If you’ve ever wondered what the process of learning to use a cane might entail, then there is a book you should add to your personal library. Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith by Amy L. Bovaird provides a detailed account of an adventurous woman’s journey from denial to blind rehab services, including braille and cane training.
Bovaird begins by setting the stage for the reader, describing how Retinitis Pigmentosa affects her life. I like the description she gives about RP so much that I may ask the author if double vision blog can quote it in the “What We See” section of our blog.
“Living with RP is like having a picture tube gradually wear out on a television screen. Each eye has different islands of useable sight. Depending on the angle or lighting in which we see something, one island may compensate for a missing island in the other eye. and therefore some days we can see better and thus move around more easily.”
She goes on to describe the different ways RP can affect a person’s life, and the choices that confront many of us living with this disease.
“Early on, clumsiness affects general mobility. Later, it brings an RP sufferer to a crossroads….Some aren’t frightened of these changes at all, they take on the responsibility of cane training matter-of-factly in order to stay independent. Others cannot bring themselves to pick up the phone to ask for help….People fear being treated differently or looked down upon.”
In addition to the primary topic of mobility, Bovaird incorporates her strong faith in God throughout the book, sharing her personal prayers and relevant Bible verses. She also brings forth and explores several other interesting topics within the blind and visually-impaired community.
“Both ‘blind’ and ‘sight’ acted as trigger words, igniting people’s passions. From what I could glean, some considered ‘sight’ a cover-up and ‘blind’ as acceptance of one’s situation. This extended to training centers and their training philosophies, which hinged on their names….The argument turned both political and personal. I couldn’t believe how my innocent comment to Bob caused so many hard feelings. I felt as if I had entered a foreign country without knowing the rules or the culture, and had just committed a serious faux pas.”
At the end of the book, I appreciate how Bovaird does not claim to be the perfect cane user following mobility training. She explains how, as a person with slowly deteriorating vision, she sometimes still struggles with using her cane and communicating with people about what she is unable to see. This is something I certainly relate to, and I love how she is able to find the humor in these situations, in what she terms “Cane Confessions: The Lighter Side to Mobility”.
For me, the most enjoyable part of reading this book was learning about Bovaird’s International travels, her passion for other cultures and languages, and the ways in which she chooses to connect and relate to others. Which is why I am really looking forward to a guest post from Bovaird later this week in which she will explore the topic of blindness in various cultures.
In the meantime, you can check out the recently-released audio version of Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith (which is the way I chose to read her book!)