22 October 2019
I have spent so much time these past months responding to quesitons of, “See it? It’s right over there.” And then the helpful reiteration in different words, often followed by gestures to indicate the exact location of whatever they want me to see.
“Do you see it?”
“No. I can’t see it.”
“It’s right there, up in the tree.”
“Seriously, it’s right there.”
“Seriously, I can not see it.”
It’s not that I’m blind, I just can’t see very well.
My uncorrected vision is now a bleak 20/100. I can see at 20 feet what others can see at 100.
Corrected vision is 20/50. I qualify for only a “restricted” drivers license. I’ve already restricted myself beyond what the state would, however. Daytime only. Sun not too bright. Day not too gray. Not at dusk or dawn. Not in the rain.
I plan my days so I don’t often have to ask my sons for help or I call for a LYFT. There is danger in asking for what people don’t always want to give.
I cannot read anything beyond snippets – because of my visual acuity, but also because Parkinson’s has taken my ability to track, which interferes with comprehension. This started back in 2015 when I was in Willamette’s MBA for Professionals program.
Parkinson’s. The injuries to my face. A rare autoimmune reaction. They have robbed me of so much. Reading. Sewing. Beading. Driving when I want. Being as independent as I want to be.
But now, I might be able to see again. Dr. Lin, my retinologist, who has taken each setback as a personal affront, says my cataract, which likely started as a result of corticosteroids, is big enough and is affecting my vision enough that it can be fixed.
She will not do this operation, preferring a specialist in cataract surgery do it. There’s a lot at stake, and I don’t do well with odds. Even though the risk of complications is low, it is real. Reading the list, however, is like reading a partial list of things I already have.
Light sensitivity? Check.
Flashes of light? Check.
Macular edema (swelling of the center of the retina)? Check.
Elevated eye pressure? Had it.
What I don’t have is a detached retina. Or blindness.
There are definite potential drawbacks.
But I’ve lost too much already not to try. I miss seeing the faces of the people I love. I try so hard not to focus on what I’ve lost, but sometimes I don’t do a very good job.
I’m also just very tired. I’ve been undergoing a bunch of tests to determine the cause of severe reflux that has affected my voice, causing cough, awful heartburn, and pain. I sleep at an upright angle, which means I don’t sleep.
We have discovered a grade III hiatal hernia, and that the valve that keeps the stomach contents in my stomach has been obliterated. One more test at the end of October, and we’ll be able to develop a plan. This surgery brings its own risks, though, and the timing of each prospective surgery has to be carefully determined due to both Parkinson’s and the two powerful immunosuppressive drugs I’m on.
Writing this has helped me get it together after the meltdown this morning caused by the fact that I cannot thread the damn sewing machine needle and finish the tablecloth I’ve been making. Would it have been easier and less expensive to just buy one? Yes. But I would not have been forced to do math, think spatially, and use both sides of my brain.
I would not have been pushed to the brink by a sewing needle, either, but that’s another story.
P.S. Had a brief appointment with Dr. Lin today. Cataract is affecting my vision a bit more, bur there is no new inflammation, no new debris, no new damage of the retina kind. I am still STABLE!
P.P.S. And have the appointment with the corneal specialist on Monday.
P.P.P.S. I might have to ask for some help with all of this.