After years of one-to-one care, I cherish being alone in silence. Challenging days of stillness and silence proved to be powerful movement.

Adapting to a differently abled body seems natural in reflection; there simply were no options. When it found the energy, my body naturally tried to make clarity of its surroundings by squinting with my left eye while my right was an utter uncooperative misfit.

From an ambulance to intensive care, bedridden to assisted hallway walks, being wheeled then eventually shuffling to appointments down the hospital corridor, being taken to specialist appointments off-site, flown to another country, to another hospital, to having a Nurse’s Assistant never more distant than my shadow, including toilet and showers, when I was on behaviour good enough to be permitted;  for what felt like an eternity, I was never alone.  

Constant hands-on care was a test in itself for more than two years. As time in clinical settings progressed and my visual impairment did not, the loss of autonomy grew more clear. Between medical practitioners and insurance agents, my life was in the hands of mere strangers; Power of Attorney was put in place, I had control over nothing. The hospital I was moved to, medcaition administred, tubes put in, personal hygenie routines, therapy involvement, I was but a robot; a child beckoning to the commands of controlling adults.

A mountainscape analogy of my recovery follows peaks and valleys, ups and downs, trips and falls when I wanted to quit. A similar intertwined profile shadows the phases of acceptance. Accepting that life changes was a natural part of life leading up to September 2014; we age, we grow, we change. Since something so unforeseen as a rogue ball threw my trail on severe detour, adjusting and accepting life with a severe visual impairment has not come as quickly as the speed of the ball that me.

With the instantaneous change from life with perfect eyesight to a severe visual impairment, acceptance of the change was hindered as the medical professionals ascertained that my eyesight would fully recovery once the blood cleared in my eyes and their sockets.

Though I had little patience, for months I never imagined that my eyesight would in fact not return. I was just the impatient patient though never thought to doubt my neurological team’s diagnosis.

After 6 months of no change in my vision, I was told by a most empathetic neuroopthamologist that I should stop waiting. Voices of disbelief stirred. Originally sent home from Emergency with a black eye, only to be told 2 days later that my brain was bleeding, swelling and my skull had numerous fractures, then told the blood would clear and my sight would return. Who was I to believe? How could I accept anything as the truth?

I simply wanted silence; I wanted the voices of disbelief to stop yet felt so lost. The uncertainty of my trail, its wayward ridge towards acceptance, has endured time and travel.

Time travelling alone after years of one-to-one care, I embrace silence. Running is my movement meditation; recently taking much of the movement out and embracing a silent meditation retreat on a remote Peruvian Island felt like a serendipitous opportunity for growth beyond my comfort zone. Challenging days of stillness and silence proved to be powerful movement towards seeing things as they really are.

Like the silent retreat, I aim to rise to new challenges which at one time might have felt as energy-draining troubles and invite perspective. Though I see only 30% of what the average person does, I believe I am beginning to accept, embrace and see life with more clarity.

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  1. Sonya terBorg says:

    “though I see only 30% of what the average person does…” yes, but you have the vision to carve out this life for you that not only sees you flourishing in your natural habitat (I just said that last line in David Attenborough’s voice!) but you are opening other people’s eyes to the things we take for granted on the daily. Your journey….it is so much, and yet here you are. Vulnerable and victorious. You inspire me. You are so much more than the percentage of your eyesight. 30% vision. 100% visionary. Your mindfulness and your drive to find that which fuels you is inspiring x 5000.