Sunday, February 5, 2012

One More Week of Computer Class

I have done a full month of computer classes at the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities and I only have one more week to go.  We started with Word and then moved on to Excel and Access. It has been a basic overview of those programs with enough information to know how to start a project and what potential there is in the programs. I am a MAC user so it was all pretty new to me but I have caught on very quickly. Next week's plan is to work on cover letters and resume writing and about using the Internet for job searches.

I have had spare time during class so I started trying to learn a program called OneNote. I think that program might turn out to be very helpful for me. It is a way to organize a variety of types of information in a binder style complete with tabs and extra pages. It can include pictures, video, audio clips, and you can insert documents like excel and word and it can all be dragged around to format it anyway you like.  I am starting out by using it to organize my blogging plans and resources. Tools that can help with memory and organization like this program and my iPhone are real blessings. I spend a lot of time feeling very anxious and stressed while trying to remember what I am supposed to do. I just don’t have the energy for trial and error.

I am doing very well in class. I am finding that I am comfortable with the 3 hours now and I am productive for the whole time. I am also finding the work itself much easier than I thought I would. I don't think I am having any real functional issues related to my memory and cognitive problems. Drop down menus are great visual memory triggers. It was suggested that using keyboard shortcuts is faster but I just can’t seem to remember what the function is even called, never mind the short cut for it.  I run the mouse over the tool bars and think “A ha! Yes! Click that one!” 

I have found that a few of the physical issues are bigger problems than I expected. I have had real issues keeping my left arm elevated so that I can keep typing. I have put a huge amount of work into getting my fingers moving, but clearly I do not have great control over my left shoulder, neck and I even have some issues with my elbow.  My arm just gets "tired" after a while and it keeps slipping down from the desktop keyboard and I loose control over the whole arm eventually. I am having extra arm pain, but the more distressing problem is my lack of control with extended use. I know I need a break when my hand starts to spasm. I have upped the height of the chair, lowered the screen and adjusted the armrest and I even put a little cushion on it to help keep my arm supported and elevated above the keyboard. It is a good temporary solution but I know will need to work on arm exercises once the computer class is over.

My other big problem is related to my vision.  I find it difficult to copy from an assignment page to the computer. It is hard to move my eyes back and forth very much. I got a stand for the paper, and lined up the screen beside it and I also bumped up the size of the text on the screen. I learned that I have to actually look into the distance every 5 or ten minutes and I need to get up every hour or so and walk around and give my eyes a real break. I am getting pretty bad headaches and I am sure they are because of my vision.

One of the main objectives of this program was to see if we could increase my stamina. I now last for the period of the class but I don't really seem to have increased my stamina for the day as a whole. Coping well at the course has been at the expense of my other activities. I have not had the energy to exercise or to socialize in the evening. I am very cranky a lot of the time and all I want to do is lie down by six in the evening. Even tiny household tasks have become overwhelming.  On the other hand, I feel very good having a routine and getting out of the house. I like going to the course and it has really helped my battered self-esteem.

10 comments:

mywithershins said...

I'm glad to hear you are having success with your course, although it looks like there are still some physical limitations to overcome. I am sure you will be able to increase your stamina with time. Maybe we'll need to get to more Tai Ji classes! Take care, my friend.

Barb Polan said...

Great news! I am impressed that you were able to solve some of your ergonomic issues. The left side of my neck tightens up when I use my computer very long and I haven't been able to prevent that.

I a very happy that you are doing well in the class and wish you all the best in getting your resume, etc., together.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your information!

glynisj said...

Hi Linda

I know exactly what you're going through.


I had to relearn how to type with one hand. It makes the going slower but I get it done.

The vision problem may get better for you. Mine got a little better the more I practiced over time. (This does not mean you need to practice when your eyes have had it.) It took about 3 years for just that little bit.

glynisj said...

Hi Linda

I know exactly what you're going through.


I had to relearn how to type with one hand. It makes the going slower but I get it done.

The vision problem may get better for you. Mine got a little better the more I practiced over time. (This does not mean you need to practice when your eyes have had it.) It took about 3 years for just that little bit.

Rebecca said...

Your tenacity is amazing. It's thrilling to read about your efforts to do what some people may think is impossible.

garydotgray said...

BRAVO! You are truly amazing Linda. You are working so hard and it is paying off.

I wish you success but don't go overboard. Remember the secret is to push the envelope, gently...

best,

Gary

Blue Shoe Farm said...

Yay! Congrats on the almost completed class.
I don't like the changing/loss of vision thing either, and try to ignore it (which is of course impossible.) Best of luck!

Shipping Wars said...

Congratulations! However, this is just the beginning to all the new possibilities when it comes to learning more on computers.

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