Day 44 Question 44:
If you HAD to choose would you rather be deaf or blind?
I have been asked this question several times throughout my years. I have even posed it to others several times. It is a tough question but my answer never changes. If I absolutely HAD to choose there would be no contest, I would choose to be deaf over being blind. I have an insane love of music and I do love the sounds that surround me day in and day out but nothing compares to my vision. Being able to see allows me the ability to create.
There is always the question of whether one were born blind or deaf or whether is occurred later in life. I would much rather be born one way or the other than have it occur at a later time. I say this because if you are born without sight or without hearing that would be what you always know. It could be something you could work with from the very beginning. I feel that if one or both of those things were taken from you that it would be jarring and an extreme adjustment, especially going blind.
The reason I chose this topic was because I started reading a book called “If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This.” It is a book of short stories obviously based on different forms of love. The first story I read was that of a young girl (17 years old) that was going off to college and was going to get a guide dog. Her father had been her eyes all her life for her and she was finally going to have someone (something) else taking over the role. This young girl lost her sight at the age of 7. She had been playing in a garage with another young boy and he was telling her to shake an aerosol can as hard as she could. She did this and in the midst of one of the shakes the can exploded directly in her face. She was in surgery for several hours and hospitalized for several days. Doctors knew that she would never regain sight. I immediately started to think about what it could possibly be like to go from seeing all that surrounds you, seeing colors, shapes, forms, facial expressions, etc to living a life of complete blackness. Knowing myself I believe I would go in a state of panic, a state of anxiety. I am sure in time I would adjustment but I believe I would be saddened to have my sight taken from me and not be able to experience the true beauty of the world except through descriptions people give me. It could be interesting and intriguing to visualize in your own head what you want the world to look like but you would never know if you were even close.
I would absolutely hate losing my hearing but between the two senses I would rather have this taken away. My creativity is a direct product of my visual stimulation. I don’t need to hear words or sounds in order to be inspired (sometimes I am through those things but moreso through my vision). A person that has never had hearing or has lost their hearing still can communicate in a very almost natural way. There are adjustments but I do not believe they are quite as large as those that someone who is or were to go blind would have to make. We live in a society very technology friendly and deaf people have so many ways to communicate now. I do realize that blind people also have many options as well, I just cannot help to think how much harder they would have to work to adjust to life. When you cannot see you are unable to know the lay of the land. Every new room that you walk into must be navigated and described by another person and even at that there is still a chance of running into things or getting hurt. I am only speaking from what I can imagine (I could be totally wrong and I am sure it is completely a matter of opinion) that it could be very emotionally draining…especially if you were to lose sight after having it for a period of time. I would be curious to read stories about people who have gone blind after having been able to see. I would love to know how they dealt with this radical change in their lives. To me, because I know I can be an extremely nervous and anxious person, I believe my first reaction would be to have a full blow breakdown. I admire people though…as random as that sounds. I have encountered people in my life that have lost their sight and seem happier than most people. I admire people for choosing to thrive instead of allowing something to completely control them. This is off the beaten path but there is a girl that goes to my gym (I believe she has muscular dystrophy) and she is wheelchair bound. This girl rocks it out at the gym 4-5 days a week and everytime I see her she is dressed in a super cute gym outfit and her hair is always pulled back in a fun ponytail. She will accept help if someone were to offer to hold the door for her but her mobility to me is absolutely amazing. Her mother picks her up and they chit chat while moving her out of her wheelchair into the front seat. They both just act like two “normal” human beings. I have never seen the mother treat her like a disabled person or act as if she is at all burdened by her. It is truly inspiring and heart-warming.
When you start pondering questions like this you start to have an appreciation for all of your senses (if you have all of them) and you start to realize how lucky you are to be able to smell freshly cut grass or a fresh pot of coffee brewing or see the smile on a child’s face or the glow of the moon on a clear night or the sound of your favorite song on the radio as you cruise down the highway. These are just a small list.
My uncle has a form of glaucoma. I do not know all of the details. Over time his vision has deteriorated. All he can see now is outlines and shadows. In the next year of two he will most likely be completely blind. He is unable to drive and he had to sell his boat. He has a camp on the St. Lawrence river and although he still loves going there he is unable to see the sights of nature that surround him. I have not seen my uncle in a few years due to the distance (miles) between us but according to my father he is taking it well. I think a lot of it is due to his age and awareness that our bodies due tend to function less and less as time passes. I feel sadness though for him because he is slowly having to give up a lot of things that became a part of who he was. He will no longer be able to read the morning newspaper (a daily routine that he started when he was young), he will no longer be able to watch Syracuse University basketball games (he will be able to hear them but is that the same as seeing the movement of the player and the excitement of the crowd), he will no longer be able to drive his boat down the river for miles upon miles waving at oncoming boats and checking out all of the other camps along the way. Eventually he will no longer be able to see the face of the woman he married and has loved since they were teenagers. I love his acceptance and his “life must go on” attitude but it is sad to think about. He will at least be able to have the vision of her in his mind. He is lucky to have lived this many years in pretty good health and has children and a nice home and stories upon stories so in the end it probably isn’t that bad. I guess I just keep thinking about the change…the difference in life by being continually in the dark after majority of the time being surrounded by light.
I am curious to know which you would choose and why? Does the way I feel make sense? I didn’t think I would have much to say on the subject until I started imagining it all and as usual I went on and on.
Links to Inspirational Story of Lost Sight: