I could see that the specialist was serious, because she arranged for me to see a counsellor that very same afternoon. I always imagined that if a doctor gave me bad news I would be terrified, but in fact I felt quite calm and positive. Still, I was glad to see the counsellor and I learned a lot more from her.
For a start, I’m not allowed to drive. Did you drive here? No, no, I replied, startled, of course not! You’d be surprised how many people do. How will you get home? I plan to get a taxi – we can call that for you.
People with my condition can be fitted by the hospital with special glasses different from those available from high street opticians. She also explained that they could get me registered as a disabled person, but it was early days and we could do all that later.
She introduced me to a local charity for vision problems, Cam Sight, who can do a lot for people like me and have a specialist suite of assistive technology, something already of great interest to me. We also discussed white sticks. These are often called symbol sticks – I didn’t understand at first the role of the white stick is simply to alert others that you have a visual impairment.
She checked I was sure I would be all right and could look after myself. We exchanged phone numbers and email addresses and then she said, you must have had a long and difficult day and just want to get home now. Remember we are always here if you need anything. I’ll guide you back to reception and get them to call a taxi for you, and I’ll wait with you until it comes.
So that’s what she did and I thought it was very kind.
I did want to got back home, in fact I couldn’t wait, because I felt a need to do something practical.