As a writer, and an occasional artist, my first reaction to being told that I had Macular Degeneration was to think what life would be like if I couldn’t see all that was around me. How would I manage to continue to be creative, or more to the point, would it be possible at all? The thought was hard to accept at first but fortunately this state of mind didn’t last long. I replaced it with a question. If I could no longer write and paint, what could I do instead?
Years ago I played ‘party’ guitar. Songs in those days had simple lyrics and comprised around four chords which meant that just about everyone ‘played’ the instrument and sang along at parties. It had been of some regret that I had never learnt to play the guitar to a higher standard. Perhaps I could now do so for sight would be secondary to touch and sound. That then led me to think about the harmonica, another musical instrument I’d always admired. Maybe I could learn that as well. Suddenly, from being potentially creatively denied, I might have a whole new musical life ahead of me.
There is a moral here. We’ve all heard about one door closing and another opening. Just because one’s sight is impaired it does not mean that a door is permanently slammed in one’s face. To continue to enjoy life and be productive is still possible. I bought a new laptop that allowed me to increase the type face size by as much as 150% so that I no longer needed to peer deep into the screen in the hope of reading what was there. I have a large TV so that I can follow sports and news without inconvenience. In other words, I am learning to adjust to my disability just as a landmine victim learns to walk again.
Difficult as MD might be, I think MD sufferers should be grateful that the disease is not accompanied by pain like so many other illnesses. MD has affected my life style, yes, I have to accept that. But it has not affected my mental state. My advice to other sufferers is to recommend that they do not let it affect theirs either.