Opal Goes On a Photo Shoot

Opal and I took over a local hospital today. We had an entourage that included; two AEBC (Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians) Halifax chapter members, three Halifax Infirmary staff people, and my friend, Anita a photographer who was armed with camera equipment. We were on a photo shoot for a pamphlet which AEBC Halifax has created in collaboration with the Diversity team at CDHA (Capital District Health Authority).  This pamphlet is being developed for some of the front-line staff of CDHA.  CDHA is made up of several hospitals and clinics in Halifax (10,000 employees in total).  The information in the pamphlet is designed to inform them on how to assist patients or clients who are blind or partially sighted. It includes information on the types of things to say to a blind person in the hospital/clinic setting (identify yourself…offer assistance…explain a procedure…) what NOT to say (“Over there”, “you don’t look blind”…), what to do (elementary guiding,  provide audible cues ie tapping a counter), what NOT to do (grab a blind person, touch a guide dog….), some general information (blind people have different types and levels of vision…some blind people use aids such as long white cane, or white support cane, ID cane, walker,  or guide dog…) information about the AEBC (see link on blogroll) and the Diversity Initiative at CDHA.  This is a phenomenal achievement for AEBC Halifax, a new chapter that no one knows much about yet.  CDHA wanted ‘realistic’ photos for the pamphlet instead of my cheesy Clip Art.   I convinced them to hire my favourite photographer. I also asked Randy (who has a standard long cane) and Joann (who uses a walker, but also brought along her white support cane) to meet us for some ‘action shots’.    The hospital provided three volunteer staff people to ‘ease the pain’ and chaos arising from our little  photo shoot with the ‘hospitalish’ looking staff and employees I needed in the pictures. I wanted Anita to take shots of us in various settings. We posed at the information counter, though we stalled there until confirmation with ‘Security’ about ‘permission’.  We also shot pics in the blood collection services area,  the Infirmary’s hallways, and in the Occupational Therapy department.   Fortunately, I am familiar with the blood lab staff and managed to sweet talk Glenda and Cathy (Cathy stopped long enough to put on her lipstick) to allow us into their department. They took time to pose with us, pretending to draw blood samples. Ya gotta love a phlebotomist! It also doesn’t hurt that I have the ability to steamroll a situation before anyone knows what is happening. A  lovely young woman from New Zealand who works in OT seemed a little camera shy at first, but when she realized that it was her chance at Canadian immortality (she is going back to the land of kiwis soon) she acquiesced and posed too.   We had some technical glitches.  Not the photography equipment…Randy’s cane fell apart and we had to stop and get it taped  up before he could continue. Opal led the parade all over the 4th floor of the Halifax Infirmary, and appeared in a number of shots. You can’t have a pamphlet without a guide dog on the front of it, can you?!

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