Your Garden, the bin, the grabber and the indirect question!

Hi everyone,

Hope you are enjoying this lovely summer weather!!! Not really …..it hasn’t stopped raining I am sure the seasons are changing.  Anyhow I was pondering on what I should write for my next blog and I thought what would be a nice continuation from my last blog on my life hacks, is to share with you some of the things as sighted people you could do to help us with our quest for independence. I don’t want this to come across at all as judgmental or condescending, I am just on a quest to try and educate sighted people in the ways of the VI impaired. I don’t want us to be segregated from society. I don’t want it to be us and you, I want us all to live together in harmony and we can do this by helping each other. 

So here I go, 

Your garden

know a person’s garden is a sacred and personal thing. We create it as a sanctuary and a statement and extension of our homes. I whole heartedly appreciate this, but when your oasis starts to creep out into the public domain, this is where it becomes a problem for the visually impaired. The best example I can share with you is on my rehabilitation white cain training sessions which is a serious, overwhelming and stimulating experience. This is when it becomes difficult, you have to constantly battle with being attacked by bushes, trees  and hedges that are long overdue a trim. It is this kind of thing that can put off a visually impaired person from continuing their training and regaining their independence. I know it is your oasis and you want it beautiful and I am very sure it is, but please could you keep an eye on them overgrowing and creeping over into the street. This would such a difference to a Visually impaired person – I know it would to me.  I wear glasses when I am out because I don’t want to have to walk around with my arm up over my face, like they teach you to do in rehab. I do get questions because of this ‘if you can’t see why you wearing glasses?’ Well this is the reason, this way if and when I get attacked by them hedges, bushes, trees I have protection through my glasses. So just a big thank you in advance for trimming them bushes. 

The dreaded wheelie bin

yes we all hate them and how noisy the bin men are at stupid o clock in the morning. They are smelly big and dirty but they are also a hazard and obstacle for the visually impaired. I remember when I still had sight I used to see people approaching and walking around scattered wheelie bins , I would see people getting tissues out to touch the handles to move aside slightly and continue. Gosh even I was guilty of this! As a visually impaired person having some sight in my left eye before losing my sight completely, I never thought to move the bins either.  When you are so busy and so focused on your own problems, others become less apparent. If any of you follow me on facebook, you may have seen my post about my wheelie bin incident. That was one of the hardest days I have experienced since my sight loss. For those who didn’t see the post, I was walking to pick my son up from school as I have started to do more so since my training. I forgot something and had to turn back around, in doing so I lost my bearings. I continued to walk what I thought was straight and then came into contact with 3 or 4 bins scattered over the pathway. I tried to get around them as well I could whilst remaining straight but it completely sent me off in the wrong direction, causing me to end up on somebody’s driveway. I was distraught and crying, I have never felt so out of control and helpless. Then a lovely man passing stopped and offered his help. I would have said yes to anyone in that moment to get out of that situation. He was lovely, very comforting and respectful. If it wasn’t for that kind soul those dam wheelie bins would have set me back so much. I decided not to take my son on a Wednesday anymore until my confidence is 100 percent. I have also found an alternative route to avoid that section of the road where the bins seem to be bad. Even when things are at their worst there is always a way around them. However please just give a thought to how different you could make a visually impaired persons day if you just took a minute to move the bins back into a straight line. I know that it is not our job and we pay our taxes for that but we are all here to help each other in this wonderful life. 

The Grabber Person

Well, people who are blind and visually impaired rely on the kindness of sighted people to conduct there every day tasks and regain their independence. For some though, it is very hard thing to ask for help, for some it comes a little easier and for some they enjoy having that interaction with others. It is amazing the help we ask for but there are those who think it is ok to give help even though you may not need it or haven’t asked for it. We are appreciative of the help but please all we ask is that you are mindful of a person’s feelings and boundaries. How would you feel if a complete stranger in the street came over to you and grabbed your arm and pulled you, I expect you would probably lash back. We don’t have that luxury. In trying it could leave us very disoriented and it could be dangerous. So, please, next time you wish to offer help please use your voice first. Ask if that person would like any help and if they say yes then explain to them what you are doing first. This way, there is no surprises. If you have a friend or family member this can also apply just because you know the person doesn’t mean you have the right to grab either. It is an amazing thing that you wish to help and I certainly don’t discourage that, all I am saying is that you be mindful that that person is also a human being and is entitled to the same rights as yourself. 

The indirect question!

So have you ever had that dream where you are there and you are watching an incident take place and you can see yourself doing it or talking to someone about it. It is like an out of body experience but in a dream. This is what it is like in reality for blind and visually impaired people sometimes. I have been in a shop with my sister and the shop assistant would talk to my sister asking her the question meant for me. I am not STUPID OR DEAF! I can understand and hear the question and considering the question is for me please don’t be ignorant and ask my sister for me. The thing that really bothers me is that just because you have lost a sense or even people that maybe poorly or have mental health problems does not mean that you are not a human being and have your own mind. Why do some people think that because you have lost your eyes you have lost everything else? Even if you were unsure of that answer please be mindful of that person. I am sure that if had you asked them any questions, about things you didn’t know and wished to know about that person, then they would be more than happy to answer them rather than having someone else talk for them. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read through these and I sincerely hope I haven’t offended anyone. I really wish to encourage people to be more mindful of themselves and the help they can give to people with a sight loss. I encourage anyone to ask me questions I think the more we share with sighted people the more they understand the better they can help. I just want to say thank you in advance for anything you may take from this blog and any mindful help you may give in the future. 

Take care you lovely people 

xx

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