Today I met with Kasey for Mobility Training. We were supposed to meet last week, but I canceled because I was dealing with feelings of sadness from my eye doctor appointment and the news that my vision had deteriorated again. Over the course of the last few days, I have reconciled myself to the idea that my vision is not stable and decided to move forward with my life. For a while, the option to remain stuck in self-pity and give up on learning to adapt had a certain appeal. I was able to move beyond the self-pity eventually and eventually chose to restore my positive attitude and get on with my life.
Kasey was really excited about today’s lesson. He told me a few times during the week that it was going to be fun. This made me really nervous. His idea of fun is encouraging me to go beyond my comfort zone and challenging me to learn new skills. At least he promised that he would not make me use a cane this time. I was sort of interested to see what he had planned. The day looked pleasant enough from my window. So, I bundled up and we headed out for a walk. As we walked, we talked about how my bus travel has been going and I had to admit that I have been getting rides on the coldest days. I don’t mind taking the bus, but I am a real baby about cold weather.
We walked up the street and he had me find the entrance to one of the buildings downtown. He wanted me to find my way into and around an unfamiliar place. We walked into a huge Atrium. An amazing thing about this building is that is houses a piece of the Berlin wall. Kasey asked me to find it in the room. The room was actually a little hard to maneuver through, because there were tables and chairs scattered throughout and I had to weave around them to get to the sculpture. I was successful, though, and found the wall. I was so disappointed that I didn’t have my camera with me. I will have to go back.
The next part of our “scavenger hunt” was to locate a nearby sub shop. Luckily, I was able to follow my nose to the source of a delicious fresh bread smell. After the sub shop, we headed to the downtown branch of the Library. I love the Library, but I have not been there in over a year. I used to take our kids all the time and we would explore all the various sections, finding wonderful books and videos. Since my vision started to deteriorate, I have avoided the library. I just don’t see the point of being in a building full of books I can’t see well enough to read. As soon as we walked in, I figured out why Kasey wanted part of our lesson to take place there. The lighting was very inconsistent – super bright in some areas and very dim in others. The carpet also has strange variations that make it hard to tell if a change in carpet color marks a step or a ramp or is just decorative. We traveled up and down stairs and through hallways and into various rooms. It was good to have someone with me while I was dealing with the lighting changes and unfamiliar terrain. I realized that I rarely put myself into situations where I don’t know what to expect. I hardly ever go anywhere new or unfamiliar. Now that Kasey and I have “mapped out” the library, I think I would be willing to go there by myself. Especially since it is so close to where I work. When the weather is nicer, I can walk there on my lunch hour.
The best thing about Kasey as a Mobility Instructor is that he gives lots of confidence-boosting praise. Even as I was gripping the railing while walking down the stairs at the library, he was telling me that I was doing a great job. On our way back to the agency, he mentioned that he thought I was walking with a lot more confidence. I have to agree that, even though my eyesight has deteriorated, I have learned to carry myself with a lot more confidence. When I know where I am and what to expect, I walk quickly and assertively. When I am in unfamiliar territory, I slow down but I try not to shuffle my feet or walk hesitantly. All in all, I have picked up some great coping skills for traveling now that my vision is reduced. There are more tools available when I need them, but for now I can travel very well by myself.