Bridge and Blindness

My Mom started a bridge club over 20 years ago. They play once a week. But over time, Mom has been losing her vision from wet macular degeneration. She found large print bridge cards with larger numbers and symbols for people with low vision. The club members agreed to use them. She needed extra lighting. They provided it when bridge was at their house. Recently, she couldn’t tell the difference between black clubs and spades or red hearts and diamonds. The members had to start calling the suit when they played a card.

Her eyes have gotten worse lately. One of the bridge club members drove Mom to her last treatment appointment. Three needles. In each eye. I don’t know if I could be brave enough for that.

I found a double set of playing cards on-line meant for visually impaired people. They have really big numbers and symbols. Plus blue clubs, red hearts, black spades and green diamonds. Otherwise they are exactly the same as other playing cards. They just make it easier for visually impaired people to see and identify the different cards and suits.

Mom took them to her last bridge club game. She asked if they would mind trying them. At least for one hand. One of the ladies said, “Fine.”

The Driver said, “No.”

The Spare, not an actual member of this bridge club, said nothing.

“Can’t we try them just for one hand?” asked the first lady.

“We’ve accommodated you enough,” said Driver to Mom.

Mom was in shock. She left immediately. The Spare drove her home. As Mom got out of the car, the Spare leaned over towards the open car door. “I would have played with those cards. But I’m only a spare. I didn’t feel I could say anything since I’m not a member of your club.”

Mom went inside and cried for hours. (Which doesn’t help the eyes any.) She decided to quit the bridge club. Sending them a polite e-mail to say she was done with them.

I’m shocked too. I didn’t realize there was a limit to accommodating people with illnesses, impairments or disabilities. To me, it’s like telling someone with a cane, “You’re too slow. I’m leaving you behind.” (I’ve had that happen. It didn’t feel good.)

It’s like not turning down the music if asked by someone with hearing loss, tinnitus or sensitive ears. It’s like refusing to wear an FM mike when asked to help someone with hearing loss hear better (e.g. in a classroom, meeting, restaurant or whenever).

I don’t understand people with this attitude. It’s mind boggling.

BTW, kudos to Apple and their latest iPad update with magnifier for fine text feature. Now my Mom can read her mail and books. You triple click the Home button, access camera, take picture of text, feature auto-focuses, then you can zoom in using touch screen. It doesn’t save the pictures using this feature. Apple also has other accessibility features for low vision and low hearing.

© 2017 Jan L. Mayes

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10 thoughts on “Bridge and Blindness”

  1. How mean, your poor mum. There would have been no issue in an extra hand so I can’t see the problem. I hope your mum is doing better now?

    1. We even noticed after that you could hold the cards so only the regular coloured suits showed. Thanks for commenting. They were mean. She’s doing ok. Trying to find a new hobby or something social to do. Jan

    1. She can’t find another bridge group, but she’s going to plan something else weekly to keep her busy. I agree. Terrible way to treat anyone, especially an 82 year old. Jan

  2. I was sick when I read this. I wonder how Driver will feel when he or she inevitably needs help someday. I hope Driver remembers this incident and asks forgiveness. Kudos to you and your mother for continuing to look for ways to accommodate her visual impairments.

    1. Glad you liked it. I just found out Apple latest update added ‘magnifier for small font’ feature. Works awesome for my Mom’s iPad to read books, letters, etc. So kudos to Apple for that. They have many accessibility features for low vision and low hearing. Jan

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