My little red tether is my anchor in running with my friends. A beautiful guide dog has been my tether/anchor in mobility and independence for 17 years: 1. Pantera 2. Cricket, and now my beautiful 3. Georgina (Georgie). A life of family and friends is my joy and anchor in life.

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. CC Scott

Monday, November 9, 2009

Becky, who is blind

Often I am asked - What can you see? Retinitis Pigmentosa is an interesting lesson in ambiguity. Vision can change from day to day, its unpredictable on when it will take its next 'drop' or additional vision loss, and many like me have a pinhole remaining that is fairly clear/useable vision. For the past while, mine has been stable at roughly 3 degrees. The picture to the side is a good visual of what I can see -- kind of like looking through a fuzzy peephole that continues to get smaller. So, you can see the need to walk with a guide dog or cane from this picture. What becomes confusing for others, if something is far away in that little peephole, I may be able to spot it! Yesterday, at the Portland Market, I spotted something - thought it was cute soap and it turned out to be fudge (even better) so you can see the vision is often unreliable. There is still some misconceptions that blindness = total black. True for some, however, the majority of people who are blind have some type of remaining vision. I have found that many times that remaining vision is not reliable and have embraced the tools available to a person who is blind. If someone has questions, (are you training that dog? etc) I may explain the term legally blind (less than 20 degrees in peripheral vision or 20/200 or higher in acuity) or visually impaired as education purpose. Language is empowering and love the concept of People First Language.

6 comments:

Kauaiart said...

People First Language?
I did have ten degrees and now I am not so sure that is accurate. In another geographic location my vision would be better; we are experiencing such black cloudiness and rain showers that most days are blindness producing without the normal light.
It also feels soothing to my eyes which is a paradox.
Oh well, I too am thankful for the joy of not seeing.
Love, Susan

Kauaiart said...

I forgot to ask, what is people first language? Thanks.

Sarah and the Pack. said...

Education is one of the things everyone involved with the puppies and working dogs seems to do all the time. Sush a great way to let people know about the differences others can have.

Becky said...

People First Language = person then the disability (or whatever else) ie, Person who is homeless rather than the homeless. It is a technicality and I am not caught up in that but as you can see -- it helps us see the person before whatever the characteristic is - putting the person first!

Katrin said...

It's funny about the 'people first' language thing. I'm autistic and prefer that rather than "person with autism" since I see it as something genetically hardwired into my system and part of who I am distinctly. Then again there is such a current drive in this society to "cure" autism in ways that I don't really agree with, which is probably part of why I prefer to be autistic rather than the other way. But I know other people who prefer the 'person with autism' so I guess it's each individual person.

Becky said...

Katrin; that is a really good point - when it is just part of who we are it is even a deeper, meaningful relationship and just part of us. Thanks for sharing and agree.