Learning To Cope With Sight Loss

FrontCoverImage SightLoss 300 dpi

Six Weeks at a VA Blind Rehabilitation Center
William L. McGee with Sandra V. McGee
BMC Publications, 2010

Available from Amazon in Two Formats

Kindle: 15 color photographs, $4.99

Audio CD: A  75-minute  recording of the complete text, packaged in a jewel case.  Recorded by four San Francisco Bay Area Broadcast Legends: Don Mozley (CBS Radio and KCBS/74); director/writer/producer Ed Dudkowski (KPIX-TV, KRON-TV); Emmy award-winning news anchor Cheryl Jennings (ABC 7/KGO TV); and Warren Weagant (ABC 7/KGO Radio and TV, and Command Productions, Sausalito, California), $12.95

Print Edition (Out-of-print): 36 pp, 35 color photographs, softcover, 8.5” x 11”, $9.95

For those who are eligible, this title is also available as an audio book from the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) in Washington, D.C.)

From the Author:  On the morning of August 13, 2003, my wife arrived home to find me sitting at my desk, staring off into space. ‘Sandra,’ I said. ‘I have bad news. I can’t see.’ That morning I had suffered a hemorrhage in my left eye that would render me legally blind from macular degeneration.”
—William L. McGee

About the Book

Sight loss can be a stressful event in anyone’s life.  Author and former broadcaster William L. McGee tells how he got back to writing in this inspiring, easy-to-read ebook or Audio CD.

Six years after Bill McGee was declared legally blind from macular degeneration, he heard about the V.A. Blind Rehabilitation Treatment Program. In 2009, he applied for and was admitted to the V.A. Western Blind Rehab Center  in Palo Alto, California. For six weeks, he resided with thirty other veterans (or “students” as they are called) and together they learned new ways to cope with their various types of sight loss.

The author provides the official description of each component of the V.A. Blind Rehab Treatment Program, and then provides his own experience and firsthand account, plus comments from fellow veterans.

Recommended reading or listening to inspire and inform anyone with low vision, their families, and caregivers.

Table of Contents
Part I, My Vision Loss History
Part II, The V.A. Western Blind Rehabilitation Center
Part III, The V.A. Blind Rehabilitation Treatment Program
Visual Skills
Orientation and Mobility
Living Skills
Manual Skills
Computer Access Training
Recreation Therapy
Adjustment to Sight Loss
Family Training
Appendix: List of V.A. Blind Rehabilitation Centers, List of Resources for Blinded and Low Vision Non-Veterans and Veterans



“On behalf of the San Francisco Veterans Administration VIST (Visually Impaired Services Team), please accept our gratitude for your donation of your wonderful booklet, ‘Learning To Cope With Sight Loss – Six Weeks at a VA Blind Rehabilitation Center’. The booklet is an invaluable tool that I give to veterans and their spouses or caregivers who are on the fence about going to one of our blind rehab centers. For many, it is the nudge they need toget them off the fence and into the blind center for the appropriate training they need to learn adaptive skills to cope with sight loss. Your donation is a precious gift to our visually impaired Veterans.”
-Lila Jaffray, VIST Coordinator, San Francisco VA Medical Center

“‘Learning to Cope with Sight Loss’ is the best-written description of the VA Blind Rehabilitation Program that I’ve seen and an invaluable tool for those veterans considering participation in one of the Regional Centers.”
-Patrick J. Caskey, M.D., North Bay Vitreoretinal Consultants, Santa Rosa, CA

“Despite recent medical advances, patients, far too often, still suffer significant vision loss and require low vision rehabilitation. William McGee’s booklet is an easy-to-read and informative personal journey through the VA Blind Rehabilitation Center.”
-Dante J. Pieramici, MD, Director, California Retina Research Foundation, Santa Barbara, CA

“Bill McGee’s ‘Learning To Cope With Sight Loss’ is filled with insightful observations and a complete analysis of all that the world-class VA facilities can offer to our Association members.”
-Tom Miller, Executive Director, Blinded Veterans Association, Washington, D.C.

“The most reliable help in sight loss is to profit from others who have learned to cope with it. It’s never going to be easy, but with guidance from others who have been there, things will be less frustrating. Bill McGee shows what a wonderful job the VA is doing to help sight loss sufferers deal effectively with their new condition.”
-Charles Champlin, former film critic and arts editor, Los Angeles Times, and author My Friend, You Are Legally Blind

“Thanks to the VA Blind Rehab Program, I’ve come around 180 degrees.”
R. A. Rodriguez, VA Blind Rehab Program student (Tractional Retinal Detachment) U.S.N., Vietnam

“The first time I came to the VA Blind Rehab Center, I really wanted to die….Weeks later, I left with my head held high, a cane in my hand, and felt like I could conquer the world. My spirits are now 100 percent.”
-S. Abrams, VA Blind Rehab Program student (Macular Degeneration), U.S. Coast Guard SPAR, 1944-1945

“I live alone, so you can imagine what a big difference the reading aids I learned about will make in my life. And Bill McGee’s account has made it possible for me to provide answers to questions asked by family and friends.”
-J. LoBue, VA Blind Rehab Program student (Macular Degeneration), U.S. 20th Air Force, WWII

“In Manual Skills, they taught me how to use my hands again and not get so frustrated trying to do things.”
-J. Spratley, VA Blind Rehab Program student (Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy), U.S. Army, 1972-1974

“I came to the Western Blind Rehab Center in Palo Alto without any vision … I couldn’t read, I couldn’t write, I couldn’t communicate. Now I see to the back of the room where I couldn’t before.”
-B. Light, VA Blind Rehab Program student (Macular Degeneration), U.S. Army, WWII

“I’ve had the pleasure of being a student at the Western Blind Rehab Center on four occasions — all of them a great experience. Bill’s booklet tells it as it really is and I will share with my fellow classmates at Braille here in the Desert.”
-Pete Schabarum, VA Blind Rehab Program student and former San Francisco 49er

“A succinct personal account of Bill’s experiences…he fully explains what so many people are unaware of—the scope of vision rehabilitation services offered by the V.A.”
-Anne Yeadon, M.A., VRT, Executive Director, Vision Aware

“Bill McGee has one special quality as an author: He has lived everything he writes about, to the fullest, and he conveys his experiences with clarity and human interest, whether he’s delving into his war experiences or his life as a cowboy or his coping with life’s normal, and abnormal, tribulations.”
-Murray Olderman, Hall of Fame sports writer, award-winning cartoonist, and author



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