Words by Julie - Living Life With Paralysis

The blind leading the blind


This was an exercise that we did on day one, they called it “disability simulation”. One group was given a visual impairment, one group was given a wheelchair and the other experienced what it was like to have hearing loss.

Rolling blind

I wish I had a picture of what went on, but I don’t, so I will try to paint one for you here. There I am, in my own wheelchair, with goggles that made me completely blind. Bruce (along with his guide dog) came to share life being blind. Unable to use a white cane and move my chair at the same time, I was left to follow voices for direction, so I followed Bruce. I worked my way from our classroom, past the overhanging (head banging) cement staircase, to the (toe crushing) revolving doors and out into the world. A world that not only could I not see, I had never seen it before (I had come through a different entrance) and had no idea what was ahead.

What was ahead was a curb cut-out down to a street crosswalk and back up a sloping curb cut-out to a parking lot. I rolled along following Bruce and his dog. As I am moving along all I could think about was I can’t see where I am going, and I am following a guy, who I just met, and he is completely blind.

Talk about trust. And, excuse the pun, very eye opening.

What did I learn today? That I have a lot to learn. This is going to be fantastic.

Some notes on 48 hrs in Vancouver:

Pot is in the air. In-spite (or perhaps because) of this, the city is very green. Taxis are all hybrid Prius. It is possible to safely ride bikes safely, all around the city, and for most of the year. Two-way bike lanes with bike stoplights!

We saw the mountains for the first time today – the sky cleared of clouds far enough for us to see the sun to come out (almost) and the mountain tops to come into clear view.

In Vancouver, it might be cheaper to eat out than to cook for ourselves in the little kitchen. Grocery store prices are at least a dollar more per item. We spent $40 on two small bags of groceries!

The journey continues 🙂



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