Future looking bright

Part 2 of the Glacier by Sanlam #FutureFWD project was all about looking forward into not only Sarah’s retirement, but also mine.

If you’re not sure about this fascinating project, take a read here.

Everyone has a story and I love that I get to tell Sarah’s, so let’s get into it shall we?

After she had healed from her bicycle accident, a little while ago, where she was left with a broken shoulder, Sarah returned to play golf – something she really enjoys.

One morning, driving to the golf course, she noticed the lines on the road looping and waving. At first she thought she might have an inner ear infection and then she also thought her eyes might just be going through a little old age.

Sarah has always had readers for her eyes but never needed anything more.

She went to the first tee box, set up the golf ball and lobbed it straight into the air, something she would never normally do. Her perception was completely out.

She knew there was something very strange, even though she felt perfectly fine.

Sarah decided to go and have an eye test because every time she drove, she felt really uncomfortable and felt like people were going to drive into her.

At the eye test, the moment she said the lines were waving, the optometrist picked up that she has Macular Degeneration (ARMD) in her right eye. It results in a loss of vision in the center of the vision field. Anything that’s horizontal or vertical is not what it seems.

I asked her what she sees and she said that when she closes her left eye, I end up having no features. She knows I am there, but she cannot make me out properly.

She needed injections into the eye and had a bad reaction to the first injection, she thought she was going blind. It took 2 days for the bruising to come down and she felt really depressed about the whole situation. Understandably so.

She sold her beautiful Mercedes Benz Cabriolet car because the angle of the windscreen didn’t help and magnified the distortion. She was so concerned she was going to hurt someone or herself.

Her  husband sold the car and Sarah was sad about it, but her immediate feeling was to protect herself and others.

She didn’t drive for 3 months.

She is on daily supplements and has had another 2 injections since. To get around, Sarah used Uber and borrowed her mom’s old car. She realized that she was alright driving since the windscreens angle was different to her old car.

She decided it was time to test drive some cars  – she knew what she can handle and what she can’t, and finally decided on the Mercedes A class.

It gave her her life back and she regained her independence.

“Not being independent was very traumatic,” Sarah said, “You certainly can manage, but to not to be able to drive is something you don’t want to flash forward to.”

They live with the MyCiti Bus stop close by and Uber is accessible, so for them, they need to flash forward to realizing they need to live close to public transport, should it ever come to the point where they won’t be able to drive one day.

Personally, it’s not something they’ve ever thought about before, have you?

She flashes #FutureFWD to wondering how fast the degeneration will be? Will she see her grandchildren? How will life be later on without sight? She is such an active person who loves to cycle, play golf and travel – will she be healthy enough to enjoy an active retirement?

I found this all fascinating from a parallel I drew. A few months ago, I started to notice that when I drive at night, the lights aren’t solid. They have become little starbursts and my perception of depth is out because of it. When I look into the distance, I’ve always been able to read things crystal clear that are quite far away, but lately it’s been blurry.

I went to the optometrist and she discovered that I need reading glasses because of the amount of time I spend on my computer for work. She has said that the glasses will help relax my eye muscles that are permanently tensed when I focus closely. That permanent tension makes my eyes tired and when I then look into the distance, it’s blurry. The glasses should now help the muscles relax and help stop the blurred distance vision. It’s the first time I’ve ever thought about my eyes and how incredibly priceless they are. It’s the first time I’ve thought about how my eyes are also aging. It’s made me flash-forward to my eyesight later on in life and how quickly things can change.

Flashing-forward never stops no matter your age. It’s just new challenges and new experiences that make us think about what is next.

Part 3 coming next week

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