A Sight For Sore Eyes

The Lighter Side to Facing Vision Loss

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WHAT’S THE REAL PICTURE?

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?
~  Song from Sesame Street

Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? If it’s on Sesame Street, a toddler can usually figure it out.  The problem is, it’s a continuous “game” for me…I have to remind myself I’m playing – even though it’s my everyday real life. If I look at the objects that make up my environment as play pieces in  a guessing game, I end up laughing. With Retinitis Pigmentosa, instead of standing out as different, objects often look the same. Or, you think you’re seeing ONE thing. What you don’t realize is that you’re actually seeing something DIFFERENT.

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One day, a day in which I neglected to take my red-and-white cane with me, I decided on the spur of the moment to visit the public library near my house. I wanted to check something on the computer. I sat down and proceeded to write my name on the log-in sheet.

"It was a sign, just a picture of a computer on the wall!"

A librarian came right over and, of course, in true library style, whispered something in my ear. Since I have Usher’s Syndrome (a hearing disability) but was not wearing my hearing aids either that day, I couldn’t hear her.

“Excuse me, what did you say?”

She leaned over and whispered again. “Would you like to use the computer around the corner?”

I smiled. “No, this one will do just fine,” I said, scooting my chair up closer to the brown Formica computer bar and the computer at hand.

She hesitated, started to walk off, then returned and tapped me on the shoulder. “Um, well, uh, that’s not a computer.”

I had no idea what she meant.

She pointed to the wall. “That’s … a sign…”  I squinted. It was a piece of typing paper taped to the wall to show the library contained computers to use.  Just typing paper! A Mr Magoo moment if I ever had one!

“In that case, I would be delighted to use the other computer,” I replied without missing a beat. “Can you show me the way? I’m obviously blind.”

Without my cane as “evidence,” I left her to draw her own conclusions as to whether I was joking or not!

***

Paper cutter or tall apartment building?

Does this object look familiar? What is it? Your first guess…
A friend posted this photograph on Facebook and the caption read: Memory Lane: Click “Like” if you know what this is  … do you remember this?

Okay, this is how my vision works. I saw the picture of the paper cutter. BUT I actually thought it was an old, run-down high rise and the square pattern made up the many windows. At first, I thought I was looking at the building from the bottom up. It wasn’t until I read the comments people posted about the photo (which made no sense at the time) that I looked at the photo again and it morphed into what it really was, when I saw the handle (which was cut off from my vision earlier).

Ha ha! I was really trying to remember what was so important about the photo, thinking “Is this a building Superman jumped off in one of his films or something?”

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Yikes! That's not a sock! That's Midnight's paw!

Then, just yesterday morning (or perhaps I should say ‘mourning’ since that’s what state I was in afterward!) I was getting dressed and sat down on my bed to put on my socks and shoes. I reached for one of my black socks. Unfortunately, that was no sock! It was my black cat’s paw I’d grabbed. She was none too pleased, let me tell you!  I don’t know if I ever got the sock, or if I played it safe and opened my drawer for a new pair.

I reached for one of my black socks. Unfortunately, that was no sock! That was Midnight’s paw. She was none too pleased, let me tell you!

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It used to be that night blindness was my biggest obstacle. But with progressive vision loss, the challenges change over time. Right now I’m at the distinctly entertaining period where  objects lose their distinctiveness. I rely a lot on color and shape to help me form my sometimes faulty conclusions because the rest of what I see is grainy, or parts of what I see are missing.

Can any of you, with or without vision loss, relate to what I’m talking about? Have you ever mistaken one thing for another and felt silly afterward? Or did it make you laugh?

Can you tell which thing is not like the others
Now that I’ve finished my blog?

You’ve read “What’s the Real Picture?” © Amy Bovaird, January 2014.  If this made you laugh or even smile, hit LIKE or SHARE. Please do leave a comment! Thanks.

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12 thoughts on “What’s the Real Picture?

  • January 29, 2014 at 8:20 am
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    I am in a wheelchair, for some reason a lot of people seem to think this means I can’t think. They always talk to the person with me. I get you!

  • January 29, 2014 at 2:38 pm
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    Isn’t that the truth! Caro, I was just thinking about that this morning. My mother is going to have her hearing aids checked and the audiologist always speaks through my brother-in-law to her. It drives me mad! I think we need to gently but firmly educate. =) Thank you so much for your comment!

  • January 29, 2014 at 2:40 pm
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    Hi Carol,
    You’re welcome! Love that you took a few minutes out of your day to read my story!
    Amy

  • January 29, 2014 at 2:42 pm
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    Ha ha! Roy, that is so true! Love that analogy! Thanks for reading my post. Come back and check my site again soon! =)

  • January 29, 2014 at 3:26 pm
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    Last year I had a stroke and it took half the retina in my right eye. I have to laugh, at times, realizing that I am missing whatever is in my blind spot. I forget that I have it and I scare myself at times!But now of course I get to use it as a great excuse when I cannot find something…”oops!It was in my blind spot…”

    Happy that you can laugh, keep laughing and keep sharing! Thanks!

  • January 29, 2014 at 4:13 pm
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    Thank you for sharing your story with such humor! (A Mr. Magoo moment, indeed!) I hope you will always be blessed with your positive attitude. During my last year of teaching, I taught a girl whose vision was deteriorating. Her dream is to be a fashion designer. She may not see well, but she has VISION. You do, too. Best of luck!

  • January 29, 2014 at 4:46 pm
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    Nikki, very sorry to hear about your stroke. But so glad you seemed to have bounced back. You cracked me up when you said, “I forget that I have it [the blindspot] and I scare myself at times!” I can relate to that. I used to never know what I was missing until something happened, like when I put down a bunch of books on the right end of the table…only I missed the end and the books went straight to the floor! Ha ha! That was scary, and silly, and surprising ~ all in one! Thanks so much for taking time to comment. Have a great day!

  • January 29, 2014 at 4:50 pm
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    Thank you so much for your encouragement, Denise! So happy to hear your student had a clear focus and is pursuing her dream!

  • January 29, 2014 at 9:17 pm
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    Amy, I love your great attitude and humor which comes through with each and every line. I know I have mistaken a stranger for someone I thought I knew. Embarrassing to be sure, but not too bad.

    I’m having trouble hearing. But when I try to fake that, well, it doesn’t go well.

  • January 30, 2014 at 4:05 pm
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    Oh, I know! You can’t fake hearing! You get into all kinds of dilemmas when you try to do that! Anne, hope you can sort that out! I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to my job interview fiasco when I try to fake my hearing. Tune in next week! =)

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