When it rains, it pours and there are many clouds.

May 26, 2014 at 7:05 AM | Posted in Artsy Fartsy, Despair, EYE believe | Leave a comment
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It is pretty wonderful being able to sit here and type this. Being able to see the screen without blurriness or strain is more wonderful than I ever thought possible.

At the end of March and a week later in April I had one of the most routine surgeries one can get to improve their vision. I had cataract surgery in both eyes. It was two pretty easy and quick surgeries but the month afterward was hell for me. I was not blind from my cataracts. They contributed to my night-blindness (my RP is the main culprit for night-blindness) and may have been contributing to fuzziness during the day time. It’s hard to say if it was really doing that because I’m missing so many areas of my vision that I’m never sure if that’s a blurry area because of a cataract or because that’s a section my brain is making up.
Either way, my new retina specialist recommended I get the surgery. It makes sense. If it is an easy procedure and they will only get worse with time, why not clear up my vision now.
I say it was hell afterwards because I could hardly see after the surgery. Everything was getting more and more blurry as my old glasses failed to help with the new mono-focal lenses in my eyes. I could see far away without it being blurry but close up is gone. It’s a watercolor painting that someone spilled more water on top. Nothing came into focus from arm’s length closer. I had been warned that I would have the eyes of a 40-50 year old and would need to compensate for the loss with those readers you can buy at a pharmacy. I did buy a pair but it was hardly help. Those kind of glasses do not take into account if you have an astigmatism so everything was a strain.
I no longer could focus on my computer screen at work. I had to put on the readers and get close to the screen to figure out what I was doing. I hated every single day of it. I counted down until I was allowed to go in for a new prescription for new glasses. You have to wait a month after your last surgery to make sure everything is settled and looking good to the eye doctor before you can go for the new Rx.
I thought the day would never come. I thought I was doomed to strain to see anything if I could see anything at all. I was in a big ball of self-pity and despair.
This really hit home the fact that some day I will actually be blind and there won’t be a countdown until a day that I will see again. There are so many advances in science and technology that I had brushed off the thought of final blindness and forgot.
I am deeply afraid of being blind. The helplessness and frustration and the general lost feelings were terrible. I don’t want to feel them again. But I have to remember that I will someday. I have to be ready for it. I need to prepare.
But how does one prepare for such a thing?
You can sit and watch a friend or family member on their death bed and know it is coming but it does not prepare you for the actual death. Your mind and heart are still shocked from the loss.
I could prepare by learning skills one needs to use to get around when blind. Tips and tricks to identify your clothing. Equipment to read and write in braille. Equipment to keep yourself connected to the world via the internet. How to use the infamous white cane.
The skills needed are really best learned when sight is mostly if not already gone. The equipment is expensive and will be outdated by the time i need it. All of these things would make me feel like an imposter. Like I am cosplaying a blind person. Like I am taking equipment away from those that need it now.
What do you do?

I think all I can do is wait. That and keep the knowledge that it IS going to happen one day prominently placed on my brain’s cork board of important things to remember.
Until that day comes I also need to remember to keep living. It is extremely difficult not to wallow in despair knowing that watered-down watercolors with giant areas made up by my brain is on the horizon. For too many years I have done this and have avoided or given up on art and creating. I’d make things here and there as gifts but never seriously. I think it’s time to fix that. I think I am now in a race with my failing vision. I’m going to take its looming figure as a challenge. It’ll see how many things I can create until it rears its ugly head.

I now have new glasses, those snazzy progressives that have three different strengths but without lines. They are pretty difficult to deal with for my computer at work. The area for that distance is kind of small but I just need to learn to move my head and not just my eyes to see everything. It is wonderful to read again. Having my eyesight corrected made me feel elated for a while but now I’m back to being very aware of how much the RP has taken from my field of vision. It’s a constant battle against self-pity and depression. (Add medication for treating endometriosis which makes your body basically act like menopause, now there’s a recipe for “fun”.)

I have never needed a vacation more than the one I will be going on in 5 days. I have a heck of a beasty for a camera that was a gift from my husband and father-in-law. I now have the Canon Rebel T5i Digital SLR. It has quite the thick book of instructions. Time for me to get reading! Prepare for many pictures of the skies over the Midwest and blog posts about my two week adventure on a tornado tour! Fingers crossed for amazing weather viewing.

Click here to read an article about how cataract surgery is curing blindness in developing countries.

Click here for a great documentary for National Geographic with the same doctor in the above article in North Korea. They were allowed in to perform eye surgery.

Click here for information about cataracts and treatment from the National Eye Institute.

Click here for a fact sheet from Womenshealth.gov about endometriosis.

On Tuesday, my birthday, we get to take my mom in for her to get cataract surgery. Luckily she only needs the one eye done right now. I could have sugar coated the after-effects but I didn’t. I flat out told her it was going to suck. However I did tell her it was an amazingly comfortable surgery. They don’t put you fully under, just give you some amazing anti-anxiety dopey meds. I felt pretty uncaring during the surgery. The first one I was mostly aware but I didn’t care what was happening. The second one I think I had a bit more juice so I’m pretty sure I fell asleep. I know I passed out in the car on the way home. My stomach took over once I got home and manipulated my arm, hand and mouth to eat. Then back to being passed out for the rest of the day.
I hope her surgery will be the smoothest of all.

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