Moses of the High Street

From the heading of this blog you can probably tell what it’s going to be all about. Humour me though.

It took me an awful long time to even consider picking up a white cane even though I knew it would help me. There was always that stigma of finally admitting yeah, you are blind. I didn’t want to be that guy. So I continued to not use a cane and continued to bump into things and trip over God knows what was left in the streets. Be the A-Boards or the tables and chairs outside the Costa Coffee (other coffee shops are available). But as many times as I would walk into something and end looking like a fool with arms and legs waving around trying to regain some sort of dignity from the situation, I still refused to pick up the dreaded cane of doom.

With pressure from colleagues and one all mighty fall over a tree stump (seriously, who put that there) I decided to go for it and start some training with a long cane. If I had to use one word to describe the first time I through that thing around the streets of Stroud, it would have to be terrifying. This was is, I am now looking at a whole life of blindness, I finally had to accept who I now was and instead of being worried about I have to now embrace it.

After a few training sessions I was allowed to keep my very first cane and use it all by myself. The stabilisers were off and there was no stopping me now. Apart from the over hanging trees of course, I will cover them in another post.

For me the freedom that a long cane gives you over a symbol cane or no cane at all of matter is overwhelming. I feel confident, people notice it and above all it has become an extension of my arm. Gliding and guiding me from place to place with seem less effort, but the best thing of all is that you could be walking along the high street in a busy town and you are quite simply, as the heading would suggest, The Moses of the High Street. Just like the  red sea did for him, the people part for me. It’s actually quite amazing.

Since using my cane I have moved towns and started a whole new life away from the place I spent my whole life in. But truthfully, it was the best decision I ever made. Pushing myself to achieve things is what life has been about for some time now and that will no be changing any time soon.

The morale of this story is that what helps you doesn’t always seem appealing to you when you are first going through sight loss. However in your own time, when you can accept the condition and learn to live with it, there are many, many products that are designed to help and make a big difference in your life. But it has to be when you are ready and not before. It must never be pushed upon you, you will know when the time is right.

That’s it for now, Until next time.

All the best

MRWG

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The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Today I want to talk about the good the bad and the ugly sides of being partially sighted. I am going to look at some of the more interesting aspects of the journeys I have been through, be it emotional or physical.

Granted to many it would probably seem like there are very few upsides to being partially sighted but you would be wrong. For one thing I have a free bus pass. Well free to a point at least, before 9.30am and after 11pm the bus companies seem to think we have magically been given our sight back so the bus pass becomes obsolete, just sat in my wallet craving attention like the Nectar card that hasn’t seen the light of day since I first got tricked into having it. Don’t even get me started on the Matalan card. But hey, for every other journey it is totally free. Thank you HMRC.

A second up side is the tax allowance, an allowance of £2000 on top of the generous £10500 of our hard earned money that we are allowed to keep. Good work Nick Clegg. (if memory serves). Fair play the Lib Dems didn’t do much with the small amount of power they managed to blag somehow but I do believe raising the tax threshold was their idea. Thumbs up for that one.

Blind sports is another brilliant upside. I simply love team sports, I always did and I always will. Being able to play cricket with sight loss for me is incredible. I used to be quite good but then my sight got worse and now I see double all the time and I am never quite sure which ball I am meant to be hitting. This would be one for the bad sides. Double vision is a real pain in  the arse. I have always said since its onset, I can live with sight loss but the constant double vision just gets on my nerves. It makes me feel dizzy. This brings me onto my second downside. Sight loss and a dodgy ear. Not sure if these go hand in hand, there is no reason to suggest it does but my left ear is useless. As such my balance is awful. I could be completely sober but look like I have been on a bender with a group of randy darts players. I do try and be as positive about as many things as I can be so I keep downsides to a minimum and to be fair randy darts players does sound like a fun weekend.

The left eye not being straight to me is ugly, I have seen it close up in a photo and I don’t like it. In fact I hate it, this brings me to the ugly, now I haven’t seen myself in a mirror for nearly 10 years, when I look into a mirror for all I know I am looking at a blank wall. In fact I am quite sure a lot of the time I am. But I do know one thing, the ugly side of sight loss is not from looking in the mirror at my once perfect reflection, it is from the narrow minded people that treat you like second rate citizens. Many times I have been out with friends or family members and people find it fun to hurl abuse my way for whatever reason. It used to really get me down until I realised that ugly is exactly what they are. There’s no decency to a person that can talk to a total stranger in such ways, just ugliness.

There are many more positive things I will talk about in the future but I can’t give all of my secrets away straight away now can I.

Until next time

All the best

MRWG

 

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Im Sorry I Didn’t See You There

This time we are going for the funny side of life, afterall, no  matter whether your sighted or not, we all can find ourselves in an odd situation or two.

so i am in the store trying to find a new shirt for a hot date. I have to admit I hate shopping at the best of times and at this particular stage of my sight loss journey i was at the stage where I wasn’t good at asking for help. A lot of VI people will tell you the same thing, it isnt easy to admit you need help with something and can take some time to come around to the idea, especially when you are as proud and stubborn as i was and probably still am.

So, i am in the shop, aimlessly wondering around with my cane groping lots of silk and lace, (most of it frilly) probably scaring most of the old ladies. Clearly I was in the wrong part of the store. So I decided to be brave and ask for help. From memory I recall the staff used to wear blue tops, not sure if this was actually the case or not but I decided to look for a person in a blue top. This is where it gets good. Having not been successful in finding a member of staff and none of them coming to my aid, probably due to my previous groping of old lady lingerie, I thought I would simply ask the next person I saw.

So having approached said person I uttered the words ‘excuse me, can you help?

I recieved no reply, so i tapped the person on the shoulder, the next thing i know the person falls over, to my shock, So, im leant down apologising over and over asking if they were ok, when rolling across the floor comes a head that hit my leg. It turns out the person i was asking for help from and indeed getting ignored by was in fact a manakin. I felled one of fashions dolls in my pursuit of a shirt for my hot date.

As I knealt there on the floor with my cane in one hand and a head in the other, I just couldnt stop laughing at the comic brilliance of a story that you just cant make  up.

If you ever find yourselves in a similar spot, don’t worry about what others around you may think, just smile, laugh and carry on.

That’s it for now.

All the best

Me

P.S I never did get that shirt.

Im Sorry I Didn’t See You There

It’s True What They Say!

Kids say the funniest things don’t they?

I am not a parent, I am an uncle. So maybe I shouldn’t be preaching but hey, never mind. I did say there may be a little controversy so here goes.

Parents please listen, if your child is asking mummy what’s in that mans hand? when they see me guiding myself using my white stick, JUST TELL THEM. There really is no reason to be coy or embarrassed by it, In fact I am embarrassed for you that you can’t tell them. Most of the time I feel like turning around to educate the little critters myself but I am not sure how the parents would take it.

How are the future generations going to learn about disabilities from such an impressionable age if you don’t as parents help them along the way. There have been very few times when the parent does try to explain to the child what it is for and I say fair play to them. In fact some explanations can be pretty funny when you hear a parent trying  to explain and the child uses that magical word ‘WWHHHYYYY?’

For the rest, it for me begs the question, do they not know what it is for themselves?

They wouldn’t be alone I am sure, parents are getting younger maybe there parents never taught them, and so here is the problem. A lot of people with disabilities get set to one side of society at times treated a second best and incapable. Clearly that isn’t the case. If disability was being taught from the youngest of ages possible, I don’t think this would be the case.

With the Paralympics coming up, I urge you to watch some of the most awe-inspiring acts of human ability you will ever see. Sit down with your children and explain things. Get behind GB and embrace the remarkable people that are out there all around you.

That’s it for now

All the best

Me!

It’s True What They Say!