Southampton Sight delivers sight loss awareness sessions at Southampton University Hospital Trust as part of the 4th year medical student Ophthalmology week. Initially this was a voluntary element, but has now become a mandatory part of the weeks learning. However, proving IMPACT can always be difficult so this real testimony from Kate shows that this learning has made a REAL difference.
“Yesterday something happened that shocked and pleased me at the same time. I was on my way to meet my partner for our last visit to a pub before England’s second national lock down. I was approaching a rather complicated junction and as I do not do this route every day, I could not quite remember the exact location of the traffic lights. I found the box and the spinning cone that would tell me it was safe to cross but because of the angle of the box and the fact that the pavement isn’t straight I hadn’t realised that when I stepped into the road I wasn’t aware that I’d not walked in a straight line so when I thought I should have been approaching the central island I just couldn’t figure out where it was. Adding to my anxiety I could hear traffic moving in front of me and just did not know what to do.
Luckily, a cyclist had spotted me and over the noise of the vehicles tried to give me some verbal guidance, but I was so panic stricken that I just could not move. Fortunately, someone else had seen what was going on and approached me and kindly guided me away from my situation and helped me to continue some of my journey. While I was being guided by this lovely stranger who had gone out of their way to help me and to make me feel safe, I asked him how he knew to guide me. He said he was a doctor and he had voluntarily attended a sight loss awareness session two years ago when he was a fourth-year medic student. I was shocked and was convinced that he had attended one of the very first sight loss awareness training sessions that Southampton Sight delivered at Southampton General hospital.
I did make it to the pub by the way feeling very relieved and grateful for the time he had taken to help me and am elated that he’d remembered what he had been taught two years ago. When the sight loss awareness workshops for medic students started, I never imagined that one of the students would end up remembering what my colleagues and I had taught him and used it to rescue me.
Life has its own little ways of proving that people are willing to help others in times of worry and distress and even when the world is in the middle of a pandemic. I cannot thank the individual enough and although I would have been ok and would have eventually found my way, he enabled me to feel safer and got me out of the situation faster than I would have gotten out of it myself.