Doomed I Tell You

I have always expected that I would develop AMD. My grandmother had it and didn't know what it was. She was a pianist, and I remember when she could no longer play her beloved Chopin, and then when my mother took her to the eye doctor, he told her, "You will not be completely blind." She burst into tears because that had been her greatest fear. She may have been legally blind due to central vision loss, but she could always see something on the floor with her peripheral vision. What I learned from her story was that more information is always a good thing and that keeping up with science may ease the deprivations of lost sight.

Helping by mom through her AMD

My mother developed AMD in both eyes, and by the time of her death at age 97, she was legally blind too. She lived mostly independently until the last, and it wasn't the diminished eyesight that caused her to need help as she aged. She had a CCTV machine that allowed her to read her mail, and she used the Books for the Blind service from the state library.

I introduced her to Alexa, who she could ask about the news, and weather, play music, and to read a book. She could also tell it to call her daughter! From my mom, I learned to never give up nor to give in to self-pity. She told me that when her second eye went, she gave herself some time to cry, and then she moved on. She lived independently and happily with advanced AMD.

My aunt's AMD journey

My aunt developed wet AMD and benefitted from the injections that stopped its damage. She does not drive at night or even in the day except to familiar places. She too is living independently in her 80s with that stubborn independence characteristic of her mother and sister.

Noticing early signs

I have long expected (DOOMED!) to develop AMD because of my family history, and sure enough, I have a beginning case of it in both eyes. I can see that the condition is progressing, but I can still do my daily activities. My vision is just not as sharp as it once was. I have made friends with the Amsler grid and six monthly visits to my retinal doctor.

I'll be able to do this

Thanks to my helping my mother out with her condition, I am well aware of the possibilities of using technology to enable me to continue to do the things that make me happy. I know the time is coming when the light will dim further. If I have to wear an eyesight visor, I will. In a way, the sense of being doomed to get "it" has gone away, since I have it now. I'll figure it out.

What I have learned from my family and myself is that as long as I have my mind intact and CAN figure it out, I will be able to enjoy life, with help, with aids, with limitations, even, but it will be ok.

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