Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Yesterday, my mother had cataracts removed from one eye and an intraocular lense put in.  What a bald statement.

Actually, it means I'm about 800km north of home, doing the driving and any heavy work for a week while Mum takes it quietly and we bicker good-naturedly over who should be allowed to do the washing up (hint - the winner puts the rubber gloves on before her mother notices).  The post-surgery bandage came off this morning and Mum is startled with the new clarity of vision.  Even more so, I think, because the half day of having just one fuzzy eye gave her an idea of what it must be like to be badly vision impaired.

Two things here.  One - I love my mother dearly, am fiercely proud of what she's managed to do in her life and how she has managed over the last couple of decades.  And I'm so fortunate that I can drive up to help her. 

Two - I'm not being mealy-mouthed by saying vision impaired rather than blind.  Blind is different.  Blind is no sight.  Vision impaired means a degree of sight - actually a whole range of degrees.  What Mum experienced yesterday with one fuzzy eye was loss of depth perception, loss of clarity and great difficulty reading anything other than the largest headlines.  My stepson is a wonderful young man, dealing with a range of issues.  He's in his early twenties and much like most young Australian men of that age.  But he also has retinitis pigmentosa.  Rod-cone dystrophy.  His retinas are deteriorating.  He has no night vision - he is night blind.  His peripheral vision is negligible.  He can just read big headlines, but his nose is almost on the page.  He can see recognisable shapes about 10 metres away - and will take a guess at who it might be - but he won't actually be able to see you until you are very close.  Sudden changes in light levels take him at least half an hour to adjust to.  He went a bit off the rails when the diagnosis came in.  But he's levelling out, holding down a job, has friends, a dog, lives with a mate.  He is finding his way, making his mistakes, learning the way we all learn and becoming independent.

Re-reading this, I'm not too sure if I'm trying to say anything here.  Maybe just that I'm away from home and missing it, my husband, our dogs.  That I'm stoked to be able to do something for my mother.  That I'm proud of my stepson and what he's managed to achieve.  That there is love and caring in the world, shown in different ways.  Does there need to be more than that?

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