Second Chance for Mr. Cane
Originally published on See Through My Eyes by Chrissy Renee Antonopoulos
I am thrilled to introduce you to Chrissy Renee Antonopoulos of See Through My Eyes. Crissy, a native of Australia, established See Through My Eyes, a nonprofit organization designed to meet the needs of individuals who are blind or sight impaired. As one of the newest Women on the Move, you’ll be hearing Chrissy’s story in October of this year but for today she has permitted me to re-post an article from her blog. Enjoy!
I have been walking a lot more since unwillingly giving up driving. I have grown in confidence with walking alone but I still find road crossing difficult. I’d given the cane the flick because we just weren’t getting along. I haven’t used it in some months now although there has been a little voice in the back of my mind telling me to pull it out again and give it another go.
Yesterday was the big day when Mr. Cane got his second chance to win me over. I must admit, he did a damn good job at it! I went for a walk with a friend who hadn’t encountered anyone using a cane before so it was interesting for her to see how it was used and the reactions of others.
One of the big issues I’ve been having is that when I’m walking, others have no idea I’m vision impaired and if I make a mistake crossing they will think I’m an idiot. I like the fact the cane is a way of saying “Hey, I don’t see good, look out for me”. This was evident when we crossed a main road, without traffic lights, but with an island in the middle (so we could go half the road at a time). This particular spot had been an issue for me because the road is so busy I can’t simply rely on my hearing and limited sight. In a way the cane was like my indicator signal of a car. People knew to be mindful of me. We had a great experience, each time we crossed (we did it a few times!), when we were on the island, a person would stop the traffic to let us cross. It really was a testament to how kind people can be. These small gestures increased my confidence with crossing roads and also gave me more trust in those around me.
We also noticed people’s reactions when walking toward us. Each person we passed, even someone with a pram, moved off the footpath out of the way to let me pass. I don’t know what I expected, that people would walk into me or make comments, but experiencing it first hand made me feel more at ease with the whole idea of using the cane and reduced the stigma to using it.
Mr Cane and I have gone on another date today, with similar success, and we are on the road to a happy and long partnership. Up until this point, I wasn’t ready to accept the fact I may need extra help getting around and there is nothing wrong with that. Now is the right time for me and I will embrace it and continue to gain more confidence and independence.
Thank you Chrissy for sharing your caning experience with us today. Like many of us who have residual eyesight and who use ‘the cane’ there are days that can test us to the limits. I can’t wait for the day when these mobility devices will be viewed like eyeglasses, a tool to help us maintain our independence.