Have you ever had one of those Mondays where water in whatever form almost did you in?
Yep, that was my day.
Mobility Inside the House
First, I was preoccupied with my brother since he was having some breathing problems and planned to go to the doctors later that day. While discussing the matter with a friend, I went down to the laundry room to put some clothes in the washing machine.
Right away, I heard a drip-drip-drip! When I looked up, I felt it a succession of splashes. A pipe that ran the length of my ceiling held a layer of condensation over the whole pipe. In the center. Droplets formed and leaked onto me, and onto the thin brown carpet.
Was it raining out? Where was the leak?
The Sink is Overflowing
On a hunch, I took the stairs two at a time and peeked into my kitchen.
The water was running! In a glance I realized what I had done. I was working on several projects that day on top of worrying about my brother’s doctor’s appointment.
That was an hour ago!
I turned off the water. But it was too late. Water covered the counter (everything in its path was soaked). I threw several towels onto the floor to absorb the overflow, swished them around to mop up the water. Then I went into the laundry room to wash the towels and minimize the spillage there.
What a mess!
Was this a vision problem or a “being too busy” problem!
Vision-impaired TIP: When you start an activity, set a timer to be sure you don’t forget about it even if you don’t see it!
Time to Run Errands
I had to go to the post office, the lawyer’s office, the store and I thought I would check on some of my books at a gift shop.
My brother dropped me off at the post office and ran an errand. Meanwhile inside, the postal clerk showed me how I could save some money by repackaging my packages. So I had to take the things out of my original packaging and put them in the new package. This took some time, unfortunately. When I met my brother at the car, he said it was time to leave for his doctor’s appointment.
“Don’t worry about me. Drop me off at the store and I’ll walk back to the lawyer’s office and on home.” I didn’t mind the walk. “Just go to the doctor’s office and get that problem squared away. Don’t worry about me.”
Frozen Water on the Sidewalk Challenges
Once he dropped me off, I realized my problem. It was freezing out and I had no gloves (as usual). When you hold onto a white cane, your hand and wrist are exposed. It began to get mighty chilly. I definitely wasn’t prepared for the weather. With only sneakers on my feet and bare hands, the cold quickly crept into my bones.
The sidewalks on the north part of town were a nightmare of rough ice.
But the condition of the sidewalk bothered me more than the cold. On the north part of town away from most of the commerce, the sidewalks were not shoveled. They had become a dangerous combination of black ice, which had melted earlier, and then frozen over. It was rough and nearly impossible to navigate safely with my white cane.
It was especially treacherous for someone with low vision.
I took to walking in people’s yards alongside the sidewalk.
“I hate this! I hate this! I hate this!” I muttered after a near fall.
At one point, a woman saw me stumbling around and called over to me, “This is awful. Can I take you somewhere? Home?”
I weighed her words. Pride kicked in. “I’m good.” I’m almost into town. I can do this.
Once I made it back to the post office, I found the walkways shoveled and that cement a welcome change.
Look! Some businesses used salt to melt the ice!
More ice on the sidewalks
I stopped at a store to check on my books but forgot it was closed on Mondays. Silly me. I returned to the sidewalk and reverted to my side yard method of navigating through the icy snow. Both my hands and feet became numb in the twenty-nine degree temps. When I reached the end of Main Street, I swept my cane over the broken sidewalk and made my way down Rice Avenue – on the street.
Nearly Home, Folks!
When I was a block or two from home, my neighbors saw me navigating, wisely identified themselves and gave me a ride the rest of the way home.
Kick your pride to the curb! If I had accepted the initial ride offered and not been so preoccupied with defining my independence by what I could do instead what I should do, I wouldn’t have been nearly so cold, or have endangered my life. I have to learn to choose my battles. My choices seemed like Independence or dependence? What they really were: pride or safety and warmth.
Next time, I’ll choose the latter!
Thanks for joining in on my low vision, mid-winter adventure!
Take a few extra moments to SLOW DOWN and prepare yourself (warm gloves, boots) to stay warm outdoors in inclement weather. Also, ICE CLEATS help a lot in navigating along icy sidewalks.
Don’t let water (or weather) get you down! Be aware and make wise choices!
By the way, my brother ended up spending 5 days in the hospital. It certainly put the trials of my day into perspective!
Have you ever accidentally flooded an area with water, due to vision loss or carelessness? How did you resolve the problem? What about weather? How do you solve difficult-to-navigate areas in winter?