Wednesday, August 21, 2013

On Going Blind: Today is Grey, We'll save black for tomorrow

It is a fact that blindness is an individual disability.

Some are born blind, some are blinded by accidents, war injuries and some like me are blinded by chronic  illness.

I can remember the immediate moments when my blindness started, when I lost my right eye I was in a supermarket, pucking up a can of baked beans. When my left eye was hit by a cblood clot I  was painting a bathroom.

Both were a flash and sudden pain, a head ache in the first case. Pain in the eye itself in the second.

Since  those specific moments though I cannot remember actually going blind. There was no specific moment that I had to admit to going blind. It just seemed to happen.

There were moments I recognised difficulty. The first blurred vision. Then not being able to see the wall let alone the eye chart when I first told my doctor back in England.

He was not a man to panic, but the urgency in his voice telling me to be at the eye hospital in Liverpool NOW! was pretty compelling evidence.

I still adapted and lived normally, could drive walk without a cane see a movie or even a typewriter keyboard.

The second clot even took three years to do it's worest for me. It happened in May 2007 and only in 2010 did I need a white cane. Injections of steroids and later Avastin and Lucentis preserved much of my vision, but caused some side effects. For instance the steroid injections caused a cataract to form in just over twelve months. That needed surgery itself in December 2008.

I do rember going to Fresno one day on the bus. The bus as its last stop out of one town picks up prisoners going home after release from a nearby state prison. About thirty miles later we stop at a small service station so passengers can have a bathroom break and smoke a few cigarettes. I got off the bus to go and buy a Milky Way chocolate bar and a diet Coke.  Walking back to the bus I missed my footing, falling head first into one of the side panels of the bus and shaking myself up.

A group of the ex-prisoners were smoking in front of the bus and burst out laughing.

:Hey!" ine shouted to the driver, "This guys on some strong shit. We could take care of him so you get no trouble."

The driver just said "He's o.k.""

That was a pretty bad day for me. The swelling in my eye had been pretty serious, making me as blind as I am today. But then I was not used to it, and that was the day I decided to ask about getting a cane.


The grey haze of my current blindness drifted in over the past three years. Some days were better than others. But the worse grew worse and the better has grown less and less often. So now all is pretty much a grey fog with black  shadows.

When it first started I am not certain, there waas no single moment as at the other times.

Now on the brink of a lot of important changes. I am not sure if the greyness itself will fade to black. Today grey is still grey. We'll leave black for tomorrow.