This Christmas has been very different to any in the past, thanks to MS. Of course different does not necessarily mean worse and I've really enjoyed time with family who have understood and accommodated my pain, fatigue and inability to see stuff.
Christmas in our family is a time for games, particularly board games; and these are problematic when you can't see very well. But we've had a go and here's how they've faired.
You won't be surprised to hear that there's no joy playing Scrabble when you need to use magnifiers to read the tiles. It's hard enough reading your own tiles without trying to read what's on the board. I tried using my phone to take photos of the board to help me but it took so much longer that everyone else got bored. Unless anyone has any cunning solutions I think my scrabble days are behind me. And yes, I know I could play in a pair but whispering doesn't work that well.
The great thing about chess, as I discovered when I taught Rachel to play when she was about 4 or 5, is that the pieces move in the direction of their shape. This means that I can feel the pieces to identify them if I can't easily tell what they are. The second great thing about our main chess set is that it's large and the pieces are clearly different from each other. And of course the board is black and white which is the best possible contrast for me to see. Chess remains a very playable game, if only for two people at a time.
I bought Rachel the card game 'sussed' in September when I started Christmas shopping and I can confirm it was a really good choice. We played it with Mike's parents and had a very funny hour guessing what we each thought our favourite or worst or craziest things to do, watch or play are. It's good to know that i know Rachel and Mike really well and they're not bad at knowing me, if a bit dodgy on each other. But the funniest was seeing what Mike's parents thought Mike might answer, he's not the boy they still see him as. There are challenges playing 'sussed' with poor vision but with a little bit of help and a magnifier I made it work and it was well worth it.
What would Christmas be without family falling outs over house building in monopoly? This year Rachel's cousins pleaded with us to play with them and thanks to the kids throwing my dice, moving my piece (the Scotty dog of course) and reading the names of the streets I merrily joined in. I found myself a lot less worried by the outcome and enjoyed playing more than usual, now that's a turn up for the books.
I love games and I love drawing, despite not being great at either; but sadly sight loss made pictionary impossible to play. And my crazy idea of trying actions or modelling were equally useless. However a friend gave us "hum that tune" and I can't wait to try that - watch this space for how that works because Mike and his family are not the right people to play humming or music identifying with.
The brain still works so what could possibly stand in my way of playing trivial pursuit? Oh yes, my lack of general knowledge about every subject I'm quizzed on (and yet my freaky knowledge of everyone else's answers). I can confirm I can still play, but it's never going to be a game I win and so it won't be top of my list. Me, competitive? No!
The aforementioned friend and another friend obviously had the same great idea for Christmas and I love them both for it. Large print playing cards. Awesome! We always play card games and my sight won't stop us now.