When I started losing my sight at the age of 18, I was extremely optimistic. I mean, after all, how could I be going blind at age 18, right? It wasn't really happening to me. I assumed it would be some type of floater or weird issue that would magically go away within a few weeks. A little inconvenience for a while and then back to normal. No worries…
I could not have been more wrong.
To be honest, when it was only in one eye, it was a lot easier to be positive. After all, that other eye was still doing well and taking up the slack. However, when it started affecting my other eye, that's when it “got real” as they would say. And, that eye went a lot quicker than the first one did. At that point, I knew something was up.
I remember having a conversation with the ophthalmologist about the sight that was gone. At one point, I thought I would get it back. Then, when the other eye started going, that changed the conversation. One such visit, he used the word “blind.” I don't remember the context of the discussion, but I fixated on that word.
“Did he just say blind?”, I thought, reeling from the idea of it. I was completely unprepared to have a discussion about being “blind.” What did that even mean anyway? Was I going to have to wear dark sunglasses and use a cane now? Would I have to go live in a special home? What about driving? I just bought a new car not too long ago. What about that? Many thoughts flew through my head.
On the way home from that visit, I called my girlfriend to tell her what we had discussed and the next steps. I remember starting to cry on the phone. It really took me by surprise as well. I really didn't cry all that often. It's not that I thought I shouldn't cry. You know, like when you hear “boys don't cry” when you are little and then live with the fear of public tears for the rest of your life? No, I simply didn't cry. I still don't that much today. But, when I started doing it on the phone with my girlfriend it made me realize something important. This was serious.
It was a hard day. And, it would be the first of many. Even now after 15+ years I still get emotional when I think about those days. But, I realize now those days were the start of my life shifting gears. And, while my life has shifted gears many times since, that was probably the biggest shift of them all. All because of that one word.
Who knew one word had so much power? (insert sarcasm here)
Question: What was the word, phrase or moment that made you realize this sight loss thing was serious? Let me know in the comments below!