DWB – Driving While Blind

 

I left my sight behind at 55 MPH.

One minute I was driving along, chasing down a potential training contract. The next – nothing. Lights out. All of a sudden, I couldn’t see a thing.

Okay, that’s a bit dramatic. Despite what a lot of people envision when they hear me say I’m blind, I don’t live in total darkness. Blind is simply easier to say. Like many ‘blind’ people, I’m actually visually impaired (VI). My light perception is a little diminished, but I can still tell light from dark, see the color blue, and large objects within about a three foot range of vision are fuzzy but mostly recognizable.

But my range of vision is severely compromised. So I couldn’t see a thing beyond the hood of my Mazda 626 except hazy, rapidly moving shapes. And even the familiar things I did recognize inside the car were hella blurry.

So it was a real problem. I mean think about it. What would you do if you found yourself on a fairly busy road, going about ten miles over the speed limit, and all of a sudden you couldn’t see where you were going? Pull over to the side? Stop the car? Try to get help?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjvdMNDC3XE&w=300&h=300

Continue reading “DWB – Driving While Blind”

Trying to Transition from Tax Recipient to Tax Payer

When I first accepted my limited vision, I’d still been certain I could find work in my field. I was a seasoned training professional with over twenty years’ experience in all aspects of the profession. Okay, I could see that a system’s trainer who could no longer see a computer screen probably wouldn’t be an asset. But I’d only been doing that for five years. The majority of my career had been spent developing curricula, writing course content and consulting with division managers. I’d lost some of my sight, but none of my mind. As long as I could still use a computer, I could certainly still do my job.

In preparation, I took every rehabilitative course I could find to learn to use a computer with magnification software. (Click here if you would like to find similar courses.)

I also had to learn how to trust my other senses so that I wasn’t intimidated about being in new environments I couldn’t see very well. I even secured the devices I’d need in order to be effective so I wouldn’t present an undue burden on potential employers. Then I applied to all the contracting companies I’d used successfully in the past, and honestly expected to be able to return to work.

That didn’t happen. Continue reading “Trying to Transition from Tax Recipient to Tax Payer”

Learning 2 C

For better or worse, I am an extremely blunt communicator. For those who are familiar with the DISC communication assessment, I am a casebook Dominant. Unnecessary chit chat, euphemisms, or soft tones all strike me as either insulting condescension or irritating wastes of my time. No matter what the news may be, it is what it is, and how it’s delivered won’t change that. So I prefer any information be given to me straight, no chaser.

That isn’t the way a lot of people process bad news, however. As a result, many of us have been taught to err on the side of compassionate communication. I was always encouraged to use the sandwich approach; say something positive initially, followed by the ‘challenging information’, immediately book-ended by another positive or encouraging comment.

I have no idea how that approach would be used to tell someone they are permanently legally blind. Continue reading “Learning 2 C”

Reclaiming My Time after Losing My Mind

The brain tumor I experienced is called Meningioma. I just had to Google that – I think the fact that I can’t properly pronounce the word keeps me from remembering what it is.

What I do remember is how the oncologist explained my condition.  Meningiomas account for a little over 30% of tumors overall. They are usually benign, and sufferers are often unaware the tumors are there. This seems to be hard for people to understand about the condition. Yes there were symptoms, but not like you’d imagine when you hear the term BRAIN TUMOR. Most people don’t know they have one because there are often no detectable symptoms until the mass grows large enough to affect other parts of the brain. Sometimes doctors don’t recommend removing a meningioma that isn’t causing any problems because it often grows slowly and may never cause any noticeable affects. My doctors have no idea how long I might have had mine, but they estimated about ten years based solely on its size.

Continue reading “Reclaiming My Time after Losing My Mind”