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follow-up to the epiphany post

My post yesterday didn't really capture the mood of the moment very well. Truthfully, I was falling asleep as I wrote it, and I kept catching myself making very strange typing errors that needed correcting. It was meant to be an expression of amazement rather than one of a need for advice. I talked to a professor about it, and I expressed it in terms of not realizing how much I had internalized the expectation that some blind people have that one should not use one's vision. I have never agreed with this philosophy, and I have defended a more moderate approach to education and adjustment for many years. I have always felt that while the use of blindfolds or sleepshades can have a purpose in teaching a skill, particularly when a person has never had experience learning to use their other senses and is losing vision, this should be the person's choice and should be discontinued if the person is uncomfortable. When I trained with Meg, I spent some time working with my eyes closed in order to promote trust because I was watching the traffic on the corners. After about a week of it, I grew very uncomfortable. I expressed this to my instructor. He casually said, "So open your eyes, and let's see how it goes." I had been expecting some angry tirade about how I needed to deal with it for the sake of the trust bond, I shouldn't rely on my unusable vision anyway, etc. That should have been my first inkling that I had picked up some messages of shame regarding the use of my remaining vision.

I can't really put what I'm driving at in words very well. It's something about the impact of the minimization of the remaining vision on my image of who I am. The fact that I can watch traffic movement and the events yesterday should tell me something about the usability of my vision; but I am still working under that childhood label and thinking that I have "light perception." More importantly, I am operating under the idea that my vision is a shameful thing and that "it is respectable to be blind," that what I am supposed to be is a blind person. To be blind is good; to use that vision is bad. What happened to me yesterday on that four-minute walk was an epiphany: a realization that this philosophy does not glorify God at all. It denies who He made me to be; and I need to shed it 15 years ago!


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 27th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
You know, I deal with similar concerns as a hearing impaired person. People who are losing their hearing opt not to wear hearing aids and just get used to living as a deaf person. That is their right, of course, but for me, I intend to hang on to every little bit of my hearing as long as I have it. I have learned to sign some, and I need closed captions to watch tv, but mostly I rely on lip reading and what sounds I am able to make out. I'd even be open to a coclear implant if I were found to be a good candidate for one.

There are militant deaf who refuse to even try to use their voices, who will only use sign language for communication (even if you don't know how to sign) and who think hearing impaired who use hearing aids and cochlear implants are poluting deaf culture. I'm not knocking it if that works for them, but personally I think that not using the hearing I dO have would be like spitting in God's face. Whatever hearing I have is a gift, and I treasure it.

Off topic a bit, I am actually thinking about getting on the list for a hearing dog. I can't hear the doorbell ring at all anymore. Our dog, Buddy, used to bark when someone came to the door, but the doorbell here at our house (which we moved into a little over a year ago) sounds very different than the doorbell at our old apartment, and we're too far away from the front door for him to hear anyone knock. Also, we think he's got a bit of a hearing problem, but he's 10 years old, so I guess it's not surprising that he's beginning to exhibit some signs of old age. (he still plays, runs and frolics like a puppy though) I also can't hear the phone ring unless it's RIGHT NEXT TO ME and I have my hearing aids on. It can be in my hand and I can't hear it ring with my hearing aids off. I also can't hear my alarm clock go off. And though it has a strobe light on it (VERY bright!) I can't see it if I'm sleeping on my left side. When I'm driving, I don't notice ambulances, police cars and fire engines until they're right on top of me - so a hearing dog would be very useful there too.

I know I mentioned this awhile back, but I sort of put it on the back burner for awhile.
Apr. 27th, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC)
I think a hearing dog would be an absolute gem for you. And btw, you just educated me a bit. I've often wondered why it would be necessary for a person to have hearing to drive. I never thought of all the honking and wailing that communicates to drivers about things they need to attend to. Wow! Keep me posted.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah Blake LaRose
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