2020 started with a different feeling. Maybe feeling disillusioned by the bushfires we had all around Australia which had especially around Christmas. For the first time in years, Mum and I didn’t watch the fireworks on TV (although around 9 pm we went outside and watched fireworks from nearby), but by fluke around midnight I was watching a +LIVE+ concert and 2020 was brought in by one of our all-time favourite ROCK songs Lakini’s Juice! Oh yeah, baby!

Healthwise, things have declined and we are waiting to have scans and x-rays to be done to determine what’s going on. Something is going on with my neck, plus the headaches (we’re pretty sure we know what’s causing headaches and that will be an “easy fix”). The catch is, I have to choose whether to risk going into a hospital to have these tests done. Normally I wouldn’t hesitate, but with this coronavirus, it’s like “Do I risk it? Do I risk my family, friends and workers?“  Contracting this virus is at my family, friends’ and my minds, but we’re going about life as normal. (and we’re definitely not stocking up on toilet paper and god knows what else) I think I will have the tests done because this pain I’m having is impacting every aspect of my life at the moment and it having a ripple effect on others’ lives too.

As I’m having pain every day, I’m finding having free will or choices make me feel empowered. Last month I joined two libraries so I can download eAudiobooks to listen to in bed. Reading in bed has been a dream of mine since I was a teenager so I was over-the-moon! Soon we’re mounting my old eye gaze system mounted over my bed so I will be able to control everything in my room with my eyes, so then I will be able to access Audible, Spotify, Netflix, Youtube, etc from my bed! I will be able to spontaneity choose what I desire. At the moment I set up a “Tonight” folder and number the shows or movies I feel like watching and hit a wand switch to control it (with limitations). So I can’t wait to get the eye gaze setup! I’m also getting a Bluetooth car radio for my van. This will allow me to pipe my “computer” voice through the car’s speakers so that the driver can hear me, and most excitingly I will have control over the radio station through iHeart Radio and Spotify! Booyeah! I’m very stoked about this, Mum jokingly says it’s TROUBLE! Again it’s about choice!

Eric and I

Eric and I first met each other in February 2010! Using my eyes to type was something I had actually envisioned about for many years, even before “eyegaze systems” were invented. So when I trialled an Intelligaze from Alea Technologies supplied by Zyteq suddenly my whole life changed!

Soon after buying Eric through fundraising, I decided to take one of my lifetime dreams and turned it into a reality. That was becoming a music journalist which has turned myself into a respected interviewer. I created the site Gigs ‘n Interviews and now music agencies and major companies regularly ask me to do a feature on an artist or band. Most agents now forget I have a disability, and this wonderful feeling can’t be described! Eric has also helped me to self-publish books including several children’s books and he helps me to obtain my websites.

However, Eric and my relationship hasn’t been all smooth sailing! It took us a while to figure out how to work together. Afterall he is male and has moods occasionally! For a while there, the lovely Tracey at Zyteq, Lars from Alea Technologies and I were constantly e-mailing each other. Lars even took the time to do several remote sessions with Eric and I myself, but these days I can figure out issues myself (often suddenly thinking “Intelligaze must need updating”) and after the update Eric behaves.

Eric’s had a hand in my addiction to Candy Crush and more importantly keeping in touch with family and friends online. Last month I started Skyping with a webcam! Now that’s pretty cool (especially to chat to my friends)!

It’s my mission to raise funding for a portable eyegaze communication system (aka Eric #2).  Family, friends, music colleagues and I have started to brainstorm ideas because I’m not the kind to ask for money without working for him. Since last year I’ve played lotto frequently, hoping I win just enough to purchase him!

Thinking of having Eric #2 excites me and the people around me because it will mean no more headaches from switching, no more fatigue from switching, I’ll be able to gossip faster (I mean talk faster) with my girlfriends when I’m out ‘n about, Eric #2 and I could go away together for long holidays and life will become so much “awesomer” with Eric #2!

Having Eric in my life has enriched living and the lives of family and friends. Even though like any couple we fight sometimes, but we always make up to work together harmoniously.

Published on: Zyteq‘s blog