If you have sent me a message in the past few weeks that I seemingly ignored, please forgive me. It is not that I ignored anyone, just that I can't read. And while I am at it, if you see a misspelled word or typo in this blog post you need to go on and forgive that too since I am typing while vision impaired and I can't read the computer screen. I am writing mostly to catch up with people who think I up and dropped off the planet and don't love cookies anymore.
A few weeks back, I was minding my own business, as per usual, when I went to an appointment with my optometrist because as I age, my vision is getting worse. I knew it was time to upgrade my eye glasses. So, after school I go traipsing in with the idea of getting new glasses when the doctor began muttering something about a specialist. .Okay, no problem. Winter break is coming up and I will try to squeeze in a visit with an eye specialist, provided it is even humanly possible to get an appointment with any kind of specialist in the next month.
"Oh I’m going to need you to see him this afternoon,” the doctor replied, as if I had time to strike off over to some professional building I had never even been to in my life. At that point, I was half amused as to the reality of him being able to get me an appointment that I almost forgot that there must be something seriously wrong if I have to go straight there.
I arrived at the specialist’s office at a time when the office staff was clearly getting ready to leave but since I walked in, they obviously were going to have to hang around. They were polite but I still knew they were ready to go. I kind of liked that office because the rooms were all dark with just a little bit of lamp light. That appealed to my dilated, fatigued eyes at that point. More drops, more poking, more prodding, more dilating later, I heard something about detached retina, blah… blah… blah…it’s your age, blah…blah…blah…surgery in the morning. Can you be at the hospital by 8?
Wait. What? I have a whole week off next week and I could probably pencil you in then but it won’t be convenient, but I’m flexible so I will work on it. Besides, I like to think, plan, obsess and at the very least google what is going down here. I am brushed out the door to go get my blood drawn, heart monitored and whatever else is on that list for pre-op. Since my idea of careful planning did not seem to gain any traction, I thought it might be wise to advise my husband that he was going to need to take off tomorrow because I was not going to be able to drive myself home from the out-patient surgery center.
I arrived the next morning a little anxious about what was going to happen since I did not have enough time to research it myself. That was blessing #1. I went in there thinking this was a procedure that could be done in a reclining dentist-type chair and I would be home by lunch. I was wrong.
I was greeted by some precious nurses who were so kind to me and it was completely unrelated to the fact that they were graduates of Cookie School. They wanted to talk about cookies, not eyeballs. Okay, I expected the IV but not the actual OR with the table shaped like a cross that I have seen on Crime TV when they show the execution chamber. I may have mentioned that it was a little disconcerting but I don’t remember much else because they gave me something in that IV that completely shut down any protestations. I didn’t know about the tube down my throat. I also learned that they hide all of the utensils like fish hooks and clamps and things that they are going to use during surgery until after that anesthesia kicks in because basically, it is none of our business. When I woke up, I was only concerned with what time it was. Not sure why but I guess in my mind, the procedure was going to be short and simple. Turns out, I would spend the rest of the day and half the evening in recovery, waiting for some eye pressure to go down. I heard the doctor say he was going over to check on someone at another hospital and he would come back to check my pressure again. It was dinner time and I was really ready to be an OUT patient.
I left the hospital patched up like a pirate and unable to see out of the other eye. That was my first encounter with blindness. The surgery eye had a gas bubble that required me laying on my right side for a week. The view was like a total eclipse of the sun. The other eye was good for light and shadows. While I was forced to be still and accomplish nothing, I had a lot of time to think and be thankful. First, I am thankful that everything moved so fast I did not have time to fully comprehend was going down. I don’t recommend that you google images of a scleral buckle procedure, before or after having it done to your very own eye. I am thankful that I got some rest that I prayed for without realizing the extent I would have to go to get it. (I really meant something like a long Sunday afternoon nap that basically turns into Monday morning without waking up). I am thankful for family and friends who were kind enough to send a prayer, a card, a meal or a message during my unfortunate, untimely, unplanned, incarceration. I am thankful that all of my jobs were understanding of my predicament and gave me the time to heal.
I am really thankful for skilled physicians who can repair something like the back wall of your eye when nature clearly intended me to go blind at this time. I am thankful for every friend and business associate who stepped in to take care of something because I couldn’t. I am thankful that I can get back to work because tasks are piling up waiting for me and I will be REALLY, REALLY thankful when I can finally drive again.
I have worn glasses since fifth grade and my eyes get progressively worse as I age. I am guilty of not being thankful for that sorry vision until my recent perspective of shadows and darkness. Please take care of the only eyes you’ve got. Don’t ignore anything out of the ordinary. If you ever detach a retina, I hope a specialist can see you this afternoon.
***This looks like my eye except mine is red, swollen and currently has no eyelashes.