How I Went Blind For A Year; One night, I danced with army Winehouse without realizing it. “How many fingers am I holding up? People love to ask that when they find out you have bad eyesight. But that’s exactly how I realized I was going blind.
In December 2019, I was 21 and had just begun my second year of training to be an actor in
Mombasa. I had been doing 12-hour rehearsal, Six days a week. When I stretched out my arm
and looked at my hand, I couldn’t see where one finger ended and another began.
I went to an optician and was promptly send to the Coast general hospital for specialized treatment. My optic nerves had swollen up. Frustratingly, no one knew why. The doctors thought I might have brain tumors or cancer so they send me for a CT scan.
Afterward, in the lift, the nurse confided that everything looked fine. I was kept in and passed from specialist to specialist. I showed no other symptoms-no headaches, loss of balance, or dizziness.
After two weeks, I was discharged, just in time to join my family for Christmas. Going homemade it all feels real. I had been given a course of steroids to reduce the swelling.
They didn’t work. I was scared; I cried and was emotionally exhausted.
It was hard watching my younger brothers open their presents, unsure if that was the last Christmas I had seen them do it, they already looked soft around the edges. By the New Year, I had lost the majority of my eyesight: all I saw was a flesh-colored blur, except for a very small amount of peripheral vision.
I didn’t want to sit around my parents’ house waiting for my sight to come back, so I decided to continue my move. Most times people asked why I didn’t get a guide dog or a white cane and the truth is I don’t know.
Foolish pride, perhaps. A refusal to face the possibility that the damage might be permanent. Glasses wouldn’t have helped the swollen optic nerve that was obstructing my vision.
Over the next two months, I was not an ideal actor to work with. In one production, I knocked
over the only piece of setting their was-agree.
I played Macbeth and lost my dagger during the “Is this a dagger which I see before me” scene. Once, I thought I saw a classmate hunched over, crying, during rehearsals. It was, in fact, a table.
Friends cooked for me, steered me around puddles and helped me tackle stairs. We joked about my blindness together. Sometimes, if I placed a glass down they would move it a small distance and watch with delights as I trapped around trying to find it; I loved it, because I knew I hadn’t become a burden tolerated only out of pity.
One night, drunk with some friends, I danced with army Winehouse without realizing it until
later; she said Nice dancing and hi-fived me as she walked by. I was incredibly grateful for music, but I missed books and films a lot.
Most of all, I missed faces. Every night for the first three months, I dreamed about my day, replaying it, but with the faces this time. One day, a year or so after my eyesight went; I was walking down the streets with two friends.
They stopped to queue a cash machine “ There’s another cash machine inside,” Off I went down the road, full of glee, repeating the phrase to passersby, who must have thought
I’d lost my mind.
My self-esteem was lowered as I felt like an outcast. Most time I would seat by myself deep in thoughts and wondering what was going on. I visited a doctor after a doctor with no fruits.
It was until a friend informed me about Kiwanga doctors, herbal doctors who treat a wide range of illnesses; I booked an appointment and met doctor Kiwanga. He informed me that
my blindness was hereditary and would end it.
He gave me the herbal medicine and after two days I was feeling much better back to my good health again.