Tuesday, July 31, 2007

One Step at a Time

While we were in MN a few weeks ago, we went over to FIL's fiancee's daughter's to go swimming.

I discovered something about myself.

Here is the gorgeous view of the lake behind her house.

I am standing at the edge of a steep slope. I have seen slopes leading to the lake before. The lake I grew up on had a small slope, but the other side of the lake was pretty steep. Mostly, though, it's not always that bad of a slope. Sometimes, some lakes are level with the ground.

There were concrete steps leading down to the pier.

Now, I mentioned before about how descending steps can be in a previous post.

As I stared down these steps, my heart pounded. Concrete is the worst. One step blends into the other and I can't tell where one step ends and the next step begins. I have bad depth perception. On top of it all, there were no railings. Nothing to hold on to. I knew I had to be guided down those steps.

My daughter held my hand as I descended. The steps were small. I had to go down sideways. My feet were too big for the steps.

Then the automatic counting began. Five small steps, then a bigger, longer one. Five more, then a big one. Then six small ones, then a bigger step. Then four little steps, then a bigger one. Now we reached the bottom step.

Here's two similar pictures of the steps looking up.

Looks pretty steep, doesn't it? Scroll back up and look at the second picture showing the top of the incline, looking down.

I never had an issue going up steps before. Not really. I felt dizzy without a railing to hold on to. I asked (yes, I asked! This does not come easy for me.) for assistance to get back up. I felt like a toddler hanging on to her mommy as she was guided up, one step at a time.

Constant adjustments. Always. Little by little, I have to find the right time to be independent (yes, I can be stubborn) or swallow my pride and ask for help. Other times, I just don't want to argue with another person because they mean well-but they just make me feel like I can't do anything for myself.

This is personal growth.



At Tue Jul 31, 06:32:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shari,
I can relate--Stairs without a railing are scary for many people, even fully-sighted ones. One of the first things they teach people learning how to use white canes is how to do stairs safely, being as they are such an obvious hazard for us. A cane isn't as good as a railing is, of course, but it can give you some tactile feedback about what the stairs are like. They also tell you to lean slightly forward when you are going up steps and slightly backwards when you are going down steps so that if you should stumble or fall, you won't fall as far.
More later (we just got back from a week in the woods--Gotta unpack!)

At Tue Jul 31, 07:25:00 PM , Blogger lime said...

funny, the things that require us to grow isn't it?

At Tue Jul 31, 08:05:00 PM , Blogger Shari said...

Anne-I trust you had a nice vacation in the woods. :) Some day I may be posting my O&M experiences. Classes are starting in a few more weeks again. I am glad I only have two classes this semester and they are both online so I don't have to worry about getting to the campus. :)

Lime-Ironically, we are "grown-ups". We still are growing. :)

At Tue Jul 31, 10:10:00 PM , Blogger Hale McKay said...

Hello. I was scrolling through some of your previous posts - the one about you being a Harry Potter fan reminded me of one of my recent posts that I think you might get a kick out of.

It is a spoof of the phenomenon that is Harry Potter.

You can read it at the link below if you are interested.

Wild About Harry

At Tue Jul 31, 10:45:00 PM , Blogger Breazy said...

this is really weird but if I am facing a set of steps such as the ones pictured and I do not have a handrail and I am headed down, I can't do it. I have to have help down them.

My husband has taken me to a couple of Tennessee Volunteers games over there at Neyland Stadium (or as we call it "the Big House") and I have to have help just to stand up there. It is like I lose all balance and sense of distance.

Hope you are doing well!

At Tue Jul 31, 11:00:00 PM , Blogger Shari said...

Thanks, Hale. Enjoyed your post. :)

Breazy-When I was younger, I didn't worry about going down steps at all. Bleacher steps. I used to skip two at a time. No balance problems. But now, as my vision deteriorates, my sense of balance is off when it comes to stairs. I just thought that senior citizens, toddlers, and the physically challenged would only have this kind of problem going down steps.

The steps that were pictured in the post, they were small steps, too. I still had about four to five inches of feet hanging over the edge. There was a bigger step about every five steps, though. Had to go down sideways. Thanks for sharing.

At Tue Jul 31, 11:12:00 PM , Blogger Dorky Dad said...

Oh, gosh. Those steps do look frightening, I don't care who you are. Steep long steps with no railings give me the creeps. Maybe they should put in an elevator.

At Wed Aug 01, 10:55:00 AM , Blogger Shari said...

Dorky Dad-I feel a lot better. Everyone else made it look like no big deal. Up and down. No problem. Carrying lawn chairs up and down. Carrying a bag of suntan lotion, towels, etc. It was frustrating enough to admit my limitations, but to have other people with no vision problem say that those steps look nasty make me feel a lot better. Thanks for stopping by.

At Wed Aug 01, 11:25:00 PM , Blogger Amrita said...

I find outdoor spets a problem I can do indoor steps with less problem.

At Sat Aug 04, 09:23:00 PM , Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

My daughter has a huge depth perception problem. She is very courageous and so are you.

At Sun Aug 05, 09:15:00 AM , Blogger Shari said...

Amrita-I find that if there's a contrast like a strip of metal or something along the edge of the steps, help me see where the edges are.

Michelle-Thanks. Your daughter totaly rocks as she journeys through life, especially with a mom like you. :)

At Sun Aug 05, 02:39:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Molly here.... I understood and felt every muscle as you walked up and down the concrete steps. Heart pounding, exhausted and knees shaking when you only finished one way. YES!!!! Thanks Anne about the leaning tip going up and down. And counting steps too. Learning from all of you!!! I started using the cane early '06. Two lessons X 20 min. Knowing I was going to 2006 FL HLAA Conv. and facing summer travelers at Disney and Epcot. I got a crash course there. LOL but my life got easier. People seemed to get out of the way. Well, 95% of them. This was my 1st visible public awareness. I love it!!!! If people are looking at me funny I am too busy watching where I am going.

At Sun Aug 05, 04:36:00 PM , Blogger Shari said...

Molly-I have been leaning going up steps. I never thought about it. But going down steps, I keep my back straight. Old habits die hard. Gotta work on that. You had a crash course on O&M? I thought it was one week training or a three month stint a couple hours a week? Hmm, must be different for any one's schedule, huh?

At Sun Aug 05, 05:13:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Molly here....I only asked for one thing, "using the cane." Will learn from you and a Colorado friend who is getting some O&M training soon. You all will tell me more details. Looking forward to reading about it.

At Sun Aug 05, 06:00:00 PM , Blogger Shari said...

Molly-It may be awhile, pending DVR's approval. Have to have an assessment/evaluation on what I need. (Stil sucks.)


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