You may recall that I had a hospital visit just before my trip to Lusaka and they said I had lost more vision. They meant ‘losing’! Holy shit people! I went out a couple of times last week and was completely off balance. Bits of pavement missing, people emerging magically in front of me, invisible cars. This all gets a little unsettling when trying to have ordinary conversations with people in cafes or at the supermarket. One doesn’t just turn desperately to people and share .
‘I must apologise for my twitching and jibbering..it is just that I seem to be losing my sight rapidly on a daily basis and it is so terrifying that I feel like I have a massive juggernaut truck thundering up behind me and I can’t escape. I am sure you understand.’
No that would never do. Instead one says things like;
‘Thank you I’ll have a mocha.’ Or ‘Please would you assist me with the self scanning machine. Its rejected my bean sprouts.’
It is the fear though – that articulated lorry screaming down the road towards you – that comes from knowing something as precious as sight is leaching from your life and there is nothing to be done but swallow hard and buy more magnifiers. I presume the terrible fear is there too for those of us with other encroaching disabilities. I have a wonderful friend with MS. We talked a little about that monster truck we can see if we look over our shoulders. We both came very quickly to the conclusion it is best, for the moment, not to look, just to keep running.
Just an aside about hospitals. If you have to go in for anything I would recommend dressing as a consultant. I did so the other day and got marvellous treatment. Power dressing gets you both attention and respect. (Although perhaps the stethoscope was going a bit far…I ended up doing a ward round.)
I once had an ongoing battle with a terminally rude, distant and seemingly bored ophthalmologist. I could never be sure he was giving my eyes full attention. I won the battle by wearing a red push up bra and the lowest cut soft ruffled black top I could squeeze into. At close quarters I could watch the cold sweat dripping from his forehead as he desperately tried to keep his eyes away from my sumptuous bosom (trust me on this one). To prevent a potential sexual harassment case he was forced to concentrate and focus on my eyes at all times. I actually got a coherent and detailed eye exam as opposed to the usual cursory dismissal. Small victories and potentially unethical but I couldn’t think of any other way of getting the little sod to do his job properly.