Back from our mini vacation to Williamsburg, VA. Weather was great on Saturday (low 60s), but not so great today (upper 30s low 40s with drizzle). Still a great trip.
Another aspect of the trip (actually a very important but unmentioned until now) was my decision to choose this trip to begin using my bioptic telescope driving glasses. For those who may remember from a year and a half ago, I was fitted with these and tested visual acuity was 20/100 without and 20/30 with the bioptic. This is well within the requirements of obtaining a Virginia State Drivers License, but it takes practice, practice, and MORE practice. I have been avoiding the transition because of the amount of work involved (must have professional rehabilitation training for certification) , and this messed up idea that I would be moving back to Florida and I would re-supply The state Medical Review Board my case for consideration. Reality is that is not about to happen, and they would probably not renew my license anyway. So, anxiety and frustration about my upcoming 25th driving anniversary, and the reality of losing the privilege to drive, has finally made me wake up my reality. Work on maintaining a license to drive or give up.
SO, I have the bioptics, I have a name of a rehab specialist, and lucky for me I can sacrifice the money for the training. I just think part of me lost confidence in my ability to comfortably accomplish this. And, it finally hit me: I drive almost every day, but to face the examination board, feel like I will fail because I think I am unable to pass. So, the other way to look at my reality check is either I honestly work very hard towards meeting the requirements to continue to drive, or (if indeed I do not pass) face reality that there may be a reason that I must give up the driving. Well, I never give up on anything, and this is not the time to decide differently.
So, with a little bit of self-coaxing, I made this 160 mile trip to be done entirely with the bioptic driving system. Now, to better understand the system, and how it works, a description is in order. The system looks like a pair of glasses, but with one very important (and expensive) difference. The frame and lens are modified to carry a manual-focused 3x (in my case) power telescope, which has the eyepiece built into the top right corner of my left lens. The lens itself is a single power lens made to accomodate any adjustments to my distance vision.
While driving, I look out of the normal eyeglass lens for most driving tasks, however every 10-15 seconds, I take a quick look through the telescope eyepiece by adjusting my head and eye position, to view smaller objects in my field of vision up close. It's important to note you DO NOT drive by looking through the telescope only. This would be very dangerous as it distorts your sense of distance and completely eliminates your peripheral vision. But, the telescope is very important for reading signs that are coming into view from a farther distance than I can without the telescope, and you can see traffic lights and stop/yield signs from a substantial distance, thus letting you make more timely decisions about actions you need to take without making a panic decision either in the nick of time or after it is too late. :(
SO, I drnve in the car, and once we were south of the D.C. Metro area, I made the decision to put on the system. At first, i was very concerned of losing sight of the road, but what I found myself doing after a few minutes was taking quick glances through the telescope to get acquainted with the operation. It wasn't long before I could take a quick glance through the scope and be back to the normal lens in a fraction of a second, almost like blinking. Needless to say, this put a smile on my face.
So, once I had the "glance" figured, I began to try focusing on objects through the objective. WOW, what I was able to see was nothing less than breathtaking. Clearly visible road signs that I could read as far away as 1/4 mile away, traffic lights that took over a minute to get to once I saw them, stop signs 4-5 blocks away. More importantly, I can better read the signs with small lettering that I used to never read before, and being able to scan an intersection (and corners) and more confidently be able to judge if there are any hidden surprises (pedestrians, pets, other objects) from a much farther distance. OH, and I can read gas price signs from the roadway again. :)
All in all, I was completely amazed what the bioptics were able to offer me, and it surely made the trip a lot less stressful. I must concentrate some time out of my normal life to actually win certification for my future driving privilege, but I have just got a glimpse into the very near future. If I believe, it can happen, but it does take work and effort (and faith).