During our 2nd year of B-school, E|B told me she had been talking to one of our friends (a real smarty) and she had mentioned she had been reading an interesting book called Valuation. We laughed because our friend’s recreational reading was the textbook for our current Finance course. I was an English major as an undergrad, which comes in handy now since I write a lot, but before I got sick, I was thrilled that Business School taught me the skill of valuation and that Corporate America is willing to pay people like me to attach dollar amounts to the value of a product or service.
I told PT6 once that if he invented a pill that would make people walk without actually…you know…walking, I’d run his numbers for him and ideally he could retire early while beefing up his sons’ College Fund. (I had requested some sort of walking work-around once, but was told that there was no way to learn to walk except actually doing it.) My offer still stands.
I no longer build models that represent value creation – I just do it in my head now. Unfortunately, a spreadsheet would probably help since I just realized that I’ve been unconsciously specializing in value depletion for 30+ years. Specifically, I’ve devalued the input from my left eye since birth.
FYI, I’ve had a “lazy” eye (the left one) since I was a baby, and have largely ignored its input since the corrective lens in my right eye is much less drastic, so the image is therefore larger when I look out of my right eye. The fact that I’ve unconsciously turned “off” one eye’s image has worked in my favor since many people with injuries like mine suffer from double vision, but I don’t (I just have other issues, but am so thankful that double vision has not been added to the list).
I’ve been working on an exercise at VT that involves wearing some special lenses that allow you to “see” double. One of the images is smaller than the other one for me, but I’m supposed to recognize them both as “real.” I know it sounds like a simple concept, but it’s a huge paradigm shift for me. I’ve dismissed my left eye’s image for my whole life as inferior and not worth paying attention to, but now I understand it’s an actual representation of reality and I should stop ignoring it. I have been blessed with two eyes that both function at some level – a pretty high level, relative to what I’ve seen lately – and I’d like to use them.
To be clear, I was never unhappy with the way I saw things in the past. Sure, I couldn’t hit a baseball or park a car well (these things are much easier for those who have appropriate depth perception), but I had some other skills that made up for these deficiencies. It’s just that I’ve lost a lot of abilities since my brain bled, and the idea of using both eyes better (as opposed to just bringing the one I used before I got sick back to its baseline) is pretty astounding to me. This would not be just regaining what I lost, although I know regaining what I’ve lost would be more than many others receive, this would be a truly additive gain – and I’m really into additive gains.
Even if I do learn to use both eyes together, I may never hit a baseball or park a car well (or unwell), but I would still be able to do things (see in a manner) I couldn’t do in my old life. My test results indicate that my left eye is “waking up” in a manner of speaking, and I’m trying to pay attention to it more during Therapy, but the mere realization that my left eye’s input is truly valuable is the foundation of my big change. It makes me think of how many things/people in my life I’ve devalued. Now that I’m in a position to be a bit of a sideshow in public, it’s hard for me not to imagine what people are thinking when they see me. I once asked Mom if she thought people were laughing at me, and she said, No – of course not. If anything, they want to help you if they can.
I surmise that there’s a huge discrepancy between how much time people spend looking at/thinking of me versus how much time I spend thinking of myself, but I think Mom’s right – when people actually talk to us in public, it’s usually to offer assistance. I know their courteousness must be somehow rooted in pity, but hey, the Psalms confirm that I’m a “poor and needy” person, and these strangers’ manner is always polite and I honor their desire to speak up and help, and confirm the fact that yes, I often need it.
It’s these little gestures that remind me that I’m disabled but also that a little bit of kindness stirs the fire of value-creation into a warm blaze. Like today, at PT – we were doing manual strength testing and I was lying on the mat. PT37 has a student (an intern?) hanging out with us on Tuesdays, and we were practicing strength testing in preparation for her exam this week. Apparently you can test hip flexors or something either standing up or lying down. Of course, I voted for lying down. So I got pushed around while lying on the mat. I was wearing the gait belt in preparation for the balance testing that followed shortly thereafter, and my shirt was getting bunched up under it. I couldn’t see who was doing it, but my shirt got adjusted nicely a few times so I was decorously arranged while lying there. Thank you!
When I was too unaware to notice things like the arrangement of my shirt, Mommy and J have informed me which PT’s were especially good at remembering to adjust my clothes for modesty’s sake. I know PT’s see all sorts of things in the gym, but the little courtesy of shirt-adjustment is so valuable to me. It reminds me that yes, although we are in RecoveryLand, there are guidelines to be observed and as a member of humanity, these guidelines apply to me even though I almost fell on top of you just now. I know they must teach you how to stop someone from falling in PT school, but I suppose the shirt-adjustment thing is something you learn on the job – it’s one of those small gestures that gets translated into every day life without any loss of value. It’s just an instance of someone looking out for someone else.