Monday, December 10, 2007

Price of Independence

Glitter Graphics

When we go out to eat, I like the family-style arrangement (when the food is brought to your table and you serve yourself) or just ordering the food and having it brought out to you. Then again, there are times when buffet-style dining is great, because then you don't have to wait for your food. You just get up, get the salad fixings, soup, and meal of your choice. This is really nice when you are absolutely famished.

Over the past few years, I've begun to hate buffet-style dining. I worry about bumping into people lining up to eat. I worry about bumping into 1,395,599 chairs on the way to and from the buffet. This is especially hard if the person in front of me has dark clothing on. I may want to reach for a handle for a food item only to realize that someone is in front of me. I usually stare really hard in front of me to see if I see any movement so I don't collide into someone.

We still go to places that offer buffet-style dining. Sometimes Hubby will carry my plate to the table for me so I don't have to worry about tripping over something on the way back. That helps, but it's another one of those "I want to do it myself" pride moments I deal with. I would rather have the person ask me if I wanted him/her to take my plate. I wouldn't like it if it was just taken out of my hands. Independence is something I am having less of and I want to hang on to as much of it as I can. I don't want to be reminded that others are aware of it or if they are not aware of it, that something is "wrong". (Which is weird when you think about the fact that it doesn't bother me to tell people I am hard-of-hearing. Then again, hearing loss is something I have had all my life.)

I am still me. More and more, I can empathize with the elderly and their frustrations. They remember what their bodies used to do. They were young and strong. As they get weaker and older, they want to hold on to their independence. Some older people drive a lot longer than they should. (Like I did.) Some walk a lot slower than they used to. (Like I do, sometimes, especially in crowded places.) I empathize. I understand. It's the pride thing. We were capable of things before. We don't want to let go.

The way I look at it, my eyes are aging faster than the rest of me.



At Tue Dec 11, 12:59:00 PM , Blogger Mary said...


This must be very difficult for you. I am a very independent person and know that one day I may experience vision lost because I have glaucoma and diabetes.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I enjoyed my visit and thanks also for joining in the Christmas fun at my blog.

I will keep you in my prayers.


At Tue Dec 11, 10:17:00 PM , Blogger Amrita said...

Dear Shari i emphatize with you. My vision has been bad but it has slightly improved tho.But my hearing was very good and normal till about age 23 or 24 then it started declining.It has been a very frustrating and sometimes humiliating experience. i lost 2 jobs because of that.Then arthritis. I remember how I could hear so well.

At Wed Dec 12, 03:16:00 PM , Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

My daughter sometimes has a hard time figuring out where she is in space. Crowds will have her colliding into people all the time.

Like you say, it's different when the loss is gradual and you know what it is like to percieve space clearly.

At Wed Dec 12, 03:52:00 PM , Blogger Sherry said...

Shari I love your open candidness and how you move through this world. You are opening my eyes to the difficulties faced by yourself and others - to things that the rest of us just take for granted. Thank you for opening these windows.

At Wed Dec 12, 10:35:00 PM , Blogger Shari said...

Mary-Independence makes us too proud. And pride is not always good if you have too much of it, right? I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

Amrita-That's hard when disablity is the reason to lose a job. Is there some kind of job protection (rights?) for disabled people in India?

Thank you, Michelle! Exactly. I couldn't have described it better. The loss is gradual and you remember what that space was.

Sherry-This is what Literally Blind-sided is about. It's my way of advocating and educating others about Usher syndrome and how it affects me. I am glad you find it educational. :) I used to worry that I was going to come across as "poor me", but it's just about how it's like living with this disease.

At Thu Dec 13, 07:12:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shari, On Tues, Dec 11th we had our HLA Tampa Christmas Party. During the holidays the restaurants are charging extra for parties. I don't blame them. This year a new member found one with a reasonable rate. Food/service was excellent. Salad bar. Then order from a menu. But it was NOT our usual room with banquet tables and good "light." It was on the side of the building with tables and booths. Crowded and dark for our 30 friends. We managed and had fun. Very difficult for me and I did not move around as much. I know you understand..... HUGS, Molly CC

At Fri Dec 14, 10:22:00 PM , Blogger Amrita said...

Yes there are some job reservations, only in certain very limited places..very hard to get. But none for my teaching profession.Jobs are very scarce bodied people are preferred.

At Fri Dec 28, 01:18:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Independence is so hard to let go of. My brother, now 57, recently had to stop working due to diabetes and also visual loss (a combination of diabetic retinopathy and Macular Degeneration). While it is hard for my children, I see how much harder it is for him.

I sure admire your courage to share your experiences, fears, thoughts. You are opening doors for many by doing so.


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