First of all, I will state the obvious. I am an author. I have a publisher and I have books which have been published and a few more on the way. I rely on my eyes (or what is left of them) in order to write, edit, read… whether it be subtitles for the Deaf on the television or manuscripts that my publisher has suggested changes to.
Over the past six months, I have waited patiently in line for a pair of glasses that will help me see, even just a little better than I do right now. I knew that it was not going to be a 100% fix, but I did expect improvement. With my interpreter’s help, the eye doctor did the eye exam and wrote a prescription. The eye exam ended the very moment that the interpreter had to head off to his next appointment. In other words, the eye doctor did not want to be in a room with a Deafie without an interpreter, so my examination was hurried and became guesswork.
Long story short… my new glasses arrived yesterday. With my new almost 1,000€ glasses, I cannot see the computer screen at all, cannot see anything closer than ten metres away, cannot see subtitles on television or signing on news broadcasts. What I CAN see, however, are the mountains in Switzerland from my Finnish balcony. I returned today and was told that I will simply have to deal with it. They refuse to accept the fact that they gave me a short-sighted script for severe astigmatism. I have never been short or long sighted. She then told me it is because I am old. I almost smacked her. My father is 75 years old and does not wear glasses. I am 44 years old and she calls me old?
She then asked me to just wear them and told me that it is good that I can see so far away. I told her that maybe it is not so good for the pedestrian who crosses the street in front of my motorbike, the traffic that comes from the right on a no-give-way street, or for myself when those pot holes cause the wheels fly off the motorbike and I am airborne. I also cannot see the speedometer on the bike, but that is alright, apparently. As long as I can see Australia from the window of my Finnish apartment, the world is good.
I finally accepted the fact that the blind in Finland are simply placed in the too hard basket, just as the Deaf are. Regardless of the fact that I decided that I won’t be on benefits and will work for a living doing what I do well, I am still considered useless and redundant to those with “office jobs.”
I asked before I left “Why did I not receive a glasses case for my almost 1,000€ glasses yesterday? Why were they literally wrapped in scrap paper and handed to me?” She said “You need to buy the case.” I told her that in every other non-medieval country I know, glasses cases come with new glasses. She said “Not in Finland.”
I pray that some day, the world becomes a better place. I pray that hearing and sighted morons like the ones I tend to deal with in Finland, who treat me and other Deafies like me as if Deafness and blindness are contagious, will eventually wake up to their ignorant selves and realise that we are people too.