Macular Degeneration
Life after Sight Loss

by Ken Wagner
(Marion, NC, USA)

As a newly blind person, I lost my vision to a stroke in my occipital cortex, the hardships and mental anguish I faced didn’t come on slowly as in the case of Macular Degeneration, which as I soon found out, is the way those that suffer from Macular Degeneration face it, gradually.

I first met Bob at the local office of the Florida Division of Blind Services. I went there after finding out it’s hard to kill yourself when your blind and I really wanted to live anyways.

So, as I am sitting there in the lobby waiting to complete my intake interview, a booming voice erupts from beside me asking if I had any sight remaining, I told him all about it and proceeded to ask about him.

He went on to describe something that I had never heard of before in my life, Macular Degeneration. He went on to tell me that from the onset of his condition his doctor had guided him to the Division of Blind Services as a means to “prep” himself for the inevitable coming blindness.

I don’t recall asking Bob how long he had been training for blindness by that time, but from our conversation that morning I gathered it had been for years.

As the morning went on we struck a friendship that guided me through my training. Seems Bob had mastered the skills needed for going on with your life after blindness, his mobility skills were awesome, and he took pride in telling me how his cane had become an extension of his body, and so on with the other skills he had mastered.

I was impressed with this man I just met; after all he
was facing down one of the most horrid of things a person can face, blindness, and winning. I jumped at the opportunity when he offered to teach me.

As that first year of my own blindness past, Bob’s condition worsened, but even as his world grew dark, he insisted we kept our regular sessions of every other day.

Bob taught me how to walk alone again, how to use my hearing, everything he had learned, he passed to me.

His wife called me one day and said Bob couldn’t come out to play anymore, his time had come, he had finally reach the goal for which he had trained so hard for, blindness.

Months passed and I couldn’t reach Bob by phone, so I mustered all the skills Bob had taught me about mobility, and decided that I could make it to his house to check on him all on my own.

By the time I had crossed town to arrive at his door to, I was so proud of the skills Bob had taught me, I thought I would explode from the excitement.

I did manage to find that little button for the doorbell, and when Bob’s wife answered what she told me will forever bring tears to my eyes.

Bob was dead he had decided he did not want to go on being blind, for everything Bob had learned to prepare him for blindness, the most important thing of all, he failed to learn, there is life after Blindness, Bob taught me that.

Macular degeneration research

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