Thursday, 17 June 2010

Guide Dogs, Part One.

I'm getting one. It's a massive step for me, and a sign I think, that I'm finally realising AND accepting that I need extra help..... Those who know me will know what a big thing it is for me to think this about myself.

I'm very independent, and find it really hard to ask for help. Stubborn as well, which again, doesn't help much with the hole 'I can do it myself' attitude.

Loosing your sight takes a massive chunk of the independentness... It sometimes makes you think 'Do you know what..... I'm not going to do such and such, or go to here or there'. Because what should be an enjoyable thing, going to the pub, going to a museum, going to a party, whatever it is..... Can become stressful and totally unenjoyable before you've even got there!!

For instance, just stepping out of my front door to walk down to the train station no more than fives minutes away can be a trail. If it's really sunny, it's hard work. The glare from the sun, even when wearing sunglasses, makes it so everything becomes hazy and glarey. Think of really over exposed photo's, where everything looks really washed out and even ghost like. But add the fact its BRIGHT. The amount of people I've walked into because I've not seen them is countless! It's also embarrassing. People think you're ignorant, rude, stupid..... I'm none of those things!

When it's overcast, it's hard work. Everything becomes duller, you don't necessarily see where the curb is. Curbs and roads are quite similar in colour, and unless you intently stare at the floor, you don't always clock it/them. Stubbed toes, jarred hips and knees can be quite painful. And again, it's something I do all the time!

If it's raining, it's hard work.

If it's drizzling, it's hard work.

If it's snowing, it's hard work.

It's not only the fact that I have really limited vision in the degrees. My eyes take a few minutes to adjust from coming from outside to inside, from inside to outside, from one room to another, even getting onto a train or a bus takes my eyes a few minutes to adjust to the difference to the lighting.

There's also the fact I get bursts of white lights and black spots... You know when someone takes a picture of you with the flash on and you go 'eurgh!!!!!' I get that ALL the time! Not continuously, but it's always there, and there's no rhyme or reason as to when it'll happen either!

It's tiring... It's knackering.... It brings on migranes...

Because my brain is going at 140mph, I'm constantly scanning, the floor, to my sides, up ahead, back to the sides, the floor, the sides, up ahead, the floor and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on.

Plus, I don't hear people coming up behind me. The shock of someone suddenly appearing from nowhere is massive.

Sometimes I feel like I'm on a constant adrenaline rush..... Again, its knackering!

And as I've said before, you can't see my disability, and therefore I look 'normal'. As a result, people don't make allowances for me, don't give me the space I need more than most people.

So sometimes I'll think..... 'I'm not gonna go, I'm gonna sit in and watch a DVD!'

I hate thinking like that. I hate that I might have missed out on something really fun. I hate that people might think I'm a boring fecker. And I hate that one day people might stop asking to things!!

So I'm in the process of getting a Guide Dog. I'll tell you more about that in the next instalment!


  1. Thank you for your post! I have recently begun working for Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, FL (USA) and it helps me immensly to hear personal accounts of how visual impairments affect those who deal with them in daily life. I commend you on your decision to attain a guide, you won't regret it in the slightest and most likely you will wonder why you waited.

    Best of luck in your journey!

  2. I look forward to episode 2. In the meantime would you be happy fpor me to lift your words for an article in the next RP magazine? David

  3. looking forward to the next installment!
    can I ask, do you know what the black dots are in your vision?? has any professional ever said what/why they are there?? my sister calls hers "ants"

  4. Hey,

    I'm a fellow Ushers 2 sufferer living in England and I'm going to be meeting someone from Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs in September to possibly get a Dual Trained Dog.

    I've been worrying I won't be eligible as sometimes I can see fairly well, just other times I can't at all. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for us both!

    I recently started blogging too although not ever so regularly:

    It is great reading yours and seeing that there really are other people out there with similar problems.