Vision Slip

Tanvir Naomi Bush Disability, Visual Impairment 5 Comments

A few years ago…well maybe more than a few…I was on a train at some daft time in the morning on my way to San Francisco.  I hadn’t slept much the night before anxious about the trip and was a bit woozy.  The carriage was almost empty and I thought no one would mind me snoring so leant down to pull out the foot rest.


Something seemed to both punch me in the arm and pull me at the same time.  I pulled up my arm and held my hand up to my face.  As I watched, waiting, time became putty and pulled into a long, sticky mess.  My racing heart pumped the blood up and through and around and a beaded red line appeared half way down my middle finger on my right hand between the first and second joint.  The beads swelled and merged and then my finger seemed to break away from its reality, topple sideways exposing flesh.  I glimpsed white within the maw of red.

Instinctively I grabbed my finger to hold it in place and blood began to slither and drip down my arm and into the crook of my elbow and onto the floor. It would seem that the footrest had a sharp metal edge and had cut my finger to the bone.

Scary eh?  The pain came after the ‘whumph’ and it was bad!  And of course no one would treat me in case of litigation.  Some kind but appalled young family handed me a couple of nappies to sop up the blood. The steward said he couldn’t give me painkillers but he did get a doctor who told me I needed stitches immediately and should get off in L.A.  I didn’t.  I was too scared to get off in L.A. on my own with a suitcase and a hand that didn’t work. I stayed put feeling my whole body throb with each beat of my heart hour after hour.  I made it to San Francisco and got some first aid at the youth hostel I was booked into.  It was a very clean cut and eventually it healed even without stitches. I had a smashing time in San Francisco, especially one I felt my finger would stay on my hand.

Why am I sharing this?  Well, I have had a vision slip. In some ways this is just annoying, a little like having a woolly sock slip down into your shoe at a crucial moment or being unable to find a sharp knife when you are prepping supper.   All it means is that I have to readjust as the tunnel of sight is a smidgen smaller. I knock into things I saw just a month ago. I walk past people previously I would have seen. I can’t use the new lap top I was loaned because the screen is too small.  Annoying but not impossible tp cope with.

Only each time these little sight slides happen the world recedes further and the possibility of complete sight loss shuffles up behind me and breathes a little too heavily.   Colours become milkier and dark greens,  blacks, blues and browns are now impossible to differentiate.  I can’t see myself clearly in a mirror. The outside world’s dreamy Vaseline texture closes in when I least expect it.

So I have been having that same ‘whumph’ sensation, similar to the one on the train and the same as the buzzing sensation after falling out of a tree or from a horse and waiting for breath to come back. The same wait to know the damage. The same heart throbbing throat clutching nauseating ‘whumph’..

It will stop I am sure and I am still far off total sight loss….at least I am pretty sure I am.  Plus and you may think I am mad but it is, genuinely,  a fascinating and in some ways, magical experience.  Am I a chrysalis and if so what will I become?  A different kind of ‘Through The Looking Glass’ .  It is just  that  riding out the ‘whumph’ is a toughie.

Thank goodness for Grace.  And for Jenniefromtheblock,  Becky, Helena and the wonderful Corsham admin staff who regularly trip me up with tea and cake and lots of laughter.

Michelle, Me, Grace and Ali

Ready for anything!

And then of course there are the mad women of Springfield with whom I have made a devilish pact to do daily torturous high intensity training sessions (called ‘Insanity’ just in case you didn’t know what you were getting).  I am the fittest I have ever been in my life and so blinking knackered that I haven’t got the energy to be scared by the ‘whumph’ Hooray!

Comments 5

  1. I'm so sorry about the whumph & so glad you've got Grace & your other friends to help! And just a smidge jealous of your fitness. Ok, actually a LOT jealous. Go you!

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  3. Hello! I found your blog last year and just checked back in – I'm so happy you've started writing it again!

    Your Phd sounds incredibly interesting – I may have missed it in another post, but what did you do your Masters in?

    I'm a writer and I've got RP. Internet high five (because if we did it in real life, we'd hit each other in the face).

    Anyway – I'd love to pick your brains about creative writing PhDs and the like, so if you fancy it drop me an email joerizzonaudi at


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