Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sighted Guide

Yesterday, my mobility instructor and I went to Eric's work to teach him some techniques for helping me around. It was An Experience.

Nothing really happened. Nothing touching, or scary, or funny. It's only a story, because it happened. My husband learned how to lead his blind wife. To a seat. In a crowd. Up the stairs. On the elevator. We worked on some things, and then we were done, and now Eric knows how to help.

It isn't like Eric hasn't been leading me for years. I've had night blindness since we met. It was different this way, though. This was sort of like a glimpse into the future. Like he was accepting the challenge.* Okay, so I got a little choked up.

At one point, Eric was being taught how to help me with stairs, and I got this brilliant idea that he should try on the sleep shade I brought, just so he could "see what it was like." So Eric is game, and the mobility instructor starts leading him up the stairs, and I'm following behind, and remember, Eric is at work, so co-workers are watching my husband stumble around on the arm of an old guy (which I hope is a new thing for them), and I realize that I am pretty lucky, because there's no law that says that husbands have to do that for their wives. I checked in Deuteronomy.

So the two of them head up three flights of stairs, and then back down. We open the door to the stairwell. Eric takes off the shade, and I can see the remnants of anxiety of frustration still lurking behind the look of relief that spreads across his face, and the man is S-W-E-A-T-I-N-G. Marathon sweating. And I instantly feel like a jerk for asking him to do it.

It's one thing for me to wear the shade. I already know what it's like to not be able to see. It's a whole other thing to ask someone who has never been without sight to walk up and down STAIRS, trusting a man he just met, in front of people he works with. Oh my gosh, I totally traumatized him, didn't I? I'm going to find him skinning cats, applying war paint, and wearing a dress made of sleep shades and Fear. Moral of the story? I suck, Eric doesn't.

Oh yeah, I forgot, something funny did happen. On the way over, my mobility instructor asked me three different times what Eric does for a living. Then he asked Eric when he got there. After we left, my mobility instructor turns to me and asks, "So what does your husband do for a living?" So I says to him, I says, "Hearing evaluations." It was funny because it wasn't true.

*Fully realize: I do not consider myself a challenge. It's the stuff we have to do that is the challenge. Just wanted to make that clear.


Becky said...

This will be invaluable training and used often through the years. Your post is so sweet tribute to Eric. Sounds like we are fortunate to have awesome husbands that love and support us in this challenge as we support them in their journey. I am with you -- I don't consider myself a challenge. The RP thing is at times.

monika said...

oh Eric is the best!

Eric said...

It wasn't bad. I was sweating because I'm wicked out of shape. Mostly.

Anonymous said...

Eric will probably not skin cats or anything; he'll probably just go into a ska phase or something.

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Katy said...

"I says" hahaha. That's so old people. Subtle Renee, Subtle.

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