Focus Pocus

imageIt happened while I waited at the bus stop. I was going about my usual routine of watching the road for my afternoon bus as many, many cars sped past the block. There was a chill in the air so I was stuffing hands in pockets in between glances through my monocular. No one else waited alongside me.

I lifted my monocular, which I’ve had since my O&M training three years ago, to my right eye and all of a sudden I couldn’t see through the lens. As I rotated it and hoped it was just out of focus, I heard a clinky rustle, sort of like the one you hear when using a kiddie toy kaleidoscope and it rattles as the colored plastic pieces rearrange themselves. Uh oh. Now I was unaided twice-over: alone and lensless.

Well, I know what to do if I have to venture more in the dark than I already am. I stand at my bus stop like I was taught with my cane prominently in front of me, facing the oncoming traffic. I refrained from acting like a staff-weilding Charlton parting the waters, but there was enough wind that day to be dramatic if I had let my hair down. Maybe next time.

No bus driver ever misses me in bus-catching formation. When the next bus slows down, if I still can’t read the illuminated marquee I will listen for the vehicle’s pre-recorded announcement. If none plays, I will simply verify with the bus driver which bus it is before I board. Staying informed keeps one from unintended detours.

Soon I catch my bus and when I get to Stockton’s office, I tell him about my broken device. He gives it a turn. “Yup, it’s broken alright.”

I check out websites that stock magnifiers for a replacement. All of the initial options are pretty expensive and I’m hesitant to lay out that kind of money when it’s not for a terrier related expense. Stockton suggests that I look on eBay. In a matter of minutes, I find an affordable choice from a reputable reseller in the business of recycling electronics and other gadgets. My tree-hugger heart soars. I thank Stockton for his great retail idea and I order my low vision aid.

Once it arrives, I test it and frown. I tell Stockton it has the blurry-to-me extra magnified field at the bottom of the lens like my old one did when it still worked. He peers through it. “Hmmm. Not seeing what you’re talking about…”

I explain in exasperation then take back the monocular and look again. It dawns on me. My implanted silicone oil must be giving off an extra reflection. Eye roll commence. I’ll deal. Thankfully, there’s no kaleidoscope sounds from my new monocular, just magnified objects on demand. It’s ready for the road.

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Casee says:

    It is good to know that your training kicked in and you didn’t panic. Stockon is a wonderful resource for you with his money saving idea. 🙂

  2. Trisha says:

    Hooray for Ebay! I never think to use it unless my husband reminds me about it. Then I’m always amazed by the choices. Finding a made from recycled magnifier would have made my tree hugging heart soar too!

    1. The selection on eBay is surprising. It’s nice to have the option.

  3. Genevieve says:

    Are bus drivers trained to know that when they see a person in that position they should stop? I didn’t know that was a thing…. I’m glad it is!

    1. I don’t know if there is an official stance per se, but as drivers are the sighted ones, they can’t miss me. I have my bus pass in my hand that’s holding my cane, too.
      I would hope drivers are trained to stop for anyone holding a white cane at a bus stop who appears to be waiting for a bus rather than someone just passing by, etc.

  4. Good solution but it iseems so unfair that low vision should be so complicated and expensive. I’m glad you have the support you do, Susan, but what happens to people who don’t? Here in the UK if that happened to me I could go to my hospital or local charity, FOCUS, partly funded by the National Health Service, and get a replacement on permanent loan. Of course this is paid for indirectly through taxation but it does mean that the disadvantages of disability are covered for all of us. Is this fighting talk?!

    1. I support funding resources for people with disabilities through taxation. Independence leads to productivity in my book. At this time, I don’t think low vision aids are covered by Medicare (retired persons health insurance) but I hope that changes in the future. If I needed the monocular to do my job, my state agency would cover the cost.

      Thanks for sharing the UK info, Bridget.

  5. I’m glad things worked out for you Susan. It’s a shame that low vision aids are so costly and it’s a reminder that we live in an upside down world where people who could benefit greatly from these types of devices cannot afford them. On a side note it would have been interesting to see you as the staff-weilding Charlton parting the waters, especially with the windblown effect.

    1. All true points–greater accessibility includes financial matters, too. And I would certainly give Charlton a run, if only to prove the importance of wearing moisturizer with SPF on a daily basis against the elements, ha.

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