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See the White Stick? Blind and Invisible. What's the Problem?

Updated on June 4, 2012
A Quiet Time. Getting about and dealing with some situations can be frustrating.
A Quiet Time. Getting about and dealing with some situations can be frustrating.


You know when you walk into your doctors office? Does the receptionist smile to you nicely and say "Sign in please?"

Well imagine that situation, except you can't see much more than a blurr of light, you can hardly see the receptionist let alone the slip of paper you are meant to sign in on.

It seems to be happening to me a lot lately. I wait in line to reach the front of the line. Only to hear a young female voice say "Just sign in." Generally I would meekly say, "I'm sorry. Where do I sign?" Hoping that she may notice the white cane in my hand, at nearly five feet long and made with a binding of reflective tape, that even I can see, she fails to notice. "There is a signing in sheet there."

For Heavens Sake. Do you have eyes but don't use them?

Lately I have been getting more brusque in my replies. I am becoming the grumpy blind man who cries out " I'M BLIND!"

"Ok/ Just sign in/" The reply is enough to have me thrash around whailing like a banshee,.

Small Victories

Life is full of small victories. On one occassion I took up a pen and signed in. Across five lines of other peoples names it seems. There was a squeal of indignation from behind the reception desk.

"You should only use ONE LINE!"

Didn't I? Oh I am sorry I am blind. Is what I'd like to say. But keeping my mouth tightly shut, I stare blankly back towards the now whining receptionist.

It's Just Frustrating

It is not just the fact that doctors receptionists have become robotic in their demands to "Sign in." When some occasionally offer help they do so badly. One a few weeks ago, almost arm wrestled me to force a pen into my right hand as I attempted to take the pen in my left hand. Despite my protests that I am left handed, there was no way she would not try to force me to hold the pen in my right hand which was already full with my white cane and a bag containing medicines.

I just had to accept that with blindness comes stupidity. Sadly it appears that it is my own stupidity. Expecting that people will use their eyes. Understand what a white cane means, and then act appropriately.


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    • Didge profile image


      9 years ago from Southern England

      NICE hub

    • Bretsuki profile imageAUTHOR

      William Elliott 

      9 years ago from California USA

      Hello Alexander Mark,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I do very much appreciate any comments.

      Very true, people do go about in their own world. I know I used to think differently when I could see and I thought that most people could see what I saw. Since going blind, I have come to notice how the world changes in relation to what you can see.

      For instance, a series of oil spills on a street, is that just a surface stain? Or is it a deep hole I could break a leg falling into. That oil spot can cause major problems if you only have limited vision. That is just one example.

      I am glad that you liked my signing sheet encounter. Life needs some comic relief and you can probably imagine my demonic giggles (under my breath) when the doctors receptionist was left to complain that a blind man had not filled in the signing in sheet correctly. :)

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 

      9 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      People are often idiots - they often cannot fathom that your world may be very different from theirs and I think that is a human compulsion. All this does not help you to feel better or deal with people who can see but are blinded by their own worldview!

      At work, or any time I interact with people, I make an effort to treat people with disabilities with sensitivity to their needs, and I am also careful to treat them as I would anyone else. It's good to share your experiences with us and accidentally writing your name across the entire sign in sheet is hilarious.

      What effect would it have on you if, once you realize that a person is ignorant, you tell them flat out you are blind and raise the cane so they will notice and make the connection?

      I think that would be just as annoying to you, as I would grow tired of explaining something so simple over and over again. I deal with a high volume of customers at my job, and I know how tedious it can be to tell a hundred people the exact same thing on a daily basis.

      I have seen a lot, but after reading this hub, I am still amazed at human stupidity.


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