The Alluem Little Kids and I have been working on our 5 senses over the past few weeks. The first sense we worked with was sight and this past weekend we worked with touch. We read from a collection of pet storybooks such as Extraordinary Pets and my favorite Dr. Seuss Touch & Feel Book Wet Pet, Dry Pet, Your Pet, My Pet. We discussed how all living things, pets, plants, and ourselves, need to be handled with care.
This past weekend, I pulled it all together and learned my lesson...after class I took nap. About 20 minutes into my nap I woke up with a sharp pain in my eye...my contact had adhered itself to my eye, a problem I've had before. In a rush to relieve the pain, (warning: not for weak stomachs), I ripped my contact out of my eye, tearing my cornea right along with it. Needless to say, I did not handle with care and for the next 4 hours I cried as I sat waiting for the doctor to see me in the Emergency Room. Since the pain was too much when the lid passed over the eye, I held it closed with a cool compress. When the doctor finally came to exam my eye and forced it open, I found my perfect opportunity to practice my deep breathing through the tears and tremors. Inhaling to the count of 4, exhaling to the count of 5. Long deep breaths helped slow down my heart rate and calm me down. Thank you, yoga. The doctor confirmed I had a severely torn
cornea in my right eye and sent me home with a patch and drops. For the next couple of days at home, it still hurt to blink, even with the patch helping to keep my eye shut...so I left both eyes closed the majority of the time. In all honesty, I have a new found respect for the blind. I could not imagine what it would be like to permanently be without sight. We often take these things for granted - seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting. It shouldn't take a torn cornea for us to slow down and appreciate what we have...I really don't recommend it!!
To bring this appreciation of sight to our children, I recalled one of the most beautifully illustrated children's books - The Seeing Stick by Jane Yolen. In this book the Emperor of China has a daughter who has been blind since birth. Her father wants nothing more for her to be able to see, so he offers up an award to anyone who can make that happen. He is surprised when a ragged old man approaches them with his Seeing Stick - a stick in which the old man has carved the saga of his travels into. When he explains how you do not need only your eyes to see, but can use your hands to feel, another way of seeing is revealed. It is a beautifully written story that goes right to the heart. And as the young girl grows, she shares her gift of sight with other children just like her.