A vision of success

Phyllis Wells gets guidance from Jeremy Hill, regional manager for Guide Dogs across northern NSW.
Phyllis Wells gets guidance from Jeremy Hill, regional manager for Guide Dogs across northern NSW.

WHEN Phyllis Wells had a stroke in April she found herself with a blind spot in her vision.

Suddenly Phyllis was bumping into shelving in the supermarket and walking into walls at home.

Though medically Phyllis had received a great deal of help with the after effects of the stroke, she said no one had addressed the vision problem.

Fortunately Phyllis is a woman of action and she didn't stay quiet about her limitations.

She also didn't let it hold her back from enjoying life to the fullest.

Manning Referral Hospital put her in touch with optometrist Dennis Smith at Wingham Eyecare who was able to introduce Phyllis to the Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

Although she didn't need a guide dog, Phyllis did need some help with the little things that were suddenly difficult to do.

"There are lots of practical things we can do to help free of charge," said Guide Dogs NSW/ACT regional manager Jeremy Hill.

Jeremy soon visited Phyllis at home and set about advising her on simple changes that would have a big impact.

For example Phyllis kept walking into a particular doorway in her home.

The area was painted grey but Phyllis was advised to re-paint with a simple lick of white paint.

The result was massive.

Phyllis no longer walks into the doorway as she can see it more clearly now.

"It was the best suggestion," she enthuses.

Phyllis has become a patient at the new Low Vision Clinic at Wingham Eyecare which is open once a month.

"You can't do it on your own," she advises.

"You need advice and suggestions."

Often eyesight deteriorates over time and many people don't realise.

"Eyesight problems do creep up on people," said Dennis.

"Glaucoma for example is known as a sneak thief of vision."

"Speak to your Dr with any fears," advises Phyllis.

"Just tell somebody."

A determination to succeed

AFTER Phyllis suffered a stroke she found herself in Manning Hospital and then John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle.

She said the experience was scary.

But it was very early on in her recovery that Phyllis made a conscious decision to be positive about her recovery.

"Life's too short to be negative," she said.

Faced with a life that was altered, at least temporarily, Phyllis suddenly had to make adjustments and work harder at the little things that previously came so naturally.

She said it would have been easy to become a victim and to give up on life.

But Phyllis set a strong intention and she hasn't looked back.

"I was determined not to let it beat me," she admits.

As a knitter, Phyllis found her once pleasurable past time difficult to do.

"I thought, 'how the heck am I going to do that?'"

But Phyllis knew there would be a way and refused to accept defeat.

Now she is back to knitting coat hangers and is improving each day.

"They may not be the neatest, but I'm doing it," she said.

"I've chosen to do it."