For f…. sake, watch where you’re going

Retinitis Pigmentosa simulator glasses

An average person said to me last week For f…. sake, watch where you’re going. I’ll never forget it. it’s been added to my bank of other comments of the same ilk.   I’ll never forget them either. But thankfully it’s only a small minority of people who show that level of intolerance. Just the same though, I’m really sorry I get in the way of other people. And other things too for that matter. But surely the blind person has the right of way. Especially in their own home. Or is that being plain discriminatory?

Be kind. I’ve got RP

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is an eye disease that causes loss of night vision, peripheral vision and often leads to complete blindness. For me, it’s like looking through a pinhole – or so I’m told. However, I don’t really know because I’ve never had a full complement of vision and therefore don’t have anything to compare it to. What I do know is it poses quite a few challenges.  But the biggest challenge would have to be coming to grips with the intolerance aimed towards VIPs (visually impaired people) by a few average people. Their comments are far more painful and take longer to heal than any bruise or broken bone.

Lighten up

So I’ve discovered that there is a way to overcome the unfortunate incidents that can ruin the daily life of the VIP.  Simply by lightening up and turning those daily challenges into goals can make a big difference. Here’s a succinct list of my daily goals.

At home

  • To not walk into (or on, if they happen to be lying on the floor) anyone who happens to be living in my household (you may give them a cork thigh)
  • To not be upset by the whinging of any victims of the above
  • To not blame myself for having this lousy condition
  • To stop saying sorry to all animate and inanimate objects I happen to collide with
  • To walk straight into a doorway rather than the door frame
  • To not knock any drinks or plates off the bench
  • To step down my two front steps with confidence rather than fear when leaving home

Travelling to work (involves walking to the station, catching two trains then another walk to the workplace)

  • To leave home early enough to eliminate the need to rush and stumble along to the train station
  • To use my blind person’s cane
  • To use my blind person’s cane (confidently)
  • To not walk into any signs/light poles or umpteen other things that spring out from nowhere
  • To not trip over any rough surfaces on the footpath
  • To not skin a knee or break a bone
  • To not bash my head into low hanging tree branches
  • To not walk into anyone coming straight towards me
  • To not give a shit about the verbal abuse from the victim I just walked into (see previous point)  
  • To avoid giving a friendly wave to any nice car drivers who happen to stop to let me cross the road (This usually necessitates the need to turn the head backwards whilst walking forwards therefore increasing the risk of walking into parked cars and signs/light poles)
  • To remember to scan for big dogs lying prostrate on footpaths outside cafes
  • To remain calm on the inside (and outside) when I merge into the crowd at the station
  • To find my platform and get on the right train

At work (as a teacher)

  • To reduce the number of desks I bump into
  • To reduce the number of chairs I knock over
  • To reduce the number of students I walk into
  • To not knock anyone’s thermos flask or drink bottle over as I move between desks
  • To remember to scan the whiteboard when cleaning it
  • To scan the classroom for students so that everyone gets a question (whether they like it or not)
  • To eat my lunch without any food getting pushed out beyond the boundaries of the plate
  • To go home without any new bruises developing on my thighs or an egg on my head

Travelling home – same as for travelling to work but with the addition of ….

  • To make sure I’m home before dark

At home again

  • To reduce the number of my evening alcoholic beverages
  • To have someone (anyone really) cook me a nice meal

But best of all, to relax and celebrate the joy of challenges. If your life is void of challenges, then you’d never have any goals. And that would be sad, because you’d never feel the joy of success.

Image taken by me. RP simulator glasses courtesy of Vision Australia.

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