The Day I Broke my Vision – Part 1

The Day I Broke my Vision - Part 1

I take personal responsibility for others quite deeply. This is probably why, when it comes to technology, I focused very heavily on what we’re now calling the User Experience. 

Maybe it’s because I’m fascinated by people, how they act, how they make decisions, why they choose to do things that may defy my version of logic, or my preferences.

That may come from growing up with an older sister who was severely handicapped: Blind from near birth, and later developing what was finally diagnosed as autism. To communicate and understand her took putting myself in how I would guess she was experiencing and responding to the world. 

Due to her need for complete monitoring and supervision for her well being, I became her legal guardian for what became the last years of her life. Just four years apart in age, I am not even quite sure how to map the complexity of our relationship at that point in our lives. I did, however, have that strong sense of responsibility overriding many areas of my decisions involving not only myself for my own desired goals, but influencing other relationships, my work, my career, even my unscheduled parts of my life.

In 2012 I took my sister to the hospital, bundling her into my car, the home attendant along side her in the back seat, and drove to the emergency room in a large medical facility in Long Island.

Accompanying her into the room, I held her hand, while they put in an IV into the back of one of her very small hands. Then I stood a few feet away as they continued to add monitoring devices.

Standing there, with no chair in sight, I noticed my ears start to ring loudly: a sure sign my blood pressure was dropping, and knowing I’m prone to vasovagal syncope, I thought I could fight off fainting just by taking deep breaths and closing my eyes. 

I could not.

I came to confused and tongue tied, disoriented and wondering why I was flat on my back and unable to lift my head. My tongue was lazy, my vision distorted and it took a few minutes to understand that I had fainted standing up, and was now lying in a hospital stretcher on wheels, my head locked in place through a surgical collar around my neck, and was going to be admitted, ironically, even before my sister, into the ICU.

In falling from the standing upright position, I hit the back of my head against the wall with enough force to dent it, throwing my brain forward into the front of my skull and creating a massive subdural hematoma, profusely bleeding into my skull and creating what the doctors called, “shaken baby syndrome”. 

I arrived in the ICU quickly, shaken for certain, and uncertain what would happen to me next. I took stock of my senses: there was enough of everything working, I seemed to be able to think well enough to remember I had to deal with a rental car I used to get to the hospital…but was I really intact? I would fight this. I will fix this. But just what is “THIS”? And how?

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