And another day shines its way down through Battleridge. I heard the robin vigorously singing her song this morning, and the cardinal and blue jay weren’t far behind. No matter the weather, their chorus is always an eye opener first thing in the morning.
This excerpt took me back with a snap of reality, as most days did back then. Sometimes a quick chunk of reality is exactly what we need to get our feet moving, our blood pumping, and our heads pointed back towards the north.
While reading through this journal, I keep asking myself why I waited several years to run back through the words on the pages. I suppose there’s no time like the present, right?
Thank you everyone for your continued inspiration. I realize though that you’re just being you, which makes it all the better.
Take care and have an amazing day.
During the month of August I was introduced to Lorie Gaines from the Carroll Center. Leona and I, along with Matt, went to Portland to meet with her as an interview. At least I thought it was going to be an interview. More or less it seemed like she was selling The Carroll Center to me instead. Leona also seemed a little uneasy with her presentation. It just seemed like a sales pitch and not an interview. We thought they were meeting with me to see if I was a good fit for their program. It appears that she felt that I was, very quickly after our introduction.
The meeting only lasted a half hour or so.
After the so called interview, we went and had lunch in a small pub in town. I guess from what Matt and Leona’s driver told us, we made quite an impression walking through the pub with our canes. Everyone was staring at us, and I didn’t even notice. That was probably the first time I have entered a place like that and not worried about what everyone thought of my appearance. I usually scanned the room to see what the reaction of the people was. I was sort of angry that I couldn’t see them, but I was at the same time relieved that I couldn’t see them. That was very weird indeed.
So there we were, on our way back to Augusta with full knowledge that they did in fact want me to attend their center. We weren’t sure when that would be, although she hinted that I might be able to get in as soon as the summer sessions for the adolescents were done in early September.
I was excited and worried and afraid and anxious and here I was again flooded with 518 different emotions. I played around with the different scenarios in my head again and again. I had such a totally different image built inside my head of what I thought the center would feel and look like. Boy was I once again completely wrong. Once again it seems. I had mentally imagined that this campus was on a city block with adjacent neighborhoods and crowded street corners full of people that would stand there and watch us blind folk wandering around with our sweeping white canes. I pictured subway entrances right there across the street from the center. I pictured so many things that just were not how they really were. I do so love to run through things and build them up in my head. It’s something that I have always been good at. I was just never very good at reading crystal balls, so my visions were somewhat skewed.
Well August rolled through like a 100 car freight train. All of the days were filled with so much unknown and uncontrollable things. Through it all My wife was scurrying to get our ducks in a row so that I could start receiving some disability benefits as soon as possible. She did it all. The paperwork was endless and so were the phone calls. She worked so damn hard. It just didn’t seem fair to me that she was doing all the work and I was just sitting there being blind. At least that’s what it seemed like more than not.
One thing that she struggled with was that our case workers were constantly changing so that the continuous channels of information kept having to be once again informed. Once we thought we had a case manager that understood our plight, they switched them on us. I could hear the frustration in her voice and it was driving me crazy. It still does on some days. I can’t help feeling inadequate and just a burden on her and all who come in contact with me. I know that this is mostly in my head and nothing could be further from the truth. At least that’s how I feel sometimes also. As you can see I play with this scenario quite a bit in my mind.
We did manage to get an interview with Social Security in early August, and from there we played the waiting game. I had so many things that were at my finger tips, it’s just that I had to wait for them to happen. And wait we did.
We were also faced with the challenge of an insurance company that was pointless in having. I had signed up for insurance earlier that spring. My company had dropped our personal insurance and we had to find insurance on our own. Believe me when I tell you that I knew absolutely nothing about insurance. I had always taken for granted that I was afforded with a work policy and had always had insurance. So many things I used to take for granted. So many things I no longer could take for granted.
The insurance policy that I bought was for accidental and not for sickness. I just didn’t think of the consequences of my actions. I just didn’t know the consequences, or never thought any consequences could ever affect me or my family. In so many ways I had never been more wrong.
The endless paper shuffle with the insurance company had started and Lynne was right smack dab in the middle of it. I knew it, and I could not help her in the least. I just didn’t have the tools to even begin to think about helping her in the least.
The battle continues to this day. We are a few steps further, but we still have a long ways to go.
The summer months were sliding by with hardly a quiver in my mind. It was very apparent that I had been fully consumed with all of my blindness. I could not get out of my own way some days. I was trying to practice on my typing, but it was not coming as fast as I thought it should.
I did find out in late August that I had been approved to attend the center starting September 21st. That was probably 3 weeks away from when I first found out. I was a wreck. I was a total wreck and I was hopeless to boot. I had so much preparations to even seem in my mind to be ready for anything like this. I was scared as hell. I was so sure that I would flunk horribly and Leona and all of the folks at the DBVI would be let down completely. They would all surely see what a failure this blind billy goat from Clinton was.
I tormented myself inside of my own mind. I was truly my own worst enemy. There was just no way I could do this. I was getting way in over my head and I needed to pull out and claim defeat. I also remembered the promise that I had made to myself back in July. The promise that I told myself that I would never break. The promise that I knew my wife had to be able to count on.
The promise that I would not walk away from any challenge for the rest of my life was a promise that I planned on keeping for the rest of my life. There was no other way that I would ever overcome the challenges in my life unless I followed through
I had to follow through. No one needed to be able to count on me more than I needed to be able to. I was the only one with the ability to pull me through all of this never ending pile of panic and mountain of fear.
To be continued…