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Handbook for successful ageing - 9.6 - 9.6.3


9.6 Anomalies in case of loss of sight

9.6.1 At the doctor’s place

If you are able to see nothing or nearly nothing, you can still visit your doctor alone by hiring a taxi. On offering him a small tip, the taxi driver will gladly lead you right into the clinic. Ask the receptionist, if he/she doesn’t know you yet, to seat you, and to help you go to the doctor when it is your turn. If you have an escort, but if this escort is not allowed into the discussion room, you could request the staff to guide you. This is your right. If you do take the escort along into the discussion room, ensure that the doctor speaks with you and not with your escort.

Do not hesitate to listen to cassettes or CD's using headphones when waiting for your appointment in the waiting room. If the doctor is not your family doctor, inform him precisely about the medicines that you currently take, so that he takes this into account when prescribing additional medication.

Ensure that he specifies the dosage. Finally, ask the assistant to fetch a taxi for you and call your chemist, so that he can deliver the prescribed medications to your house or you could pick it up on your way home.

When you collect the medication or have it delivered, request the chemist to read aloud everything that is in the instruction leaflet about what you should know about side-effects.

If you suffer from diabetes, have the health insurance approve for you a talking blood-sugar monitor and consult a blind diabetes expert of your regional organization for the blind about the most suitable device.

In case of high blood pressure, buy yourselves a talking blood pressure monitoring device with memory if possible. Have your doctor prescribe it for you and get it approved by your health insurance.

Additionally, buy yourselves a talking scale, perhaps one that also announces the body fat (body fat analysis scale), however their way of speaking requires some getting used to.

9.6.2 In hospital and related institutions

Owing to your blindness, request the staff here to

- address you by your name if you are still unable to identify them by their voice. Also request them to:

- Introduce you to other patients,

- serve meals at the table if possible and, if necessary, to cut meat and fish as well as potatos,

- inform you when some medicine or drink is placed on the side table,

- help you when you wish to get up or help you to the room, and to orient you in the room,

- guide you correctly when being escorted to a treatment room, i.e. to allow you to hold their elbow from behind,

- and to allow you to do whatever you can on your own.

Be friendly to every man, but articulate your requirements, and complain if necessary and if they do not make appropriate adjustments to accommodate your blindness adequately.

Sign a consent form prior to a medical intervention only after the doctor has read.

All these points are also valid for a rehabilitation centre and for treatment at a health resort. Additionally, request the staff to show you the route to the dining hall, the cafeteria and your treatment rooms, so that you can probably go alone using your white cane. If you are unable to identify your room number, mark the latch of your room with a rubber ring in order to ensure that you will be able to locate your room again and always remove the key. This is the only way for you to be certain that you don’t open another door instead of yours.

9.6.3 Sleep disorder

We are, depending on the type and degree of visual impairment, restricted more or less in our current activities and therefore need to remain fresh instead of becoming inactive.

You can listen to books using a Daisy player or a cassette recorder.

Additionally, search for games that you can either play alone or with others.

You should keep yourselves continuously busy, particularly when you can hardly see or not see at all. When you are totally deprived of light perception, which manages Melatonin in the body, you are then awake throughout the day. You may sleep badly at night or sleep through or wake up very early. If you do not control this systematically, your circadian rhythm (day-night rhythm) will go haywire. Even after my retirement, I therefore get up punctually and keep myself busy - apart from a short nap - during the entire day.





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