Friday, April 27, 2012

What do you miss being blind?

Being blind for me brings few real tragedies.

Now and then I wish that I could see my wife. I think that I can just remember her face, how she looked a couple of years ago. Since then though she has lost a lot of weight on a diet. I know that she has as I put my arms around her when we hug, but I don't know what that looks like.

I miss watching television in the evening. Now most of my tv viewing is restricted to "Jeopardy" the game show. I have always loved general knowledge quizzes, and this is possibly the only show I can follow.  I used to like detective shows like CSI but now less so, I need a running commentary as to what is happening and what the crime is so it gets irritating for others to constantly tell me what jusat happened.

Another thing I miss is the ability to read or look at a book. It is ok to use my intel reader or listen to a book on my kindle or CD, but they still mean that I have to follow the book in a linear fashion, beginning to end. No more skimming to a favorite passage. I miss that.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Don't Hide Yourself Away

Blindness can cause you to want to withdraw from the world.

Meeting the public is a great way to escape the anxiety of going blind. It relieves isolation and anxiety. Here a member of the public meets a guide dog puppy in training.
Meeting the Public Before a Speaking Engagement

Actually for me it has had the opposite effect. I have pushed out. I used to not want to be noticed. I was shy, would go out and hardly speak to people. Eat in a restaurant rarely and if I did would go to a table in the darkest corner at the back of the room.

Going blind has not made me into one of those loud brash people, the ones whom you cringe at in public.

I have though found a taste for public speaking.

Last Spring I did a talk at my Community College about going through school after going blind. It was a bit of a last minute thing. I met a head of the Disabled Student Resource Department and she was short of a speaker. My gut reaction was panic when she asked, but another part said "Why the Hec not?"

So I did the talk. It was fun. Especially as many of the students knew me anyway and it turned out more of a mass tutoring session. Lots of Fun.

Then the library needed a talk for the Summer Reading Program. The theme last summer was Cats. I chose to tell the story of Dick Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London. He had a famous cat.
Last week at the library too, I produced a program for the anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic. It was a short talk and a movie, "A Night to Remember" about the actual events, not the fictional stories that have been added.

Now I am also planning more programs too. There is a Summer Reading Theme of Drams. For that I plan a talk about Olympic Dreams. This Being an Olympic Games Year. My athlete of choice will be, Jesse Owens. He after all created a dream of winning and worked to achieve that. In the meantime he shattered the dream of Nazi Aryan supremacy.

So don't believe blindness means that you need to hide away. You can conquer your fears and jump hurdles just the same as anyone else. It is not easy pushing your own limits but it is a lot of fun looking back and hearing the applause of the people who tell you they enjoyed what you said amd did for them.

Monday, April 16, 2012

My April 2, Retinologist Appointment

My last retinologist appointment did not go well.

There was a great deal of swelling behind the retina of my left eye. There was only a little vision left, just enough to detect some light.

My retinologist did give me a Lucentis injection. That was to try and reduce the swelling so that she might be able to treat the dead area of the retina with laser therapy.

The idea is to block off the blood supply into the dead region of the retina. This in itself might reduce swelling and also reduce the need for future injections. The procedure is not entirely painless and from past experience there was a marked deteroration of my vision in my right eye after laser treatment in that in December 2001 and January 2002. Then I had over 20,000 laser shots over an about sic week period. Damage from blood clots was quite extensive in my right eye.

Needless to say it was not a happy retinologist visit. Laser surgery was the only form of treatment offered for now.

I am considering a second opinion as this treatment is a major step to take.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Next Retinologist Visit Tomorrow

Tomorrow sees another visit to my retinologist.

It is now five weeks since my last visit and the discovery of the dead area of retina in my left eye.

The last injection of Lucentis at that visit five weeks ago did nothing for my vision in the left eye. It has remained almost completely black apart from periods of bright flashes of what appear to be lights, but from experience with my right eye I think these are mere halucinations as nerves fire off in the brain or optic nerve.

Tomorrow I am due for another injection of Lucentis or Avastin, I am considering saying that these should end now. 

The retinologist may want to treat the eye with laser. It won't bring back vision. Just stop some swelling later.

Things to think about today, are all about surrendering this fight.