What would you do if you lost your sight?
Updated: Oct 29
I had an insight into that question this year when a detached retina triggered four surgeries over seven months and a fifth now pending to finally (hopefully) resolve the problem.
Like so many others, a lot of my work is done using a laptop with multiple displays for cross referencing and accessing different applications quickly. In my case, reviewing tax legislation, financial data, legal documents, construction information, surveying reports and getting to the heart of what tax savings should be available for a real estate acquisition or development and why.
My eye prescription is tailored for both eyes working efficiently together so when my dominant eye could no longer function properly my work immediately suffered (ignoring all the down time for operations and recovery etc.).
You keep going of course and adapt as best you can to this new (and not quite perfect) one eyed way of working and living but it is certainly not straight forward or easy.
If you work for yourself (as I mostly do) not being on your best game just when your business (and family) need you most is tough. Worse still, what if the final operation (which may not be until next year) does not work. After all, this will be the 5th attempt and there are no guarantees of success.
When speed and precision matter – what would my long-term future look like? Will I be able to fully adapt? Some of the technology we have at our disposal is great (e.g. dictation tools, searchable technical databases, spelling/formula checkers etc.) but the devil is almost always in the detail and an over reliance on technology brings risks.
Indeed, I have witnessed first-hand businesses that have enthusiastically embraced technology (me included) only to discover new risks and an increase in costs as a result to emerge.
Worse still, what if my other eye suffers a similar fate. My original eye injury goes back over 20 years, so a full detachment was always a risk – just a bit unlucky to have it coincide with a global pandemic and the worst financial crash in modern times!
Nevertheless, people with short sight and especially those with a history of retinal detachment in the same or other eye are at greater risk of it happening again; something I really do not want to countenance. So, I seriously need to look at options.
Better insurance is an obvious answer but even with this, it is not going to be life changing and certainly not going to set me up for a fulfilling career – I enjoy working and want to continue for many, many years to come.
Then there are all the other activities that give life meaning with family and friends. One of my favourites is open water swimming which has sadly had to be put on hold.
I am of course lucky to have the support of family and friends and, whilst Covid-19 has almost certainly had an impact, it is not the main challenge for me in 2020 so far.
It is a wake-up call and a reminder of how fragile we all are and, that there will be a lot of people struggling with a lot worse in the current times.