I have worked in the field of blindness and visual impairment for the last 13 years, am the director of a visual rehabilitation center and have lived with low vision for the last 33 years, and yet, I still forget my tools and become lost! What a day.
I am on my way to an appointment and it is about 4:30, after the time change and raining. A better way of saying this is that dusk came early that day and seeing anything at that time of the day is difficult—add rain and oh boy! I asked the bus driver to drop me off at a different stop so that I would be closer to my destination; when I got off the bus, I did not recognize my location. I did know that the building I was going to was right past the stop light, so I began to walk up the road until I saw a light.
When I reached the stop light and looked around, I still couldn’t figure out where I was. Did I pull out my monocular and look for an address or something familiar? No.
Why? Despite teaching people for over 13 years to take the tools they need with them to be independent and safe, I had not followed my own advice. I was kicking myself all the while getting soaked in the rain.
When I found a place I could enter and ask where I was, I discovered that I had walked almost 1.5 miles out of my way! I was late for my appointment, wet, cold and mad at myself for not following my own advice.
The thing about being visually impaired is that you look like everyone else. You cannot see a person with vision loss. People always say, “Wow, I never would have known, you look normal” and I need to remember that I am not normal: I do not have normal vision and, for my own safety and independence, I must remember that.
To all of you out there who are visually impaired, “STAY SAFE,” and remember your tools!