“No one told me what I couldn’t do”

Pauline was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration in her left eye, in 2013.  With professional eye care, her vision in that eye stabilized.  However, in early 2016 her right eye was diagnosed with Wet Macular Degeneration.  Even after receiving a series of injections from her Retinal specialist, it left Pauline with a “borderline” ability to drive.

When her daughter, Kathy, learned about her diagnosis, their family had a meeting to discuss how they could help their mother.  As Kathy explained, “It broke my heart when I learned my mother couldn’t read”.  After all, Pauline’s vision loss was now severely complicating her lifestyle, needs and interests.  And certainly, they all had concern about Pauline’s independence and potential transportation needs.

As a former healthcare professional herself, Kathy researched online for services to help her mother.  She learned about ABVI from our website (abvimichigan.org).  Pauline’s Retinal specialist also heartily endorsed ABVI’s services for her.

Pauline canceled her first appointment with ABVI, telling her daughter that “someone with greater need than me should use that time”.  Kathy was concerned about her mother’s reaction, but her tenacity convinced her mother to reschedule.

When they arrived at our Grand Rapids clinic, and sat waiting for their appointment, Pauline read an ABVI brochure that said “I lost my sight, not my vision”.  As she now explains, “those words gave me Hope”.

Pauline went on to explain that her pre-meeting with ABVI’s clinic support-person was a big help.  And during her appointment with our Low Vision doctor and Rehabilitation professional, the atmosphere was relaxed, saying “I was treated with kindness”.

With many questions and discussion during the lengthy appointment, Pauline shared that “they asked me what I like to do, want to do and paid close attention to what mattered to me.  I told them about being an avid reader and how I liked to sew.  No one told me what I couldn’t do”.

At that same appointment, Pauline tried several magnification devices to enhance her ability to read.  “They knew what I needed”.  And because she likes to sew, our rehabilitation professional visited her home to bring a special device to help Pauline thread her needles.  During that home visit, Pauline was asked about other interests, discuss safety in her kitchen and throughout her home.  A return visit could also provide additional devices and training assistance.  And, as for all ABVI clients, ongoing support is only a phone call away.