Community Outreach Manager Elli Altman started as a patient of Vision Specialists of Michigan. Now she teaches others how to identify a vision misalignment.
Four weeks ago, in the midst of a particularly interesting conversation, a man told me that he was going to send me a book. Now, this is a book about something of tremendous interest to me. I could not wait to receive it.
Days later – it arrived. I was so excited. And this is what has happened since that day……
The book is always near me. I take it to work. It rides shotgun in the car with me. I bring it in the house at the end of my work day where I move it from the kitchen table to the end table to the night stand. I touch it. I carry it. I think about it a lot. But read it???? Not one page. I want to read it. I desperately want to read it.
This is a life-long pattern. Born with eyes that don’t work together, I struggled in school. Of all tasks, reading was the most difficult. While my right eye was attempting to move across a line of print, my left eye was having a field day roaming all over the page, picking up random words and transplanting them somewhere within the words my right eye was reading. Visual chaos. Frustrating? Tiring? Confusing? Stagnating? All of the above.
And, most of all? It was my secret. I don’t know that I even understood it. I kept saying that I was a slow reader. Trying to read faster never met with success.
For decades I bought books, still thinking that I would read them. The pattern repeated – carrying the book around with me – but never opening them. Never reading them. Finally, finally, I stopped buying books.
And then came the day I became a patient at VSM and was fit with aligning glasses. From the very first day that I put the glasses on my face, I wondered what might happen if I tried to read a book. At 62 years old, I realize that I never learned the skill of reading. I can read words. I can read phrases. More than that is pretty much beyond my ability.
So, although I am delighted to receive the book – it conjures up the feelings of a lifetime of unmet expectations, disappointment, and struggle.
But, maybe tonight I will read that book……
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