Coping with Ongoing Vision Loss
Seeing … the wrong side of the edge!
“No, no! I said, edge. Edge. Not the wrong side of the ledge!”
Misunderstandings like this occur frequently in my house between my elderly mother who is hard-of-hearing and me, with my Usher’s Syndrome (progressive vision and hearing loss). When I was trying to tell my mom what was happening with my vision these days, the issue became very confusing.
The confusion brought to mind this photograph [it is of me exploring the boundaries of a lake bank with my cane]. No need to panic. No one is stepping off a cliff. Luckily, here I’m on the right side!
Nothing that disastrous, and yet, it is quite a challenge for me. And many others with RP.
When I say, “I’m seeing I wrong side of the edge,” it means I’m seeing outside the lines. Well, it’s really what I’m not seeing. I’m missing the edge of whatever I’m supposed to be seeing.
Let me give you a few examples.
The Perimeter of the Potted Tree
I was adding potting soil to a miniature tree when I was re-potting it this past Sunday. I was pouring and my friend was tamping it down. When we finished, she asked, “Do you have some paper towels.”
“Yeah, sure.” I handed her one.
She wiped up a lot of loose dirt on the counter near the side of the pot.”Where did that come from?”I wasn’t usually so sloppy. “How did I do that?”
“Uh-h. You missed … the pot.” It was obvious to her.
“Oh, yeah.” The soil had fallen in a semi-circle to one side of the new pot. It was more like I saw the wrong side of the pot!
The Clever Catch-Me-If-You-Can Ketchup
My McDonald’s fiasco started with a small order of fries. After putting my food down at the table across from my brother, I walked over to the condiments table to get some ketchup in a small container.
With a quick, deft movement of one who’d done an action a hundred times before, I gave the silver condiments handle a squirt into the small paper cup below it. But to my surprise, the ketchup squirted all over my hand and missed the cup completely.
I growled. “What the heck is wrong with that nozzle?”
With a napkin, I blotted my hand and one sleeve. “Let’s try this again.”
In my second attempt, I fared no better. I couldn’t believe I’d gotten it on my other hand and sleeve and all over the front of the table. One dribble made it in the cup.
“Ukkk! That squirter is totally off!”
I grabbed a handful of napkins and cleaned up the mess.
I gritted my teeth, and tried it a third time. I held it directly under the shiny spigot and pressed the red knob s-l-o-w-l-y and evenly.
Wouldn’t you know the stream of ketchup landed half in and half outside the cup.
My mouth dropped down when I realized happened. “Oh my gosh,” I whispered, “The problem is with this squirter. ME! And my stupid eyes!”
I didn’t have the patience to outsmart (outsee?) the slippery ketchup operation.
“What’re ya doin’ with that?” my brother asked, eyeing the dinky amount of ketchup drizzled on the inside and outside of the cup. “That’s hardly worth having.”
I shrugged. “They need to refill the container,” I said, wiping the side of the container with a small fry. “We should tell them before we leave.”
Noodle Bag Heat Decoration
“Hmm, okay, I’ll make noodles to go with the chicken for dinner.”
After filling the pan with water, I covered it with an over-sized lid – since I couldn’t find proper lid to the pot. After it boiled, I removed the lid and set it to one side, then poured the egg noodles into the pan to cook. I set the bag on the counter next to the lid. When the noodles were ready, I drained them and placed them in a bowl to carry them downstairs for dinner.
That night, when I was cleaning up, I picked up the lid to throw it into the dish water. The bag of uncooked noodles came along with it, as if they were Siamese twins. No matter how I pulled, I couldn’t separate one from the other.
“What is going on? It’s like glued into the lid!”
After admiring it for its artistic value, I gave a big yank. The bag came off and the noodles flew out of a big hole in the bag.
No, don’t worry, this didn’t happen from a fire. I’ve had my fill of fire from last week!This bag was sitting too close to the edge of the pan. The warmth of the casserole seeping up through the cracks in the oven must have sealed the noodle bag to the top edge of the lid.
So far, this new phase of my RP “misjudging the edge of items” is more of a nuisance. Instead of seeing the inside perimeter or the lines, I see the outside or nothing at all.
I guess it isn’t a “new” phenomena like I first thought, it’s just happening more frequently. And, so far, I’ve been fortunate. A little mess never hurt anybody.
Life goes on. With RP, you learn to Remain Positive.
When you combine it with the humorous attempts to communicate between two hearing-impaired people, life seems like even more of a comedy.
When I reflect on the fact that I’m not stepping off the edge of a cliff and plunging headlong into a swift current of water, then missing the edge of a common pot or lid or condiment container is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Don’t you agree?
What kinds of silly mishaps have you had to contend with? How have you laughed them off? Have you had humorous (or numerous!) conversations or misunderstandings due to hearing loss? If so, it’s time to air them out like show and tell, to put them in perspective so you can let them go!
Amy Bovaird once was a world traveler (or a globetripper, on poor vision days!). Today she is a Christian humor author who suffers from a dual disability (deaf/blind). She enjoys running. Luckily, her persnickety cat knows this and gives her plenty of occasions to pursue her! Amy is passionate about animal rescue and showing kindness to all animals. Although Amy is no “techie,” she somehow manages to post in her blog every day! To read more of Amy’s writing, check out her memoir, Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith, available on Amazon, Createspace, and her website in regular-sized print, large print, kindle (and one day soon, in audio).