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

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Blind Girl Packing

My first misadventure as a visually impaired person happened about three months after my surgery. I had to get myself back to Charlotte from Cleveland, and I needed to do it on the cheap.

As this link demonstrates, there are several options available specifically for visually impaired people who want to travel safely. But the mainstream discount bus service I chose had no such concerns. I was picked up in the middle of the night at an otherwise closed terminal in downtown Cleveland and dropped off for a two-hour layover on a sketchy corner in a rundown Cincinnati neighborhood. There was no shelter, and all the stores surrounding us were closed.

I was still taking anti-seizure medication and my phone was nearly dead. The ticket to board the next bus was on the phone, and the medication was only to be taken with food. So it felt vitally important that I find somewhere to recharge.

A passerby, seeing the group of us waiting for the next bus, told us that there was a coffee shop about three blocks straight ahead and five blocks to the right. Despite many people’s gripes about being left on that corner with no way to get out of the sun or use the restroom, nobody wanted to go find it. I suppose my fellow passengers clearly saw our surroundings and decided to act like they had common sense. I couldn’t and don’t, so I set off by myself, dragging a waist-high suitcase noisily behind me.

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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.

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