Saturday, February 6, 2010

Blind Observations - Daily Life

Okay, ever since I did that “blind observations” post a while back I’ve been thinking about some other ways that my daily life has changed since I went blind. I tried to think of little ordinary things to kind of put things in perspective a little bit. Over the last week or so I've been jotting down ideas and I think I have enough to do a post now. Humm, I just thought of another one. Of course, I can’t really “jot things down.” Pen and paper are completely useless to me now. If I want to make notes to myself, I have to do it here, on the computer. I guess that’s another thing that makes screen readers so great.

Last time, I talked a little bit about walking through the house, how I have to use my hands to guide me, feeling for furniture or trailing a hand along a wall. Now that I’ve gotten used to that it’s no problem, but it does make it pretty hard to carry things. If I’m carrying something, like a glass of water, that only leaves me one hand to guide myself with, which is a little more difficult. I may need to switch the glass from one hand to the other depending on which hand I need to feel with. Walking through the living room, I need my right hand to trail along the wall, but once I get to the kitchen, I need my left hand to feel for the table. And, of course, carrying two things at the same time is out of the question. I just have to make two trips.

While I’m carrying or holding something, I try to be especially careful not to drop it. Well, I guess everybody tries not to drop things, right? For a blind person, however, it presents an even bigger problem because it can be hard to find something after you drop it. If it falls straight down and stays there, it’s no problem, but if it rolls or bounces away it can be very hard to find it again. Just a few days ago, I dropped something while I was in the basement. That was kind of gross because I ran into some cobwebs while I was looking for it. I’ve noticed that when I do drop something, my ears really perk up, listening to which way the item goes when it hits the floor. I suppose we’ve all heard about someone losing their eyesight, and their hearing becoming extra sensitive. My hearing hasn’t changed, but I do pay more attention to sounds, naturally. I suspect that’s the case with most blind people, it probably makes them feel like their hearing suddenly improved a lot, when in reality, they’re just paying more attention.

Also on the subject of walking, I’ve discovered that it can be a little tricky walking on uneven ground. It’s a little harder to get your footing when you can’t see the shape of the ground. I live on a farm so there’s very little pavement to walk on, just a short little stretch of sidewalk. This became even more evident to me recently with all the snow we’ve had. I've considered that maybe I would have been better off in town where there’s more concrete to walk on, but I suppose even then you can have cracked or uneven sidewalks and streets. Or kids leaving toys lying around. Canes are a great tool for the blind, but they can only tell you so much about the terrain. They’re designed more for getting you around major obstacles.

Okay, enough about walking, let’s talk about talking. Hahaha! Did you ever notice how much you pay attention to a person's facial expressions or body language when you're talking to them? If you did notice, then you’re a step ahead of me, because I never did. Now that I’m blind, I notice it a great deal. I was never very good at talking to people anyway, but now that I can't see their reactions to what I’m saying, it’s a little harder. Maybe that will work to my advantage over the long run. Not seeing their reactions might make me less self-concious when I’m talking. I’ll have to give that some thought.

Well, there’s a few more ideas about what it’s like to be blind, in case you were wondering. It’s not that I’m looking for sympathy or anything, this is just for anyone who might be curious. It’s like I said before, I can still do most of the things I did before, I just have to find new ways to do them. I haven’t yet discovered the best way to drive a car, but I’ll keep you posted on that.

Luke 1:79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Psalms 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.


  1. I get a birds eye view on a daily basis (not monthly or through just words).

    It's not easy by any means.

    Stay strong!

  2. I find that my cane tells me a lot about terrain. I have a one inch roller ball on the end, and my cane is always in contact with the ground. I use the sweeping technique and not the tap tap one. It picks up every little crack, it tells me when pebbles are on the sidewalk, it tells me when there's grass, or dirt. I think it's all in how you use it, but I find that nothing trips me up when I use my cane, not even slight rises in concrete.

    There are times when I carry stuff in both hands and I always wonder if that was a good idea lol!! But, knock on wood, it's gone ok so far. I carry a plate with a sandwich and chips and then a glass of milk. I find that I am just extra cautious, and I'll probe with my foot or leg, and along wals I'll use my elbow. I've gotten so used to my place that I rarely have to touch anything, but I usually do just for reassurance. Watch, now I'm gonna spill a glass of milk haha!