Before I became a nurse I worked as a cleaner for elderly people. They hired my employer and he send me to the job. By the time this happened my boss found out I was quite good at working with people who were (almost) blind. I had 4 clients, 3 of them were legally blind, although all 3 could see vague shapes in a well-lit room.
Mrs C. was a lovely old lady, almost 90 years old. She lived in an apartment close to a care home. Her meals were brought to her from the care home kitchen and she could join in with the activities organised by the care home. Mrs C. was quite a good sjoeler, despite being legally blind. She had no idea what she did, but she’d won the competition at least 4 time in the past few years. A few months ago her washing machine broke down and her nephew (she had no children) and I had decided it was best to let the care home do her laundry. She frequently over-filled the washing machine and once I stood knee-deep in foam when she managed to empty a whole bottle of laundry detergent into the machine. She wasn’t too happy about it, as it ment that she had to go and pick up her laundry every week, but when I promised I’d go with her for that walk she’d given in.
On this morning, it was around 10.30 AM, Mrs C. and I were on our way to the laundry room of the care home. She told me that a new neighbour was moving into the apartment next to hers. Her old neighbour passed away just a few weeks earlier and, as all deaths did to her, she was quite distraught by this. We picked up the clean laundry and walked back to her apartment, through the long, well-lit corridor. We passed a neighbour, recognized by Mrs C. as Mr V. “Good morning Mr V.” She said. “morning Mrs. C.” Mr V. replied back. By the door of the empty apartment Mrs C. saw another vague shape. As she wasn’t sure what the name of the new neighbour was she tried to be polite and said “Good morning”. The shape said nothing back. Barely 2 steps further she told me, just a tad too hard “Well, that’s not very nice. One could at least say good morning back.” I had a really hard time controlling my laughter, but managed to say “Shht, Mrs C. You can’t say that when you’re still in earshot. You have to wait a few seconds longer.” But I couldn’t tell her why the shape said nothing back. Because how do you tell someone she just said hello to a vacuum cleaner?
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