Saturday, December 19, 2009

Winter solstice

2009 draws to an end. My mom died exactly today a year ago, and I lit a yahrzeit candle. Last night was the last night of Hanukah, and also erev shabat. A blaze of dancing lights illuminated my space.

It is no surprise that I have spent quite a while thinking about eyes, and sight. I am grateful beyond belief that this time the surgery appears to have done what it is supposed to do. My pressure is appropriately low. My bleb, the doctor assures me, looks wonderful!!! This news is truly joyous.

These past few years have revolved around my eyes. Although prior to my first eye surgery in 2006 I had glaucoma, I used drops and had no problems. However, at the beginning of 2006, after some truly horrendous events happened at work, and which I will write about at some stage, I awoke one morning unable to see out of my left eye. It was as if a dark grey curtain descended and I could not raise it or pull it aside. I thought maybe I had 'squished' my eye while asleep, and soon the world would become clear, but the curtain remained static. I am not sure how, but I drove myself to the ER in Kaiser, Richmond. The lovely young doctor who checked me and my eye stated that the pressure in the eye seems to be so high that she thinks her machine may not be reading it correctly. She sent me to the eye department where a doctor confirmed the reading and put me on steroid drops. As it happened, I had an appointment with my 'glaucoma' doctor the next day. The pressure did not decrease even with the use of steroids and my regular drops. Thus began my saga. My doctor sent me to the glaucoma specialist. This doctor is truly wonderful, but I have had to see him far more times than I care to count. He has been respectful and thorough in his care. He involves me in decision making, explains what he is doing, the reason for the surgeries and the subsequent ghastly procedures. If it were not for him, his care, and his humor, I am not sure how I would have managed.

Besides western medicine I tried homeopathy, acupuncture, and tibetan medicine, to no avail, glaucoma is my inheritance.

After each surgery I experience a sense of vulnerability that is difficult to put into words. Our working bodies are such intricate, magnificent machines. When something goes wrong, one's whole experience in the world is changed. My spatial and depth perception changes, leaving me feeling as if I have drunk a little too much. I bang into objects, feel wonky, and the worst part is that my memory seems to float away. I cannot recall simple things. My doctor insists there is no correlation between the surgeries, subsequent procedures, and my mind, but I know there is. Because the pressure did not decrease substantially after the first two surgeries he would stick a needle into my eye. This is a technique devised by a sadist cum torturer to 'needle' the eye and open the bleb. The other, possibly even worse procedure, required me to 'massage' my eyeball and press the contents upward. I couldn't bring myself to do this because every time I pressed into my eyeball I felt like vomiting. With the blessing of the passing of time, and a decrease in my pressure, the memory of these horrors faded, only to resurface with this latest surgery. But I have not required any of these invasive procedures this time. It is miraculous. I actually feel good, my mind seems to have remained relatively intact, and I feel okay in the world. This is a really blessed way to end the year. I am thankful indeed.

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