Grappling with Open Doors

DISHWASHER DOORS - One of the top 5 obstacles for those with low vision
DISHWASHER DOORS – One of the top 5 obstacles for those with low vision

“Ai-yeee!” Tripped over the open dishwasher door again! 

The comments flowed in from many others with similar stories.

 “Don’t feel bad. I trip over that all the time!” 

“Me too!” 

“I did it to myself! I forgot it was open.” 

“Don’t feel bad. I ended up straddling it on all fours and knocked it off the hinges!” 

“Dang, I run into (closed, open) doors all the time. Got a welt the size of Mt Rushmore on my shin.” 

Ha! It ‘s a revolving door issue. Not REALLY the kind of revolving door problem that you would imagine. This isn’t the kind of glass revolving doors that exist when you enter a store. I mean to say, the door problem frequently RECURS. In fact, it’s a problem that plagues those with low vision. 

As I see it (and I don’t, actually, so that’s the problem!), it occurs more frequently as one’s vision loss progresses. For example, let’s take the kitchen. Because one doesn’t SEE the cupboard door, it gets left open (perhaps in the rush of cooking) and the likelihood of it becoming closed is a toss-up. Instead, the corners, edges, or even the  flat board acts as a lethal weapon. It swings when struck by one’s head.

So what’s the solution? 

I live in a flat upstairs my mother’s house. We all eat dinner together so I not only go down for dinner but I make other frequent trips down to her kitchen. Her solution: she has taken to calling my cell phone to tell me the dishwasher is open and to be careful. I have to physically hear that warning. 

However, it’s not only open dishwasher doors, it’s any door that creates the obstacle. Open, closed  or anywhere in between, anything unexpected does it. 

I guess there’s solace in company because even when one adheres to good preventive practices–rules like “Never Leave a Door Half-Open or Half-Closed”–it happens! Goodness, I heard a story where one man nearly closed the trunk door on his wife as she was leaning over to pack something in the trunk. Yes, a true story! Yikes is right! 

As I said, I don’t think there is a foolproof solution. So,I’ve found it’s good to do what I can … but I need to keep a spare sense of humor  in my pocket and perhaps a friend nearby for the many incidents I can’t avoid! 

Here is an excerpt from my book, Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith

La Cucaracha

In the evenings, I dangled my legs from the high stool at the breakfast bar and graded homework. Could there be anything better than spending time with my dog and a handful of nacho chips dipped into the occasional bowl of chunky salsa? I often lost myself in the beautiful sounds of the Spanish words that resonated in my head as I corrected them on paper. Circling a wrong tense here or adding an accent mark there, I savored this quiet time working with language in the same room with Buddy, his breath warm on my feet. Finally losing hope that I’d drop a chip, he’d stretch out on the smooth tile and fall asleep. His regular breathing filled the air.

“Ah, Buddy,” I said one evening as I scooted down next to him on the floor and stroked his silky black ears. “La cucaracha, la cucaracha ya no puede caminar.” I searched my mind for the rest of the lyrics. “Porque no tiene, porque le falta una pata de atras.” It had such an upbeat tune and was a favorite not only from my high school days, but also with my students, who begged to sing it.

I gently nudged my dog’s leg. “Buddy, guess what this song is about.” He cocked his head and searched for the real meaning of life—nacho chips—as if he were more interested in his stomach than the song.

“Ha! It’s about a cockroach that can’t walk because it doesn’t have a hind leg.”

Buddy’s tail thumped against the stool. His eyes followed me as he picked up on my excitement. He jumped up as I danced, estilo-Colombiano, around the room singing the first stanza again. With one hand over my heart and the other out for balance, I shimmied my hips—or maybe it was my behind since I had no real hips to speak of and, come to think of it, no real sense of rhythm—belting out “La cucaracha, la cuca-”

As I tilted my face up, it crashed into the open cupboard door.

I bent over double and crumpled onto the tiled kitchen floor. Clutching my forehead, I sucked in my breath and let it out slowly. Ohhhhh. My throbbing head.

I felt a nudge and a rough tongue against the top of my hand. Oh, Buddy. I felt another nudge, and put my arm around his neck, drawing him closer, needing his soft nuzzles. His dark eyes sought to console.

“Buddy,” I whispered, “I was laughing at the cockroach with no hind leg when all the time I forgot that I can’t even see.”

The dog licked my hand again, as if to say, “That doesn’t matter.” I think he would have liked to see me dance more, but I couldn’t muster the strength.


He let out a deep, heartfelt doggy sigh as if he understood perfectly.

When you have a run-in with an inanimate object, who is your go-to pal? Is there anything you face where there isn’t an easy solution? 

Order your copy of Mobility Matters: 

You have just read, “Low Vision: Grappling with Revolving Doors” by Amy L. Bovaird. © Copyright, March 10, 2015.

Low Vision: Grappling with Open Doors
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24 thoughts on “Low Vision: Grappling with Open Doors

  • March 11, 2015 at 1:14 am

    Within the last 24 hours I have had a run-in with a door, the exact same door. First time it was me. The second, I accidentally whacked my two-year-old nephew with it. I can handle it, but it’s worse when you don’t realize when you hurt someone you love. He was okay, but I really felt you when reading this.

  • March 11, 2015 at 1:46 am

    Your blog is super-inspirational and this post is beautiful, Amy.

  • March 11, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    It is so difficult! Yes, it feels even worse when we accidentally bang someone else! At least when it’s us, it’s easier to put in perspective.
    Humor sure helps us cope! Growing “horns” from our bumps keeps us sane, I think!
    So nice to hear from you! PS Niagara really DID freeze over! A friend of mine posted photos! 🙂 Wish I could have seen it!
    Have a great day!

  • March 11, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Thank you, Carol! Lovely to have you in my community of readers!

  • March 11, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    I fell over on our fell walk last week and fell over on my backside! It was very embarrassing!

  • March 11, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Amy,

    I always enjoy your posts! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Truly inspiring!

  • March 11, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    This was written as such a beautiful story telling style, Amy – and I could ‘feel’ it when you crashed into that cupboard – my excuse is supposedly I am part Taurus – being the bull and banging my head so often –
    Let’s see – I do like my dogs coming over and making me laugh even as I hurt 🙂 Hugs, Coach Donna

  • March 11, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    I love the way a dog can give you quiet understanding, forgive your mistakes, and make everything all right with his or her love.

  • March 11, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Beautiful. I love that you used the metaphor of the open dishwasher door–who among us has not run into that dreadful thing?! Ha! Great post!

  • March 11, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    I leave kitchen cabinets open all the time – and I’m sighted. Perhaps an inventor can come up with something. If they run out of corrective glasses prescriptions for me, I am going to be in trouble Even more scary, my husband once nearly closed the car trunk on him and he has great eyesight. I have no go-to pal other than my husband. Hate to say it, but yelling obscenities (and I normally don’t use them) helps me with pain.

  • March 11, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    I would probably want to cuddle my dog, too if this happened to me Sadly she is no longer with me as of this winter 🙁 Being able to laugh at ourselves as long as there was no blood, definitely helps!
    Have a great week, friend.

  • March 12, 2015 at 1:15 am

    Ow!! That all sounds so painful! But like you, I have fur babies–including 2 dogs and 6 cats –who are my comforters and always seem to know when I need some loving. While I do have to wear glasses and have some low vision issues, I’m more plagued right now by an arthritic right thumb that also has bone spurs. That’s what is currently interfering with doing and enjoying many things in life, since I’m in constant pain. 🙁

  • March 12, 2015 at 2:48 am

    Sophie, I hear you! It always is!

  • March 12, 2015 at 2:49 am

    Thank you, Joan! I love having you in my community.

  • March 12, 2015 at 2:50 am

    Thank you so much, Donna!
    Part bull, huh? I guess these things do happen to all of us!
    Makes me feel better anyway!

  • March 12, 2015 at 2:53 am

    Yes, Francine. Buddy always did that.
    He was great. even when I tripped over him. 🙂
    I hadn’t heard from you in a few days. Missed you!

  • March 12, 2015 at 2:53 am

    Thanks so much, Bethany!
    I guess they have to make these dishwashers tough, huh?

  • March 12, 2015 at 2:57 am

    One of the women in my support group has specially-made cupboards that open up from the top.
    Ha ha! I do quite a bit of yelling a few choice words too!

  • March 12, 2015 at 2:58 am

    Ahh, thank you Barbara!
    Yes, that laughter is my saving grace!

  • March 12, 2015 at 3:02 am

    K Lee,
    Wow! You never know what others go through, too. Life is not easy, is it?
    Thank goodness for our animals! And patience.
    So glad you stopped by.

  • March 12, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Amy, your quiet acceptance of your vision difficulties and your positive spirit is so inspirational. You go, girl! Just watch out for that dishwasher door!

  • March 12, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Thank you so much, Amy.
    I gave a talk this afternoon and I used that example. Everyone could relate! 🙂
    I’m so glad you are part of my community!

  • March 16, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Hi Amy,

    So sad how that cupboard door interrupted such a peaceful moment for you. I think visually impaired people should adhere to a strict “Closed Door” policy. For me, when I run into a closed door it doesn’t hurt as much as when I bump into an opened door. I’ve also gotten myself tangled up in revolving doors before. But it didn’t hurt.

    Enjoyed the Article,


  • March 19, 2015 at 4:58 am

    That wasn’t as sad as it was painful! Ha ha! Both closed and open doors hurt me!! If I ever close my bedroom door, I nearly always walk into it because it’s always OPEN! Ay! So glad you enjoyed it!

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