That period of life when what was so relevant isn't as relevant. Lighten Up!
Yes, she was and not for the usual Diabetic reasons. One morning she woke up and couldn’t see. Of course, she saw Dr’s and they worked hard on getting her a dx. She told us she had had a ‘stroke of the eye’ . That is what drs had told her. She did not mention to us that it had to do with being in Diabetic state that I remember. This week I read an article that absolutely fits my mother’s experience to a T.
Link to ‘Am I Going Blind? at the New York Times.
My mother already had limited vision in one eye, and to lose vision in what she called her ‘good eye’ was a difficult journey for her. She never did give up hope that somehow the sight would be restored. She would not use a walker, she would go nowhere near a wheelchair. She grudgingly accepted cane as an aide. We moved her to our region of the state three years ago, with hope we could give her more opportunities at quality of life. In our region was a Foundation for the Blind with aides, tools, case manager to assist her in learning to cope with life in her blind state. She did not like to be seen in the light of disabled, and was reluctant to adapt to life of the sight limited. She was terrified to cross the street, using her cane, as I suggested I would walk with her. I think I was more animated than she about potential she could have living her life as sight-limited.
Her case manager came to her home to show and teach her how to use furnishings, stove, refrigerator in her home as a blind person might do. Her friend and case manager was herself blind, young, and coping with life being blind. My mother did have a few upbeat moments of her life in her sight limited state, however, she had great fear that most often got in her way. To her credit though, she did try, she tried taking her dog for walk using blind cane. She did not like the uneven ground and walked the driveway of our condo arena. We had moved her to condo in our region of state, as these are ADA condos, with wider doors, meant to accomodate the aging and disabled population. Everything in the neighborhood was easily within walking distance, shopping, banks, grocery stores, restaurants, and at the time it seemed ideal arrangement for her.
She did not adapt easily or well, and by her end of life time, she was doing very little at all in her home. Fond memories of her excitement when she realized she could use the stove and cook meals. She had us over a few times and cooked us a meal. Fond memories of her efforts to adapt, her fears outweighed what she perceived as beneficial. We took her to as many places as we ourselves went, and I was excited to show her the region, take her to see new sights. Things happened though, and that is another kind of story. Best not told here.
She did well enough, and the goal to quality of life was improved, as we took her to Senior Centers, Red Hats, Restaurants, Movies, entertainment, she even had an elderly male friend. She only lived in our region of the state, which happens to be where she grew up spending her childhood years here, for two plus years. The complications from her diabetes were ravaging her internal system, which led to cancer, which led to Hospice, which led to her death last summer (August 2017) a month before her 82nd birthday. The retrospect of her experience teaches me so much as I grieve the loss of her. I will remember her in tenderness at the efforts she tried in coping with loss of her eyesight – the eye stroke. It was complications from Diabetes, yes, it was an unusual condition for her yes, per the article, and I feel great regret that had I put 2 and 2 together eleven years ago when she had the first eye stroke, that it was in fact complications from the Diabetes she either did not know she had or preferred not to tell me that is what she had.
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