We had the privilege of going to a picnic organised by the Western Cape branch of Retina South Africa. It was a time for families of visually impaired and blind people to get together and hang out.
Well, I have never felt so comfortable at a social gathering. Usually meeting strangers would be very stressful for me, not being able to recognise faces or make eye contact. Even socialising with that number of people that I know would put me on ‘high alert’… On this day, however, I was free to go up to anyone. Touch their arm and say, “Who are you?”, “what are you doing here?”, “How does your family cope with transport”, “Who does the shopping?” and other seemingly rude and straightforward questions that are not usually appropriate on first meeting. It was so refreshing to be so open about struggles we have in common. We even rivalled enthusiastically and chatted about who had which genetic defect and on what gene (thanks to the UCT Genetics Department).
The thing that stood out the most was the amount of laughter and noise! No awkward silences and no visual ‘sum-ups’ or whatever happens when it is quiet. There were so many people, from all walks of life, just grateful to be alive and have families around them. I think that being the person with the visual problem is sometimes easier than being the family member. It was wonderful for the loved ones to also be able to share around a common life challenge.
We all have struggles in life, but on this occasion it seemed like a gathering of victors and not victims. What did I learn from this? The carers need as much support and understanding as the sufferers.
If you read my blog about the dog and the gym bag, you will remember how I wrote about memorising what to put in it and how awful it is to leave an item of clothing at home. Well, you won’t believe it
I arrived at my bag after showering at the gym and took out what I thought was my blouse, but it was my pyjama bottoms! They are both white cotton with blue floral patterns. They feel slightly different, but who feels carefully- folded clothes?
I laughed, thought about the blouse mentioned in my previous blog and then tried to work out how to wear trousers as a top.
Is this decent?
Needless to say, I went home in sweaty clothes!! Yuk!
It was a funny mix-up, but a reminder to use hands to
feel when eyes can’t be trusted.
Write about rights
On human right’s day it is easy for us to focus on human wrongs. Today should be a day of education and not accusation. In the case of the disabled, inhumane actions are often done unknowingly. I think it is largely the role of the disabled person – if they are able (is this an oxymoron?), to educate others around them about how best to help. Let us lower the ignorance of the public and make issues of accessibility an opportunity to make able bodied folk feel helpful and appreciated.
The one right that cannot be taken away from us is the right to be happy in life. It is a deliberate choice that all of us can make- even if we have a disability or illness.
Pardon the pun, but this describes what happens when you pour tea and you cannot see the rim of the cup…full, filled to overflowing. It sounds like a positive, abundant concept, but can be very frustrating if you keep on having to wipe the counter where you poured liquid.
A great remedy for this was shared at a recent support group. Place your mug in a shallow bowl (like a giant saucer) before you pour then it doesn’t matter if you mess…schlurpp! Then use it as a tray for walking around with a full cup. No mess, no fuss, no coasters required and no sticky spills on the floor.
This could also be useful for folk with Parkinson’s and young children.
Cheers! Have fun being full-filled!
Our dog is a short haired black Ridgeback cross. We should have called her shadow as she follows me wherever I go…unless someone else has food. Anyway, her name is Tina or any variation thereof.
Last week we were on our way to the gym and the dog was following me around hoping that my sports takkies meant a W-A-L-K. My once again patient husband was already in the car when I ran back to fetch something. I dropped my gym bag on the floor and quickly ran to the bathroom to fetch a forgotten essential. My brain was memorizing all the things I needed to take with me (nothing worse than showering and changing and then remembering that you left your blouse at home.)
I ran out of the bathroom and said “Mind out the way, Tinks”. She didn’t move; she just lay there…then I realized, with amused embarrassment, that it was my black gym bag!