“I Don’t Want to Go There!”

Lin showed me one of the conversation threads from the Facebook group. She thought we might do a page or two on the topic. The topic was the reactions of partners to our vision loss.

After looking for some time last evening and today, I have accumulated a few bits and pieces on the subject. Some of the information is 20 years old. A lot of it is anecdotal (ie, based on personal accounts). In general, however, there is not much.

If we as the visually impaired population are being treated like mushrooms – you remember, being kept in the dark and fed bullshit – it appears the treatment of partners of the visually impaired is even worse. They are pretty much ignored!

I did find one anecdotal piece that may be food for thought. Sam Dylan Finch wrote about his partner who has an ‘invisible disability’. I am going to take some of his comments and expound – liberally – upon them.

Finch talks about time going on and the feeling nothing has really changed. Sort of “this is what it must be like in Limbo”. There are more old chestnuts to describe this state of affairs. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Poop or get off the pot. Most of them just have the feeling of uneasy anticipation. “Get on with it already!”

I imagine sometimes our partners want to scream “Just go blind already! Stop talking and get it over with!” The anticipation of impending doom can be overwhelming.

Not having an answer to this disease is – bluntly put – a pain in the ass. I suspect we are all intelligent people with many successes under our belts. Ditto for our partners. There are few things we have not finagled our ways out of. Why is there no way out of this? And aren’t our partners supposed to help us? Yet every time they come up with a ‘new’ idea, we have already seen it. And to top that off, it is still in stage 2 clinical trials and Lin and Sue said the results were questionable! At best they might feel redundant. At worse? Helpless.

A thought I just had is this: how excluded might our partners feel? Suddenly we have become the ‘other’. We have entered a secret society that the only way they can enter is to lose their own sight. Not going there!

But just the same, we seem to suddenly have all these online acquaintances who understand us in a way our partners do not. We share a reality our partners cannot enter.

Finch talked about the guilt associated with resentment. Partners take on more responsibility. That is more on top of what they already have. Some people look down the road and imagine servitude, constantly at the beck and call of a ‘blind’ partner. Those folks don’t want to talk about the disease. Ignore it and it might go away. Keep me from becoming chauffeur, housekeeper and nurse. I don’t want to go there! And if we cannot stay away from that fate, don’t make me feel guilty about fearing it.

So that is my elaboration of Sam Dylan Finch’s points about having a disabled partner. How does it sound? Any thoughts?

Next: The Art of Asking

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