Sitting in the medical surroundings of a typical eye doctor’s office, my husband and I came for his six month check up. He was not optimistic. A lot had changed in his vision over the past six months, and we knew that it would probably be a life changing appointment.
I just didn’t know how much of a change it was.
He was finally in the chair and the doctor says, “Okay, cover your left eye and read what you see on the screen with your right eye.” It was the big “E” up there. My husband stammers, and I could see the frustration mount as he searched the wall with his right eye for what he was supposed to be looking at. “I can’t see it.” I could hear the desperation in his voice. “Okay. Lets try this.” She holds up a poster with the same E, but closer – Three feet away from him, to be exact. My husband searches with his right eye to find it, and finally, in exasperation, says, “I can only see a black shadow that looks like a line.”
I felt my stomach sink lower. I had no clue it was that bad. His right eye was useless. No wonder he had a hard time finding me sometimes when we would talk. The little things that had happened started to make sense as I saw him fail with his right eye completely.
Then it was the left eye that really made the reality hit me hard.
He was able to read the big E, three of the next four letters, then only two of the third size smaller than the large E.
I wanted to cry. I could see the hope drain from my husband’s face.
The doctor tested his peripheral vision and he failed it completely. She then stops to say, “Okay. Lets go ahead and dilate your eyes so we can see whats going on inside.”
It was weird watching her look into his eyes, and I kept wondering what it looked like inside with the way his vision is disintegrating. I was able to see pictures, but it was hard to interpret what I was seeing. At least, the doctors knew what they were looking at.
My husband’s main doctor had not yet come in to talk to him, and I had to run out to get my kids from the school bus. But what I had seen was enough to know that our lives were changing very soon.
I went to pick up my husband from the office after having gathered my two kids from the bus stop, and I asked him, “What did your doctor say?”
He drew a long sigh and answered, “There’s nothing more to do but to get ready for when it’s all gone. He will fill the paperwork for me to apply for disability. I will need to talk to my boss to figure out the next step.”
It’s been a couple of days now since the reality of this has hit us. We are discussing the way our life will be as he will not be able to work for a while. He doesn’t want to stay on disability, but find a new avenue of a career or job. His doctor was brilliant in suggesting to him an idea.
“You’ve been working in a law firm for, what, six years? Why not go into law? That way you can work at your own pace and use the technology out there to help you read the papers you get.” My husband’s hope was stirred and he is beginning to consider that option.
But we still have a few hurdles to overcome first.
I’m deaf. He’s now officially blind, and will continue to worsen as the time goes by. Tactile signs and braille are on our list to learn. Once that is started, I plan to reorganize our home to where he can find things easier with the use of labeling.
The question of where home will be is still in the air. We may move from our current location to be closer to family. I am looking forward to that. The support will be immensely valuable to all of us. I’m not saying we don’t have support here, but I know family runs thicker than blood. Friends are wonderful, but they have their own needs to take care of… and our blood doesn’t run that thick… Even though there are a few exceptions to the rule.
I’m now looking to find a full time job to make sure we have some kind of income. After being a stay at home mom for eight years, jobs don’t look to kindly on us moms. They don’t accept eight years of being a mom/housekeeper/cook/taxi driver/homeschooler (pre-school) doesn’t count as work experience. My opinion differs. You try being a mom to two kids and assisting someone who can’t see very well, and managing a home at the same time! I have to also remember to take care of myself at the same time. That’s a whole new ball of yarn, but I’m working on it.
As I conclude, several songs are ringing through my head, and they’re both Steven Curtis Chapman songs :
“The Great Adventure” and “His Strength is Perfect” They will be my theme songs for a while.