Living and Working with Macular Degeneration

Living and Working with Macular Degeneration

Every day with Advanced Macular Degeneration is an adventure, beginning with the moment I open my eyes. Because my vision varies from day to day, the first thing I do is attempt to focus on the picture hanging near my bed. It depicts a woman sitting on a park bench, and if she’s a blur, I know I’m going to be facing some serious challenges in the coming hours.

After rolling out of bed I head to the bathroom. Lucky for me, I can’t really see my wrinkles or the whiskers I know must be sprouting on my chin, so that starts me out on a cheerful note!  Now for the make-up! Back when I was younger I had lush eyebrows and didn’t need brow pencil. Now that I really need to apply it—well—try that without good vision. Some days I look like Groucho Marx. And who wants to leave the house without blush? If you don’t want to chance looking like a circus clown though, it might be better to just pinch your cheeks hard! For that reason, it’s best to stick to light-colored lipstick too. Also–make a mental note that hand lotion does not taste as minty-fresh as toothpaste and that disinfectant spray will absolutely not hold your hair in place as well as hairspray.

Now it’s off to the kitchen to rustle up some breakfast. If you’re in the mood for toast, be careful of the toaster controls or you might be spreading butter on a piece of charcoal or a hockey puck instead. And the first time you sprinkle a packet of salt instead of sugar on your cereal is sure to a memorable event. That’ll teach you not to steal those little packets of salt from the fast-food joints in the first place.

Lunch and dinner aren’t much easier. I’ve always loved to cook and wasn’t about to give up making my favorite recipes. That was until the day I made my famous chicken soup and it turned brown instead of the gorgeous golden-yellow I expected. Ugh! Could I have gotten a bad chicken? No—it turned out I had picked up beef bouillon by mistake!

And restaurants with their teeny-tiny menus aren’t much better. Of course there’s always a tuna or turkey sandwich, but that gets boring pretty quickly. I’ve learned the trick of asking the waiter what’s good and then taking his recommendation. You know– I’ve had some great things that way that I would have never thought to order on my own.

Once the food issues are out of the way, it’s time for work. Thank goodness for the Access-Link bus. I know it’s coming, because I hear it cheerfully rattling down the road. I transform myself on the bus. Even if I’ve set my hair with disinfectant spray or eaten salty cereal that morning, I put on my game face. I’ve been at the same job for almost three decades, and everyone knows me as a consummate professional. There are many people who don’t even realize I’m losing my vision.

Besides my reputation for professionalism, I’m also known as an exceptionally friendly person, with a chipper hello and a smile for everyone I pass. Little do they know I can’t see a single one of their faces!

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