Oh, by the way….

We’ve been walking this path for so long now, that I have found it easier on my heart to no longer focus on the “BIG” things….talking, walking, eating, etc., and put my energy and attention into how to make each day the best it can be, affirming Abbie for all the little steps she continues to take.

Sometimes, though, big things can sneak right up and lovingly smack you in the face.

A couple of days ago, I was on the way out the door to a meeting when Alicia said, “Oh, by the way, earlier today used the things the vision teacher left with us to test Abbie’s vision”

A couple of weeks ago Abbie blissfully slept through a visit from Auntie Amy, her extraordinary vision specialist from the school system.  Amy wanted to test Abbie’s visual fields, particularly the lower ones, since Abbie will be driving soon.  Most people find it convenient to be able to see potential collisions before they happen, but I didn’t think Abbie’s lower fields of vision were very good at all.  She rarely looks down, so we present all her schoolwork right in front of her.

It always takes great ingenuity to devise ways to test Abbie.  Amy is brilliant in this area!  She brought a wooden wand, onto one end of which she had put velcro.  She then attached velcro to three different colored balls.  She also brought a small black board with the three blocks the same colors as the balls — this would be Abbie’s answer board.

Since Abbie refused to open her peepers for Amy, we were instructed in how to practice with and test Abbie.  Alicia had done just what Amy had advised.  I bit my lip and asked, “Can she anything below the horizon line?”   Part of me really didn’t want to hear the answer, I will admit.  Ignorance is often my most comforting friend.

Then Alicia laughed at my apparently-stupid question.

“Let me tell you what she can see….I was putting the balls down by her feet and she was getting them right.  I even tried to trick her a couple of times by not changing the color when I said I was, and she still got it right.  If she couldn’t find the ball just by looking down with her eyes, she lifted her head and looked down.”

She lifted her head and looked down.

Those words rang in my ears as I dropped my bags and ran to Abbie at the massage table.  I just hugged her and cried.  Those words…may not sound like much to able-bodied people, but this is something we have been working seven years to get. Seven years, and then “oh, by the way” it just happened.

I had just finished writing this update, and went to take  pictures to go with it.  Abbie was working on this very task, so it was perfect timing.  I got to see for myself, and record for you all, where Alicia was placing the balls.  Way, way down by Abbie’s perfectly pedicured piggies.

Abbie chose the color blue from her answer board as soon as we gave her the chance.  So, Auntie Alicia decided to get a little bit tricky:

Here she is, out of Abbie’s view, putting the red ball on the wand.  She then placed it down at her feet, where the blue ball had been previously placed.  To ensure that Abbie isn’t just making lucky guesses about what color of ball is on the wand, we gave her the following choice board after showing her the red ball:

Abbie stayed perfectly still in her chair, even when we prodded her to make a choice and tell us what color of ball was on the wand.  We asked her several times, and she never even twitched. The right answer wasn’t there, but she wasn’t going to make us stop bugging her by making an incorrect selection.  She knows exactly what she is doing!

Every day, it seems, she is showing her renewing strength.  I remain truly in awe of her.



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