The Next Step

I mentioned to Kasey, my mobility trainer, that I have been having trouble on the way home from work, since it has been getting darker and darker as the days go by.  He said that he wanted to show me some tools that could help me.  He could not fool me by using the word “tools.”  I knew that he meant that he wants to show me a cane.  I am repulsed by the idea.

Even though I work with a lot of very nice, wonderful, strong, independent people who use canes, I just can not imagine joining their ranks.  I know all the things Kasey is going to say to me – It’s only for times that I’m out after dusk.  It’s only a small ID cane.  I can fold it right up and keep it in my purse.  It’s all about being independent and safe.  I know all of these things in my head.  Still, I can’t quite give in to this next step.

I have been a good sport about this vision deterioration, a really good sport.  I have adapted to not being able to curl up with a good book.  I have learned to use adaptive technology at work.  I have embraced riding the bus instead of driving.  I have worked really hard to find blessings every step of the way.  But this one is getting the best of me.  I am so hesitant to touch a cane, to use a cane, to OWN a cane.

I have a meeting with Kasey on Tuesday, so I had better take these next few days to seriously reconcile myself to the fact that I am going to be offered a blind ID cane.  I know he won’t force me to take it, but he is going to be very encouraging.  Over the next couple of days, I need to think about safety and independence and vanity and stubbornness.  I need to think about what blessings might be in store for me if I take this next step.  So far, on this journey to low vision, every step has offered multiple blessings.  Now, I need to ask myself whether I trust God’s grace enough to believe that this next step also has blessings to offer, blessings I can not even imagine, blessings that I can not yet see.

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10 thoughts on “The Next Step

  1. Belinda, I was a very reluctant cane user. I’d say accept the cane, and just keep it folded up in your bag even if you don’t want to use it straight away. I was glad I did just that one time when I had to walk after dark along a road that had no lights. I could find my way over a very awkward bit of terrain by poking about with my cane. Nobody was around to see me, which I guess was important at the time – it’s hard to come out as a blind person to loads of people who don’t know I am, like the neighbours.

    Some good things that have happened since I’ve been using a cane:-

    – I met a fellow student on a dark railway station when getting a train back to university, and once we’d recognised one another both using white canes, we could travel together.
    – people talk to me at bus stops and sometimes offer to help me, even if I politely refuse. So I get to meet some people I’d never have spoken to otherwise.
    – it’s magic the way people let me through when I’m picking my way through town with a cane. With Christmas shopping on the way, I’ll be using it a lot!
    – I don’t fall over hard-to-notice kerbs any more
    – I count the right number of steps in front of me, and don’t stumble down the last one!
    – I’ve got a kind of pride in becoming skilful at using the cane, and the cane gives me so much invormation about my environment that I didn’t know before.
    – the cane is a more independent way of getting around than grabbing people’s elbows!

    It might help if you start using the cane in places where people don’t know you. Before you know it, you’ll be prepared to use it anywhere, if your experience is anything like mine. You’ll adjust to this just as you have to everything else.

    Now I’m trying to move on from the cane and get a guide dog……. another big step, but hopefully a happy one. The cane training is very useful preparation for this, and so is a great foundation for a life ahead of independent mobility.

    Best of luck!

    • Thank you so much for offering your wisdom. I must say that it is appealing to think about no more tripping over curbs or cracked sidewalks. I want to keep focused on independence instead of worrying about what people will think. I like your idea about learning to use a cane in a place where people don’t know me. I don’t know why taking this step is so much harder than the others. Thanks again for your comment.

  2. Wow, some really interesting discussion on this one. Belinda, I just want to affirm, that is seems to me that you HAVE been a really good sport. A true inspiration. I know you’ll find your way on this one.
    Love, Sheri

  3. Belinda, I think you are the greatest and inspire many to of us face things we do not want to.
    I had a thought when you said you didn’t wish to
    use a cane.
    Perhaps think of it as a STAFF…. EVEN MOSES
    AND MANY OTHERS USED AIDES SUCH AS THIS.
    So you are joining the ranks of a leader… you will teach us and we are following our example.
    You really are a LEADER.
    Embrace the cane if you can.
    My prayers are with you always.
    In His love and mine,
    Jo
    PS When I next visit my daughter in Rochester, I
    hope to at least meet you and introduce my daughter to you. (Am not able to travel often but maybe in the Springtime)

  4. The technologies you have been using allow you to adapt while still controlling who you share your vision loss with. A cane announces your vision loss to everyone with or without your consent. You could say that you announce it to everyone through your blog, however, you get to explain it on your terms. With the cane, it’s all about strangers interpreting your vision loss on their terms.

    You’ve got me thinking of the woman at the well, whose mere presence at the well at mid-day revealed her status in society. But Jesus knew the truth and had something much better for her to receive, a truth unknown to her or to those around her.

    Some things are in God’s hands, some things are in yours. When you choose to use the cane, you’ll choose to give up control of one thing to gain control of another. And yes, then you’ll find out what blessings God has in store for you! And we are all blessed by your beautiful, honest expressions of them. Thanks for reminding me how awesome are the women God calls!

    • Alana, you have great insight into my fears. Thanks for giving me the image of the woman at the well. I’ve been thinking about her since I read your comment. Thank you for your kind words.

  5. This is analogous to what I had to go through in accepting my deteriorating hearing. I totally did not want hearing aids, because I disliked what they symbolized. But ultimately, allowing for these adaptations will benefit you greatly in the longrun. Because while you may get odd looks from passersby initially, and you may not like the feeling of using this device at first, you will adjust. And then you will be glad with the level of comfort it gives you as you go about leaving your footprints in this world and in people’s lives. You have inspired me already. So thank you, and keep stepping!

    • Thank you so much, John. I appreciate your wisdom and the pep talk. I am slowly coming to terms with the idea and it helps to know that you have been in a similar situation. Thanks for your comment.

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