Don’t Let Mobility Mishaps Deter You!
Post Title: Don’t Let Mobility Mishaps Deter You!
In Pursuit of Our Pastimes.
Everyone has to actively pursue his or her interests. My father loved antique vehicles. He was also committed to pruning and caring for specialty arborvitae bushes. He refused to give them up even though my mother did not share the same passions.
Dad knew what he liked. He carved out time to pursue the activities he enjoyed most. As a result, he cultivated beautiful horticultural gardens that inspired everyone who passed our property. Eventually our “gardens” were included as a side benefit to our town’s historical tour geared to summer visitors.
Also, Dad refurbished a fleet of antique vehicles with modern-day engines. He participated in all the local parades. “A-ooo-gah!” Drivers honked horns from yesteryear and slowly passed cheering crowds, tossing candy to waving and enthusiastic onlookers. He created a side business with his refurbished vehicles. He rented his stretched out old vehicles to high school students headed for proms, and brides and grooms to celebrate their wedding getaways.
What would have happened if he had let himself stop dreaming because of opposition?
As vision-impaired individuals, we have to choose to live a full and abundant life—just like everyone else. Mobility issues can present real obstacles to claiming what we long to pursue. The problems can feel overwhelming, in fact. But I have seen so many with sight loss overcome the challenges in order to achieve what each wants – becoming blind photographers, attending the opera, participating in a fashion show, cooking blind. That so many set their goals to succeed – and they do – is encouraging!
Yes, pursuing our individual interests in light of various mobility restrictions requires determination. But it’s worth the effort!
April is National Poetry Month. I love poetry and was invited to recite some of my original verses at an Open Mic Night at my financial institution. I had two obstacles: transport and lighting. I would need a ride and I would either have to memorize my poems or write them in quite large print plus have strong lighting to view them on stage.
My older brother agreed to drive me, and once I was there, I had my white cane to help me move confidently up the stairs and to the stage. I asked the organizers in advance if they would keep the lights on, at least for me. They decided to continue using strong lighting throughout the presentation.
The Day of the Presentation.
We left the house late so when we arrived at the building, I raced up the stairs while my brother parked the car. Climbing onto the third step, my right foot caught on the cement and I crashed, landing on my ankle. “Serves me right. I should have given myself more time so I didn’t have to rush.”
“Did you fall? Are you all right?” My brother called out to me as he locked the car door. He must have seen me trip.
“Yeah. Just nicked my ankle. I’ll be fine.”
How could I have missed that step with my cane? I had strong cane skills and typically moved rapidly. Oh well. I smiled and put it out of my mind.
I found my name first on the schedule to recite! Although I was a three-time author, I considered myself to be a novice and unschooled poet. Maybe they thought I had more experience than I actually did. I can do this. No time like the present to set the mood for the evening.
When they called my name, I walked confidently up to the platform, adjusted the microphone and began to recite my first narrative poem. Entitled Moonlight in Luxor, the words about Karnak temple moved fast and evoked a lot of emotion. It sounded powerful to my own ears. When I finished, the audience sat in hushed silence. I hoped I hadn’t put them to sleep or cast them into statues.
No time to wonder. I launched into my second piece – Change of Heart– a poem about how my beloved black Lab mix helped me to conquer reverse culture shock and re-adapt to Pennsylvania’s cold climate after living abroad in tropical countries for so long. My voice turned playful and I hoped I captured how my Buddy relished his new climate.
That met with strong applause. With my heart crashing in my chest, I made my way to my seat to listen to the other poetry orators.
At intermission, several members of the audience sought me out to mention how much they enjoyed my poetry, and how unique it was. As I stepped into the wonderful glow of acceptance, their praises made the room shine even brighter. Though I used my cane to reach the car, I felt like I was flying and hardly noticed my feet touch the ground.
My Mobility Mishap Catches Up with Me.
That evening when I went to bed, I suddenly noticed my right leg throbbed. What did I do to cause this pain? I tried to flex my muscles, then to stretch them, then switched positions. No matter what I did, it still hurt.
I had no idea why those muscles throbbed. I missed my mom, who might have ideas or suggestions. But I padded downstairs to tell my brother. I needed some input.
“You must have hurt yourself when you fell,” he observed.
“Fall? When did I fall?” I paused, trying to sort out the day’s events. Finally, I remembered something about tripping on the stairs leading up to the back door of the institution where I spoke. I had actually forgot!
He turned down the television. “You had better put some ice on it.”
That’s what my mother would have said. It was her solution to every bruise and fall I ever suffered—and it usually worked. So I went ahead and wrapped some dry ice in a tea towel and sat up nursing my ankle, which is where it hurt most.
The next morning, the throbbing pain returned. By Sunday evening, I couldn’t stand it anymore so I went to Urgent Care. The doctor on duty said I sprained it and she wrapped it tightly with an expandable bandage.
Luckily, in all my falls, I had never broken a bone. I had had stitches and a few sprains. I guess I couldn’t complain.
Tell my brain that, though.
It refused to listen to reason and screamed, “Charge!” as it challenged my dual nature—moving fast and slow eyes—to a ferocious duel.
I tried to explain the situation kindly to my brain, “I know my body is out of sync with my eyes. I move too fast for my sight. But please be patient. This pain is not going to last forever, right?
A week later, my cranky brain still protested. To avoid further conflict, I gathered up the hypothetical swords and cast them aside with a reprimand. Then I rushed off to my family practitioner.
Of course, it wasn’t an ordinary sprain. It was the same type football players sometimes experience that keeps them out for half a season.
“It’s a high sprain,” the doctor conceded. “I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait it out.”
I made a face. “I guess you’re right.”
To the outside world, I appeared quite calm. But inside, I had to fight to keep my brain from creating havoc again. “You are grounded,” I hissed. “No more swords. No more duels. If you’re nice, I’ll let you have some ice,” I added sweetly.
Will This Mobility Mishap Keep Me from Future Endeavors?
I remembered how great I felt in sharing my original lines of poetry, the awe my first poem created and the applause of the second one in the audience. Would I trade places because of a mobility mishap?
No way! Adapting is a big part of life for those with vision issues. As we lose more vision or deal with restricted vision, we must continually view our circumstances through the eyes of determination.
What would I miss if I let it stop me?
I loved exploring new facets of communication. My poetry was rough but expressing myself in new ways expanded my experience. I thought of how my dad could have pushed his interests aside because my mom didn’t share his passion.
So many would have lost out on the way he saw and shaped his world. He was an entrepreneur. So am I, in my own way.
And so are you.
We each see the world through our unique lenses, and we owe it to ourselves to seek out what makes us happy—and share our vision of that with others.
What are some pastimes you love or would love? Are you pursuing them? Do you have to overcome any obstacles? If so, how do you plan to approach them?
You have just read, “Don’t Let Mobility Mishaps Deter You!” by Amy L. Bovaird. © May 7, 2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
For more hope and inspiration, Get Your Signed Copy of Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith (Large Print) TODAY!
Get Your Signed Copy of Mobility Matters – Stepping Out in Faith (Large Print)
by Amy L. Bovaird
Adventurous international teacher, Amy Bovaird, is diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a hereditary eye disease that will blind her. In spite of that, she manages to continue teaching overseas. Then her father’s final illness brings her back home for good. There, friends and acquaintances begin to notice that she doesn’t always recognize them and sometimes stumbles…as if drunk! Insensitive students ridicule her in the classroom. Unwilling to accept that she is truly losing her eyesight, Amy resists when the Bureau of Blindness schedules a mobility specialist to begin training her to use a white cane. How can she, an independent world traveler, use something that screams ‘I am a blind person’? Will her faith prove strong enough to allow her to move forward and accept herself as she is?
Amy will send you a signed copy personally.