Asking for what you need…
Today has been a bit draining. Since about August last year, I have been trying to get a desk on Burwood campus of Deakin. The disability liaison officer I had been working with moved on from her position at Christmas time, so today I had an appointment to meet the DLO who would be taking over my case. She's lovely. We have a plan, which is good, but she told me I wasn't properly registered with the DLO because they had no medical report about my disability status - that is my low vision status. Why the last DLO didn't tell me this is beyond me. Without being properly registered they don't have the proper authority they need to advocate for me. So, I contacted Vision Australia to see what they had on record regarding my last assessment. They had an old letter from an optometrist I saw in 2009 who apparently assessed me as NOT being legally blind. I know, what the actual hell???
So, I had to make an appointment to see my regular optometrist again for a new assessment, including a field of vision test. Today, I've had to tell three different people about the ins and outs of my vision deteriorating in the past couple of months in particular. Verbalising it out loud has had me on the brink of tears for most of today. The optometrist listened to me describing how I can no longer read text on paper. My eyes just don't want to stay focused long enough. This isn't really surprising as most people lose some of their ability to focus up close after the age of 40. She did all the tests and two lots of drops. And then she furrowed her brow and said there was definitely a deterioration of my vision. I was all like, yeah, that's what I was telling you. She told me it's not just my near vision that is down, but my distance vision as well. She's not happy. She said there is nothing they can do to help me with improving my distance vision - I already knew that, but she still wants me to see someone at the eye and ear hospital.
She also said there is some refraction in both eyes, she says this is not unusual as our eyes age, but that some optometrists consider this to be a pre-cataract stage. She couldn't say whether or not this was likely to develop into cataracts or if it was just a part of the eyes ageing.
So, I've talked to one person about possibly starting to carry an ID cane, to indicate to other, particularly in traffic that I have low vision. With another person I have been referred to the braille clinic to begin learning braille (this apparently takes about 18 months of consistent work, it's like learning a new language), and with the third person a medical confirmation of what I know anecdotally.
In relative terms I've got nothing to complain about. I currently have a friend battling advanced cancer - losing your sight just doesn't compare to fighting for you life. At the same time, I feel emotionally drained from today and from facing the reality of what has always been theoretical and something to deal with 'one day' being real and now.