rude, started staring and talking about me being rude  and gossiping about how dogs should not be allowed on buses. 

Of course he is not an ordinary dog he is a registered assistance dog he s my independence and has just as much right to be there on the bus as any of the other people moaning.

It was indeed not my fault that the bus was not an accessible one, but the people on the bus made me feel rather guilty about being there.

Eye Casualty

After a night of worrying and not hearing anything I got a phone call from my mum who was equally worried, she (with my permission) rang The Eye Unit to find out what was going on.

She was told basically that I needed to get to Eye Casualty as soon as possible.
So I got a few bits together got ready and headed out.
I got as far as the PELICAN crossing outside my halls and had to turn back, someone had smashed a tonne of glass all over the pavement and the crossing, I can’t see glass so only knew when I was already stood on it.
Gus cut his paw, he refused to move so I did what I am trained to do in situations such as this, I picked him up, I got a few paces and he decided he was not having any of it so bit me, I dropped him, it was a true comedy moment, he did then decide to move however! I dashed back to halls and the residence manager bandaged up my dog and cleaned the wound, it was very small.
Then there was the frantic OMG I don’t know what to do panicked phone call to my mum, who told me to go straight to Eye Casualty because they where very concerned and sort Gus out later on.
So I got a TAXI to Eye Casualty saw the receptionist, who again could not find my notes.
I sat for an hour or 2, had a distance vision test and waited a bit more.
My notes where somehow found and I saw a doctor.
The doctor apologised for me being told to go in to Casualty, and told me that the doctor I saw yesterday had written a letter to a consultant to get him to look at my notes, the consultant would then decide when I needed to be seen and what tests I need and I will get a letter in the post.
In the meantime my macular has been bleeding, and they have no idea why. There is nothing they can do at eye casualty because they only deal with problems at the front of the eye there. 
However if it gets any worse before I get a letter I need to ring them up straight away and head down, they can’t do anything about it in eye casualty but they need to know.
So I have to wait for a letter to get loads of tests done, who knows what it is so its still just a worry at this stage.
So I left eye casualty having completely wasted my time and TAXI fare and a whole day I could have spent working on the 3 assignments I have due in eminently and headed for coffee.
Got coffee and rang vet, got  an appointment.
Got the bus into town then got more cash out (TAXI’s are VERY expensive) and another coffee and headed to the vets.
Saw the vet who commended the managers first aid skills, he had a good look and discovered that there was in fact some glass in Gus’ foot. 
Gus was an angel and laid there rolling letting the vet have a poke around and try and get it out, he kicked the vet a few times, who was incredibly patient with Gus. 
The Glass would not come out so the vet and I decided it would be kinder to sedate Gus to get it out.
2 and a half hours later Gus was still very not with it and now had a lovely Green bandage and we where heading for another TAXI home.
At the time of writing he is a lot more with it, but is not a happy bunny, he is currently sitting on his bed giving me evils asking me to make the bandage on his foot go away.
It took him forever to come round from the sedation, I got back to halls and dropped a piece of pepperoni on his face and he did not even notice.

Change will happen to ME

It seems strange to be writing about change as I have just changed the layout of this blog, it seems to be creating a little sub theme, but the change I am referring to here is a life change.

It’s at this point I need to mention Beth and her blog ‘Screw Bronze‘; I have been following Beth’s blog ever since the start of the Ouch project and she is a truly fantastic example of a human being, if you do nothing else today just pop over to her blog and have a read. Her latest post titled ‘Badminton, illness and change’ has really hit me and helped me with a change I am getting to grips with right now.
As I am sure readers will be aware I have a bone condition in addition to being VI its that (not so) little thing that everyone ALWAYS forgets about, but trust me I never forget about it!
My condition has always been one that is likely to flare up and deteriorate over time, I have always known this but today I have come to a bit of a milestone.
After walking down The (EFFING) Eiffel Tower and then yesterday (just as things where improving) managing to slip over in the mud I am having a very serious flare up.
My left hip and knee take it in turns to be very painful and I am really struggling to balance.
I have hit the point I always knew would happen, it is time to obtain a walking stick.
This is for me a bit of a big thing, I am possibly being a bit pathetic but now the time has come I am finding it rather difficult.
People will see me and Gus and then a stick I’m worried about what will go through peoples heads, questions they might ask and the reactions of my friends, acquaintances and complete strangers.
Reading Beth’s blog has made me realise, its just an adjustment to a new normal for me and everyone else, I have no need to feel self conscious or concerned about peoples perceptions and prejudices.
I am ME; a stunningly beautiful, 20 year old, independent. visually impaired woman who sometimes needs to use a stick to get about and more importantly I will not be ashamed of what I am.
OK its a change for me to think about using a stick, but it will only be a change for so long, and then it will become the norm, nothing will be different.

Review of 2009 > Hopes for 2009

It’s 2009  so I wanted to wish all readers a happy new year and wish you all a happy, healthy year filled with great stuff!

I also thought I should write some kind of reflection on 2008 and my hopes for 2009, so here it goes.
2008 started with a new relationship, which at the time was fantastic, however 6 months later it became very apparent that it was wrong for both of us to continue how we where, we where in hindsight simply too different; that was the end of that. At the time devastating but now it was the right thing to happen.
The first half of the year was pretty mundane, I was ticking over at college, with a unconditional offer I didn’t NEED to be there, naturally motivation to continue diminished, leaving me running at tick over, putting in lots of effort was pointless.
Of course lets not forget that for the first half of the year I was in the deep, darkness of major depression trying to find an anti-depressant that worked for me and wondering if I would ever be the same person again. I went on some horrible meds in this time that made me ill or seemed to improve my condition for a few weeks and then caused me to drop back down with a big bump, I remained on the end of a very long waiting list for further treatment on the NHS, and felt rubbish!  
Eventually my fantastic (now former) GP got me on the right medication for me, everyone is different and it takes time to find these things, but things started to look up.
Then in May I got a phone call that has completely changed my life,  a call form Guide Dogs to say they thought they had a match for me, the match of course being Gus who you will all know the story of.
At the end of June, begging of July Gus and I trained and my life changed hugely for the better, he really is guide dog of the year material!
Not only did this mark the start of me and my boy it marked the end of college and time to start preparing for the move to university, big but positive changes where afoot.
September saw the start of university which is fantastic, breaking news day which was utterly terrifying but probably good, and meeting all the new people. Gus and I continue to have a fantastic time at univeristy, I think Gus sometimes wishes there where more dogs at university to play with but over all he loves it.
Sadly 2008 also saw the end of my guest blogging for Ouch! I hope to be able to do more stuff with the team in the future but for now I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities they gave me as a teenager with no idea what to do with there life they helped me to find my path and follow it!
So what about 2009? 
I have many hopes for the year, my first of which is to try and be less of a complete wuss, I need to have more confidence in my writing ability, not something that can be done over night by anymeans but a year should be a start.
I hope to be off my anti-depressants by the end of 2009, I am now in recovery but the medication I am on is rather a high dose and highly addictive, so this is more of a challenge than it may seem to some, I am determined to get there and hope that 2009 will see me in a true state of recovery!
I hope Gus has a healthier new year, that is accident free and good for him.
I all ready have a lot of things planned for the new year, lots of which you will probably hear about here first so I would also like to take a moment to thank you all for reading this crap!