It Pains Me . . .

By Dick Barbuto

One of my previous posts dealt with people who were not sure how to treat people with disabilities i.e., people who wanted to be helpful but were not sure how to best accomplish that.  Here I will attempt to discuss relationships (or the lack thereof) with friends who cannot “handle” disabilities.  These people sometimes become former friends or friends that you longer spend much time with.  (For all you grammarians I am advised that it is now permissible to end a sentence with a preposition.)

              Let me tell you about two friends who had very strong reactions to my loss of sight.  A little background may be useful.  I have low vision and use a long white cane to get around.  This is the result of diabetic retinopathy which caused severe vision loss about 9 years ago. The first friend, we’ll call him A is also diabetic.  The second friend, B, had a wife who also has diabetes.  I don’t know if the fact that both had their lives influenced by diabetes is significant or not.  I point it out because I suspect that it does.  Maybe someone much smarter than I am can supply an answer to that one.

              Shortly after my vision loss I dined with A at a local restaurant.  During the meal A decided to tell me that “it pains me to see you like this.”  (I wasn’t too happy about the vision loss either in case you read this, A.)  And let me be clear, during this and subsequent conversations it became clear that A was looking at this not in the sense that he felt badly for me but rather, that my situation was difficult for him to handle.  Eventually, we no longer talked on the phone or got together socially, with rare exception.  When we did see one another it was fairly obvious that he was still “pained.”

              I was extremely friendly with B and had been for 25 of the 30 years that I knew him.  We worked in the same office for years, shared season tickets to the Jets, traveled and socialized with our spouses and most people knew us to be extremely close. 

              Unfortunately when I lost most of my vision things changed radically.  B stopped calling.  He infrequently took my calls and when I left him a message (numerous times) he almost never called back.  Even more importantly, we did not see one another for the last five years of his life.  B passed away about 3 years ago.
              With A, I was mildly disappointed for about 5 minutes that he was “pained to see me with visual issues.  With B, I was really pissed off.  I went to the funeral services for B.  Many people remembered some very funny stories about things that B and I had done in the past and some told me B was always telling people what a great guy I was.  I kept my mouth shut but wanted to ask how he knew, not having seen me and all for 5 years. 

              What does all this mean?  I’m not sure I know.  As I look back on the 2 relationships I should have handled them in a different fashion.  I should have tried to let both A and B know that I could still do everything (OK, I can’t drive) that I did before and I was the same guy.  I wish that I had done that.  I am still pissed off and maybe I wouldn’t be if I had been a little more ready to explore these situations. 

              So I guess the good news is that I have learned from these experiences.  I now have a lot of new friends.    What’s that about when one door closes another opens?




02/12/2016 11:45pm

Can I simply just say what a comfort to find somebody who truly knows what they are discussing on the web. You definitely know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people should read this and understand this side of your story. It's surprising you aren't more popular given that you most certainly possess the gift.

03/11/2016 5:02am

It is very painful to see that loss of vision can affect a human life this much. Very sorry to hear your story.Are you getting proper treatments?
Please visit to know anything regarding eye problems.

03/18/2016 12:24pm

I may recommend you a painkillers but you may become like Dr House.


Excellent posts to read keep it up and keep going on this way. And keep sharing these types of things Thanks

09/16/2016 6:02am

If you unsure at something it is better not to do this way.


very informative blog thanks for sharing


Just do a simple immediate cremation and then have a very awesome memorial service at your cathedral. It will cost very little. Get expenses from several locations because cremation expenses are different a lot for so. I would never want my family to go into debts to pay for my memorial.

02/05/2017 9:11am

02/27/2017 4:40pm

Am really feel very sorry to read the article. The disable people are part of our society, and they deserve our attention and sympathy. If we are normal we thank our God who has bestowed us with his blessings and make us normal.Try to spend some time with these innocent and sensitive people.


The best way is don't panic and consult a good doctor. Diabetes isn't doom.

06/05/2017 1:46am

Make your weakness you power by having faith on yourself.

06/05/2017 1:58am

Indeed, when one door closes another surely opens.


Great post.


Nice information.

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