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trying to describe sight


Today I received a phone call from the anesthesiology department at the hospital and was given some general instructions--mostly things I already knew, such as not to eat after midnight. The odd one was not to take products containing aspirin for at least five days before the surgery. I didn't ask why, but I'm curious.



The lady had a chart with my name and the surgery date, December 18, on it. I guess this is really going to happen after all. Only once have I thought of questioning God about this again. But I put out a fleece, and He answered--and I did not have to wait until the last minute this time. Now I can go on with this journal.




Lately my vision has been on the upswing. The other day I was able to tell that the two strange little lights above the bathroom sink were both burning. This is something I have not been able todo for several months. Everything has been very blurry and fuzzy. I have no way to describe it. I've heard friends use the term"murky". I do not know the meaning of this term. But I find myself wanting to try to describe the changes I have experienced over the years. During much of this time I did not realize how much change had taken place--not until I thought about it and compared what I see now to what I saw then. I thought that today I could describe what I see now, and perhaps tomorrow I can try to describe what I saw then. Instead, I seem to be stuck looking for a word which would convey an image to a group of people whose world I cannot understand.



I thought of trying to describe it in terms of texture. That is something with which I am familiar. The advantage of doing this would be that my friends who have never seen might understand onsome level what vision and vision loss are like. But will a sighted person relate to this comparison? I can detect things with my fingers which are not even noticeable to the eyes unless the observer pays very close attention.



When people see me reading a braille book, they often want to touch the pages and are amazed that I can distinguish those minute patterns of dots. To some of them these dots all run together. I suppose I could say that this is how the visual world appeared to me during my childhood. I could distinguish the shape of large objects if there was some space between them. In the same way, a sighted person can place her fingertips on the braille page and determine that there are spaces between some of the groups of dotsand that one group of dots might be more dense or occur in a longer string than another group of dots. The denseness of the dots I will compare to the amount of contrast between a given object and its background.



If one pushes down in a certain way on the braille dots, they will begin to blend with the page--to be "erased". I have perfected the technique of erasing to the point that when I took a pilot test for teachers of visually impaired students during my time spent in a teacher preparation, my erasures were not detected by the graders. Such complete erasures might be comparable to a complete loss of vision. Today if I were to compare what I can see to the reading of braille, I would say that someone must have tried to erase the dots from the page because they just don't stand out much any more. There is very little contrast.I know somehow that I can see light, but I know this only because staring at it hurts my eyes.



I wonder what it will be like to see again if the surgery is successful. Will things look as I remember them looking? Will I be overwhelmed with the pouring in of light and be unable to putany meaning to it? Will the sharpness of contrast available to me restore some kind of meaning? Will I have the ability to see myreflection in the mirror which I had as a child? Will I be able to watch the blinking lights on the Christmas tree without the imagebecoming blurred? Right now I cannot see them at all. The few things I can still see disappear in a blur after a moment of looking at them so intently.



These are the things I want to write about. It's important to me to preserve and communicate my experience of blindness at all levels. There have been times when images, though distorted, were pleasing to me. There have been times when the gblurry glare which I've attempted to describe today was completely unavailable to me. These were, perhaps, the most frightening times for me. But pleasant or frightening, all of these things make up my experience, and I feel that they are important.


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3kitties
3kitties
Sarah Blake LaRose
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