Friday, May 26, 2017

On not going to the art gallery

I went to the city yesterday to visit a friend who just got out of hospital and to go to the art gallery. My friend--I'll call her Jane--had said she wanted to go to the art gallery too, so I was expecting to pick her up and go for lunch and then the gallery. I brought along another mutual friend (let's call her Beth). Well, when Beth and I got to Jane's place it turned out that Jane didn't feel like going to the art gallery but did want to go for lunch. I was disappointed but went along with the change of plan. Jane is blind and in a wheel chair. Beth is also blind, but not in a wheel chair. Both women can sort of see, but they are both legally blind. Beth told me later that she couldn't look at me, she just knew how I was feeling about giving up the art gallery visit.

Anyway, we went for lunch. The restaurant we went to had excellent food but it was crowded and extremely noisy. It was hard to hear each other talking, so I kind of spaced out. Plus, Jane is not well at all and is on medical marijuana for pain and she was kind of stoned, so conversation with her was limited. People talk about medical marijuana as if it was so superior to synthetic drugs, but from what I can see it has its problems just like any drug. Jane said it dulled the pain but the price for it was being stoned all the time.

After lunch Jane wanted to visit a nearby shop so we did that. It turned out the shop was selling off all its stock in preparation for a move to an area too far away for Jane to visit, so I guess going there when we did was a good thing; Jane got one last kick at that can. But I'm not an enthusiastic shopper and felt like I was basically there as a guide to read labels and identify various objects for sale. No art gallery, just shopping instead.

After a while we walked Jane home and dropped her off. On the drive back to the Valley I commented to Beth that Jane did not look good. I hadn't seen her since before she went into the hospital and she clearly was much worse than she had been then. Beth said, "Somebody had to mention the elephant in the room!" It is not pleasant watching an old friend slide away.

Being the only sighted person with two blind people is a little stressful. I never used to pay attention to the obstacles for a wheel chair but now I do. It is shocking how little thought goes into all the little ramps that are supposed to make it easier for wheel chairs to navigate sidewalks. I have to keep an eye out for everything, give verbal warnings of red lights, rough terrain, when to turn, when to avoid other pedestrians and so forth. Not to mention reading menus out loud and identifying objects in shops and reading their price tags.

I have such mixed feelings about that trip! I really wanted to go to the art gallery and was seeing that as the main point of the whole trip. It was hard to let go of that. Jane had said she wanted to go too, but I guess she was a little naive about her energy level. She was still in the hospital when we planned the trip, she probably had no idea how hard it was going to be living outside the hospital.

Much as I want to participate in get togethers with Jane and Beth, it is really draining for me; I come home exhausted and irritable. I would do better if it was just one or the other, but Beth can't go into the city to see Jane on her own, she needs a chauffeur. So all in all it was not a fun trip for me. But I can't not do it. Jane will never get better. There is a time limit and then the relationship will be gone for good and I don't know when that time limit is.


Rain Trueax said...

It is tough, and I tend to think when I see those like that-- me someday. That could be me someday. Depressing and yet unless we die suddenly, we do get there. My mom was legally blind due to macular degeneration but she was able to read labels with a magnifying glass. She couldn't see the center of her vision. I asked a doctor if I was more likely to have it happen. He said-- if you live long enough, pretty much we all do. Such fun-- not. And at 74 (not yet but when I start a new year I tend to see myself as already the age i'll be when my birthday rolls around in October), this all is seeming closer and closer. The only thing I can say for you is do things that make you feel good as it helps with aging; so don't feel guilty for doing what brings joy into your life.

Annie said...

Thanks for your comment Rain, I feel the same way you do. Trying not to feel guilty.

Wisewebwoman said...

Thanks for sharing the conflicted emotions I've felt when dealing with demanding less abled. Ripped off for sure, guiltily resentful and then exhausted and grumbley. Ivad weekends taking care of a stroke victim friend in a wheelchair and have felt wrung out and angry at the nonstop demands.

And then think: that could be me some day, how would I be?

Very challenging.


Annie said...

WWW: yes, challenging is the word! And conflicted. And there but for the grace of god... I'll get to the art gallery one of these days, even if I have to go by myself! But I don't want my next visit with "Jane" to be at her funeral, I have to not let this be an obstacle.

joared said...

Can only do so much for others, so don't lose sight of taking care of yourself.