The one aspect of low vision living that frightens me the most is the idea that I may not be able to continue working. I was out of the workforce for many years while raising my children. We homeschooled our two oldest children, so I was at home much longer than I expected to be. I loved being a stay-home mom. I volunteered with several organizations. I went to school and earned a master’s degree. I held a couple of part-time jobs over the years. But, while my daughter was getting ready to go to college, I was getting ready to find a “real” job. It was much harder than I had expected. It took me almost a year to find something – and then I was offered two great jobs, one full time and one part time. I have been working at both now for about three years and it has been wonderful and fulfilling. I love my jobs and I love working.
The fear that haunts me is that my vision will continue to diminish to a point where I can no longer keep my jobs. I know that, even if it happens, it is off in the future. Still, the idea worries me. I put off working for so long to raise my children and now that I am finally working I want to continue. I believe that both of my employers are good and fair, but what if I am physically unable to perform my job? I wonder if I should learn new skills, but don’t know what skills are helpful for employment as a low vision worker. One of my bosses keeps asking me what I need in order to continue to be able to do my job. The truth is that I don’t know. I have enlarged everything on my computer. I take frequest breaks from reading. There are other people in the office to perform the tasks I can’t complete. Still, by noon I usually have a headache and eye strain. All I want to do is rest my eyes. Right now, the future is so unknown that I can’t quite envision what will need to change as my vision decreases. Perhaps it will become more clear as time goes on.
The good news is, right now, I have two great jobs that I can still perform fairly well. I am a long way from being disabled. At the job that is the most visually demanding, my boss is flexible and understanding. I will be going to the low vision center at ABVI, and they will probably have suggestions for tools to help me continue to work. The present is good. The future is unknown, but that doesn’t mean it has to cast a shadow over my current life. For now, I am happy to be working at two jobs that I love.