I had always had good vision which I (like most people) took for granted. Being a pretty good artist of sketches and oil paintings, my sight was a blessing. I’d never worn glasses and assumed that wouldn’t change until I was old. Well I’m now eating my hat because following my brain injury I have double vision. Usually its just a slight overlap, but it can be a lot worse.
Stress affects me badly
I had an appointment in London to get to, and my Partner James had taken the afternoon off to take me. I’m not sure what had happened that morning, but I was tired and confused. But the worst part was my sight. I saw two of everything and couldn’t really tell where objects were in relation to me. So I was relieved that James was able to drive me to my appointment.
Don’t count your chickens when you have double vision as you’ll never get it right
We left in plenty of time, James had booked a parking space for the day so we were going to get there early and have some lunch. Just as James was trying to accelerate to join the Motorway the engine warning light came on. The management system limited the revs so there was no acceleration. This was bad news, so we took the car to the nearest dealership for them to look at it. Leaving the car with them we took a taxi to the railway station. Luckily as we had left early, although our journey was going to take a lot longer now, we might still make it.
Negotiating the stairs at the station and on the train, was difficult with my double vision, but James helped me. As unsettling as it was to travel when I was so disorientated, so far I was coping. But all the time I was worried we might not make it in time for my appointment with the Neurosurgeon. ( I didn’t ever have surgery, but when I had my car accident that was the team that looked after me.) The added pressure was making it impossible for me to relax enough to allow my double vision to improve.
But the worst was yet to come….
Once the train pulled into the station we needed to use the London underground to cross to virtually the other side of London. Getting a bus or taxi was out of the question. The traffic in London meant that it would take too long. Our only hope was to use the over packed “tube”.
When people are in a hurry (which in London is all the time) they are speedily trying to dart in and out of the crowds, and might accidentally (or not) shove you. Normally I would try to make space for people trying to pass me, particularly as I wasn’t able to walk fast due to the nerve damage in my left leg. But with my double vision, I couldn’t tell exactly where they were, or which way I should dive. In the confined space of the “tube system” this was terrifying!
And as for escalators, every time I got on or off them I felt I was gambling with my life. James helped by holding my hand and counting down when I should step. But even then I kept getting it wrong. The vicious thing tried to drag me away like a shark attacking a surfer. James held on and righted my balance, saving me from disaster umpteen times.
After dicing with death, happily we made it in time. It was close but they were running behind, so it probably didn’t matter that much anyway. But having time to relax whilst we waited really helped. So although the journey back was tough, it didn’t have so many heart stopping moments.
And in case you’re wondering about the car……
The dealership didn’t find what it was but removed the error from the system so it was drive-able. It happened again a few times and a family run garage eventually found it was the engine filter. So that did get sorted in the end.
The moral to my story…
We are used to the visually impaired using a white stick, or walking with a guide dog. Please remember that there are people out there who might not have had a diagnosis yet an so could still be battling without these aids. I know that sometimes it feels like time is against us, but we are all racing against the same clock, lets just make sure we all get there.