Finding a New Way Forward
Recently I was giving Robert, my husband, a haircut. It was so painful because of arthritis in my hands that I told him this was his last haircut at home. I told my friend Wilma about it and she just laughed and told me about the scissors that you could order to cut hair with special grips for arthritic hands.
Continuing to do what I love by adapting
Wilma is in her 70’s and still works for a dog groomer two to three days a week. She has arthritis so bad in her hands that she can’t use scissors or clippers in a normal way, so she found a new way using tools that don’t hurt her hands.
Thinking about how Wilma continues to do what she loves by adapting, I realized that with my macular degeneration and other chronic health problems I could give up or find a new way forward.
On a trip with my daughter, I realized that I couldn’t see the flashing yellow arrow for a left-hand turn. I want to continue to drive as long as I can safely do so. One workaround for me is to do what UPS drivers do; avoid left-hand turns. According to a study, 22.2% of all accidents happen during a left-hand turn as opposed to only 1.2% making a right-hand turn.1 With impaired vision, I need to take extra measures such as not making left-hand turns whenever I can avoid it.
Safer car features
When I replaced my old vehicle, I wanted one with features that could help make me a safer driver. The one I selected has many features that help me be more confident in my driving. One feature alerts me whenever I come too close to the lines for my driving lane. With an adaptive cruise, my vehicle follows the car ahead of whatever car lengths I select. The backup camera has multiple settings and alarms loudly if I attempt to back up with a car behind me.
Macular degeneration and chronic dry eye cause blurring and make driving in city traffic scary so I no longer drive except in familiar areas. After reading a recent article by Richard, I ordered a pair of Cocoon sunglasses. They are polarized and the copper tint improves contrast enabling me to see more clearly.
One of my favorite hobbies is sewing. I can no longer see well enough to thread my machine. To continue with my hobby, I invested in a new sewing machine that threads itself. Moving my sewing machine in front of a window helped but I still needed more light than the machine provided. I found LED light strips you can apply to your sewing machine that provides sufficient lighting for me to continue sewing.
My favorite hobby is reading. I can no longer read most books or magazines in hard copy. Since I am now writing about my experience living with macular degeneration and moderating online, I found I needed a new device. I wanted one with features that allow me to enlarge the text, use dark mode, and other accessibility settings that make it easier to read for fun or for work.
I did my research and selected the iPad Pro. The screen resolution is much better than on my old laptop. The touch screen makes it easier to zoom in on small print.
New ways to live the best life I can
Knowing that macular degeneration is progressive and that my vision will continue to decline, I intend to be like my friend Wilma and find new ways to live the best life I can.
What about you? Have you found new ways to adapt to life with macular degeneration? Please share your experience by leaving a comment.
Did you experience any challenges receiving an official MD diagnosis?