Easy Way Out

Easy Way Out

Posted under Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info

I want to put a disclaimer right up at the front of this story. As a visually impaired person I really stink at it. I cannot read braille, although I can teach it. Tactile insensitivity makes it impossible for me to navigate the little dots. I had very little orientation and mobility so my cane skills are severely lacking. One time I tried to get up the gumption to do more cane work to get better but then I fell back into a comfortable formula of sighted guide and only going where I knew I had traveled before. Now the problem with either of those options is that it takes the independence right out of my control and it limits new places like a noose around my neck.

Recently when my husband left for a distant trip I had failed to secure the head knowledge to get back and forth from the house to the outside mailbox that sits precariously on the edge of a fairly busy road. Not to worry, I told myself. I will just get out there with my cane and figure it out as I go. Off I went. The first attempt I made I had my sister on the other end of a cell phone as I navigated the back of the house. It was not to long before I was turned around and I had lost my way. In my defense I must tell you that I have a gravel driveway with an uneven grass mixture worked in. I also have a lane with in the driveway that has two more ribbons of grass interspersed. The driveway is about ¼ mile from the back of the house. So I abandoned my first attempt and decided that I needed to wait until it was less light out to see if the change in outside light would be helpful. That proved to be a precarious balancing act as I waited too long and it got to dark.

The next morning I decided to give it another try as it made me so mad to be a prisoner in my own house due to my own laziness. This time I exited out the bottom garage which cut the distance in half and helped insure I would not accidently travel off into the cow path lane. So far so good. As an extra added precaution I had a friend on the phone for support. I could hear the air conditioner running so I had an audible point of reference. Then of course, it shut off. Drat. The cars on the road sounded very close as my house is near a bend in the road so that the cars sound like they are coming from two different spots. I again abandoned my second attempt. I then told my friend that if I had a small rope that went from the back of the mailbox to an area right outside the basement garage door that I would be fine to walk to and from the mailbox. Yes, this does nothing to strengthen my cane skills but it allows me to get my mail daily.

I have a friend who has taught VI children for a number of years and when I described my dilemma she came over to walk through the cane process with me. She also brought some nylon rope and made me a guidewire.  Just as I had speculated, it worked great. It does not look fabulous and I cannot care about that aspect. Once I do this enough to get comfortable with canvasing that distance semi tethered to the rope guide I will cut the cord as it were and go it alone.

I know that every O and M person is screaming at me right now for taking the cheaters way out of a problem that a better skill set would have given me way more than just my mail.

Baby steps. For now I solved a minor problem while not fixing the original fault line.

What is the old saying “Recognizing the problem is the first step to correcting it?”

At least I can see myself for what I am. I am a visually impaired person with a desire to do better for both me and the community of people I accidently represent.

Sorry if I am not the poster child for blind skills but I should get small amounts of credit for ingenuity,  for which I have bucket loads of.

Blessings, Denise