Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Beginning

Let me take you  way back to the very beginning of my story.

I was married in 1999 to my high school sweetheart, Erick.  We both were working at pretty good jobs - Erick, an accountant, and  I, as a research coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh.  We owned a home in the suburbs of Pittsburgh  which was very convenient  for me to get to work since it was on a bus line.  I had to bus into and from work because I don't have a driver's license.

Yes, that's right, I don't drive.  I never did (well at least not legally).  When I was a Sophomore in high school, I started noticing that I couldn't make out the writing on the  chalkboards very clearly and people's faces were blurred from a distance.  After a few tests with on the the best Ophthalmologists in the city, it was determined that I would be diagnosed with Stargardt's Disease.  I like to explain to people that i's very similar to Macular Degeneration but instead, it occurs in children and adolescents.  So, I was given corrective lenses to help with the vision that I still had but there are no treatments for the disease itself.  So, I sat up front in all of my classes and my teachers would give me large print versions of tests, etc.  I couldn't read anything from a regular text book.  The local Lion's Club provided me with a Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) which is a machine that magnifies text.  It was the only way I could read anything clearly.

I think back to my high school years (which I absolutely adored) and think people must have not known about my visual impairment unless they were in a class with me.  I probably ignored people walking through the hallways of school because I honestly couldn't make out faces clear enough sometimes to identify someone.

How do I do work on the computer?  There are such great resources now for people with visual handicaps.  I use a program called Zoom Text.  It automatically enlarged the fonts and icons to whatever size I set it up to be.  It's wonderful.  Yes, I still miss things and easily make typos but it does the job.

I digress....

OK, we're married and working, living in Edgewood, and we own a dog and a few fish.  Pretty easy life.  After all of our close friends all got married, some of them decided to start having families.  We weren't quite there yet.  We really liked the freedom of this life of no real responsibilities.  Then as the babies started arriving,  I started to get the  itch.  We decided to not try but not take precautions either.  In September of 2002, we found out that we were expecting a baby.

THIS is where the story of Olivia would begin.

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