Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Blindness of my Grandmother Vera Anderson Poole

My Grandma Vera suffered from macular degeneration the last twenty years of her life and spent much of that time with little to no sight at all. She said, "In 1981 while I was married to Bob [Poole], I got a leakage in my eyes and I started to go blind. I have lived with pain in my left leg for years. Now I would say that I can live better with the blindness than with pain. I have learned to live with blindness very well."

She was courageous through her struggle with her blindness and every time she had an appointment in Salt Lake City with her specialist she told her friends that someday she would see again--she really believed it too. But in the meantime she still had to live and make her life worthwhile. She told, "I spent six weeks at the Blind Center in Salt Lake City. It is a rehabilitation situation. If I hadn't gone, it would have been a bad thing. It is ten times harder without that special help. My children were worried about me being there alone, but I got along just fine. I was down and wondering how I was going to do anything in my life. My instructors treated me so well. My advice to anyone would be to not waste any time getting into rehabilitation no matter what your problem."

Her brother Dean Anderson said of her, "Vera is such a vibrant person. Seems like she always makes you feel better after being with her. Vera has had a lot of hard knocks in this old life but has never let it get her down. I love you Vera."

Her niece Ione said of her, "Being blind has not changed her at all. She is still as pretty and bubbly as ever and is still willing to give of herself. I am so proud of her and so grateful for her and thank my Father in heaven everyday for my very special Aunt Vera. All my love goes out to her."

A past bishop, Joseph Austin, told her, "When you could see, you were able to keep your yard very neat and trim. As your sight has been affected, this desire has still been present and trying to maintain your rose bed on your hands and knees was very difficult. Your desire for independence and being self-sufficient is very strong."

No one knows the cause of macular degeneration but the strongest factor seems to be genetic or inherited. It can often run in families.

  • Women have a greater risk.
  • It comes on with increased age.
  • It is more common in lightly pigmented people.
  • Macular degeneration often occurs in people with lightly colored iris'.
  • The disease occurs more often in people with lifelong outdoor jobs and hobbies.
  • Taking prescribed medications like Fosamax may predispose one to macular degeneration.
The only things that can possibly deter it are foods and dietary supplements containing high doses of antioxidants and zinc.

My mother and I have the same disease as Grandma. I look up to my grandmother for her strength and hopefully I can learn from her trials. I don't know much about life, but I do know one thing my grandma did get her eyesight back and is enjoying it in another place.

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