Living without vision
What it’s like to be totally blind
have you ever wondered what it would be like to live your life in total darkness? Imagine having a blindfold permanently tied to your face, covering your eyes, and preventing you from seeing anything. That is how I live my life, except my eyes aren’t covered by a blindfold. I was born prematurely, and I would like to share my story with you. I truly hope that it will inspire people all around the world. It’s meant to motivate you to live your life while you can. You only have one life to live, so live it the best way you know how. Keep in mind that blindness has its ups and downs just like everything else in life.
my name is Tiffany Davis. I was born on Sunday, August 25, 1991 at approximately 4:30 AM. My birth took place at Yale New Haven Hospital, in New Haven Connecticut. Like most Young men who are not prepared for parenthood, my dad left my poor mother to raise my older sister and I on her own when I was three. My mom was only 18 years old when I was born. My sister was born a year prior.
Fortunately, Mom met a very loving man shortly after she and my father separated. They got married when I was just five years old. He helped mom raise us as if we were his own children. From the day we met him, we were lucky to have him and call him Daddy. He did things for us that our biological father wouldn’t do. I believe I was just three years old when he first held me in his arms and told me that he loved me. They are still married to this very day.
The afterbirth came out before I did. This is not a good sign. Chances are there is something wrong with your baby. In most cases, this means the baby has died in the womb. The afterbirth is supposed to come out after the birth of the child. Everyone thought I was gone including the doctors, so I was delivered via emergency C-section. My mother was 25 weeks pregnant the day she gave birth to me. Believe it or not, this is possible despite the fact that babies born this early on do not survive. I was a miracle given the circumstances. My survival was a success despite the statistics. On my birth date I was born feet first, and only weighed 1 pound. The bottles that I received were very small in size and had tiny nipples. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to nurse. I also had to use small pacifiers and teething rings.
I was transferred to different hospitals for treatment that my primary care physician couldn’t provide. Meanwhile, my family found out that I was allergic to an antibiotic used to treat lung conditions, such as bronchitis. This antibiotic is called Cephalexin. When given this medication, I would break out in hives. I was hooked up to Machines with many tubes in my body. The doctors didn’t think I was going to survive at first. They kept me in the hospital, doing their best to make sure I was comfortable.
i’ve also had a great deal of surgeries performed on my eyes to try and reattach my retinas. Despite the physicians efforts, my retinas kept detaching. They decided at that point that there was nothing else they could do for me.
Since I was so small at birth, I could fit in the palm of your hand. My lungs were not fully developed. Therefore it was very hard for me to breathe. Usually, babies six months into the pregnancy don’t have fully developed lungs at this point. It was a miracle from God that I beat the odds and had a successful recovery. Due to my preterm birth, I had to work harder to stay alive. In other words, I fought as hard as I could for my life. Let’s just say that thankfully I won the war. I am still here, and I’m very healthy.
I stayed in the incubator for five months after my birth so the doctors could monitor me and make sure I was all right. I had a small amount of vision in my right eye, but I lost it when I was five months old. During my stay in the hospital, my mother was unable to be with me due to having a 15 month old daughter at home. If it weren’t for her not being able to find a babysitter for my older sister, she would have been right there in the hospital with me. Despite not being able to see me, Mom still showed concern, wanting to know how I was doing and whether or not I’d survive. After five months in the hospital, I finally got to go home with her on February 24, 1992, where she nurtured, loved, and cared for me ever since.
If you’re wondering how I am doing or what I’m up to now, thank you for asking. i’m living a happy, healthy, and positive life. Although some days are harder than others, I try not to let life bring me down. I am now a young adult residing in The city and state of Winston Salem North Carolina, where I have been living for the past two years. Before this, I spent the first 26 years of my life in Connecticut. Twenty-two years were spent living in New Haven with my mother, stepfather, and sisters. This does not include the month and a half that I spent with my biological father and his ex-wife. I moved to Unionville when I was 23 years of age. While in Unionville, I was roommates with another woman with physical disabilities. I lived with her for four years before moving to my current state of residency. I am currently working as a freelance writer. As I continue with this story, I will discuss the disease that caused my blindness.
Retinopathy of prematurity, also known as retrolental fibroplasia or Terry syndrome, is a disease that affects the eyes of prematurely born infants having received neonatal intensive care. Oxygen therapy is used due to the premature development of the infants lungs. This disease is thought to be caused by disorganized overgrowth of retinal blood vessels which May lead to scarring and retinal detachment. In situations where ROP is mild, it may resolve on its own. But in cases like mine, it is severe and leads to blindness. Retinopathy of prematurity is a part of my story. There are things I wish I could see, but I am proud of who I am and how far I’ve come. With gods help, I have lived to tell my story and be the voice for other preemies who didn’t make it.
There was a time when babies born early would die, since there was no way for them to get the treatment necessary to sustain their lives. It is believed that Technology and medicine were not as advanced as they are today, therefore it was quite the challenge to keep premature babies alive. I was one of the babies fortunate enough to survive being born prematurely and still Grow up and have a chance at life. At the time of my birth, technology and treatment were available, but they were still in their early stages. Today, The survival rate of preemies has skyrocketed tremendously. Although I am not too sure about the statistics, I am overjoyed because more premature babies are able to thrive. Technology and treatment have both truly come a long way as time progressed, and I am grateful to be alive today at the age of 29. I was fortunate to have been born during a time in which there was hope for babies born prematurely.
Are you aware that blind people do not have to live with or have their loved ones take them places all their lives? The great news is that we learn to use daily living skills in order to live independently from a young age. One of the first things we learn to do is read and write using a System made up of six cells or dots, simply called braille. Braille is written by using a machine referred to as either a Brailer, or braille typewriter. A slate and stylus can also be used to braille with. A braille embosser is used when you need to braille documents great or small. This machine is a type of printer that you hook up to a computer. But instead of ink, it’s braille coming out onto the paper. A special type of thick paper with holes in the side is used when brailling. it’s referred to as braille paper. These raised dots form letters and words when put together using either one of these tools. This language was created by a man named Louis braille, a French educator who at the tender age of three, went blind due to accidentally poking himself in the eye with a stitching awl in his father’s shoe shop. At first, he only lost his sight in one eye. But infection set in, leading to total blindness in both his eyes. He wanted The Blind and visually impaired to have a way to read and write, so he created this system that is now available worldwide for us to use.
next, we learn mobility skills. This includes anything from learning to safely navigate buildings or cross busy streets and intersections, to using different modes of travel such as buses and trains. We also learn to read braille signs found on elevators and public restroom doors. Along with these skills, we learn to use a special tool called a white cane, by swiping it on the ground from side to side at shoulder length, while keeping it in front of us so as not to trip anyone. There is a technique that we use called two point touch, which is a method used to alert a crowd of people that we are coming in their direction. This technique is used when sighted people are not paying attention to us. When our canes are tapped on the ground, everyone moves out of the way to let us through. Here is how the two point touch technique works. The tip of the cane is lightly tapped on the floor just loud enough to warn people when we are coming their way. With this form of training, we are taught to safely get from one place to another using The white cane previously mentioned above. This cane is designed to help us avoid bumping into obstacles as we travel to our destinations on foot. This occurs when the cane hits them before we do. It only happens when we use our canes properly. If there is another person standing nearby, we gently tap their foot with these long canes, which is how we know that they are there. We go around them once we feel their feet. As we get older, some of us are even trained to work with seeing eye dogs at schools that provide training for blind and visually impaired people Who feel they are ready for one. These dogs make us even more independent, because they can do much more than a cane. Not only can they save their blind companion’s lives, but they can also be the eyes for them and make sure their owners are safe. If necessary, they will bark to warn their owners of danger and even protect them if need be. This may include pushing the owners out of harms way.
The teachers who work with us are referred to as ONM instructors. Orientation and mobility is what The term ONM stands for. As the years go by, we learn to cook and clean with the help of a personal management teacher, or rehabilitative instructor. These instructors are also designed to teach us how to count money, and fold each bill, this way we know what it is. They will also order a bill identifier, a talking device that tells us which bill is which. It’s important for us to practice skills that include ordering food from restaurants whether it be over the phone or in person. Restaurant staff members are asked to directly hand us our food so that we know it belongs to us. We are taught to think about what we would like to order when we call or arrive at the restaurant.
Other things that are taught to the blind include writing checks, as well as letting people know to speak directly with us instead of the person bringing us to our destinations, such as a friend or family member. People tend to ask our sighted friends and family what we want instead of speaking with us, as if we were invisible. In some cases, sighted people will even yell at us, because they think we’re deaf as well. When it comes to job searching, high school graduation, college, and other adult needs, we have a vocational rehabilitative instructor, designed to assist us with This process. All of these people who have just been mentioned specialize in their fields, wanting nothing but the best for their students. On that note, the more independent we are, the better off we will be as we grow. So we are not as limited as most sighted people think. We are just as capable of getting around and living our lives to The fullest The same way everyone else can. We just have to do things differently from those of you who can see what you’re doing. For this reason, it’s not necessary for you to rely on your other senses, because your sight is enough to get you through life every day, or so it seems.
Have you noticed that those of us who are blind tend to have a sixth sense? Being totally blind from birth has made me more aware of my surroundings. Since my eyesight is not there, I am very alert, and my other senses are much stronger. We tend to pay a lot more attention to things than sighted people, because we rely on the other four senses that we still have. With that being said, we are able to independently travel, cook, clean, or even get married and raise a family. Since most people learn by watching, we have to learn by using sound, smell, taste and touch. Things are also done a little bit slower, since we have to rely solely on our other senses for guidance. We also receive services that are not necessary for people with sight.
I rely solely on my hands, as I am unable to see. I discovered that I am very crafty, and I love doing things with them. One of my favorite hobbies is making things out of air dry clay. Since I use them so much, my hands are literally my eyes. I use them to see things that are normally seen with one’s sight. There is an expression that says “See with your eyes, not with your hands”. The quote is used for sighted people who try to use their hands to view things when they are fully capable of seeing them with their eyes. This does not apply to me, in fact I have to do the opposite. I was inspired by this saying, but I’m not sure who invented it. It’s a great way to remind sighted individuals to use their vision while they have it.
Have you or someone you know been underestimated and/or discriminated against due to a disability? In general, it is easy for the non-disabled community to look down on and pity us. In the Blind community, it is difficult to get a job since sighted employers are afraid to hire us. They make up excuses so as not to hurt our feelings. Even some landlords are hesitant to rent an apartment to one who’s blind, for fear of their property being burned to the ground. I have dealt with this all my life. It came as a shock to my mother when she saw that I could pour myself a glass of water.
Can you imagine what it would be like if everyone got along whether disabled or not? At times, I wish people were more excepting. At this point, it seems like our fight for equality will never come to an end if we don’t try to put a stop to it ourselves. As a blind African-American woman, I am considered a minority. Although I am happy with my life right now, I would love to see a change in how people are being treated. Until that day comes, I will continue to live my life until I am finally laid to rest. The one thing I am sure of, is that we will all be able to come together as one. Getting along with one another is not hard at all if we would only try. When we as human beings learn to except each other for who we are, the world will become a better place.