Before I had Elvis to guide me safely through my daily routine, I had a few more than close calls. When I was initially diagnosed, I fell down the stairs at my old house because I didn’t see my ex-boyfriend’s dog asleep at the top of the flight. After breaking two ribs, I still didn’t slow down much at all for many years, and was usually covered in mysterious bruises from objects that were within striking distance, but outside of my field of extremely centralized vision.
Immediately before I got Elvis, I traveled with the horrific white cane for the blind. I hated it for some many reasons, but none more than getting hit by two cars. I was walking down my street, tap-tap-tapping away left and right with my cane, when the pinging sound of metal on metal snapped me to attention, as my feet were swept from under my body, and I found myself lying on the hood of a large sedan. I looked through the windshield at the equally startled driver, a tiny little old woman, leaving the Catholic church parking lot. It was fairly obvious that she shouldn’t be driving at her age, especially since she could barely see over the dashboard to locate my splayed body on her hood. I took the cane and did something that I’m not exactly proud of- I smashed her windshield in one swing. I was furious, and terrified. I had finally accepted the cane as my new mode of travel and it had horribly failed me in a most sacred way. I could have been killed.
Realizing that I was ok, and ignoring the onlookers that were beginning to pour out of the cars of the crowded church exit, I picked up my cane, dusted myself off, and took off walking at lightning speed down the block, tap-tap-tapping away. Three weeks later, less than 100 yards from this incident, I was walking along the same stretch of sidewalk when I suddenly found myself being pushed into the street by something large and slow-moving first against my hip, then my shoulder and knee- “Shit” I yelled, as I turned to face the back windshield of a Lexus Hybrid SUV, with a woman on her cell phone at the wheel. “STOP!!!” I screamed as I smacked my hand against the back window. She stopped suddenly, and put the car back into drive and moved back forward into her driveway, all the while still clutching the cell phone to her ear.
“What is WRONG with you? Are YOU blind? I know I am!” I screamed, my face scarlet with anger. “Seriously WHAT is WRONG with you? Didn’t you look before you started backing out into a public street? IDIOT! Jesus! Look where the hell you’re going for God’s sake!” She didn’t even get out of her car- “Are you hurt?” she asked, sounding frightened and frazzled. “Just my damn knees where your stupid bumper hit them. Jesus! I did NOT need this today!” “I’m so sorry! I didn’t see you there! Are you ok? Oh my God! I’m so sorry!” With my ego bruised from the accident, I brushed the dirt off of my jacket, and picked up my cane, preparing to walk home. “I’m FINE! Besides, I know where you live.” And with that, I was headed briskly home.
I rushed up the steps to my front door, slammed the door behind me and called Alan. He was the only person I could think of who could understand how I was feeling at that moment. Upset, disappointed, frustrated, and so many other things that I simply wasn’t able to deal with alone. Fortunately, I had made the right phone call. After getting choked up while explaining the two incidents to him, he paused and asked me gently and quietly- “Now will you consider getting a dog? I think it’s time.” “Yes, I’m ready.”