The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Student loses sight, keeps desire for new experiences

Above: Student assistant Deanna Barnes guides E.T. Baltimore across the pool. Baltimore has a student assistant to help her in all of her classes.
David Reid/The Collegian
Above: Student assistant Deanna Barnes guides E.T. Baltimore across the pool. Baltimore has a student assistant to help her in all of her classes. David Reid/The Collegian

By David Reid/reporter

When E.T. Baltimore wakes up, she does not see what the normal person would see. She sees light, movement and nothing else. Everything is moving, and she cannot perceive what things are.

Legally speaking, she is blind.Seven years ago, she started losing her sight when things would appear to be foggy. After four years, she lost her sight completely.

Something like that could bring most people down, but Baltimore is not most people. Her outlook on life can only be described as positive.

 Student assistant Deanna Barnes guides E.T. Baltimore across the pool. Baltimore has a student assistant to help her in all of her classes. David Reid/The Collegian

She said even before she lost her sight, she wanted to learn to swim. Last summer, she decided to start learning.

Her swimming teacher, Lauri Rule, said she has had to teach Baltimore in ways that differ from her normal teaching routine.

“Because of her blindness, I have to show her technique by touch rather than sight,” she said. “I take her arms and move them how they should move and place her hands on my arms so she can feel my arm movement.”

Baltimore has been grasping the technique and picking up swimming quickly, Rule said.

“Her hard work is an inspiration to us all,” Rule said.

Baltimore sets goals for her time in the pool and works toward them. Her current goal is to swim from one end of the pool to the other and back.

Baltimore said her blindness has not held her back at all in learning to swim.

“I think my difficulties are more physical,” she said. “I didn’t know that I didn’t breathe properly.”

As well as swimming, she is taking painting, conditioning and piano classes, which has helped how she copes with her situation.

“I know that there is a flow, a movement or a rhythm to life,” she said. “Somehow, I know there is an inner spirit and energy to life. Taking these together has brought that to my attention.”

She considers everything that she has been through a journey and a process.

Swimming instructor Lauri Rule helps Baltimore into the pool. After Baltimore lost her sight, she decided she wanted to learn to swim.
David Reid/The Collegian

“I can appreciate life and everything,” she said. “I’ve met young kids that are blind, and I met a 20-something at the school, and I wish I would have been able to give him some of the years of my sight.”

She attributes her upbeat attitude to her belief in God.

“I’ve taken everything in stride,” she said. “It’s a journey and a state, and I don’t think there is any reason to be sad about it. It just is. I woke up one day, and it’s gone. It’s gone. So what? I just move along to the next thing.”

When asked about what she misses the most, she said she misses knowing the outward characteristics of people.

Then she smiled.

“I miss seeing my food,” she said. “I also don’t get to cook on the stove or bake very much.”

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