My Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor called me. I did not even know I had one. She had a lot of news. I am officially approved for the Job Save program. It sounds to me like New York State cannot do enough for me. She is going to arrange for me to have an IT Assessment locally at ABVI. They will determine what type of assistive technology will help me perform my tasks at work. Also, someone from ABVI may come to my workplace to see if they can provide any assistance there.
But that’s not all. Because I am approved for this Job Save program, I am eligible for other services. A counselor can come to my home to see if any products might help me with tasks at home. She talked about items from self-threading needles to talking clocks and large button calculators. I tried on some strange binocular glasses when I had my appointment with the eye doctor at ABVI, and she says that her program can buy me a pair of those. Apparently, the sky is the limit as far as what is available to me.
There’s still more. She would like me to meet with a Mobility Counselor, to help me handle stairs and uneven surfaces better. She mentioned the dreaded white cane, but said that there are also other ways a person can be trained to move more safely. She did make a good point that I could just use the cane at night, and it is really hard for me to walk safely in low light. So, maybe I will go in and talk to the counselor.
As if that all wasn’t enough, I was also offered the opportunity to meet with a Social Worker, to help me deal with any problems transitioning to low vision living. This offer, I am declining for the time being. I think I have a really good support system. And I have this blog. I will keep the option open in case I need it in the future.
After talking with the Rehab Counselor for about 45 minutes, I began to think that this all just sounded a little too good to be true. Even taking into account how slowly big agencies tend to move, this agency seems to be offering me a lot of assistance. And, in a way, all this help is not entirely happy news. This Job Save program all hinges on one fact. The reason I am eligible is that my eye doctors have attested that there is a probability that I will be legally blind within one year. That shocking reality has only just begun to sink in. I have thought a lot about it since finding out that this was the eligibility criteria.
What I have decided is that I am going to take this journey one step at a time, one day at a time. I am not going to think about the worst case scenario or how fast this year of being able to see might go. I hope that my eye doctors are wrong. My vision seems to have stabilized since my surgery and I hope that it will remain stable. I am realistic about the possibility that it may begin to deteriorate again. But I am choosing to focus on the ways I can keep my life “normal.” The Vocational Rehab Counselor and IT Department will keep me working. My family and friends will keep me emotionally healthy. Blind photography will keep me growing and learning. The internet will keep me connected. I am going forward with a lot of hope and faith. The journey so far has been pretty wonderful. I am excited to see what grace I will encounter as I continue to walk this path.