Saturday, January 7, 2012

Doctor, My Eyes

The past month has not been fun. On Friday December 9, as I left a holiday party, the vision in my left eye went out. It looked like someone drew black lines on my glasses and then smeared mayonnaise on them.

On Monday, the vision in the right eye blew out.

I was virtually blind. I could see shapes and colors, but could not see the detail in a face.

After arguing with the eye clinic and having the insurance company affirm my coverage I was able to see the doctor on Tuesday. The diagnosis was diabetic related bleed in both eyes. I have had a few floaters in the past year, but nothing like this. I suppose that after 26 years of being diabetic, I am fortunate that this did not happen long ago.

I was told to sleep sitting up--a true pain in the back and hips. I stopped my daily 81 mg aspirin and avoided shaking my head.

The first few days were scary. I made coffee by feel. Once when making iced tea, I poured the Stevia on the counter. I gave up and just slept a lot for a few days.

But I had a column deadline for the Denver Post on December 16 and I needed to quit feeling sorry for myself. I was able to meet deadline by typing the thing with a 48 point bold font, and with the assistance of my husband, an excellent proofreader.

Christmas shopping had to be completed on-line, with the zoom set at 4x. I could not read on websites that used light gray or blue print, no matter how much I blew it up. I had to give up my addiction to advice columns for a couple of weeks.

The worst thing was that I could not go anywhere.

I have always been independent, and depending on my husband to get me to doctors’ appointments was difficult. He was kind and concerned--much more patient than usual. I jokingly called him my ‘seeing-eye-husband.’ But in truth, that was exactly what he was. I could not see well enough to keep my balance, so I clung to him. He verbalized the curbs and other obstacles in my path.

He did forget once and at the butcher counter asked me to take a look at a roast. “Just sling it onto the counter,” I snarled, “I’ll give it a feel.” Later we could laugh at that.

Our friend Lynn stepped in and made the Christmas dinner for me. I still made my trademark Sachertorte. I expected it to be funny looking, as the frosting is difficult anyway. but I did it and it was great.

Slowly my vision began to return.

Then one night I was listening to Dr. Wayne Dyer on a PBS show about excuses. His last suggestion was that instead of spending the five minutes before falling asleep fretting about the day’s mistakes, we should think about how great we will feel when things go our way. So I tried it.

I thought about how great I was going to feel when I finished my article with an upcoming deadline. I thought about how great I will feel about being able to drive again when my vision returned.

I finished the article two days early. And the vision has improved enough for me to drive safely.

I am scheduled for laser surgery to correct the problem on Tuesday January 10. And it’s going to be great to fully recover my vision and not worry about losing it again.

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