The Blind Shall See

THOUGHT PROVOKER 25

The Blind Shall See

     "Robert, want an elbow?" It was Sarah, her voice was easy to tell. She
was one of the members of the counseling group that I was trying to hurry to. She hadn't lost all of her vision like me, but had one of those retinal conditions that rob you of chunks of vision and, maybe, some day takes you down to nothing.

     “Why not. The travel instructor is on vacation and can't catch me.” My blindness skills were coming along and really didn't bother me much now. But the emotional, adjustment side of this change in my life was coming hard. I didn't like these group sessions much, they were too public to
share what I was feeling.

     The babble of voices in the meeting room told me most of the group were already present. Using my cane and listening hard to find gaps between people, I lead the way through those who hadn't seated themselves. I lost Sarah somewhere, found an empty half of a sofa and sat down.

     "Hi." Karen said, another one of the students I knew pretty well and
liked. It was luck I landed next to her and I figured I'd gain support just by sitting near her.

     "Ladies and gentlemen, could we finish getting seated, please. We need to get started." It was Jeff, one of the center's counselors. The staff took turns either presenting or co-facilitating with a student. "Remember last meeting? We agreed to come today with either a written or verbal story of what some of the implications might be with these scientific measures to restoring sight. Beth, you go first.”

     She read a poem written about the joy of being able to see 20/20 again, it was almost a rap.

     "Sylvia, you’re next.

     "I wrote a short story of one weird possibility that could come out of this." And she read-

     "Danielle opened the front door of her house and went in, exhaustion claiming her at last. She dropped her briefcase on the table and picked up the newspaper her son had left there. Slowly she picked out the headline, "CONGRESS TO VOTE ON MANDATORY SURGERY FOR THE BLIND" it read. Below it and in smaller print, "All Government Disability Payments To End in 2019. She dropped the paper wearily wishing again that print could be as easily read as Braille had been. She had been one of the first volunteers to have her sight surgically restored. She still was not sure if it had been the
right decision. Forced into a job market she had never known as a young woman, she had lost her Social Security along with everyone else who had had the optical implants. The trip home, for example: she had cheated yet again, walking with eyes shut in order to get home safely. She still had to
force herself not to flinch at any of the thousand "near misses" where things, people and vehicles nearly collided with her, but didn't. Before, she had never seen them and they hadn't frightened her. Her boss had told her that her work had to improve or she would be let go. She didn't act like the sighted co-workers, he said, and she had no excuse for her slow performance. She missed the security of her guide dog, the monthly government check, her whole social life and friends at the Blind Center.
She sat down heavily and put her head in her hands, fighting off the whirl of visual stimulation. "I don't know..." she said aloud, "Somehow, I just don't feel like myself, anymore!"
Sylvia Stevens

     Then Jeff pointed his voice right at me and said, "Robert, what do you Feel, what are the implications of today's topic?"

RESPONSES
e-mail responses to newmanrl@cox.net

**1. “WOW! That really is a thought provoker. I have been partially blind since
birth; (I refuse to say how long ago that was)...:-) and I can honestly say
that the thought of suddenly getting the vision, which I never had, would
scare me to death. Goodness knows I have often fantasized about suddenly
being able to see; but the reality is, that at this stage of my life, I
honestly don't know if I could make the adjustment.
I certainly don't have to tell you that being blind is not always a barrel
of laughs; but I agree with the woman in Sylvia's story: I’m secure in it.”

Colleen Chandler (North Platte, Nebraska, USA)
irish@nponline.net

FROM ME: “Think through all that she may be saying. Here we have someone who hasn’t ever had good vision before.”

**2. “If I could have surgery to give me eye sight, I wouldn't do it. First of
all, I'm happy with me and who I am. As a totally blind person I function
well. I just wouldn't want to start over. Of course, my statement is
ludicrous since there is no way eyesight could be given to me. And if they
could tap into my brain and make my optic nerve work, forget it. Nobody is
going to do anything to my brain. If it will work for some people, and if
they feel comfortable with the idea, go for it. I like me the way I am. I
think it's a judgment call. Many of you on this list have read my posts
about choices and the ability to make intelligent, carefully thought out
decisions. If I choose to remain the way I am, and if someone else chooses
to have surgery, those are our respective choices and we should respect one
another's right to choose.

Joyce Porter Employer Education Specialist
Job Opportunities for the Blind (Texas
(5700 Thousand Oaks Circle
Houston, Texas 77092
joycep@nfb-texas.org)

FROM ME: “There will be many references to ‘choice’ as we work our way through this provoker. Do look for them and strive to understand what or which cut of that cloth they are speaking too.”

**3. “After a long day and finally picking up my sister from LAX in horrible
Friday night rush hour traffic we started the drive home. Our
conversation is never in short supply and usually about our kids or
families. She asked me if I had heard about the computer in that guys
head to enhance his vision. I told her yes and the microchip too. The
first had been around since the year I was born, and that was as far as
it got? I told her my views, I didn't really like it, my reasons
weren't really good, I just couldn't explain it. After reading this
thought provoker, it made me think about it even more, to form an
opinion about it.

I like my son blind, there is nothing wrong with him, or any other
blind person. Why doesn't the rest of the world see that? It saddens
me to think the rest of my life will be fighting with people trying
desperately to make them understand why it is respectable to be blind,
it is even more sad when it is mostly my own family (with the exclusion
of a few people) and the mothers/families of blind kids. And with so
many professionals (by no means all) in the field teaching fear and pity
to our blind children what do we expect? I will tell you what not to
expect. Don't expect the next generation of blind adults to be strong,
capable, confident individuals. We should be relaying the message that
blindness is OKAY! and RESPECTABLE! Not that we should fix it the first
chance we get, even if the vision restored is poor and almost unusable.
The world would be pretty boring if everyone was the same, of course.”

Christine (Southern California USA)

FROM ME: “Note how many say that these efforts have a price; if not the whole enchalotta, then not at all, blindness works; being a superior blind person is better than being a inferior sighted one.”

**4. “The blind will SEE!" With scientific measures to
restoring sight. This is a very sensitive subject I bet for a lot of
people, Like myself.

First off, I have been working since 17 in the working world an have been
during all of my time of going blind and blind. With the exception of a 1.5
year, of cross training, into a new field. That being after the last
business close it's doors. Just from the work aspect it was a big change
and scary. I was determined to make the change and kept the "Positive Flow"
going in my brain and heart. To where I'm now 7 months at the new job
working. It has not been easy, but over all it is working out very well
and the boss is satisfied with my work. I'm more harder on myself than the
boss. Even though she is asking me to try more new and different things.
I can not speak on a blind Center. That living at one or being involved
with; except for the involvement of American Council F/T Blind for a short
period of time. As, I had Normal sight until the age of 26. Then went
totally blind for a bit and then got my eyesight completely back. To which
a trip to Boston Mass. Eye and Ear for myself and family. ( all my brothers
and sisters & Mom) Where we all found out about this RP and the extent of
the damage to the eyes or what would be going to happen. Knowing this, to
which brother Lee, can tell you his feelings. As we were told we would be
going blind in a short period of time. Myself asking the question, what can
I do to keep my eyesight?

As for a group of people in talking to, like Robert in the story I was not
comfortable in talking openly about my anger, frustration and etc.. with a
group. So I did separate counseling. As there was other issues I needed to
deal with at the same time. I did find though in being involved in common
grounds with people who had different types of handicaps. That being from
wheel chair bound, cancer Adult/children, blind, MS and of sorts. That
meeting and saying, "ok we have this handicap now what can we do to become
productive?"

So I've not been in a position of, depending a lot on a person, with a few
exceptions.

So this will give you an idea of where I am as for being independent and
working.
Now for, restoring sight, I really truly don't know what I would do or say.
I know that this is a real opportunity!! This is and can happen down the
road. As I have been keeping track of most medical updates on restoring
eyesight. As already the singer I believe was offered an opportunity for a
computer chip to be put in his eye for eyesight. To which he agreed too.
I think I would grab at the chance to see again, if it could be guaranteed
close to 20/20 sight.
If it was a fifty/fifty thing, I think in my heart I would keep what I have
now. It took a lot of work to get me mentally to where I am now. I dealt
with a lot of anger, frustration, cane smashing, cussing, drinking and
Feeling sorry for myself. To where I am today and have been for a period of
time. I can not remember the day I said, "I am proud to be blind" and watch
me. I may not be perfect, but no one is. So Knowing the government, can
Not make you, as suggested in the story to get rid of blindness. In order to
Put a group of people back to work. I guess when the time comes and the
price is right. That I can afford it, the guaranteed amount of eyesight
for "normal", I would then take a serious look at it. As in some aspects,
it would have it's advantages, at my job and being able to do some of the
things that I can not do. Really, though I am very comfortable with my
blindness now. I have already seen my sons grow up, seen more than my
fellow blind persons have, and thank God, for the blessing he has bestowed
On me. As I would not want to go through another slow death. By this I mean
I loss my eyesight very slowly each year and would not want to go through
that again!!”

Gene F. Stone (Portland, Maine, by Casco Bay USA
geno@maine.rr.com)

FROM ME: “Note he says no to restored vision unless it is guarantied to be 20-20 and. What does this say, verses someone who says, ‘any sight at any price?’”

**5. “This is a timely thought-PROVOKER, given the recent news stories about
sight-restoring technologies. I am guessing from the story's context that
the main character, Robert, was not born blind. He has recently learned to
cope with his vision loss, but is still trying to store away the emotional
Baggage that loss of sight brings.
The short story that he was asked to respond to depicted a person who was
very comfortable with her blindness and was having trouble coping with the
sighted world. I would have to say that gaining sight would be almost as
tough as losing it, although it might even be worse for someone who has
always been blind and never knew what sight was.
I think that the main character would still feel that he would rather have
back his sight, even though it might be challenging to adjust. Yes, there
is security in staying with what is "comfortable", as the character in the
short story feels, but I don't think that anyone
who has had vision would choose not to have it back, should the opportunity
present itself.

Actually, I went through a sort of reverse of these feelings when I was in
the process of losing most of my vision. I had a retinal hemorrhage, which
made everything foggy. Then, luckily, I had my vision (still legally blind,
but *FAR* better than before) restored. After another six months, glaucoma
took about 75% of my remaining vision, and I found myself wishing that my
sight would just go, so that I could get on with my life as a blind person
and not be trapped in half-sighted, half-blind limbo.

I do not feel that way anymore. I have acquired coping skills, and am now
grateful for the vision I have left. However, if someone told me tomorrow
that I could get my sight back, I would have to go for it. As it is, I will
never drive a Harley-Davidson on a warm spring day, or pilot a sailboat off
the coast of some tropical shore, or be able to see my wife's beautiful,
brown eyes again. And, although I am "comfortable" with how things are now,
I would love to be able to do all of these things, and more.

I also have to admit, though, that I would not risk my remaining vision on
some new, experimental procedure. Any sight-restoring procedure would have
to be tried and true
before I would take a chance on it, unless I lost all of my remaining
vision.

I think that a person who has always been blind would probably feel
differently about this. After all, how could you miss something that you?
Have never had? It would be a tremendous adjustment to have to learn
non-alternative techniques to do things, and start using one's vision!

Also, since I was legally blind as a child, I know what it is like to be
visually impaired, but not blind. Peers and teachers did not know how to
deal with me. I wasn't blind, but I couldn't see, either. It would be
tough for a totally blind person to regain their sight for similar reasons.
The social adjustment would be a tough one. I do think, however, that
education and rehabilitation would be the keys to succeeding with
Newly gained sight. After the initial fear of change could be conquered, an
individual could enjoy their newly found gift.

I'm looking forward to hearing others' opinions on this one.”

David L. Thurmond (Atlanta, Georgia USA)

**6. “First off, I'd go through surgery to get sight, if it was not going to end
up with my being in pain or discomfort for the rest of my life, and if it
was known, for sure, not to have bad side effects.

That said, I would like to say that I don't think that people would be
forced to have the treatment by the government, or that SSD checks would
automatically be stopped if people had such treatments. But I'm afraid that
it's entirely possible that Congress, in its usual lack of knowledge, let
alone wisdom, would do just such a thing.
I think it would be very odd, as indicated by the story, to be sighted, but
not sighted; but not blind either. That is, one would not feel or be
accepted by either group. I know that people with partial vision already
feel this is the case for them, and for that I feel great compassion for them.
Still, I'd take vision to no vision, hands down. It would just make so many
things easier, most notably mobility. The world is getting more and more
difficult to walk around in, what with huge parking lots, traffic circles,
etc., that vision would make it a lot easier to cope with. I'd go for a
KASPA though, if I could find the $4,000 to pay for it. But that's another
topic.”

Carol Ashland )In Eugene, OR, USA
mailto:carola@shoutmail.com
mailto:carol_a@efn.org)

**7. “As someone who was a high partial able to see the outline of airplanes in
the sky and the brighter stars on summer nights I'd kill to have that
vision back. I'm watching the new advises eagerly but I think what sighted
people don't realize is that once you get use to being blind having sight
is a shock and if you had never seen I'd imagine it would be worse. I think
I'd have to get use to having sight. I read a book Emma and i where the
main character does get her sight back through surgery and she talked
about how they only left her bandages off a little at a time and how she
would bring different things to these sessions. I think it would almost have
to be done that way. The overload of sensory stimuli would probably be
overwhelming. What I don't like about this story is that the sighted staff
member expected the newly blinded man to somehow identify with this
newly sighted fictional character. As someone who was a high partial able to see the outline of airplanes in
the sky and the brighter stars on summer nights I'd kill to have that
vision back. I'm watching the new advances eagerly but I think what sighted
people think they feel that if the blindness is
removed then they don't have to feel uncomfortable. Now me, I'm at peace
with my blindness. I'd probably like to have this procedure once it's been
determined safe and successful but I don't think the government should
mandate if we should be blind or not.

Sue Ellen Melo (USA)

**8. “We have probably all thought about the possibility of
Either having sight for the first time, or having it
restored. For me, I'm not really sure how I would feel
about having full sight. If I ever had it, I don't remember
what it was like. I do remember having a lot more vision
than I do now, and I sure would like to have it back again.

I doubt the situation would ever come up in which the
government forced anyone to have surgery that they do not
want. But, its an interesting thought.”

Elaine Morgan (USA)

**9. “Let me begin by saying that for me it is very difficult to believe that in 19
years we will all be wearing uniforms and the US government will have
drastically changed it's stance on human rights as is the prediction that
seems to be pointed to in this thought provoker. I believe that ADA might
have more of an impact on the need for SSI payments than retinal implants. I
believe that I am right in saying that retina vision impairment is just one
of many reasons for vision impairment any improvements in that area will only
affect the vision of a select few.
However, the bigger problem that is thought provoker suggests is that in 2019
the usefulness of vision rehabilitation and education professionals will
continue to be overlooked. That surgical procedures will continue to be
performed to effect the vision of individuals however people will continue to
be left at the end of all medical procedures with no where to turn except to
their own ingenuity.”

Grace Harty (USA)

**10. “Of course there would be some who may not have the brain structure to handle sight as we know it. I’m not even sure if the brain which has never been used to see would have the correct, the complete structure to capture and make sense of visual stimuli. But, maybe they could be programmed to see even more than what a conventional eye and brain hook-up can do. Maybe made to see in all directions at once and see in any magnification desired and in any wavelength. After all, I bet the structure of the human eye is more limited than the human brain.”

Randy Springer (USA)

FROM ME: “Not trying to be silly. But if a type of specialized sight via blind persons using specialized visors, Maybe then the blind will be enlisted to perform specialized jobs that only they with there visors can do. Wouldn’t that be a switch; the sighted-blind are sought out over the sighted to do a sighted job?”

**11. To begin with, I’d like to pose a question. Have you seen the movie "At First Sight?" This is an excellent movie portraying
a blind massage therapist who, by means of surgery, regains his sight. I must say that the actor, no names mentioned, did
an excellent professional job with his portrayal of a massage therapist, but I felt that he did dishonor to the blind community.
The way he moved in his own house with such clumsiness was a little much. But now, I’ll move on to the issue of regaining
sight.

Even though his eyes could see in a physical sense, his brain could not comprehend what he beheld. Once he even walked through
a window because he could not conceive its presence because he could see through it. He actually had to have counseling
to try to learn to see.

This movie is supposedly based on a true story, and I find that concept quite feasible. Therefore, if medical science brings
sight within our grips, as it appears that it may, we will have to have counseling to learn how to see.

The problems that we would face in this area would vary as drastically as they do now with our learning how to be blind. Our
background, our educational level, and our individual make-up will all have a bearing on our individual reaction to sight.

We would definitely be confronted with an entirely new branch of counseling. Some of us would probably adapt to the changes
that would be thrust into our lives, whereas other of us would simply find our lives more frustrating.

Regardless, I think that some of us would just love to see the warmth of a human smile or the beauty of the sunset. All things
have both their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s hope that we do get the chance to form this new category of councilors.”

Freda Trusty (USA)

FROM ME: “What a great idea, Sight Counselors. Well now, if these science types are working to make it happen, then we’d better get ready to handle these fledgling sightlings. So should we not over look viewing this news as a marker to future employment opportunities?”

**12. “Not very many years ago, it would have seemed very unlikely that
a blind person would have much hope of receiving vision, either through
medical means or technology. But, now, it's actually happening and will
become more and more available in coming years. So, I believe that people
will decide to take the chance and try to regain, or obtain vision. But, as
unrealistic as it is to believe that a person who loses his/her sight can
immediately adjust as a blind person, it is also fantasy to believe that
someone suddenly having vision will automatically know how to function as a
sighted person. I believe there will have to be some training and a period
of adjustment. But, if it becomes possible for blind people to see, I don't
think the adjustment should be any reason not to do it if the opportunity
becomes available and it's real, functional vision. I'm not sure I'd go to
the trouble if the amount of vision is going to be so limiting that the
techniques of blindness would serve better. If that is the case, my
personal opinion is that a very small amount of vision would probably just
be frustrating and, perhaps more of a hindrance than help.”

Cynthia Handel (Willow, Street, Pennsylvania USA)

**13. “An excellent thought provoker! I often thought of the deaf
community where there are people who are against such
devices as cochlear implants that restore hearing and feel
that deafness should be a lifestyle that is accepted.

As someone who is losing sight, I think that the readjustments
to the world of sight for the previously blinded would be
similar to those who have been sighted and lost their
sight. In both cases there is loss of security of what is
known. It will be interesting to see if the opinions are different
among those who were born blind and those who acquired
blindness later in life. Thanks for a great provoker!”

Catherine Alfieri (7 Summer Tree Pittsford, NY 14534 USA)

**14. “I actually faced this decision to a certain degree. I'm 22, and I have been
blind since birth, for all practical purposes. I have limited light and
color vision, but it is very faint. The doctors have already done 2 cornea
transplants, and they told my parents when I turned sixteen, I'd probably
need another one. The last time I visited the ophthalmologist, he said in
my late 20's or early thirties, they would probably have to go in and "clean
out" the scar tissue. I asked him why, and he said it would probably be
painful by then.
Around the time I turned sixteen, Mom and Dad began dropping hints about
another transplant. My eyes are always open for conversation, so this was
nothing out of the ordinary. Then, I realized, I wasn't 18 yet, so they
could sign the papers and that'd be it, I'd have the transplant. I talked
to them about it. There wasn't a guarantee that a cornea could be found
(I'd be hoping somebody died, and I can't do that in good consciousness),
and the light perception I have might improve, or fail altogether. I said I
didn't want the operation, and Mom and Dad didn't force me. Mom said it was
my decision, after all, it was my life.

This past year, the topic came up again. I asked a couple of questions,
and Mom said if I wanted the transplant, I might better say so now. I again
said no. I'm quite content with the amount of vision I have. It defines
who I am, and I don't think I could function without it, or with more.
My friends and I used to have long talks about seeing and not seeing. I
realized that I would be terrified if I could see. I haven't seen, so I
exist fine, but if I did see, I wouldn't know how to do anything, and I
would have to start all over again!”

Sarah (Alabama USA)

**15. “’CONGRESS TO VOTE ON MANDATORY SURGERY FOR THE BLIND’ it r >>
Good one, Robert! There's a new operation to get rid of various conditions
that make the use of spectacles a necessity, using laser surgery. I
wouldn't chance it for two reasons. One is that my vision may not be good
enough to begin with to have the surgery do much. The second is that on
occasion the risks outweigh the benefits, and the operation makes things
worse. If a law was passed to make me take the operation, I would most
likely fight it. Also, there are some eye conditions that simply don't admit
to surgery. The way I see it, David is most likely too old to benefit, even
if his only problem was retinal (the new video chip sounds interesting for
children though), and if I lost my vision through a botched operation, we'd
have to radically change our lifestyle. One of the reasons we married was to
form a partnership, though I'm happy to say our marriage has grown way past
that in 27 years! The partnership persists though. No, no. Can't imagine
how our lives would change if we went in the other direction (and he got his
sight). But it would make great fiction. There's a movie like that around,
from last year. I didn't see it, though.”

Lori Stayer (Merrick, New York USA)

**16. “for those who have never seen before, it will be a very difficult
adjustment to become sighted. these would need counseling, training, and
assistance in adjusting to such a complete change in life style. their
entire world will turn around. there will be so many skills for them to
learn and so many, many things to cope with.

then those who have had perfect vision for some number of years and have
lost it all - these will have much fewer problems in coping with the new
situation as they have been there before. these will know what heavy
traffic looks like. they will know what it is like in the work place and
they will know what it is to live with out the security of a monthly check,
the guidance of a loyal dog, and the support of the blind community. there
will be some problems, but far fewer than for those who have always been
blind.

for those who are partially sighted, it can go either way. it can be the
opening of a new life of adventure and discovery or it can be a hindrance.
for all it would depend on their attitude. myself as a totally blind person
who could see for fifty three years, it would be a blessing to see again.
it would be a blessing to see my grand children that i have never seen. it
would be wonderful to return to a profession with art as its' basis. i
would take the chance right away. i work in the public as a teacher and i
am required to meet the same standards as those who are sighted. how much
easier it would be for me if i could see. however, i would leave teaching
and go back to working in advertising and art. that is where my heart lies
but it is not where i can be now. what a wonder it would be to have my
vision restored.”

pat mair (Sale City, GEORGIA USA)

**17. “Well, this story brings to my mind plenty to share with every
one. First off, since I, personally, have been blind all my life, I don't
know if I'd want to see suddenly. I've often been asked that question by
many sighted people, and my answer is I don't know. After all, now that
I am almost finished with high school, i think I'd feel silly going back to say
kindergarten or something, having to learn to read print, colors, etc.
All of things, obviously, are associated with the visual world that not only
surrounds me, but all the other totally blind people as well. Mother also
read me an article once that dealt with this topic, and the person in it
regained his sight, and didn't like it. he didn't know what anything was,
or looked like. For example, the person was asked to find the table. He
couldn't help but ask what the table was. The questioner said, "What do you
eat on?" This makes me think that I know what the table is, but not of
course by looks. By touch.

If i were given the opportunity to see, I seriously don't know if I'd take
it. I might, but then I might not. After all, I was born so prematurely,
that my retinas and other nerves are so damaged, that I don't know if I'd
even be a candidate for surgical procedures.
Well, I've rambled on long enough for one response.
I love this provoker!”

Stacy (Wisconsin USA)

**18. “Sylvia's story reminds me of a movie i saw last year called "At First
Sight" about a blind man who has the opportunity to have his sight
surgically restored and when he does, he finds the sighted world
extremely overwhelming. He eventually loses his sight again and I
think that is a relief to him. I'm not sure what else I can say on
this subject.”

Abbie Johnson (Sheridan, Wyoming, U.S.A.

**19. “This is a particularly interesting situation for me. I've been blind
since birth, and have always wondered what it would be like to gain
eyesight. I have learned from a little reading that refined visual skills are
developed during early childhood. Therefore, I think it's highly unlikely
that congenitally-blinded people would be able to develop these skills to a
degree that would allow them to compete with other sighted people, or with
people who've regained eyesight. I believe the adjustment to vision would
be more challenging than living with blindness. i can certainly say this
would be true for me.

If a program of mandatory implants were put into place, I would hope
that individual circumstances of coping with the situation would be taken on
a case by case basis. Knowing the bureaucratic nature of these policies, I
doubt I could see this happening. Would the cost of psychological treatment
more than offset the perceived benefits to society of returning to the job
market?

On a positive note, I would very much like to have such a technology
available to me. I'd certainly be in favor of children having access to
these implants, since they seem to be more resiliant and adaptable than
adults.

I know that the deaf have a strong cultural identity. Do the blind have
one as well? I think that in some ways we do, and the adjustment to sight
would be enormous.
I laughed aloud when i read the passage in the story about shutting the
eyes to get home more safely. I could see myself in that position.
Thanks for such an interesting presentation.”

Teresa Cochran (USA
terrisu@concentric.net)

**20. “That was a good provoker. I have been blind all of my life and also would
have trouble adjusting to seeing. I'd have to learn how to do things
differently, just like newly blinded people do. I think I'd also loose a
lot of friends because I wouldn't be like them anymore.”

Leslie Fairall (USA)

**21. “The thought of regaining my sight is great! I have been listening to all
the new developments with the surgical implants of computer chips for the
people with RP. I have been totally blind for the last 20 years of my life
and am now 60 years old. Give me the eyesight and I will gladly work out
the rest of it for myself!!!! Oh, to have the "problem" of learning to
live sighted in a sighted world again!”

Patrick Conrad Dunlap Iowa USA)

FROM ME: “This guy knows what he wants and is willing to do to get it. What combination of traits does it look like that a person must have to make this getting ‘sight’ work?”

**22. “I think that Alexander Graham Bell attempted something similar to this, it
was called eugenics, or the purifying to the human species. He had laws
passed that forced people who where mentally ill, poor or handicapped to be
sterilized. I still think it's bad idea to force this kind of change.”

Beth Sallay (Salt Lake, Utah USA)

FROM ME: “It would be interesting to see if there are still laws on the books that relate to people and genetics? What new ones might there need to be?”

**23. “I'm not sure I'd want vision and luckily it can't and I hope will never be
able to be forced on people, from what I understand, you learn to see when
your young and what something looks like to one person won't look the same
to another. Not to mention socially. I think we'd be more misunderstood
than we are right now. You wouldn't just come from the operation with sight
which is probably what the public thinks and they probably will never be
able to restore sight to every one in every single situation so for me I
don't think it'd be worth it. I've always been blind and this is part of me
and people can take me or leave me. I'm sure the things the person in the
story feels would probably be very accurate and I really think the public
just needs to deal with differences and not try to change every one out
there to be perfect. We're all different for a reason and what a boring
world it would be if we were all the same.”

Tina Birenbaum (USA)
tinabir@primenet.com)

FROM ME: “Interesting statement- ‘…I think we'd be more misunderstood
than we are right now….’ Think about this one; yes and if so why?”

**24. “I have a lot of mixed feelings about this issue. As a psychologist, I
understand the "psychological" implications quite well and on a personal
note, I can relate the return of sight to the "return" of hearing.
I have always worn at least one hearing aid and when I was eighteen, I got a
second hearing aid for my "worse" ear. I despised it; I have never learned
to discriminate and I "heard" everything.....the air conditioning, people
breathing, the car backfiring in the street, my own footsteps and it was
AWFUL! I was again a distractible toddler, unable to pay attention as the
Slightest sound required my focus. But then, I had never heard normally or
rather, bilaterally.

My thought is that vision might be the same distraction for those who have
never experienced it. Although a cochlear implant is possible for me, I can
not bring myself to pursue it; I have adapted nicely to my hearing loss and
I don't believe I would ever adapt to "stereo" hearing. Even now, I must
consciously remember to put in my second aid (and I have had it for many
years).

Now my vision is a different story but I have had "normal" vision and I
don't think the shock would be as great. I have RP and have been
gradually losing vision (mostly peripheal at this point) so psycholocally I
believe I could adapt.

This is a question that has a lot of personal issues attached to it so there
is no one right or wrong choice as there are so many factors to consider.
For me, I have the previous experience with vision and my brain is equipped
to interpret it. Someone who has never had sight would have to "learn" all
of the sensory imput plus lean a "new" way to explore life.
That last past is why I won't do the cochlear implants, smile.....because I
don't think that I could cope with "normal" hearing.”

Debra Streeter (Victoria, Texas USA
zaria797@tisd.net)

FROM ME: “We have seen a second disability mentioned along parallel lines of if hearing could be gained, would that be good. Think of this, we speak of the deaf as having a culture unique to themselves. What would happen if all of a sudden one of their members is no longer deaf. What would that mean for them and/or how would the others of that culture then look at this individual?

**25. “Just a quick response to this thoughtful narrative. Modern science has
always been grounded in the research and development of ideas and concepts
that, at the time, seemed almost "Frankensteinish". When we consider the
advances in medicine, we cannot forget that all modern medical breakthroughs
started as an experiment. Prosthetic limbs allow individuals who have lost
limbs to ambulate without wheelchairs. Wheelchairs allowed mobility
Impaired individuals to ambulate. Artificial valves allow the heart to
function as close to normal as natural ones, and certainly better than the
defective ones that they replace.

the issue is interesting when science, medicine and technology merge.
Technology has already allowed blind people access to the printed word.
Pacemakers are technological computers, that are implanted in the body, and
allow the heart to maintain a steady rhythm. It is not an issue of whether
or not the eyes work in a blind person, but rather, how does the absence of
vision effect that person.

Is the prospect of "some vision" attractive to some blind people? Yes. I
know that, because I am a blind man. I lost my sight at age 24, and since
that time I have gotten married to a woman that I have never seen and have a
7-year-old daughter that I have never seen. Do I want some vision back?
Yes. Am I willing to be a guinea pig? Maybe. Do I realize that the
process of artificial vision will require some people to take a chance?
Yes. I have no residual vision to lose. I have made an inquiry to receive
more information about this procedure. I doubt that they will be able to
give me any hard and fast guarantees, but I am certainly willing to consider
my options. I am a vocational rehabilitation counselor. I am required to
give my consumers informed choice. I provide my consumers with information,
and let them make decisions about the choices that best suit their needs. I
am not waiting for the cure to learn about my disability and become as
independent and functional as possible in my community. I am not putting
off training, in hopes or with the expectation that my blindness will "go
away".

Let us try not to forget that technology, science and medicine can work
together to make our lives richer and more fulfilling. Let us not judge
those who are anxious for a procedure that may give back something that was
taken away through no fault of the individual. Let's learn more about
potential options, and make informed decisions rather than putting a value
label on those who are trying to fight their blindness. Let us be proud of
who we are and fight for what we believe in. There are a lot of things that
need to be changed in our society regarding access and equal opportunity. I
say thank God for people who are advocating for my rights, and for those who
would dedicate their lives to trying to give back to me that which I did not
ask to have taken away.”

David Ondich, M.S., CRC
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
DavidO@tcb.state.tx.us)

FROM ME: “God forbid if any one would put off counseling and training because of talk of a future break through. How would you counsel a person who is thinking this way?

Second, In regard to informed choice, how does this topic in this forum help?”

**26. “Technology. I'm reminded of several aspects as I read this thought
provoker. Karel Kapek's Rossum's Universal Robots (R.U.R.) where the
Robots took over the world, and learn how to replicate themselves. Matrix
the recent sci-fi Thriller where reality was just a program. The Six
Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman where a person's life was saved, by
technology but the price was being a government agent. I'm also reminded of
the WWII Holcaust, where the Germans did nasty experiments all in the name
of science and the Hunchback of Notre Dame, taken into the city of miracles
where the blind sees, the lame walk, the deaf hear, etc. I also reflect on
the movie of First Sight starring Val Kilmer, where he never saw before and
surgery corrected it, and in a nutshell he had information over load, could
not read a written word so forth and so on Lastly, of Albert Einstein who
reportedly said "Technology has outstripped our humanity...Humanity [needs
to] outstrip our technology"

Secondly, some people who never had sight, would want to see, some would say
they "see" just fine. Some people who lost vision would welcome the chance
to have sighted vision to see the faces of loved ones the colors of flowers,
etc. Some people would rather not see the dirty cities filled with
pollution, the sadness of faces. Everyone has his her own reason for
wanting/needing/desiring sight or not.

Thirdly, not all people with disabilities are on government assistance. A
significant number are, but not all. People without disabilities are on
some sort of government assistance ... AFDC, welfare, and there's government
mandates (Wisconsin case in point putting a limit on Welfare usage).

Having a vision impairment as well as an incurable almost untreatable
mobility impairment, I've come to my own personal forgone conclusion that
the only corrective surgery I will have at this point in my life would be
one that guarantees success. I would embrace the opportunity to have scar
tissue removed from my retina so I could experience what those with two
unimpaired eyes see in three dimensions. I would embrace for my legs to be
physically stronger and more limber than they are now if there was an
opportunity.

I keep eyes and ears open for prospects, but do not seek procedures or
treatments out every spare moment.

As for this hypothetical government mandate, and as for any government
mandate. At least at present we the people put the politicians in office.
We determine who is in office. If you didn't vote, don't complain.
In summary there are three aspects to this, technology, personal preference,
and government. Technology moves faster and faster, for better or worse.
Lately it seems humanity is moving slower and slower. People are people,
having unique and individual preferences, talents, and skills, disabilities
or no. It's up to me to use my talents and skills to be and do my bet.
Government, well I can only take responsibility for my single vote. "One
grain rice can the tip skills that will alter things for all time." Chinese
proverb.

The above thoughts, perceptions and opinions are singular and do not
represent those of any agency or particular populace. The above thoughts,
opinions and perceptions are those belonging solely to the author. Please
pardon any typos.”

Geoffry Ketling (USA)

**27. “My first response!
As all of us know, being blind has its pros and cons!
I was born blind, and I honestly would want it to be different. I had to
attend a school for the blind - miles away from where my parents, who have
both passed away, lived. I could go home only twice a year during the long
holidays - one three weeks and the other six weeks long. The result of this
is that I am estranged from my family. My friends are closer to me.
As you all know, a blind person has to start dealing with prejudices from a
very young age and this process continues until we reach our final
destination! We are not travelling light, are we???? (grin)!

I'd love to drive my own red sports car. If I tried it now, being blind,
I'd have most South Africans on their knees!!!!
Heeeheeeheeheeheehoohoohoohoo!!
On the other hand, as a blind person, I have much to be grateful for. I
love my guide dog and, as Daniel, I also feel more secure beside her. Dogs
do not hurt one as much as humans can.

If I really have to make up my mind about this, I'd rather be able to see.
I'm sure life would be easier for me, although I am very independent.”

Janie Fourie (Pretoria, South Africa
janie@lantic.net)

FROM ME: “Just a weird thought- With the practical mindedness of this ladies reasoning, you wonder if she also wears practical shoes too?”

**28. “OK, this is my first time writing one of these responses, as it struck a chord with me. I'm not OK, if I were given the chance to have sight, having been blind all my life due to what is now called ROP, my response
would be "no way, no chance, nohow." I'm 34 years old, and rather set in my ways. If I had to see, I'd have to not only
learn how to do everything like a sighted person and probably do it slowly and clumsily, I'd have to unlearn the things I did
as a blind person. here's another thing. AS I understand it, sighted people, since they use their sight most of the time and
keep the other senses in the background, are constantly bombarded with all kinds of visual stimuli. I'm sure all of that
input would be the equivalent of 20 radios and 20 TV sets all playing different channels all at once and very loud. Just
thinking about it would make me dizzy. And then, I would wonder if after some time, I would come to view people
differently and judge them on their looks instead of their character and personality. I'm afraid I'd be corrupted and fall into
the same trap that many sighted people do. how awful! I refuse to want to see. I will not be assimilated. REsistance is not
futile. Thank you.”

Chris and/or Eden (USA)

**29. “The above story is definitely intriguing, but more si-fi than anything else, or maybe closer to truth than we think. With
the recent news of the two most current vision implants (retinal or visual cortex), it's an interesting situation to ponder.
I have heard a few blind people comment that if they could have an operation to regain their sight, they wouldn't do it.
For me, I find that extremely hard to believe, but I'm sure for some that may be true. That also brings up another question.
Is it better to have had sight and then loose it, or to not have sight at all. After all, you can't miss it if you never
had it -- or so, that's what's said. How ever meager it may be, it is comforting knowing that you probably will not get
laid off the government pay roll. We don't have the convenience of driving, but we also don't have the expense.
I don't know if there's any bearing to the seeing before loosing sight or not, but I have had sight before. i have always
been legally blind as a child. I have now been totally blind fore 25 years, and I would love to get my sight back. Would
I risk trying something experimental to do so, "No way!" I enjoy my life. I would rather be where I am today than to not
be here at all. This doesn't mean that I wish for it so badly that I can't enjoy my life as it is. I hope someday it will
happen. If it does, great! More than likely it won't, and I'm happy for who I am today.
I think that in the above story's situation the realistic or practical view would hope that there's some rehabilitation to
acquaint a "newly sighted" person to the sighted world. But then again, this was a government order.
There will be different opinions, but I would take the risk of getting my sight back and making it in the sighted world. I'm sure it could be difficult, but you could get some part time jobs and work your butt off, where being blind those options
are limited. As far as giving up the security of social security -- well, I would gladly give that up too. Some blind people
on SSI sit on their butt and do nothing, by the same token, some government employees get paid and sit on their butts'' and
do nothing too. So maybe it's not all that different.
Just my thoughts.”

Tom Rash (Yucaipa, California, U.S.
avtom@gte.net)

**30. “You know, this is what I've been saying from day one. They should leave
well enough alone. Science and the government have no right to play
God. Where do they get off forcing people to have surgery? What a
person does with their own body is their business. Because they feel
it's for the betterment of society or the government, what about what's
for the best for each person as an individual. Life, I see, has gotten
to be a real group thing. This woman was perfectly content, safe,
settled, comfortable with her life as it was than THEY came along and
forcibly uprooted it and turned it upside down. Now actually she has no
rights or anything. And she just doesn't feel right being forced into
mainstream society. I sort of feel the same way. I am both hearing and
visually impaired and, as I've been told, very intelligent. I've been
forced into mainstream society, not because of my brains, but because
they feel that's where everyone belongs. And in fact I've been forced
into a job which is far below my academic level anyway. I feel totally
out of place, totally uncomfortable. I just want to hide most of the
time. so we should honestly be allowed to live our lives as individuals
- not have to do what's best for society or 'them', but be able to do
what we need to do for us.”

Patricia Hubschman (Levittown, NY, USA)

FROM ME: “Where is this lady saying she wishes to be?”

**31. “Reply: The way that impacts right now is in the expectation that with our
assistive technology we will be able to perform without any additional
accommodation. "do it yourself and do not ask for any other accommodation." Just
about all alternate formats require longer time and greater effort to use, yet
there is a myth that with these we are now "normal." Indeed some people with
years of experience are up to speed (a certain speed), but with each new advance in
technology there are some folks who assume that all is now well and enough has been
done. As with the super tech idea of the story (restored sight), so too with the
lesser technology of today, there is a time of adjustment and learning needed and
the final outcome of performance level and satisfaction is in no way guaranteed.”

John Frank (USA)

FROM ME: “He says, ‘…there is a myth that with these we are now ‘normal.’ What do we then say, those of us who believe we are of the norm?”

**32. “Would I take the surgery?" absolutely not. My reasons are many but until
it is all perfected I choose not to. It appears in this story line that the
moderator or counselor introducing folks and ultimately leading up to
Robert is more like a salesman." see how much Cindy can do." " look at what
the government has and will do for you." Is there any happy medium to this
new improved vision operations. It took me a long time to loose my vision.
I was a lucky person and saw something for nearly 32 years and I will be
in line when the new operations are done being tested. As I eluded to
earlier it appears to me that the counselor was more like a sales person to
Robert as in" are you next Robert? can we cure you and make you a happy
person.?"
Well some folks will end up with delight while others will end up with
depression symptoms. Each of us as individuals, as persons who are blind
must one day, make the ultimate decision to go for an operation if it is
affordable and if it is right for us. Once the blind can see will clark
Kent's Television sidekick, superman get out of his wheelchair and be off
from a government program? We do not know. what I do know we need support
groups which are positive in nature and friends and family members who will
be supportive of whatever decisions we make. If the miracle operation is
Presented tomorrow, I would have to give it some serious thought but not at
the expense or determination of" You are next Lee, come on. You are next."
Lee a. stone (Hudson, New York, U.S.a..

stonedge@mhonline.net)

**33. “I look at this as a very interesting philosophical debate, is it better to
accept your blindness and move on in life, dealing with the many challenges
as they come, or is it better to pursue trying to rejoin the world of the
sighted, where things have a promise of being oh so much easier? As in most
issues in life, there is no clear cut answer, the issue is very case
dependent. For me, a 37 year old family man that went totally blind 2 and a
half years ago, the answer is no thanks, I'm done with the emotional roller
coaster and have moved on. I also know plenty of others that haven't, and
would give anything for the ability to see. And I can relate, I've been in
the sighted world, and it has some real advantages. I'd love to see what my
2 children look like, and to have an easier time finding my way. I think the
answer lies in an analysis of ones life in terms of fulfillment. Are you
living a fulfilled life as a blind person? I can honestly say I am, perhaps
a more fulfilled life because of my experiences and the many wonderful blind
people I have met along the way. For others, the longing for sight is so
powerful that they live hollow, unfulfilled lives. And if a 50000 dollar
operation, retinal implants and a 12 pound computer on their back brings
Them what they seek, more power to them. For me, I'm moving forward with my
life, and blindness is just a part of the cards that I was dealt.”

Chris Kuell (Danbury, Connecticut USA
ckuell@mindspring.com)

**34. “Part of the problem with this stuff is that people don't realize it's ok
to be blind. As soon as this stuff hit the news, my grandmother was just
glowing and "SO SURE" that I would be seeing soon. She wouldn't even hear
of my reasons for having concerns about it. It's just got to work so that
I won't be blind any more. What's wrong with that picture?”

Sarah J. Blake (AERnet)

**35. “Sarah,
I am so glad to hear your response. I have a fourth grade student who is
totally blind who just told me yesterday about the "news" that some day she
might see after an operation like the currently publicized case. We had a
long talk about what an operation like that would really mean for her--that
it would not be the same "vision" that others have, that it will not be
appropriate for all people, that she is a wonderful and CAPABLE person
whether she has vision or not, and that the idea of such an operation will
not slow our braille, abacus, and slate & stylus lessons.

Someone else mentioned the question of who makes these decisions for
children, as in the case of cochlear implants. I had the distinct feeling by
the tone of my student that someone had already decided for her simply in the
way the information was imparted to her.”

Shelley Mack (AERnet)

**36. “Usually I am not "into" attempting to answer questions such as the one posed. Perhaps because one answer could never adequately
fill the gap left after having multiplied the query by the number of individual situations there are in this equation.

Present to me the many pro's and con's of artificial vision, what ever they are or some day may be, and in the end my answer
will be the same: Individual circumstance, individual need, individual outcomes, very personal mental and emotional effects
that are unique to each individual. When lines are drawn and decisions made, they should come from the individual.”

THEN LATER- “Some have asked my thoughts about children and who
should make this decision for them, and when. Lets not
forget that children, yes even those who are blind,
are wonderful and whole the way they are. Given time
and the adequate nourishment, both mental and physical,
these children have the potential to grow. To become
wonderful and whole adults, who are quite capable of
making such profound decisions for themselves. I
believe that it is our role, our duty, to nourish
children as they are now. To build in them, a sense
of self worth and acceptance, strong enough to endure
the elements of life as an individual who can not see.
As we do time will pass, they will grow and
improvements will be made, including artificial
vision. When the time comes and they can decide, they
as an individual can make this life changing
choice. Now I can hear some of the responses already...
what about individuals who are multiply impaired, what
About the time lost, what about...We will never have
all the answers, perhaps accepting this is part of
"the answer". In the meantime: is their condition
life threatening, can a procedure be reversed or up
dated and improved upon, what are the risks, the known
results. Study up! Be optimistic, be skeptical, be
open, and for sure, for sure BE INFORMED.”

Catherine Johnson (AERnet)

**37 “This provoker is interesting because it goes to the very core of what we
have all thought about at one time or another, and what the majority of
the sighted population likes to obsess over when it comes to
blindness...what would happen if a blind person could get his/her sight
back? Part of that question was answered in the very lame movie, At First
Sight, which has already been mentioned. Although the blind man getting
his sight back was interesting, the consequential overload of visual data
bewildered him. This is understandable and that part of the movie was
fascinating in and of itself, but if we look at the portrayal of the blind
character, we can see why so many people have a negative image of
blindness. Here is our main character, a massage therapist. Oh sure, a
job a blind person can do, right? Here is a blind person who has to count
steps to find a tree, uses both a cane and a guide dog...sometimes, and
thinks the rain has it's own rhythm. No wonder the sighted world has such
a negative view of blindness when the media loves to portray blindness in
such a half-light. We, as blind people, are viewed as either "disabled,"
or "amazing!" This movie is a perfect example.
I think that if we probe deeper into this issue of new technologies and
microchips that could restore vision, we will find that the majority of
the enthusiasm is held by the *sighted* population. I have no doubt that
there are many partially sighted persons who have lost their vision that
would find such a technology appealing, but what about those of us who
have never seen, or have never had usable vision? Does the lack of vision
make our lives less fulfilling than a sighted person's? Many sighted
people and some blind people think so. A common remark I hear from
sighted people is something to the effect of, "boy, I wish you could see."
Why? Why is it such a necessity for me to see? I don't doubt that it
might add a dimension to my life that I haven't had, but will it improve
the quality of my life? Simply being able to see won't do it. The
quality of one's life is made up of values, beliefs, education and
self-worth. These are all qualities blind people possess and they have
nothing to do with sight. The idea that they are somehow connected is a
belief held by sighted and blind persons who are often ignorant and
sometimes arrogant. And, if I should somehow regain sight, what other
disabilities will I encounter in the future? Will technology some day
invent a chip that can erase things like violent tendencies, fear,
self-doubt, or racism? How many "normal" people are walking around out
there right now with the unseen disabilities?

Would I take a chance and get my vision back someday...no I wouldn't. Why
should I? I like my life the way it is. Why should I spend a lot of
money and energy on a procedure that is completely unnecessary in my
life?”

Ryan Osentowski (Lincoln, Nebraska USA)

FROM ME: “He said, “…completely unnecessary…’ Reread this response then summerize it in one sentense. Did this surprise you?”

**38. “Reading over the first batch of responses got me thinking about an angle
of regaining vision, maybe even better vision then I had before that I
hadn't thought of. My vision plattoed when I was about 10 and a half years
old as I think I may have said before. So while I would have a wonderful
time getting reacquainted with seeing plains flying against sunset backdrops
or looking over the city from my balcony I would be completely lost in a
lot of areas because I learned adult necessary skills such as how to care
for a house and how to dress for a job from a blind point of view. I'd
have to start from scratch on a lot of front. Actually the clothes thing
might not be so hard as the color wheel was one of the things I kept
locked in my head. But there is a definite difference in the way one
learns things by sight or not. Then there is the computer, which though it
does function a lot by letters and words there's a myriad of graphic my
brain would have to learn to process. I remember the difficulty I had when
I first encountered script writing, the thought of going through something
like that is a bit daunting. Yet even with all these other concerns I can
honestly say that if they could find a way to regenerate the optic nerve
that would guarantee me at least the vision I had before and wouldn't have
dangerous side effects, I'd be first in line to climb up on the operating
table and take the plunge. I have a wonderful support system of friends
and family who I'm sure would help me through the readjustment. and I would
trust that there would be programs in place if not set up by the
government perhaps through private organizations or the hospitals doing
the surgeries themselves. I would tend to lean toward the latter for
setting up such programs, after all, they're the ones causing the change,
they ought to be the ones to see we can cope with the change only that can
make it a true success. By that I mean the operation won't have done any
good if the subject is so overwhelmed he or she ends up in a hospital
with an irreversible nervous breakdown or having killed themselves because
the stresses of being thrust into the sighted world were just too much to
bear.”

SueEllenn Melo (Albuquerque, New Mexico SA)

FROM ME: “What would it take to make that transition from none or partial vision to change to good vision happen smoothly?”

**39. “You have opened two cans of worms with this one. I agree with
the person who submitted response number 25, and that is that we must guard
against waiting for such surgeries while doing nothing for ourselves. That
to me is the greatest downside of this whole topic as it is being discussed
here and in the media. That some will do nothing about their adaptation to
blindness because of the possibilities presented by these very early
technologies. I believe that some will have their sight restored through
these means in time, and it will even become useful as the technology
improves, but we must remember one thing. Only those with the right
attitudes will truly benefit. Just as those with poor attitudes and support
don't adapt well to blindness, those same people will not do well adapting
to sightedness.

The other issue brought out in this post is that of "Big Brother". Will
Government or the Courts ever be able to enforce such things on people, and
completely cut them off the welfare rolls? There are many weird things done
to people every day, but this one sounded like that old 1948 movie called
1984. I don't buy it, and think that perhaps it was not meant to be part of
this Thought Provoker. It was far too simplistic for me to consider. This
same issue written in a more modern and sophisticated manner could provoke
me, but in its present form doesn't cause me to seriously consider it.

I say once again, that we must be careful not to allow any attitude to keep
us from experiencing a full and happy life. By that I mean our own
attitudes mostly. I am worried about those who say categorically that they
would not seek their sight under any circumstances, for they are happy with
who and what they are in life. That's great, but can we deny that the world
and the human race was designed for sight, and that every child born had to
learn to see? We are not born sighted, we learn to recognize the world
through the sense of sight, and although it would be far more difficult for
adults to do so, it probably could be done successfully. a rigid attitude
toward both seeing and not seeing is what causes so many of us trouble in
our lives.

I too share the concern for blind kids in the School system. They already
don't get enough Braille and other blindness skills taught to them, this
science fiction stuff will set them all back a few years. All you advocates
unite, Hell has broken loose again with this issue hitting the evening news.”

Albert Ruel) Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)

FROM ME: “Do you see it? This response first leads to a lodgical yes and then goes on to show how talk about medical advances can have a negative effect.”

**40. “I like technology but it can be such a pain at times, and by the way, I do
Believe in divine healing and in the glorious reward of an eternal life in Heaven
With God. I have experienced enough of both to spoil me forever for anything less
Which is why it is so important to wait on the Lord and renew our strength.”

John (AERnet)

FROM ME: “This response has a religious tone, one that illudes to regaining sight via heeling. What do you think about gaining sight in this fassion?”

**41. “ I am not sleepy either John (and Listers). I have seen some things too,
and I
have learned that people must learn to draw into themselves for their
strength. That is where it really comes from, and if there was a God, I am
sure he would agree and encourage us to draw from ourselves too.

I also agree that children can mourn and grieve too. I have been teaching
children for several years and I have seen them mourn the same way parents
mourn for the "perfect" child they did not have. When children learn that
they don't see like their peers, they too go through a mourning period
which
would also include denial. There is a famous saying "You can lead a horse
to
water, but you can't make him drink." You can only hope he gets thirsty
enough to do so. In that vein, I have always tried to expose my students
to
all things that will help them become independent and happy within
themselves. If they choose to use them, then I have been successful and so
have they. If they don't, then I have tried my best, and they will have to
live with their choice, eventually.

In all things, we can only hope for the best. Our best attempt is to teach
reality to our students and their parents. Science has proved to change
the
course of things we never would have imagined before. New things are scary
and wonderful too. We should at least, keep an open mind and a realistic
one
too. We should also model that to those who rely on us for such
information.”

Pati Alexander
PKA Vision
(AERnet, Marietta, Georgia USA)

**42. “Thanks, Pati, for saying that we need to keep an open mind about scientific
advances! It's true that some advances are oversold, and it's also true
that people's happiness does not depend on whether they have vision or not.
However, let's suppose a vision restoration operation were available. As a
congenitally blind person, I'm sure I would think carefully before going
through such surgery, especially given the statistics indicating that many
congenitally blind people have not adjusted to vision well. But I would
also not want to avoid the surgery because I was afraid of seeing. It would
be a wonderful opportunity to understand the world in a new way and to
experience things like ballet, painting, and pantomime which are currently
difficult to appreciate fully! If I did choose to have the surgery, I would
only want to open my eyes for a few seconds or minutes the first few days
because the world would look so different than it feels or sounds; I'd need
time to adjust. I would also want people around me who understood what I
was going through and could be helpful at moments of high stress. In the
final analysis, I think it's an individual decision, but if the possibility
were available and the risk were reasonable, I would hope those who chose to
try the surgery would not be considered poorly adjusted to their visual
impairment; perhaps they’re just adventurous--unafraid of trying new things
and expanding their horizons!”
     

Sandy Ruconich (AERnet)

**43. ”>>In the final analysis, I think it's an individual decision, but if the possibility
were available and the risk were reasonable, I would hope those who chose to
try the surgery would not be considered poorly adjusted to their visual
impairment; perhaps they’re just adventurous--unafraid of trying new things
and expanding their horizons! >>”
Sandy

“this was very well said and says it all. It IS an individual decision,
especially since it is such a life-changing one. It is also not any
indication of a person's adjustment (or lack thereof) of their physical
condition. No one but a psychologist (or similar professional) invited,
should make that determination. And even then....it would be a matter of
opinion. Expanding one's horizon should always be encouraged!”

Pati Alexander
PKA Vision
(AERnet, Marietta, Georgia USA)

**44. “I have been blind since birth and am 15 years old. My feelings about having
sight restored are mixed. On the one hand, I would love the freedom, both
from true limitations and social stigma, that would come with sight. But I
believe in things remaining the way that they naturally are, and if I could
see, I would rather be blind than see computer-generated images, because
these are not natural.

Living blind has opened my eyes to the problems of the sighted world, and
at times the thought of seeing is revolting to me. Sight brainwashes
people, making them believe that a person or thing is unattractive because
it is not visually beautiful. But, worse than that, sighted people appear
to breeze through life, without facing the unique challenge of being told
that you are unable to drive or read like a normal person, being treated
like a child or being convinced that because you are blind, you are
inferior to the sighted.

The person who said that the next generation of blind adults will be less
confident than the current generation has a good point. I have been
conditioned, by my parents and other sighted adults and children, that in
order to get along in the sighted world, I have to accept their pity and
erratic conclusions about blindness rather than stand up for what is right.
I was scolded for firmly asserting that I was independent and capable on
account of hurting the person's feelings. Even though, deep in my heart, I
know that being blind is something to be proud of, I believe that I have
been taught to lower myself to their inferior expectations of the blind. If
other blind children are growing up with that amount of pity in their
lives, they may grow up believing that they amount to nothing unless they
restore their sight. I can help a few blind people to understand that
blindness is something to be proud of, but as a single blind human being,
it is impossible for me to reach out to every blind person in the world.

I do not mean to offend any sighted people on this list, nor do I want to
make any generalizations about the sighted population. There are plenty of
sighted persons who think highly of the blind community. Nevertheless, I
have often wondered whether, instead of a few blind people gaining sight,
the entire world became blind. Maybe there should be a new provoker about
that sometime.”

Arielle, 15 (Scottsdale, Arizona USA)

FROM ME: “How do we help blind persons to know they need to stick up for themselves, how to do it with the least chance of offending and if so, not to worry to greatly (always being respectful to yourself and to others)?”

**45. “This is an interesting question..many times I have been asked by people if
I would want to regain my vision, and my family especially is looking at
all the latest news stories about vision restoration. Regaining my vision
would be nearly scientifically impossible, so I doubt I'd have to deal with
the choice, but who knows? I have been blind since I was 4 months old, due
to bilateral retinoblastoma....cancer tumors in both eyes that forced the
doctors to remove the eyes before the cancer spread to the brain. I am now
a sophomore in college, have gone to public school all my life, and am
Well adapted to being a blind person. I used to think that I'd jump at the
chance to regain my vision, until I saw the movie "At First Sight.":
Though I was not particularly fond of the movie or it's portrayal of the
blind, it made me think about just how overwhelming new vision could
be...especially if you'd never seen before. I began to rethink the issue,
and now I am not really sure. There are so many things I'd have to
readjust to, and I am not sure if all those readjustments are worth it,
especially at a time in my life when I'm trying to finish up school,
etc...I think I'd feel kind of dumb having to "go back to kindergarten" as
someone else put it. However, the chance to physically see the people I
love, and things I've heard about sounds appealing, but it is worth it all?

I also agree with people who say their choice would depend on how much
vision a surgery would provide. I have a friend who's remaining vision is
often more hindrance than help, and I would not want to deal with that. I
am used to being totally blind and am comfortable with it, and have no
great desire to change it. If, by some miracle, the chance ever came, I'd
have to seriously think and pray about it.

I have noticed one thing in this provoker...although I'm sure the regaining
of vision would impact a person's social life, would it have to completely
sever the person's link to the blind culture? If they had true friends in
it, I think those friends would want to support them, as opposed to abandon
them at such a critical time. I say this because the woman in Sylvia's
story said she missed her friends at the center for the blind. If she can
no longer have those friends, what does it say for them? Also, does
Danielle have no friends among the sighted? Though I have many blind
friends, I did not find those till approximately 4 years ago. Blind
friends are great..people who can identify, share similar struggles, and
just be great friends. But, though the sighted may not fully understand
what we go through, I think we shouldn't totally isolate ourselves in our
own little group for the blind. People who are similar have a tendency to
bond together, and so we should, but let's not forget the world we live in
is mostly sighted.

Okay, now that I temporarily branched off in to a totally separate topic, I
will go now. Interesting provoker!"

Alicia Richards, (Lincoln Illinois USA
arichard@lccs.edu)

FROM ME: “Another one saying, if the blind becomes sighted, why not still be pals with your blind friends. And, that regaining sight is a very serious consideration, would take prayer and thought. The thought of all the unknowns relating to gaining sight makes it uncomfortable. What are some of these unknowns?”

**46. “For one thing I can not relate to a group of blind getting help together.
I have always had poor sight and became legally blind 16 years ago. I
looked for help but there was none offered! The computer has been my
lifeline to other blind. From these I have learned much and can now accept
myself. But still if I had been in such a group and been in Robert's shoes, I would
have been too scared to say much! Today I could speak my piece for I am
slowly getting my feelings in control.

Now about the chance to regain sight I think I would jump at the chance.
Having lost most of my sight over a long period of time I would be thrilled
to do again the things I had to give up in the past. My eye doctor is one
who keeps up with new treatments concerning the eyes. Just the other day
he said that maybe soon there would be help for me!! Now I will not hold
my breath over this but he knows I am willing to be a guinea pig but only
when it comes to my Right eye which has no sight at all in it! But if it
is still experimental I would not let them touch my left eye even if I only
see shadows some days!

I still dream of seeing again and because of it I drug my feet in getting
good cane mobility training. Well I have accepted this now and have begun
walking over a mile around what we call the loop and now I walk it alone
with my cane. This is great for one who likes to walk! So if I could get
better sight I would take it!

I can understand those who have never seen having a hard time though for it
would be hard on them. Nor do I think it should ever be mandatory.

I look ahead with hope and expectations, but in the meantime I will carry
on and enjoy the life I have! I am finding out there are worse things in
life then just being blind!”

Ernie (USA)

FROM ME: “What things is he speaking of in his last sentence? ‘I am finding out there are worse things in life then just being blind!’”

**47. “After reading the last 36 responses, I have more to add. First off all, I
have glaucoma, and am in the process of losing the remainder of my light
perception. AS a younger child, my light perception was much stronger, and
I could see the brightness from windows farther away, and felt more
comfortable. Now, for almost three years, I've been losing it, and my world
is a mass of blurriness most of the time. There are many days when I'm at
school, walking briskly from class to class, and my world just goes black.
In fact, there was one day, for about 3 seconds or so, when my eye went
completely dark. How scary!

I just want my sight to go away. It's not used for anything anymore but
annoying the heck out of me.”

Stacy (Wisconsin USA)

**48. “That was a very interesting story. I've been blind all my life and I want to keep it that way. I don't want scientists sticking weird things into my brain just to make me see. It'll be a waste of time.”

Anne Mauro (USA)

**49. “Well I am sighted and to have anyone dictate to me that it I was
going to have to have surgery well that is wrong. Sorry about that but
as a sighted person I can understand as I myself am very hard of hearing
and they tell me about different surgeries that can help me but I have
heard both good and bad things so I choose not to.

Now to the PROVOKER I can understand as to what is being said and for a
person that has never seen and then be put into a place where everybody
is sighted is scary and then not having her dog or cane to guide her.
Then to have her boss tell her that she was slow I don't think that he is
taking in to consideration that this was her first job as a sighted person
and if it was typing skills then yes she would be slow because of the
keyboard being different to the touch and the light would be hard on her
eyes as well.

I have to look at the whole picture and see that the sighted world to a
blind person that has never seen is as different as day as night and
things that you do normal as a blind person is different to the sighted
way of doing things.

Remember one thing as I found out that in the blind world people do
things different and I did walk that way when my wife lost her sight and
I had to learn how to do things and it was scary to me because I thought
that I knew even our home and found out that I did not. Even a simple
think like eating is done different so I can understand why Sylvia was
scared.

Just my thoughts on this subject as I am sighted just hard of hearing
and I walk around 90% of the time not hearing and I rely on my eyes to
make up the difference.”

Willie Burton (Arkansas .USA)

FROM ME: “What other support measures might a spouse do for their partner?”

**50. “I find this forum very helpful. Although I do not really have problems with
being blind, I never had the opportunity to talk about my acceptance of the
situation as openly as I am able to do here. Why did I not create such an
opportunity myself? Because I felt very guilty about even thinking about
questioning the reasons for my blindness! Many blind people in South
Africa - of whom I am one - are educated within a strong Calvinistic
perspective. One of the golden rules is: be grateful for everything and
everyone. Now, there is nothing wrong with such an approach - who wants to
be with someone who continuously mopes??? However that prevented me from
verbalizing questions such as: Why am I blind? Can God still heal the
blind as he did in biblical times? I asked myself such questions when I was
a child, but did not dream of communicating them to my parents or teachers.
Now they do not worry me any more, although I am sometimes confronted by the
so-called faith healers in the streets of Pretoria. Being confronted about
my faith and my blindness by total strangers, annoys me immensely! Humor
helped me out of such a situation one day. A so-called believer in faith
healing approached me and asked if he could pray for me. I replied: "Yes,
but first pray that my guide dog can speak. If the Lord permits this to
happen, then, by all means, pray for my sight!" He gasped for breath and
left me and my guide dog in peace.

Now you might say: what does this have to do with the thought provoker? I
guess what I want to say is that, although I am blind and sometimes would
love to be able to see, I am satisfied with the life I lead. We blind
people have experiences similar to those of sighted people. Sighted people
are also pestered by those who do not know what 'personal space' is. Like
the blind, sighted people must also learn to be assertive!
So, I cannot really tell others if they should jump for the opportunity to
regain their sight or not. We humans have inner resources on which we must
draw when we need strength in difficult situations.
As an opportunist, I would go for the operation if I know that chances are
good that it will be successful. I have many friends and I am sure I'll get
the help I need to adapt to a new life. Perhaps it is easy for me to think
this way, because my optical nerves are underdeveloped and up to now there
has been no cure for it.

May I please end my response by saying that I really take my hat off to all
of you on the forum! You are honest, sincere, reason confidently and
Logically, and I am grateful to you for what I am still going to learn from
you all. I never knew I would enjoy this forum as much as I do!
With lots of respect and admiration.”


Janie Fourie (Pretoria, South Africa.
janie@lantic.net)

FROM ME: “I too have had a religious encounter. The lady said to me, ‘That’s all right son, we’ll all be able to see in Hevan.’ Any one else out there had one of these? What is going on?”

**51. “For a couple of years, my family and I
have been keeping track of this technology. I lost complete sight at the age of two due to cancer. I was raised in a rural area and my parents took a firm stand at the beginning that I was not to be treated differently. No one thought it strange
to see me racing cars on my horse or driving tractors. I had my share of accidents, but I was happy. Gong to college was an interesting experience, because I was seen as different. Some professors made adjustments while others were slightly
more resistant. When, I discovered that I was really blind. What an adjustment.
If I could get my sight, I would try it. Partly because my sighted husband wants it so badly and partly to enhance my current
abilities. It would be hard, but I would also work not to expect a world of difference. I am sure driving on an expressway
would be suicidal and will not try it. However, riding a bicycle independently is a reachable goal. Think how much I could
save on gas!

Having the government to mandate this surgery, is plain stupid. The best success would happen if starting with children.
They would grow up adjusting to this lifestyle. Starting with adults would be a tremendous, mixed bag. We are all different.
This mandate would be like requiring all those suffering from headaches to take aspirin. It just wouldn't work for everyone.”

Marcia Beare (Martin Michigan USA)

**52. “I'm thinking what would happen to us if Bob's sight
were suddenly restored. He's nearly 60, so no matter
what laws exist about age discrimination, the reality
is that it would be nearly impossible for him to get
a job in his old field (traveling the country by car
and marketing emergency equipment for vehicles). So
there would likely be no job for him, but he would
also no longer qualify for disability. How many
people in those circumstances would really choose to
have their sight restored?”

Carolyn Gold (Clearwater, Florida USA
rgold2@tampabay.rr.com
Jmbeare@accn.org)

FROM ME: “Here is an interesting consequence! Correct, no legal blindness, no disability payments. So, no disability benefits would mean a smaller family income and so this individual sets his limits monetary value. What other values have we seen in this Provoker?”

**53. “This is a thought provoker indeed. There was a time, when I was
first blinded, fourteen years ago this month, that I would have jumped at
any promise of any restored sight--a little is better than none at all, no
matter what the price. That was then; this is now. Would I undergo surgery
to restore my sight now? I wouldn't be as quick to say yes now. I am well
adjusted and independent as a blind person. I am comfortable with myself
the way I am now. That is not to say that I would reject the prospect of
restored sight outright. It would be nice to be able to drive again, to see
my daughter, whose face I've never seen, to be able to see my wife, whose
face I've never seen, to see the birth of my son in a few months. Whether
or not I would undergo a procedure to restore my sight would depend upon
several factors. How good are the odds of success? what exactly would be
considered success (i.e. light perception, shapes and colors, or truly useful
vision)? How intrusive would the procedure be? I believe I would consider
a procedure like the one Ray Kurzweil conceptualized in this month's
Braille Monitor--microscopic "nanobots" injected into the blood stream and
taking up position adjacent to neurons to stimulate activity--with even a
reasonable expectation of even a little bit of vision, but anything more
intrusive would have to have a high probability of fairly good vision.
Anything less would not be worth the lost time.”

David W Bundy (Columbia, South Carolina USA)

**54. “I do not think that congenitally blind people, such as myself, will have to
worry much about making that decision. It is my g uess that the visual
cortex has not developed sufficiently to interpret stimuli from any source,
be it the human eye or some artificial mechanism. If Stevie Wonder had RLF,
(or ROP as it is known now), he would have the same result. But an
ophthalmologist could not find a better test case, so why not go for it.

One more thought: A couple of years ago, I read a book called Second Sight.
I don'; recall the RC number, but NLS recorded it. It is about a man who
loses his sight as a young adult, and regains a substantial amount of it
many years later as the result of advancements in cataract surgery.”

Sharon Fridley, Program Consultant
Information and Referral Service for the Blind
West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services
State Capitol, Box 50890
Charleston, WV 25305-0890
sharonf@mail.drs.state.wv.us
(304) 766-4891)

FROM ME: “Another reference to a book of someone regaining sight. What others are out there, new and old? Are they success stories?”

**55. “Hi, Shelly. My question is this. Whether you're a professional, an advocate, a
mentor, etc, how do you handle parents or other relatives who insist on holding
onto this hope that their child is going to see either through the technology or
through divine healing? I really could use some help on this one. Also, what do
you do with first graders who are extremely resistant to Braille but are having to
have their homework read to them because they can't see it? I already tried
questioning this child about why he didn't want to learn Braille. He said, "Well,
I'd rather be able to see."

Sarah J. Blake (AERnet)

**56. FROM ME: “This response is in answer to the one above.”

“Reply: Its past midnight and I can not sleep so here goes. As a hospital chaplain
for several years I know I have to accept people where they are even when I do not
like it. The worst ones I thought were those who refused to mourn or demanded that
someone else not cry but instead rejoice because the departed loved one was in
heaven with God. It is called denial, or perhaps suppression or repression or
displacement, it is usually unhealthy but more than that, in trying to diminish the
loss it may instead only be diminishing the importance of what was lost. I WOULD
RATHER THE ONES I LOVE LIVE! and I WOULD RATHER BE ABLE TO SEE! "Professionals"
should be careful not to also be diminishing the value of what is lost further by
pushing someone to get on with life. Braille or a cane are helpful tools for some
people but they do not replace what was lost. In addition to the "technology
cure," another myth that exists is that blindness is just an inconvenience. It may
only be that for some people, for others it is much more than that. I like
technology but it can be such a pain at times, and by the way, I do believe in
divine healing and in the glorious reward of an eternal life in Heaven with God. I
have experienced enough of both to spoil me forever for anything less which is why
it is so important to wait on the Lord and renew our strength.”

John (AERnet)

FROM ME: “Here among other things, we again see blindness referred to as ‘Another myth that exists is that blindness is just an inconvenience.’ He qualifies it with, ‘It may
only be that for some people, for others it is much more than that.’ How might blindness be a mere inconvenience for some and much more for others?”

**57. “I really like what Catherine is saying, and I agree. There is only one
exception, and it happens to be the way my parents handled this kind of
decision when I was a child. I was a candidate for a fairly new procedure
which had the potential of providing me some additional vision through
reattachment of a portion of my retina which had been detached. I still
had quite a bit of usable vision at the time, and my parents decided not
to have the procedure done because of the risks of vision loss due to
possible complications and the lack of information about the outcome of
the procedure for children. Later, when I was losing my vision because of
cataracts, they did have the procedure done. If it hadn't been done then,
I would have been totally blind very soon because of the rate of growth of
the cataract. There was nothing to lose and everything to gain. I
gained. Maybe this is a little different from putting a child through a
procedure to provide artificial vision, but I don't think so. It was an
experimental procedure for my situation, and I'm glad they made the
decisions they did. If that procedure had not been done, there would be
no changing it later. But with a procedure like the artificial vision,
there may be plenty of opportunity when the person is able to make the
decision for him/herself.”

Sarah J. Blake (AERnet
http://www.growingstrong.org)

**58. “This has been discussed on other lists several times, and I'm always amazed
at the number of blind people who maintain that they would not avail
themselves of an opportunity to see. I simply don't understand it.”

Carol Ashland (In Eugene, Organ, USA
mailto:carola@shoutmail.com
mailto:carol_a@efn.org)

FROM ME: “What are all the reasons we have seen thus far as to why so many congenitally blind persons are saying no to sight?”

**59. “The new Thought Provoker reminds me of the movie AT FIRST SIGHT. The main
character was fine until his vision was restored and then he was confused
and disoriented all the time. He was at a disadvantage because he couldn't
read print. When he finally loses his sight at the end of the movie, he is
back in a world he has full control in.
Great movie.”


JODY Ianuzzi (Keene, New Hampshire USA)

FROM ME: “In hind-sight, with what we have learned in this Provoker, what would have helped the guy in this movie make his transition to sight a more successful one?”

**60. “This really made me think as a Blind person I think I would love to see
my Guide Dog. Everyone tells me how handsome that he is. I am happy that I
have adjusted to my Blindness and get along very well without my sight.

Do I miss my sight? Not anymore as a Blind person I feel as tho I see
more now then when I had my sight. I see with my heart and look for
Beauty in all things. I do very well without seeing the roses that my
husband brings to me. I count myself LUCKY to have a sighted husband who
is very good at describing things to me. I see things through His Eyes
and for me this is enough. So even though I would like to see for 5 minutes
to see color and see how my beloved husband has aged all though to me he
will always be young and handsome. I count the many joys in my life to
many to name .I am blessed in to many ways to change things why FIX it if
it isn't broke?
This is a good THOUGHT PROVOKER. Thank You”

Wanda Burton (Alabama USA)

**61. “In response to the last thought provoker, I would say, eye surgery to
restore eyesight is great, but it is also good to be satisfied with what you
have. I was surprised to hear my name, Beth in the thought provoker. I
think the girl who went sighted guide did a good thing by making her
decision whether to use sighted guide or use her cane. In the thought
provoker, "What Shall The Babies Be," it made me think of when I was a baby
and my parents first found out I was blind, they were kind of sad and it was
hard for them to know just what to do, but they still loved me.”

Beth kats (California USA)

**62. “While noting that the slogan is imprecise, I do share the view that "it is
respectable to be blind," with all that the National Federation of the
Blind presumably intends to imply by that slogan. At the same time, if I
could have full sight without paying too high a price for it, I'd think
myself downright stupid not to go after it. (if the sudden new
stimulation scared the hell out of me, as some say it would, I could put
on a blindfold and take baby steps into the new venture.)

I've never had a lick of sight since crash-landing in an incubator two
score and five years ago. I doubt that I ever will: as with much
blindness technology, the hope and the hype that plays on it will likely
wash over us long before hard facts finally come along to be useful. If I
do end up with a shot at having sight, though, I want twenty-twenty or
very close to it--with all the colors and depth perception that one is
supposed to get with the natural eye. (I'll take more if I can get it, of
course.) Certainly, there are advantages even to having low vision, but to
me, not enough to spend big bucks and/or put my brain under a scalpel.

As for not paying too high a price, I mean money, of course, but also
other elements.
I don't know how much money I'd be willing to spend for full sight.
Equipment and human assistance to deal with the physical hassles of
blindness usually cost money: maybe if I could make an educated guess
about what that cost would be during the rest of my life, I figure that's
how much money good sight would be worth. I might add to that some amount
I'm willing to pay to have the convenience of simply looking at something
(once I learned how) instead of having to get out this or that gismo to
"look" at it.

But if getting sight meant I had to be a lot more careful not to fall or
get bumped around in a sport or the like, I'm pretty sure I'd skip
it. This was about the first thing to cross my mind at age fourteen, when
my blind math teacher talked about this sort of thing.

I treat getting a sight-giving operation the same as I treat getting some
tool or training to deal with blindness--or, for that matter, dealing with
some other limitation. I wish to make my way and carry my share of the
load in this world, and I try to get the best tools I can for doing it.
Sight is a valuable tool, as Ken Jernigan has pointed out; it's not more
or less than that, all of our individual and collective embellishments to
the contrary notwithstanding. The absence of sight is a general
Showstopper when we lack good blindness tools and training. From time to
time, it's a showstopper even when we have those things. But I think
both those who think only a "cure" can make us whole and those who argue
that wanting a "cure" necessarily means our self-acceptance (and, by
implication, our acceptance of others with disabilities) is too low are on
two sides of the wrong coin.

Those comments doubtless have room for improvement, but I hope they're
still useful.”

Al Sten-Clanton (Boston, Massachusetts USA)

**63. “This one really hits close to home - I'm right now fighting against surgery
that might possibly restore my vision. Over the last couple years, all the
muscles that control my eyes have just quit working (pupil dilation, focusing,
the whole works). The easiest way to deal with life has been to give up
wearing my glasses, because then I'm so myopic I can't possibly focus on
anything and instantly the headaches go away.

My mother got the idea that the new laser surgery that will correct
nearsightedness would magically fix everything, and has been pushing hard. She
even had my 90-yr-old grandmother call from 4000 miles away to urge me not to
be silly, and how could I want to be blind, and to think of my children,
didn't they deserve a mother who didn't need a caretaker (that one really hurt).

The surgery scares me too. If I go through with it, if it works, then I
could very possibly be stuck with constant ferocious headaches, because those
nonfunctioning focusing muscles would keep trying to work, and once the
surgery has been done, there's no way to reverse it.

I've never had very good vision, or depth perception, and I'm comfortable
with it. That's part of me, as I am. Oh, I guess absolutely perfect pain free
vision might be nice, but then I wouldn't be the me I'm used to anymore. My
kids are learning that even with varying degrees of eyesight or mobility (I
also have MS - now that's one thing I would love to see surgery cure!) I'm
still me, and are applying that to others, too. They met a little boy at the
library the other day, and had a wonderful time comparing books, pointing out
pictures and giggling. It wasn't until we were headed home that they said he
was lots of fun and could we meet him at the library again sometime and by the
way he was deaf.

As others have said, this or any other irreversible procedure should be a
personal choice. For some reason I keep thinking of the debates on abortion -
if the sanctity of one's own body is such that we can each determine if a baby
lives or dies, why on earth can't we also decide for ourselves if we want our
sight "fixed" or not?
Thanks for a chance to hear others' views on something close to my thoughts
anyway right now.”

Kaari Parrish (North Pole, Alaska USA
kparrish@mosquitonet.com)

**64. “This is a tough one. But I’ll give it my best shot. I believe you are trying to convey about the new implants. Whether we can have our sight restored. Allot of people have asked me that same question; if you wanted to see if it was available and I told them yes and no. Yes it would be nice to see again. I wouldn’t have to worry about having people to describe things to me. No, because I would have to relearn everything; drive a car, write, and read print. And that isn’t something I would like to take a chance with, because I’ve been blind all my life, I’m getting use to doing all the things I have done, with out sight. If I had sight again it would be very awkward. People have told me I could keep my Braille skills, yes but it wouldn’t be the same. It would be a completely new situation and I wouldn’t know what to do. It would be very very difficult.”

Chris Judd (Cottage Grove, Minnesota USA)

**65. “I have been thinking about this thought-PROVOKER for a while. I am
fascinated by the responses of others.

As I have mentioned before, I was born blind, with congenital glaucoma.
I saw light, dark and colors. I lost all of this at age 28 when the pain
got too much and I knew that my right eye could rupture at any time. I
wanted to make the decision; not have it made for me by my eye.

I have not sat around thinking much about seeing again, but others have
certainly brought up the issue. When I was younger, I got the proverbial
pat on the head and the "Oh you'll see some day in Heaven, honey!" Then
there were several times when my sighted daughter was told, from age
three months: "You'll take care of them some day won't you, honey?" I
think she was so bothered about those comments that she pretty much has
refused to be very helpful; maybe for fear that those silly words would
come true.

I have also known those who would not try to learn to adapt to having
become blind later in life. I remember when I was a secretary at
Services for the Blind, in Nebraska, we had one stubborn client who
refused services because she was waiting for God to bring on the miracle


cure. It happens. Glad I never thought that way, however.

Though I still remember colors, I would love to see them again, if I
could see them just as I did or better. (I wouldn't want red to look
green or yellow to look purple or something like that.) I have read
about artificial vision but I believe the examples I am aware of did not
include color.

I, too, feel uncomfortable by those who say they've always been blind and
are perfectly happy that way and wouldn't want to change it. I think
they sound stuck. I would consider someone who is so satisfied with how
things are now to really be terrified of change and possibly miss out on
improvements in all facets of their lives. I do agree that it is
respectful to be blind, but it is also respectful to be open to positive
change. I think a certain amount of being at least a little dissatisfied
with how things are is necessary for one to move on and grow.

I wouldn't mind seeing artificially if it was very nearly like the real
thing. I'm not going to pine for it, but I would be curious. It would
be neat to see my families' faces; my pets' coloring, etc. Sure it's not
necessary, but would be neat! Since I could see black and my Jaspur
Kitty is all black, it's almost like I can see him!

This sure has been an interesting one.”

Lauren L. Merryfield “Washington, USA
kabootle2@juno.com)

**66. “If medical advances gave me the chance to see again, would I take It? If
the risks were reasonable in my assessment, I would. To me, blindness
is just one of the conditions of my life -- not a terrible one, not a
marvelous one, just one of those important day-to-day things that is part
of being me. From time to time, I have wondered what would happen if I
regained my sight. The conclusion I've reached is that I would be the
same old me (not a bad thing, by any assessment) except I'd be able to
do a handful of useful things that I can't do now -- drive a car, read street
signs, figure out by myself what color a piece of clothing is the first time I
encounter it, and recognize friends from a distance without first hearing
their voices. Can I do without these things? Sure, but if I have the
choice of being able to do them, why not take it? Believe it or not, I don't
think regaining my sight would change who I am or change the important
things in my life. I think having all of my sight back would simply make
certain things more convenient.

Jeanine Worden (Arlington, Virginia USA)

**67. “FROM ME: Ryan Osentowski sent this Provoker to a friend and that person wrote back.”

“I really liked this Ryan, Thanks for sending it!!!

One of the biggest things I noticed in all the comments to the story however
was almost everyone was whining about or had a fear of the unknown. I can
equate it to the stubbornness of our other friend who will not go through
orientation and "relearn" all the things he needs to know as a functioning
blind person. Instead he allows himself to stumble around and be frustrated
with being totally blind.

Fear cannot be the reason to remain stagnate in the place you are (no matter
who you are even if you are blind, deaf, crippled, have a social disorder, or
attention defecate disorder "wink wink" or whatever problem you have come to
cope with) Just being comfortable with where you are is not a reason not to
grow...it's an excuse. Of course it would be hard an it would take time to
learn "all over again" but it would be a choice for each person individually
and it would be very personal. But the rewards of growing far exceed those of
remaining in your "safe" zone.

I'm going in to have foot surgery some time this year, and as with all
surgery, there will be risks. But it's silly for me not to do it just because
of the risks. I really would love to run again, and if there is a procedure
to do it I will. And I will have to go through months of physical therapy to
learn to use my new foot.... but it will be worth it don't you think??

The same is true with ANY and again I say ANY major life change there is
coping and learning and adjusting. Hopefully by the time a procedure for
blindness like this becomes available we will have Centers of the Recently
Sighted!! You know I would be working there helping every single person brave
enough to step into a whole new world!! And maybe that would be you!!!”

Dave (USA)

FROM Me: “How do we help someone deal with the unknown?”

**68. “I have been deafblind all my life until three years ago I started losing my
vision since I was diagnosed with glaucoma. My vision is getting worse each
day. I am grateful that I can get around easily using my white cane and I
am Braille literate.

I would rather be blind than seeing since I find it much difficult and too
much strain on me. I had good eye sight up until the time I was diagnosed
with glaucoma...”

Jenny McEachen (Prince George, British Columbia, Canada)

**69. “Well I have just read some good thoughts and I would like to say this
that we have some outstanding blind friends and I have learnt so much
from them and the way that they do things that it has helped me to
understand more about why going under the knife so to speak is not
good, and the chance that you may or may not see or for how long is very
scary. Some of the ones that have posted so far have good points to look
at and I would like to comment on them in general and this can help as
far as the provoker goes at the same time. If you are blind and are
comfortable then I am glad that you are and for the most part I can learn
from you as then you become my teacher and as an example to learn Braille
or cook or just walk down the street. That can be a learning experience to
all as yes the sighted world does take a lot for granted and they are
rude and want you to feel pity but I feel that they need the pity and
not the blind because they do not want to learn and accept life as it
really is. Sorry for being on my high horse but they sight world is very
cruel and to state that it is something that surgery can do to help and
make it so you have no choice is wrong to.

I live with a blind wife and she loves to turn the lights out on me and
then when I walk out of a lighted room into a back one I can not see and
then she gets to laugh at me when I bump into things and then I have to
laugh to because she just taught me another lesson .
So for the blind I agree that if you want to try the surgery then go
for it and I wish you then best but look at all the good and bad effects
of it before you do it. Just my thoughts.”

Willie Burton (Arkansas USA)

**70. “The many people who have written in saying that they would not want to
have eyesight puzzles me. They usually say it is because they would have
to learn new things, driving a car, reading print etc. Does one not take a
chance at a new adventure for fear they would have to learn something?
Don't we see or hear of a person who has legs that do not allow them to
walk and say, "Gee, wouldn't that be nice if they could have surgery or be
healed some way so that they too could walk?" Is it so bad to feel that
one should have all of their body function correctly? On one hand some of
you have said that you are not a blind person, but a person who is blind.
It is not who you are. Then you turn around and say, you are happy with
not seeing because that is who you are. Is this not talking out of both
sides of your Mouth so to speak? I think that being blind is totally
respectable and so is sitting in a wheelchair or wearing a hearing aid.
But, if one had a chance to make that part of your body work or function,
why not? Like some have said, you could always close your eyes again if it
was too much to take in all at once. We have a friend who is blind and has
lost both his legs due to diabetes. He says that the blindness is not bad,
but he misses being able to walk. It is difficult to walk with prothesis
when one can not see, because the artificial legs do not feel things. So
then balance is not as good either. If he had a chance to restore either
or both, he would. Is he a happy and contented man with the way he is?
YOU BET! That does not mean that he is not adjusted to what he is, only
that he would like to be more. I admire that spirit in anyone and
everyone. Being contented with where you are, but always looking to
improve on that. That is what I try to do, be happy where I am, but always
trying to learn more, get better skills, and improve my life and that of
others.”

Rory Conrad (Dunlap, Iowa USA)

FROM ME: “What do you think about this ladies observation; how are they doing what she says? ‘On one hand some of
you have said that you are not a blind person, but a person who is blind.
It is not who you are. Then you turn around and say, you are happy with
not seeing because that is who you are. Is this not talking out of both
sides of your Mouth so to speak?’

**71. “In response to your words below, I am replying!
FROM ME: "I too have had a religious encounter. The lady said to me,
'That's all right son, we'll all be able to see in Heaven.' Any one else out
there had one of these? What is going on?"

There is an older couple in my church who decided to start coming to our
house and praying for the return of my sight! Now let me say here that I
do believe in miracles and I do believe that God can restore my sight! But
I also know that maybe he has work for me to do that I can do better blind
then sighted! Anyway after many visits, which became more uncomfortable to
my wife and me, the man said that God could not heal my eyes when I had sin
in my life! This really hit for I read in the Bible where Jesus talks
about this very thing, where he tells that the blind man was not blind from
anything he or his parents did! Anyway for awhile they left me alone, sort
of like I was beyond help! Then after I had the second cataract removed
and the improvement in vision in that eye for a few weeks began to
diminish again, they decided to come and pray. There were times when they
would call and my wife saw who it was by looking on our caller ID that we
would not answer the phone. Other times we would just "hide" and not
answer the door when we knew it was them! When they would remark they had
tried to see us we would just say that we were busy and hard to get. One
day at church he met us and said something about my sight being restored.
My wife said, "Oh yes, when He comes for us Ernie will be able to see
better then anyone now can!" "Oh", replied the man, "I am going to heal
him!" His statement nearly floored us and fortunately we have been able to
sidestep him or this subject since! I think now that maybe they have again
given up on me!

I have great faith in my God! He knows what is best and I know I am in his
care! I don't need these people trying to heal me in their own strength!

Still I know my God can and will if I am ready and it is his choice and for
his good! If his way of healing comes through modern science and medicine,
well that is fine too!”

Ernie (Walla Walla, Washington USA)

**72. “I’ve been Blind since birth, I fall in the category of not wanting my sight. I sense
being overwhelmed by yet something new to learn. The comfort of my Braille,
screen reading programs, dog guide, cane, Loc Dots, etc would be replaced by
the unfamiliarity of visual stimuli that would cause my brain to go on
visual overload. From time to time I sense the experience of audio overload
when I'm trying to accomplish several tasks at once, and then to add the
visual challenges to that would leave me absolutely fatigued, frustrated,
and longing for the security of the familiar. Don't you think that is the
key to your responses? If formerly sighted persons are more likely to want
restored sight, they simply long for the security of the familiar as do I.
How about you? You never give the answers from a personal interpretation. Smile!”

April Reisinger (USA)

FROM ME: “She asks me for my personal interpretation… Well, having seen up to age 15, 20-20 and going blind as a result of a car accident, I’d go for sight. Call it ‘going for the familiar, the more comfortable’ if you will. Yet I am now comfortable with me as a blind person and would not put my life or families comfort in jeopardy on just a chance or for something less than the 20-20 I once had (vision with no restrictions).”

**73. “I've read all the responses so far to this thought provoker, and a lot of
what I'd say myself has already been said in regard to my feelings on why
I wouldn't want to have sight restored. I've never had any, and I'm not
terribly interested in having it--the adjustment would be pretty large,
and I simply am too busy living my life to worry about it. Yeah, if I were
fully sighted and not blind, maybe I would have an easier time of some
things; maybe I wouldn't be stuck in an entry-level job without any hope
of advancement unless I work for a different company; maybe I'd have an
easier time of getting around, not relying on spotty public transportation
and friends and Melanie to get around to things that are beyond walking
distance. But would I, really, have all those advantages after whatever
adjustment I had to take? How long would the adjustment take, and how far
would my life be set back by the time that adjustment took? And again,
would I really realize the advantages of being fully sighted after the
adjustment--all the advantages that a sighted person born sighted would
have? I frankly don't know, but somehow I don't think it'd be quite so
simple as that. Things generally aren't. Yes, I'd be afraid that my life
would be something like the character in Sylvia's story--further behind as
a sighted person than ever I'd be as a blind person. I can sum it up this
way, and others have alluded to this already. Would a sighted person
choose to go blind? I suspect most would not. Why then is it so odd (or
some would have us think so) that I would not, if the opportunity
presented itself, choose to go sighted? Some might say it's not nearly the
same thing. A sighted person is losing a sense on which he relies; a blind
person would be gaining one, adding a new dimension to their life, or so
they say. OK, but what, really, would we gain? I don't know, and I suspect
that no one else knows either. Unless someone who was blind *did* regain
some vision. That person would know, but who else really would? Everyone
brings to any viewpoint aa frame of reference, made up of values, life
experiences, world knowledge, and a bunch of other things. So of course a
sighted person, living life with sight, naturally may think that my life
lacks some dimension which their life has, necessarily by virtue of the
fact that the sighted person is sighted and I am not. This person may
then, naturally, wish that I could experience my life with the same
fullness that they enjoy in theirs--and that might mean that really, if
the opportunity presented itself, I should get a sight-restoring
surgery. But here's the thing. My life's already full, I have dear friends
to share it with, and in spite of inconveniences of living in a world
designed for a sighted person, I like my life, thank you very much.

Hmm. I think there's a hole in my logic somewhere. That is, as a blind
person, I certainly don't wish that others would also enjoy the fullness
of my life by becoming blind. (I do, however, maintain that sight is
wasted on the sighted.) Well anyway, I suppose that all of the above is a
long way round saying that I myself have no interest in a surgery that
would restore sight to me. Guess I should've just said so.

BTW, I don't think it's at all inconceivable that if some magic bullet
came out to make a disability go away for a particular population that it
would be required in spite of any negative side effects. While I'd
certainly hope that our lawmakers would be more enlightened than that, I'm
not very confident in that hope. (After all, isn't getting rid of a
disability always better than keeping it? Besides, I can see the backlash
now--Oh, you could be sighted if you wanted to be, you just choose this
lifestyle, and so on.)”

Buddy Brannan (KB5ELV
davros@ycardz.com
Phone/voicemail: 877-791-5298)

**74. “I keep reading these provokers and say I'll pass on commenting and every
time I come up with the thought that there are wonderful people with great
ideas and maybe I'll share mine too. I don't always agree with everything
said but it seems to me that everyone takes some time to think about his or
her point of view and I enjoy hearing the thoughts of others. Now, for my
own, this issue is similar to the implants for deaf people the bone
conduction implants. Would a person no longer be a part of the "blind
culture?" Is there really a "blind culture?" My first thought is that
like for the implants for hearing, anything that could be done to promote
communication should be encouraged. Then the implication is that anything
that can improve sight should be tried. Well, that is a choice that should
be individual. Each person should be the one to choose hearing or sight.
The difficulty comes when you are the parent of a child and have to choose
what to do because the child is not old enough to make a decision of this
kind.

My own opinion is that a congenitally blind person who had light perception
and projection and has very little or none at all any more, I would take the
opportunity to gain sight but it would have to be financially within my
reach or be a procedure that could be paid for by insurance.

There is a book called Emma or the title may be Emma and ME or that could be
the name of the second book since the lady wrote two. It is about a lady in
England who had a wonderful guide dog and tells about their relationship.
Somewhere along the way, she found out that cataracts could be removed and
she had the operation and gained her sight. She literally had to learn how
to see. She told about a time where a fog had come up and she had Emma with
her and Emma seemed to know that her mistress couldn't see again and guided
her to where they were going. The books are part of the NLS collection and
are great. They were produced by RNIB and are in Braille. They may be in
print, too. Thanks for listening.”

Marcie Brink (Kalamazoo Michigan USA Email
mbrink@complink.net)

FROM ME: “She asks, “…is there a blind culture?…” Soon there will be a Provoker with that very issue at heart.”

**75. “I'm partially blind and I feel that it's okay to be that way. If I
were totally blind, I still feel that I'd like and respect myself enough to
say that it's still okay. That's who I am. It took me a long time to be
so accepting of this fact because like many other partials, my parents
tried to get me to use the vision I have to function, at times traveling in
an unsafe fashion. For years, I would not admit to needing a cane for
travel. I also was ashamed to use any visual aides that were provided to
me by the state of Wyoming to assist me in reading printed material. At
that time, I felt that I was "acting blind." Little did I know that it was
all right to admit that the way I was doing things was making it worse for
me. The mere thought of admitting that my vision didn't work very well
upset me a great deal.

As you know, my husband is totally blind. After he attended the center in
Lincoln, he helped me to understand that it was all right for me to admit
6that there were situations where my vision truly didn't work. After having
several lengthy discussions with Larry Mackey at the time, he also helped
me see things from "a different light." (Pardon the pun). I was trying to
live a normal life, and through the help of several people, my live can be
normal yet with much more freedom. This is just my two cents worth.”

Bonnie Ainsworth (Laramie, Wyoming USA
bonniem@cyberhighway.net)

**76. “I have been totally blind for 48 years, all of my life. I have been a high school
teacher in a public high school for 23 years. In fact, I am starting my
24th year as of January. In November, I had to have brain and ear surgery because
of an acoustic neuroma. I have recovered from the surgery fine except
that I have lost just about all the hearing in my left ear. At this
point, I am one ear away from total helplessness. I know this isn't
quite true, because I know that the deaf blind people do amazing
things, but that is the way it feels to me. I don't know whether to try
to continue to try to do my job or whether to retire on disability.
Since things are going well in my job so far, I guess I will just hang
in there. But, I think if someone offered me a way to get my sight, I
would take it simply so that I would have more senses to deal with.
Imagine what it is like to go down a hall when you only hear out of one
ear. All your directional hearing is totally gone. I use to go down
the halls of the school in which I teach without using a cane. So, I
would be glad to get my sight. Before this problem with my hearing, I
am not sure I would have felt like this. I don't know whether this
answer will be worth your printing or not, but feel free to print it.”

Gary LeGates (USA)

**77. “I am a freshman in college with a high level of remaining vision. I
used to read almost all print comfortably, but I lost that ability my Junior
year of high school. I have only worked with Braille since then, so I am
not fully proficient yet. If I could have a surgery to replace my vision,
I would take it in a moment. Even if there would be a high risk of losing
the vision I have now, I would take the risk. My biggest problem is the
feeling of limbo. I don't belong in the sighted world, and despite what I
have been told by countless people and organizations, I really do not belong
in the world of the blind either. I haven't enough vision for one way of
life and too much for another. I am constantly criticized for the decisions
I make. I do some things visually because it is habit, even though it
causes me headache, or in some cases, it is downright dangerous, and I am
not even aware that I am doing things that way.. I know that my answer to
this provoker may not be popular, but it is my true feeling on the issue.”

Amy Mason (Lincoln, Illinois USA)

FROM ME: “How does someone work out and maintain that balance between the visual and non-visual worlds of thought, emotion, attitude, function, etc.?”

FROM ME: “Thus far 39 individuals say yes to a procedure to gain sight and 30 say no; 7 not clearly stating a preferance.”

**78. “I really had to stop and think when I read this. It was e-mailed to me by a
friend. I am secure with who I am but I feel that given the chance, I would
have to try it. I know that the adjustment would not be easy since I have
never experienced being able to see. I know that I would have to learn to
navigate the world around me in more ways than one, but I feel that I have
nothing to loose. I have been independent and employed and feel that I owe
it to myself to at least try.”


Michelle Douglas (Saint Albans, West Virginia USA
mdouglas@citynet.net)

**79. “This isn't or shouldn't be about what's popular, but what works for each
of us. If you want vision and can have it, great get it, but don't call
people stuck just because they wouldn't choose your method. I agree with
Buddy Brannan and with the comment about security and also think that we're
as we are for a reason and we aren't God and shouldn't play him and as long
as people's decisions are respected whatever way the vision thing goes is
what's important and, there could be some cases where they will I think just
never be able to solve every problem.”


Tina Birenbaum (Tempe, Arizona USA
(tinabir@primenet.com)

**80. “One comment in the latest update said that "almost everyone whined about
or had a fear of the unknown," and argued for the importance of growth.


I read other comments that seem to say that being risk-averse is
necessarily a bad thing. It is not, of course: it can be bad, neutral, or
downright sensible! It depends on the rewards available if one takes a
risk, or alternatively, the negative consequences of refusing to take it.
The specifics will differ to one degree or another with each of us: as
for me, I don't want my brain or nerves leading to it under the knife
unless the bennies are likely to be great and the risks low, or unless my
refusal to do it will leave to disaster--however I may define that at the
time. My principal point is only that we should refrain from praising
unconditionally the virtues of taking risks or of change itself. (Yes, it
can be good to retain the status quo, though I'm not usually in that
camp.)”

Al Sten-Clanton (Boston Massachusetts USA)

**81. “I understand that there are some people who would prefer to remain blind,
even if there was a possibility to regain sight. However, I am not one of
these individuals. Until about 6 years ago, I had enough vision to see
faces and read print with special magnifying glasses. Now, I have some
light perception, but almost no useable vision.


I would give anything to be able to see my daughter. By the time, she was
born, my residual vision had deteriorated significantly. It might
be difficult to adjust to having vision, but I would love the challenge.”

Janet Ingber (Queens, NEW York USA)

FROM ME: “Don’t you just love seeing/hearing the phrase, ‘but I would love the challenge.’”

**82. “I guess it is very difficult to decide whether it would be better to be able
to see, or to remain blind. However, remaining blind has the implication
that one would have to keep on fighting annoyances like the patternalistic
attitude of some sighted people. Have you ever been to a get-together where
everyone takes food and drinks and stands around talking to one another?
Low and behold! Someone definitely will come to you, as a blind person, and
say "Come, here is a chair for you. Sit down! I'll fetch you some food and
drink." But that is not what you want to do, because you want to converse
with those around you. Or: Like Robert, you attend your church services
and some freak comes to you and in an authoritative tone of voice tells you
that you are blind because of sin!!! Etc. etc. Being assertive is also a
bit of a problem, because you must treat your sighted acquaintances well, as
you might need their help one day!!!???
Then there is something that I have been thinking about for years. Why did
Jesus always refer to the Pharisees as "blind" when he scolded them??? I
know it refers to spiritual blindness, but why couldn't He refer to lack of
spiritual insight for what it really is? I'm sure that people get their
negative views about blindness also from the Bible.
On the other hand we also read that Jesus said to Thomas something like
"Happy are those who believe without having seen". So, if someone bothers
us with faith healing again, we can quote this to them. Give it to them!!
Let them put it in their pipes and smoke it!!!!!!!!
Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!


Of course, we have to understand that the sighted cannot know how we
perceive things without being able to see.
I'm sure that all of us have sighted friends and family whom we love
sincerely. Let's thank God for them and for fellow blind people who accept
us, no matter what!!!!”

Janie Fourie (Pretoria, South Africa
janie@lantic.net)

**83. “I have already written to this PROVOKER once, and had not thought of
writing again till the issue of Divine healing was raised. I am an active
Christian, and truly believe God could heal me if He wanted to. (I am
totally blind due to cancer.) However, He has already used my blindness in
so many ways I could not have imagined that I am not sure that it is His
plan to heal me, though if He wanted to, I'm open for that. I do get
frustrated with people who insist God wants to heal me, but I am stopping
it because of lack of faith or sin in my life... though I never had an
experience as someone described earlier in the PROVOKER. I don't think any
human can fully understand the mind and heart of God, and what He plans
to use in people's lives, or how He plans to use it. I also have seen the
line about seeing in Heaven mentioned in this PROVOKER. It seems that line
can be used for the positive or negative believe I will se in Heaven,
and the realization that the first thing I will see is my God is a pretty
stunning one. However, this knowledge doesn't take away all the struggles
that I come across due to my blindness. I don't think it should be used to
say a person should not struggle, but it can offer a tremendous help when
someone is struggling. I also don't think that people who believe God
could heal them should just sit around and wait for it to happen. Live
your life the way you are, allow God to use you and your blindness for His
good, and if He chooses to heal it, great!"


Alicia Richards (Lincoln, Illinois)

FROM ME: “How do other religions view blindness? Are there any wherein it blindness is seen as a positive?”

**84. “This is fascinating and the first I have read so I think I will go look at the earlier ones on the web!
Several thoughts come to mind. For me, I use to have what the doctors called "light perception," when I saw at all, I have RLF, and never had normal vision.
But I remember when I lost that little sight, that I missed the "lights!" And I missed not being able to tell colors any more. I also always was fascinated
how a sighted person could easily look across a street and identify a person, a car, or a sign, since I couldn't do these things while I had sight.
The first thing that occurs to me is that whole conception of "change," how people deal with it, how they prefer the familiar, How it makes them uncomfortable.
We all simply fear the unknown, and are unsure when in a life situation we've never encountered before. You can read all the books about having a baby
for example, that you wish to, but if you haven't actually ever had one, you will not really know what it's like nor will some of us, (men,) never find
out!
This leads to my second thought: It's one thing to have a dream, but another to have the dream come true! You do what you can to make your dreams reality
but they do not always happen exactly the way you thought they would. There's a saying that comes to mind: from a Rolling Stones tune:
"you can't always get what you want, .....but you get what you need."
This is very true, and can be disappointing to those who put all there strength and energy into accomplishing one thing that doesn't fly
This means to me, that we shouldn't whine about why we can't see any more than we should be absolutely satisfied with not seeing. People tend too generalize
and think in terms of "black or white," "wrong or right," etc., but reality is always not so clear cut.
The third thought is that one must always consider change for him or herself, not from the point of view of anybody else! When a sighted person wishes
I could see, and or I do this, we are coming from different perspectives. I never have really "seen," as they mean it, and they have never had to be blind
and be stuck as a blind person, so have no ideas about how they would cope. I think we are all use to thinking that "if I could see, I would, or I could,"
and we don't know the answers. The sighted person does, though, but he never says "if I were blind,,," and if he did it would be the same thing, since
he's not familiar with living life as a blind person. It would be like planting a tomato and insisting that it be an orange when it grew up!
I think that if you are human, whether you have all your faculties or not, you will assume things and perceive things based on your experiences.
I happen to like challenges, myself, but others like their ruts, thank you! So I think most of the adjusting to being sighted or blind depends on your
ability to adapt, and some folks just don't. I have seem some blind people, even those born that way, who haven't been well adjusted and I have seen some
sighted folks who never learned to drive, for whatever reason, be it fear, what others tell them or a coordination issue. So I think it all hinges on
a person's ability to view a change in circumstance as a challenge to move on, or as a threat to life to be hidden from!
Sorry this was so long, and I really like this PROVOKER allot and think you should extend it another couple of weeks.”


Phyllis Stevens (Johnson City, Tennessee USA
MAILTO:stevensp@charter.net)

**85. “This is my first response to this list. I guess I would have to go under
the category of being undecided about the surgical procedures that could
restore sight. I can tell the difference between light and dark, can
see outlines and images of things as a result of ROP. I don't know how
I would react if something was developed that could restore my sight. I am
so adjusted to not being able to see but there are so many things I would
like to learn that sighted people just take for granted. Like driving a
car for example.
I hope this response makes sense.”


Lisa Ehlers (WAVERLEY, Iowa USA)

**86. “ in the world of the blind either. >>


Here is a person stranded in the nether world who refuses to admit he is
blind, when that is what would help him!”

Lori Stayer (Merrick, New York USA)

FROM ME: “Identification, how we view ourselves. Just how much of an identification does a person have to achieve to be successful in their adjustment to blindness?”

**87. “ out there had one of these? >>


Robert: Thought I'd share this: Long ago David and I attended a conference
on Dreams (understanding, interpreting, using etc.). During the conference
David had what we can only classify as an out of body experience. He took a
walk outside of our hotel, along the sidewalk by some bushes, entered a
building, had to duck because of the flowers, and found himself in a room
where two colors seemed to alternate on the walls. At this point he realized
he was seeing it. When he woke up, he described it to me. Later on, we went
to a building that contained a meditation room. When we entered, there was a
painting of flowers on the wall. We found ourselves in the "Meditation"
room. This room had two sets of curtains, one pink and one blue, both made
out of an almost sheer material, so that when the light shone through them,
it projected two different colors on the wall.

So do you see in Heaven? I don't know. But if you can manage to get out of
your body, even temporarily, yes, you can see. It was interesting that David
experienced the flowers in the painting in three dimensions, though. It
makes me wonder whether, if a person who had never seen were given his sight
, he could make use of it efficiently enough to drive, determine depth, etc.”

Lori Stayer (Merrick, New York USA)

**88. “I will take a second shot at this by saying we all have
our own wants, needs and thoughts in making such a large decision .
Personally, if there was a perfected procedure to restore sight , I would go
for it. One eye at a time. I have a daughter getting married soon and I
would love to see the look on her face as she walks down the isle. However I
do not want to be a part of a trial and error operation. To regain a little
sight would be something each one of us needs to decide as to where our
lives would change. I would also like to say I have met a man in my office


who has been on both sides two times and he said he would take the sight
anytime . However he has been where some of us have traveled and that is to
the bare minimal sight where we are not really blind but staggering to find
a place in this big old world. It remains a personal choice which we should
respect with one another for all the right reasons. So if it is close to 20
/ 20 vision , lets do it otherwise I am somewhat comfortable with Ockham,
who is a very trusty and helpful Dog guide and listens well enough to one
day be a possible family pet. I do thank you Robert for this forum and this
is the way we can freely speak on just what we as blind individuals are
thinking..”

Lee a. stone (Hudson , New York. U.s.a. stonedge@mhonline.net )

**89. “I am one who would like to be added to the list of going for sight.
Being in the world of the non sighted now for 12 years, I can say that my
adjustment was a rather difficult one because of the lack of supportive
services.
We all have to keep in mind that there are always pros and cons to
everything and besides there is nothing and nobody perfect in this world.
Before I would decide to go through such a surgery I would need to know the
basic side effects. Let's keep in mind not everybody reacts or has the same
reactions to medications and surgery, so I'm sure there would be some things
the "experts" would not be able to for warn us about.
I know with the restoring of sight there would definitely be an
adjustment period and that by itself would range from person to person just
like there was and still is for those of who have or are losing our sight.
I know that I because of what I have experienced would be more conscious of
things. Let's all keep in mind that I know one of the things we or most of
us think about is how we would be able to drive ourselves around and not
depend on so many people if we were able to drive. With the territory would
come the maintenance of the car such as keeping it running in order to get to
our jobs, take the kids to their respective events and the most important is
insurance, which by itself could be more than what the car is worth. So I
do know there are good and bad to everything and these are what we all have
to think about.
Yes, we would have more access to things so we think, this is not all
true because again speaking from personal experience there have been many
more doors opened to me now that I am blind than there was prior to. Have I
learned how to take advantage of my opportunities? Yes. Now that I am
older and have matured. I've come to learn that it wouldn't be the same if
I were to regain my sight this I do know, but I would be willing to take
that risk as long as I know there will or would be supportive services in
place.


The last thing I know is if I am able to survive in this crazy sighted
world I know I would be able to survive with sight. I don't know if it
would be a good survive or a bad survive, but none the less I know that I
would be able to move on and take those steps forward to be successful just
like I have been being blind.”

Peace
Luis Roman (East Chicago, Indiana USA luis63@comnetcom.net)

**90. “Enjoyed the story. I can only tell how I think I might feel as I am not
visually impaired. So... I think that having sight after I had never had it would be very frightening but exciting. Think of how much I would have to learn all over again, learning what letters look like and how to read. Think of how strange some things would be to be able to see them. On the other hand, I would be able to see the faces of so many people. I would be able to see pictures and graphs and other things.


Now, if I had once had vision, it would be a great feeling as I would have remembered what I had seen before.”

Ramona Copass

**91. “As a speech-language pathologist in the public school system, I work with a
variety of children including children who are profoundly hearing impaired.
In particular, I have a new student who comes from a deaf family and whose
hearing impairment is only a moderate loss. His hearing might be greatly
enhanced with hearing aids or an FM system. He is ten years old and is now
getting hearing aids. As a person with a degenerative retinal disease who
has watched her vision deteriorate over her life, I am amazed at how people
are satisfied with their situations. I'm telling you this story about the
deaf child because for years the "deaf culture" promoted the idea that
deafness is a part of life and should be embraced rather than changed.
Things are changing in the deaf culture due to the advancement of cochlear
implants and hearing aid technology. This technology has been around for
many years and as soon as the technology giving 20/20 vision to those
without it improves to the levels of the deaf technology, more people will
be less reluctant to give a try. I know I'll be one of the people in line
to get my share of vision.”


Sheila DeRose (Waukegan, Illinois USA)

**92. “I have taken a lot of time to think about this topic,
as you all know it's not a clear-cut subject. I've
found myself thinking about this subject during
different times of my life when something out of the
ordinary would remind me that I am indeed more
different than I thought I was. I'm one of those
people that adapts pretty easily to my blindness,
always have been. I learned that trait from an early
age when I had to adjust and cope to being
mainstreamed in public school. Don't get me wrong, I
loved school and did well, but I was in school during
a time when equality wasn't emphasized as much as it
is today. I knew to fit in I had to make myself
appear as "normal" as possible. That is one of the
situations I've thought about this subject. Just
because I'm in university and one of these days the
workforce doesn't mean I won't continue to deal with
this, we're all human and it happens.


I was also faced with this subject to a certain degree
while making the decision to have my first eye
operation when I was 15 years old, removing my
cataracts and putting in a lens implant. With my eye
condition this didn't go without risks, more than this
surgery usually has. Slowly over those first fifteen
years of life I lost my sight until one day I realized
I could only see colors, shadows, and light and dark.
If there is an age that it's hard to lose your sight
it's your teen years. Here you are, everyone around
you is living for their driver's license and POOF
you've lost that chance. Now I never had that chance
to begin with but I'd never fully dealt with the fact
that I didn't have this teen-age dream. So I sat in
my bedroom in the middle of the night trying to decide
do I take the risk, knowing that my doctor has told me
I could lose what little I have or I could gain back
what I'd lost since birth, or do I let nature continue
to take its course. I figured what did I have to
lose, not a lot, and I had one of the best doctors in
the state. I'll never forget when the patch was taken
off, to me I was seeing 20/20 even though it was
20/200. Since then I've had other surgeries, some
with more levels of success than others. I know I've
been lucky.

That decision was one of the hardest in my life. So
if someone were to tell me there was some operation to
bring back my sight would I do it, truthfully,
honestly, no probably not. Let me explain, though.
Just like in life, this surgery would have no
guarantees. I would want to know all the risks and
exactly what it all involved, but it would have to be
pretty convincing to make me want to do it. Secondly,
I'm pretty happy the way I am right now. Now that
doesn't mean I'm afraid of change, not in the least,
I've had more uproars and changes in my 21 years of
life than I wish on anyone (not just my blindness but
lots of other things). Change doesn't scare me. I
just feel that I'm this way for a reason. I believe
God had the choice to let this happen or let my mom
conceive with one of the father's sperm that wasn't
affected. My mom prayed about my eyes before I was
ever born and God's answer was that I would be healthy
and I was. My development amazed so many people
through the years. My mom was told I would never do
half the things I have. I would have to really pray
about an operation that would give me "perfect"
vision. A decision like this changes the course of
the rest of a person's life, I'd really have to take a
lot of time with it, as I do most choices in my life.

One last thing, I want to be honest about all of this.
I will totally admit I would love to be able to drive
a car, see when someone points to something, at last
be able to see the professor's chicken scratch on the
board or overhead projector, and many other things.
And I know that my sight is going to get worse the
long I live. But, I've made it through life this
long, through a lot of hard things, and I'll probably
continue to make it.”

God bless,
Wendalyn (university student, Nebraska USA)

**93. “I haven't contributed anything to this PROVOKER, just have done a lot of
thinking. I as a partially sighted person, do get questioned as to why I
don't try one of these new surgeries, and it is so hard to explain to the
general public. I have the one eye, and if something came along that they
could replace the prosthetic with a camera, I guess I would, but the
adjustment, I think that this PROVOKER should continue by asking what kind
of adjustment period would be fair for us to have if these surgeries are
indeed successful? and what kind of support system would we want in place.
I would want someone to help me along, I guess a center for adjustment?”

Renee Michele Zelickson (Huntsville, Alabama USA
http://home.hiwaay.net/~reneez/)

**94. "After reading about sight restoration, I know that I would do a lot to
enhance, improve, just stop the deterioration. Not anything but just about
anything. I have been visually impaired for 12 years and each year it sucks
more. I have had to leave the job that I loved and thrived for, my kids miss
out on opportunities because I cannot drive and live in a town that has no
public transportation and would rather walk than take a cab around here. So
YES for my families sake and for my own I would want my vision restored.
This is a sighted world no matter how much everyone talks about they are OK
without vision. Everything is revolved around sight. I am not sure how I
would feel if I never had any vision or always had low vision but for me and
losing a little bit each day and just waiting for the darkness, I would give
it every try I could. I have accepted the fact that I am going blind but it
doesn't mean I have to like it. I deal well and most people never realize I
have a problem but life is hard and why do I have to be a martyr? I want
life to be easier and less work.
This is just my opinion."

Tracy Rhodes (USA)

**95. “I am going to have eye surgery in two days. I am very scared and nervous
about this but I do know what I want the outcome to be. I want to see. Let
me type that again very slowly so you will understand that I am serious. I
want to see. I do not understand the people who have written in response to
this PROVOKER of thought saying that they would not want their sight
surgically restored. Why not? Why would someone be afraid to gain something
so beautiful as sight? Don't you want to know what is beyond the feel of
your fingers, the arc of your cane? Why would one choose such limitations?
A blind person must depend upon hearing, smelling and touching to determine
where he or she is, and how to get to the next place, so those senses are
honed to provide pretty good navigational skills, but those senses are not
any better than anyone else's, they are just more alert because they are
depended upon. Once sight is added to those other senses, the senses make
adjustments. A sighted person's hearing would become "normal", the sense of
smell would probably remain about the same, and the sense of touch would be
exactly what it was meant to be, not a way of seeing or getting around. The
amount of visual adjustment that would be required, if someone were suddenly
"sighted", would be a lot less time-consuming, frustrating and scary as the
adjustment that would be needed for someone who is suddenly "blinded", and it
would be a lot safer, too. I have read that some people would be afraid of
the adjustment, or of having to "start over", but there wouldn't be that

much
to adjust to. A blind person thinks about where he/she is going, and gets
there by using the senses available to him, but he gets there just fine.”

Karlishia (Florida USA)

**96. “Very interesting. I've been giving this particular issue quite a bit of thought over the past twenty-odd years, actually. I've been blind since my birth in 1964, probably the result of the rheubella bulge. I had some modicum of vision when I was a child, up to the age of fourteen. With that, I had earlier
in my life, up until fourteen, developed the notion that I, who was not yet what I like to call a "total", (and proud of that, I might add), that I was better than those of us who are totally blind because, after all, I had some sight and could recognize colors and ride a bike (albeit not without some disasters; I once destroyed a neighbor's barbecue grill.) But when I was thirteen, I discovered that I was losing the little that I had. TO make a long story short, I lost what I had after two surgeries, which were designed, theoretically, to let me keep what I had and even to advance it. The adjustment from extremely minimal sight to total blindness was hardly cataclysmic, as I didn't have that much sight to miss, I discovered. I missed not being able
to tell how light or dark it was, but short of that, I really had to know how to use the cane. Now at this point, I'm looking at things from several perspectives.
First, at about fourteen, I discovered I'm bisexual, with a strong tendency toward my own gender. At that time I was more devastated by that given society's antipathy toward that whole issue, especially, I would argue, now more than in 1979. Secondly, I'm a musician, have enjoyed playing ad singing for almost
thirty years now since I was nine. Most of what I like is country, but I find a lot of it today to be schlock and lacking in sincerity and heart. Third, I am dating again after quite a long spell of not doing so, and surprisingly enough, my female partner and I are quite happy. She is also blind, and is
Asian. So I look at things from those three perspectives: (1) I don't want to change my orientation any more than I would want to change being blind.
(2) Telling someone "Some day you'll be able to see" is like telling someone: "Someday you'll be as white as I." (3) The part about country music I used
to enjoy, and still do when I listen to things I buy myself, is the feeling, the sincerity. Maybe some of it wasn't the most complex of themes (pain, loss, simple happiness, etc., drinking), but I'd argue those people lived their music a lot more than the Dixie Chicks (sorry if I've offended anyone who
enjoys them, but it's a subjective thing). So I think that by trying to "cure" everything that's supposedly "wrong" with people, we're losing something very valuable--the heart and sole of what makes us human, and frankly I'll have no part of it.”

John D. Coveleski (New York, New York USA)

**97. " This is quite the thought provoker, as I've questioned the idea myself. I've been blind all my life. I've talked to doctors personally and over the
Internet about the possibility. I was told two things: first, that my brain might likely have difficulty in comprehending what I was seeing or knowing
whether what I was seeing was real or imaginary; second, that, due to my glaucoma, paralysis of the muscles in my left eye causing my eye to wander constantly
(my right eye never developed), and because of my left eye not totally round, there was very minimal chance of more of my sight being restored to full
capacity let alone even enough to be able to read large print or see shapes but not be able to drive. I was further told that, even if they restored some
of my sight, my being able to see shapes would still not be perfect because of my eye not being a perfectly round ball. On the flip-side, I was also told
that any kind of correction left me with a ninety percent chance that I would lose what light perception I have left.
I cannot say much about the brain having difficulty comprehending what I was seeing in order for me to translate it in my level of understanding, as
I'm not a brain expert. I may know a little about the brain but not enough to agree or disagree about such medical judgments like this. What I can say,
though, is that, in lieu of learning that there's a ninety percent chance that I would lose the remaining light perception I still have, I don't want to
take the chance of going for eye surgery. I would rather live, knowing that I still have the sight that I have now rather than with the fear that I'll
wake up from surgery and not see anything but total darkness. I'm not saying, however, that I would not want to be able to see more because I would love
to, but, the information that I've gathered in my research and talking to doctors is not convincing enough for me to take that big of a risk. If I was
told something more positive--that there was that ninety percent chance of restoring my sight and that this restoration was not going to be just a temporary
fix--however, then I would probably go for it. I'm not saying of course, that I could fall into the ten percent, but I would be more willing to try just
for that ninety percent chance of gaining more sight. Of course, it would be a very scary step for me to the point that I would, probably, back out of
the deal at the last minute.
If my sight could be restored, though, I would rather have it restored to full capacity rather than partially. I would be able to actually drive my
favorite cars rather than just be a passenger init. I would not have to rely on readers or a text scanner to read my mail. There would be those simple
things that sighted people take full advantage of. Sure, a little more sight, though not to full capacity, might help me more, but I'm the kind who would
rather go all the way than just part of the way, especially taking in the cost factor of surgeries as they already are. Yes, it would be very scary for
me to have all my sight initially because I would be seeing things I'd never seen before or the few things, like the shadows of overhanging bushes over
my head as I walk down the sidewalk would be much sharper than what I'm used to. I would also be constantly worrying about my newly restored sight disappearing
on me upon just getting used to it. As pessimistic as this may sound, all the doctors in the world can guarantee me that my newly restored sight would
never reverse itself, but I would remain living on the edge. After having promises be made to you only to have people constantly break them, you learn
not to depend your life or functioning on those guarantees and promises. Thus why maybe the idea of surgery to restore more of my sight would not be such
a good idea anymore the way it used to be when I was younger.
As for adjusting if I was to have my sight restored, I don't see myself has having a great difficulty of adjusting, though, other than to the minor
things I just mentioned, being that I have light perception and tend to rely on it along with my audible cues. Until I was about thirteen or fourteen,
I didn't use my cane much except for in unfamiliar places or when walking down the street. At school, I kept my cane folded away in my backpack and just
walked around like all the sighted students did. So, grasping the idea of not having to use my cane anymore to travel would be a breeze. The only thing
I would have to contend with outside of myself is, as pointed out in the thought provoker narrative, people expecting a lot of me immediately as a newly
sighted person--being able to function at their high pace of running down steps without stopping to feel in front of me with my feet, stopping to wonder
what I just saw instead of just taking it for granted, being able to read the print with my eyes immediately before I could learn how to read with my eyes
as opposed to with my hands, etc.
Aside from all the medical implications, good and bad, and adjusting emotionally, psychologically, etc., I have had friends ask each other and themselves
what they think I would be like if I could see: Would I still be married to my husband today? Would I be conceded upon seeing how beautiful I really
am? Other questions also came to mind that nobody has ever asked me but could come up someday. These questions were based on reading this thought provoker
and reading the responses: Would I sever ties with the blind community? Would I still want to be a role model to other blind people? Would I still want
to educate the public about blindness?
In answer to all these questions, yes, I would still be married to my husband today. My feelings about or for people would not change just because
I could now see them whereas I didn't see them before. As Rest. pointed out, sighted people look at the physical appearance of a person to base their
likes or dislikes of a person or to describe what's beautiful about a person rather than the inner quality of beauty all creation has beneath. While I
might suddenly realize that I'm as beautiful as people say I am, I cannot picture myself as becoming conceded and stuck on myself. I see myself as remaining
as humble of a person as I am now. I think a lot of that has to do with my upbringing and the life I've led of having nothing or not being expected to
make anything of myself as a blind person in the Philippines to having to come to the States through adoption as a child and all the struggles I went through
to make it where I am now with a stable life. Thus, I would still want to be a role model to a newly blind person and to blind people in general, and
I would want to educate the public about blindness. This is not only because I would have been there as a formerly blind person, but it's also because
I care about the world I live in.
Finally, as for whether or not the government would ever make it mandatory that blind people go for these new medical advances to restore sight, I think
that it might eventually happen. As it is now, the government is seeking for ways to cut back on funding for things that are important for social change,
which includes some services to blind people. If the government was to fund for blind people to have their sight restored, they would be quick to do it.
Sure, a lot of money would be needed, but, in the end, the government's rationale would be the fact that they would not have to pay out SSI or accommodations
to blind and disabled people anymore in the long run. Of course, people who think up of such laws don't think about the adjustment period and/or the trauma
this could wreak havoc on people who have difficulty adjusting to new things in the first place. People who are not in our shoes are quick to think about
the advantages and don't, or refuse to, look at the disadvantages--problems with adjustment, training, and the cost factor that could be for whatever reason
or another after surgery, etc. If the government, while I'm still alive, was to require sight restoration, or any other kind of restoration that rids
of disability, and threatens to cut disability income to those who don't comply, then I guess I'll be one whom they'll have to cut funding from because,
as mentioned before, I'm not going to take my chances.”

Linda (USA)

**98. This is another very interesting one. As a matter of fact someone at church this morning mentioned to me that he has become very good friends with a Catholic
priest who actually cures people so that they can see. This person asked me if I would be interested in meeting the priest sometime. I told him I would
but that I was a bit skeptical about the curing part. Then this friend ignored me and walked away. I heard recently from my parents that he is going through
some tough times but I can't discuss that.
There are times when I wish I had perfect vision, like VR. As I have mentioned in other Thought Provokers, I have not had very much luck with my VR services.
Transportation is also something to consider. When I was taking ADA paratransit, or as I like to call it ADA parastrandit, I was constantly late for appointments
and such. That was definitely a time when I wished I could see to drive myself to and from these places. However, I have for the past few years used a
very reliable taxi service in my area. I seldom if ever have to worry about my ride being late. I think I only had to call the company once to ask where
my ride was, and the reservation operator was able to locate the driver and my ride showed up within just a few minutes of hanging up the phone. This cab
company has confirmation numbers which are given to the customers upon ordering cabs, so I think that helps. . Oh man am I ever glad to be done with paratransit!
On the other hand, I have always had only light perception, and I think it would be very difficult to adjust to having my sight back. I often wonder what
kind of an operation that would entail, and I have doubts as to whether that would produce a good reaction with the kidney medicine I'm on. I suppose it's
something to think about though. BTW, I was reading through previous Thought Provokers and noticed something interesting. I don't mean to imply that I
want Robert to do anything about this, but my response which was meant for TP27, about what it would take to achieve equal opportunity, is in the one before
that, 26. Mistakes do happen and I am by no means upset over this minor detail.

Jake Joehl, Chicago, Illinois

**99. Pat entered his opinion as number 21 in that thought provoker. I had not seen the movie when this provoker came out, so did not remember the references
to it. Weird scenario: I know that if the mass majority of people could fly and I couldn't, and doctors offered me surgery so that I could fly, I would
take it. Though I had never had the sensation of flying, the freedom, the views from up there, I would take it slowly and would learn to adjust to being
able to fly. Not to be like the majority of people, but so that I could experience all that life had to offer. I am not too old or set in my ways or
fearful to learn to do things differently. When someone goes blind at a later age, they have to learn a whole new way to do things, some sit around and
feel sorry for themselves, but others get out there and learn to live blind so that their life is as good as they can make it for whatever time they have
left. I see it all the time in this town where quite a few are going blind from macular degeneration. Most of what I read in that thought provoker was
the those born blind were fearful of changing their whole life and especially at an older age and those who had seen, not wanting to be in that limbo stage
of some sight and some blindness. Pat did not like that stage either. Almost all who had seen, if offered the chance to see clearly, would do it. Those
who had not seen, chose not to see. That seems to be mostly out of the fear of the unknown. Was that your take on it too?

Rory Iowa