I recently went to the eye doctor because the vision in my right eye has been hazy and it’s hard to read depending on the size of the print, the font, and/or the darkness of the ink. So I have to have cataract surgery which is no big deal and I look forward to getting it done. I also have macular degeneration brewing. I have not yet shown symptoms but it’s there. There is no cure, but it can be slowed down. I now feel an urgent need to write all the stories that are in my head before MD rears its ugly head.
Here is an explanation about Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) I found on the National Eye Institute website: AMD is a common eye condition and a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older. It causes damage to the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina and the part of the eye needed for sharp, central vision, which lets us see objects that are straight ahead. As MD progresses, a blurred area near the center of vision is a common symptom. Over time, the blurred area may grow larger or you may develop blank spots in your central vision. Objects also may not appear to be as bright as they used to be.
In my case, it is age and genetics related. My grandmother had it bad. It came on rapidly (wet form, I have the dry) and she was legally blind. It was doubly hard on her because she was also very hard of hearing. She had hearing aids, but they weren’t flawless. She was in her late 80’s, all her friends and family were dying off. The macular degeneration was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. She became very despondent, then bitter. It is painful to remember this last season in her life. I spent lots of time with her and saw a rapid decline in her spirit.
I don’t anticipate that at this early age (62), but I’m not looking forward to all the inconveniences MD will create. Having to find rides to everything especially. I live on a rural peninsula. There are no buses here and the nearest big town is 20 miles away. We do have a central location on the peninsula that has a market, bank, and various businesses. There is more further up the highway, but the big stuff is in a larger town off the peninsula. I lived without a car for two years once and I was fortunate to have a nearby friend who loves to drive and loves to talk and she took me everywhere. Another couple of friends pinch-hit. On rare occasions that they weren’t available, I would go on Facebook and ask for a ride. On many of those occasions, I could get a ride to the market (located mid-peninsula) but they were continuing to town and couldn’t take me home. Well, living in such a tight-knit community, I would do my shopping and other errands then stand in front of the store waiting for someone I knew to ask if they could take me home. Worked like a charm.
But my biggest concern is how it will affect my ability to read and write. To not be able to write would be like having an arm amputated. Fortunately, there are some good aids out there for people with vision issues. When my grandmother’s eyesight went bad I subscribed to a catalog for people with low vision and blindness, filled with helpful aids. I got her a little gizmo to put over her checks so she could write checks to pay her bills. She also had a talking watch and clock, and a few other things. But it didn’t lift her spirits. I have known two people who had magnifying devices that helped them greatly when trying to read or use the computer. So my job now is to begin the preparation process. No way will this keep me down as a writer. I am sure there are plenty of blind or vision impaired writers out there. I need to start researching aids that will help when the time comes. And I need to get the led out with stories rumbling around in my gray matter.
I am not depressed or bitter about it, not even afraid really, just disappointed. But God made me a writer and it’s going to be okay. God gave me a lot of friends and a vibrant, close-knit community. I’ll be all right. Planning and preparing is the first step forward. Actually, I am sweating more about my hearing problems. Hearing aids are thousands of dollars that I don’t have. It will behoove me to pray about this rather than stress. It is small potatoes to God.
You know what I love about God? He never steps back, rubbing his chin, and says, “Hmm, that’s a tough one. Let me think a minute.” Or “Wow, that’s a tall order. Got my work cut out for me.” He never says, “Oy vay. Seriously?” God never says, “Maybe later,” or “deal with it, I’ve got bigger fish to fry.” The Bible says “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?” The obvious answer is “No.” So I need to start praying for His provision. He is on this.