Lordy, lordy, I feel anxiety risin’.

May 12, 2016 at 11:59 AM | Posted in AWEsome Sights, Blah Blah Blah, Center training, Despair, My brain, my enemy. | 2 Comments
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6 weeks. 6 full weeks until I’m done at the center. Has it really been that long? Is it really only that short of a time away? I may be freaking out a bit. There’s a lot to do in a short amount of time. I’m worried and excited to go home. Worried that I’ll revert to old habits and excited because I miss my spouse and cats desperately. 

Today my anxiety level was raised quite a bit. It was time for drops. Where each of us are dropped off somewhere and our task is to find our way back to the center. I’m generally not too worried once I’m out of the vehicle but the driving around beforehand is the freakiest. I get so worked up to the point of tears. It’s awful and I hate it. But as soon as I got out of the car I knew I was downtown and it didn’t take me long to get where I needed to go. Got a coffee while waiting for the bus. Then made my way to the center. I’m still shaking from the anxiety and adrenaline from the exhilaration of knowing where I was. 

I realize I haven’t talked much about what I’ve been doing lately because I’m going through so many emotional changes that it’s easy to forget the other accomplishments. So I’ll give an update. 

Food I’ve made: vegetarian chili, lemon bars, coconut macaroons. All were delicious and I may have shoved the coconut macaroons into my face so fast that I felt ill afterwards. 

 Also I have started a sewing project where I’m making a crochet hook holder out of a washcloth. You don’t even know how hard t is to sew a straight line with a machine. It’s super freaking hard. After looking online for some tips I’ve made a pattern out of a sheet of Braille. Making a row of the letter k and sewing in between. 

Shop class: things are going well. I’ve used a hand held sander, a biscuit cutter, the chop saw, and I’ll let you know what my project is when it’s all done. 

Braille: still moving along nicely. 

Cane travel: I’ve been going downtown a few times and having to find addresses with a fellow student/staff trainee and then finding the way back to the apartments. 

Computers: I’ve been doing well using the screen reading program JAWS and I can surf almost as fast as I can sighted. But seriously web developers? Get your act together. Make your shit accessible. It’s not too hard. 

I’ve been networking with some artists and have an opportunity to show a piece of art this summer so that’s exciting. 

I’ve been having a real rough week after an amazing weekend with my fantastic friends and my wonderful spouse. It was so hard to come back an I’m having a hard time getting my head back into the swing of things. Just floating through each moment hoping I can make it through. Sleep has been especially difficult. I have maybe slept 4-5 hours a night. And I’ve been straining my eyes reading print because I can read it faster and I need te escape. 

Here’s hoping you’re all having a wonderful day and week. You all deserve it and I wish you all the best. I could really use a hug. So I offer one to you all. Thanks for reading. *Big hugs*

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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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