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The Subtle Terror Of Slowly Going Blind
Source:  MyVeronaNJ
Saturday, 22 August 2020 16:04


I have a condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa, commonly referred to as RP. It is a degenerative retina disease that leaves the lucky winners of this particular genetic lottery permanently and totally blind. RP is a rare(ish) genetic disorder where the light sensitive cells of the retina are destroyed or simply cease to function causing night blindness, then peripheral vision loss, and finally blindness.

As with any disease that leaves its victim blind, it is a horrible thing to contend with. Adding insult to injury is the lack of a cure so no sooner do you receive the diagnoses then you are forced to come to terms with your fate. If dark humor is your thing then you will appreciate that under the headings for “Treatmentâ€� on the National Institute of Health website is simply a link to a resource for living with Low Vision. Even considering the lack of treatment options, what makes RP particularly insidious is its speed — or lack thereof — it is ever present, slow, and methodical in its deconstruction of the retina.

Timelines vary from patient to patient, but the outcomes do not. In my case it can be reasonably estimated that I will be totally blind sometime in the next 25 years. Nothing to do but wait.

These two little orbs on the front of my face were going to make me reevaluate the world and my purpose in it.

They say you don’t appreciate something until its gone and the eyes are no different. It is easy as someone with decent vision to take the importance of vision for granted. And that is OK. But when you are staring down the barrel of blindness you spend every waking moment that your eyes are open ruminating on the fate you have been dealt.

…

I had a career as a police officer and then one day I didn’t. In mid-2017 I began to see a small blurry patch in my right eye. Like someone had wiped a small bit of Vaseline on then lens of a movie camera leaving a smudge on the edge of the frame, enough to be annoying but not really ruin the experience. As with anything eye related given my family’s poor history when it comes to vision, I was encouraged to have it checked out by a specialist. If there are decisions that can change the entire trajectory of one’s life, this was one of them, and I’m still not sure if it is a good one or a bad one.

I made an appointment with my eye doctor. Figuring perhaps there was a scratch or other issue that could be quickly addressed. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The smudge was a cataract, a tiny one, that could be safely left alone for decades. But the eye doctor in doing his exam saw the tell-tale signs of RP hitting him right in the face. Small black speckles on the back of the eye indicating dead retina tissue.

I remember him stepping away from me with a look of concern, kind of like when you show up to meet your soon to be ex-girlfriend at a bar and she has the “we have to talk face�.

“Do you have trouble seeing at night� he asked.

Of course, I did. It had been going on for years, my often comical inability to navigate in the dark, but I always assumed this was just a part of getting older. I would regularly get teased about the excessive use of my flashlight while working midnight patrol shifts. I regularly stumbled around my house at night which, again, was written off as the vagaries of nearing forty.

With this answer, his concerned look got more… concerned. His girlfriend stare wasn’t just breaking up with me, it was cheating on me. He held up some fingers and slid them around my field of vision while he observed my eye’s reactions to them moving in and out of what I would learn are the massive gaps in my peripheral vision. Not only was she cheating, it was with my best friend.

The exam ended with him laying out what he believed was a moderately advanced case of RP. He advised me to see a retina specialist and start considering a new line of work.

I was told I could never work as a cop again, a fifteen-year career gone in the blink of an eye. The reasoning was sound but catastrophic. It was a massive liability having someone like me driving a police car let alone walking around with a gun. A liability no one was willing to shoulder.

…

This began the nagging awareness of the disease. Every time I would bump into a wall or be confronted with an odd stare as someone held out their hand for a handshake just outside my field of vision, I am reminded of my fate.

These two little orbs on the front of my face were going to make me reevaluate the world and my purpose in it.

Imagine knowing the exact date you were going to lose a loved one and that date is decades away. How that would change how you spend your time with that person? Would you shrink away from them to mute the pain that was sure to come? For the latter, of course you wouldn’t because that’s just life; just because you know an exact date doesn’t really mean anything.

It would be a sad existence if we avoided personal connections because one day those people will be gone. As to the former, it is a crash course on living a good life and relishing every moment because no one stays alive forever and you should act, and love, accordingly.<

In the years since I have yet to find a way to ignore the obvious. It is like having something wrong with your fingers or your ass. There is no real way to avoid using them, so you just have to deal with it. In learning to “deal with it� I have learned to act on the valuable life lessons above. In addition, I am learning lessons about acceptance of fate and not letting self-pity consume me. I am slowly learning to apply these lessons across every aspect of daily life. I tell myself that this is not going to kill me, change me, sure, but nothing fatal. I more thoroughly enjoy every moment with my kids. And I am compiling a list of “blind hobbies� that will bring joy and satisfaction to life without vision — currently it is learning to play a piano.

The biggest breakthrough for me has been the realization that there is a world of people without vision that live happy productive lives, their lives don’t look like mine or the one I had, but they are full and complete, nonetheless.

I will be OK. The cheating girlfriend that is the wispy tissue coating the back of my eyeballs is forgiven and life will go on. In the meantime, I hope that my experience can give others perspective on dealing with the more catastrophic ups-and-downs of life in general.

Photo by v2osk on Unsplash

Rullo is a lawyer and former Marine who worked for many years as a police officer in Montclair. He ran unsuccessfully for the Verona Board of Education in 2018. This post first appeared on Medium and is reprinted here with the author’s permission.

The post The Subtle Terror Of Slowly Going Blind appeared first on MyVeronaNJ.


Want to toast to 100 years of the women's vote? Bring a glass to virtual South Jersey celebrations
Source:  Courier Post
Saturday, 22 August 2020 14:36

South Jersey toasts to 100th anniversary years of women voting via virtual programs

       

Want to toast to 100 years of the women's vote? Bring a glass to virtual South Jersey celebrations
Source:  The Daily Journal - Vineland
Saturday, 22 August 2020 14:36

South Jersey toasts to 100th anniversary years of women voting via virtual programs

      

COVID-19: Hunterdon County town-by-town cases, deaths for Aug. 22
Source:  Bridgewater
Saturday, 22 August 2020 14:15

These were the latest reported – Aug. 20 – town-by-town case totals of the coronavirus in Hunterdon County.

       

Voorhees High School switches to remote learning after mold discovered in cafeteria
Source:  Bridgewater
Saturday, 22 August 2020 13:53

Voorhees High School will be starting the school year with remote learning after mold was found in the cafeteria of the school.

       

State Police ID Victim In Fatal Parkway Crash
Source:  Micromedia Publications
Saturday, 22 August 2020 13:14

TRENTON – State Police identified a 70-year-old Tinton Falls man who died after his vehicle veered off the Garden State Parkway.

  Victor Munoz was the only occupant of the vehicle which left the roadway and struck several trees. He was taken to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune where he died of severe injuries.

New Jersey State Police Sgt. Lawrence Peel reported that an investigation into the cause of the single vehicle crash remains ongoing. 

  The incident took place at milepost 105.6 in Tinton Falls. 

No other vehicles were involved.

The post State Police ID Victim In Fatal Parkway Crash appeared first on Jersey Shore Online.


NJ judge makes example of driver in fatal texting crash
Source:  92.7 WOBM
Saturday, 22 August 2020 13:12

Alexandra Mansonet, 51, of Keansburg, was convicted of vehicular homicide last fall in the September 2016 death of 39-year-old Yuwen Wang. Continue reading…

Webinar With Piotr Puchalski, Ph.D.
Source:  The Post Eagle
Saturday, 22 August 2020 12:43

Coming up next for The Kosciuszko Foundation Online Programs is “Beyond the Battle of Warsaw – The Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1920 in Western Geopolitics”; a webinar with Piotr Puchalski, Ph.D. on Friday, August 28th, 11 am EDT. (www.thekf.org)

The Battle of Warsaw (August 12-25, 1920), also known as the Miracle of the Vistula, was a series of battles that resulted in a decisive Polish victory during the Polish-Soviet War. Poland, on the verge of total defeat, repulsed and defeated the Red Army, and Polish victory over the Soviets halted the spread of communism further westwards into Europe. Vladimir Lenin, the Bolshevik leader called it “an enormous defeat” for his forces, and British politician, diplomat, and author Edgar Vincent D’Abernon included this battle on his expanded list of most decisive battles in the world’s history.

To mark the centennial of this momentous event in Poland’s history, we invite you for a webinar with a specialist in diplomatic and political history in the interwar period, Piotr Puchalski, Ph.D. who will examine the role played by the Polish-Soviet War in determining Western geopolitical aims.

Piotr Puchalski holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is an Assistant Professor of modern European history at the Pedagogical University in Kraków. He specializes in diplomatic and political history of the interwar period. In his upcoming book, he analyzes the role played by colonial aspirations in the formation and development of the interwar Polish state.

Check out KF online talks and music performances – now streaming on KF YouTube channel

The Kosciuszko Foundation is located at 15 East 65th Street, New York, NY 10065.

The post Webinar With <br> Piotr Puchalski, Ph.D. appeared first on Post Eagle Newspaper.


Flowers, flags and cleanup conducted in recognition of National Purple Heart Day
Source:  The Daily Journal - Vineland
Saturday, 22 August 2020 12:29

Miss Stars and Stripes and Miss Stars and Stripes Outstanding Teen complete project at Veterans Memorial Park in Commercial Township

      

Mail-in voting: we must protect the USPS
Source:  Eastside-Online
Saturday, 22 August 2020 12:24

“Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Dark Of Night Shall Stay These Couriers From The Swift Completion Of Their Appointed Rounds.”

The United States Postal Service has lived by this “Postman’s Oath” since 1775. It officially became an independent agency in 1971. Long before President Trump was elected and Biden became the Democratic nominee, and certainly long before the Coronavirus pandemic occurred.

Recently, President Trump has opposed funding for the USPS and called into question the validity of mail-in voting.

“[Democrats] want three and a half-billion dollars for something that’ll turn out to be fraudulent, that’s election money basically,” Trump stated in an interview with Fox News. Even though there is little to no evidence that mail-in voting will lead to voter fraud, Trump maintains this stance.

The USPS has access to over $25 billion in cash and has more than 500,000 workers; the agency itself has stated they are more than prepared to meet the expected mail-in ballots. The funding problems that have plagued this agency for decades have primarily been attributed to the sharp decline in first-class mail in the past few decades. However, this doesn’t mean that mail-in voting isn’t feasible or shouldn’t occur in this election cycle.

In May 2020, President Trump appointed Postmaster General DeJoy, a major Republican donor. The latter removed 600 mail sorting machines, proposed raising prices, and reduced delivery days. We can not let the current presidential administration dismantle the USPS for their own political agendas. Around twenty Democratic attorneys general around the country have already begun to legally push back on DeJoy’s illegal changing of mail procedures ahead of the election.

DeJoy’s changes are a threat to democracy, and the American is faced with the potential manipulation of the 2020 election. As Bernie Sanders tweeted yesterday, “The beauty of the Postal Service is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a low-income senior in Kentucky or a wealthy CEO living on Park Avenue—you get your mail delivered 6 days a week at a low cost.”

President Trump is more concerned with suppressing voters than making sure his constituents get their social security checks, necessary packages, and more. In a global pandemic, there’s no reason someone must risk their lives in order to take part in our “democracy.” President Trump’s desire to prevent everyone from having an equal chance of voting is not surprising as he won the 2016 election with a voter turnout at a 20 year low. Voter suppression has been occurring for decades in various ways, such as limiting poll centers in low-income areas. Trump’s attack on the USPS is just a new way to attempt to maintain the status quo and prevent everyone’s voice from being heard.

This is America. Home of the free and land of the brave. We have the longest standing Constitution, a founding document that details the importance of the post office in Article 1, with the longest standing democracy in the world. Suppressing the will of the people is a distinct trait of an authoritarian government. Therefore, we must work together in urging our representatives to prevent our commonwealth from being compromised in any way, big or small.


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