Questions About My blindness

Introduction

I have been asked each of the below questions at least once. I include them here because I am sure you are curious about some of them. If you have a question that is not on this page, feel free to use the contact form in the menu. I will, based on questions asked, periodically update this page. Don’t worry, there is no such thing as a stupid question. Also, I will never publish the name of a questioner. One of my reasons for creating this site is my desire to educate people about my capabilities. I can’t do that unless we can have a frank discussion about my life–including my blindness. If you make it to the end, I’ll share a funny story.

Table of Contents

How did you become blind?

You have a fake eye?
Did you go to public school?
Did kids tease you?

Why do you use a dog guide?

How come you use the term dog guide?
Do you read braille?
How come your eyes are closed?

Do you understand colors?

Do you see in your dreams?
Should I feel guilty for asking you if you saw something?

Would you like to have sight?

Has blindness led to any funny stories?

How did you become blind?

I was born about two months premature. The prematurity of my birth and the fact that I weighed two pounds were most likely responsible for me developing retinopathy of prematurity.

I was also born with a growth behind my right eye. When I was ten months old, the growth was removed. In order to access the growth, my right eyeball was taken too. So, my right eye is artificial.

You have a fake eye?

As a kid, I got paid to remove it more than once. After one of those times, a teacher told me I was making a show of myself. At the time, I didn’t care. I had ten bucks. She may have had a point though.

Did you go to public school?

I attended public school all the way through high school.

Did kids tease you?

I put this here because several blind kids and/or their parents have asked me this question. Yes, I was teased as a kid. I was even thrown in a dumpster. That being said, I don’t think I was teased more than some other kids.

The teasing wasn’t the worst part. The thing that hurt the most was how often I felt misunderstood and out of place. I was always the only totally blind person in school. I was the only blind person in my family. People in my life could sympathize. I didn’t regularly see anyone who could empathize.

Why do you use a guide dog?

The decision to use a dog guide or a cane is strictly a personal one. As I hope you can tell, I love dogs. I can’t imagine not having one in my life. Having a dog guide means I can bring one of my best friends everywhere.

For me, having a dog guide is a faster, more efficient way to travel. For more information about how Ufi guides me, read Introducing Ufi.

How come you use the term dog guide?

Very few people care about this issue, and I sometimes use guide dog too. Since part of my reason for creating this site is my hope to educate people, I am using dog guide. Dog guide is more accurate than is guide dog. Ufi is a dog who sometimes works as a guide. He isn’t a guide who sometimes plays like a dog.

Do you read braille?

I learned to read braille as a child. Braille equals literacy for blind people. I am very saddened by the trend in public schools away from braille. Braille makes learning to spell and punctuate so much easier. When you listen to a book, you aren’t getting grammar and spelling.

How come your eyes are closed?

Growing up, no one explained to me the value sighted people put on eye contact. Since my eyes don’t take in any information, I had no reason to open them.

Do you understand colors?

Honestly, entirely visual concepts hold no appeal for me. I can tell you the sky is blue and that when I had a lot more hair it was blonde. But blue and blonde mean nothing to me.

Do you see in your dreams?

I dream as I live. My dreams revolve around smell, sound, and touch.

Should I feel guilty for asking you if you saw something?

Okay, no one has ever directly asked it that way, but I wanted to keep you on your toes.

I say I watch television. I heard television sounds weird. I’m almost impossible to offend. I care more about talking to you than I care how you talk to me.

Would you like to have sight?

No medical and/or scientific project I am aware of holds the promise of ever giving me sight. So, this question is purely hypothetical. That reality may affect my answer. I don’t spend time dwelling on something that’s never going to happen.

That being said, I worry that sight would change my life too much. It took nearly 40 years for me to love myself. I am always striving to better myself, but I’ve never been happier. Why mess with a good thing?

Has blindness led to any funny stories?

You know it has. Laughter, even at our own expense, is really important.

I was at a hotel for a conference. Between meetings I decided to go back to my room. For a couple of minutes I kept putting the electronic keycard in the slot on the door to room 1197 and pulling it out again. No matter which way I put it in, the door wouldn’t open.

With my frustrations building, I was angry with myself because I didn’t mark the keycard with a piece of tape to help me know how to hold the key when putting it in the slot. I was mad at the hotel for giving me a defective key. When I started talking to myself, it was time to go to the lobby and give someone a piece of my mind.

As I turned away from the door, a maid asked if she could let me into my room. appreciating her kindness, I smiled and thanked her. The keycard could wait until later. It would be better if I relaxed before dealing with it.

I used the bathroom, gave Ivor, my first dog guide, some water, and stretched out on the bed. A few minutes of rest would be good.

I stretched my arm to the right and my hand landed inside a bra. I sat up like I’d been shot out of a cannon. “My room is 1597,” I said. “I’m in the wrong room.”

I grabbed Ivor’s leash and harness. “We have to go, buddy,” I said. Dumping his water, I was so afraid the woman was going to open the door.

Lying on the bed in 1597, I couldn’t help but laugh. It had been an embarrassing, frustrating experience. Sixteen years later, it’s a story we can all laugh about

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