November 30, 2013

Doug's World

by Pam
The Laser Master Worlds in Oman right now is a bit of a throw back regatta for Doug. With the oil in his good eye, his vision is such that he's struggling to see and recognize people. 

When I first met him (before his multiple eye surgeries), he seemed so very odd because he would say hello to the same person repeatedly on the docks as if he'd just seen them for the first time that day. Come to find out, everyone was a blur and he didn't know who he was talking to until he either recognized their voice, the subject they were talking about or some distinctive hat or clothing color. Added to the vision problem is that his hearing isn't the best so when someone would talk to him and he couldn't see their lips moving, he wasn't sure who was talking, if they were talking to him, or what they were saying so he'd just start talking about random subjects that seemed to have no connection to the conversation taking place. Until I realized what was happening, I thought he was just the strangest guy.

We were talking by Skype this evening and he tells me he's finding himself avoiding eye contact with folks in Oman (like he use to) because of the whole 'who is that, are they talking to me and what the heck did they just say?'  So, if you're in Oman and you read this blog, help Doug out by putting a hand on his shoulder, talking loudly and identifying yourself every time you strike up a conversation. He does much better once he's on the water. To him, people have distinctive ways of sailing, be it their posture, where they sit, hiking style, their boat handling, sail trim, etc. Even though he has much better recognition on the water, he still can't hear very well. So if he ignores you, he isn't being rude on purpose. All that said, do not cut him any slack on the water or you'll regret it. 

After several eye surgeries, Doug's vision was better than 20/20 in his good eye (which it will be again when the oil comes out in a couple of months).  For reference, we were once looking at some blurry pictures and I asked him to point out which ones were close to what his vision use to be. Check it out ... it just blows my mind!

Doug's vision in 2006 when he won the Worlds in Korea
Doug's vision in 2009 when he came 6th at the Worlds in Halifax but he claims his weight was the biggest problem

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