20.029 - one of my conditions is is glaucoma, but I don't think that's everything
26.189 - that's the matter with my eyes. I've got very little optic nerve,
30.6 - I've got double vision, I can't stand too much light.
35.55 - I get glare, I can't see too much when it's when the lights dull.
42.5 - But, I deal with it.
46.44 - It was all a bit of a surprise to me really, not long after I had some
50.42 - LASIK surgery on the eyes, I went to an opticians for some reading glasses and
59.64 - they did the peripheral vision field tests and it took me a long time to do
69 - them. And he said, "I think we've got a problem here", which did concern me. He didn't want
76.77 - me to drive away from the opticians and I ended up going to the
84.12 - eye hospital and I was told some of the problems that were the matter at the
89.85 - back of my eyes
100.179 - Initially there was very little impacts really on my lifestyle and in
107.539 - all honesty, as I understood it, that something like glaucoma, which was the
113.479 - word. That what if I was taking the drops, putting the drops in my eyes, that things
121.13 - would remain fairly static and I couldn't really detect too many problems
127.1 - at that point. The worst point was when I began to notice that I didn't recognise
136.19 - people. People that I knew in school where I taught. Where I couldn't pick
144.769 - out which child was answering a question at the back of a class. And then on one
151.28 - particular occasion, in a lesson, one of my eyes went really strange and to be in
161.54 - that position, in a classroom with a group of kids, just sat there quietly
167.389 - working, to be going through a trauma of not knowing what he's going to happen to
174.2 - you, was absolutely terrifying. But I would say that's now about 15 years ago.
185.41 - The change is, there's gradual change all the time.
189.41 - I'm I'm quite pleased about the lifestyle I have, the way my loss of
195.5 - vision is occurring, it's a gradual thing.
199.65 - And because it's gradual, I can adapt as I go along. So, there's good things,
206.98 - there's good things out there that I can still enjoy and learn about and
217.18 - I'm not in pain. I think my life would be a lot worse if I was in pain.
233.56 - One of the worst things, I think about having a disability, recognising that you have a
240.5 - disability, is the impact that it can have on your friends and family. And I
248.65 - know for me, that sharing that with friends and family, although I could say
256.1 - and play it down, "I can't see things very well, I've got glaucoma".
262.22 - It didn't mean anything to my friends or my family. I think even now my kids don't
268.85 - really understand how little I can see.
275.38 - And it took one very special moment really. Took me about
284.72 - three years after I was given my first symbol cane to actually take it out and
291.65 - my wife had said, "use your cane, use your cane, let people know". And I would
297.4 - go around town with half of it stuck up my sleeve. But I was finding that
307.31 - going out with my friends, I'd kind of build in all sorts of strategies, so I
314.75 - could get around the difficulties I was having because I couldn't be upfront
319.729 - about being disabled. I hate the word disabled, I find it's it's it's better
326.69 - for me to see it as a challenge.
329.12 - But, eventually I did. I arrived at the pub to
336.83 - meet with them, I got my cane and I put it on the table. And I've got to say, and
343.669 - for them, I think this is a thing the impact on friends - it was a
349.13 - shock to them, this friend of theirs who is unflappable, who leads others was
357.8 - in a situation where, yeah, he's got a disability. He can't see.
364.04 - The cane, honestly, it it opened my eyes to what was possible
372.8 - in a lot of ways. And it helped me and it helped my friends.
382.56 - The difficulty of using a cane, is showing the world that you are blind.
394.7 - And people do I noticed, that people treat you in a slightly different way and that was a real difficulty.
404.38 - When I eventually got my cane out of my sleeve.
411.84 - When I started using it, and in some situations, if I give you an example of one.
421.02 - I like going for a drink, I love pubs and I love beer. One of the
428.58 - things you've got to do in a pub though and in pubs tend to be dark, dark places.
433.5 - Is find the gents, identify the beer that you want. And when you can't see and
442.289 - you say to somebody, "could you tell me what the pumps are?", if you haven't got a
446.94 - cane, they think you can't read. I didn't want to suggest to people I couldn't
452.76 - read. I found the cane to be empowering in that situation. And what it did for me,
460.65 - it helps me because people would help me, and I think just that opportunity for
469.56 - other people. Other people love helping other people. If
477.18 - somebody came to you today and asked for some help to cross the road or to reach
482.729 - them something, generally speaking you would do it
486.72 - wouldn't you? And you would feel good about having helped somebody else.
490.12 - And that was how I began to see it.
495.4 - I love using my cane now. I love to let people know and and I embrace it. It's
504.22 - brilliant. If you've got a cane, use it.
510.12 - I think the most common preconception that
514.36 - people have, when you are walking around town with your cane, people presume you
522.31 - can't see anything and that is a very difficult thing for people to grasp, it
528.58 - was difficult for me to grasp. That I was registered blind when I could actually, I
534.85 - can't see some things, not very well, it's very confused my vision. But I can
542.26 - see some bits. It seems ridiculous doesn't it, that somebody like me, I'm
548.56 - registered blind and yet I'm able to walk trails, I can still run. I can
559.75 - do lots of things. But people do think if you're blind, it's black, it's
565.66 - blackness, you can't see anything. And I think I and everybody out
571.75 - there who is registered blind has got a job to try and educate people
576.37 - in that way. Although my kids are all grown up now, I found it very painful
587.31 - actually trying to to express to them how I was finding things more difficult
596.16 - and that I had been diagnosed with this condition, and that I was losing my sight.
603.74 - Your kids, generally speaking and even when they grown up, my kids are in
608.82 - the forties now, and your kids don't want to see you as being vulnerable and that
617.04 - was a really difficult time for me, as it was with my friends.
622.68 - And the way my friends had always seen me. And I think because I'm having to
629.79 - deal with it, I can deal with it, they're on the periphery of it. So in lots of
636.6 - ways, it was more difficult for them. And for my wife, she's got a lot more to put
642.36 - up with and tolerate. Fortunately, she knows far more about what's going on
647.16 - inside my head than I do, so she's okay.
666.54 - I've always been a very active person. I've run, I've walked. I was a
673.3 - fellrunner for a long time. I've done lots of challenges, things like that. And
681 - finding that I needed a bit more help on these things, in fact I'm still in that
686.29 - situation now, but I I kind of still like to get on with things on my own.
692.699 - Some people would say, "Well, walking from John O'Groats to Land's End on your own
699.19 - when you're blind, must have been a really physical challenge?". Actually it's
704.8 - not so much the physical because I can do that I can walk 20, 25, 30 miles a day
710.92 - for 40 days, not too much of a problem. But it is more difficult when you are
718.99 - straining to see, but the technology is out there. All my mapping, I can now have
726.25 - on my phone, I can enlarge it. In fact I moved from my phone now to a tablet
731.44 - which is bigger, I've got a bigger view. It's got GPS on it, so that's all
738.88 - there, so that helps me. Whilst I was on my most recent walk, nobody has ever
744.55 - done this walk before by the way, from Cape Wrath, the furthest point north
748.72 - Western Scotland, down to Dungeness, which is the furthest point South East.
755.78 - 900 miles, 42 days.
760.35 - During that journey, I broke my glasses. And on my blog, I put about this
768.31 - and people were horrified. "Oh Dave". I said not a problem, and in the
775.209 - past, I would say, when I broke my glasses
779.689 - it was horrific - the stress. What would have been much more of a stress
787.499 - now, would have been if I'd lost my cane. And because, well I was saying,
794.73 - people assume you can't see anything anyway. So I broke me glasses, stuck
800.069 - them back in my rucksack and walked , I found, asking for a
806.699 - bit of help, close to my B&B that I was getting to. Walked in and
814.579 - people presume you can't see anything, so, it was fine. It was great, it was
820.829 - very easy to deal with. I'm not big on religion but, I'm a fairly
828.389 - spiritual person and I found great, incredible comfort and support and
838.019 - strength from my beliefs. When I was planning the walk, my kids and friends
848.639 - were saying, "you must be mad, what do you think you're doing? You're
852.54 - blind, you can't see, how are you gonna do this?"
855.8 - And I said, "No, I'll be fine, I'll be fine".
858.76 - But there were times, not long before I set out on it, I thought, "what the hell
863.189 - are you doing Dave?". And all of a sudden it came to me. I thought, what do I do
870.839 - when I'm in difficulty. I've got God with me and if ever I'm in
877.379 - difficulty, I've got to be honest that is one of the things I do. Who am I to think
883.98 - I can sort out all my problems on my own? And if I feel that God is sat on this
890.339 - shoulder here alongside me, I get massive, massive support from that
895.199 - and I think that's one of the reasons that I'm fairly positive about the the
900.899 - situation that I'm in. And helping me to deal with my sight loss.
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938 - future. Henshaws, supporting people with sight loss and a range of other
942.47 - disabilities to go beyond expectations.