[bct] Re: Jake's wonderful E-mail about blindness

  • From: "Jeff Armstrong" <j1armstrong@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2006 15:34:55 -0600

Beth, Dan and All,

Having once seen relatively well, about 20/100 or better, I really miss it, even though I can see shapes and some backlight colors and various other junk I can't describe, I find myself associating the quality of my vision with the way the world sometimes feels to me. My eyes shake back and forth and so does anything I see and so using my vision costs me the sure balance I have when my eyes are closed. I see double images and ghost images and other distortions and I want to close my eyes but I'm afraid that my vision will atrophy into nothing. I sometimes want to go back to the eye doctors and try to force them to do surgery on my eyes to see if I can recapture a little bit more of my old vision but, again, there is the very real possibility that any procedure would wreck whatever is left. I haven't been very accepting of my own vision loss and I fought for years not to have to carry a cane. I'm no longer embarrassed to be blind or to be identified as such. So, I guess one could say that I have adjusted somewhat. But, I still find myself conflicted as to my reaction when offered help or when it is simply determined by a sighted person that I need their help and they are going to force it on me or else. A lady at work tried to get me onto the elevator going up when I repeatedly told her "that's fine", "you go on", "I don't need the elevator". She just kept telling me that she was holding the door for me. I actually wanted to go down and was trying to ignore her because she was just trying to talk over my requests for her to go on about her business. I finally got a little ticked and told her that I'm not stupid, and that I didn't need her help and would she leave me alone and stop talking to me. She got angry and yelled about how rude I was. I do sometimes feel as though I just can't win in these situations. Once some people make up their minds that you need their help, you are going to get it whether you want it or not. Other people like to try to hold doors open for me when I am pulling a cart at work but I am afraid that I'll smash their fingers or something when passing by them so I usually stop in my tracks and ask them to go on ahead. I've tried just saying, please don't hold the door for me, I'm fine. But they just insist and I've tried to explain how much it hurts when they hold it partially open and I hit my head on the edge or how much it can hurt them when my cart, which weighs several hundred pounds, pinches their fingers, hands, or any other part, between the cart and the door.I just haven't found that magic mix of servile thankfulness and defiant independence I need to be able to take help when I need it and to politely get people to drop it and move on when I don't want it. How can I tell them to stop treating me like I'm helpless and move on and just leave me be. I do appreciate their efforts and their good hearts but I just seem to come off as rude because it really bugs me that someone would treat me like I can't find my way out of a phonebooth. I want them to respect me for all my abilities and the generalizations about all blind people drives me nuts. God forbid, I raise my hand to read the Braille room numbers on a door in the hall. Before I've read one character, someone has to yell, what are you looking for. I just want to do the same things they do. I want to find my own way and not be crippled by constantly having everything just handed to me. I don't feel like a full person when I can't be left alone to work it out for myself. Being a little lost and working things out for myself have taught me some very valuable skills in the past. I've even been tempted to put my cane away so people won't identify me as blind but then I really will run into them and they won't know why. Oh well, a little venting since the most recent event is fresh in my mind. Any good coping tips are appreciated.

Jeff Armstrong
----- Original Message ----- From: "The Scarlet Wombat" <coconut@xxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2006 1:33 PM
Subject: [bct] Re: Jake's wonderful E-mail about blindness

Beth, having once seen, my view on this is, well, colored. [grin] I would give most anything to see another sunset, rose, galaxy through my telescope or a human face. Fretting over it accomplishes nothing, however, so I do not.

I can imagine that nothaving seen, it is not the same as it would be difficult to miss, firsthand, what you have never experienced.


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