Today I went for a physical at my on-campus health facility. This would have cost me quite a bit more at my regular physician’s office so instead I opted for the on-campus/at-work health screening. They did a full head-to-toe checkup, along with blood work and a female exam I hope to never, EVER, have again. Having a health professional narrate everything to the young student performing the exam is NOT my idea of making me comfortable. But I’ll leave those details out.
I knew when it was time to go to the vision test, I would have to tell her I was blind in one eye. I figured she would shine her light in my eye and see that my pupil didn’t adjust. But I knew I could say that with no emotion, no looks for sympathy, just blunt admittance. Yet today I was surprised. After shining the light, they took me to the little vision machine, and I was immediately taken back to the DMV experience I had a year ago.
It’s been seven + years since my accident. Every day I know I am blind in one eye, but every day I refuse to let it get in the way of my happiness. I refuse to let it identify me or even be a part of my daily life. My husband walked in my blind spot the other morning and I sadly bumped him into a cedar chest in our bedroom. We both laughed about it bc I was walking rather quickly and he practically fell over.
But today, when asked to read columns A, B and C, I could see there was a third column, only it was blank for me. I asked the nursing student if there was indeed text in the column and she said, “yes, but don’t worry about reading it since you said you were blind.” I kept my face pressed up against the reading machine, hoping she couldn’t see the tears starting to form. Why was I crying, I thought? It’s okay, you are blind. This is no surprise.
Yet somehow I was just as surprised as I was the day at the DMV. I hadn’t had to have an eye test (surprisingly) since my accident and was due for a license renewal. When I read columns A and B, she kept telling me to read C. Except I didn’t see a C. It was plain as day to me that there were only A and B. I thought she was crazy. Then she told me there WAS a column C on the right side. I had to tell her I was blind in one eye and could not see it. Immediately I thought they would take away my license and I would once again lose my independence. I had to excuse myself and burst into tears in the stupid DMV. I’m sure someone thought they were repossessing my car or something. I’m guessing I’m not the first person who cried in the DMV. Certainly there were 15-year-olds who failed their driving test and were overcome with emotion.
The nurse today thankfully had a nice bedside manor and comforted me in the office. As lame as I felt, it also felt good to release some anger that I guess swells up over the years. It’s time like these, that I REALLY have the blindness pointed out to me. It’s a situation where I can’t overcome my injury nor pretend it doesn’t exist. I have to face it head on, and those blank columns stare back at me, reminding me that no matter how much I overcome it, I still have a life-altering injury.
I’m sure I’ll have more days like this, as I sometimes do. Thankfully they are few and far between. And I need to not be so hard on myself when and if they do occur. Only God knows why he chose me to experience the accident I did. And I know much worse things have happened to others so I don’t ever try to complain and I don’t want sympathy. Sometimes I am just surprised when my emotions get the better of me. I realize that I am still vulnerable and have my off days like everyone else.
Thankfully, my friends, family, husband and son remind me of all the beauty and wonderful things I get to experience every day. My quality of life is no less than it was, or at least I don’t allow the injury to lessen my life. I wonder how great things would look through two eyes? Guess I’ll never know but I’ll enjoy the view from one.