For those who haven’t been following along from the beginning:
In January, I was a normal guy who just happened to be winning a multi-decade battle with an incurable eye disorder. By March,I couldn’t drive. By April, my tunnel vision finally became an actual tunnel.
It turned out, in addition to glaucoma, I had cataracts. Unfortunately I didn’t have the money to have them removed right away, so I decided to look at my situation as a chance to practice for the inevitable. 2009 would be my Summer of Temporary Blindness.
Then in May, I found out that the glaucoma has been stealing vision, too, and I wouldn’t be “going back to normal” like I originally planned.
Then What Happened?
I had a surgery, an accident, and another surgery. During all that time, my eyeballs were swollen, bruised, and healing from incisions – all things I can’t see through. The circle I view the world through shrank to the size of a fist at arm’s length.
Then I began to heal. The circle grew a little every day, but was very blurry. I could only read the largest of text.
Last week, after four months of healing, I was able to get my new eyeglass prescription. It’s five times the strength of the pair on my face as I type this.
Where Do You Go From Here?
I pick up my new glasses this/next week.
The circle has widened enough to where I feel like a fraud (again) with the white cane… until I trip on the sidewalk or walk into coupon dispensers at the grocery store.
I still can’t see the ground in front of me, but I can see to the right and left far better than I have in months.
Warming up the car for my wife, I noticed that I could see the driver’s side mirror again. I wonder if I could drive. I wonder how many cars get driven through windows and walls by people having this same internal dialogue.
Does this mean you aren’t blind anymore?
I don’t know. Does it? I can’t drive, I can’t walk without staring at the ground or using a stick, and I still have that incurable eye disorder.
Going into this, I thought this was my chance to have some Blindness Practice before I go blind “for real”. When I learned it may not be temporary after all, my perspective changed.
For several months I didn’t know if any of my vision would return. The only thing certain was that large portions of it wouldn’t be. This changed me in ways I could never have predicted – even with fifteen years of preparation.
I thought it was going to be all about white canes and braille. The lessons I learned this summer go much deeper than that. I am different because of this experience.
So, are your eyes okay, now?
No. Even after the successful surgeries my pressure is too high. I’m just not going blind as fast as I was six months ago.
…and from the inside, it looks like it’s going to opposite direction. Even though I know I have less vision than a year ago, I can see better than I could two months ago so I FEEL like I’m less blind.
That’s my old friend Denial coming back for a visit.
What’s that Denial? You have my car keys? Where are you going?