Vestibular Hypofunction, Aging, and Photo Mode

230316103856Soon after I retired, long ago, I had a severe problem with vertigo and dizziness and was found to have a rather sudden case of vestibular hypofunction, but they never pinned down the cause.  After many months, I slowly became able to compensate for it and returned to functioning almost normally; but, many years later, I still have the vestibular problem.

My current situation is that aging has brought on conditions which slowly decrease my ability to deal with the loss of my vestibular functioning; i.e. my abilities to compensate with my eyes, legs, and feet.  These losses are important when working in “photo mode”, especially for someone with vestibular hypofunction.  In my situation, I am referring to “photo mode” as the action of continually swinging my head and turning my body while I scan with my eyes while walking, often on uneven surfaces or among people who are moving around me, as I concentrate on potential images.  These aspects are crucial in walking and continuing to look around to catch photogenic happenings such as in events or on walks.  I have had several close calls of losing my balance and almost falling with my camera in my hands as I move and look around.  Fortunately, I recovered quickly enough, so far.

Since I cannot continue to take chances of falling and injuring myself, I have entered into a program of therapy to help me deal with my conditions.  There is no cure, but I hope to slow down the effects of aging.  Fortunately, we have therapy right here on campus that is provided by Functional Pathways.  They are very good.  While medicine adds days to life, their occupational therapy adds life to my days.  In my case they are working diligently with me to help keep me functioning to continue taking pictures around Homewood.

The above are also reasons that have forced me to see what I can do photographically with the small rugged, easy to carry pocket cameras.  I have already dropped one of them with no harm to the camera.  Since the camera is carried in my pocket I am learning to slow down and stop to look around, and then take out the camera to make a photo during my walks; but, I can’t work that way during events among continual activity.  I need to use bigger, faster, and heavier cameras and lenses and have them in my hands ready to capture images during the events.  I will have to wait and see how much the therapy helps me and then make a decision as to if or when I will have to stop photographing events.

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