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