Coping with Ongoing Vision Loss
Low Vision Fender Benders
Did I get your attention with that headline? I hope so!
Human beings operate like constantly moving vehicles. Rarely does anyone completely stop and do nothing unless he or she is sleeping. Even in eating, there is movement. When a person has low vision and is always on-the-go, it’s like being out in a snowstorm maneuvering around several different obstacles in low visibility.
Can you tell it’s a cold January day with some snow flurries where I’m at on the East coast? No wonder my mind climbs up a snowbank and slides down to a comparison like this! To give you a strong visual of what the streets of my life look like, check out this video clip of Erie, Pa. This is a quick plowing clip.
Okay, in the zone now?
Having to handle obstacles like these (symbolizing the necessity of constantly scanning my surroundings for danger amid the noise of everyday life), it’s easy for someone with low vision to get a “fender bender,” out of the blue…or maybe, I should say, “out of the white!”
This morning, as I was preparing for a coaching meeting on Skype, I ran up the stairs and sped through my bedroom to reach the kitchen, and from there head to the computer. That was my intention, anyway. But to pass through my bedroom to the kitchen, I had to go through a door. Because I was barreling through the room, my mind on the upcoming Skype talk, I didn’t notice the position of the door. Normally, my door is wide open. I rarely close it. I’m not sure why but today the door was mostly closed. So all it took was moving quickly to push that door all the way shut, and for my head to collide into the closed door.
In slow-mo, I checked the status of my face and found it only affected the area over my right eye.
No blood. But I could feel a BIG lump forming above my eye, somewhere between the lid and my brow.
The skin stretched over a round, knobby lump and made me feel, conversely, like there was a dent in my fender, me being ‘a human car.’
Instead of pounding out the dent, I would have to smooth it out and hope for the best in the short amount of time I had left.
I took a quick look in the mirror to see if it was worth it, and another glance at the clock. I had my Skype meeting in a few minutes. I didn’t want to look like a one-eyed monster so I took the few minutes and grabbed an ice bag from the freezer, wrapped it up in a tea towel and pressed it against the area of my eye.
I used to be in too big of a hurry to follow up with ice. I wanted to get on with whatever I was doing before any “crash,” occurred. The damage never seemed bad enough to slow me down. So, I guess you could say I used to do a “runner” or that I was a “hit and run” case.
I’m not certain how visible the wound is in this photograph. But in person, there is no question that I’ve had a run-in with an object that’s left its mark. Like a typical fender-bender, my speed wasn’t out of control but if pressed to determine the cause, a police officer (aka, my mother) would say that I was driving “too fast for conditions.”
You know how sometimes a fender will be loose afterwards, even wiggle when you touch it after an accident? Well, the same thing happened with my eye, too. When I touched it, there was a pulsating movement. It was responding to the shock.
Darn! Drat! I didn’t see that coming! Hindsight is always 20/20. These irritating fender-benders interrupt my day, drag things out and get me off-course. I grumble and growl at the inconvenience. But really, that’s all they are–inconveniences.
Nothing too serious. No paint chipped off. I mean, no skin abrasions. No discoloration. No need to spray paint it, though a bit of make-up might make it look more polished. And, thank goodness, no need for any lengthy body work on it.
Just then the fog-horn-like blasted from my computer, which meant my Skype video call was beginning. I slid the ice pack to the side of my desk (out of view), enabled the video call, then said a bright, cheery “Hello.”
As we began our call, I smiled to myself. A fender bender was minor to my life. A big of spit and polish and it would be running as if nothing were wrong.
I could hear my mother’s concerned voice in my head say, “Next time, S-L-O-W D-O-W-N.” What she meant was Take care of that vehicle. Repairs can be costly. If you treat it right, it will outlive you.
I like to think that, too. But, there are too many obstacles in my low vision path. If I can bounce back from these kinds of things, fix what I need to for appearance sake and let the others mishaps go, my ride won’t be too bumpy.
The one piece of advice I need to heed, though, is to slow down when I’m in the midst of a bad snowtorm.
I know I ask this kind of question a lot but … what kind of fender-benders have you had, either in your life or actually … on the road again? (Imagine hearing Willie Nelson’s voice in that last phrase!). 😀
*Featured image: www.autonorth.ca