Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Vision Found and Vision Lost

by Donna J. Jodhan

There's not many people who can say that they were lucky enough to have gained some vision after being born blind. This was the case for me as a teen and on a typical fall day my doctor in Montreal informed me that he could give me a corneal transplant in order to improve my vision. Even now after all of these years, my heart still beats like a jack hammer as I recall the memories of it all. True to his word, DR Joel Rosen of Montreal Canada delivered on his promise and three months after the transplant, my world had changed. Going from almost total darkness to sunshine was something that I will never forget. My world had suddenly exploded into a kaleidoscope of colors and I had found myself just literally wanting to see as much as I could. I felt like a kid in Wonderland!

I could see people; my mom and dad and I will never forget the morning when I first discovered that I could see their faces. I rushed into the bathroom and as I gazed dazedly into the mirror I realized that I looked just like mom. I wept for joy and as the tears came pouring down my cheeks I thanked God for having sent DR Rosen to me. I could see the fat snowflakes chasing each other around. I could see the blue skies and the fluffy white clouds. I could see the green grass and the delightful colors of flowers. I could see so much more. Spring in Montreal allowed me to go out and explore; looking at passersby, learning to play basketball and roller skate, and walking down town with my best friend Char.

Some friends took me to a strip bar to see what it was like and what an experience that was. I enjoyed as much as I could and even learned to read and write but the phenomena for the doctors was this; I was somehow able to read print and to this day I can not figure out why. I remember sitting next to my dad on the sofa and reading the sports headlines in the Montreal newspaper as he proudly looked on. Then when I saw my two beloved brothers for the first time! My twin Jeffrey did not look anything like me! He was tall, handsome, and possessed a pair of skinny legs. My older brother Robert was shorter, looked more like me, and looked like a little boy. Then I went around visiting all of my cousins and aunts. What a treat!

I had 25 wonderful years of new vision. I was still categorized as blind but I did not care. I played ice hockey and air hockey. I enjoyed the placid green sea with those lazy white capped waves gently rolling onto the golden sand. I loved the sparkling sun rises and the peaceful sunsets. I enjoyed watching hockey on TV as well as figure skating. My beloved Montreal Canadiens team rushing up the ice in their red jerseys. The silver Air Canada jet bird gliding lazily over a deep blue Caribbean ocean with the sun streaming down on it from above. I learned to draw and paint and do so much more. I never tired of looking at pictures of my beloved granny, my hero Pierre Trudeau, Robert F. Kennedy, JFK JR, and all of those other handsome hunks, too many to mention. Then there were photos of my dogs when I was growing up! Forever imprinted on my mind along with the rest.

25 wonderful years of memories; too many to fit in to 100 suitcases. I will never forget and I thank God, DR Rosen, and all those who helped to make my memories lasting and cherished ones. My world may be dark now but the candles still flicker in my mind. The sparkling sunrises and the peaceful sunsets are still a part of me. The blue skies, golden sand, waves as white as lace, gorgeous flowers, and everything else are still a part of my world. I never got to see granny's gentle expression but her photo lingers in my mind and images of my dearest dad and beloved brother Robert who are now in Heaven will always be with me; in waking hours and in my dreams.

I am one lucky person because I was able to see all of this for a time whereas so many other blind persons would never be able to enjoy it. I think that by now you probably have the picture. Time for me to put away my book of memories for now.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all:
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility:
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns:

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