To Be Blind is Not Miserable…

not to be able to bear blindness, that is miserable. – John Milton

Well, as many of you know, Jim has been struggling with his eyesight for a number of years.  It started back in 2002, and has alternated between some good days, some bad days, some awful days.  We have finally hit a point where we are seeing more awful days, and Jim has filed for disability.

We’ve spent the better part of the last two weeks going over forms he’s had to fill out for disability, and with each form, I’ve gotten more and more sad for him, realizing that while there are things I’ve MADE him do over the years, there are a lot of things he CAN’T do, no matter how hard I try to make him feel like he’s normal. 

So over the past two weeks, I’ve cried a lot.  I’ve cried over the fact that things are up in the air and I can’t control them.  I like to have a plan.  I’m a list maker by nature – I like to have a list of things that have to be done, things I want to do, things I should do.  If situation A changes, I like to know there’s a plan for situation B to occur.  We don’t have that now, and it’s been very difficult for me. 

But more difficult has been going over these forms to list all the things Jim can’t do.  Can he drive?  Well, he has a drivers’ license, so the answer is yes, right?  No.  Because he can’t drive if it’s dark.  he can’t drive if it’s raining.  He can’t drive if it’s foggy, or snowing, or maybe Tuesday.  There’s little rhyme or reason, but some days, he just can’t drive.  Can he walk around the block?  Well, of course he can, can’t he?  Well, no.  Somedays he can’t.  We have a lot of uneven sidewalk where we live, and he trips because he can’t tell it’s uneven sidewalk. 

So filling the forms out has been sad for me.  It’s sad after 7 years of pushing him to do things and go places to see that I failed to recognize the limitations of his condition.

And then, right in the face of his condition, I laughed today.  Because we went out for coffee, and Jim wore his gloves.  Only, he wore different gloves.  Not only did the left glove not match the right glove, it wasn’t even the same color.  And Jim didn’t recognize this. 

It was damn funny.  The undertone was still sad.  We answered a question on one of the forms that asked “Do you need help getting dressed?”, and my initial reaction to that was, “Well of course you don’t, you’re a fine, strapping man!”  Truth is he does sometimes.  Evidently, except on opposite day.