My Mom, Sheila Arellano, was a writer for the Escalon Times for many years. In her later years, she developed Macular Degeneration and was not able to write her column without assistance. I knew how important writing was to her so I helped her with articles until she passed. Each year, at the request of many who enjoyed her writing, I revisit one of her humorous columns. This week, we feature a column from Sheila in the ‘Senior Corner’ space; the title of her column is “Seeing Is Believing” and it was originally used in 2009.
The Christmas season is now upon us filled with wonder and beauty. Even with my diminished sight, I still greatly enjoy every minute. Although, family experiences during the holidays are sometimes very humorous. The younger children in our family make attempts to assist me with my sight problems. Our four year old great-grandson asked me to read to him. I told him that I could not see very well. He then replied that I shouldn’t worry. He informed me that he was sure that he could read it for me since he has blue eyes. Curiously, I asked him what color my eyes were, he thought for a minute and answered black because I couldn’t see very well. Recently, a friend and I planned to go to a concert at Gallo Theater in Modesto. As we both made plans we forgot that neither one of us, due to vision impairment, were allowed to drive. When that realization came to us, we chuckled at how we totally forgot that fact. Luckily, we both remembered this before we jumped in the car and went on our way. I often wear my clothes backwards or inside out depending on my husband’s alertness at my appearance. Most of the time, when I ask how I look he gives me a side glance and says, “You look fine, don’t worry about it.” Someday, I will find a way to see that he wears mismatched, inside-out, upside down clothing. Revenge will be sweet.
Our family has a healthy sense of humor about my sight which helps me cope. Occasionally, as they are helping me up and down stairs, they tease me and say there is one more step when there isn’t. I proceed like a prancing horse trying to catch the next step until they say, “just kidding!” They have also been known to enter a room that I am in and sneak up on me not answering when I call and scare the living daylights out of me. They find this greatly entertaining and amazingly so do I.
I appreciate their caring and making my vision loss seem insignificant in my attempt at enjoying life to the fullest. Another time, I had a gathering of friends and family in my home and a woman approached me to talk. After she spoke, due to my sight, I asked, “Who are you?” When she answered I realized that it was my granddaughter-in-law. Friends and family can’t ever take it personally when I don’t recognize them because with macular degeneration, everyone looks the same. At a meeting, the other night, a man approached me and asked if I was still driving and I said that wouldn’t be a good thing. I asked why he wanted to know and he informed me that if I was still driving he would stay away from the roads that I travel. When I’m riding in the car with my husband he sometimes forgets my vision problems and insists that I look at the sights or help him with signs. I answer, yeah right and we chuckle. However, he has found that my hearing is excellent.
My husband is on a low fat diet due to health issues and when he sneaks in the kitchen for a snack I ask from my bedroom, “What are you getting, are you supposed to eat that?” We both volunteer to help with senior citizen bingo in town and occasionally we pick up prizes for the winners. While shopping and looking for things that people could use, I thought that shampoo would be a good idea, everyone could use that. One of the women won the shampoo. She seemed disappointed as she remarked that she couldn’t use it. I asked why and she answered “it’s for dogs”.
In this holiday season let’s all think about others who have so much less and find life to be difficult. Learning to deal with whatever comes our way makes life much easier and more enjoyable. Merry Christmas to all as we count our blessings!
Tina Jensen is a member and one of the coordinators of activities for the Escalon Senior Fun Bunch. She contributes a monthly column for The Times; again, this month’s submission was actually a column written by her mom, Sheila Arellano first published in 2009.