Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dying As A Blind Person

Of all the many threads of my “being” and “doing” that have surfaced for me in the process, so far, to which I pledged myself; taking a full year to heal from my recent cornea transplant, one, in particular, stands above all.

What it might mean for me to die as a “blind person” and be born again as “fully sighted.

The notion, as I discussed it, and, as you may recall, Oliver Sacks sugggested, in an article titled “To See And Not See” (The New Yorker, May 10, 1993) (based on an earlier article of Alberto Valvo (“Sight Restoration After Long Term Blindness: The Problems and Behavior Patterns of Visual Rehabilitation”), that –
“One must die as a blind person to be born again as a seeing person.”
…embraces my present challenge fully.

But how does one go about this exactly; dying as one who cannot see and, then, becoming one who can?

Identity is a tricky issue to come to terms with completely, under ordinary circumstances,. 

However, my situation is not ordinary. And, while I have only been blind intermittently other than my eight year sojourn into darkness (1998 – 2006), I have consistently lived under the cloud of threatened blindness since college.

Sometimes I read of other college-age young people needing to face up to the ordeal I have lived with now for decades. Their struggles are similar to my own. However, today they have resources, especially through the internet and advanced medical research and treatment, that were not available for me.

My prayer for them is that they will, not only survive the ordeal, which will, likely, be a lifetime of challenge with their keratoconus diagnosis. But that they will learn to live with it and thrive as others have done with similar conditions.  

I believe that overall I have done this in spite of my personal set of obstacles.  Trevor Thomas who I read of on the internet is another who has allowed his life to be an adventure in spite of blindness.

For me, on the other hand, is the added complication of an overlay of hysterical blindness. And, no way to ascertain, especially at this late date, which came first, hysterical blindness or keratoconus. My self-help, self-healing assessment is that the hysterical blindness was the precursor. Based on that viewpoint I am presently formulating my healing strategies.

But where to begin puzzles me at this stage of my maturity.

I thought I had answered the question, “Who am I,”  sufficiently, numerous times in the past. 

Philosophers and theologians have sought to discover the answer to this since time immemorial. As if it held, on its own, the single most important answer to the very essence of the existence of life

As a corollary I am asking myself , “Who am I to whom?”  To you? To me?

In how I feel inside? In how I behave? In the perspectives you hold of me?

Where is the truest me? Does it lie in one or the other of these; how and what I feel inside, how I behave or how you perceive me?

Obviously these questions are part and parcel of a long-term investigation. 

I will keep you apprised of my discoveries as they are uncovered.

My hope is that, with or without physical vision problems, my “insights” will enhance your clarifying how well you “see.”

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