Welcome to My (Hazy) World

A few years ago, I noticed that my vision was very much not what it was. Road signs were getting harder to read, night driving near impossible. Based on people I knew who had cataracts, what I was experiencing seemed very much like that and that thought in my head was, ok, I can get this fixed.

Made an appointment to see the optometrist and they took some pictures as to what the inside of my eyes looked like. And it was not good and and it was not cataracts. He immediately sent me to a retina specialist that day. It was then I found out that, like my grandmother, I had wet macular degermation. So no, I would not be fixed.

That day, the doctor said, well I would like to give you an injection in the eye to try and stop any further deterioration .

Needle?

In my eye?

“can you give me a little time to process all this?”

So I did and came back a week later. I slept terribly the night before, with visions (pun intended) of a hypodermic needle slowly making its way to my poor eye. Nothing of the sort. A little numbing agent, a tiny little pin prick and see you soon to see how it worked. And the good news is that the medicine di its job and I’ve not had any further loss of sight. I’m lucky. The treatment I got was not around when my grandmother was alive.

That said, the scarring that I have on the retinas have left me what is defined as legally blind. Processing that was a lot more involved than what kind of needle I was facing. It’s very different when you are now thinking about what kind of life I can live. My daughter once said to me I was stubborn and independent, 2 qualities that have mostly, not always, served me well now.

Good automobile and that freedom though. That has always been the biggest, Ugh, not being able to just GO. I’m lucky I live very close to the sparse public transportation on Cape Cod, so I can get to places I need to.

The funny thing about this disability is that it’s easy for people not to necessarily notice or think about my lack of vision. If I’m going out to eat with people, I’ll cheat and find the menu online first, where I can see it on a large screen. I was commenting to a friend recently that I thought it was so nice when we were walking, and there was a puddle in the street and she warned me of it. I could see it, but people do not know what I can see or not see. I try and explain it that I see things, but not detail.

I can still shop for my food and cook without losing any digits. My functional sight gets me by.

I’m lucky that I taught and am very comfortable with technology, because I use it a lot at home in a world increasingly dependent on being connected. Being stubborn and independent leaves little time to feel sorry for oneself. Sorry, but there are things to do and I’m not going to slow down.

The folks from the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind are helpful. I think they might be a little frustrated with me because part of their bean counting is getting their clients to work. There is a pretty big disconnect between what they try and place people in, with me being a guy with a Masters, older and wanting to change the world, I’ve sort of come to grips….. maybe…. that between age and disability, my choice is to live on disability alone. That is not an easy thing, but being able to do things that are meaningful to me, is pretty good compensation.

So that’s my story. I don’t talk much about this because you can get in a habit of always trying to explain and it ends up defining you. I look at the positive. I remember one day 2 summers ago, walking along Route 6A and thinking, so many people have such nice flowers around their properties. Driving by, you don’t notice. Slowing the world down has its advantages.

Bruce Springsteen has a lyric in the song, Blood Brothers -

Well I don’t know how I feel
Don’t know how I feel tonight
If I’ve fallen ‘neath the wheels
If I’ve lost or I’ve gained sight

We all have things that make things harder day to day, if we let them. Sure, some days are harder but that cliché about this being a marathon and not a sprint, applies. I appreciate the people that help me through those bumps and challenges and hope I do the same for you.

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I dabble with things. Easily amused, sometimes amusing. Trying to heal the world.

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Steven Leibowitz

Steven Leibowitz

I dabble with things. Easily amused, sometimes amusing. Trying to heal the world.

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