Exciting News

Bumpy Road to Assisted LivingMy first book has just been published! This day has been in the making for over 2 years. After sending out about 150 query letters to traditional publishers, I finally decided to bite the bullet and self-publish, as many of my friends have done. I fought it for a long time, but I thought if it was going to be published in my lifetime, I’d better get real and take matters into my own hands and my checking account.

Self-publishing has been a great learning experience. For instance, I was able to have the cover designed to my liking, and the photographs selected by my daughter, Kara. Proofreading was much more of a project than I had expected, as 4 people were in on it, and the manuscript was read and reread many times, not only by my editor, but also by me and by Kara. If you go with a traditional publisher, you lose a lot of control, and you still have to market your own book. Here’s a synopsis:

Making the decision to move an elderly parent into assisted living against her will has myriad challenges. Like many adult children who want to respect their parents’ wishes, I didn’t take action until it was crucial. But unlike most adult children, I had to deal with this crisis as an only child who is totally blind. The logistics alone were only the start of my uphill struggle with this task.

For the last two years of her life, I learned many lessons about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and she learned to accept the difficulties of being 98 and living in an assisted living community.

In “The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living, A Daughter’s Memoir,” I describe not only the move, her adjustment to a foreign way of life, and the emotional trauma for both of us, but also some advice and comfort for others experiencing this inevitable change.

What makes my story unique is that I tell it with blindness always in the background. You will find some touching moments, some troubling, and some relative to your own life.

This is a memoir woven through my observations of who my mother was and who I am.

If you’d like to check it out, go to

dldbooks.com/maryhiland/

or you can find it on Amazon.

And thanks in advance if you decide to buy it.

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LYFT

When the shared ride services, namely Uber and Lyft, made their welcome appearance on the scene in Columbus, I felt as though I had just acquired a chauffeur. All I had to do was swipe a few times and double-tap a few times on my iphone app, and in minutes, a car would be arriving in front of my house. It took a bit of practicing, a lot of sweating, and a great deal of frustration, but eventually, I was able to order a car on my own. Then without warning, LYFT disappeared, and Uber’s app was hard for me to use. “So that’s that,” I thought. “So much for affordable independence.” But then a few months ago, LYFT reappeared, and once again, I was faced with learning to navigate the new and “improved” app.

Yesterday, I had 2 very positive experiences, even though the ordering procedure provoked a lot of stress. Just when I thought I had mastered the app, they went and changed everything around, and once again, I was lost. Several swipes and a misguided double-tap later, I was finally stuffing my long-legged girl onto the back seat floor, and I was on my way to the beauty shop. I have several friends from church who regularly drive me to doctors’ appointments and to the Y, but I feel awkward asking them to drive me to appointments that are all about my appearance and not my health. Yes, my haircut or my manicure will cost me an extra $10 or so, but I love the freedom LYFT provides. I’m no longer nervous about getting done in time, not wanting my friend to have to wait. But now I suffer another kind of nervousness. As with other apps on my phone, it knows where I am, but sometimes it gets it wrong, like yesterday. I had to enter my address, and then I couldn’t find what to do next. Finally after swiping frantically, I got to the next field and was relatively confident the car would show up. But would he make a fuss about the dog? Does she speak English? You may have read about law suits against these companies regarding service animals. I’ve only had one incident where the driver has left me standing in front of a building. I learned my lesson. I no longer wait outside. I wait until I have received the text that the driver has arrived. By waiting, I have access to the make of the car and the driver’s name. I also try to call the driver and let him or her know that I have a dog guide. I am not required to do this, and some of my blind friends would be upset with me for doing this, but if I establish contact, I can first hear if they have an understanding of English, and then also let them know that I am a considerate passenger. If they are not a considerate driver and choose to leave me stranded, then shame on them, and they can expect to pay the consequences. It’s against the law to deny me service because of my service dog. And why do I want a driver who speaks English? I must be able to communicate with my driver. After all, I can’t point to where I want to go. When I arrived at the beauty shop, I hurriedly swiped away at the app, trying to find where I give the driver a rating and then again to where I choose the amount for a tip. I accidentally hit submit without selecting a tip amount, and there was no way to go back and hunt for it. But to my relief, a message was waiting for me on my lap top at home, thanking me for my business, complete with a link to a place where I could leave the driver a tip. Thank Goodness for pages that hold still and let me double-tap where I want. You see, I’m rated as a passenger too, so I want to be known as a good fare. If they “like” me, and I “like” them, we’re all good.