Blah, BLah, BLOG
deep pink flower, rose
My inner goddess screams at me, "OMG!!, I can't believe that had just happened, this is a day I will never forget!" This tall dark stranger says to me,"Uh ma'am? That is the the men's washroom." I feel the heat rising to my face and I am sure it showed all 49 shades of red. Okay, I will explain how I got into this embarrassing situation. Chris and I was out for a long training run and we were into about 8K of our run, I drank too much water...I needed to go for a break. We run towards the public washroom and Chris pointed out to me which washroom I go in. I walk in and there was 3 stalls, I pick the furthest one. Some one walks in and does her business. After I was finished I washed and dried my hands and quickly walked out. A man walks in as I walked out, he said that I was in the men's washroom. Ah, no big deal I thought to myself, then I realized that there was a man in there! I cover my face realizing that and started to laugh. I caught Chris at the corner of my eye and said to Chris, "You never will guess what I did! I went into the mens washroom! and there was a man in there, I heard him but never saw him, I thought I was in the womens washroom and didn't think any thing of it." Chris started to laugh and said "I was just in there, I heard someone leaving but was facing in towards the urinal and didn't see the person." GAH!!!! How could this happen! How could I not see him as I was leaving the washroom! It certainly given us a lot of laughs on that run. I am sure a lot of us that are visually impaired had similar embarrassing moments. I have had many moments and will have many more. Not all moments were sight related, some were hearing related too. Like one time, I was at a sports bar (was about 21 years old at the time) and there was a magician comedian performing that night, I was chatting with friends at the table, and the comedian tapped my shoulder and said, "I need an assistant to help me with my magic trick", I politely declined, but he was persistent and my friends encouraged me to go on stage. So on the stage I go. It was dark and noisy and the microphone was sounding distorted, but I try my best to play along. He asked me my name, and then started firing all kinds of questions, and I was having such a difficult time hearing him. So I do the usual 'pretend I heard every word' and answered his questions. As he asked, I answered, the crowd roared with laughter, so I continued, since the crowds where having a good time and I figured they had too much to drink and they will forget this night. Well, as it turned out, I apparently answered the questions, how old are you? me: 21 (which was correct). Are you married? me: yes (but I wasn't, obviously didn't hear what he said), do you have kids? me: yes (NOPE! again, didn't hear the question), how many kids do you have? me: 6 (GAH!!! NO!!! I thought he really asked how long we have been dating!) I don't even remember what I did to help the magician/comedian with his trick. I just remember how much the crowd laughed and thinking I have to get off this stage! Hey, how about shopping? hmmm, mannequins, need I say more? One of my favorites, I was having a conversation about what sweaters I like and then turned to the person and asked, "what looks better, the red or the green?" Oh, snap! I hope no one saw me talking to a mannequin. Okay, how about this one... One day my mom, my daughter and I went for lunch in a restaurant at our local mall. I walked towards the washroom and a lady left the washroom with a buggy as I went in. When I finished I washed my hands and then noticed, I little girl was in the corner of the washroom staring at me, and started to cry! I was like...oh no! There is someone's child in here! I tried to calm the little girl down and then there was some furious knocking on the bathroom door and I opened the door and the mother was glaring at me, I kept apologizing to her, explained that I didn't see her in the corner. It was the most awkward moment I tell you. I felt so bad for the little girl, how frightened she must of been and the mother must be thinking that I was a mad woman that has taken her child. I could go on about all these embarrassing moments. So rest assured, it happens to all of us and the best we can do is to move on and laugh about it. Well, that was 4 of my 49 shades of Rose. I hope I brought some light into the dark. Every year people with Retinitis Pigmentosa gets together for a social. This is where we come together to share, to laugh, to make new friends and to have a good time. Check out the website: www.rpsocial.com for information. We would love to meet you.
Rose at 16 years of age - highschool
Well, it is White Cane week (Feb 4th - 8th) and Retinitis Pigmentosa Awareness month. I would never thought in a million years that this would mean anything to me or even know what it is. At least not until I was 16. About an hour ago, I was watching a show called E60 and there was a program about different runners with different reasons to run. Sami Stoner a teenager from Ohio was one of them. Her interview was really good and very emotional for me to watch. It all came back to me thirty two years ago. While listening to Sami's story, suddenly my vision was like looking through a thick glass, blurred with tears, and her words started to jump out at me. Diagnosis, fear, independence and anguish. Listening to Sami was like listening to myself talk 32 years ago. It truly stung me. I saw Sami's parents pain in their eyes as they talk about Sami, their tears and my tears flowed and I realized, that must of been the same for my parents, their grief must of been unbearable. I was 15 when I told my mom that I was having trouble seeing in the dark. I was out with some friends and we went rollerskating, and drinking (I never told my mother that part). I did not have too much to drink but the others were a bit drunk and we were walking home and there was this low chain link fence (about knee height) and we were swaying and walking and then suddenly, my face was on the ground and we all were laughing. Right away, I got up and continued to be jovial about my clumsiness. But inside my head, I knew something was wrong because I noticed why did I fall and no one else did? They had way more alcohol than I did, it didn't seem right. A week later, I told my mom. Again, not telling her that alcohol was involved. Next thing I know, I was being taken to the eye doctor and then was recommended that I should see a specialist. For some reason, I did not think anything was seriously wrong with me. Within a few months just after my 16th birthday, both my parents and I went to Vancouver to the UBC Eye Center. It was such a long day of tests, some tiring and some painful. The next day was only two appointments: one with a Genetics councilor and the other was a Retinal specialist. I remember so little that day. I heard the words Retinitis Pigmentosa several times, Ushers' Syndrome, blindness, tunnel vision, night blindness, and hope. Hope? What?! I am going blind?! This can't be! You see, I was born with a moderate to severe hearing loss, so I don't know what its like to hear like most, so it is something I had lived with all my life and it was no big deal. But I'm going blind? Where is the hope in that? Sweet 16, my life is still young, I want to get my driver's license, want to experience so many things, to go to university and to travel. I think I shut down for several months after that diagnosis. I don't really remember much of my 16th year. My mother was already planning for my future, looking for 'blind friendly' jobs that I could do. Mom found the perfect job, a secretary. She said, "you can learn to type and you do not need vision to see the keyboard." I remember thinking, 'wow, how much time do I have left before I go blind, so I guess this would be my only option? It is safe career and I wouldn't be able to do my dream job anyway.' Wait! Hold everything, I wanted to be an archeologist, go to Egypt and Europe to discover artifacts, study hieroglyphics and other languages. Dreams are now shattered. I felt my life was over. I am going to end up living my life as how a woman should live like in the 50's. But something inside of me says its not. So my life begins... Hope, I remember now, the doctor did say, there is always hope that you may not go completely blind and there is hope for a cure one day. That was 1981.