Saturday, 7 April 2012

New found finger freedom! The joys of voice recognition software

Hello folks, this blog is coming to you via the amazing Dragon naturally speaking voice recognition software.

I've been struggling with typing for long periods for a while now because my hands are getting much weaker and painful. When I'm not using my hands they curl right up into loose fists and I have pain in my fingers, knuckles and wrists most of the time now. I also have shooting pains through my hands and up into my arms a lot. This has been making it increasingly harder to use my hands for certain tasks. Writing with a pen has been hard work for at least a year now, typing for a few months.

Annoyingly I can touch type with great precision and speed having learned when I was younger and working as a legal secretary. So imagine my frustration when I realised recently that I was no longer be able to rely on typing as much as I have. Add to that my increasing brain fog and you can see why I was getting worried and nervous about starting to study towards my second degree in June!

I'd heard about voice recognition software including Dragon naturally speaking, I noticed that a few of my disabled friends were using it for studying. I decided I definitely needed to have a try because it was probably something I was going to need in order to get through my degree. Luckily I have a friend who already had Dragon and offered to lend it to me for me to try it out.

I've installed dragon onto my laptop about an hour and half ago. After spending about 10 min going through voice training, which gets the program to recognise your voice, vocabulary and accent etc, I then had a quick play about dictating a few Facebook posts as well as learning the basic program commands.

It seems quite surreal but after just an hour or so of playing with it, I am already able to dictate this entire blog post having never used voice recognition software in the past! The best part, I don't have to worry about my awful spelling! LOL
What I find most amazing about this is not the way the program works, or how precise it is at recognising what I'm saying, or even the speed at which I'm able to write this blog. The thing that excites me most is how much I'm going to benefit from this program.

There are many days now where I'm unable to answer e-mails, chat on Facebook as much as I would like, and there is some work that I've needed to do for the past three weeks for my Bible study class that have been unable to do. And as for my blog, it's something that I rarely get to do now because my hands and brain just aren't up to it.

With this program I will be able to keep up-to-date with my work, friends, and studying. Not only that but I will also be able to do things and try things that I've been wanting to have a go at but just not been up to it. I hope that with voice recognition software I will be able to get blogging regularly. One thing that I'm looking most forward to is been able to do work, type letters and chat with my friends online on my bad days where I am stuck in bed with very little energy and too much pain.

I realise now just how invaluable software like this is to people who are far more disabled than I am such as people who have quadriplegia, spinal cord damage and other paralysis.

So there we have it, thanks to modern technology, you have been able to enjoy some late-night ramblings from me thanks to Dragon naturally speaking voice recognition software and my very supportive friend Angie!

I'm off to catch up with my snail mail. I have at least 10 letters from my chronically ill penpals that need answering. And guess what… I think I'm going to get through them all :-)


  1. I just found your blog and I wanted to tell you how much you have helped me within my first few minutes of reading. I've been doing research as I didn't really know anything about EDS I came across it when looking up hypermobility. A Dr. told me I had 5/7 traits for it when I was in highschool but didn't tell me what that really was or meant aside from "your joints can dislocate easier than normal." I had visited because I dislocated my knee badly without really doing anything. He sent me to physical therapy to stregthen the tendons, told me it would probably go away with age and that was the end of it. But really that was just the beginning. Throughout my life I have had various problems which go undiagnosed and untreated either because they are so common or vague that they could be attributed to anything and everything or chalked up to my own imagination. It is true that I am somewhat of a hypochondriac because I have so many symptoms that fit in to so many different ailments! Doctors scoff at me and tell me nothing is wrong, or it's anxiety or depression. Everyone assumes I am just lazy. People laugh and say "how can you get tired from chewing? You can't stand still for x amount of minutes? You feel sick again?." And because of this along with several other factors I hate doctors and won't go unless I literally feel my life is in danger. I have gone to the emergency room with chest pains and rapid heartbeat along with dizziness and near black-outs a few times but by the time I get there it is back to normal and they tell me it's because of caffeine, stress or anxiety attacks or lack of sleep (I suffer from insomnia as well). Nothing abnormal showed on my EKG. I can not give blood because I am anemic. I randomly get flu-like symptoms and headaches. The only compliments I get at the docs is on how easy my veins are to find. To be continued...

  2. I'm only 27 and people don't take me seriously when I say my body feels like it's 90. Something always hurts. When my bf asks me what hurts and I say everything he doesn't realize what that means... my head, my jaw, collar bones, shoulders, throat, neck, back, chest, ribs, stomach (acid reflux/ulcers) hips, knees, ankles, leg muscles in general, arm muscles in general, hands/wrists/fingers... How do you even ft all those problems into one doctor's visit? Especially when they have an attitude and don't take you seriously? They say "I'm the doctor here,let me figure that out, you just tell me the symptoms." I have dislocations/partial dislocations daily, usually several times a day and in different joints. The most frequent offender is my jaw which pops out whenever I eat or yawn. Usually, luckily, whichever joint goes, pops back in quickly and relatively painlessly, of it's own accord. Sometimes with a little of my coaxing. And rarely I will have a bad one in my knee- which is extremely painful leaves it swollen and bruised, probably sprained and leaves it virtually unusable for days or even weeks until it heals up with the use of a soft-brace/cuff. I was hit in the back as a teen and have had problems with it ever since. I've always been clumsy, off-balanced and easily bruised. I get lightheaded if I stand up too fast. Sometimes I feel like I am going to pass out if I have been bent over (even from a sitting position such as tying my shoes) and then sit up ... things start to go dark and my head throbs. I could go on forever, but this has already gotten entirely too long... I have looked into other things because of my various symptoms - fibro mialgia, lupis, POTS, never have I come across a disease that was so all encompasesing that it accounted for ALL my symptoms- but I really think this is it. It all comes back to that little 5/7 in high school and the "Hypermobility" Why did no one ever tell me that more goes along with hypermotility than just flexible joints?? I am so happy to have found this and am able to read through what you are going through and identify and be informed. I truly thank you for sharing your painful experiences because I really feel t has helped me narrow down what my biggest problem is. Now I know there might be a cause- a single cause- behind my aches and pains and crazy heart beats and it's not all in my head like I knew it wasn't- now I have something to suggest to the doctor when they tell me "we have no idea". Thank you!