Josephine Harte, 82, says the way she is coping with sight loss is through humour.

The Nelson resident has macular degeneration and her vision has worsened to the point where she can no longer read the price labels on items at the supermarket or read the phone book.

However, as the title of a poem that she has written suggests, there are some ‘questionable advantages of being half blind’.

Josephine explains: “[My poem] is about the things that happen every day and having a bit of fun with it. You have to approach it with humour otherwise you will just curl up in a ball and cry.”

She recently contacted us for support. She was straining to read small print such as the newspaper but with the aid of a magnifier and LED lamps to make the most of her vision, it has helped.

“Paul, my rehabilitation instructor, also set me up with the most wonderful telephone.” The phone she has been setup with is an Oricom big button telephone with large print. Now that she can dial out without difficulty, it’s easier to stay connected and keep in touch with family and friends.

Paul Richardson, Blind Foundation Rehabilitation Instructor, shared that so far the Blind Foundation has provided support enabling Josephine to remain as independent as possible in the areas that she highlighted as her top priorities. These included using the telephone, reading and using the stove/cooker.
Paul explained that there are ways to help with the challenges Josephine brings up in her poem, so that for example she can confidently identify and know what clothing she is wearing. It’s a matter of setting goals, and then making them a reality with time.

Take a read of Josephine’s poem:

Questionable Advantages of Being Half Blind

I can’t see the Cob-webs and Spiders
Or the Daddy Long Legs roaming free
They get to live so much longer
Than they did when I could see
Dust builds up on the furniture
Kids like to draw in the dust
Who am I to deprive them
When it’s free and they don’t fuss

If I’m wearing navy blue trousers
You can bet I’ll be wearing black shoes
I can’t see the difference in colour
So I get to randomly choose
Perhaps it will become a fashion statement
To wear a different colour on each foot
I will be the first to endorse it
And be proud to wear the new look

Threading needles is a futile mission
The eye needs to be as big as a tube
And the cotton to be as thick as an anchor rope
To have any hope of threading it through
So the clothes that need a few stitches
Are piled up on the seat of the chair
Waiting for someone with good eyesight
To make a few minor repairs.

If you need support to help you achieve goals of any size with vision loss, we’re here to help. Contact us on 0800 24 33 33 or email info@blindfoundation.org.nz